On this page we have included three articles from the Ages Electronic Library, the last two are taken from CLAVIS BIBLICA by Adam Clarke and the first one from The Heart of the Old Testament
by John R. Sampey, D.D., LL.D.
They are placed here for educational and instructional purposes to help you grow in your faith
I. A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF THE BIBLE
THE Bible is a history of Redemption. It is not a history of the world, nor even a
history of the Hebrew people. Whatever bears on the redemption of sinful man finds
a place in the Bible. All else, however interesting and valuable for other purposes, is
passed by in silence.
1. THE BEGINNINGS
The first eleven chapters of Genesis lie at the foundation of the Bible. They tell us that
God created the universe; that man, the crowning work of the creation, at first
enjoyed fellowship with God; that the old serpent tempted our first parents and led
them into sin, that God announced final victory to the seed of the woman in the long
struggle with the serpent; that sin grew among men until God felt impelled to destroy
all the race except one righteous family; that sin continued among the descendants of
Noah, the progenitor of all the families and nations of earth. This foundation section
of the Bible leads up to the birth of Abram, whom Jehovah elects to be a blessing to
all the world. It covers far more time than all the remainder of the Bible; perhaps far
more than the common chronology would suggest.
2. THE PATRIARCHAL PERIOD
God makes a new era to begin with Abraham, the father of believers. Rich
revelations of the character and purposes of Jehovah are made to Abraham and his
descendants. The inspired writer portrays the patriarch’s life and character vividly
and fully. In the history of redemption Abraham holds a large place. The lives of
Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are also exceedingly instructive. God waited a long time
while His plans were maturing, and then advanced His redemptive purpose rapidly
through the great patriarchs. Genesis is truly one of the world’s great books.
3. THE ERA OF MOSES AND JOSHUA
The family of Jacob had grown into a nation in Egypt. They are enslaved by the
Egyptians and sorely oppressed. Jehovah calls Moses to be the deliverer, leader,
and lawgiver of Israel. The character of Jehovah is revealed in much of its glory
through Moses. The chosen nation is placed under the dominion of righteous statutes
and ordinances. The ethical character of Jehovah becomes the model after which His
people are to shape their lives. Much redemptive teaching is wrapped up in the
symbols and types of the Mosaic Law.
Moses led Israel to the borders of the Promised Land. It was reserved for Joshua to
conquer Canaan and to assign to the various tribes their inheritance. The era began
with Israel in bondage in a foreign land; it closed with Israel in possession of a land
flowing with milk and honey. Israel is called to be a holy nation, and this chosen
nation are intrusted the oracles of God. Jehovah redeemed Israel by a mighty arm
from the bondage of Egypt. He claims Israel as His own personal property. He is
Israel’s king. Through Israel He wishes to reveal His character and purposes to all
The life and work of Moses are described in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and
Deuteronomy. Joshua gives an account of the conquest of Canaan and of the
allotment of the land among the tribes of Israel. During this period the Pentateuch
4. THE PERIOD OF THE JUDGES
After the death of Joshua, heathenism repeatedly attacked and threatened to engulf
the religion of Abraham and Moses. Here we come to the Dark Ages of Israel’s
history. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Even the best men of the
time were on a plane far below that on which Moses and Joshua and their associates
had lived. It looked as if the knowledge of Jehovah’s character might fade from the
minds of men. But there were a few faithful souls who kept alive the knowledge of
the holy and merciful God, Samuel, the last of the Judges, became the first of a long
line of prophets. Under the guiding hand of Samuel a great revival breaks out, and
Israel comes into an era of political power and of moral and spiritual energy.
The story of the period is told in Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel 1-7. The Book of
Joshua was probably composed in this period.
5. THE UNITED KINGDOM
Under Samuel the transition from a pure Theocracy to a Constitutional Monarchy is
made. An earthly king is seated on Jehovah’s throne over Israel. When Saul proves
a failure, Jehovah chooses a man after His own heart and places David on the
throne. David as king becomes significant in the revelation of Jehovah’s redemptive
purpose. The promise of God attaches itself to David’s house. The Ideal King of the
future will be a second David.
Perhaps David’s harp was more important to the plan of Redemption than his
scepter. Through the many psalms which he composed he has brought men of all
succeeding ages into a closer fellowship with God.
Solomon contributed out of his stores of worldly wisdom many proverbs to guide the
young to success and honor.
The period of the United Kingdom was one in which real advance was made in the
redemptive plan of Jehovah. Prophets and psalmists and sages united in promoting
faith and morality and spirituality in Israel, Times of reaction and moral declension
may be traced in the later history of Israel, but never any long period in which Israel
is without prophets or other leaders to keep alive the knowledge of Jehovah.
The account of the events of this period is found in 1 Samuel 8 to 1 Kings 11; also in
1 Chronicles 10 to 2 Chronicles 9. Judges, Ruth, and 1 and 2 Samuel were probably
composed in this period; also many psalms and proverbs and the Song of Solomon.
6. THE DIVIDED KINGDOM
The taxes were heavy under Solomon. His foolish son refused to make them lighter,
and the northern tribes revolted. This brings us to the period of the Divided Kingdom
(931-587 B.C.). In 722 B.C., Samaria was captured by the Assyrians, and the
kingdom of Israel (or Ephraim) ceased to be. The kingdom of Judah was destroyed
by Nebuchadrezzar in 587 B.C. and the people carried captive to Babylonia. As
early as 605 B.C., captives were taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. Daniel and
others were carried into exile in that year. In 598 B.C. Jehoiachin and many of his
people were transported to Babylon.
The ministry of Elijah and Elisha in the Northern Kingdom made memorable the
period from 870 B.C. to 800 B.C. In Judah, Obadiah and Joel were probably
contemporary with Elisha. Jonah, shortly after 800 B.C., prophesied first to his own
people and then to heathen Nineveh. Amos (about 760 B.C.) thundered at Bethel
against the sins of Israel, and Hosea (about 750-725 B.C.) pleaded with Israel to
return to Jehovah. In Judah, Isaiah and Micah filled the period from 740 to 695 B.C.
with brilliant ministries. Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah made prophecy a mighty
power in the eighth century B.C. To Isaiah it was given to picture the Messianic King
in His glory and to describe the character and achievements of the Suffering Servant
of Jehovah. Hezekiah, one of Judah’s best kings, led his people to turn from idols to
the worship of Jehovah. Isaiah and Micah found in him a sympathetic hearer.
With the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C., the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes passed away.
No doubt pious individuals of these tribes later united with their brethren of Judah, so
that the Ten Tribes were not wholly lost to history.
After the death of Hezekiah and Isaiah, Judah lapsed into gross idolatry under
Manasseh. There was a notable reformation under Josiah about 623 B.C. Jehovah
raised up a group of faithful prophets at this crisis. Nahum (about 640-630 B.C.)
announced the approaching downfall of cruel Nineveh. Zephaniah (about 630-625
B.C.) described the terrible day of Jehovah’s wrath against sin, but predicted that a
remnant both of Jews and Gentiles would be saved. Habakkuk (about 609-600
B.C.) gave voice to the longing for justice in a time of oppression. Jeremiah
commenced about 628 B.C. a faithful ministry that was continued in the face of
multiplied discouragements and dangers until after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.
He announced the transition to a new era in which Jehovah would write His law, not
on tables of stone, but on the hearts of His people. He preached the doctrine of
individualism. God will deal with each person as a separate entity. The Kingdom of
God as represented by the people of Judah as a nation was about to go to pieces,
but only as a preparation for a higher stage in the history of Redemption. The
spirituality of the Kingdom of God received new and helpful interpretation from
Jeremiah. Long before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., Jeremiah had
committed to writing the substance of Jehovah’s messages through him. The roll of
his prophecies was completed in the early years of the Babylonian Exile. During the
discouraging experiences of the Exile devout men were heartened by his earnest
words, and the spiritual element kept alive the hope of ultimate victory for the people
During this long period the singers of Israel made additions to the Psalter, and the
sages continued to put forth proverbs embodying worldly wisdom. It is possible that
the author of the Book of Job lived in this period. Of the writing prophets, Amos,
Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah certainly belong in this
period; and it seems to the writer that Obadiah, Joel, and Jonah should be placed in
the early part of this period.
7. THE BABYLONIAN EXILE
As already stated, the Exile was a process beginning in 605 B.C. with the captivity
of Daniel and others, continuing with the captivity of Jehoiachin in 598 B.C., and
leading up to the great captivity at the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.
Ezekiel, a priest carried off with Jehoiachin in 598 B.C., was called to prophesy in
593 B.C. among the captives by the river Chebar in lower Babylonia. He continued
his ministry until 571 B.C. Through Ezekiel Jehovah emphasized the doctrine of
individual responsibility. Every man is treated justly, and every man is a separate’
entity before God. He may even break away from his own past life, and will be
judged as he is, and not as he was before he changed his course. Ezekiel is a
prophet of hope, picturing the growth of the kingdom of God in his image of the
stream of life-giving waters that issued from under the altar of God.
Daniel as a statesman and wise man gave his testimony before kings and courts. God
also made through him wonderful disclosures of the future struggles of Jehovah’s
people. Daniel teaches the doctrine of the resurrection of individuals to everlasting
life or everlasting shame, and gives a great promise to soul-winners.
During the Exile were composed the Books of 1 and 2 Kings; Jeremiah (completed),
Lamentations, and Ezekiel.
8. FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE MACCABEAN REVOLT
The return from captivity had been foretold by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. When
Cyrus conquered Babylon, he gave permission to the Jews to return to their own
land and to rebuild their temple. In 535 B.C. Zerubbabel led a company of about
fifty thousand exiles back to Palestine. The worship of Jehovah through sacrifice was
resumed, and plans were laid for rebuilding the temple; but, owing to opposition
from their heathen neighbors, the work was discontinued for fourteen years. Then
Jehovah sent Haggai and Zechariah, in 520 B.C., to stir up the spirits of the rulers of
the people to undertake the task of building the temple. The work was completed in
516 B.C., and the temple was dedicated with joy.
Many Jews remained in Babylon and Persia. The Book of Esther relates how, in the
reign of Xerxes (about 478 B.C.), the Jews of the world were threatened with
extermination, and how they were saved by the intercession of Esther.
In 458 B.C., Artaxerxes gave Ezra permission to lead a caravan of Jews from Persia
to Jerusalem. Ezra came to Jerusalem and wrought important reforms among the
In 445 B.C., Nehemiah, the cupbearer of Artaxerxes, asked permission to return to
Jerusalem and to rebuild the walls of the city. He accomplished his difficult task
speedily, in spite of many serious dangers. On his return from Persia, about 432
B.C., he wrought several important reforms in Jerusalem. He was a wise and
efficient governor. Ezra and Nehemiah coöperated to keep the Jews separate from
the heathen world, which threatened to assimilate them to its low religious and moral
life. Ezra and Nehemiah paved the way for the development of Judaism.
The prophet Malachi was probably contemporary with Nehemiah, as he attacks the
abuses which Nehemiah overthrew in Judah.
The Jews continued under the comparatively mild Persian rule until 331 B.C., when
they passed under the yoke of Alexander the Great. From 320 to 198 B.C. the Jews
were subject to the Ptolemies of Egypt. Then they became subject to Antiochus the
Great of Syria, and continued tributary to Syria until the revolt against Antiochus
Epiphanes in 167 B.C. Mattathias and his brave sons led their countrymen in a
desperate struggle for the right to worship God according to the laws of Moses.
They refused to become hellenized and heathenized.
During the period from 535 B.C. to 166 B.C. were composed the prophetic Books
of Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; the historical Books, 1 and 2 Chronicles,
Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; also some Psalms, and probably Ecclesiastes, which
describes the lessons to be learned from Solomon’s experiences, Several of the
Apocryphal Books, such as Tobit and Ecclesiasticus, were also composed in this
9. FROM THE MACCABEAN REVOLT TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS
For this period we are dependent upon sources other than the Bible. From 1
Maccabees and Josephus we learn that the Maccabees, after many battles, won
independence for the Jews. Native kings arid queens once more ruled over the
Jewish people. But in 63 B.C, Pompey captured Jerusalem, and in 37 B.C. Herod
the Great became king, and held the office until after the birth of our Lord. The
chronology computed in later times seems clearly to have put the birth of Jesus about
five years too late. Hence modern chronologers usually assign that event to 5 B.C.
During this period the Jewish sects developed, so that in the New Testament we
hear of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Judaism hardened into Pharisaic legalism.
10. THE LIFE OF OUR LORD JESUS
Here we come to the heart of the Bible. Fortunately the story is so familiar that we
do not need to repeat it. Our Lord’s public ministry probably lasted a little over three
years. After the early Judean ministry He passed through Samaria to enter upon the
great Galilean ministry, which took Him three times over that populous district. Then
He withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon and other districts around Galilee.
During the last six months He seems to have visited all parts of the land on both sides
of the Jordan. Then came the discourses of the last week, the crucifixion, the
resurrection, and after forty days the ascension.
Jesus wrote no books, but He promised the Twelve the gift of the Holy Spirit that
He might bring to their remembrance the words they had heard from His lips. Never
man spake like this man. Jesus Christ made atonement for sin on the cross. In Him
were fulfilled the Scriptures of the Old Testament. All the New Testament sets forth
His life and death and resurrection as the hope of the world. Whatever in the Bible
has no relation to Him may be safely ignored but take care lest the relation be missed
11. LABORS OF PETER AND OF HIS ASSOCIATES
(CHIEFLY AMONG THE JEWS.)
The most probable date for the ascension of our Lord is the late spring of 30 A.D.
Ten days later the Holy Spirit fell with mighty power on the disciples in the upper
room. In one day three thousand souls were converted to personal acceptance of
Jesus as Christ and Saviour. The progress of the revival thus begun is sketched in the
early chapters of the Acts. Of course, the adversary stirred up opposition and
persecution, but the church grew wonderfully. The believer found the gospel
sufficient for all his needs. Years passed by, The apostles seem to have forgotten the
command to make disciples of all the nations. Suddenly persecution becomes more
violent, and the believers are scattered abroad, preaching, however, as they journey.
God calls Peter to receive into the church the first Gentile converts. Presently others
are won at Antioch through the labors of other men. Meantime Saul of Tarsus has
been converted to the new faith. He is busy preaching and teaching in Cilicia, the
province in which he was born. Fourteen or fifteen years have passed away since
our Lord left the earth, and the time is ripe for a great ingathering of the Gentiles. The
gospel of Christ has been tested by many, and it has stood the test.
12. MISSIONARY LABORS OF PAUL AND OF HIS ASSOCIATES
(GENTILES AND JEWS.)
Barnabas, seeing that there was a great door opened in Antioch, went forth to
Tarsus to seek Saul. He found his man and brought him face to face with a great
opportunity. These were busy days in Antioch. Presently the Holy Spirit designated
Barnabas and Saul for work on a wider field. Then follows the great missionary
journey to Cyprus, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. Many converts are won from among the
Gentiles. Now the question is raised whether Gentiles becoming Christians should
not also become Jews and keep the law of Moses. At the Council in Jerusalem in
A.D. 50, Gentile freedom was won, largely through the efforts of Paul and Barnabas.
About 48 or 50 A.D., it is supposed, James wrote his Epistle.
In A.D. 51-54 followed the second missionary journey. Paul and Silas were called
into Macedonia, and thence into Greece. From Corinth, in A.D. 52 or 53, Paul
wrote the two letters to the Thessalonians.
During the period from A.D. 54 to A.D. 58, Paul was engaged in the third
missionary journey, spending much time at Ephesus. Toward the close of this
campaign he wrote a group of great letters, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and
Romans. This group belongs to the years 57 and 58 A.D.
Finally Paul falls into the hands of his enemies, and lies in prison at Cæsarea for two
long years. Then he goes to Rome as a prisoner. During his confinement in Rome he
probably wrote Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians, another group of
It seems that Paul finally was released, and had opportunity to resume his missionary
labors. But once more he was arrested, about A.D. 67, and is said to have suffered
martyrdom in A.D. 68. During his last imprisonment he wrote 1 Timothy, Titus, and
2 Timothy. Hebrews is probably not directly from the hand of Paul, although
reminding one a good deal of the great Apostle. It was probably composed between
60 and 70 A.D.
1 Peter, Jude, and 2 Peter probably date from 65 to 67 A.D.
Mark, Matthew, and Luke probably wrote the Gospels bearing their names before
A.D. 70, though some good scholars think them later.
13. CLOSING LABORS OF JOHN AND OF HIS ASSOCIATES
When Peter and Paul passed away, John, the beloved disciple, became easily the
foremost Christian in the world. He was great and influential while these mighty men
lived, but he seems to have been willing to yield to Peter as spokesman. John is said
to have lived to a ripe old age in Ephesus. For a while he was exiled to Patmos.
Between A.D. 80 and A.D. 95 he probably wrote the Gospel of John, the three
Epistles of John, and the Revelation. The heart of God is revealed in these writings.
They form a fitting close and climax to the revelation contained in the Bible. The
ultimate triumph of Christ over all foes is predicted in the Revelation. God’s plan of
redemption will not fail. The Son of God shall reign forever. Satan shall be locked up
in the bottomless pit, no more to tempt the saints.
The Bible is a unity. The style and manner of each book contain elements that give it
a right to a place in God’s great Book. Every part of the Book contains the red
blood of Redemption. The Bible is an organism. Cut it and it will bleed. It contains
the progressive revelation of God’s will. Holy men wrote it as they were borne along
by the Spirit of God.
II. PRINCIPLES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
1. There Is One God, who is self-existing, uncreated, infinitely wise,
powerful, and good: who is present in every place; and fills the heavens,
and earth, and all things. Now, as THIS ONE God is eternal, that is, without
beginning or end, and is present everywhere, and fills all space, <234406>Isaiah
44:6-8, there can be only ONE such Being; for there cannot be two or more
eternals, or two or more who are everywhere and fill all things. To suppose
more than one supreme Source of infinite wisdom, power, and all
perfections, is to assert that there is no supreme Being in existence. A
plurality of eternal beings would resemble a plurality of universes,
eternities, and infinite spaces; all which would be contradictory and absurd.
<234406>Isaiah 44:6, 7, 8.
2. This one infinite and eternal Being is a Spirit: i.e., he is not compounded,
nor made up of parts; for then he would be nothing different from matter,
which is totally void of intelligence and power. And hence he must be
invisible; for a spirit cannot be seen by the eye of man: nor is there any
thing in this principle contradictory to reason or experience. We all know
that there is such a thing as the air we breathe, as the wind that whistles
through the trees, fans and cools our bodies, and sometimes tears up
mighty trees from their roots, overturns the strongest buildings, and agitates
the vast ocean; but no man has ever seen this air or wind, though every one
is sensible of its effects, and knows that it exists. Now it would be as
absurd to deny the existence of God, because we cannot see him, as it
would be to deny the existence of the air or wind, because we cannot see it.
As to reason and sense, the wind is known to exist by the affects which it
produces, though it cannot be seen; so God is known by his works; and a
genuine Christian is as conscious that this divine Spirit works in,
enlightens, and changed his heart, as he is that he breathes the air, and feels
the action of the wind upon his body; and is either chilled, cooled, or
refreshed, by its breezes. <430424>John 4:24; 3:8.
3. In this God there are found three persons, not distinctly or separately
existing; but in one infinite unity; who are termed Father, Son, and Spirit; or
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; all existing in the
one infinite and eternal God; neither being before or after the other, neither
being greater or less than the other. These three divine persons are
frequently termed among Christians, The Trinity. <620507>1 John 5:7; <420322>Luke
4. This God is the Creator, Governor, and Preserver of all things: all
creatures, animate and inanimate, owe their being to him; and by him they
are all supported. <430103>John 1:3; <160906>Nehemiah 9:6.
5. The works of creation show God to be infinitely powerful, wise, and
good. His power is seen in the vastness or magnitude of his works; his
Wisdom is seen in the skill and contrivance so evident in each, and in the
whole; and his Goodness is seen in the end for which each has been
formed: for he has made all intelligent and animate beings capable of
happiness; and he has so contrived their bodies, minds, and different parts,
as well as the things by which they are surrounded, that this happiness is, in
general, within their reach. <19A424>Psalm 104:24.
6. Man is one of the chief works of God. His soul was created in the image
of God, i.e., in righteousness and true holiness: and his body was formed
out of the dust of the ground. There was no imperfection in his body, a
machine of the most complicate, curious, and difficult contrivance: and no
sinfulness in his mind; for God, who is all perfection, could make nothing
that is imperfect; and He who is infinitely holy could make nothing that is
impure. <010127>Genesis 1:27.
7. But from this state of perfection and purity man fell, by his disobeying
the commandment of God; and so became liable to sickness, death,
corruption, and dissolution in his body; and became ignorant, sinful, and
vicious in his soul; which imperfections and sinful propensities he
communicated to all his posterity: for as the stream must ever be the same
with the fountain from whence it flows, so all generations of men must
necessarily have the same kind of nature with those from whom they are
descended. Adam, the first man, was made in the image and likeness of
God; but, when he sinned, he lost that divine image; and then, when he
begat children, it is said in the sacred writings that he begat them in his own
image, <010503>Genesis 5:3, i.e., sinful and corrupt like himself. And in this state
all human beings that are born into the world are still found: and their sinful
dispositions lead them unto sinful practices; so that the whole human race
are fallen, and all are sinners against God and their own souls. <191403>Psalm
8. God, who is infinitely good, showed his mercy to fallen, sinful man by
promising him a Savior who was to come in that time which God should
see to be the most suitable. <010315>Genesis 3:15.
9. This Saviour was no less a person than the Lord Jesus Christ, who in
that suitable time was to take upon him the nature of man, by assuming a
human body; which he subjected to death, that he might make a sacrifice
and atonement for all those who were partakers of the same nature, i.e., for
the Whole Human Race. <400121>Matthew 1:21, 28; <580209>Hebrews 2:9.
10. Jesus Christ, as man, could suffer and die; as God, he was incapable of
either, but it was necessary that his human nature should suffer in order to
make an atonement; and it was necessary that his Deity should be united
with that humanity, in order to make its suffering of infinite value, that
thereby a suitable atonement might be made for the sins of the world. <600318>1
11. The law which God gave to men was given to human nature. That
nature transgressed this law; on that nature, therefore, divine justice had a
claim; and from it that justice had a right to demand satisfaction. To have
destroyed that human nature existing at the time of the transgression in the
first human pair only, would have been inconsistent with the innumerable
purposes of divine justice, mercy, and providence; therefore God permitted
them to live and propagate a posterity upon the earth: but in his infinite love
he found out a Redeemer for this fallen nature. But this Christ or Redeemer
took not upon him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, that is,
human nature, that in the nature which sinned he might make the expiation
required. <580216>Hebrews 2:16.
12. It was also necessary that this Redeemer should be infinitely divine and
perfect; as the end of his great undertaking was not only to purchase pardon
for a world of offenders, but to merit eternal happiness for mankind. Now
an infinite happiness cannot be purchased by any price less than that which
is infinite in value; and infinity of merit can only result from a nature that is
infinitely divine or perfect. <510117>Colossians 1:17.
13. Accordingly we find that, about 4000 years after the creation, this Jesus
Christ was born in Judea, of a virgin, whose name was Mary, in whose
womb his human nature was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost;
and about thirty-three years afterward, having wrought multitudes of
miracles, the most astonishing and beneficent, and preached that heavenly
doctrine called the gospel or good news, he gave up his life at Jerusalem as
a sacrificial offering for the lives of all mankind. He was buried; rose again,
by that divine power which could not suffer death, on the third day,
according to his own predictions; and gave commission to his disciples,
(holy men to whom he had taught the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,)
to go into all the world, and preach his gospel to every creature; which they
and their successors have done, and are doing: and by these means
Christianity has been spread and established in the earth; and will finally
prevail in every nation of the world according to his own most positive
declarations. <420211>Luke 2:11; <235309>Isaiah 53:9; <540206>1 Timothy 2:6; <411615>Mark 16:15.
14. God has assured mankind that there is and can be no salvation but
through Jesus Christ: that for the sake, and on the account, of his sacrificial
sufferings and death he can forgive sins; and on no other account will he
show mercy to any soul of man. <490107>Ephesians 1:7.
15. As all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are
consequently exposed to endless punishment, and no man can make an
atonement for his own soul, God has commanded all who hear the gospel
to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that is, to believe on him as having died
for them, and to believe that his sufferings and death are a sufficient
sacrifice for their sins; and, consequently, to offer this sacrificial death of
the Lord Jesus Christ as a ransom price for their souls, <411616>Mark 16:16.
16. But it is not likely that any person will feel his need of Jesus Christ as
his Savior, unless he feel that he is sinful, guilty, and cannot help himself:
hence the Holy Scriptures require men to repent; that is, to turn from and be
deeply sorry for their transgressions, to mourn and be distressed for having
sinned against God, and to implore his mercy through Christ Jesus, by
fervent and continued prayer. <440319>Acts 3:19; 18:30.
17. Scripture gives no hope to any man, that his sins can be blotted out, or
his soul saved, by anything he can do, or has done, or by any sufferings
through which he can possibly pass: every man, therefore, must come to
God through Christ, to be saved by free grace and mere mercy alone.
<450324>Romans 3:24; <490208>Ephesians 2:8.
18. When a sinner comes thus to God, with a broken and contrite heart,
believing and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, God
freely pardons him; and he knows and feels that he is pardoned, because his
darkness and distress are all taken away; and the Spirit of God bears
witness with his spirit that he is a child of God: this God has promised;
and, therefore, it is the privilege of every Christian to know that his sins are
forgiven him for Christs sake: and of this fact there are thousands of living
witnesses in the Christian church. Let it ever be remembered that genuine
faith in Christ will ever be productive of good works; for this faith worketh
by love, as the apostle says, and love to God always produces obedience to
his holy laws. <450505>Romans 5:5; 8:16.
19. Pardon or forgiveness of sin implies that the mans guilt is taken away;
and that he is no longer in danger of falling into endless punishment: but it
does not imply that the evil of his nature is wholly removed; for this is a
separate work of Gods mercy. <450501>Romans 5:1; 8:1.
20. Hence God promises his Holy Spirit to sanctify and cleanse the heart,
so as utterly to destroy all pride, anger, self-will, peevishness, hatred,
malice, and every thing contrary to his own holiness. <520523>1 Thessalonians
5:23; <450813>Romans 8:13; <263625>Ezekiel 36:25-27.
21. The work of pardon on the conscience is called Justification; the work
of holiness in the heart is termed Sanctification: these two comprise the
whole salvation of the soul in this world. He who is completely sanctified,
or cleansed from all sin, and dies in this state, is fit for glory. <660305>Revelation
22. Let it be therefore remembered, that Repentance must go before
Justification; that Justification must go before Sanctification; and that
Sanctification must go before Glorification. Consequently, he who does not
repent and forsake sin can not be justified; he who is not justified cannot be
sanctified, and he who is not sanctified cannot be glorified.
23. As the grace that produces any of these states may be lost through sin,
or carelessness; hence the necessity that the true penitent should continue to
watch and pray till he is justified that, when justified, he should continue to
watch and pray, and deny himself, and take up his cross, till he is sanctified;
and, when sanctified, he should continue the same course, believing, loving,
and obeying, till he is glorified. As he will be in danger as long as he lives
of falling from grace, so he should continue to watch and pray, believe, and
maintain good works, as long as he breathes; for while thus employed,
humbly trusting in the Lord Jesus, he cannot fall. <460927>1 Corinthians 9:27;
<610218>2 Peter 2:18; <411438>Mark 14:38; 13:37; <610210>2 Peter 2:10.
24. Jesus Christ has ordained only two sacraments, or religions
ceremonies: The first Baptism, by which we enter into his church; and the
second the Lords Supper, often called the Sacrament, by which we continue
members of his church. The former implies being dipped in, or sprinkled
with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost. The water is an emblem of the cleansing and purifying influence of
the Holy Spirit; and the whole of the act itself signifies a consecration of the
person to the endless service and glory of the ever blessed Trinity, that is,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in whose name he has been baptized.
second or holy sacrament is an emblem of the sacrificial death of Christ; the
Bread which is used signifying his Body that was crucified, and the Wine
his Blood that was shed for the sins of the world. But the bread and wine
are only emblems of this body and blood; not changed into that of our
blessed Lord, as some have erroneously imagined. He, therefore, who
receives the holy sacrament professes thereby that he expects salvation only
through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
<402802>Matthew 28:29; 26:26, 27, 28.
25. The body is mortal, and must die and mingle with the earth, out of
which it was made: but it shall be raised again by the power of Christ, in
what is called the Resurrection from the dead. But the soul is immortal, and
can neither die nor perish; but in the resurrection the body and soul shall be
again united, both of the just and of the unjust. <580927>Hebrews 9:27; <461551>1
Corinthians 15:51, 52; <430528>John 5:28, 29; Ecclesiastes 13:7.
26. After the resurrection comes the general Judgment, in which God shall
render unto every man according as his works have been: those who have
lived and died in sin shall be sent into hell, and be thus for ever banished
from God and the glory of His power: those who have here received the
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have been faithful unto death, shall be
brought into the kingdom of glory, and be eternally with the Lord. <430529>John
5:29; <660210>Revelation 2:10.
27. In the interim, from death to the resurrection, all souls shall be in a state
of conscious existence; the wicked having a foretaste of the misery that
awaits them, and the good having a foretaste of the blessedness which is
prepared for them. But neither can be supremely happy or wretched till the
souls are joined to their respective bodies; otherwise a day of judgment
would be rendered unnecessary: for as the works for which they shall be
punished or rewarded were done in the body; so they must be joined to
their bodies before they can be capable of bearing the due degree of
punishment, or enjoying the fulness of eternal glory. <422343>Luke 23:43.
28. Those who, at the day of judgment, are sentenced to punishment shall
never escape from perdition; and those who are taken to glory shall never
fall from it. Both states shall be eternal. <402546>Matthew 25:46.
29. The Bible, from whence the above principles are drawn, is a revelation
from God himself; and declares his will relative to the salvation of men.
The words contained in it were inspired by the Holy Spirit into the minds of
faithful men, called Prophets and Seers in the Old Testament; and
Evangelists and Apostles in the New. These all spoke as the Spirit gave
them utterance. <661201>Revelation 12:19; <610121>2 Peter 1:21.
30. This Bible, or the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, are the
only complete guide to everlasting blessedness: men may err, but the
Scripture cannot; for it is the Word of God himself who can neither
mistake, deceive, nor be deceived. <550316>2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
31. From this Word all doctrines must be derived and proved; and from it
every man must learn his duty to God, to his neighbor, and to himself.
32. We have, therefore, three grand gifts, for which we should incessantly
magnify God: First, His Son, Christ Jesus. Second, The influence of his
Holy Spirit. And, Third, His blessed word <620410>1 John 4:10; <421113>Luke 11:13;
33. This word shows us that God is Love: that he hateth nothing that he
hath made; that he is loving to every man, and is not willing that any should
perish, but that all shall come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.
<620416>1 John 4:16; <19E509>Psalm 145:9.
34. It shows us that Jesus Christ tasted death for every man, and that the
whole human race may believe in him to the saving of their souls.
<580201>Hebrews 2; <540206>1 Timothy 2:6; <261803>Ezekiel 18:33; <263302>33:2; <610301>2 Peter 3:19.
35. It shows us that God sends his Holy Spirit into the hearts and
consciences of all men, to convince them of sin, righteousness, and
judgment; and that his light is to be found, even where his word has not yet
been revealed. <430119>John 1:19; <431608>16:8, 9, 10, <450214>Romans 2:14.
36. On this ground the Bible informs us, God will judge the heathen who
have never been favored with this divine revelation. Those who have acted
conscientiously, according to the dictates of this heavenly light in their
minds, shall not perish eternally; but have that measure of glory and
happiness which is suited to their state; while those who have acted contrary
to it shall be separated from God and happiness for ever. <450212>Romans 2:12;
<421247>Luke 12:47, 48 <441034>Acts 10:34.
37. By this light even the heathens are taught the general principles of right
and wrong; of justice and injustice: not to injure each other: to be honest and
just in their dealings; to abhor murder, cruelty, and oppression; and to be
charitable and merciful according to their power. <430109>John 1:9; <450214>Romans
38. Those who have been favored with divine revelation shall be judged
according to that revelation. They have received much, and from them
much shall be required; for the Bible assures us that those who have the
gospel, and do not obey it, shall be punished with an everlasting separation
from the presence of God, and the glory of his power, in that place of
misery where their worm, the accusation and self-reproaches of a guilty
conscience, shall never die; and their fire, the instrument of the torment,
shall never be quenched. <530109>2 Thessalonians 1:9; <410944>Mark 9:44.
39. Thus we find that God will judge the heathen by the law which he has
written in their minds; and he will judge the Jews by the law which he has
given them by Moses and the prophets; and he will judge the Christians by
the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he has given them by the evangelists and
apostles; and he will judge the Mohammedans according to the
opportunities they have had of knowing the gospel, and the obstinacy with
which they have rejected it. And this will be an aggravation of the
punishment of the Jews, Mohammedans, and other unbelievers, that the
gospel which would have made them wise unto salvation, has been rejected
by them; and they continue blasphemously to deny the Lord that bought
40. As the sacred Scriptures were mercifully given to man to promote his
present as well as his eternal happiness; hence they contain directions for
every state and condition of life: on husbands and wives, parents and
children, masters and servants, they enjoin mutual love, affection,
obedience, and fidelity. To governors and the governed they prescribe their
respective duties; kings and magistrates, as the representatives of God, they
enjoin to use their authority for the protection and comfort of the people: the
people they command to love, honor, obey, and pray for their secular
rulers;, to submit to those laws which are formed for the peace, good order,
and prosperity of the state; and to hold in abhorrence every thing that might
tend to disturb the peace of the community. In a word, they require all men
to love their neighbor, every human being, as themselves; and in all
circumstances to do unto others as they would that others should do unto
<400712>Matthew 7:12; <421031>Luke 10:31; <450301>Romans 3:1-7; <490521>Ephesians
5:21 -33; 6:1-9; <510318>Colossians 3:18-25; <540201>1 Timothy 2:1-3; <560201>Titus 2:1-6
<560301>3:1, 2; <600301>1 Peter 3:1-7; <600501>5:1-5.
41. From the foregoing principles we see that whatsoever is worthy of the
infinite perfections of the One Eternal Being and whatsoever is calculated to
produce the present and everlasting happiness of mankind, is taught in the
Bible; and that these truths have never been fully nor clearly taught, and
most of them not at all, in any system of religion which has been adopted
by even the wisest of the heathen nations; that where this book of divine
revelation has been received, there is found the greatest portion of wisdom
and true greatness; and the largest share of political, domestic, and personal
happiness; and that none in such nations are wretched, ignorant, or
miserable, but those who do not obey its dictates.
42. As this religion positively commands its professors to love God with
all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and their neighbor, any and
every human being, as themselves, hence it is the duty of all Christian
nations and people to exert themselves in every possible and reasonable
way to send this glorious light of revelation to all the nations of mankind
who have not yet received it; and while they continue to use that prayer
which Jesus Christ has mercifully taught them, in which is contained this
petition, Thy kingdom come, they should keep a constant eye on the
condition of the heathen, and labor to send them that gospel so essential to
their peace, their comfort, and their happiness.
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature: he that
believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall he
damned. <411616>Mark 16:16.
And I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting
Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth; and to every nation, and
kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and
Give Glory to Him. <661406>Revelation 14:6, 7.
III. DIRECTIONS FOR PROFITABLY READING THE
WORD OF GOD
Having thus laid down at large the principles of the Christian religion, and
the reasons on which they are founded, and given a general view of that
divine revelation from which they are extracted, it may be necessary to give
a few directions to those who seriously ask the question, How may we
profit most, and grow wise unto salvation, by reading the sacred writings? I
1. Deeply consider that it is your duty and interest to read the Holy
2. When you read, consider that it is Gods Word which you read; and
that his faithfulness is pledged to fulfill both its promises and
3. Read the whole Bible, and read it in order; two chapters in the Old
Testament and one in the New, daily if you can possibly spare the time;
and you will have more time than you are aware of; if you retrench all
needless visits, and save the hours spent in useless or unimportant
4. Think that the eye of God is upon you while you are reading his
word: and read and hear it with that reverence with which you would
hear God speak, were he to address you as he did the prophets and
people of old; for, be assured, that he considers it as much his word
now as he did when he first spoke it.
5. Remember that the word of God is not sent to particular persons, as
if by name; and do not think you have no part in it, because you are not
named there. It is not thus sent: it is addressed to particular characters;
to saints, sinners, the worldly minded, the proud, the unclean, the
dishonest, the unfaithful, liars, Sabbath-breakers, the penitent, the
tempted, the persecuted, the afflicted, &.c., &c.
6. Therefore examine your own state, and see to which of these
characters you belong, and then apply the word spoken to the character
in question to yourself; for it is as surely spoken to you as if your name
were found printed in the Bible, and placed there by divine inspiration
7. When, in the course of such reading, you meet with a threatening,
and know from your own state that this awful word is spoken against
you, stop, and implore God, for the sake of the sufferings and death of
His Son, to pardon the sin that exposes you to the punishment
8. In like manner, when you meet with a promise made to the penitent,
tempted, afflicted, &c., having found out your own case, stop, and
implore God to fulfill that promise.
9. Should you find, on self-examination, that the threatening has been
averted by your having turned to God; that the promise has been
fulfilled, through your faith in Christ; stop here also, and return God
thanks for having saved you from such sore evils, and brought you into
such a glorious state of salvation. Thus you will constantly find matter
in reading the book of God to excite to repentance, to exercise faith, to
produce confidence and consolation, and to beget gratitude; and
gratitude will never fail to beget obedience. He who reads the Bible in
this way must infallibly profit by it.
10. It is always useful to read a portion of the Scriptures before prayer,
whether performed in the family or in the closet. In doing this, mark
some particular passages, that they may become a subject for your
petitions; by attending to this, all formality and sameness in this sacred
duty will be prevented; and you will have an abundance of materials for
petitions, supplications, thanksgiving, &c. And thus your prayers will
never be tedious, unsatisfactory, or unedifying, either to yourself or to
11. Remember that in reading, you keep the eye of your mind steadily
fixed upon Him who is the end of the law, and the sum of the gospel;
for even the Holy Scriptures can make you wise unto salvation only
through faith in Christ Jesus. <550315>2 Timothy 3:15.
12. Let the Scriptures, therefore, lead you to that Holy Spirit by which
they were inspired: let that Spirit lead you to Jesus Christ, who has
ransomed you by his death. And let this Christ lead you to the Father,
that he may adopt you into the family of [God. FINIS.]