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Buddeus' Historia Ecclesiastica.
on the Three Dispensations.
Jamieson's Use of Sacred History.
do. Volney's do. Mariti's
do. Jowett's Christ. Researches. Wilkinson's Domest. Man. of Egypt. Heeren's Asiatic Researches.
African do. Smith and Dwight's Researches in
ABBREVIATIONS. Arab. The Arabic version of tlie Polyglott. Arab. Erpen. Another Arabic version published by Erpenius. Chal. The Chaldee version, or Targum of Onkelos. Targ. Jon. The Targum of Jonathan. Targ. Jerus. The Jerusalem Targum. Sam. The Samaritan Pentateuch. Sept. The Greek version of the Seventy. Syr. The Syriac version of the Polyglott. Valg.
The Latin version commonly called the Vulgate.
THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
2 And the earth was without IN the beginning God created form, and void ; and darkness was
the heaven and the earth. upon the face of the deep : cand
a John, 1. 1, 2. Heb. 1. 10. b Ps. 8. 3. & 33. 6. & 89. 11, 12. & 102. 25. & 136. 5. & 146. 6. Is. 44. 24. Jer. 10. 12. & 51. 15. Zech. 12. 1. Acts 14.
15. & 17. 24. Col. 1. 16, 17. Heb. 11. 3. Rev. 4. 11. & 10. 6. c Ps. 33. 6. Is. 40. 13, 14.
logy or preamble, or any of the formaThe general scope of the first chapter lities both common and proper in h.stoof Genesis is too obvious to stand in ries composed by men, acquaints us need of comment. It is the record of with the naked fact, that 'In the bethe creation of the heavens and the ginning God created the heaven and earth-a work which we learn was not the earth. Nothing is said by way of effected by a single instantaneous act of assertion or proof even of the fundaOmnipotence, but performed by gradual mental truth of the being of a God. stages through the space of six succes. This is a truth taken for granted ; as if sive periods of time, that begin to be the idea of its being questioned was an reckoned from the first emergence of idea which never entered into the wrilight from the previous darkness by ter's mind; or as if it were designed to which the globe was encompassed. Of teach us that those who denied the existthe interval between the original pro-ence of an intelligent First Cause, were duction of the matter of which the earth rather to be rebuked than reasoned was formed, and the formation of light, with. But although the Mosaic history nothing is said, because the objects for of the creation does not embrace all the which a revelation is given to man did points on which it might have been supnot require any thing to be said. Nor posed, a priori, that a divine revelation does it appear that it entered into the would have instructed us, yet it is to design of the sacred writer, or rather of be borne in mind, that it is true as the Holy Spirit by whom he was mov. .far as it gues, and in no way inconsisted, to give an account of the whole crea-ent, when rightly explained, with any tion, but merely of that which it more subsequent discoveries which have been immediately concerns us to know. The made in the structure of the globe, or Scriptures were not written to gratify the laws of the planetary system. As curiosity, not even all laudable curio- the Bible and the universe have one and sity, but to nourish faith and govern the same Author, we may be sure that human conduct. Accordingly, they af- the truths of the one can never miford no answer to a multitude of ques- litate with those of the other. That tions that might be asked respecting they may in some cases apparently the when and the why and the horo of come in collision, may be admitted ; the divine operations. A simple it was but time, and patient research, and a so, is the sum total of the information wider collation of facts, will not fail in given on a great variety of ine most in the end to bring nature and revelation teresting subjects which can occupy the into the most perfect harmony with mind of man. An introduction of ma- each other. jostic sublimity ushered in without apo- 1. In the beginning. That is, in the be
ginning, or at the outset, of the work of structed; the first verse condensing in creation here recorded. Whether this limited compass the sum of the several were absolutely at the beginning of time, particulars afterwards specified. That or even of the existence of the matter of it was not the finished 'heavens' and the heavens and the earth, cannot be de- earth' that were in the first instant of termined from the phraseology. The creation spoken into existence, is evidesign of the sacred writer seems to be dent from what follows, in which we simply to carry back the mind of the learn that these names were not bereader to the period previous to which stowed, and consequently, that there this wonderful fabric in its present state were no grounds for their bestowment, did noi exist. He does this in order to before the second and third days. convey, upon the highest possible autho- 1 God. The original for 'God,'09738 rity, the assurance, that the universe, as Elohim, is a very remarkable word, it now appears, had both a beginning and occurring for the most part in the plural, a creator ; that it did not spring into be- and yet usually connected, as here, ing without a cause, nor, as some of the with a verb in the singular. The eviancient philosophers imagined, exist dence, however, drawn by some from from eternity. This was all that his this fact in proof of the doctrine of the leading scope required him to say in this Trinity, is not in itself conclusive, as a connertion; and all that the words in a similar idiom in Hebrew in respect to fair interpretation import. Taken along words denoting rank, authority, emiwith the context, the drift of the whole nence, majesty, is by no means uncomverse seems to be to give, in a brief and mon. See Ex. 21. 4. Is. 19. 4. Mal. compendious form, a summary of the 1.6. Ps. 58. 11. The use of the plural work of creation, which is more fully in such cases seems to be merely for detailed in its various particulars in the the purpose of giving to the word greataccount of the six days following. Such er fulness, emphasis, and intensity of general statemenis not unfrequently oc- meaning. The rendering of the name cur in the sacred writers, as a preface to in the singular in other languages, more expanded details that follow. however, has the unequivocal sanction Thus, it is said in general terms, v. 27, of holy writ; for the New Testament that God created man in his own im- writers, copying the Septuagint, uniage; male and female created he them;' formly translate it Ocos God, instead of whereas the particulars of their creation Oxou Gods, an example which has been are given at full length, ch. 2. 7, 18, 25. properly followed by all the versions Soinetimes they stand at the close of a ancient and modern, as no other lanchapter or paragraph, as a concise guage can in this particular reach the summing up of the previous statement. propriety and exactness of the Hebrew, Thus after the particular recital of the The English word 'God,' Germ.‘Gott,' various work of the tabernacle, Ex. is of Anglo-Saxon origin, supposed to 39. 42, it is said, 'According to all that be a contraction of 'good ;' God and the Lord commanded Moses, so the good being justly considered as correlachildren of Israel made all the work.' live terms. It may be remarked, that In like manner, in speaking of the erec- the Hebrew word 7* Elohim, is tion of a common edifice, it might be sometimes applied to angels, Ps. 8. 5, said, 'such an architect built this house;' and sometimes to magistrates, and disand then, describing the process more linguished personages, Ex. 21. 6; in fuliy, 'he first laid the foundation, then which last case, it is rendered by reared the walls, then put on the roof, judges.'- Created. It is a matter and finally added the ornaments.' It rather of rational inference than of exis precisely on this plan that we sup- press revelation, that the material unipose the Mosaic narrative here con- verse was created out of nothing. Yet it is such an inference as cannot be re- create out of nothing. And as in no sisted without doing violence to the fun- other instance throughout the sacred damental laws of human belief. For writings, if this passage be excepted, has as every material existence is, from the the word necessarily or naturally this very constitution of our minds, conceiv- signification, we perceive no sufficient ed of as an effect, the production of ground for so interpreting it here; for some adequate cause, it necessarily sup- the usus loquendi, or prevailing usage, poses a previous state of non-existence is the only sure guide in determining or nothing, from which it passed into the import of words. Allowing then being. But it does not appear that the that the materials, the primordial eleoriginal word here employed (472) was ments, of the heavens and the earth, designed to convey precisely this idea, were brought into existence at an inde or that there is any word in any finitely prior period, the term 'create' language which does. The leading may be understood as express.ng the import of the present term is two- action of the Almighty Agent upon tho fold :-(1.) The production or effec- rude chaotic mass, in moulding and artuation of something new, rare, and ranging it into its present comely order wonderful ; the bringing something to and grand and beautiful forms. This pass in a striking and marvellous man view of the writer's language is unner, as Num. 16.30, 'But if the Lord doubtedly more consistent with ascermake a new thing (Heb. 2727 78tained geological facts, than any other, create a creation or a creature), and the and it is certainly desirable to harmoearth swallow them up,' &c. Jer. 31. 22, nize, as far as possible, the truths of 'For the Lord hath created a new thing revelation with those of natural science. (Heb. 277*22) in the earth, A wo- -9 The heaven. Heb. 2nw shamaman shall compass a man,' (2.) The yim. The root of the original word, which act of renovating, re-modelling, or re
is lost in Ilebrew, is supposed to be constituting something already in er- preserved in the Arabic Shanaa, to istence. In this sense it used al- be high, lofty, sublime. As to its most exclusively in the Scriptures true import in this place, we canin reference to the effects of the di- not doubt that we are bound to be vine influence in the moral or spiritual governed by the sense assigned to it creation, i. e. regeneration and sancti- by the sacred writer himself, in v. 8, fication. Thus, Ps. 51. 10, "Create where we are expressly told, that God () in me a clean heart, O God,' called the firmament, heaven,' as he explained by the parallel clause, 'Re- did 'the dry land, earth' The 'heaven' new a right spirit within me.' Is. 65. 17, and the earth, therefore, which were 'Behold, I create (773) new heavens now created, we take to be precisely the and a new earth,' i. e. I re-create the same heaven and earth which are subheavens and the earth; I establish a sequently described, v. 6–10, and that new order of things; I effect a stupen- | these are necessarily confined to our dous revolution moral and political. planet and its surrounding atmosphere, The corresponding Gr. term («Ti&w) we shall endeavor to show in our notes with its derivatives, is unequivocally on those verses. This view of the subused in the same sense, as Eph. 2. 10, jcct, if we mistake not, effectually pre
We are his workmanship, created cludes the idea that by heaven and («Flobevres) in Christ Jesus.' 2 Cor. 5. 17, earth in the first verse, is meant the 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new matter of which they were composed, creature (καινη κτισις). In all these and which, it is supposed, is here said Cases the act implied by the word is to be first brought into existence out of exerted upon a pre-existing substance, nothing. Such an hypothesis, we and cannot therefore strictly signify to think, will be found to introduce inex
tricable confusion into the narrative. See governed solely by the exigency of the on v. 8.—1 The earth. Heb. 17 place in rendering any particular word By earth' here is to be understood that in one of these tenses or the other. portion of the globe which was after- Was,' therefore, in this instance, we wards, when reclaimed from the water, hold to be more correctly translated by 80 called in contradistinction from 'had been,' or perhaps ‘had become,' seas,' v. 10. Seldom if ever are we to i.e. in consequence of changes to which affix to the term 'earth' in the Scrip- it had been subject in the lapse of ages tures the idea of a planetary sphere, or long prior to the period now alluded to. component part of the solar system; a Vatablus suggests that the true clew to sense of the word which is the result of the connection is to inclose the whole astronomical discoveries made long of the verse in a parenthesis, rendering since the volume of inspiration was it, 'For the earth,' &c. It has indeed penned, and which of course it could been generally supposed that it desnot be expected to recognise, though it cribes the rude and chaotic state which contains nothing inconsistent with ensued immediately upon the creating them. The biblical sense of 'earth,' is command. But this we think is confor the most part merely a portion of trary to the express declaration of Jethe earth's surface, a country, a terri- | hovah himself, Is. 45. 18, 'For thus tory, though sometimes used metapho- saith the Lord that created the heavens; rically for the inhabitants of the earth. God himself, that formed the earth and See on Gen. 12. 1.
made it; he hath established it, he creat2. Without form and poid. Heb. cd it not in vain (Heb. 178 179 * 1727 1770 tohu vavohu. Chal.' Desert he created it not (Tohu) desolate);' i. e. and empty.' Gr. ' Invisible and incom- the action denoted by the word en posed,' i.e. chaotic. The original words, created, did not result in the state dethough rendered adjectively, are real noted by the word on desolate, but the substantives, employed in several cases reverse—'he formed it to be inhabited where the object of the writer is to ex- (nors 793).' It was in this desolate press in significant terms the idea of and formless state when the process of dreariness and desolation, particularly creation coinmenced. The words 'withas the effect of divine judgments in lay-out form and void,' therefore, are not to ing waste a country or city. See to be considered as strictly epithets of the this purpose, Jer. 4. 23. Ps. 107. 40. In earth as such, but as descriptive of that Is. 34. 11, they are rendered confusion chaotic state which preceded the earth,' and emptiness. They are in fact the very and which ceased simultaneously with words which a Hebrew writer would the developement of the earth out of it. naturally use to express the wreck and Thus we may say of a statue, 'This ruins of a former world, if such an one statue was a block of marble,' but it were supposed to have existed. In the can never be properly said, “This stapresent connection they refer wholly to tue is a block of marble,' because the the surface of the earth, and imply a two states of the material are opposite desolate, dreary, hideous waste, with- to each other, and the one ceases when out order or beauty, inhabitant or fur- the other begins. The state of the globe niture. This verse is probably to be therefore designated by the terms withconsidered as descriptive of the state out form and void,' continued till the and appearance of the globe antecedent second day, and to that part of the to the commencement of the six days' third, in which the dry land liberated work, so that in the order of sense, it is from the dominion of the water, obtainin reality prior to the first. As there is ed the name 'earth,' v. 9, '0. As to no distinction of past, perfect, and plu- the condition or history of our planet, perfect tenses in Hebrew, we are to bel during the ages that may have interven