Abbildungen der Seite



GENESIS i. 1-5.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And

the earth was without form and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good : and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

“ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In these few and simple words is exhibited the great event of the creation of heaven and earth; and, few and simple as they are, it must be admitted that the character of the work, and the majesty of the Author, could not have been more appropriately declared, or more triumphantly vindicated. created the heaven and the earth.” There is no previous description of this mighty One: there is no general assertion of his omnipotence; none of his eternity; none of his goodness. The inspired writer was, too aware that no other than an omnipotent, an

“ God



eternal, and a perfectly good Being, could have called up this wondrous scene; he, therefore, as more consistent with the dignity of such claims, satisfies himself with a bare announcement of the fact, leaving it to be of necessity implied, that He, who had thus done, who had thus designed and formed, was in essential possession of every attribute of divinity. Consequently, if it be asked, Who is God? the answer is to be found in the statement of the work of Creation. If it be asked, What is God ? the answer is likewise there. He is the creating power; He, that existed before all things; the great Parent and Governor of all'.. The word “God” doth, indeed, convey to our

God, whom the wisest men acknowledge to bee a power uneffable, and vertue infinite, a light by abundant claritie invisible; an understanding which itselfe only can comprehend, an essence eternall and spirituall, of absolute purenesse and simplicity ; was and is pleased to make Himselfe known by the work of the world : in the wonderful magnitude whereof (all which He imbraceth, filleth, and sustaineth), wee behold the image of that glory which cannot be measured, and withall that one, and yet universal Nature, which cannot bee defined. In the glorious lights of heaven, we perceive a shadow of His divine countenance ; in His mercifull provision for all that live, His manifold goodnesse ; and lastly, in creating and making existent the world universall, by the absolute art of His owne Word, His power and almightinesse; which power, light, vertue, wisdom, and goodnesse, being all but attributes of one simple Essence, and one God, we in all admire, and in part discern, per speculum creaturarum, that is, in the disposition, order, and variety of celestiall and terrestriall bodies : terrestriall, in their strange and manifold diversities ; celestiall, in their beauty and magnitude ; which in their continuall and contrary motions, are neither repugnant, intermixt, nor confounded. By these potent effects, we approach to the knowledge of the


minds, thoughts, and feelings, persuasions and convictions, of highest interest and value. In this place, there is no obligation to which it doth not give force : our dependence, our duty, our gratitude, hence strike upon us in effectual and most admirable manner. This awful name stands forward as the designation by which Omnipotence will be known amongst His inferior creatures ; and it seems to have been specially for this purpose introduced to our notice, in that first act which commanded the existence and establishment of the visible world. God created.”—Brief as is the expression, what an immensity of intelligence doth it carry with it! The being of a God, one and indivisible, is authoritatively revealed; for, with a one God is associated no other in this exercise of power: the origin of the world is referred to His will, and as in necessary subjection unto it. It is said, " In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,the meaning of which words is, that in the order of creation they were first made ; that they were brought into being before the appointment of other distinct material objects, all else having direction to proceed from them as the intermediate source between themselves and the Creator; and this heaven and this earth now comprise in their description the firmament above, wherein we behold the sun, the moon, and the stars; and the material globe below, the earth and the waters. There needs no argument to prove, that ere the host of heaven could have their places as

Omnipotent Cause, and by these motions, their Almighty Mover. - RALEIGH.

signed to them in that firmanent, that firmanent itself must have been made; or that, ere plants and animals, which were intended to grow and to be formed from the earth, could so grow and be formed, the earth itself must have been made; wherefore, the full and undeniable meaning of the words, “in the beginning,” will be immediately seen; that is, the essential priority of what are termed “heaven and earth” in the work of creation; it will be seen, that they purpose we should understand from them, first, and before all things, wherewith creation was concerned. “The action by 'which the heaven and the earth were made,” I use the language of the learned expositor of the Creed', “ considered in reference to the effect, I conceive to be the production of their total being ; so that whatsoever entity they had when made, had no real existence before they were so made. And this manner of production we usually term creation, as excluding all concurrence of any material cause, and all dependence of any kind of subject, as presupposing no privation, as including no motion, as signifying a production out of nothing; that is, by which something is made, and not anything preceding out of which 'tis made. This is the proper and peculiar sense of the word creation : not that it signifies so much by virtue of its origination or vulgar use in the Latine tongue; nor that the Hebrew word used by Moses, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' hath of itself any

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »