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over the day, and over the night;" over the day and over the night, as the commentator 'well observes, and not over man.
That this their office of rule was given to them, no more speaks inherent authority, or will, than the assignment of an office to any other thing or person speaks inherent authority in that thing or person. They do not hence either derive secondary or subordinate deity, as has been another
Deity, to be deity, must be independent, and without cause.
These bodies have cause : what is visible must have cause ; for, what is visible has parts, and parts are necessarily deducible from a beginning. They are dependent, having body, and body requiring sustenance; thus, there must be the continued supply of a superior influence, in order to maintenance and identical being. Whatever may be the various component parts of that great body of light, or fire, the sun, it must have a constant supply of material, the constant application of such matter as is adapted to its nature; because visible, it is not imperishable, —cannot have been from eternity; and what is not of eternity, being indebted for its existence to a prior cause, cannot be maintained in existence by itself. The moon and the stars require a similar mainte
Of what they are exactly composed, we do not know. To us, they are great lights. They were, for aught we have been able to ascertain, composed originally from the chaos, by the proof we have of their fluidity; consequently, they, also, need the constant application of material adapted to their nature. The information we have regarding them, assures us of these facts; and, if only on that account, it is highly valuable. We can be under no mistake, as to their creation, and their subordinate and dependent employment. It is certain, that they do not exist of themselves. It is certain, that they were not placed by themselves in the situation which they now occupy; and, as they were not placed in it by themselves, they cannot of themselves be maintained in it. For their fixedness and their sustenance they must depend on their Creator. They rule over the day, and over the night, because the day and the night are distinguished by their appearance and disappearance. If we were to speak in the strictest propriety of language, we should say that God makes day and night, or that He himself rules over them by his appointed instruments. They are unconscious agents; and can, therefore, be only the instruments of another in their acts of rule or government, or giving of light, or divisions of times and seasons.
· Bishop Patrick.
God having completed this portion of his work, saw that it was “ good,” and pronounced it to be so: He saw its perfect adaptation to his own designs in it; saw that it was capable of giving light and heat, and of fulfilling the different purposes for which He entered upon it. Let us admire the wisdom of all this, and bend in gratitude and praise before Him who could create such bodies, and so fix or establish
them as to bring them to such vast and wonderful service. They are put into such position, that, awful as they are,—and they are so awful that an at all nearer approach would be our destruction, their operations are only benevolent and useful. In themselves of such power, whether natural or reflected, any deviation from their appointed course would be death to all things: they are dispersed at such distance, and with such substance between them, that just so much of light and warmth is given as is desirable for the nature of the globe and ourselves to receive. For these things let us be thankful; and, while we admire, as admire we must, these wonderful works of creation, let us devoutly cast our thoughts upwards, in humble adoration, and with purest reverence and love, to their great Maker and Mastereven unto God.
Genesis i. 20—23.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving
creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind : and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
That portion of the nether world was now formed and arranged, was appointed to its several uses and offices, which, although it has being and productiveness, has not sensation or voluntary motion. It was the first created, and the first disposed into its proper order, because there was necessity, that the creatures, for whose habitation and service it was designed, should, so soon as they received their being, find all things ready to their support and enjoyment. This portion of the work, then, being thus completed, and pronounced to be agreeable to its purpose, God next set himself to that other, which was of expected consequence to it.
The waters were gathered together, as was requisite,
before the earth received its disposition; and regularity, where there was choice, or discretion, would demand, that therefore the waters should be peopled ere inhabitants were bestowed upon or assigned to the earth; but, besides this, if we consider the natural order of things, we shall have still further reason to recognize the correctness of the arrangement. The noblest work of all was to be applied to last; I mean the creation of man; and, since it was intended that he should be formed, bodily, from the dust of the ground, it is clear, that, in proper course, he should be of the last formation from that substance; and, it would be in highest degree absurd to suppose, that God should commence any part of his work, and leave it imperfect, proceeding, causelessly, to another part, which He must have done, had He created the beasts of the earth before the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air.
There is, moreover, another reason to be given, beyond this, and yet more testifying of fitness and wisdom: if we look to the actual formation of the several kinds of animals, we shall see them to stand in a just order, and with due gradation; beginning with the smallest of the fishes of the sea, and going on to the mightiest ; observing, in like manner, the fowls of the air; observing, also, the beasts of the earth, we shall perceive, in each several kind, from one to the other, a perfect gradation, from the minutest and apparently most insignificant, to the largest and most remarkable; we shall see them forming an entire chain; and shall easily understand, how that,