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was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” But lo, the Holy Spirit of God was then at work, to order and adorn that confused mass. And hark, a voice, the voice of God, is heard to say, " Let there be light:” 66 And there was light.” And has not this same voice called us, his sinful creatures, out of darkness into his marvellous light? See 1 Pet. 2. 9. And shall we not agree that the light is good? Shall we not be glad and rejoice in that true light, the light of Christ, which is for a light to every man that is born into the world? Though light dawned upon the earth the first day, no sun was seen in the firmament till the third. There
be light in the outward world without the sun. There can be no light in the soul without the Saviour. O God, who alone art able, make this light to shine in our hearts ! Lord, speak the word only, and thy servants shall be healed !
On the second day, “ God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." 66 And God called the firmament Heaven.” This means that a division was made, and an effectual barrier placed, between those waters which were below mingled with the earth, and those which were above in the form of clouds; both of which were once afterwards allowed to rush together, when the fountains of the great deep were “ broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Gen. 7. 11. Here then was a provision for making the earth habitable to mankind, but at the same time a provision for “ bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” 2 Pet. 2. 5. And scarcely any one of our Maker's many kind provisions for our comfort and happiness can be thought of, which may not yield, if we abuse his goodness, a means of our punishment. The sense, which gives us pleasure, He can make to give us agony of pain. By the affections of the heart, which are designed to afford our best of happiness, He can inflict our bitterest of pain. So fearfully as well as wonderfully are we made! In so many ways does God teach us that He abhors evil, and urge us to cleave to that which is good!
On the third day the dry land was separated from the seas, and brought forth at the command of God all manner of herbs and trees, each yielding seed after its kind, and all seen by the Almighty Maker to be good. But what a grievous case is ours, by the inheritance of a fallen nature, that we should be seed after an evil kind, children of perdition! And then what a privilege to be “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible !” 1 Pet. 1. 23.
What a precious assurance to believers, who have been thus themselves regenerate, that their children too are holy ! See 1 Cor. 7. 14. Lord, who canst give to every seed, his own body; give to us, we beseech Thee, in the resurrection, that glorified body, which is ours not through our own righteousness, but through the seed sown and abiding in our hearts, by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The creation of lights in the firmament, and of living creatures. 14 And God said, Let there the earth in the open firmabe lights in the firmament of ment of heaven. the heaven to divide the day 21 And God created great from the night; and let them whales, and every living creabe for signs, and for seasons, ture that moveth, which the and for days, and years:
waters brought forth abund15 And let them be for lights antly, after their kind, and in the firmament of the heaven every winged fowl after his to give light upon the earth: kind : and God saw that it was and it was so.
good. 16 And God made two great
22 And God blessed them, saylights; the greater light to rule ing, Be fruitful, and multiply, the day, and the lesser light to and fill the waters in the seas, rule the night: he made the and let fowl multiply in the stars also.
earth. 17 And God set them in the 23 And the evening and the firmament of the heaven to give morning were the fifth day. light upon the earth,
24 And God said, Let the 18 And to rule over the day earth bring forth the living and over the night, and to di- creature after his kind, cattle, vide the light from the dark- and creeping thing, and beast ness : and God saw that it was of the earth after his kind : and good.
it was so. 19 And the evening and the 25 And God made the beast morning were the fourth day. of the earth after his kind, and
20 And God said, Let the wa- cattle after their kind, and every ters bring forth abundantly the thing that creepeth upon the moving creature that hath life, earth after his kind : and God and fowl that may fly above saw that it was good.
LECTURE 3. The invisible things of God may be known from his works. Of all natural objects, none are more striking to the outward sense, than the lights in the firmament of the heaven. Nor have any more generally engrossed the reverence of those amongst mankind, who have been inclined to worship the creature instead of the Creator. In the time of Moses this kind of idolatry was very prevalent. And it was therefore needful for him to insist upon it, that these glorious objects were the workmanship of God. He it was at whose command these lights were set in heaven. And He set them there for these purposes, amongst others, to give light to men who dwell below on earth ; and to be signs whereby we might know the order of days, and the seasons of the year, and also signs whereby we might be reminded of the greatness and goodness of Him who made them. Whether it be day or night, we have either sun, or moon, or stars, to declare the glory of God. Whether it be spring, or summer, autumn, or winter, we have still the same manifest witnesses of his majesty,
the same bright and affecting tokens of his love. And if He has taken such care for our comfort and enjoyment here, how excellent must be the things which He has prepared for us to have hereafter? And if the heavens which we behold are so full of glory, how much more those which no eye hath seen? How much more lovely, and more bright, the Star of Jacob, the Sun of righteousness, who there shines in endless day?
But what is light if there be none to see? What are all the fruits of the earth if there be none able to use them for their food ? Marvellous as were the things hitherto created, they give but a faint notion of the Creator's skill, when we come to compare them with what next He made, “the moving creature, that hath life.” To move by their own will, of their own accord, to live, so as to feel as well as be, so as to love each other and to have pleasure in themselves, such are the powers with which God has wonderfully provided the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea. And to them He added 6 the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind."
And in the one case,
66 God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply.” And in the other case it is repeated, that “ God saw that it was good.” So perfect was the enjoyment He had prepared for his creatures; and so gracious his desire in their behalf that they should enjoy it in great numbers, and for many generations !
Would we then judge of the Creator by his works? Would we know the invisible things of God by the things which He has made? Let us think of the things as they were when first He made them, and when He Himself saw that they were good. Let us endeavour to conceive of skies without storms, of summer without scorching heat, and winter without piercing cold, of plants innumerable, but none poisonous, of beasts many and mighty, but none preying on each other. In this state of universal plenty and universal love, we may see reflected the bounty and benevolence of Him, who made the worlds. Nor are there wanting instances, in the different kinds of creatures, of qualities which help to shadow forth the separate perfections of the divine majesty. In the supreme strength of the lion we have a type of the power which is to be attributed to the everlasting Son, “ the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Rev. 5. 5. In the lamb we see some faint likeness of that meekness and lowliness of heart, which can be properly learnt only of “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” John 1. 29. Whilst the hen gathering her chickens under her wings serves to shew us how ready God is to receive them that fly to the arms of his mercy, how able to feed, how willing to defend, them that put their trust in Him. Oh that we had never marred by sin the happiness provided for us by his love ! Oh that now, when God offers to give us better things in heaven, we would never prefer pleasures upon earth!
Man created, and pronounced to be very good. 26 And God said, Let us make living thing that moveth upon man in our image, after our the earth. likeness: and let them have 29 And God said, Behold, dominion over the fish of the I have given you every herb sea, and over the fowl of the bearing seed, which is upon the air, and over the cattle, and face of all the earth, and every over all the earth, and over tree, in the which is the fruit of every creeping thing that creep- a tree yielding seed; to you it eth upon the earth.
shall be for meat. God created
30 And to every beast of the in his own image, in the earth, and to every fowl of the image of God created he him; air, and to everything that male and female created he creepeth upon the earth, wherethem.
in there is life, I have given 28 And God blessed them, every green herb for meat: and and God said unto them, Be it was so. fruitful, and multiply, and re- 31 And God saw every thing plenish the earth, and subdue that he had made, and, behold, it: and have dominion over the it was very good. And the evenfish of the sea, and over the ing and the morning were the fowl of the air, and over every sixth day.
LECTURE 4. That it is well for men to be multiplied upon the earth. The moving creature that hath life can enjoy the gifts of God. Man can do more, he can thank God for them. He is capable of understanding how much he owes to God. He is qualified to shew forth the praise of his father which is in heaven. Man can be holy. And therefore man can be truly happy. Man can be holy. And therefore man is like to God. This then is the last and chiefest of God's works, a moving living being, made in his own image, after his own likeness; having a capacity for holiness, for happiness, for heaven; one that might love God for his goodness, and worship Him, and obey Him; one that might have dominion over the rest of God's creatures, as a faithful steward using all to God's glory; one that might offer to God reasonable service, worshipping Him in spirit and in truth, and joining here on earth with angels round the throne in heaven, to say, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Rev. 4. 11.
This is the way that man was made at first; not savage, as some have idly dreamed, but enlightened, ennobled, and refined ; enlightened with true light, to know the only God, ennobled with true nobility, the dominion over all God's creatures on the earth, and refined with true refinement, the taking pleasure in whatsoever things are just, and kind, and true, and good. Thus it
was that God created man, a moral being, a spiritual resemblance of his Maker. And of men like this He would have many live to magnify his name. For thus it was that his blessing was addressed to those whom He at the first created : “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” God would have many to be happy. God speaks of increase in the numbers of mankind, as if it were increasing the sum of happiness in the world. And when He gives unto them for meat all the herbs, and trees, and fruit thereof, He reckons that the more abundantly they multiply, the earth will be the more largely replenished. And this was at a time, when the beasts of the earth, and fowls of the air, and creeping things, instead of supplying food unto mankind, were to share with them in feeding on what grew out of the ground.
How different are the prevailing views amongst ourselves as to the increasing numbers of our fellow creatures ! How commonly do we reckon, and how often does it happen, that the increase of our numbers leads only to the increase of want and suffering, strife amongst men, and dishonour towards God! know why this was not so spoken of at the first? Let us observe how it is repeated, after man had been created, that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” There was neither misery nor sin to be taken into the account. This makes all the difference. This makes it easy to be understood that it was desirable for man to “be fruitful, and multiply.” But then it is hard for us to understand, or imagine, how man ever could have been 66
“ Few and evil” are the days of our pilgrimage. Gen. 47. 9. Corrupt are our propensities; perverse is our will; and our hearts “ desperately wicked.” Jer. 17. 9. Hence, instead of rejoicing when a child is born into the world, we might weep to think, that there is one more heir of sorrow and of sin, one more victim of death and hell. We might; if it were not that God has taught us otherwise. We might, if we had not the assurance of our Lord, that it is not the will of our Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. See Matt. 18. 14. All may again be well. All may once more “be very good.” God, who at the first made us in his image, has been pleased actually to take on Him our nature, on purpose that we might be renewed after the image of Him that created us. See Col. 3. 10. We sin; but we repent, and are forgiven. We die; but we arise, and live for evermore. We multiply; but our children too are blessed. They are born anew the children of grace.
And the more of them there are to suffer gladly upon earth, for Christ's sake, there will be the more to reign with Him in heaven for ever.
Lord God Almighty, Maker of all things, Father, Redeemer, Sanctifier of mankind, let the earth, as it is replenished by thy reasonable creatures, be also filled with the knowledge and the love of Thee, to the praise of the glory of thy name !