W. C. (William Cooke) Taylor.

Outlines of sacred history : from the creation of the world to the destruction of Jerusalem online

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ST. martin's lane.


The design of tliis little work be so manifest,
on a slight inspection, that it scarcely needs a formal
Preface. It has been the Author's endeavour to
supply a summary of Sacred History, which might
be used either as a class-book in schools, or for
reading in private families ; which would suit the
wants and wishes of youth, without being unworthy
the notice of persons of maturer age. Many such
works have been already published, but none on the
plan which experience and meditation hare induced
the Author to adopt in the present volume; he has
confined himself simjjly to the narration of the facts
in that great scheme of Providence which unites the
history of Man's creation with that of his redemp-
tion, and has left to others the task of stating the
doctrines of which these facts form the foundation.

There is something irresistibly attractive in the
contemplation of those wondrous manifestations of
Divine wisdom, and power, and goodness, which
show how, through a long series of ages, the moral
government of the world directly tended to prejjare
the way for the jNIessiah.


Wheu the youthful mind has clearly apprehended
the purj)ose of the Old Testament, and has learned
that not only the law, but also the history of those
who lived under the law, directly lead him to
Christ ; when he discovers that in the Son of God
both Testaments find their completion, — the Old
proclaiming his future advent, the New detailing
the blessings with which that advent, was fraught,
— he will look to the study of the Bible not as a
task, but a pleasure; because he will be stimulated
to search for the traces of God's plan, and he has a
clue to guide him to the discovery.

The Ninth Edition has been revised and corrected
throughout: several incidents have been inserted,
which had been omitted in the former Editions, and
the whole work, it is hoped, has been rendered still
more useful to those for whose instruction it was


The Creation . . . , .9

I'aradise and the Fall . . . .14

The Death of Abel . . . . .16

The World before the Flood , . .18

The Deluge . . . . . .20

Division of the Earth between the Sons of Noah. — Confusion

of Languages . . . .23

The Call of Abraham . . . . .25

God's Covenant with Abraham . . .28

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah . . .30

The Birth of Isaac. — The Banishment of Hagar and Ishmael 32

Abraham's Faith. — Death of Sarah. — Marriage of Isaac. — Death

of Abraham . . . . .35

The Life of Isaac . . . . .38

The Life of Jacob, or Israel . . . .41

The History of Joseph . . . .47

Bondage of the Israelites in Egypt. — Birth and Education of

Moses ..... 54

The Ten Plagues of Egypt.— The Passage of the Red Sea . 58
The Wandering in the Desert- — The Encampment at Mount

Sinai . . . . .63

The Golden Calf.— The ^^'andering in the Desert . . 66

The Conquest of Canaan . . . .75

Israel under the Judges . . . .79

The History of Samson and of Ruth . . .87

The Lives of Samuel and of Saul . . .91

The Life of David . . . .99

The Life of Solomon ..... 105

The Revolt of the Ten Tribes.— The History of the Kings of

Israel . . . .110

The Kingdom of Judah, to the First Conquest of Jerusalem . 123
The Desiruction of the Kingdom of Judah, and Capture of Jeru-
salem by Nebuchadnezzar . . . 136
The Babylonish Captivity .... 141


The Rebuilding of tlie Temple autl City of Jerusalem . 155

The Poetical Books of the Old Testament . . 3 62

The Four Greater Prophets .... 166
The History of Jonah . . . .170

The Minor Prophets . . . .172

History of the Jewish People, from the Death of Xehemiah to

the "Wars of the Maccabees . . . 176

The Maccabees . - . .186

The Asmodean Princes. — Capture of Jerusalem by the Romans 193
Political and Social Condition of the Jews at the Coming of

Christ . . . . .198

The Birth of Christ . . . . .205

The Preaching of John the Baptist . . . 208

Christ's Baptism and Temptation . , .211

The Life of Christ . . . .314

The Miracles of Christ .... 222

The Prophecies of Christ . . .229

The Parables of Christ . . . .231

TheSufferingsof Christ.— Passion Week . . 237

Chi-ist's Trials before the Sanhedrim and the Roman Governor 245
The Crucifixion ..... 252

The Burial of Christ . . . .257

The Resurrection . . . . .259

The Ascension of Christ . . . .263

The Descent of the Holy Ghost . . .265

The Martyrdom of St. Stephen . . .269

The Conversion of St. Paul . . . .272

The Conversion of the Gentiles. — The Council of Jerusalem 275
The Travels of St. Paul . . . .279

The History of the Apostles . . . 286

The Destruction of Jerusalem .... 292

Chronological Index of Events . ' . . 301

Index to the Gospel History .... 309
Questions for Examination . . . 311




Chapter I.

God called these worlds from uiglit,
" Ye sliades, dispel," the Eternal said ;
At once the involving darkness fled.

And nature sprang to light. Ogilvie.

A.M. 1....B.C. 4001.

" Ix the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth." The Great Creator himself never had a begin-
ning. He is from everlasting to everlasting, self-existent
^nd imcreate. But there was a time when the universe
^vhlc•h we see around us, filled with beauty, and order,
■and life, had no existence ; when there was nothing but
void and empty space Avhere there are now myriads of
worlds. It was by the word of the Almighty that the
globe which we inhabit, and the other orbs which we
behold pursuing their course through the heavens, were
called into being. "He spake the word, and it was done :
he commanded, and they stood fast." It pleased tlie
Author of all wisdom to divide the time employed in the
work of creation into six days, in each of which distinct
acts of creative power were displayed. In its first state,
"the earth was without form, and void," and darkntss


was upon the face of the great deep. And then the
Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters ; and
by an exertion of the divine power, such as we can
neither explain nor comprehend, the confused mass was
shaped into order and beauty.

"And God said, Let tliere be h'ght, and there was
light." That mysterious substance which pervades the
universe, and enables us to perceive the glories of crea-
tion, was thus summoned into existence ;

And at the voice

Of God, as witli a mantle, did invest

1'he rising world of waters dark and deep,

"Won from the void and formless infinite. Milton.

The separation of the fluids of the air from those
that covered the surface of the earth, was the work of
the second day. God created a firmament, or expanse,
in the midst of the waters, dividing those above from
those beneath the air. This firmament or expanse was
named " Heaven."

On the third day, the separation between land and
water was made. At the divine command, the waters
flowed together into their appointed places, and "the
dry land appeared." "And God called the dry land
Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called
he Seas."

Thus far creation had been limited to Hfeless matter;
but, after the globe had been thus prepared, God created
that mj^sterious power which we call Life. At his com-
mand, the earth produced all the countless varieties of
the vegetable world: the lofty trees of the forest, the
beauteous shrubs, the flowers of the field, and all the
herbs and grasses that cover the ground with verdure.
To these varied tribes were given fruitful powers of
increasing their species, and of producing successors to


flourish in their place; when, after liavinj^- fulfilled their
appointed uses, they themselves yield to decay.

On the fourth day, the sun was appointed to give light
to the earth, as it revolved on its axis ; and the moon
was given as an attendant satellite, to supply the place
of the greater luminary when hidden from sight. At the
same time those beautiful bodies that spangle the canopy
of night were made to appear in the sky, " when all
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God
shouted for joy." Besides suppl^'ing heat and light,
the great luminaries served other purposes scarcely less
important. They were " for signs, and for seasons, and
for days, and for years ;" that is, they were designed to
afford the means of measuring time. The revolution
of the eai-th on its axis determined the length of a day;
the entire course of the earth round the sun marked the
year ; and a month was measured by the time in which
the moon completed its course round the earth.

Light, and Life, and INIotion, those wonders, to explain
which, even impei-fectly, has strained the utmost powers
of human reason, had thus been created by the all- wise
jNIaker of the universe. The next act of Almighty power
produced a mystery still more wonderful ; beings that
not only lived, but felt, whose motion depended not
merely on impulse, but choice, filled the air and the
water. Fishes swam through the ocean, birds flew
tlirough the sky, and to each was assigned such a share
of intelligence as suited their rank in the scale of crea-

Air and water had their inliabitants ; the land still
remained untenanted. But on the sixth day God gave
the word, and the various tribes of beasts, from the
immense elephant to the diminutive mouse ; from the
lordly lion to the timid hare ; occupied their several


habitations in mountain and valley. To all these classes
of the animal creation, the same blessing and command
were given, " Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish
the earth."

Lastly, God, in his wisdom, resolved to create a bein
that should have mastery and dominion over the other
creatures of his hand. " And God said. Let us make
man in our image, after our likeness;" that is, innocent,
upright, and happy, with powers of understanding and
will*. And God, having formed this new creature,
*' breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man
became a living soul."

The reasoning power of man would have been com-
paratively useless without the faculty of speech ; with
this faculty Adam, for thus was the first man named,
was invested ; and, when all the animals were brought
before him, he was able to give them names. Man
could no more have taught himself language, than he
could have invented the organs of speech. To his great
Creator he owes not only the faculty of reasoning, but
the means of exercising it; and it is gross ingratitude to
pervert either to purposes inconsistent with the will of
the Almighty Giver. God also gave man a companion,
formed miraculously from his own substance, and she
was named Eve, a word signifying life^ for she was to
be the mother of all living.

And God surve3'ed all the works of his creation, and
pronounced them to be all very good.

And on the seventh da}'- God ceased from the works
of creation, and sanctified that day as a Sabbath, or day
of rest, to be kept holy in grateful remembrance of Him
who had bestowed such blessings on the universe that
he had made.

* Bishop Tomline.


The worlds which tlie Great Creator tlius called into
being still bear testimony to his wisdom, his power, and
Jiis goodness : " their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their voices into the ends of the world."

The spacious firmament on high,

With all the bhie ethereal sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame,

Their gi-eat Original proclaim.

The unwearied sun, from day to day.

Does his Creator's power display;

And publishes to every land,

The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail.
The moon takes up the wondrous tale;
And nightly, to the listening earth,
Repeats the story of l)er birth :
"While all the stars that round her burn.
And all the planets in dieir turn.
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from ]Jole to pole.

What though, in solemn silence, all

Move round this dark terrestrial ball ;

What though no real voice nor sound

Amidst their radiant orbs be found ;

In reason's ear they all rejoice.

And utter forth a glorious voice :

For ever singing as they shine,

" The hand that made us is divine," Addison..


Chapter II.

Man disobeying,

Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sins

Against the high supremacy of Heaven,

Affecting Godhead ; and so losing all,

To expiate his treason hath nought left ;

But, to destruction sacred and devote,

He, with his whole posterity, must die. Milton.

A.M. 1.... B.C. 4004.

Our first parents were placed by their beneficent
Creator in a paradise or garden, named Eden, abounding
in everything that could contribute to their pleasures,
and affording every innocent gratification of the senses.
We are not told what was the exact condition of Adam
and Eve in this state of innocence and happiness; but
we leavn indirectly that they were not subject to death,
and that their personal communications with God were
frequent and familiar. As a test and sign of their obe-
dience, they were commanded not to eat of the tree of
Jcnowledge, which grew in the midst of the garden; and
the penalty of death was denounced against the trans-
gression : a death consisting not merely in the separation
of the soul from the body, but including also banishment
for ever from the presence of God, the Author and
Source of spiritual life.

During what length of time Adam and Eve continued
to observe the divine prohibition, we are not informed ;
but we learn that the Devil, the great adversary of souls,
disguising himself under the fonn of a serpent, tempted
Eve to disobey, and that she was fatally deceived by his
delusions. She listened to his false promises; and, in


direct opposition to God's express command, slie ate of
tlie forbidden fruit, and prevailed on her husband to
participate in the crime. But scarcely had it been
committed, when its effects began to appear; they disco-
vered that they were naked, and hid themselves through
shame. Thus it ^vas that shame, the ordinary com-
panion of guilt, became joined to the fii'st crime ever

The delight which our first parents formerly felt in
their direct intercourse with their beneficent Creator
had now ceased ; they concealed themselves when they
perceived the signs whicli announced his presence; and,
instead of hastening to acknowledge his wondrous conde-
scension, waited until the summons of the Lord brought
to light the true cause of their impious delay. But one
sin led them to another ; and, by a ready lie, Adam
endeavoured to excuse his concealment, declaring that it
was caused through shame of his nakedness. Yet this
very excuse was conclusive evidence of his guilt. To
the question, "Who told thee that thou wast naked?"
he could make no answer, but stood silent and self-
convicted. When directly charged with the crime,
Adam threw all the blame on liis wife ; and she, in
her vindication, attributed it to the craft of the serpent.
Excuses such as these only increased their guilt ; the
awful sentence of condemnation was pronounced, the
earth itself was cursed for their sake ; and our first
parents were driven from Eden, while a flaming sword
was placed at his gate, to prevent all possibility of their

Thus sin came into the world, and death by sin ; but
even in the midst of his righteous judgment God remem-
bered mercy, and promised a Redeemer, who should
atone for Adam's transgression, and avert the penal


consequences of the falL This gracious promise was
announced in the well-known words, " The seed of
the woman shall bruise the serpent's head :" a prophecy
fulfilled after the lapse of four thousand years, when
Christ, the seed of the woman, bruised the serpent's
head, by overcoming death, and opening unto us the
gate of everlasting life. For, " as in Adam all die, even
so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Chapter III.

The unjust the just hath slain,

For envy that his brother's offering found
From Heaven acceptance ; but the bloody fact
Will be avenged. Miltox.

From A.M. 1 B.C. 4003; to A.M. 930.... B.C. 3074.

When God had driven Adam and Eve from Paradise,
he did not leave them destitute, but taught them how
to make coverings for their persons, and probably such
other arts as were most necessary to their welfare^
Soon after the fall. Eve brought into the world the-
first-born of mankind ; and she named the boy Cain,
which signifies a gift^ because he had been given to hev
by the Lord. Soon after, she bore a second son, who
was named Abel, which signifies short continuance^ and
lias, probably, a prophetic reference to his early deaths
As the sons of Adam grew up, they adopted different
employments for their support. Abel was a keeper of
sheep ; but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Their tem~
pers were as different as their occupations : Abel was.


meek, liumLle, and pious ; Cain was haughty, envious,
and revengeful. "When they appeared to offer their cus-
tomary sacrifices before the Lord, Abel by faith offered
an acceptable sacrifice, and God's favour was made mani-
fest by some sensible sign ; but Cain's offering was not
respected. Filled with jealous rage at the favour thus
shown to his younger brother, Cain, instead of endea-
vouring to obtain similar grace by repentance, added a
fresh crime to his former guilt: he rose up against his
innocent brother, and slew him.

The Lord from heaven sees the crimes that escape
every human eye. Scarcely had the murderer perpe-
trated the atrocious deed, when God demanded of him,
"Where is Abel, thy brother?" He answered, with
falsehood and evasion, "I know not; am I my brother's
keeper?" The Almighty then denounced his guilt, and
declared its punishment ; while the conscience-stricken
Cain exclaimed in the anguish of his soul, " j\Iy punish-
ment is greater than I can bear." He then removed
from the land where his father dwelt, and became a
wanderer and an exile.

To console Adam for the loss of Abel, God gave him
another son, who was named Seth, which signifies placed
or siibstituted, because he came in the room of his mur-
dered brother.

Adam outlived tlie fall many years, and had several
other children whose names are not recorded. He died
at the advanced age of nine hundred and thirt}', — a
length of life which only three of his posterity exceeded r
Jared, who lived to the age of nine hundred and sixty-
two ; Methuselah, who reached his nine hundred and
seventieth year; and Noah, who attained the age of
nine hundred and fiftv.


Chapter IV. '


Crime reigns triumphant in the guilty land ;

Lust fires the heart, and murder arms the hand ;

Polluting Vice no longer dreads display,

But hares her horrors in the face of day ;

They mock the warning voice, the threatening sign,

And dare the terrors of the wrath divine. AxoTf.

From A.M. 930 B.C. 3074; to A.M. 1656 B.C. 2348.

The descendants of Cain were distinguished for their
progress in the arts of civilized life. Jabal was the first
who taught men to live in tents and feed herds of cattle ;
Jubal invented musical instruments; and Tubal-Cain
discovered the art of working in metals. But though
they thus advanced in civilization, they neglected true
religion altogether : they lived '•' without God in the
world," and were generally called " the sons of men."

The descendants of Seth were a people probably less
distinguished in the arts and sciences than the posterity
of Cain ; but tliey possessed the best of all knowledge,
— a knowledge of their duty to their Creator ; and they
seem to have been named, from their piety, " the sons
of God." Among the descendants of Seth, Enoch was
pre-eminently distinguished for his righteousness and
devotedness to God ; and in reward for his piety, he was
translated to heaven without suffering the pains of death.
In the progress of time, the descendants of Seth and
Cain appear to have intennarried, and the allurements
of the Cainites seemed to have gradually changed the
principles and practice of the pious race." The progress
of this corruption was probably rapid ; for, immediately


after tlie account of its commencement, we are informed,
'* God saw that tlie wickedness of man was great in the
earth : and that every imagination of the thoughts of his
heart was only evil continually."

But the true faith was preserved in one family, — a
family that maintained its purity in the midst of sur-
rounding corruption. A son was bom to the patriarch
Lamech, whom he named Noah, a word signifying
comfort; for he prophetically anticipated that his son
would be a source of comfort, when the consequences
of the curse pronounced upon the earth should be fully
developed. During at least a hundred years, God's
warnings through Noah were disregarded ; but at lengih
the measure of the world's iniquity was full. "And
God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt :
for all flesh had corrupted his way upon earth." Noah,
however, was a "just man, and perfect in his generation ;
and Noah walked with God." The offended Lord of
heaven and earth determined to inflict exemplary pun-
ishment on mankind for their wickedness, and to destroy
the race of men by a flood ; but he resolved to spare
Noah and his family, and directed the patriarch to build
an ark, or ship, sufficiently large to contain himself, his
children, and their respective families, together with the
various birds and beasts, which might stock the earth
asrain with livins: creatures.

Chapter V.

Meanwhile the south -wind rose, and, with black wings
Wide-hoverin'JT, all the clouds together drove
From under Heaven ; the hills to their supply,
Vapour and exhalation, dust and moist.
Sent up amain : and now the thickened sky
Like a dark ceiling stood ; down rushed the rain
Impetuous; and continued till the earth
No more was seen. Milton.

A.M. 1656.... B.C. 2348.

Noah was six hundred years old when the ark was
completed. As soon as the vessel was finished, he col-
lected ample stores of provisions, and received into it
the animals that he had been directed to take with him.
With Noah went his wife, his three sons, and their
wives, eight persons in all ; and when they had entered,
*' the Lord shut them in." Immediately after the
deluge began ; " the fountains of the great deep were


broken up, and the Avindows of heaven were opened."
We know but little of the hiternal structure of the globe,
and cannot tell whence the mass of water necessary to
cover the whole earth was derived. Hoio the deluge
was caused we may guess, but cannot state with cer-
tainty; yet there is no fact in the history of mankind of
which we have more decisive evidence, than this awful
occun-ence. Not only is it recorded by the inspired
writers, but ancient profane historians speak of it as an
€vent well known : and the popular legends of almost
every nation, both in the Old and New World, nay, tlie
traditions of the recently discovered islands in the Pa-
cific Ocean, — preserve the memory of this wide-wasting
destruction. Natural History lends powerful aid to
strengthen these proofs: traces of a time when their
summits were beneath the water are to be discovered
on the tops of the loftiest hills and the highest moun-
tains; andthe bones of animals, now confined to tropical
regions, have been found in caverns, both in England
and in various parts of the European continent.

For forty days and forty nights it rained incessantly,
and the whole earth became one wide waste of waters,
and the tops of the highest mountains were covered,
" And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both
of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping
tiling that creepeth on the earth, and every man; Noah
only remained alive, and they that were with him in
the ark."

The flood prevailed over the earth during forty days ;
after which, God sent a wind to pass over it, and the

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Online LibraryW. C. (William Cooke) TaylorOutlines of sacred history : from the creation of the world to the destruction of Jerusalem → online text (page 1 of 22)