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HISTORICAL PART OF THE BIBLE.
Repeat the Collect for the 2nd Sunday in Advent.
The Bible contains such important truths, such awful threatenings, and such encouragements to the performance of your duty, that you never ought to open it without imploring the assistance and blessing of God. You should receive the commands contained in it with as much reverence and gratitude as if they were spoken immediately, or at this time, by God himself. To bring these feelings of reverence and gratitude more perfectly to your consideration; suppose that some near and dear friend, a parent for instance, had been taken from you by death, and had left directions in writing for your guidance and direction.
Must not that heart be unworthy which could bear to hear or read with coldness and indifference, and disrespect, those instructions and precepts delivered on so solemn an occasion, and so free from all self-interest in the writer ? God has graciously called Himself our Father who is in heaven ; by means of holy and inspired men, whose writings have been most miraculously preserved for nearly four thousand years, He has given directions how we, His children, are to perform our several duties upon earth, so that we may, in the words of the collect you have been learning, “ embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which he has given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The first five books of the Bible, which books you will sometimes see called the Pentateuch, were written by Moses, under the immediate direction and inspiration of the Almighty. The first of these books (Genesis) contains the most grand and interesting events, namely, the creation of the world and of animals, and lastly of man; the deplorable fall of man from his first state of innocence and happiness to a state of sin and suffering, in which we still continue to take our share.
Had man obeyed the commands of God Almighty, and been satisfied with the situation in which he was placed, it is probable that he would have been removed to a higher state of happiness without pain. In his present degraded state, the sentence of death, and generally a painful one, is pronounced upon Adam and all his race; “Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return." But at the time of this condemnation, the reviving promise was given of deliverance from eternal death, (the death of our souls) which has been since fulfilled by the atonement of our Saviour.
After this you will find an account of the early state of the world before the flood; of the preservation of Noah and his family in the ark; of the division of mankind into different nations and languages. Then follows the history of Abraham, who was born 150 years before the death of Shem. Noah's eldest son Shem, was 100 years old when the flood came, and could therefore give Abraham a most exact account of all that Adam knew and had told his children, as well as of the flood, because Shem had long conversed with Lamech and he had grown to man's estate 56 years before Adam died. Thus, the great age to which men were then permitted to live supplied the place of books.
Abraham was the founder of the Jewish nation. His entire faith in the promises of God Almighty; his devotion and upright conduct in all the common concerns of life, caused him to be called the friend of God; and to him God made the promise, that in one of his descendants all the nations of the world should be