페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

and excellent image in which man was originally created. The high and distinguished honour that was thus conferred upon man qualified him to become God's vicegerent in the earth, and to have “ dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” He blessed these also, his creatures, with fruitfulness, and gave them every herb with its seed, and every tree with its fruit, for food. As yet the flesh of animals was withheld; but the grant of this also was afterwards made to Noah.

Thus was Creation finished; and its infinitely glorious, ever-blessed Maker, reviewing his works with complacency, pronounced them all to be “good.” As each successively came out of his hands, they were seen to be good: but when the whole was completed, and especially when man, the best and noblest, was produced, then he declared them to be very good.

“ And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Here let me now endeavour to conclude with a few reflections.

1. Creation proves the existence of God. Wherever we see an effect we know that there must have been a previous cause; where we behold a work, we are sure that there must have been an agent; when we look upon a house, we know that it was built by some man; and so he who built all things is God. On whatever part of creation we cast our eyes, we perceive works which set at nought all human power and ingenuity. The minute and the magnificent alike proclaim Almighty power. On every flower and on every insect is stamped the mark of God, as on the lofty mountains and the raging

The more we examine the parts and properties of any of these, the more we see of beauty, harmony, and use. We perceive every thing contrived, with the most admirable skill, to answer the purpose for which it is intended. Contrivance proves design, and where design is, there is an intelligent mind. And what living creature, what natural production, shall we examine, that does not bear proof of consummate wisdom in all its conformation? that does not proclaim an almighty and omniscient God? Creation, then, is a sufficient ground of natural religion; so that the Apostle declares that even they who are without revelation are yet without excuse, if they are impious and ungodly. “For,” saith he, “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.” But alas ! how totally has the book of creation failed in teaching the knowledge of God! How thankful therefore should we be for the books of revelation! By faith in them we especially “understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things that do appear.

seas.

But these inspired writings not only instruct us in the things of creation; they lead us also to the knowledge of the mercies of redemption, and the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. They teach us indeed to bless God for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life;

but, above all, for his inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.'

2. Every view of creation should lead our thoughts to God.—Too many are found, who suffer their eyes to wander, with brutal gaze, over all the beauties of nature; but we, looking through nature up to nature's God, should soar on the wings of devout contemplation from earth to heaven, and to him who dwelleth in the heaven of heavens. How can we be so well employed ? or whence derive a greater pleasure? Let then every stupendous work in nature, and every minute beauty which we perceive, continually fill our souls with adoring recognition of their great and blessed Author.' And when we contemplate the heavens, the moon, and the stars, which he hath ordained, and where he hath set in the midst of them the sun, rejoicing as a bridegroom to run his course, let us not fix our eyes upon them in ignorant wonder, or mere philosophical pleasure, but worship profoundly him who sitteth on the circle of the earth, and stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain; « who measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, and metes out heaven with a span; who comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighs the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.” Oh! let us learn to draw, both from the heaven and from the earth, subjects that shall inspire us with devotion, and gratitude, and joy. Wherever we walk abroad, with the glories of creation spread around us, let us often stop and tune our hearts to raise the animated strain,

These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare

Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. 3. All things being his creatures, all should serve him.—This is the equitable law, and the universal proclamation, of nature. Let all things serve God. We especially, his rational creatures, are loudly called upon to praise, to worship, and to glorify him. Let us then consecrate our powers, our faculties,

« 이전계속 »