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the creation of them was a complete work in itself. If it had not been applied there, and had been left to be used, as for them, but in the general expression, at the conclusion, an idea might seem to have countenance, that the other created beings of the earth were in their nature or origin equal to man; or, at least, it would not have discountenance enough; but, in addition to other evidence in favour of the contrary notion, this, also, now stands as a line of distinction between them ; it speaks of an essential difference. In truth, may we not say, that it was not so necessary to make a particular application of the words to man, and that Moses purposely avoided it? The very form and mode of man's creation would testify, that he, as a work, was good, or that he was created entire to God's design of him. The history of his creation is this : “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness : and 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. So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created He him ; male and female created He them.” Could there be any doubt, with this statement, of the perfectness of man in his kind ? and does it not appear to be more consistent with the majesty of God, that the being, created in His image, and after His likeness, should be left in the assertion of that great fact, which of itself said that he was good, than that, when it had been said that he was created in and after the divine image and likeness, a particular declaration of it should be made ? Can any thing be added more to dignify, more to verify, the statement? Should we from ought else derive further information regarding it? What more can be said of a created being, than that he was made in the image and after the likeness of his Creator? It would have been a repetition, inferior in its character to the character of the original statement; it would have been a descent in terms. It would have been somewhat of a derogation of the dignity of God to seem to be taking survey of a work on which His own image was stamped : that image spoke a fuller meaning than any force of language could convey; and the inspired historian evinced a more thorough apprehension of his subject, and proved a better capacity of executing his office, by so leaving it, than would any attempt to improve upon it by added description have shewn. While, however, we say this, we are allowed and even compelled to say, that man was included in the general expression, for that asserts that every thing which God had made was good; and there is no derogation that the words of it are so applied to him, notwithstanding he was made in that eminent manner and form. God's dignity had been sufficiently asserted; and, now, the making of an exception would have led to a confusion of words and sense. Moreover, the expression being on the general and not the particular purpose, it was not unfitting that man, in the common use of it, should be pronounced good or suitable in reference
to the whole, while it had been abstained from in reference to him particularly. God here looked at him in relation to all, as He looked at all in relation to each other.
Thus has God enabled us to know how and to what purpose every part of Creation was formed; that it was for an use, and with power and adaptation to it. In this procedure was the highest benevolence. He made no contrarieties; He made no jarring elements; all were in concord; all were suited, each to the service of other. In the original of the world was no evil; and they that would make the Supreme Being to have introduced or consented to the existence of a principle of evil as well as of good, are doing Him a wrong, and denying His word. If He had so done or consented, it would have been that He was party to an opposition to Himself. Are we to suppose that He desired to thwart His own plans? that He had, or could have, a scheme of driving into opposition against Himself, and their own apparent purposes, any of the creatures He had made? To suppose that He admitted a principle of evil, is supposing all this; for, if he made a principle of evil, He was the maker of a principle whose endeavour it would be to act in opposition to His own will, and to turn His own creatures from the purposes for which He made them, to contrary purposes, it being the nature of evil to turn every thing from its true and proper intent; we are, therefore, supposing one of the plainest absurdities that can be, in supposing that God made, or connived at the admission of evil.
If He made two so contrary principles, we must hold them to have had powers originally equal; and, if they had, we must assume Him not to have known where the principle of evil would terminate; not to have known which would be victor; in short, we shall assume Him to have made, or admitted, a principle which would necessarily act against Himself, He not knowing to what extent it would succeed; which would be an utter denial of His power, His wisdom, and His goodness. Evil, then, was not original; and, that it was not original, is the grand reason we have for our persuasion that it cannot ultimately conquer. It arose from circumstance; from some failure of the agents themselves, in whom it afterwards operated, in consequence of abuse of the liberty to which they were left; and, that it was introduced, is no contradiction of either the knowledge or the power of the Creator; and, wherefore is it not, but that freedom of action was, for a wise and benevolent purpose, however abused, vouchsafed by His goodness? He did not make, He did not profess to have made,--but quite the contrary,—His reasonable creatures, and, in them, all creation, unable to fall from their state of goodness, though He did make them able to retain it; He indeed promised, that, in a certain event, they should lose their state of goodness, or relative perfectness, for He said, “ Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”
Here was an actual declaration that evil might gain an entrance; but, that does not make Him the cause of it; it did not enter by Him; it was shewn by what means, and by what means only, it could enter ; which was by failure in the creatures.
This is the understanding, in which we are to take the expression, that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Every thing was adapted to its appointed and respective purpose, and to His own entire intention, so long as the course He had directed should be undeviatingly followed. God stands justified; and the after-introduction of evil does not derogate from His own power, wisdom, justice, or goodness. He made us and all things good, and for good ; He made all perfect in degree, and for continued perfectness; there was nothing which obliged us to wander from our purpose, or to be at this day other than we were in the beginning. Every observation we can form upon His works; every deduction we can draw from the teaching of reason; every interpretation we can give of His words,do instruct us to the same effect. We are not now in that state of original perfectness; we cannot now so exactly answer the design of our creation ; because the first offence, or failure, so threw every thing from its first intention, that there are, and will be, while the material world shall last, variances and contrarieties; but, still enough of good, or of adaptation to purpose, has been permitted to remain, to enable us to perform our several parts with some tolerable correctness, with a sufficient correctness, I may say, for answering