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if we love and fear God, reverentially to endeavour to acquaint ourselves with him, and with the whole of his ways; in the devout study of which, it is not less my delight than my duty to assist you, by endeavouring to unfold, as far as my ability and means permit, the wonderful ways of God recorded in the sacred volume. God belp us, therefore, that, with suitable affections and intentions, and with all lowliness of mind, we may address ourselves to the important subjects, to which, from the text, it is my design to direct your attention. And, as will hereafter be evinced, we must all be aware that there are special reasons why we should consider with deepest interest God's dispensations towards our first parents.
Our first subject is the creation of man.
On this, considered in respect of not a few of its bearings, solemn theme, we read, Gen. i. 26, •And God,' after he had prepared a delightful habitation for his intended creature, said, “Let us make man' It is true it is to the work of redemption we are to look for a full disclosure of the doctrine of the Trinity and the perfections of God, yet, as in the creation of the world, so especially in the creation of man, it pleased him to give an intimation of that doctrine sufficiently intelligible to be understood by those, at least, who have together with the Holy Scriptures in their possession a ready mind to submit to the dictates of inspired and eternal truth.
Do not these expressions, “Let us make man in
our image, after our likeness,' contain an intimation of the doctrine of the Trinity, or that there is a plurality of persons in the divine essence ?
This interpretation is strengthened by the fact, that they who disapprove of it, are unable either to supply us with a better, or satisfactorily to account for God's appropriating plural words to himself, which he often does.* With reference to the pas. sages where such terms occur, and many others of various kinds, the doctrine of the Trinity may be called 'the key of knowledge,' for like certain other revealed truths, it is necessary to be admitted in order to understand the Holy Scriptures. For this reason, they who deny it, take away the key of knowledge. They take away too, as far as they can, the foundation of a sinner's hope. Spiritually apprehended, the doctrine of the Trinity as including the Deity of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit, is the most important doctrine of Christianity-it is the foundation of revealed religion, it is the key-stone of the arch of truth-in a word-rightly understood, it is ‘an anchor to the soul both sure and stedfast,' which will prevent it from being dashed against any rock of essential
*The Hebrew word, o'n' (Aleim or Eloim) usually rendered God, is plural. On this point the learned Parkhurst, page 19 of his Hebrew Lexicon, observes—'Let those who have any doubt whether Aleim (or Eloim) when meaning the true God, is plural or not, consult the following passages, where they will find it joined with adjectives, pronouns, and verbs plural. Gen. i. 26 ; iii. 22. xi. 7 ; xx. 13 ; xxxi. 53 ; xxxv. 7.-Deut. iv. 7; v. 23, or 26.-Josh. xx. 19.-1 Sam. iv. 8.—2 Sam. vii. 23. - Psa. lviii. 12.—Isa. vi. 8.-Jer. x. 10; xxiii. 36.-See also Prov. ix. 10; xxx. 3.-Psa. cxlix. 2.—Eccles. v. 7. xii. 1.-Job. v. 1.-Isa. vi. 3; and liv. 5.
Hos. xi. 12; or xii. 1.-Mal. i. 6.-Dan. vii. 18 ; xxii. 25.'-The reader will not, perhaps, be displeased, if to the above we add a quotation from the famous Wilsius, who observes It cannot certainly be without design, that the Scripture, when speaking of man's Creator, so often uses the plural number :—as Isa. liv. 5-thy husbands, thy makers.—Psa. cxlix. 2—Let Israel rejoice in his makers. Nay, requires man to attend to this, and engrave it on his mind-Eccles. xii. 1--Remember thy Creators. It is criminal when man neglects it; and says not Job, xxxv. 10—Where is God my makers. Which phrases, unless referred to a Trinity of persons, might appear to be dangerous. Especially wlien we consider that the oracles of truth were first committed to a people remarkably prone to idolatry.—See also Gen. ü. 22, and xi. 7.
As if when man was to be created the persons of the sacred Trinity had held a solemn consultation, it is here said— Let us make man;'; and it is only respecting the creation of man that this remarkable form of speech is adopted, implying, it has been said, ' that man was the most excellent creature of all this visible world, and the masterpiece of God's workmanship. How elegantly does the Psalmist speak of man-of man both as created and as redeemed. “Thou hast made him a little only a little, lower than the angels.' Man forms the connecting link between the angelic and the material world.
Man,' says Doctor Bates,' is the abridgment of the universe, allied to the angels in his soul, and to material things in his body, and capable of the happiness of both. By his internal faculties enjoying the felicity of the intellectual, and by his external powers tasting the pleasures of the sensitive world. Representations these of man calculated to inspire him-not with a carnal, but a becoming—with a holy and salutary selfrespect.
Besides the excellence of man as created, in his animal and intellectual natures and moral constitution, are there any other probable reasons why his creation was accompanied with this mark of distinction, · Let us make man?' to say the least, whether other reasons were intended or not, this mark of distinction is calculated to suggest various things respecting man, to which it very emphatically applies. In many of its bearings and consequences, the creation of man was a much more important event than that of angels: for ere time began, a covenant of grace was entered into between the persons of the sacred Trinity, for the redemption of man. It was in the nature of man that the Son of God was to make his appearance upon earth, and here (O wonderful sight! O most welcome visitant! more welcome than is the abating tempest and the first peep of day to the mariner) here to live, to suffer, and to die. It was in the hearts of chosen sinners, that the Spirit of the Lord was to become the author of a new creation. And to such as should be the subjects of it, angels were to become ministering spirits. Man was to be the principal means of making known and glorifying God. And finally, it was by sinners from among mankind that God, so wonderful are his councils, intended to people the mansions of glory, and more than fill up
the vacancies occasioned by the apostacy of the angels who kept not their first estate. Now, if these things be considered, you will not wonder, that an indication of peculiar deliberation should have been connected with an event of such unutterable importance, an event pregnant with consequences of such solemnity and magnitude. For should it be said these remarks apply rather to the redemption than to the creation of man; admitting that ;-we answer, man could not have been redeemed had he not been created; and all the consequences involved in man's creation were present to the divine mind when it was said- Let us make man.'
What is true of the preacher himself, is, he supposes, likewise applicable to most of his hearers ;when he was born no pealing bells were rungno thundering cannons were fired; and, except within the walls of the humble habitation where he first drew the vital air, there were no rejoicings at his birth. But had he been born to titles or estates, then, as indicative of his being a person of consequence, his birth would have been attended by many a mark of distinction. So God to signify that the creation of man was an event of unutterable moment, put this mark of distinction upon it— Let us make man.' And here let me remind you, that the birth of every human being, because account