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SOME years after the death of Abel, men became numerous on the earth, they also grew so wicked that the Almighty determined to destroy them; but there was one man who found favor in his sight, whose name was Noah: the Lord, therefore, told Noah to build an ark; that is, a wooden house; which should float upon the waters, large enough to hold himself, his children, and such of the birds and beasts as were to be saved: he was commanded to take some of all kinds of living things with him into the ark, and some of all food that was eaten, both for himself and for them: and God declared that as a punishment for the sins of the world, He would bring a flood of waters upon the earth that should destroy every other living thing.
Noah did as he was commanded: and he was 600 years old when he entered the ark with all his family; and as soon as they were safely shut in, we read that the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were
opened, the rain poured down in torrents for forty days and forty nights, and the flood was so great that the tops of the highest mountains were covered. Oh! how very dreadful it is to disobey such a powerful God, who can destroy us in a moment, if he please, but this mighty God is also called, in the Bible, the God of love; and the same Being who commanded the waters to destroy the earth, condescends to love little children, if they do but wish to please Him.
At the end of 150 days it did not rain so much, and after Noah had been some time in the ark, he sent out a dove, because he thought, if the waters were gone, she would not return, but she could find no place to rest upon, and returned to him again.
In a few days he sent the dove out once more, and she brought back a small olive branch in her mouth: by this Noah knew that the waters were partly dried up; and when he sent her out the third time, she returned to him no more. After this the Lord told Noah to come out of the ark with his family, and all the birds, beasts, and creeping things; and, when they were all once more on the earth, Noah built an altar, and offered burnt
offerings to that God who had so wonderfully preserved him.
And God promised Noah that he would no more destroy the earth with a flood: and He said, "This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token. of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you, and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."
You have all, I do not doubt, seen the beautiful rainbow in the sky; I cannot here enter into any particular description of this glorious bow, which is always seen exactly opposite the sun, and is in reality produced by the rays of light from the sun, falling on the drops of rain contained in the cloud. It must, indeed, have been a cheering sight to Noah and his family when they had so long beheld nothing but torrents of rain, to see the clouds break, and once more to behold the bright sun after his long absence;
but when, for the first time, they beheld his dazzling rays guided by an all-powerful hand forming this beautiful arch in the dark cloud, they must, indeed, have praised Him who rules the storm, and owned the Lord for their God. Let us never look upon it without remembering that the word of the Lord is sure, and that the promise then made to his people has never been broken.
SOME years after the Deluge, there lived a man whose name was Abram, or, as he was afterwards called, Abraham, of whom I must tell you a little, as he was the father of a great and mighty people, for from him are descended the Israelites, also called the Jews, of whom you may read a great deal in the Bible.
I cannot tell you one quarter of the interesting events written there of this nation; and, indeed, there is no need that I should, for I hope you will take delight in
reading for yourselves: but if the very slight account that I may be able to give should lead one of you to search further, I shall not have written in vain.
Abraham was a good man, and God told him to leave his father's house, and his country, and go to a land which He would shew him, and where He promised to make of him a great nation. obeyed the command of the Lord, took with him his nephew Lot, and went into the land of Canaan, where they prospered, became very rich, and had so much substance that they could not dwell together, for the land was not able to sustain them.
Here we meet with an instance of meekness and forbearance on the part of this good man, which it would be well for us to imitate. We read that the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle, and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle, quarrelled; and, instead of being angry or displeased with Lot or his servants, Abraham said unto Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between thee and me, and between thy servants and my servants, for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then