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thousand years.

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than useful. “God designed all created things to last for a term of twelve thousand years,” so he begins; and he ends with saying that the term of the existence of the human race was to be six

We know by the various attempts which some Christians have made to fix the time of the end from the prophecies, how natural it is to be curious about this point. And we know also by Christ's express words that it is a point not to be revealed to any created being : the hour of the death of the whole world is to be kept in the same uncertainty as that of the death of every one of us. And accordingly the Scripture account of the Creation gives us no information as to the time that the world was to last; it makes no revelation to gratify curiosity; it tells us what God has done, so far as it concerns our practice, and no farther; and in like manner as to what He will do. “ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This is a true Scriptural revelation, for the foundation of all our duties, of all right notions of ourselves, and of the world in which we are living, is laid in the knowledge of this fact, that it is God who made us and not we ourselves; that we have nothing which we have not received from Him, and that for His pleasure we are and were created.

Now let us see, on the other hand, what the Etruscan writer has not, which the Scripture has.

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The Creation, as he relates it, is a mere curious fact, and nothing more; the pretended correspondence of the numbers, that as there were six thousand years before man was made, so there would be six thousand years after he was made, is just a thing to strike the imagination, and to excite wonder. But we find not a word as to any thing moral, --nothing that has to do with sin or with duty. But what says the Scripture? Immediately after the mention of the creation of all things, it goes on to give the relation in which man stands to his fellow creatures and to God; the relation I mean as a matter of practice: that he has dominion over the earth and over all living creatures in it, given to him by the Lord and Maker of him and of them. “ God blessed man and woman, and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We do not find this mentioned in other accounts of the Creation ; yet this it is above all other things which it concerns us morally to know. It is a matter of experience that we are more powerful than all other creatures, by means of our reason; it is almost a matter of necessity that we avail ourselves of this power: but neither power nor necessity are satisfactory grounds on which to exercise dominion; they are not satisfactory to a


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thinking mind, because neither the one nor the other will supply the notion of right. In fact I know of no subject more startling, when we begin to think of it, than the condition of the lower animals with regard to man. And even now it is full of darkness, it is impossible so to explain it as to leave it free from great difficulties, speaking intellectually. But all that we want practically, for the satisfaction, not of our understanding, but of our conscience, that these few words of God's revelation have given us.

« God said unto man, Have dominion over all living creatures.” This makes our dominion no longer a mere matter of power, or of circumstance, but of right: the difficulties of the question we may leave contentedly with God, knowing thus much, which is sufficient for our purposes, that the relation in which we find ourselves has God's sanction,—and that in making his living creatures minister in such numberless ways to our use and comfort, our so doing is not tyranny, nor in any way sin, inasmuch as we may

do it in the full faith that it is according to God's pleasure.

Yet again, one other thing the Scripture tells us of the creatures, man included, to whom the work of creation had given being ;-it is told in a very few words, yet how much is contained in it. “God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good.” This again is a matter of proper

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revelation; experience could tell us nothing of it. I said once before, that it was not original sin that was properly a revelation of Scripture, but rather original righteousness. We know, from what we see every day, that we, the individuals of the human race, are born sinners; but we could not have known without revelation that the human race itself was born righteous. Its present state is not its nature, but its corruption : at its beginning some better thing was prepared for it. The evil which we see and feel in us and about us is man's work and not God's: it is, if I may so speak, the exception to God's creation, and not the rule. And how greatly does the knowledge of this fact minister to our moral good. How greatly does it teach us, with respect to this nature of ours, and this world in which we live, to think humbly, and to hope highly. To think humbly—for we and all around us are a work of God spoiled and marred:-at first all was good: when it came first out of His hands, it partook of His own perfection. It was ruined afterwards, by its own fault, not by His original design. What then if we should be the only part of His creation which has so fallen; if those other worlds, which even our bodily senses can perceive, should deserve the title of “ good” still. Had our present condition been our original one, it might have been that of


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all God's creation; it might have been thought to have been beyond His power or His will to make any thing wholly good. But even we, of whom we know so much evil, proceeded from His hands pure. We must not think then that we are a specimen of God's works; it is an enemy who hath done this: and we alone, it may be, of all His creatures, have been thus torn from our Father's care, and from the freedom of our birthright, to lead a life of sin and of bondage.

Again, the same revelation of our original righteousness encourages us to hope highly. We see a state of things which justifies the melancholy views which so many have taken of man's nature and destiny. Pain and guilt, suffering and death, teach us too plainly that our actual condition is not one of blessing. And our experience gives us no prospect of any thing better: what happens to one of us in these matters, happens to all. And it bas been asked why we should expect any thing better; why our present condition, with so much of enjoyment as is even now intermingled with it, should not be all that God designed for us.

It might have been so indeed, for all that we could know of ourselves; but God has told us that it was not. He made us good, and he bestowed on us His blessing. We are fallen,-grievously fallen; but because it is a fall, because it is not

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