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“ the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hal“ lowed it.” This is the reason always produced, when the institution of the Sabbath is at all named; and in consequence of it, the seventh day was observed till the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week: when, in perpetual remembrance of this great and glorious event, the first day became the Christian sabbath, and the seventh was laid aside. The apostle who wrote to the Hebrews, quotes this passage from Genesis, in the second chapter, and at the fourth verse, of his epistle:– “And God did rest the seventh day from all “ his works.” In his reasoning upon this passage, he makes no one remark, which discovers the least approximation to an allegorical interpretation; much less did he seem to regard it as “a beautiful mythos:” on the contrary, every thing which he says throughout that chapter, appears to ascertain very clearly, that he understood the phrase, “six days,” used by Moses, in it's literal sense. 5. Can any reason be assigned for the number of days fixed upon, and occupied in this great work? Certainly not. We dare not attempt to fathom the divine designs; nor is the Deity to be judged at a human tribunal. Perhaps (for what can be offered but conjecture?)
he earried on his work in progression, and chose six days for the performance of that, which he could have effected, had he been so disposed, in an instant, to shew that he is a “God of “ order and not of confusion.” It is thus also, that he works in providence, and in grace. His plans are gradually developed; his wisdom gradually manifested; his will gradually accomplished; his designs gradually completed. And possibly he chose only six days, to demonstrate" his unbounded power, that could perform so immense a work, in so short a space of time. 6. How could Moses be fitted to give an account of the creation? There can be no difficulty in answering this question, if it be allowed that he was divinely inspired; but we may account for his ability to record the circumstances of the creation in a way which will be more satisfactory to the wavering. It is no improbable conjecture, that in the earliest ages of the world, God communicated his will to pious individuals, and permitted them to transmit it to others by oral tradition: for in those days the longevity of man favoured this mode of conveyance. It will be admitted, that Adam could not be ignorant of the circumstances of the creation. With Adam, Methuselah lived two hundred and forty-three years: with Methuselah, Shem, the son of Noah, lived about ninety
seven years; with Shem, Isaac, the son of Abraham, lived fifty years; at the death of Isaac, Levi was forty years old; and Amram, at the decease of Levi, had attained his twenty-fifth year, according to the chronology of the history of Genesis. On this calculation no more than five persons, Methuselah, Shem, Isaac, Levi, and Amram, were necessary to transmit this account, together with the knowledge and worship of God, from Adam to Moses *. When the life of man was shortened, and the nations had become corrupt through idolatry, oral tradition was no longer a safe vehicle of conveyance; and God therefore communicated a revelation of his mind and will, which was committed to writing. In retracing the outline of the preceding Lecture; and contrasting the scriptural relation of the beginning of all things with other hypotheses; I trust, that the proposition, announced for elucidation this day, has been established: THAT THE Mosaic Account of THE creation, IS THE ON LY RATIONAL ONE WHICH WE HAVE RECEIVED. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, “ look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein “ dwelleth righteousness.”
* See Note 6, at the end.
Norr. 1.—Hic ego non mirer esse quemquam, qui sibi persuadeat, corpora quædam solida atque individua vi et gravitate ferri, mundumque effici ornatissimum, et pulcherrimum ex eorum corporum concursione fortuità? Hoc qui existimat fieri potuisse, non intelligo, cur non idem putet, si innumerabiles unius et viginti formæ literarum vel aureæ, vel quales libet, aliquo conjiciantur, posse ex his in terram excussis annales Ennii, ut deinceps legi possint, effici: quod nescio an ne in uno quidem versu possit tantum valere fortuna. * Isti autem quemadmodum asseverant, ex corpusculis non colore, non qualitate aliquâ, quam roiàr£la Græci vocant, non sensu præditis, sed concurrentibus temerè atque casu, mundum esse perfectum? vel innumerabiles potius in omni puncto temporis alios nasci, alios interire? Quod si mundum efficere potest concursus atomorum, cur port t;cum, cur templum, cur domum, cur urbem non potest? quæ sunminùs operosa, et multo quidem faciliora.
Cic. de nat. deor. II. 37.
Note 3–Among the ancient philosophers, various modifications of the hypothesis which supposes the eternity of the world, are to be found. Ocellus Lucanus, who lived a short time before Plato, was one of the most ancient asserters of the world's eternity. A short treatise, bearing his name, yet remains, upon this subject. Ocell. Lucan. de Univ. p. 506. inter opusc. mythol. edit. per T. Gale, 1688. The arguments which he produces will not be considered as the most decisive and satisfactory that could be wished: for he asserts, that the world must be eternal, because it's figure and motion are circular; and because it is impossible for any thing to arise out of nothing, or to fall again into nothing. Aristotle maintained, that, not only the world, but mankind, and all species of animals, have existed from eternity, without any