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REV. HENRY BLUNT, M.A.
LATE RECTOR OF STREATHAM, SURREY,
AND HAMILTON & ADAMS, Paternoster row.
The observance of the great and important duty of family worship has happily increased so much in all classes of society, in our favoured country, during the last few years, that there is no question, which a clergyman is more frequently asked, than, “ What commentary do you recommend to be read to children and servants ?” An inquiry not very difficult to answer, where so many are truly good and excellent; but as the subject is inexhaustible, and the Bible a mine of wealth, in which we may for ever dig, and find fresh treasures, the author believes that every additional illustration of this blessed book is valuable, if, in accordance with the mind of the Spirit, and the general voice of the Church of Christ in all ages, it simply and faithfully elucidate the doctrines, and enforce the precepts of the revealed word of God, and endeavour to glorify that Saviour,“ of whom Moses and the prophets did write."
This, therefore, will at once explain the object of the following work, which, while not unadapted, as it is hoped, to the wants of the reader, who searches the word of God, devotionally, and in private, is, especially, intended to accompany the more public duty of family prayer. It does not profess to be a commentary upon the whole book of Genesis, but simply a familiar exposition of such portions of it as appear to be the best fitted for domestic improvement. That “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," no one can more fully and cordially acknowledge than the author ; but he believes also, that many portions of Holy Writ, which may be profitably dwelt upon by an individual in private, may not be equally well adapted for family worship, and that some chapters, although containing highly important moral lessons, are nevertheless not the best suited to be read aloud by the head of a family, perhaps a female, to a circle consisting of children and domestics of both sexes.
If there are any who take an objection to this view, they might be reminded, that our Church has, by her practice, fully recognized the principle, by omitting in her daily ministrations, many chapters throughout the Pentateuch, although professing to read through the Old Testament consecutively, in the course of the year.
This principle, then, once admitted, it is surely a proper subject upon which to exercise the right of private judgment, and to determine each master of a family, for himself, according to the ages and state of mind of his hearers, what books of Holy Writ, and what portions of those books, he shall present to his assembled household, at the particular seasons of family worship. At the same time, it is well that he intimate to those committed to his charge, that this duty is by no means intended to supersede the full, and entire, and devotional reading of the whole of God's word in private, or the attendance upon it in the more public ordinances of the Church.
Perhaps the author feels the more deeply impressed with a sense of the high duty of thoroughly searching the Scriptures, while dwelling, as he at present is, in that part of the Christian world where it is the most neglected; and seeing, as he daily does, the gross and dreadful superstition, and the loose and miserable