Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

fixed, and had its limits prescribed : to the earth was granted the principle of productiveness; and every plant, and herb, and grass, which now grow upon it, then had their origin. Nothing in this kind has since originated. The skill and labour of man may have multiplied species by compositions, but there is none at present in being which is not determinable in that original principle. All this did God on the third day perform ; and he saw “ that it was good.” The work was perfect; no principle could be added to any part of it; for, if any principle could thereafter have been added, then must there have been an original defectiveness; it could not have been “good ;” and God having pronounced it to be “good,” His omnipotence would be brought into dispute. As, however, we admit, primarily, His omnipotence, we draw a high value from the delivery of this sentence: we fix every principle to this date; we fix it at the essential creation of the world, and all that it contains. Whatever has sprung since, is rather to be considered as a re-production, than as creation ;-for, the being of every thing, remote as it may be in its visible, substantive form, actually holds its date from the date of the principle to which it owes its production. With the creation of the principle, the uses were likewise appointed; and although man might have been ignorant of many of them, as of the properties of the thing or substance, yet did the Almighty Creator in the beginning create them each with its res-, pective use,—with its respective design. There is nothing, minute and insignificant as it may seem,

which did not receive his observation : there is nothing, in its form or capacity, which he did not purposely contrive: there is nothing which he did not fashion. It may be said of all other created objects, as David said of himself, “they are fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are God's works ; their substance was not hid from him, when they were made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth. His eyes did see their substance, yet being imperfect, and in his book all their members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” There is nothing of all his works, which had not designedly in it, power, and wisdom, and goodness. He made not any thing for nought; and there is not any thing which is made, which was not made by Him.

It is for us to acknowledge and adore this might, and this goodness; to seek, not elsewhere, but in Himself, for the origin of all things; to confess that he is their Lord; that he is their great cause; and, notwithstanding that we now see them to be governed by established rules and laws, notwithstanding that the sea has its bounds which it cannot pass, and that the round world is so fast that it cannot be moved, cannot be lifted from its balance, “hang” though it does “upon nothing;” notwithstanding that the productions of the ground, the grass, the herb, and the tree, spring up naturally, and in order,—so naturally and in such order, as almost to appear to spring by inherent necessity, and that, because we sow and plant, they must grow,--that they obey the influence of the rain, and the sun, and the seasons,-still, let us remember, that it was God who set its bounds to the sea, and who fixed the world in its present security; that the productions of the earth were in full vigour, maturity, and completeness of kind, before there was either rain, or sun, or season; that their laws, and the rain, and the sun, and the seasons, were of his creation and appointment, and are under his direction and control; that they are but intermediate instruments, and may be changed at his pleasure, and on his word. Let us with devoted humility bend before this God, being grateful to him for all that he has given us, and piously endeavouring to apply them to the use he has intended. Let us never, in the pride, and vanity, and folly of our hearts, cast off our dependence upon him, or, more properly to speak, disavow it, for, cast it off, in reality, we cannot, since we cannot escape his Omnipotence. Let us never ascribe origination to secondary causes, but confess it to be of his will, and his power, and his goodness, that “all things were and are created.” Let God be seen in all; he is, indeed, in them; if he were to withdraw his influence, they would perish ; and, they do exist, because he wills them to exist. Let us exclaim with the grateful Psalmist—“The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live : I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet : I will be glad in the Lord.”

CHAPTER IV.

GENESIS i. 14-19.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven

to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years : and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth : and it was so. And God made two great lights ; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night : he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the inorning were the fourth day.

We now come to the creation of those great and glorious bodies in the heavens, which are called the sun, the moon, and the stars : Lights are they described by Moses to be in the firmament of the heaven; and a part of their office is the division of the day from the night. In the third verse of this chapter, when commanding the work of the first day, “God said, Let there be light:" here he says, there be lights in the firmament of the heaven.” The word, which, in the former case, means to signify “light” as an original principle in its kind, has not so extensive a signification in the latter; here it means only to denote what was created from light; and we are, consequently, to understand, that God having, on the first day of creation, produced by his almighty word the principle of light, and it having until now been distributed, generally, throughout the earth, in order that it might be made instrumental in the arrangements which had been decreed, and in the productions which had been called forth, from it at this time were formed those bodies, the sun, the moon, and the stars, which were immediately placed in the firmament of the heaven, that is, the upper region, commonly denominated the sky. They were thus placed for the perpetual use of the world, according to the appointment declared'.

6 Let * See page 61, line 10.

1

By the most wise and unchanged order, which God observed in the works of the world, I gather, that the light, in the first day created, was the substance of the sunne: for Moses repeateth twice the maine parts of the Universall ; first, as they were created in matter; secondly, as they were adorned with forme: first, naming the heavens, the earth, and the waters; all confused ; and afterward, the waters congregated, the earth made drie land, and the heavens distinguished from both, and beautified. And, therefore the earth, as it was earth, before it was uncovered, and before it was called arida, or drie land ; and the waters were waters, before they were congregated, and called the sea, though neither of them perfect, or enriched with their vertuall formes : so the sunne, although it had not his formal perfection, his circle, beauty, and bounded magnitude, till the fourth day, yet was the substance thereof, in the first day, under the name of light, created; and this light formerly dispersed, was in the same fourth day united, and set in the firmament of heaven * : for, to light

« ZurückWeiter »