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we are fallen, God's will is before us, and we may, by pursuing the path He has pointed out to us, to large extent perform it: if we do so, the blessing of the original words will in their possible signification be ours. They were intended to convey a blessing: there was no intention that man should have misery in his offspring; and, if he do have misery in them, it is in a very considerable degree a misery of his own procuring. We have the means, within and about us, of making all the dispensations of the Almighty work for our good; and if, by neglect or wilfulness on our part, they work otherwise, to ourselves will be attributable every misfortune, and suffering, and sorrow, which from them may seem to happen unto

us.

CHAPTER IX.

Genesis i. 28.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and

multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have doininion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every creeping thing that moveth upon the earth.

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THE nature and extent of the dominion bestowed upon man at his creation, is, in our proposed order, the subject of the present chapter. The Creator, when He signified his pleasure that man should be made, declared, at the same time, that it was one part of his intention in him that he should have dominion over the earth, and over all things that were in it, in the air, and in the sea; and, now that the work of his creation is actually effected, we find this dominion assigned in express and personal grant. In the former instance it had been said, “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”—In the latter the words are, “ Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” The earth and its contents were thus subjected to man's power and use : to him, likewise, a being whose proper habitation was of the earth, and to which he was naturally attracted, not only was it, with all that was in it, in such manner assigned, but the occupants of those other elements also, the air and the water, were included in the grant of authority. The command over his own more especial element was not alone given to man, but a power, besides, in those other two, for habitation in which his body was not framed, and which, at first view, both in themselves and their occupants, would seem to defy any exertion of him to penetrate into, in visible or other control. The earth was placed at his disposal; he was directed and enabled to “subdue it;" the inhabitants of it were appointed to be under his authority, and for his service; the fish of the sea were brought within his dominion; and the fowl of the air were made obedient to his call. There is a remarkable distinction in the arrangement and terms of this grant, which we shall do well here to observe. Man is commanded and capacitated to “ subdue ” the earth equally as to “have dominion” over all things within it; but, as concerning the other elements named, the air and the water, no similar command is issued, or power bestowed; his dominion there is permitted to extend no further than to their occupants; themselves were to remain subject to their Creator. It never was designed that the will or power of man should in any wise direct them. He was endued with no capacity to that purpose. The earth he could, in the language of Scripture, “subdue,” or by cultivation apply to his service and enjoyment; the occupants of it, and of the sea, and of the air, some by the force of his physical strength, and others by the working and ingenuity of his mind, he could subject to himself; but the sea he could make neither to rage, nor to be calm; the winds and the rain he could not order. God reserved in his own hand the power to

give rain upon the earth, and to send waters upon the fields;" to “ cause the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; to make lightnings for the rain ; and to bring the wind out of his treasures; he hath also established them for ever and ever; he hath made a decree which they shall not pass;" He “ established the clouds above; he strengthened the fountains of the deep; he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment.” He set a limit to the authority of his creatureMan, and so taught him dependence on Himself. The authority man possessed was by delegation and of gift: it was not inherent; he had it not until God gave it him; nor could he use it otherwise than was the design or endowment of Him from whose sole will and bounty it came. Man's power, then, or the dominion which was granted to him, was confined to the subjecting of the earth, in its foreordained capacity and purpose, to his use and pleasure, and to the bringing of all other living creatures into the fear and obedience of him. The earth was subject to him; he was enabled to subdue it. God had produced from the earth, as well as the irrational animals, “ the grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed was in itself;" and He had vouchsafed to it the property of continuing the production of them in constant and perpetual succession ; but, while He had so ordained, as all was for the eventual service and advantage of man, he willed Him to have a power of controlling it in the regulation of its fruit. When He put him into the garden of Eden, it was, amongst other purposes, that he should “ dress it; and keep it;" and the dressing and keeping it imported a dominion over the ground of it; for, although nothing was to be or could be produced in other method than according to the order and course which the Creator by His original decree had made natural, still was the production in great measure dependent on the care of him to whom was intrusted the charge of dressing and keeping it. This remark, as to the appointment of Adam in the garden of Eden, may be taken in general reference to the whole earth in its first condition and design; and, relatively, in its later and present. The ground would require the alternation of seasons, it would require the warmth of the sun, and the refreshment of showers from the heavens; yet was man, by his endowments, enabled so to work it to his purposes

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