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own understanding, the care of his own forethought, and the skilfulness of his own hand, may be always near, to rectify any disorder to which it may be liable, and to regulate its motions, when they should be at all in hazard of deviation or mischance? to renew what should be decaying, and to direct what should be failing ? So, with respect to the Almighty: He set up his ordinances; he had confidence in the capabilities which he had distributed to them; he saw that they were good,—that they were competent and sufficient; and, his visible interference was to a certain extent withdrawn. Now, it might with equal correctness be said, that the machine of human device and construction, when once it has been framed and put to its use, acts by its own necessary properties, as that nature acts by its necessary properties: the former assertion, if it were made, would not be more encompassed with absurdity than the latter. The machine possesses its properties, because they have been given to it; it exercises them, because such has been the appointment of its framer and designer; and, although it is left to its own working, it is only in compliance with the provision of that appointment; and, it is still sub ject to control. Nature is likewise as a machine, designed and framed by God; and has power, only because power has been given to it by him. It is not independent; and it can move but as he has directed, and as he permits. If it were independent, its properties would be changeable; the very regularity, therefore, on which the argument of its independence is built, is an argument against it, for, commonly, it cannot quit the circle in which it is placed. When God had ordained the seed as the perpetuating principle, and appointed the seasons, with his other agents or instruments, it was no longer necessary that he should specially command the springing and the growth. They were, by these very appointments, under the influence of his command; and they would remain, until they should be. recalled by himself; until the authority he had delegated should be revoked. He had spoken: it was not necessary to renew his word; it was that which would endure for ever.
It has been said, as noticed by our Commentator', “ that the production of plants in the beginning, differed from their production ever since, in these two things: first, that they have sprung ever since out of seed, either sown by us, or falling from the plants themselves; but at the beginning were brought out of the earth, with their seed in them, to propagate them ever after. Secondly, they need now, as they have done since their first creation, the influence of the sun to make them sprout. But they came forth by the power of God, before there was any sun, which was not formed till the next day.” It is clear, that these things must have had a beginning, as that the world itself had a beginning; and, if we believe that God made the world, there can be no reason why we should doubt his having made these. The
creation of the world out of nothing was a more wonderful instance of power, than his creation of these things out of that which was already made. Having created the world out of nothing, he had proved his omnipotence; and, being thus confessed omnipotent, nothing that he afterwards did (I speak in respect of himself) is wonderful. The very nature of the things now occupying our notice—the grass, and the herb, and the tree—shows the origin of them to have been of the earth; for, an analysis into their various parts evidences a compound matter : the same may be affirmed of the earth; it is compound; neither is there in any herb or plant-in whatever springs from the ground—any substance which is not to be found in the earth. This is sufficient to demonstrate that they were originally called out of the earth, as the Scripture informs us; but, before they could have appeared from the earth, the earth must have had power to produce them. It is no argument against our position, that their growth in the earth causes this appearance, or forms this composition: if they were not earthy, they could not grow in the earth. The earth, being a created substance, could not have obtained or asumed this power of its own means or will. We are, therefore, per
force carried back to the First Cause to God, who commanded it so to be; by whose“ word it was framed;" by whom “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." He commanded the plant to arise from the ground, with the seed, which was to perpetuate its kind, in itself:
this was now its essential property'. He had assigned to it the power of propagation, and that power it was ever after to use, except on those extraordinary occasions in which it should suit his will and wisdom that it should be stayed. “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.” The earth is endued, conditionally, a fact we are not to lose sight of,—with this power; if we sow the seed, the plant will spring up; if we tend it, it will grow and mature. This was all which could have been required : this was all which ought to have been expected.
At the same time, knowing, that although all is thus fixed by certain, and but in so far as the prerogative of Omnipotence is concerned, immutable laws, it is, nevertheless, under the care and in subjection
We acknowledge, that God and Nature do things every where, in the most frugal and compendious way, and with the least operoseness; and therefore that the mechanic powers are not rejected, but taken in, so far as they could comply serviceably with the intellectual mould and platform ; but still so, as that all is supervised by one understanding and intending cause, and nothing passes without his approbation, who, when either those mechanic powers fall short, or the stubborn necessity of matter proves uncompliant, does over-rule the same, and supply the defects thereof by that which is vital; and that without setting his own hands to every work too, there being a subservient minister under him, which, as an Archeus of the whole world, governs the fluctuating mechanism thereof, and does all things faithfully, for ends and purposes intended by its director.--Cud. WORTH.
to the control of a wise and gracious governor, we
it will be effectual to the accomplishment of whatever it commands. It is that, which cannot in any circumstance fail: it is sure, and it is true. We may be satisfied that our care, being in consistency with the ordained will of God, will not be exercised in vain : he will eventually bless it, and give us that which is good, making his every dispensation to turn to our profit; he will not suffer his own purposes, -and, while we obey his will, our well-being is comprised within his purposes—to be rendered void. We know that he has ordained the seasons and all else for our service; and, therefore, provided we fittingly depend on his goodness, he will command their working to be promotive of our real welfare and most lasting comfort.
Thus was the work of the third day brought to its completion. The waters were gathered together into one place, and the dry land was made to appear : the earth was shaped and arranged, and the sea was