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vegetable and animal kinds, such analogy subsiste as plainly sliews they had all one MAKER, the all-wise God, who alone exist d from all eternity. Of this incomprehensible Being we can know no more than He sees, fit to reveal tw.us; but God has been graciously pleased to reveal many wonderful circumstances cerning his nature and attributes, and the laws by which he governs the universe. In respect to his Di. vine Nature, God has plainly revealed in Scripture that it includes Three persons, the FATHER, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that these three are ONE GOD; that the FATHER is invisible, that the Son is the express Image of the FATHER, through whom the FATHER. receives the homage of Mankind. Nothing but Deity can shew forth Deity, a Being of an inferior nature cannot be the express image of a superior one ; conse quenty whoever sees the Son, sees God, for there is no nature in him but GODHEAD. Mankind indeed were created in the image and likeness of God, they bore in their spiritual nature a faint resemblance of their CREATOR ; but the Son of God, called in this lesson the LORD God, is that CREATOR. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of God, of whose operations we are particularly informed in the New Testament; we read of Him in the very beginning of the Bible, where we are told that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters ; -and it was by the same Holy SPIRIT that Man became a living soul.
How wonderful it is to think of a self-existing and eternal Being, so wise and powerful as to be able to design the Works of Creation, and call into existence out of nothing the materials of which this Earth and all things belonging to it are composed; and of arranging them ip such perfect order as to form a complete World,
furnished with innumerable kinds of inhabitants, and amply supplied with all things for the production and mainten ince of a continued and multiplied succession of animate and inanimate creatures! Yet this World, admirable as it musi appear to every considerate mind, is but a small part of that universe, which from the discoveries of astronomers we have reason to believe consists of innumerabl. suns, with their revolving planets, all created by the same Almighty Being! Who that reflects but a moment upon the infinite power and wisdom which were requisite to perform these astonishing works, can forbe ir to adore, with the most profound veneration, the great Author of them?
Why the Creator, who could have brcught all things into existence instantaneously, chose to employ sise days in creating his world, we are not told, but it is not im. probable he did so, that attendant Angels' might view them distinctly, and have new causes for adoration ; and that Mankind in future ages, when they, heard the history of creation, might be led to consider with par. ticular attention the numberless benefits resulting to them from the various works of God, and glorify his holy name from day to day. A WORLD brought to perfection in a moment, would have been an object too great for the contemplatio. even of the highest intel. lectual powers, and infinitely beyond the limited capacity of the human mind.
* Let us imagine ourselves among the spectators of the wonderful scene exhibited in the gradual production of our earthly Globe, and its appendages. How grand and sublime was the first object of terrestrial creation, the stupendous chaos! How astonishing the effect of the CREA TOR's command, “ Let there be light!” How wonderful the division of the waters, and the consolidating B 6
of the earthy particles! How delightful the sight of Trees and Plants rising from the earth, and unfolding to view, in the course of a few hours, all the varieties of vegetable beauty! accompanied by innumerable kinds of insects, expanding as rapidly to their most perfect state! How astonishingly magnificent, even to celestial beings, the first sight of the sun, heightening with his resplendent beams all the charms of nature in one hemisphere of the globe ; and the mon amidst the stars, shedding her mild reflected light on the other, and giving peculiar graces to every visible object! How truly interesting must it have been to witness the production of living creatures! To behold the seas swarming with innumerable fishes, both great and small; and the same watery element producing abundantly fowls and birds of all the different kinds which naturalists described ! To observe the feathered tribes taking their winged flight in the aerial region, or perching among the branches ; and to hear them from every leafy shrub pour forth their sweet melodious warblings ! To see the huge elephant, the mighty lion, and all the beasts of the forest, rise from their parent earth, and mingle with the cattle of the field, and the reptile tribes ! But what must have been the wonder and delight of Angels at beholding the last great work, the formation of Man, a creature designed by Almighty Goodness to be their future associate, an inhabitant of heaven! Well might the sons of God, those benevolent Spirits who surround his throne, shout with joy, when the foundation of the earth was laid* ! What then should be the sentiments of the human race, for whose use and pleasure these wonders were created ? Ought they who are constant partakers of innumerable earthly blessings, who are endued with faculties by means
* Job xxxviii. 7.
of which they can understand from whose goodness they all proceed; ought, I say, these favoured creatures, who alone are capable of knowing their CREATOR, to slight His inestimable gifts, or misapply them to purposes directly contrary to the intention of the Almighty in bestowing them? Nothing can be more ungrateful than to pass over the Works of God without consideration. To study them is among the highest gratifications the human mind can enjoy, provided this study is conducted upon religious principles. The Book of Nature is open to all. “ On every Leaf CREATOR God is written." Let us then daily employ some of those intervals of leisure which all may command, in examining those objects which fall under our immediate observation, and we shall find cause to say, with the inspired Psalmist, from the conviction of our own minds, “ O Lord, how ma nifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all, the Earth is full of thy Riches* !” Let us also reflect with gratitude upon the wonderful condescension of the AlMIGHTY CREATOR, in imparting to Man a portion of his own Spirit, to make him immortal, and render him a fit candidate for heavenly bliss, and let us endeavour, by all the means in our power, to preserve the divine Image in our souls, that we may be found in the Likeness of God.
It is reasonable to conclude, that at the first creation all was disposed for harmony and peace : impressed with the IMAGE OF THE Deity, the souls of mankind were adorned with every mental perfection, and inclined by the Holy Spirit to obey their Maker and shew benevo. lence to all the creatures over which they had dominion ; the inferior creatures were individually impressed with an instinctive submission to the will of man, and with peaceable dispositions towards each other : so that Man * Psalm civ, 24.
might without danger caress the tyger and the wolf, or take the serpent to his bosom; and the lamb 'without fear lie down with the lion. Man had then no privilege to make sanguinary repasts upon the bodies of the animal tribes neither were the animals at liberty to prey upon each other. What a delightful place must the earth have been at that time! Well might the CREATor when he viewed his collective Works pronounce them good! Even now, that evil bas such predominant influence, the world, as far as it respects the works of nature and Providence, is indisputably good; and much happiness may be enjoyed in it: the great privilege of dominion still continues with the human race, and gives them decided advantages over creatures vastly superior to themselves in strength.
Mankind still continue to replenish and subdue the earth, whilst the beasts of the forest, and cattle of the field, still submit to his hand : ought not mankind then to observe the rules of justice towards the brute creation, by giving to all, under their immediate command, food in due season, and kind and merciful treatment? O let us never exercise crueltý upon the smallest creature that is within our power: but ever remember, that every thing which breathes is the object of divine benevolence ; that they who would receive mercy from God, are expected to practise it towards all that have life; and that the truly merciful man will be merciful to his beast.
FIRST. COVENANT WITH MANKIND.
From Genesis, Chap. ii. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.