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DESCRIBED. Exod. xxv. 18-22. xxxvii. 7-9. Lev. xvi. 2. Num. vii. 89. 1 Kings, vi. 23-28. vii. 7. 2 Chron. iii. 10-13. v. 8. Ezk. i.5-11. x. 20-22
AN EPITOME, &c.
FROM THE CREATION TO THE CALL OF ABRAHAM.
This WORLD, the theatre of the most wonderful divine operations, has been in existence 5,831 years. The learned Greeks were fond of speculating upon the origin of all things. Aristotle - supposed the world, in its organized form, eternal; and that the Supreme Being put it in motion. Anaxagoras, followed by Socrates and Plato, believed in a supreme mind who organized the world out of matter which always existed ; yet held to an ani. mating principle in matter which propelled and regulated the organized system. Epicurus, the father of Atheism, traced the beautiful order of the earth and all its inhabitants and productions to a fortuitous concurrence of atoms. No one in Greece or Rome ever acknowledged a Creator of the world.
The old Heathen nations, ignorant of their origin, were fond of ascribing to themselves vast antiquity. The Babylonians and Egyptians boasted of their astronomical observations and counted their dynasties through thirty and forty thousand years. The inodern Chinese and Hindoos make similar pretensions.
“.............. Some drill and bore
But the oldest astronomical observations transmitted to us, are within 300 years before Christ. And the most distant Grecian or Chinese record is within 600 years from the same era. The geological argument for a vast antiquity of the earth, vanishes before the cumulative evidence from the same source of an universal deluge, such as Moses describes, and about the time specified by him.
“ Ex nihilo nihil fit,">" from nothing, nothing comes,” is a maxim which leads us up to an infinite intelligence, the maker of all things. And in the Bible we have a plain, simple, and concise account of creation ; bearing the stamp of truth, and giving the mind just and elevated views of God. Without excluding the idea that worlds on worlds and systems on systems, angels, principalities and powers may have been created ages before our world, it presents to us the Almighty producing and bringing to perfection, in great majesty and goodness, the heavens and earth, in six days.
The materials which he spake into being, were a mere mass of confusion, without form and void. From the chaos he first separated light ; leaving it however diffused throughout the whole. He then constituted the firmament or atmosphere, which should give air for breath, and sustain the clouds. He next broke the earth's surface into mountains and valleys, leaving the water to rush with violence into the deep. “ At thy rebuke they fled, at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.” No sooner did the dry land appear, than it was covered with grass and herbs, shrubs and trees; all formed with the wonderful power of reproduction to the end of the world. On the fourth day, God created the heavenly bodies, and either concentrated the light into the sun, or gave that body the power of originating its motion. He made visible also the stars, those suns of other systems which had perhaps shone for ages.
Having prepared a beautiful and convenient habitation for living beings, he proceeded to fill the ocean wiih fish, the air with every thing that hath wing, and the solid ground with beasts and creeping things. Last of all and with peculiar solemnity, he formed Man. “And God said, let us make man in our own image after our own likeness ;”—said it to whom ? not to the angels ; for what had they to do with creation? It was a solemn consultation of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
God made man in his own image-an immortal spirit-upright and holy, and gave him dominion over his creatures. He endowed him with the power of speech and knowledge of language ; and made him, not as some philosophers have supposed,
but a little superior to the ou rang-outang, but in the very highest state both of mental and moral excellence. He made male and female ; instituted the marriage relation ; gave them his blessing, and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth.
At the close of his work, God instituted the SABBATH. Six days he had laboured, but the seventh day he rested from all his work, and blessed and sanctified it.
If it be asked why a Being of Almighty power did not perform this vast work instantaneously, it may be replied, That in infinite wisdom, he chose a method of operation which gave to the angelic host and has given to man, a clear and beautiful view of his great work, and ushered in the holy sabbath with the deepest solemnity.
Infidels have sneered at the idea that God existed eternally alone, and only began the work of creation six thousand years ago. But we have no certainty that he did then begin it; and had he begun it six millions of years since, they would have sneered in like manner and with the sarne propriety. .“ With the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”' We gain nothing on God's eternity, by going back to the most distant assignable period.
The diversity of complexion and figure in the human family has been adduced as an objection to the Mosaic account of their descent from one pair. But this objection is fully obviated by a view of the effects of climate and moral causes ; and by tracing nations widely differing in these particulars, from long separation, to a common origin.
The work of creation gloriously unfolds the sovereignty of God. He made all worlds and all their inhabitants just as they are, because it seemed good in his sight.
It is an evidence of the divinity of Christ, 6 for all things were made by Him.” And he did not create the world without a purpose worthy of himself. He designed it as the theatre of the most stupendous love and mercy; the place where he should humble himself to the death of the cross, redeem his church and prepare it for glory.
Compared with the scriptural account of the history and design of the creation, all heathen fictions are too absurd and puerile to be received a moment by a rational mind. In the bright views which we are permitted to take of all that God has done, of the manner of execution and of his benevolent purposes, we cannot fail to exclaim, “0 Lord ! how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all.”
Primitive state of Man. His trial and apostacy. Promise of
a Saviour. Institution of sacrifices. First fruits of the Spirit.
The primitive state of man was one of holiness and unmarred felicity. The first exercises of his heart toward God were love and reverential fear. Between him and the Father of his spirit existed a free and blessed intercourse. His soul was a stranger to selfish and corrupt affections, and was filled with joy in God and his perfect administration..
As a moral agent, he was subjected to that law which requires all rational beings to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, and their neighbour as themselves. To make special trial of the first parents of the human family, God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, in the midst of all that could gratify the taste or delight the eye; and there, while he gave them the full indulgence of every thing else, forbade their eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a reward for obedience, he promised them eternal life ; everlasting holiness and happiness in his presence. For disobedience, he assured them that dying, they should die; that sinning, renouncing the dominion of their maker, and departing from all holiness, they should sink for ever under his wrath and curse. The trial God had a right to make ; for he was their creator and lawgiver ; and so bountiful had he been to them, so sinall was the thing denied them and so great were the motives to entire abstinence. that disobedience would call for the severest judgments. The trial was one of greatest consequence to them and their poste. rity. In it was involved their eternal well being. They were to secure a state of perpetual holiness, or to reject their Maker and become totally depraved in their moral affections. And, as it had become a law of creation that every thing should bear the likeness of its progenitor, the moral state and character of all future generations depended on the issue.
At this moment of solemn trial, Satan, the chief of those Angels who kept not their first estate, but revolted from God and were cast out of heaven, appeared in the garden of Eden, in the form of a serpent; and full of envy, resentment, pride and malice, sought their ruin. He addressed himself craftily to the mother of men, and endeavoured to excite in her mind an unbelief in the threatening as the word of God. Failing in this, bo