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place, with utmost fitness of terms and signification, represented as in the act of imparting it. The capability was assigned, and the specific uses remained to be thereafter adapted and appointed. At this stage of the proceeding, God commands, “ Let there be light,” and at it there is “ light.” The earth, or the world, in its substance, was created, and a vivifying power had been bestowed; and the next step towards the application to its design was the gift of light, the rescue of it from its original darkness. The expression is simple, as in each other respective instance of the command of creation; it contains but the command, the Majesty of the Creator not admitting amplification, and the word of God being powerful to every thing: in truth, creation altogether depended on that Word, and by the Word was all that is called into existence: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” What was this light? is the question which now attaches to the subject. There was as yet neither sun nor moon: the creation of them, and of the stars, was on the fourth day. It is unsuitable to a purpose like my present to enter into a set and full discussion of a matter, embracing so vast a compass of inquiry as this ; all that may be satisfactorily and usefully done, will be to state the received opinion on the content of the particular text. The light here said to be produced, we consider to be the primary quality or matter of light, whatever it was; the principle from which all light, as we have it, was produced, together with heat; and which, at the time spoken of, was diffused throughout the whole system. " It seems to me,” says the Commentator', “ most rational by this light to understand those particles of matter, which we call fire, (whose two properties everyone knows are light and heat,) which the Almighty Spirit that formed all things, produced as the great instrument, for the preparation and digestion of the rest of the matter; which was still more vigorously moved and agitated from the top to the bottom by this restless element, till the purer and more shining parts of it, being separated from the grosser, and united in a body fit to retain them, became light.” That light is really a created principle, the following verse assures us : “And God saw the light, that it was good :”—He examined it, and pronounced it to be in harmony with His intention, and fitted to its object. “And God divided the light from the darkness.” It was made capable of division : it had its place assigned to it. It is not said that darkness was created by God, although it was ordained to have its course and place. Darkness is but the privation, or the absence, or the want of light, and where light is not, must necessarily be; it is not, however, a principle, it is only a state or condition. “ And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night.” He gave to each one its
office and its name; enacting, that they should succeed in regular constancy, the one to the other, their complete motion forming that space of time which we call a day'. The creation afterwards of the great
1 The earliest measure of time on record is the day. In that most ancient and venerable account of the Creation by Moses, the process is marked by the operations of each day—“The evening and the morning were the first day," &c. Here the word “ day” denotes the civil or calendar day of twenty four-hours, including “the evening," or natural night, and “the morning," or natural day; while the sun is either above or below the horizon of any place in the course of the earth's diurnal rotation, between two successive appulses of the same meridian to the sun ; corresponding, therefore, to a solar day in astronomy.
It is remarkable, that “the evening," or natural night, precedes “the morning,” or natural day, in the Mosaic account. Hence the Hebrew compound, (translated) “Evening morning," is used by the prophet Daniel, to denote a civil day, in his famous chronological prophecy of the 2300 days. And also the Greek compound, vvxOnuepov, to denote the same. And hence Hesiod, the oldest of the Greek Poets that have reached us, represents the occultation of the Pleiades as lasting “ forty days and nights," i. e. calendar days. And following the primeval order, the ancient Gauls and Germans counted times and seasons by the number of nights, not of days; as we learn from Cæsar and Tacitus : a usage still retained by their descendants ; for, in old French, anuit signifies “to-day ;" and in English, seven-night, fortnight,
seven days,” “ fourteen days.” Thus is Sacred History verified by primitive tradition, handed down to the present times ; "the night seeming to usher in the day." Dr. Hales.
Chronologers have generally supposed, that the civil day began at sunset, according to primitive usage. But this is a mistake : it did not begin till night-fall; till the end of day light, and commencement of twilight, at the first appearance of the stars after sunset; which begins as soon as the sun has arrived at a depres
lights, made the work more glorious and complete; but day and night were, we see, appointed before the creation of either the sun, or the moon, or the stars : these were not necessary to the original being of those other, notwithstanding the rule over the day, and over the night, was given to them in charge and keeping Day and night previously existed, but had not reached to the perfection to which they were constituted able to reach, and to which these planets assisted their advance. Yet, the principle was already formed, and, as a principle, was “good” or perfect. A recent writer', in his “Sacred History of the World,” has the following passage hereupon : “The next act of the Deity was to make a boundary,
sion of twelve degrees below the horizon ; when stars of the first magnitude begin to shine. But this does not take place till near an hour after sunset in the temperate zones. Nor is it full night, till the sun is depressed about eighteen degrees; when the smallest stars become visible ; and starlight shines out in all its lustre, as soon as the milky way makes its appearance, at about twenty degrees of depression. The evening twilight, therefore, or night-fall, is the natural limit between day and night; as the morning twilight, or dawn, or day break, is, on the other hand, the natural limit between night and day.
On this astronomical distinction was founded the Jewish Law: “From evening unto evening ye shall hallow your sabbath." Levit. xxiii. 32. That is, “from evening twilight, until evening twilight again.” For the most skilful commentators assure us, that “the Sabbath among the Jews was always reckoned to begin from the first appearance of the stars on Friday evening, and to end at their appearance again on the day we call Saturday.” Id.
1 Mr. Sharon Turner.
or division, between the effect of the visible presence or action of light, and that darkness which arises from its latent state, or disappearance; calling the duration of our luminous sense of it day,' and the time of its absence night.' Their succession was made to constitute that portion of time which we designate by a natural day. The evening and the morning were the first day. Our earthly day, is that space of time in which our globe turns once completely round. This section of time, which we subdivide into twenty-four parts, or hours, does not depend upon the sun, nor arise from it.
As it is only an entire rotation of the earth, it could occur as well without a solar orb as with one. The annual circuit, or a year, which is the completed orbit of the earth round this luminary, could not take place without a sun; but a day requires the existence and revolving motion of the earth alone. This is mentioned by Moses, as beginning before the sun was made the centre of our astronomical system. As this fact denotes the diurnal movement to be distinct from the sun, and independent of it, it is another instance of the correctness of the Mosaic account. The first rotation of the earth round its own axis made the interval of the first day, and each subsequent revolution constituted the several days which succeeded. One planet might cease to turn round in this diurnal continuity, and might yet circle round the sun in its yearly course. The moon moves in this way about our earth, for it has no rotatory motion. The cause of our earth's revolving round its axis, is quite dis