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All Quotations which it has been found difficult to verify are classed as Anonymous.
It was at first intended to issue the Work in one Volume, excluding that portion of Scripture to which the Illustrations do not apply; but the size of the Book would have been found very inconvenient, both for use and reference, in comparison of six portable volumes; and, moreover, the insertion of Holy Scripture in its connexion and integrity, gives the Work a completeness and an intrinsic value which it would not otherwise possess.
It is hoped that Sunday School Teachers may glean from the Book "suggestive hints,' which they can amplify at their own discretion for the benefit of their classes. May the Great Head of the Church vouchsafe His blessing !
BROUGHTON COLLEGE, MANCHESTER,
December 16th, 1867.
IN the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The phrase 'In the beginning' is
without it in thousands of years.aniversally expressive in the Scrip- Orton; A. Fuller. tures of the commencement of created The being of God is here taken for or finite existence—the beginning of granted. All arguments to demonstrate time, when, as Matthew Henry ob- it are invalid. The best of them, serves, the clock was first set a-going.' founded on the dependence of every The heaven and earth' is a Jewish effect upon its cause, is self-destrucphrase, denoting the universe and all tive. The most convictive argument, things which it contains.—Dwight. perhaps, on the subject is that of
Philosophers have had great debates Jonathan Edwards, which has been about the formation of the world; some more fully developed by recent philosoasserting its eternity, others forming phers, viz., that the human mind cannot the most ridiculous notions of its being form a conception of non-existence.-L. made by chance, or a concourse of The word here rendered God’ is stoms : but this first verse of our Bible plural, and is joined with a singular clears up all the difficulty. In the first verb; this grammatical anomaly has, page of this sacred book a child may with reason, been thought to intimate learn more in an hour, than all the the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead. philosophers in the world learned -Scott.
* And the earth was without form, and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The earth, viz., that part of it which and affecting emblem of man's fallen was designed for the habitation of and degenerate condition, in which he man, had been brought, by a succes- is destitute of every holy principle, sion of volcanic and other physical until renewed by the energy of the changes, into a condition of superficial Holy Spirit.-L. ruin,' affording, in that state, a just
* And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
The great charm of this passage lies is to perform.' This impression is very in the vivid impression it gives us of greatly enhanced by a consideration the Divine omnipotence, nothing appa- of the rapidity with which light travels. rently intervening between the Divine In one second of time, in one beat of will and its accomplishment. With the pendulum of the clock, a ray of God 'to will is to effect, to determine light travels over the space of 192,000 VOL. I.
miles, and would therefore perform the men are quarrelling with one another, tour of the world in about the same they are quarrelling in the dark, scuftime that it requires to wink with our fling and fighting with one another in eyelids !--Dwight.
the dark; though every man thinks he Light is the great spiritual want, sees, which makes the matter so much both of the world and of the church. the worse. It is a real, but an unWere its diffusion more intense and imagined darkness that overspreads universal, what benefits it would con- the world; and in that darkness men fer, and what evils it would restrain or are working all the mischiefs and misebanish! What a reformation it would ries to themselves that can be thought speedily bring about in morals, science, of. There will be an end to this when sentiment, and religion! How it would the Divine light comes to spread itself, diminish controversy, and thus unite as it were, in men's lives. -Howe. men's intellects and hearts in the bonds · Let there be light' should be the · of love and peace !-L.
motto of the church. Omnipotence When the knowledge of the Lord itself having first spoken the word, she shall cover the earth as the waters do too may achieve marvels by it; and it the sea, it cannot but make a happy is her solemn duty to echo it in every peaceful state. There is nothing ter- seat of darkness, until the torch of rible in light. A sphere of light, as a truth has shed its benignant rays in heathen speaks, hath nothing in it that every corner of this apostate world.-L. can be disquietive. Whenever, then,
And God saw the light, that it was good : and God divided the light from the darkness.
Though the darkness was scattered, darkness; but in this world we pass it was not condemned to a perpetual daily from one to the other, that we banishment, but takes its turn with may learn to expect the like vicissithe light, and has its place, because tudes in the providence of God-peace it has its use. This is a world of and trouble, joy and sorrow; bidding mixtures and changes. In heaven both welcome, and striving to make there is no darkness; in hell utter the best of both.-M. Henry.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
We learn from this verse that con- ing is mentioned first, because the trary things are to be called by con- Jews reckon their time from evening trary names. (Isa. v. 20.) The even- to morning.-M. Henry; Orton.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
The firmament, or air, is replete noxious, and a second by itself perwith displays of the power and wis- fectly unproductive of life, yet these dom of God. 1. It is an immediate are so blended with the third, in which means of life to mankind, and to the alone the power of maintaining life reanimal and vegetable kingdoms. Among sides, that in their combination they the wonders that pertain to this sub- are better fitted to continue life, than ject, this is one : that although the air even the life-giving principle would be is a compound substance, made up of if it existed pure and unmixed. Anvery diverse materials, one of them other is, that this combination is
maintained in such a manner that the parts of a complete system. 3. The proportional quantities of these mate- air is a principal means of heat and rials are at all times substantially, if cold. 4. It is eminently the source of not exactly, the same. When we con- health and sickness. Noxious vapours sider the innumerable revolutions of and exhalations, but for the air, would which the air is the subject, and its be confined to the earth's surface, and perpetualfluctuations, it seems scarcely fail of their malignant influence on less than a miracle that this equability, human life. In its purest state, the 80 necessary for the continuance of air seems to promote health only, and life, should be always and everywhere often restores such as are languishing preserved. 2. The air is the great in- and decayed more than all other causes strument of dissolution. If we had combined. 5. It is also the seat of never been witnesses of the fact, few many magnificent displays of Divine things could seem more strange and workmanship. Storms, clouds, thunimprobable to us than that the same der, lightning, combustion, volcanoes, element should be at once the chief earthquakes, the magnificent rainbow, means of preserving life and the chief and the delightful breeze, are all demeans of dissolution, and that both pendent on air for their existence. 6. these processes should, without any The air is an important aid to vision. confusion, go on from age to age in -Dwight. perfect harmony, and as indispensable
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
What amazing power was that which God's own people are not exempt from made the earth to heave, and to these in this world; but it is their emerge from the surrounding waters, comfort that they are only waters under and which caused those mighty waters the heaven—there are none in heavenagain to subside in their deep, hollow and that they are all in the place that beds !-L.
God hath appointed them, and within Waters and seas often, in the Scrip- the bounds that he hath set them.tures, signify troubles and afflictions.
M. Henry. 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth : and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind : and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
The chief end of the beautiful ap- These are the seeds by which the sevepearances which are peculiar to plants ral races of plants are propagated and and flowers, according to philosophers, continued, and which are always lodged is to enfold and cherish the embryo in flowers or blossoms. Nature seems seed, or to swathe the tender body to hide her principal design, and to be during its infant state. But, whatever industrious in making the earth gay anu is the chief end of nature, 'tis certain delightful, while she is carrying on her she never departs from the design of great work, and intent on her own preaffording delight to mankind. We servation. Were her object only to find,' says Mr. Addison, that the most secure a reproductive principle, what important parts in the vegetable world need of such elegant complications ? are those which are the most beautiful. Why so much art employed, and so
many decorations added ? Why should refreshing to the eyes.-Dwight. vestments be prepared richer than bro- Had it been clothed in white or red, cades, more delicate than lawns, and who could have borne the splendour of of a finer glow than the most admired it? If He had clothed it in darker velvets? If the great mother had no colours, who would have been charmed other aim than barely to accommodate by so sombre a spectacle ? An agreeher little offspring, warm flannel or able verdure holds the middle place homely fustian would have served her between these two extremes, and bears turn-served it full as well as the most such a relation to the structure of the sumptuous tissues, or all the furniture eye that it refreshes instead of wearyof the mercer's shop.-Hervey.
ing it. At the same time this colour In the great virtue and efficacy that is marked by an astonishing variety of God has implanted in seeds, He seems shades; it is everywhere green, but to have conferred on plants a kind of nowhere the same.-Rollin. immortality.—Rollin.
The grass is spread under as as a A philosopher has made it an argu- precious carpet, wove with silken ment of the wisdom of God, and that threads of green, and damasked with justly, that the earth is clothed in green, flowers of every hue.--Hervey. à colour eminently easy, delightful, and
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth : and it was so.
The heavenly luminaries serve as certain and sufficiently obvious. By signs of ordinary events, Matt. xvi. 2, this the farmer is instructed when to 3; and God sometimes puts the sign commit his grain to the furrows, and of an extraordinary event in them, how to conduct the operations of husMatt. xxiv. 29; Acts ii. 19, 20. But to bandry. By this the sailor knows when prognosticate by them the destinies, to proceed on his voyage with least fates, and fortunes of men, is an act of peril, and how to carry on the busihigh presumption, and lies under a ness of navigation with most success. Divine rebuke, Isa. xliv. 24, 25.—Caryl. Why should not the Christian, the
It is not solely to adorn the roof of probationer for eternity, learn from the our palace with costly gildings that God same monitors to number—for nobler commands the celestial luminaries to purposes to number his days, and duly glitter through the gloom : we also to transact the grand affairs of his everreap considerable benefits from their lasting salvation? Since God has apministry. They divide our time and pointed so many bright measures of fix its solemn periods. The returns of our time, to determine its larger pebeat and cold alone would have been riods, and to minute down its ordinary too precarious a rule. But these ra- stages, sure this most strongly inculdiant bodies, by the variation, and also cates its value, and should powerfully by the regularity of their motions, af- prompt us to improve it.—Hervey. ford a method of calculating absolutely
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
The sacred writer uses here popu- evidence exists that every star which lar language, and does not speak with twinkles in the firmament is no other philosophical accuracy. The solar sys- than a sun, a world of light, surrounded tem, great and wonderful as it is, is by its own attendant planets, formed a mere speck compared with the real into a system similar to ours. 45,000 extent of the creation. Satisfactory such stars have been counted by the