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have treated his wife and son with such severity, if there was not some mystery concealed under it?
Though tradition did not discover to us the meaning of the same patriarch'saction in offering up Isaac, would not reason alone, I mean in a man enlightened with faith, suffice to make us discern in it the charity of our heavenly Father, who had so great å love for mankind, as to give his only Son for them?
Can we tell the children the history of the brazen serpent fixed and hung upon a cross in the widerness as a remedy for the Israelites, who had been bitten by the fiery serpents, without explaining to them at the same tiine, of whoin this serpent was the type ?
Should we rightlyunderstand the admirable history of Jonah, if we limited it only to the letter, and did not discern the resurrection of Christ restored to life again from tlre grave on the third day, and the speedy and miracnlous conversion of the Gentiles, which was the fruit of our Saviour's death and resurrection?
And the same may be observed in many other pas. sages in Sacred History, which are not understood if not fully comprehended. We should study it as Jews, and not as Christians, if we did not remove the veil that covers it, and were content with the surface, which, though rich indeed and valuable, conceals other riches of a far more inestimable value.
These types or figures should be explained to youth more or less fully in proportion to their years, taking care to dwell especially upon such as are explained in the New. Testament, the meaning of which camot possibly be mistaben; however, a choice should be made of the clearest of these, and such as are best suited to the age of the pupil. There are some however so plain and evident in themselves, though not explained in the New Testament, that we cannot possibly doubt their signification, as the history of Jo: seph, and several others of the like nature.
USEFUL OBSERVATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF SA
THE first care to be taken in the study of history in general, is to throw it into such order and method as to be able clearly to distinguish facts, persons, times, and places ; and to this end chronology and geography may contribute, which have been deservedly called the two eyes of history, as they give a great addition of light to it, and remove all kind of confusion.
When I recommend the study of chronology, I am far from inclining to engage you in the examination of those difficult and knotty questions, of which it is very susceptible, and of which the discussion properly belongs only to the learned, It is sufficient, if they have a clear and distinct idea, not of the precise year of every particular fact, for that would be endless and extremely troublesome, but in general of the age wherein the most considerable events fell out.
Sacred History, from the creation of the world to the birth of Jesus Christ, is usually divided into six ages or parts, which in all take in the space of four thousand years. This division is not difficult to be retained, nor above the comprehension of children. The number of years in each of these ages is next to be observed, avoiding, as much as possible, the fractions or small numbers, and reducing them to a round som. Thus the fourth age, which reaches from the departure out of Egypt to the time when the foundations of the temple were laid, exactly computed, includes but four hundred and seventy-nine years and seventeen days. But it is better to tell youth, that it amounts to about four hundred and eighty years. This space may be again divided into different parts, but we must not multiply them too much; into forty years, which the
people passed in the wilderness under the conduct of Moses; three hundred and fifty from their entrance into the Holy Land under the direction of Joshua and the judges; forty years under Saul, forty more under David, and some years of the reign of Solomon. Such a division is not very burdensome to the memory, and in my opinion makes the knowledge of facts much more clear and easy.
Among the writers of chronology, Usher and Petavius are the most followed. Either the one or the other of these great men may be chosen for a guide ; but in the same college it will be proper to keep to one and the same in every class.
As there are some facts in Sacred History differently related by the several authors who have treated of them, it is the master's business to unite and reconcile these differences, by chusing out of each book such circumstances as are most instructive and affecting. When they come to the times of the prophets, their writings give a great light to the historical books, that omit several considerable facts, or often but slightly touch upon them; of which we shall give some examples in the sequel.
There has been lately printed a book, entitled, An Abridgment of the history of the Old Testament, which may be very useful not only to youth, but to all persons, who have not leisure or capacity enough for studying the Sacred History in the scripture itself. Whatever is most essential in Sacred History is thrown into this abridgment. That simplicity of style is diligently observed, which is so peculiar to it. In the historical relations care is also taken to intermix certain words of scripture, which convey great sense, and suggest matter for important reflections. Lastly, to render this work more complete and useful, it concludes with an extract from the sapiental and prophetical books. It were to be wished, we had the like assistance for profane history.
II. In the studying of Sacred History we must not
III. It is proper to make youth take notice of the
It is this last circumstance which in my opinion lets
derwent in Egypt; nor the joy and gratitude for a
It is God himself, who declares to us in his pro-
To what end indeed was the choice of a people so obstinate and ungrateful? Why so many favours conferred upon Israel, preferably to so many other nations, in all outward appearance better than they? Why so constant an attachment to this people, notwithstanding so fixed a perseverance in ingratitude ? Why «ere they made to pass through so many various
[t] Ezek. xx.