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In preparing this little work the Author has endeavoured to convey scriptural instruction, as much as possible, in the language of the Bible. This sometimes involves a degree of repetition which might be objectionable, were it not that it appears to be counteracted by the impressive sublimity of the beautifully simple style of the Sacred Volume, which no uninspired composition can ever equal. With the exception of a very few explanatory notes no other book has been consulted : and no quotations are introduced, save from the Divine record. The passages selected from Holy Scripture are necessarily very numerous : references to the chapters
and verses whence they are taken are not generally given : but the youthful Reader will find that, by consulting a Concordance they will become the more permanently fixed on the memory; and the Author believes that they will be found to be correct. It has frequently been desirable, in pursuing the thread of history or narrative, to introduce into the same paragraph, quotations from different books of the Sacred Volume.
CHAP.I.-Within the compass of eternityor of that immeasurable space which subsists without beginning and without end, and which is comprehended only by that Infinite and Mysterious Being who is the Creator and Upholder of all things—there arrived a period when this earth, and all the vast system of beings connected with it, were called forth into existence. Then commenced the era of what is called TIME-or the space in which this creation should subsist—and which, though involved in, is yet distinguished from, ETERNITY.
The stupendous process, through which all material objects were brought into being by the word of the Almighty One, is summarily described by the sacred historian, who, in comparatively a few words, informs us how, “ In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Well might the Psalmist, in contemplation of this inconceivable exertion of Infinite Power, reverently exclaim, “ Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him: for He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
The apostle Paul, in writing to the Roman converts to the Christian faith, shows that, from the outward creation, “ the invisible things of God, even His eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made:” so that they who obey Him not are without excuse, because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
CHAP. II.—The last and noblest product of Creative goodness was man. “And God* said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every thing that moveth upon the earth.” The rational intelligence with which man endowed, and his consequent power over all the inferior orders of being, are here strikingly illustrated. And when Jehovah surveyed the works which He had made He pronounced them good: but it is of man only that it is said, “and God blessed them.” Man was not only dis
* The word here used is the plural name of God, Elohim : “ And Elohim said, Let us make man,” &c.