Abbildungen der Seite

Adam to mean a shorter term than they express, and is thus driven into most extraordinary difficulty. What he adds to one, he must subtract from the other; and even then, and on his own calculation, he will not be right, the total age of Adam not amounting to the interval he supposes between his creation and his fall. " And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: and the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years : and he begat sons and daughters: and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years : and he died.” It is undoubted that there was a Sabbath, whether before or after the Fall; and I maintain it to be as undoubted that the term of it was equal to the term of each day of creation ; but, if the day were ought else than a day, we have either not a true account of the duration of the life of Adam, or we must conceive Moses so to change the meaning of his expressions as to, seem determined that no one should gain a right knowledge from him. So does a sentence of folly hang over all who would wrest the language or lower the value of Scripture.

Upon these grounds, I adhere to the literal construction, in the point I have remarked on, of Moses in the two first chapters of Genesis. We discover no warrant for other. There is the plain meaning of the words; there is the instant following of fact. By admitting any other construction, what do we but invalidate the whole history ? and, then, where What information can we deem certain, or probable even? In reference to the creation of the world and of himself, man, as a reasonable being, cannot be truly satisfied but on divinely-inspired authority. Theory, from its very boldness, may attract for a time, but will eventually become vain as a shadow that departeth, and is no more seen. It is as much revealed that God made the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day, as that He is the Omnipotent Creator; and I see no difference between the kind and extent of the presumption that would put any other meaning on the statement that it was God who created the world, and the kind and extent of that presumption which would assert His creation of it in other manner or other space of time than His revelation has displayed. Let us beware how we take licence with the expressions of Scripture; let us beware, lest we lose our hope of salvation, which hope rests on the integrity of Scripture, while we think we are but gratifying our pride, by advancing theories of ingenuity, and which themselves may fail to procure us the temporary applause we seek and do promise to us.

are we?


Genesis ii. 1, 2, 3.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of

them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had made ; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it : because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.

We have now considered the works of creation; we have taken a view of the great doings of God in the accomplishment of that mighty scheme, the making and forming of the visible world, and all that is in it; and here our proposal would seem to have reached its conclusion; yet we have a point to notice, which is high in its demand, and in undoubted purpose with the general subject. We have observed the omnipotent Creator, proceeding step by step; from nothing, calling whatever is into being; and, from nothing, whatever is, arising on His command. We have observed Him regulating the heavens, the air, the earth, and the sea, with their several contents; forming and animating man, under Himself the intended Lord; honouring him; and proclaiming His design in him. After these things, we are told that He “rested;" and that the day on which He rested, and in remembrance thereof, He made holy unto him, ordaining it a Sabbath ; consequently, it will be proper, seeing the important effect it was to have upon reasonable beings, that we likewise cast our view over this ordinance, looking, first, to the appointment of it, and, then, carrying ourselves on to the duties it imposes. This ordinance is delivered in exact terms and method by Moses in his account of the generations of the heavens and the earth : and it would imply a want of reverence in us, if we were to close our discussion without notice of it; indeed, as it is part of the history of creation, our plan would not be complete. The whole history of creation is contained in the two first chapters of Genesis; and the only additional matter, touched on, is the separation of the seventh day to be a day of rest. It would, besides, be ungrateful, and ill agreeing with professed feelings of piety, to notice God's works, and to omit mention of the obligation upon us with which He ended them. The history is given, in order to make us true and acceptable to God; and the Sabbath is a principal means in that purpose; so a consideration of it follows both in propriety and as of claim.

The words of the inspired historian, in the beginning of his second chapter, are these: “ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” God's creative work was perfected : He had made the world, given its inhabitants, and ap

pointed its government; and He “rested.” It is said, also, “ And on the seventh day God ended' his work which he had made;" from which expression some persons have taken occasion to infer, that the work itself was carried on into the seventh day, and completed actually in it, the cessation, or the rest, commencing in that instant of it at which it terminated. This, however, is obviously incorrect; it is contrary to the meaning of the original words, to the sense of the subject, and to the testimony of the individual by whom the statement is made. 1. It is the meaning of the original words, not that God did work, and ceased from work on the seventh day: but that in. it He did no work at all; that He did not carry His work into that day, but that upon it and throughout it He rested. 2. The former chapter had described the works of creation as performed within the six days, and where they or any of them are again named in this chapter, it is only in the way of explanatory recapitulation: the works are described as “ finished” before the seventh day is spoken of; and it was at the conclusion of the sixth day that “ God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” It is subsequent to this that we are told “ God rested”-that He did no more; and because on the seventh day He did no work, and none was left for Him to do, He made it


Or rather, had ended, (as it may be translated,) for He did not work on the seventh day : but rested from all His nork which He had made; having so completely finished it, that there remained no more to be done.-Bishop PATRICK.

« ZurückWeiter »