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creation, that nothing is hostile to him. That avalanche,
at least the possibility of what Scripture declares to be a prophecy, the resurrection of the dead; and that the least atom of our dust God's omniscience sees, and God's omnipotence will collect and reconstitute again in living and immortal bodies. But there is a lesson that this chapter does not teach – that we are not what God made us. That is plain enough. God once made us in his own image, and he pronounced us to be good: who does not feel, for our own hearts condemn us, that that image is defaced, that the glory is lost; that we once were friends, but we are many of us foes; once in communion with him, now many of us strangers. All that is wrong in man, man is responsible for. The Bible never says that God made sin, and he is not responsible for it. Wherever it came from, I cannot teh, but God did not make it. But this we are sure of, every thing that remains good in the universe has God for its Author; but all that is wicked, all that is sinful, is from the creature, and from the creature alone. But, blessed be God! though we made ourselves evil, he has not left us to our own devices; he has bowed the heavens, and come into our world, and died for us upon the cross, and made an atonement for our sins; and through His precious blood we may be restored to our lost relationship, reinstated in a greater dignity, once more be the sons of God, and the world close with a grander Paradise and a nobler being to cultivate it, than that with
which creation first began. o
“Thou man thy image mad'st, in dignity,
“Who” (Adam) “is the figure of him that was to come.”—RoM. v. 14.
CREATION bears still over all its aspects the evidences, not only of creative power, but of beneficence and goodness. God might have made the orb we inhabit a prison; he might have furnished us with all that is essential to subsistence, and left us to grope our way upon its surface, and to endure life rather than to live, if such a life could be called living at all. But, instead of that, he has made it as beautiful as the hand of skill and as the heart of beneficence could devise. He has studded its ceiling with stars, as with a thousand lamps; he has beautified its floor with the variegated flowers of the field, and made creation a ministry of beauty, so rich, that the ceaseless action of six thousand years have not been able to destroy it, and the sin of succeeding generations has not utterly swept it away. ! But after God had made the earth, and formed all its living tenantry, it seems one was wanting to be the capital and the crown, the ruler and priest of all. The birds were in the air, those choristers of the earth, whose song is the anthem of the sky, the fishes in the streams, the cattle upon a thousand hills; but all still waited for him who is pronounced by St. Paul to have been “the figure of him that was to come.” Without intelligence inhabiting the earth, without an eye to read it, or an ear to hear it, it would have been after all a very uninteresting orb, but when man was placed upon it in his meridian wisdom, strength, and health, then it was perfect; it was pronounced by its Maker to be “very good.” Man was the eye of creation to see the hand that governs it, the ear of creation to hear the bidding of Him who made it, the heart of creation to love God, the priest, in short, of creation to offer up its many-voiced psalm of praise, and to lift up its incense, perpetually to mihister a holy Levite in creation, and before creation's God, giving unto him that made it all the glory, and the honor, and the praise. Man, therefore, was the last and the noblest of creation's birthweek; his appearance crowned it. His body was made of the dust, but it was the efflorescence of the dust; just as the diamond is made of charcoal, but is yet the diamond. His soul was made in the likeness of Deity, immortal as God is, and holy as God is, and happy as God is. He had in that garden the tree of life to shade him, the music of a thousand streams to delight him, the very branches of the trees were harp-strings that hymned God's praise, and it required his voice only to mingle in the universal harmony to render homage to him who governs all, and would preserve all. After man's creation, on which I need not dwell, we have a sentiment enunciated by Him who knew man, it was not good that man should be alone; and therefore he made one to be a helpmate, that is, meet, or appropriate, for him. Does not this teach us that the social state is man's natural state? that the monastic, the ascetic, the insulated life is man's 'unnatural state? This is evinced by fact. In solitude man degenerates; in society, as part of a mighty whole, man advances and develops his powers, his faculties, and his endowments, in the highest possible degree. In other words, man was not made to be a solitary, but a social being. The special evidence of this-was God's institution of marriage; it has its divine foundation and origin in God; God himself was the first celebrant of it, and it is the institution that still survives the fall. It was reconstituted or rebaptized by Christ when he quoted the very words of this chapter, indicating in the one voice the inspiration of Moses, and demonstrating in the other the propriety of that ordinance, the history and original of which is here recorded. We thus learn that marriage is not a mere civil contract. Of course it is a civil contract, so far as that the law of the land must be the basis of it for all legal purposes; but it is really and truly more than that; it is a Divine institution. It is legal marriage to be married at the registrar's office, but it is not Christian marriage. It does seem to me that it is not a mere civil union to be recognized by law, which of course it must be, but that it is as well a sacred, a spiritual, and a religious ordinance, never to be celebrated without religious rites, religious sanction, and under the influence of religious principles. Destroy Christianity, and how long do you think will marriage last? Take away religion, and it , becomes a mere joint-stock agreement, which may last for years, for months, or for weeks, according to the taste and the temperament of the parties. But admit the high and holy sanction of religion, and then it is not, what Romanism calls it, a sacrament; but it is, as Protestants regard it, a solemn, a holy, and a lasting union, to be dissolved only by death, and the shadow and the type of a greater one, to which the Apostle alludes in his Epistle to the Ephesians. We gather from God's appointment in connection with