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INTRODUCTORY ESSAY, &c.
SECTION I.- :
THE subject matter of the first of the two following Lectures, presents to our view the events evolved in “the course of time” of full six thousand years It treats of The age of the world, as educed from the Chronological Records of Scripture, Historic and Prophetic, from the creation and fall of man, to the final consummation of all things. The work it assigns us, is an arduous one. “Lord, who is sufficient for these things | ** “Our sufficiency is of God.”” In the treatment of this subject, the intelligent reader will not fail to perceive, that while the believer in a Divine Revelation, from a conviction of its transcendant claims, stands ready, in the meekness of child-like docility, to yield his assent to its deductions upon the ground of its admitted inspiration, in proportion to the measure of evidence of their consistency therewith; others there are, who repudiate our deduc-, tions, by a denial of any claims to their regard or belief of the AUTHoRITY or foundation upon which they rest. Hence the following-Introductory Essay. • * 1.2 Cor. ii. 16. 2, 2 Cor, iii.5, a to 1
Of those who impugn the authority of Scripture in these premises, there are THREE classes—the Atheist, the Antiquarian, and the Sceptic. Says the Atheist, “matter is eternal—i.e. it is self. derived, self-productive, self-preservative. The various forms which it has assumed, are without beginning, without end. Hence, the material universe, of which our globe is a part, is etermal. Says the Antiquarian, remote authentic antiquity ascribes a vastly greater age to this globe, than that set forth by the inspired historian, Moses. Says the Infidel, even if you demonstrate the present age of the world from the historic and prophetic parts of Scripture, yet I reject both their inspiration and authenticity. To these, we may add a fourth class, who, though they admit the inspiration and authenticity of holy Scripture, and are enrolled among the number of those “who profess and call themselves Christians,” yet are shocked at the presumption of him who would venture to arrive, even at a tolerable degree of certainty, as to the point of time, in round numbers, upon which we now stand, in the successive evolutions of God's dispensations to man. Now, true, we might enter upon our subject, and dash on, “in medias res” to the entire satisfaction, and, perhaps, edification of the reader: we might leave the three first above named systems, and their deluded votaries to perish together in unbelief; and, we might also leave the fourth class to an undisturbed indulgence of their present state of imaginary security, till,
“– in pomp and majesty ineffable,”
“the Lord of life and glory” descends “in an hour when they think not,” to consummate his double work of destruction of the last great anti-Christian or infidel confederacy, (which confederacy, as we believe, is destined soon to swallow up, root and branch, every vestige of a merely nominal Christianity,) and to throw open wide the portals of the newly established “kingdom of heaven to all believers,” leaving them “without,” to lift up their voices in the now unavailing cry of “Lord, Lord, open unto us !” ”
But “we have not so learned Christ.” “What,” I would ask, “have we, that we have not received?” “Who,” I would ask, “maketh us to differ?” What can we, what would we say, but this, “by the grace of God, I am what I am.” O then, let us offer to the Most High a cheerful sacrifice of responsive obedience to the command, “freely ye have received, freely give.”" .
“According” then, “to the ability which God giveth,” under the present diversified administrations of the Spirit," and with the sentiments and feelings, as we trust, rather of forbearance and compassion, than of reckless denunciation of any, even the most erring, we proceed to assume, as our first proposition, the following, viz.:
1, Matt. xxiv. 44. . . . 2. Book of Com. Pr. Te Deum Laud. 3. Matt. xxv. 11. - 4. Matt. x. 8. 5. 1 Pet. iv. 11. 6.1 Cor. xii. 4, 6, 28.
I. THAT THE MATERIAL UNIVERSE, OF WHICH ouR GLoBE FoRMS A PART, Is NOT ETERNAL–CoNsEquENTLY, our GLOBE, OR THE world WHICH we INHABIT, Is NoT ETERNAL. - - - - - On entering upon a refutation of the principle, antagonistic to the proposition here assumed, we must premise, that we have to contend, as well with a species of what we shall call Christianized Atheism, as with Atheism in its more undisguised form. . . In the department of professedly Christian commentators, there are those, who, though they acknowledge the existence of an intelligent, great first cause, yet assert that the world is eternal. Of these, the learned Grotius and Watabulus are the principal. In the place of Gen. i. 1, (as in the English version,) they substitute the following: “BEFoRE God created the heavens and the earth, every thing was contained in the chaos.” Hence, (as I suppose we must agree,) as the chaos was not the thing spoken of in the act of creation, it must have been eternal: therefore, the heavens and the earth, as contained in it, must be eternal. The above inference is as specious, as the rendering upon which it is based, is false. The second verse of the chapter refutes the whole theory, the thing created being the unformed heavens and earth in their CHAOTIc state. They were “without form, and void,” the oogatos (aoratos) of the LXX, and the inanis et vacua of the vulgate. The primordial elements for the construction of the material earth and heavens, must have had an immediate origimal constitution—a genesis: and the production of this basis, or embryo, is what must be understood as. the obvious and real intimation of the first verse of Genesis: it was the first production of the first principia—the very creation itself—the producing of the primitive matter of the future constituents of the universe—in other words, “the substance of the heavens, and the substance of the earth.” With this agrees the original term of bara, which signi. fies, “He created—caused to exist, spring forth—as the world, from nothing.” Parkhurst's rendering is, “To create :- produce into BEING.” Hence, “IN the beginning the Ale-im CREATED the heavens and the earth.” And then adds he, “this cannot relate to form, because, as it follows in v. 2, “the earth,’ (i. e. that which was created in the beginning,) “was without form, or in loose atoms.” With these renderings: agree also the writew (ktidzein) from attoo (ktidzo) of the lxx. which signifies, “to build, raise up from the foundation, to create, form, fashion, appoint, constitute, to cause to exist, that which had no existence.” If more than this be implied in, the above term, “before,” we then ask, did the universe exist before evistence itself? Did it exist anterior to the primordial elements of which it is constructed? The theory. carries with it its own refutation. This theory however, claims chiefly for its Support,.
1. Gen. i. 1, 2, .