Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

was pronounced good, or fit, in every refpect, to anfwer the end for which it was defigned.

After this are related the particulars concerning the formation of man; the time of his production; the refolution taken upon the occafion; the materials of which he was compofed; the divine image in which God created him; and the dominion over the creatures with which he was invested. It is intended, in the following difcourfe, to offer- fuch confiderations, as may be of use towards the explanation and illustration of these particulars, in their order.

With regard to the time of man's formation, we may obferve of the divine procedure, what is true of every human plan, concerted with wifdom and forefight; that which was firft in intention, was laft in execution. Man, for whom all things were made, was himself made last of all. We are taught to follow the heavenly artist, step by step, firft in the production of the inanimate elements, next of vegetable, and then of animal life, till we come to the mafter-piece of the creation, MAN, endued with reafon and intellect. The house being built, its inhabitant appeared; the feaft being fet forth, the gueft was introduced; the theatre being decorated and illuminated, the spectator was admitted, to behold the fplendid and magnificent scenery in the heavens above, and the earth beneath; to view the bodies around him moving in perfect order and harmony, and every creature performing the part allotted it in the univerfal drama; that, feeing, he might understand, and, understanding, adore its fupreme author and director.

Not that, even in the original and perfect state of his intellectual powers, he was left to demonftrate the being of a God, either a priori, or a pofte

rieri.

[ocr errors]

riori. His Creator, we find, immediately manifefted himself to him, and converfed with him, informing him, without all doubt, of what had paffed previous to his own exiftence, which otherwife he never could have known; inftructing him, how, and for what purpofe the world and man were made, and to whom he was bound to afcribe all praife and glory, on that account. The lofs of this inftruction occafioned fome of his defcendants, in after ages, to worship the creature, instead of the Creator. Ignorant of him who gave the fun for a light by day, they fell proftrate before that bright image of its Maker's glory, which to the eye of fenfe appeared to be the God that governed the world.

ས་

The other parts of this fyftem were produced by the word of the Creator. "He fpake, and it was done." The elements were his fervants: "he faid to one, Go, and it went; to another, Come, and it came; to a third, Do this," and the commiffion was inftantly executed. But to the formation of man (with reverential awe,, and after the manner of men be it spoken) he seems more immediately to have addreffed his power and wisdom. "Let us make man;” All things are now ready; let the work of creation be compleated and crowned by the. production of its poffeffor and lord, who is to use, to enjoy, and to rule over it; "Let us make man.

The phrafeology, in which this refolution is couched, is remarkable; "Let us make man," but the Old Teftament furnishes more instances of a similar kind; "Behold, man is become like one of us; Let: us go down, and confound their language; Whom fhall we fend, and who will go for us ?" Thefe plural forms, thus ufed by the Deity, demand our attention.

[blocks in formation]

''

[ocr errors]

Three folutions of the queftion have been offered. The first is that given by the Jews, who tell us, that, in these forms, God fpeaks of himself and his angels. But may we not afk, upon this occafion," Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counfellor ?" With which of the angels did he at any time vouchsafe to fhare his works and his attributes? Could they have been his coadjutors in the work of creation, which he fo often claims to himself, declaring, he will not give the glory of it to another? Do we believe-do the Jews believe-did any body ever believe, that man was made by angels, or in the image and likenefs; of angels? Upon this opinion, therefore, we need not spend any more time. We know from whence it came, and for what end it was devifed and propagated.

A fecond account of the matter is, that the king of heaven adopts the ftyle employed by the kings of the earth, who frequently fpeak of themfelves in the plural number, to express dignity and majefty. But doth it feem at all reafonable to imagine, that God fhould borrow his way of fpeaking from a king, before man was created upon the earth? The contrary fuppofition would furely carry the air of more probability with it, namely, that because the Deity originally used this mode of expreffion, therefore kings, confidering themselves as his delegates and reprefentatives, afterwards did the fame. But however this might be, the interpretation, if admitted, will not fuffice to clear the point. For, as it has been judiciously obferved, though a king and governor may fay us and we, there is certainly no figure of speech, that will allow any fingle person to say, "One of us," when

he

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

he fpeaks only of himself. It is a phrase that can have no meaning, unless there be more perfons than one concerned.

What then should hinder us from accepting the third folution, given by the beft expofitors, ancient and modern, and drawn from this confideration, that in the unity of the divine effence there is a plurality of perfons co-equal and co-eternal, whe might fay, with truth and propriety, "Let us make man;" and, "Man is become like one of Us?" Of fuch a personality revelation informs us; it is that upon which the economy of man's redemption is founded; his creation, as well as that of the world, is, in different paffages, attributed to the Father, to the Son, and the Holy Spirit; what more natural, therefore, than that, at his produce tion, this form of fpeech fhould be used by the divine perfons? What inore rational than to suppose, that a doctrine, fo important to the human race, was communicated from the beginning, that men might know whom they worshipped, and how they ought to worship? What other good and fufficient reafon can be given, why the name of God, in use among believers from the firft, fhould likewife be in the plural number, connected with verbs and pronouns in the fingular? It is true, we Chrif tians, with the New Teftament`in our hands, may not want these arguments to prove the doctrine: but why should we overlook, or flight fuch very valuable evidence of its having been revealed and received in the church of God, from the founda tion of the world? It is a fatisfaction, it is a comfort to reflect, that, in this momentuous article of our faith, we have patriarchs and prophets for our fathers; that they lived, and that they died in the belief

[ocr errors]

.Gen, i. I ברא אלהים

[ocr errors]

*

belief of it; that the God of Adam, of Noah,
and of Abraham, is likewife our God; and that:
when we adore him in three persons, and give glory
to the Father, `to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
we do as it was done in the beginning, is now, and
ever-fhall be.

Proceed we to confider the materials, of which:
man was compofed.

"The word of the Lord once came to the prophet Jeremiah, † faying, Arife, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will caufe thee to hear my words. Then he went down to the potter's house, and behold he wrought a work on the wheel. And the word of the Lord came untò him, faying, Behold as the clay is in the potter's hand, fo are ye in mine hand.”

A scene like this is prefented to our imaginations by the words of Mofes; "The Lord God formed man out of the duft of the ground;" he ‡ moulded or modelled him as a potter doth; we fee the work,. as it were, upon the wheel, rifing and growing under the hands of the divine artificer !

The human body was not made of the celestial elements, light and air, but of the more grofs terrestrial matter, as being defigned to receive and communicate notices of terrestrial objects, by organs of a nature fimilar to them. In this inftance, as in another fince, God feemeth to have "chofen the base things of the world, to confound things honourable and mighty," when of the dust of the ground he compofed a frame, fuperior, in rank and ‹ dignity, to the heavens and all their hofts. They whofe profeffion leads them to examine the ftruc ture of this aftonifhing piece of mechanism, thefe men see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in..

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

אלהים * !

† Jer. xviii. I.

יצר +

|| 1 Cor. i. 28.

« PreviousContinue »