« AnteriorContinuar »
fancies Sbotr the original of the sous of man! and when all j* done,' three words of God, by the pen of his inspired Moses*,' enlightens us more than all' their subtile notions of the accidental concretion of atoms, their materiasubtilis, and anima mundi] and the rest of their unintelligible fancies could ever do.
The account Moses gives us in this context, of the origin of she World, a"nd of man the epitome of it, is full of sense, reason,' congruity, and clearness; and such as renders all the essays oT all the Heathen philosophers to be vain, inevident, self-repug^ nSnt, and inexplicable theories.
The inspired penman gives us, in this context, a compendious narrative of the world's creation, relating more generally the rude, inform, and indigested chaos; and then more particolarly the specificating, and diversifying of the various beauti-' ful beings, thence edneed by the motion of the Spirit of Goes upon the face of the waters. ,:'
When the first matter was strictly created out of nothing, "the Spirit (as Moses excellently expresseth it, chap. i. 2.\\ m "hovered, or moved over it as abird over eggs, and, as it were,, "by way of incubation, cherishing and influencing it," did thereby draw forth all the creatures into their several forms, and distinct' particular natures, wherein we now,ywith delight and admiration, behold them.
In this manner and order was the stately fabric of the world prodneed, and erected ; but, as yet, it remained as a fair, and well' famished house without an inhabitant, God had employed infinite wisdom and' power about it, and engraven his name, upon the meanest creature in it; but there was no creature yet made (except angels, the inhabitants of another city) to read the name, Md Celebratethe name of the Almighty Creator.
He' therefore thought the world impersect till there was a" •feature made that could contemplate, praile, and worship the Maker of it : for this very use and purpose was man created, that he might not only see, but consider the things he law; dilcoarse^ and rationally collect out of them the things he s.iW lot i and both praise, and love the Maker for, and in them all.
The palaces of princes are not beautified and adorned, to the intent men should pay the respects and honours to the walls, but to shew the grandeur and magnificence ot the king, to whose person their honour is due, as % Athenagoras in his excellent apology for the Christians, speaks. The world is a glorious and magnificent pile, raised designedly to exhibit the wisdom and power of its Creator to the reasonable creature man, that from him God might receive the glory of all his other works. Of this creature man, the matter-piece of all ths visible world, (and therefore crowned king over it the first moment he was made, Plal. viii. 5.) Moles in the next place, gives us the account, both of his original, whence he came, and of his dignity, what he is. "The Lord God formed man out "of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the *' breath of lise} and man becime a living foul." Where we
_, ...II. Of the body f_
I. The original of the body of man : "Formed out of the dust "of the ground." "Dust was its original matter : of dust was "it made, and into dust it must berelolved, Gen. Hi, 19. The *' consideration is humbling, and serves to tame the pride of *' man ||", who is apt to dote upon his own beauty. Man's body was not made of heavenly matter, as the radiant fun, and sparkling stars: no, nor yet of the most precious and orient earthly matter; God did not melt down the pure and splendid gold and silver, or powder the precious pearls, and sparkling dia. moods; but he formed it of the vile and despicable dust.
W e find that the sprinkling of dust upon new writing prevents many a foul blot: I am sure, the sprinkling of our originary dust; upon our minds by serious consideration, is the way to prevent many a proud boast.
However, the baseness of the matter, and coarseness of the stuff, serves to set off the admirable skill of the most wife and
J This world is indeed most beautiful, yet it is not the world itself that is to be adored, but that great Artificer its Creator: even as yaur subjects, when applying to you for what they need, do not act so foolish a part as to overlook you their lords and princes, omitting all the honour due to you, and confining their regards to the magnificence rf your palaces; but, on the contrary, viewing the fine structure of your palaces only by the by, they revere and honour yourr selves before and above all things else. Athen. Jpol.
II ilDl^n 70 ~\Dy Puherem tenuijjimam ad dowandamsuperx $iam. Fagius,
powerful Architect, who out of such mean, despicable materials, has fashioned so exact and elegant a piece. "The Lord God *' formed man out of the dust."
"The Lord God.] The name of God is here set down at full "f, to let forth the dignity of man," the subject matter wrought upon, as some conceive.
Formed."} Faihioned, or curiously moulded, and figured it f. The Hebrew verb, primarily signifies " to preis, compress, or "squeeze together; and by a tmtalepjis, by pressing and com"pressing, to mould or fashion, as the potter doth his clay." The Pl.ilmist uieth another word to express the artificial elegancy of the body of man, Psal. cxxxix. 15, 16. TDpl acupttlus sum, I am embroidered, painted, or flourished, as with a needle. We render it, curiously -wrought. Whatloever beauty and comely proportion God hath bestowed by creation upon it, "it is "all answerable to that excellent idea, or model || before "conceived in his mind and purpose." All this care, and cost was bestowed upon the body of man, which, when all is done, is but the case in which that estimable jewel, the soul, was to be lodged. This therefore I must lay aside and come to the more aoble subject,
II. The soul of man: about which we have before us four things to ponder in this text, viz.
(1.) The nature, and property, ^
(2.) The descent, and original, / the soul of man.
(3.) The manner of infusion, C
(4.) The nexus, or bond that unites,
(1.) The nature and property of it, a living foul. The Word 1I73J, as also the Chaldee Naphsba; and the Greek 4t,x*, have one and the fame etymology, all signifying to breathe, or respire; not that the breath is the soul, but denoting the manner of its infusion by the breath of God, and the means of its continuation in the body, by the breath of our nostrils. God's breath infused it, and our breath continues its union with the body. It signifies here the rational soul; and the Hebrew Word U?3J, a soul, hath a very near affinity with the word D'D^ the heavens; and indeed there is a nearer affinity be
J D'n^S mil' Dominus Deus. Nomen Dei hie plenum esi, Ropier hominis dignitatem, Nachm.
1 Prept jy CompreJJit, et per Metalepjin, premenio et compriy.tndo formavis.
t imgginem mente divina concept Mi, quasi manusermat. Fagius. wixt the things, viz. soul and heaves, than- thct-e is betwixt
The epithet HTI which we transtate living, the Arabic renders a rationalfauh and indeed, none but a rational, deserves the name of a- living soul > for aU other forms or souls, which are of an earthly extract, do both depend on, and die with the matter out of which thy were educed; but this being of another nature, a spiritual and substantial being, is therefore rightly stiled, a living foul.
The Cbaldce renders it, a speaking foul. And indeed, it deserves a remark, that the ability of speech is conserred on no other soul but man's. Other creatures have apt and excellent organs; birds can modulate the air, and form it into sweet de* licious notes, and charming sounds; but no creature, exedpt man^ whose soul is of an heavenly nature and extraction, can articulate the sound, and form it into words,- by which the notions and sentiments of one soul are in ar noble, apt, and ex?peditious manner conveyed to the understanding- of another soul. And indeed, w,hat should any other creature do with the faculty, or power of speech, without a principle of reason to guide and govern it? It is sufficient to them, that they discern each others meaning by dumb signs, much after the manner that we traded at first with the Indians: but speech is proper only to the rational, or living soul; however, we render it a living,, a rational, or a speaking soul, it distinguishes the soul of man from all other souls.
(2.) We find here the best account that was ever given of the'origrn of the soul of man, or whence it came, and from whom it derives its being, O, what a dust and pudder havethe disputes and contests of philosophers raised about this matter! which is cleared in a few words in this scripture; * " God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of lise, aud man became "a-living foul: which plainly speaks it to be the imniediate esttct of God's creating power. Not a result from the matter ; no, no, results Sow e smu materiae, out of the bosom of matter ;' but this comes ex halitu divino, from' the inspiration of God. That wicb is born of the flesh, is flesh; but this is a spirit descending from the Father of spirits, God formed it, but not out of any pre-exilkct matter, whether celestial or terrestrial;
* He breathed the breath of lise into man, to shew that man's soul is from an external cause by creation, and that it the same time,! in being created, it is infused into the body.. Pol.. Sjnops. on tie' place.
much less out of himself, as the f Stoicks speak • but out of nothing. An high-born creature it is, but no particle of the Deity. The indivisible and immutable essence of God is utterly repugnant to such notions; and therefore they speak not strictly and warily enough, that are bold to call it a ray or emanation from God.
A spirit it is, and flows by way of creation, immediately from the Father of spirits; but yet it is a spirit of another inserior rank and order.
(•3 ) We have also the account of the way and manner of its infusion into the body, viz. by the same breath of God which gave it its being. It is therefore a rational, ssriptural, and justifiable expression of St. Augustine, Creandu insumlitur, et infundendo creatur; it is infused in creating, and created ia infusing; though Dr. Brown % too slightingly calls it a mere rietorical antimetathesis. Some of the sathers, as Juslia, Ireneas, and Tertullian,. were of opinion, That the Son of God assumed a human shape at this time, in which afterwards he often appeared to the sathers, as a prelude to his true and real incarnation; and took dust or clay in his hands, out of which he formed the body of man, according to the pattern of that body in which he appeared: and that being done, he afterward, by breathing, infused the soul into it. But I rather think it is an antbropepathy, or usual figure in speech, by which the Spirit of God stoops to the imbecility of our understandings. "He breathed into hist"nostrils the breath of lise;" Hebrew, Uses. But this plural word —'in notes rather the twofold lise of man, in this world, and in that to come; or, "the several saculties and powers be'* longing to one and the samesou-l, viz. the intellective, sensitive, ¥ and vegetative offices thereof; than that there are more souls V. than one, ests.-ntia.lly differing, in one and the same man; for w that, (as § Aq-uinas truly saith), is impossible." We cannot trace the way of the spirit, or tell in what manner it was united' with this clod of earth. But it is enough, that he who formed it, did also unite or marry it to the-body. This is clear, not • r
.f The Stoicks, saith Simplicius, call the foul Mspos r, /«*Ao? risGœs, i. e- a particle or member of the Beity.; and Seneca calls it, (Jod dwelling in the human body, which comes neai to ©»' a Fafxi tp*nfui&t, i. e. God manisested-in the fleslv, . I Religio Medici, Sect, 36.
§ hnpofilile. efi in uno. bomine eft. plures animat per esent iamjijfereiitcs ; fed una tantum efi Ultima, qua vegetative ct sensitive et intelleclfoie, ojfriis suvgitur. 4-ojuia. 12, 26. art. 2.