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by Robert Hawker
THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
THE first, and most important observation, to be made on this Book of God, is what our Lord himself declared, concerning the writings of the Author of it, in general; that Moses wrote of Him. John 5:46 . And as the Redeemer did not say, in what part of this man's inspired writings, more particularly it is, that mention is made of Him, (perhaps with an intention to enforce a more diligent search through all,) it should seem to he our wisdom to keep this direction in view, through every part, in going over the whole of the five Books of Moses; that we may not overlook a single passage, in our search for Him, of whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth.
Reader! I charge you to place these four words of the Lord Jesus, as a motto for remembrance, at the head of every Book, and every Chapter: Moses wrote of Christ. And as from this unquestionable authority, whenever we open any of the writings of Moses, we may with safety say, whether it be discovered by us or not, Jesus is here: conscious also that from our own blindness, untaught of the Holy Ghost, we shall never find Him; how ought we to look up, for light, and direction from above, and say with David; "Lord open thou mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of thy law!"
There is another general observation to be made upon this Book of Genesis, before the Reader enters upon the perusal of it; namely, how gracious, and condescending it was in God, to cause those Sacred Records to be made, and carefully handed down to us, for giving us information concerning those interesting points, without which, they never could have been known by us. May divine grace make us duly thankful for such distinguishing mercies!
In this first Book of Moses, we have brought before us the history of the creation; the original state of man as innocent; his fall, by reason of sin; the gracious promise of redemption; together with the Church's history, in the lives of the Patriarchs, comprising a period of about 2369 years.
Reader! in observing how short an account we have of the lives of the Fathers, during so long. a period, contemplate with due seriousness, the fluctuating transitory state of man upon earth! And while the reflection suitably affects the mind, recollect no less, how sweet, and reviving the thought is, that amidst all the changing scenes of succeeding generations, in which one passeth away, and another cometh, our Covenant God in Christ, liveth and abideth forever. Lord, grant to him that writes, and to him that reads these lines, that when their hour is also come, in which both will cease from their labors, be gathered to their fathers, and have seen corruption, they may find thee to be the strength of their heart, and their portion forever.
As the very foundation of religion must be formed in the knowledge of God, and our relation to Him; the Sacred Historian opens this Book of God, with a general account of the glorious work of the Divine Persons of the Godhead, in Creation; and the particular recital of each day's work, in the progress of it: concluding the Chapter with an account of the Divine Complacency, in the review of the whole, as being all perfect in its kind, and very good.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17