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ple in those times pressed to hear the Word of God read is very interesting. We have the following account in “ Gilpin's Life of Archbishop Cranmer.”
"The Bible, through the means of Lord Essex, was licensed by the King, and fixed in all parochial Churches. The ardoor with which men flocked to read it is incredible: they who could, purchased it, and they who could not, crowded to read it, or to hear it read in Churches, where it was common to see little assemblies of mechanics meeting together for that purpose after the labour of the day. Many even learned to read in their old age, that they might have the pleasure of instructing themselves in the Scriptures. Mr. Fox mentions two apprentices who joined, each his little stock, and bought a Bible, which at every interval of leisure they read; but being afraid of their master, who was a zealous Papist, they kept it under the straw of their bed. Such was the extacy of joy with which this blessing was received at that time, when it was difficult to be bad."
Surely this account may well shame many of us, who will let this treasure lie unopened on their shelves from week to week, as if the mere possession of a Bible would take them to Heaven. I have often thought how wonderful it is, that when tlie merciful God condescends to give us a book to tell us what He is, and what we are, and how sin may be pardoned, and eternal life attained, we should care so little about making ourselves acquainted with it. What would á father or a master say, if his children or servants neglected to read the letters he addressed to them? Would he allow them to plead this neg. lect as an excuse for their inattention to the admonitions contained in them? “If God then be a father, wbere is his honour ? and if he be a master, where is his fear ?". .
I have sometimes in my own mind set down this neglect of the Scriptures to four eauses : Ist. Peo
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ple do not really believe the danger their souls are in on account of sin, and therefore do not care to take the pains of learning how they may be saved. 2ndly. If they do believe it, they are not thoroughly persuaded that the Bible is able to make them wise unto salvation. 3dly. The Bible is such a large book, that they despair of ever becoming tolerably acquainted with its contents, especially as they do not find themselves much wiser for what they have read; because, 4thly. when they do read it, they do not read it profitably. They take it up, and opening it at random, read a chapter or two; then shut it up for a week, and read a chapter in another part. Įs. it to be wondered at, that people do not get much instruction when they read in this manner? Suppose you were to receive a letter on business, and were to open it and say, “ Well, this is a very long letter,” and were to read a few sentences, and then shut it up and put it in your pocket, and, say: “Well, I have not time to make out any more now;" and the next time were to open it and read a little towards the end; and the next time look at the middle.- Do yon think you should have a very clear idea of its contents ? And yet this is the way in which many read the Bible, and then wonder they seem to get no good from it. I see you have got a nice new Bible on your shelf, though it does not seem as if it had been much read yet. Suppose we read a chapter together now and then, and as I would wish to aet agreeably to my own advice, let us take the first chapter of the first book in the Bible.
We may however first remark that the whole of the Old Testament was written before Jesus Christ came upon earth *, and tite New Testament a short time after his death : they both speak of Him; but,
* Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary 1821 ycars ago; and from the Creation to the birth of Christ was! period of 4000 years.
as the Old Testament speaks of Him in Types and Prophecies, it is not in so clear and plain a manner as the New. The Old Testament was first written in Hebrew, which was the language of the Jews.
The word “Genesis” is a Hebrew word, and signi. fies “the beginning." The first Chapter of Genesis gives the only true account we have of the Creation of the World. The first Verse* sums up, as it were, the contents of the Chapter. It tells us that, “ in the beginning, God” the self existent Jehovah in Three Persons; “ created the heaven and the earth."-To create, means to produce out of nothing. If you or I wanted to make any thing, we must have wherewith to make it; but so astonishing is the power of God, that he produced the very materials of which this world was formed, and he did all this with a word. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens framed, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." v. 2." And the earth was without form and void," (that is, without shape and empty) "and darkness was upon the face of the deep." This verse gives us the idea, that the materials of which the earth is made, were at first confusedly thrown together, and were only by degrees brought into a state of order and beauty, and fitted for the habitation of animals and men.
“ Nothing is too hard for the Lord.” He who from nothing produced all things in six days, could with equal ease have produced them in a moment; but it pleased Hiin, “whose understanding is infinite,” to employ a period of six days in the work of Creation. In the first day, light was produced. v.3–5. On the second, the firmament, or space over our heads, was made to divide the waters under the firmament, that is the rivers and seas, from the
* You are requiested, Render, to take your Bible, or make your eldest boy take it, and find tho Texts of Scripture re. ferrod to.
waters above - the firmament, that is, the clouds 9. 6-8. On the tbird, the waters were separated from the earth, v. 9, 10, and the earth made fruit. ful; made to produce grass and herbs and trees, each yielding seed, by which the species is corsa tinued, v. 11, 12. · V.9. “God said, Let the waters under the whole heaven be gathered together into one place; and let the dry land appear.”: In some places there are high cliffs, which evidently keep the sea in its bed; but, where the shore is flat and low, how wonderful it is to see the tide day by day advancing to a certain point, and then retiring. What is it that keeps it to that level? What prevents it from rising higher and higher, and overflowing the whole country? What, but the Almighty power of God, who has placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree that it should not pass it'; and though' the waves thereof toss thenselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar yet can they not pass over it*? “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name :"
On the fourth day, the sun, moon, and stars were created, v. 14-19. Now you will recollect that there was light on the first day, though the sun was not made till the fourth ; by which God teaches us, that although he has chosen to make the sun the medium, or instrument, of conveying light to our earth, he could with equal ease have enlightened it by other means. In heaven" there will be no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof tr."
V. 14. “God said; let them be for signs, and seasons, and for days, and years.". The manner in which the earth is situated with respect to the sun, produces the changes of day and night; and of the
seasons, of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, of which the year consists. And they are signs of the hour of the day or night, by the height they have attained in the sky. You know that you can form a pretty fair judgment of the time of day by the
height of the sun. People in general do not pay , much attention to these signs now; but in old times, before clocks and watches were invented, there were high towers in many of the chief cities, and men stationed in them, who gave notice, from time to time, that it was such an hour, for the sun had reached such a point in the heavens. And to sailors they are still signs of great importance, as by taking what they call observations on them, they know the progress they have made, and the part of the sea in which they are.
On the fifth day the waters were made to bring forth fish and fowl, v. 20-23. On the sixth, the earth brought forth every kind of beast and creeping thing; and lastly, when every thing was prepared for his reception, Man was created, v. 24-31. .
The language held respecting the creation of man is very striking. God does not say, as before, “Let the earth bring forth man,”—but, “ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Now God is a Spirit, and a Spirit has not flesh and bones : it was therefore with respect to his soul, and not his outward form, that man was made in the likeness of God. The soul or spirit of man, was made like the Spirit of God in holiness and righteousness. As God is-free from sin, so man was then free from sin. He had no evil temper, no opposition to the will of God. He loved the Lord his God with all his heart and mind, and soul, and strength.
“And God gave man dominion over the fish of the sea, &c.” v. 26, that is, power to use them for his comfort and convenience. “And he said unto them, be fruitful and multiply” (increase) “and replenish” (Gill) the earth, and subdue it,”-bring it to