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our faith in God's promises which we know, on the other hand, to be everlasting and true, our Saviour having said, “That heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt. xxiv. 35.)
You may hence, my dear children, understand why it is so indispensably necessary, in order to ensure our true happiness, not only in the world to come, but also in this, that we should put implicit faith in God's word: without that faith we cannot obey the command given to us in that word ; without it, that word would be to us what it was to the unbelieving Jews and Greeks, a “stumbling block and foolishness." (1 Cor. i. 23.)
May God give me his grace to accomplish this work to his honour and glory, and to your improvement; may He enlighten my understanding, that I may, in the course of this undertaking, advance nothing but what he has revealed to us in his merciful dispensation through his beloved Son our Saviour; and may He so deeply impress us all with the spirit of humility, so necessary to receive with fruit the divine truths of his holy mysteries, that we may never for one instant waver in our firm belief in that divine revelation. (Heb. x. 23.) But be ready to say with our blessed Saviour, in all the changes of this mortal life, “Not our will, but thine be done, O Father.” Amen.
Dec. 5, 1828.
We must now enter upon the serious subject before us, which we shall divide into Three Parts.
The First will comprise a compendious view of those sacred writings which go under the name of the Holy Scriptures, as well as of the proofs of their authenticity.
The Second will contain an abridged account of the sacred history, from the creation of the world to the coming of our Saviour.
The Third will embrace an account of our blessed Lord's ministry on earth; of the mysteries and doctrines which he came amongst us to reveal; and of the duties which he has enjoined us to perform.
Containing a compendious view of the writ
ings which are known under the general name of the Holy Scriptures, and of the Proofs of their Authenticity.
The book which we call the Bible, (from The Bible. the Greek “ Biblion,") that is, the book by 6 way of eminence, although it is comprised in one volume, yet in fact comprehends a great 7 number of different narratives and compositions, written at different times, by different persons, in different places, and on different subjects. And on taking the whole of the collection together, it is an unquestionable truth, that there is no one book extant which
can in any degree be compared with it for antiquity, for authority, for the importance, the dignity, and the variety of the matter it contains.
It begins with the five books written by Moses, which are known under the general title of the Pentateuch. The word is of Greek original, and signifies literally the five instruments or books; by the Jews it is termed the Law of Moses, because it con
tains the moral, ecclesiastical, and political 9 ordinances issued by God to the Israelites.
This collective designation comprises the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Genesis, the first of these books, is so 10 called from the Greek “Biblos Geneseos,
which signifies the book of Generation or Production, because it commences with that great and stupendous event of all others the earliest and most interesting to the human race, the creation of this world, of the celestial luminaries, of man, and all the inferior animals, the herbs of the field, the sea and all its inhabitants. All this it describes with a brevity and sublimity well suited to the magnitude of the subject, to the dig
nity of the almighty artificer, and unequalled by any other writer.
6 Let there be light, and there was light,” is an instance of the sublime, which stands to this day unrivalled in any human composition.
The sacred history next sets before us the primeval happiness of our first parents in Paradise, their fall from this blissful state, by the wilful transgression of their Maker's commands; the fatal effects of this original violation of duty; the universal wickedness and corruption it gradually introduced among mankind, and the signal and tremendous punishment of that wickedness by the deluge, the certainty of which is acknowledged by the most ancient writers, and very evident traces of which are to be found at this day in various parts of the globe. It then relates the peopling of the world again by the family of Noah; the covenant entered into by God with that patriarch, the relapse of mankind into wickedness; the calling of Abraham, and the choice of one family and people, the Israelites, (or as they were afterward called the Jews,) who were separated from the rest of the world to preserve the knowledge and worship of a Supreme Being, and the great