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Here was provision for the designed inhabitants of the earth, both human and brutal. God would not create a living creature, until suitable provision was made for its sustenance and support.
STILL, man, the principal object of all, and on whom God's heart appears to have been greatly and principally set, was not yet properly provided for. Therefore the sacred historian goes on to relate, in the following verses, the formation of the Sun and the Moon, the two great lights we behold in the heaven, to enable us to divide and reckon time, and, in innumerable ways, to subserve our convenience, and promote our comforts. These, we observe, (as we shall have occasion further to notice, by and by,) were the work of the fourth day. This great Sun, this mighty orb in the centre of our system, seems to be the animating, lifegiving principle to all nature, and all earthly productions without whose light and heat, too, man could not live. Being now formed and corapleted, we may reasonably suppose, that, on the morning of the fifth day, it rose and shone in all its splendor upon the earth.
On the hifth day God created the inhabitants of the air and of the water. This account, again we have in the same majestic stile as had been used respecting the preceding works of the divine hand. God said Let it be, and it was. But here was a further display of divine wisdom and power, in the view of the angelic host, than had been before made. The almighty word not only brought the several species of the inhabitants of the water and of the air, into existence, but caused them to bring forth abundantly after their kind, carrying a power in it, which secured a perpetual succession of them so long as the world should endure. Here was something new to the angels, which they had neither seen, nor apprehended before. Thus gradually did God manifest his power, and unfold his wisdom to those holy and, as we have reason to suppose, newly created intelligences.
It was on the sixth day that the brutal creation, which move on the face of the earth, were made. The Al. mighty fiat at once made the earth fruitful, so that it
brought forth-living creatures, both cattle and creeping things to move upon its face. This seems to have been done on the morning of the sixth day. And now, all the provision, all the preparation for an inhabitant of the carth of an higher order was completed.
All that was yet
made was to subserve the purposes and the convenience of man. What infinitely kind and benevolent designs, may it be seen, God entertained towards men! How much must his heart have been on man, and the good of man, that such large and rich provision should be made for him ; and, not only this, but that a higher and superior order of beings should be created, to be spectators of what God was doing for men.
And now, when the earth and all the heavenly bodies we behold were completed, and the earth replenished with every thing, both animate and inanimate, which was necessary for the use, the convenience and the comfort of man, then seems to have been, as it were, a solemn pause! Man, the great and ultimate object of creation, was not yet made. That moral, rational nature, which was to bear the image of God-which was to be taken into a most near and intimate union with Godand in which God himself was to appear upon earth, and dwell with men, was not yet formed. As this was the nature, in which God's glory was forever to shine more visibly and clearly, than in all his other works, the infinite importance of this nature of man to the great and ultimate object of creation were such as, in God's view, required a consultation of the whole Godhead-all the Three Persons in the ever blessed Trinity. There being now every way a sufficient furniture, on earth, for such an inhabitant, the sacred historian tells us, ver. 26,
" And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them 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. “ So God created man in his own image, in the image " of God created he him ; 'male and female created he
And God blessed them, and God said unto " them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth; 6 and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of
" the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every « living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Here we learn our own origin ; and, see the energy, the continued and vastly extended influence of that powerful word, which bade man be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. A review of the mighty works of God in the provision and preparation made for man, and for his comfort and good of the evidences there are, that his heart was greatly set on man-and of the excellent moral nature, with which he was originally endowed, being made in God's own image, and after his likeness, it should seem, could hardly fail of inspiring us with a deep sense of the evil, the base ingratitude of sinning against him! As man was the noblest work of this great creation, God placed him at the head of it, and gave him dominion over all things here below. In contemplating the divine goodness to man, David breaks out with astonishment, Ps. viii. 3-6. " When I consider the heavens, “ the work of thy fingers ; the moon and the stars " which thou hast ordained ; What is man, that thout 66 art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou « visitest him ? For thou hast made him a little lower “ than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and " honor. Thou hast made him to have dominion over “ the works of thy hands ; thou hast put all under his 6 feet.”
Ona review, as we may say, of his great work, God saw that all was very good. On the seventh day, God rested from all his work, i. e. he ceased from creating, having completed the whole system perfectly to his own mind, and resting in all as being good. And, as man was created in his image, capable of beholding his glory appearing in his works, acknowledging his great goodness to him in the rational, immortal nature he had given him, and of celebrating his praise, God established it as a perpetual law for man, that he should, also, rest from the labor hé had appointed him, on every seventh day; spending it in humble acknowledgements of what he owed to God, his sovereign, the author and preserver of all his rational powers; and, in praises to his great and glorious name, for his wonderful goodness to him.
And now this world was finished the whole system formed every body in it fixed in its proper place and order-and, what we commonly term the laws of nature all established and put in operation. And, by that all powerful word, which first brought them into being, placed them in their present order, and set them in motion, they maintain that uniform harmony and regularity in which they were first established ; and, will continue and persevere in the same, until the final consummation. What reason have we, all, to say with David, Psalm xix. 1-4. “ The heavens declare the glory of God; and the “ firmament sheweth his handy work. Day unto day “ uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowl. “ edge. There is no speech nor language, where their 66 voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through « all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
Now that world was finished, which was to be a scene of wonders—That world, where God's great work lies, more than any where, or every where else. A world in which God himself was to be manifest in flesh-And, where the blood of the Son of God was to be shed. Now that rational nature and creature, which was more an ultimate end of creation, than any thing and every thing else, was formed and brought into being. Now the existence of that race was begun, out of which God designed to take materials, and form into the most glorious building, that ever was or ever will be- That house, in which he himself will forever dwell.
As the angelic hosts were to have a very great interest in those displays of divine wisdom and power and love, which were to be made in his dealings with men, God saw fit that they should be spectators of this great work of creation ; and, see and observe the manner and order, in which that world rose into being, which was to be, for a while, the residence of that race of beings, to which they were to minister. The benefit and good of this higher order of beings, was one great object, which God had in view in his original plan of the great work of redemption by Christ. For we are told, Ephes. iii. 9, 10, 11. That God“ created all things by Jesus Christ. “ To the intent that now unto the principalities and
" powers in heavenly places, might be known, by tile “ church the manifold wisdom of God, according to his " eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our “ Lord.” Now they behold the creature-that moral rational nature, to which, though inferior to theirs, God would more nearly unite himself, than to them into which he would more plentifully empty of his own glorious fulness, than into them-And, which was to be raised to a greater and more glorious nearness to him, than the holy angels themselves. Now they saw the being, and the beginning of that race, to which they were to be ministering spirits. And now, most probably, God revealed to them, that it was to be their future duty and work to minister to him in this nature in raising up a church from among men to be to the praise of his glorious grace forever. This, we have reason to suppose, was the trial assigned to the angels, who were spectators of this great work-The test of their obedience.
APPLICATION. 1. It ever becomes us, the priviledged descendants from the first happy pair, to remember, with gratitude and praise to God, that we are of that race, that order of beings, which is of unspeakably greater importance to the purpose of God's glory and love, than any or all other creatures—That we are of that nature, which is taken into a union with the divine, and into a glorious nearness to God of that nature, in which the highest perfection and glory of divine goodness and love are forever to appear. When we consider the astonishing wonders, which have been wrought on earth, and in God's dealings with men--which are still taking place, and will continue to take place here, to the end of time. When we reflect, that GOD, the creator of the world, and of man, is perpetually and uninterruptedly watching over the world guiding, directing and managing all, even its most minute interests and concerns, and those of all other worlds too, in subserviency to purposes of infinite love and mercy and grace to men- When, I say, we reflect on these things, how can it be otherwise than pleasing, entertaining and instructive, to dwell, some of our time, in thoughts and meditations on the origin and formation of this great world, in which we dwell, and on which