It gives some account of the first fathers of mankind, their characters and actions. It records the dreadful deluge which swept from the face of the earth the human race, when become utterly depraved and corrupted; and the saving of one righteous man with his family, and pairs of animals, that they might not be utterly extinct. It mentions the founding of that family which was destined to preserve the knowledge and worship of the only true God, and how that family was fostered by the hand of the Eternal, till it became a mighty people, separated from all other nations by peculiar laws and customs. It relates the wonderful history of the children of Israel, and the manifest interposition of the Almighty, supporting them when obedient to his will; punishing them when they rebelled against his authority. It gives most instructive examples and narratives of families and individuals; the pious odes of one illustrious monarch; the prudent maxims of another, who was the wisest of his age; the admonitions and predictions of Prophets sent forth from Jehovah, in whose prophecies we behold a vivid description of that glorious Messiah, who afterwards came in the spirit and the power of the Most High.

The New Testament contains an account of the birth of the Saviour; the astonishing attest

ations to his divine mission; his miracles; his discourses; his perfect example; his sufferings and death, his résurrection and ascension, given by four plain and simple historians, agreeing in all general, important facts; differing sometimes with respect to minute circumstances and particulars; together with a narration of the publication of the Gospel by the Apostles, and their addresses to the primitive Christian churches.

Herein are deposited all the treasures of heavenly knowledge, of that wisdom which is from above, which is able to make us wise to everlasting salvation; all our best hopes, our most cheering prospects of glory, honour and immortality. With this most interesting of all books, let us make ourselves intimately acquainted, and from its springs of salvation, let us imbibe the reviving salutary streams of heavenly instruction.

The common translation is followed as nearly as possible, because its simple dignity seems best adapted to the importance of its subjects.






THE book of Genesis, so called from its treating of the creation of the earth, and the production of all things therein, is generally believed to have been written by Moses, the illustrious Hebrew legislator; and compiled from records existing in his time. It is evidently

intended to teach that the world was neither eternal, nor the effect of chance, but the work of an all-powerful, wise, and good Deity; to hold out, in the history of the first parents of the human race, and of the general deluge, striking examples of the evil consequences of disobedience to the commands of God; and in the account of Abraham and his family, to unfold the commencement of that glorious plan


for the reformation and happiness of mankind, which was perfected in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

About 4004 years before the nativity of the Redeemer, or 5825 before the present time, is the commonly admitted date of the creation of the world. This great transaction, the book of Genesis describes as thus taking place: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was yet a desolate waste, an abyss covered with darkness, and a vehement wind was agitating the surface of the deep, when "God said, Let there be light, and there was light." The evening had come, and the morning had come: the diurnal movement of the earth had begun, when God said, "Let there be a firmament, or expanse, separating the inferior from the superior waters:" and it was so. The light was called day; the darkness, night; and the expanse was called heaven. Morning and evening had marked a second day, when God said, "Let the waters below the expanse be collected into one place, that the dry land may appear:" and it was so. And God named the dry land, earth; and the mass of waters he called sea. And God said, "Let the earth produce grass, with seed bearing herbs, and fruit-bearing trees, in varieties of kinds:" and it was so. The morning had come, and the evening had come, a third day, when God said, "Let there be luminous bodies in the heaven; let the luminaries be seen through the expanse, to illuminate the earth, to distinguish day from night, and to point out seasons and years:" and it was so.

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