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away, before he employed his power, wisdom, and goodness, or made beings to know, enjoy, and praise him ?”
This question has been asked, and urged as an objection against the lateness of creation.
But the objection, if it may be called one, can respect only that part of creation of which Moses has given an account. Space is boundless, as well as duration endless. Beyond our system-beyond these visible heavens, there is room for innumerable worlds to have existed, millions of ages before this part of the universe rose into being. Besides, the objection itself, when it is examined, vanishes into nothing. If the world was created, there was a time when it began. And if, for its origin, you go back as many millions of ages as there are sunbeams in the heavens, still there was a time, when it had not existed six thousand years. And this objection might then be made, as well as now ; for it was then as true, as it is now, that there had passed a duration without beginning. The difficulty in such cases is, we attempt by time to measure eternity ; and the measure is not adequate to the object.
From the things which exist, we know there is a God. The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and godhead.
If God created all things, then a creating power belongs not to creatures. It is a power, which we may suppose them incapable of receiving ; for cre. ation is the highest act of Divinity that we can con. ceive of ; probably there can be none higher.
By the ability and ingenuity of a single man ma. ny things have been done, which to the unexperienced appear surprising. The combined skill and power of a number have produced works far greater still. But all their works are only giving a new
form to things which already exist. They cannot originate matter, nor animate it when it is made. There are beings above us endued with superiour powers; but to none of these does the scripture ascribe the power of creation. On the contrary, it expressly tells us, all things were created by God. But our apostle, in his gospel, says, “ All things were made by Jesus Christ, and without him was not any thing made, that was made.” Hence then we must conclude, that he is not merely an exalted creature, but properly divine, possessed of divine power, and entitled to divine honour.
How vast is creation ! Even this world, when we view it in comparison with the little creatures which inhabit it, appears a mighty thing. But, what is this, with all its innumerable inhabitants, to the universe! When we step abroad, and cast our eyes up to the heavens, what an astonishing scene do we behold! What multitudes of worlds do we there see scattered around, and sunk in the depths of space! At what an amazing distance are they placed from us, and from one another! How small is the spot which our sight commands, compared with unlimited space ! How inconsiderable the number of bodies which we see, compared with those which may be supposed to exist! After imagination has taken its most distant fight, still, How far is it from having reached the bounds of creation ! And yet all these things were created and are upheld by one almighty, omnipresent, eternal Be. ing. He spake and they were made; he commanded, and they stood fast. By his word the heavens and the earth were created, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He still upholds them all by the word of his power. The thunder of his power, who can understand !
We proceed to our second observation,
pleasure ; or for his will, as the word properly signifies,
If you ask, why God made the world, and up. holds it ; why he framed the universe, and formed this globe, in such time and manner, as he has ; this song of angels gives the proper answer. “All things were made for his pleasure." The apostle Paul expresses the same sentiment : He works alt things according to the counsel of his own will.
There has been much inquiry, and some controversy among Christians, concerning God's ultimate end in the work of creation ; whether it was his own glory, or the exercise of his goodness in the communication of happiness. But the apostle, in the text, cuts the matter short. He introduces the spirits in heaven as celebrating the wonders of creation, and ascribing them all to God's will. Here is a plain intimation, that these speculations on the supreme and ultimate end of an infinite and all perfect Being, in the formation of all his works, are too high for mortals. Angels, with greater modesty, bow down and adore unsearchable wisdom. Wise ends he certainly has in all his works. But, farther than he has given us an account of his matters, his counsels are too deep for us.
Creation is a vast and stupendous work. It is but a small part of it which comes within our observation ; and even this we know but imperfectly. And if we know not the work itself, much less can we know all the purposes for which it was intended. For us it is enough to know, that all things were made by a most perfect Being, and that for his pleasure they are and were created.
But though we cannot comprehend the works of God, nor determine that they were made for this or that purpose solely or supremely, yet there are cer. tain uses to which we see many of them adapted ; and these it becomes us to observe.
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The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work. The earth also is full of his riches. His power and goodness every where appear. Manifold are his works ; in wisdom he has made them all.
As the works which we behold, display his per. fections, and manifest, in a particular manner, his wisdom, power and benevolence; so it is certainly his will, that intelligent creatures should attend to the displays and manifestations which he has made of himself, and exercise toward him correspondent affections and regards. Though we cannot affirm, that this, that, or the other, was the only or ultimate end of all creation, yet we know that God made rational creatures to serve him ; discovers to them his character, that they may love him ; be. stows on them his goodness, that they may trust him ; and calls them to himself, that they may en. joy him. The language of angels, is the voice of reason. Thou art worthy to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
This brings us to our last observation,
III. That all intelligent beings are bound to glo. rify God for his works of creation and providence.
1. These works should lead us to the knowledge and contemplation of their great and glorious Author.
God's works are wonderful, sought out by them who have pleasure in them. While the philosopher explores them for the enlargement of his mind, the amusement of his fancy, and the investigation of their uses in common life, the good Christian will regard them in a higher view. He will look into them, that he may gain a juster knowledge, and raise a nobler conception of the Creator. He will behold God in them, and contemplate the wisdom, goodness, and power which
they display. When he sees the works, he will see God working. He will consider himself as surrounded by the Deity ; animated by his breath ; inspired with reason by his spirit ; sustained by his hand ; supplied by his goodness; guided by his counsel ; and protected by his power.
Of the wicked it is said, God is not in all their thoughts. What stupidity is this ! Is God always with them, and working before them? Does he manifest himself in the heavens, in the earth, in rain and sunshine, in winds and storms, in succeeding their labours, and blessing the works of their hands? And, Can they banish him from their thoughts? If we live without God in a world, which is every where so full of him, What are we better than the heathen ? We know God, but we glorify him not as God, neither are thankful. Beta ter than the heathen? Nay, we are inferiour to the mere animal. “The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib.”
2. We should glorify God in his works, by im. proving them to awaken in our souls pious affections to him.
The Being who made and upholds so vast a sys. tem ; who supplies such innumerable multitudes; who has given understanding to many; who has provided for their subsistence in this state, and their happiness through eternity, must be great, and wise, and good. To him then are due our highest regards. We should tremble at his presence, rev. erence his majesty, submit to his pleasure, trust his care, admire his character, thank him for his benefits, and acknowledge him in all our ways.
In tracing the connexions, and investigating the causes of things, the philosopher is led up to the Deity as the grand first cause of all. But if he introduces into his scheme the agency of a God, only as he admits the power of attraction, magnetism