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Basic Bible Information


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


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.


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.


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.


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

was written.


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.


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.


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

of Jehovah.

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.


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.


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



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.


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

through inattention.



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.



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

great letters.

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.


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.


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

Peter 3:18.

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.

<230820>Isaiah 8:20.

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;

<430539>John 5:39.

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.



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.]