Bible History for the Use of Catholic Schools - R. Gilmour


Age I:
From Adam to Abraham

Containing 2083 Years.

1.—The Creation of the World.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was void and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. Then God said: "Let there be light!" and light was made. This was the work of the first day.

2. On the second day was created the firmament with all its expansive beauty.

On the third day God gathered together the waters into one place, and commanded the dry land to appear; the waters He called sea, and the dry land earth. Thus were formed the fountains, the streams, and the rivers.

3. Then God commanded the earth to bring forth plants, and green trees, and flowers of many various forms and different colors.

On the fourth day were made the great lights that shine in the heavens: the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the fifth day the fish that are in the waters, and the birds that are in the air were created.

4. The sixth day God created all manner of living creatures that are upon the earth, each in its kind.

At last He said: "Let us make man to our own image and likeness, and let him have dominion over the whole earth." So God formed man out of the slime of the earth, and breathed into him an immortal soul, and called him Adam; that is, taken from the earth. God saw all the things that He had made, and they were good. So He rested on the seventh day, and blessed it.

5. As God created man on the sixth day of creation, so on Good Friday, the sixth day of Holy Week, He redeemed him. And as the body of the first Adam was formed from the earth whilst it was yet pure and blessed, so was Jesus Christ, the second Adam, born of Mary, a virgin, pure and without original sin.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 1.—What was done in the beginning? How was the earth created? What did God create on the first day? What on the second? What on the third? What were the waters called? What did the earth bring forth? What was created on the fourth day? On the fifth? And sixth? Why did God call the first man Adam, What did God do on the seventh day?

2.—Happiness of Adam and Eve in Paradise.

1. The heavens and the earth being finished, God planted a garden, a terrestrial paradise, in which were all manner of trees and precious fruits. In the midst thereof He placed two trees, one the tree of life, the other the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God then told Adam he might eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden, but "of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he should not eat; fist on the day he would eat, he should surely die."

2. Then God brought before Adam all the beasts of the earth, that he might give to each its name. But for Adam there was not found a companion like to himself. And God said: "It is not good for man to be alone; let us make a help-mate like unto himself." So God cast a deep sleep upon Adam, and from his side took a rib, which He formed into a woman. When Adam awoke, God brought the woman to him, and he called her Eve; that is, the mother of all the living.

3. Whilst Adam and Eve were in Paradise, God treated them as a father does his children, and they were happy; at the same time the tree of life preserved them from sickness and death.—The tree of life was a figure of the Sacrament of the Altar, of which it is written: "He who is fed by it shall live forever."

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 2.—What was placed in paradise? What are the names of the trees? What was to happen if Adam eat the fruit? What were brought before Adam? What was not found? Of what was the woman formed? What does Eve mean? What is said of Paradise? And of the tree of life?

3.—The Angels and the Fall of our First Parents.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. Besides the visible, God also created an invisible world, namely His angels. At first they were good and perfectly happy; but in time some became dazzled with their own perfections, and, yielding to pride, revolted against God. Michael, and the other angels that remained faithful, fought against them, vanquished and overthrew them, together with their leader, Lucifer, who is also called Satan.

2. But Satan, fallen and lost, began to contrast his misery with man's happiness, and, raging with anger and envy, resolved to seduce man from his obedience to God. For this end he made use of the serpent.

3. One day, while Eve was looking at the forbidden tree, the serpent, coming near, asked her why she did not eat of its fruit. Eve answered, God had forbidden them to touch it, lest they should die. But the serpent artfully replied, they would not die; on the contrary, their eyes would be opened, and they would be as gods, knowing good and evil. Eve looked again upon the tree; her curiosity was excited: the more she looked, the more the forbidden fruit appeared enticing. At length she stretched forth her hand, plucked the fruit, eat and gave to Adam, who also eat. This was their first sin.

4. Immediately their eyes were opened, but far otherwise than they had expected. Covered with shame, they sewed together fig-leaves and made garments for themselves, and, trembling, hid among the trees.

5. From one tree came ruin: from another, the tree of the cross, came redemption and victory over sin and the devil.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 3.—What was created? At first, what were they? How did they fall? What is said of Satan? How did he tempt Eve? Did he succeed? What happened to Adam and Eve? What is said of the tree and the cross?

4.—The Punishment of Sin and the Promise of a Redeemer.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. In the evening God came into the garden and called Adam, who, trembling with fear, approached and acknowledged that he had eaten the forbidden fruit, but threw the blame on the woman. She, in turn, blamed the serpent.

2. Then God cursed the serpent, condemning him to crawl upon the ground and to eat dust all the days of his life: besides, He said, enmity should exist between the serpent and the woman, but in the end the woman would crush his head.

3. Then God told the woman she should bring forth her children in sorrow, and, for her disobedience, be subject to her husband. To the man He said: "Cursed is the earth in thy work: thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and in the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread, until thou return to the earth from whence thou earnest: for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return."

4. Then God made garments of skins, and clothing Adam And Eve in them, drove them out of Paradise. At the entrance of the garden angels, with a fiery sword, were placed to guard against their return.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 4.—Who called Adam? What was said? What curse did God pronounce on the serpent? What curse did God pronounce on Eve? On Adam? Of what did God make clothing? What happened to Adam and Eve? What was placed at the gate of Paradise?

5.—Cain and Abel.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. Adam and Eve had many children; of these, the eldest were Cain and his brother Abel. Cain was a husbandman, and wicked; but Abel, a shepherd, was just and good. Both offered sacrifice to God—Abel, a lamb; Cain, of the fruits of the earth. God, who knew the secrets of their hearts, looked with favor on the sacrifice of Abel, but turned away His face from the sacrifice of Cain.

2. When Cain saw this, his mind was filled with anger and jealousy against his brother. His countenance fell; and though God chid him in kindness, telling him if he did well he would be rewarded equally with Abel, yet Cain would not be appeased.

3. So, nourishing his anger and giving way to his spite, Cain one day asked Abel to go with him into the fields. There he rose up against his brother and slew him. As soon as the blood of the innocent Abel stained the ground, God cried out to Cain: "Where is thy brother?" but Cain, hardened in his crime, answered he did not know, nor was he his brother's keeper.

4. But God, from whom nothing can be hid, told Cain that Abel's blood cried to Him for vengeance, and, because he had dared to touch his brother, he should be a fugitive and a vagabond on the face of the earth. When Cain heard this sentence of God, he gave way to despair, saying: "My sin is too great to be pardoned." So God set a mark upon him, and he went forth, a wanderer and a fugitive upon the face of the earth.

5. The murdered Abel is a figure of Jesus Christ, while Cain is a figure of the traitor Judas and the Jewish people, who put our Saviour to death.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 5.—What is said of Cain and Abel? What were their sacrifices? How did God receive them? How did Cain act? How did he answer God? What was Cain's sentence? What is said of Abel and Christ? Of Cain and Judas?

6.—The Deluge.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. The descendants of Adam were divided into two classes—the good and the bad. To console Adam for the death of Abel, God gave him the pious Seth. Seth's posterity were known as the children of God, while the descendants of Cain were very wicked.

2. By degrees mankind became corrupt, Noah alone remaining just. God bade Noah build an Ark, for in a hundred years He would destroy by a deluge every living creature on the face of the earth. The following are the dimensions and construction of the Ark: its length, three hundred cubits; its breadth, fifty; and its height, thirty cubits. In the upper part was a window, and in the side a door.

3. For a hundred years Noah labored on the construction of the Ark. During this time he preached penance to the wicked, and warned them of the evils that were to come; but they heeded him not. Then God commanded him to go into the Ark and to take with him his wife, and his three sons and their wives; moreover to take with him of every animal two of a sort, and food sufficient.

4. After seven days the deluge came. The fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the floodgates of heaven were opened, but the Ark floated peacefully upon the waters. Overwhelmed with despair, men began to climb the trees, and in vain to ascend the hills. The waters continued to increase, until they had risen fifteen cubits above the tops of the highest mountains.

5. Thus perished every living thing that then moved upon the earth: from man to the beasts of the earth; from the birds in the air to the reptiles on the ground. Noah and all that were in the Ark alone remained.

Noah is a figure of Jesus Christ, as the Ark is a figure of the Catholic Church.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 6.—How were men divided? Who descended from Seth? Who from Cain? Who alone remained just? What did roe build? How long was he building the Ark? Who went into the Ark? When did the deluge come? What is said of the Ark? What of men? What perished?

7.—The Sacrifice of Noah.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. When the waters had covered the earth for a hundred and fifty days, God remembered Noah and sent a warm wind, that by degrees abated the waters. Soon the mountains began to appear, and in the seventh month the Ark rested on the top of Mount Ararat, in Armenia.

2. Noah, eager to learn if the waters had subsided, opened the window of the Ark and sent forth a raven, which did not return; then he sent forth a dove, which, not finding where her foot might rest, returned to the Ark. After seven days, Noah again sent forth the dove, which returned in the evening, carrying in its beak an olive branch. By this, Noah knew that the waters were abated upon the earth. At the command of God, Noah and his wife, and his sons and his sons' wives, and every living creature that was with them, went forth from the Ark, after having been shut up in it for a whole year.

3. Filled with gratitude, Noah built an altar, and, taking of the animals that were pure, offered sacrifice to the Lord. God was pleased with him for this, and set His rainbow in the heavens. Then God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Behold, I will establish my covenant with you and with your posterity. There shall be no more a deluge to destroy all flesh. While the earth exists, seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease. And the arc that I have placed in the clouds shall be the sign of my covenant with you."

4. The impenitent sinner is like the raven that returned not to the Ark, while the dove is like the faithful soul that finds its rest only in Jesus Christ and His Church.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 7.—How long did the deluge continue? Where did the Ark rest? How did Noah know the waters were gone? How long was Noah in the Ark? What did Noah offer? What covenant did God make? What is said of the raven and the dove?

8.—The Sons of Noah.

[Illustration] from Bible History for Catholics by R. Gilmour

1. Noah had three sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Together with them he tilled the ground and planted the vine. When the vintage came, not knowing the strength of wine, he drank too freely, and, becoming drunk, lay in his tent. Ham, finding him in this condition, laughed, and, going, told his brothers what he had seen.

2. But they, filled with reverence, and moved with filial love, took a cloak, and, putting it upon their shoulders, turned away their eyes, and, going backward, covered their father. When Noah awoke, and learned what had taken place, he cursed Ham, in his descendants, but blessed Shem and Japheth.

The Tower of Babel

3. Soon the descendants of Noah began so to multiply that they could no longer dwell together in the same place. In their pride, before separating, they resolved to build a city and a tower that would reach to heaven. But God easily confounded them in their foolish project. On a sudden their language was confused, and they could not understand one another. Before this there had been but one language; but now there were many. The city and the tower were abandoned, and the people dispersed.

4. The posterity of Shem was spread over the greater part of Asia. From him are descended the Israelites, the chosen people of God. The descendants of Ham went to Africa, while the children of Japheth passed over to Europe.

5. The pride of Babel led to the confusion of languages; while, on Pentecost, the humility of the apostles led to their union.

QUESTIONS TO CHAPTER 8.—What is said of Noah's sons? What happened to Noah? What did Ham do? What did Shem and Japheth do? What did Noah do? What is said of the Tower of Babel? What did God do? What was confused? Where did the people go? Where did the descendants of Shem go? Who are descended from Shem? Who are descended from Ham? And who from Japheth? What is said of Babel and Pentecost?

What the Bible Tells Us About the Early History of Mankind

This first age of the world comprises creation and the early history of mankind. The record in the Bible of these many, many centuries is very brief. It gives us only some of the traditions about these times that have important religious lessons for us. For God in His book, the Bible, is concerned mainly in telling us about His constant interest in men, how in those far-off days as today He blessed and encouraged the good, forgave the repentant, and punished the wicked. God is not interested in telling us in His book about men's doings in the beginning of history, about how they lived or how they discovered new parts of the world or new things about nature. For this reason we find there very little about such things.

No dates are given for these early events, because the Bible itself gives none. In those early days no fixed point or great event, like the birth of our Lord, had been selected by people to date other events from.