Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

earth, which he calls Remesh, creeping things; be-
cause whatever feet they have, they are so short and
small, that they seem to the naked eye to have none
at all; but to crawl upon their bellies on the ground.”
Moses, besides, it is to be had in mind, is speaking
of the objects of creation, as creation at the time he
was speaking appeared to mankind. Before the fall
had corrupted not only man but all things else, there
was nothing noxious on the earth; and those animals
which we call wild, and which are here denominated
“beasts of the earth," did not so resist the dominion
of man as they now resist it. There was the same
relative difference in the nature and disposition of
them all—the small and the great, the strong and
the weak, the simple and the subtle, or whatever
might be their several distinctions; but they were
all under a willing control, refusing no submission,
inclined to no resistance; and none of them exhi-
biting the savage tempers and rough habits which
have not since ceased to be observable. These, as
we are informed, were made out of the dust of the
ground; the original of them was the earth.
the earth bring forth,” were the ordaining words.

And,” it is said, “ God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind.” The mode of their creation, we are authorized to conclude, was the commandment of God that they should proceed from the earth. In this operation, there are two points demanding our notice. In the first place, we remark the expression, “ God made.

6 Let

Although it is said, and truly said, that “God made” these creatures, yet are we not thence to infer that He applied Himself to their creation by any other means than that of commandment. He “ made” them, because, without his will or commandment, they could not have had or obtained existence; and, by willing and commanding their existence, He became the author of it. It is the other point of notice that God commanded “the earth” to “ bring” them “forth.” He commanded the earth: He did not command it to exercise a power which it previously had; but his present command both bestowed and limited the power.

“ The earth did not bring them forth by virtue of the influence of heaven upon prepared matter : but God formed them out of the matter so prepared, and produced them in their full perfection after their several kinds?.” He directed the earth to produce them, assigning it a power to do so, which power was to cease with this first exercise of it: it was given but for this special occasion. That it did cease, and never again was exercised, is clear to us from a circumstance of the flood, when Noah, in order to preservation of the living things of the earth, according to their respective kinds, was commanded to take with him into the ark two of each. God did not, as He might have done, destroy all, and command the earth once more to produce; but He said, “ Of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them

[blocks in formation]

alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.” Creation, properly so, was to be but of one occurrence: it was a power belonging solely unto God, and even He would not lessen its awfulness by repetition.

We have also another argument. The animals of which, in many countries, whole species have been destroyed, have never there been renewed: the earth does not reproduce them: it shows no approach to that power of production which it had in the beginning : it does not offer so much as an abortive attempt. Propagation, by each one of its kind, is the only method by which they are multiplied and continued. Some persons have affected to argue, that all these creatures were brought into life by the influence of the sun's heat upon the earth : now, notwithstanding that it is neither impossible nor improbable, that, in the process of their creation, the vivifying influence of the sun might have been employed by the Omnipotent, yet is it at the same time certain, that it could have been used in no other character or capacity than that of a subordinate or temporary instrument; for, if it had been of the higher description, why does it not produce them still? Why are not various kinds of animals still and constantly seen springing from the ground? whereas, as I have by inference just before remarked, no animal has hitherto been discovered,

whose original may not be traced back to primal times; and, not even is an assertion, or a suggestion, known to have been offered, that any new kind of animal has since been produced. Indeed, they, who would advocate the point now denied, do, in their deduction, make an admission they by no means intend: they, unwittingly, ascribe creation, as we do, to a special act of divine power: they prove, if they prove any thing, that, whatever influence it was which bestowed form and life, bestowed it with special design. If it were the sun, acting on the earth, it must have been by Almighty plan, as an original. From whence, or from whom, did the sun obtain this power? This is a question which they may, perhaps, fancy to be of no difficult solution : they may say, using a word always at hand to the ignorant, that it was of the natural influence of the sun; but what, then, caused this influence so suddenly and altogether to cease, is the inquiry in rejoinder? Did this great, and first, and sole effort, exhaust it? or, rather, was it not unrenewed by Him who temporarily gave it? That it was, if it were at that time employed, unrenewed by Him who gave it, or, more fittingly to speak, who commanded it, is manifest in that it no longer exists. Thus do we see, how necessarily, even in our inquiries into the creation of the lower animals, we are driven back, or up to a First Cause, to God Himself: as there is no account, besides that of the Bible, which claims authenticity on the subject; as all else is conjecture; and as we have so good reason to be, lieve the Bible account to be authentic, we adjudge ourselves on sure ground in taking it as exact. The truth of it has been confirmed by every argument and evidence either of reason or of revelation: there is in it nothing which is inconsistent with natural inferences, or with the notions we have of the wisdom and majesty of God. As to that argument, of which so frequent use has been had, that the sun does yet, and constantly, exercise this power in the more minute instances of animal life, and that insects are almost visibly brought by it into life and motion; and such being the fact, that it has, or had, equal power for the production of the larger bodies; we would allow the latter part of the position to be well-founded, if the former were not open to objection. It is open to objection. It is a most palpable error.

The inquirer, who has placed himself under its cover, will find it somewhat to interfere with the soundness of his reasoning, that, not only does the heat of the sun, which to his view, generates these animals, bring them into active motion, but that it raises them, the very same, also, in kind, which have been heretofore, and with the same habits and qualities in every respect; in nothing new, or out of usual course; and further, a diligent examination will shew him, that these insects are not created, or produced by the heat of the sun, out of any different, or fresh matter, or from any substance properly belonging to the earth; but that the heat of the sun acts upon the egg, or other deposit, and that, where the sun seems, in innumerable instances, to be changing particles of

« ZurückWeiter »