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our yet purpose. So much of the image and likeness of God continues in man; so much of His blessing, delivered on creation, rests with him, that the world fulfils its office, and holds together, which it could not do, if some degree of goodness had not been suffered to remain to it. All there is of good in the world is derived from that which God then caused or ordained to be in it; and we ought to be thankful that He permitted any to remain with us; He might, if He had pleased, have withdrawn its influence altogether; and, if He had, we should have been irrecoverably lost; the whole world would have been sunken in ruin; for, the proper
functions of the whole, or of any part of it, could not have been exercised. As it was the work of His hands, He would not let it be so lost; and, that it does remain, with all its arrangements, shewing the principle of original good, is proof of the wisdom and goodness of God.
Now let us praise Him for all his marvellous works; let us bless Him for creating us; and for creating us in such manner that our purpose may be fulfilled with satisfaction to ourselves, and, by His gracious endurance, to Him also. We have within us a capability of good; it was original in us; we were once sufficient of ourselves to please God; having lost that sufficiency by the lamentable event of the Fall, we regain in Christ so much as will make us acceptable; by Him the image of God is renewed : and, we not being sufficient in ourselves, He is sufficient for us. These things let us duly ponder, piously grateful for all the divine mercies, for the mercy of creation, for that of preservation, and, above all, for that of redemption, by which our original and forfeited character has its restoration. Good, essentially, belongs unto God: He proved it in creation; He proved it in preservation, giving us all things richly to enjoy;" but, how much more glorious did He prove it in redemption, again opening to us the way to His favour in which is happiness everlasting. If good had not been in Him essentially, He would not have redeemed us, He could not have redeemed us, redemption being the highest act of goodness to be exemplified: that He did redeem us, shews Him to be good essentially.
Let us endeavour to conform ourselves to His will, so fulfilling our purpose in the present state, that we may be accounted justified in that to which we are moving, and in which our purpose will be subjected to neither deterioration nor change.
GENESIS i. 31.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
I HAVE, from a wish not to interrupt the general order, and, also, an opinion of the necessity of a fuller vindication than could be had from an earlier notice, refrained until this point from direct remark on one part of our subject, of deep consequence in itself, and of prominent demand on our attention, by reason of the objection that has been raised against the Mosaic account in regard to it. We read, in literal strictness, that the whole work of creation was divided in accomplishment, as to time, into six parts, each part occupying the space of what is denominated a day; it being said, at the close of every such space, “And the evening and the morning were the first,” or “ the second,” or any succeeding “ day.” As this is the last occurrence of the observation, it seems to propose an advantageous opportunity of discussion; and we may hence the better take it separately in itself, and without intervention in it of other matter.
The propriety of attaching a literal meaning has long been objected to, the word “ day" having been supposed to signify a much larger portion of time than that of a natural day. This objection has been maintained on two grounds, the one of which is the variety of traditions amongst many ancient nations, ascribing other and larger portions of time to the works of creation, by whomsoever effected,and the second the asserted fact, that the earth does yet offer such appearances as evidently shew it to have existed far longer than would have been the case if six days only had been occupied in the creation of it and its contents. The general answer to either must be obtained from the authority and purpose on and with which Moses wrote. If he were authorized by the Creator, his history is true; and then, since at that time much of false conception of God, of the world, and of themselves, prevailed with mankind, one great object before him was, we may believe, to correct it, and to establish a standard of undeniable proof. If those fancies, which were false and evil, prevailed at the time of his writing, and his own account so widely differed from them, it is clear that he intended to destroy them; and, unless they, who would retain the Mosaic account as a true account in its meaning, and yet hold to other than its usual acceptation, or receive the words of Moses and place on them an arbitrary construction, can bring evidence that Moses signified under them what they do not express, their conception is palpably erroneous. These are they that, forming peculiar ideas from present appearances in the earth, profess a desire not to reject the account of Moses, while they endeavour to maintain a theory which is contrary to the ordinary construction of him, and who have therefore fallen upon this ingenious expedient. They admit his history from the creation, and what has been written since his time as recorded in the Bible, taking either in literal meaning; but this account, which literally taken, overturns their theories, they would have to mean something else. This is the true state of the question: the two parties are in some sort mixed together, although no union or alliance is acknowledged; those, who dare not or wish not avowedly to reject revelation as a guide implicitly to be followed, borrowing a main defence of their theory from others who are openly adverse to revelation, and against whom and their fallacies it is pointed; and tending in that instance to weaken it from no other cause than that it does not agree with their own imagined discoveries, and the system they would build upon them.
Was the world made in six days ? No: says one objector: it is not possible that it should have been made within that space of time. Now, whether the actual space were the space of six days, of six years, or of six thousand years, is to the question of possibility of little moment. The Creator, who was able to accomplish the work in six thousand years, or any other named term, however lengthened, was able to have accomplished it in one day, or one instant; for,