Page images


thing was needful to the Almighty. It is even a monstrous, absurd conceit, that any such thing was possible, and destroys itself; for if this framed world could not have a being from eternity, much less frameless matter. So, of necessity, all things were made of nothing, received a being from the infinite Being, as the spring of all being. His hands stretched forth the Heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. His fingers set them all in this sweet and admirable order, in á beautiful frame. - Now these expressions are suited to our reach, but the truth is, His finger and His whole hand are all one, and His hand is His word.' (Psalm xxxiii. 6; Gen. i. 3.) And His word is His all-powerful and eternal will; that is the breath of His mouth, and His stretched-out arm. He said, i. e. He willed it, and it was so. When as yet there was no man nor angel, no heaven nor earth, no time nor being, but the alone blessed Trinity, eternally self-happy, upon the simple act of His absolute will came forth this whole frame, out of the womb of Omnipotence. And this is that certain truth which we believe under the name of Creation.

This supposed, it is very easy to conceive, yea, it is impossible to question it, that it had been as easy for Taat Power to have brought forth all in complete perfection at one instant, as to have divided the work into six days. And as we cannot think it easier, so we cannot but think it better, since He chose, yea because He chose it, as for that reason better. Well may His will be sufficient cause why that way of His production of all things was better, seeing that His will was purely the cause of the production and being of all.

But in part we may observe some advantage in that way, that He made so many days' work of it, and proceeded by degrees to bring it to perfection; that we might the more clearly perceive, and more distinctly consider, the greatness and excellency of the work, and the wise contrivance of it in its several parts and progress, which we could not so well comprehend altogether. Now, we consider Him as first framing one great mass, and then proceeding to beautify it, first with that which is indeed the first beautifier of all things, light, and then pre dering the successive interchange of it with its opposite, dark. ness, that sets it off and makes its beauty appear the more, giving them their terms in day and night; then proportioning and dividing the rooms of the great house into upper and lower according to His model and design; then decorating them with rich furniture, and providing all kinds of store in great variety and abundance. And thus, having first prepared all, having built, beautified, and replenished so stately a palace, then framed He the guest for whom He intended it, and whom He appointed to dwell in it. Then He said let us make man after Our image. Thus, the work of itself, and the order of it, and all the parts, carry on them His name who formed them. How do His power, and wisdom, and goodness, appear in them! And yet how little do we see and observe it! It shines bright in all His works, but we are blind; we look on them, and see Him not !: Oh, what a childish trifling thing is Man in all his ways, till he learns to remark God in all, and to have his soul upon all occasions musing and admiring, and sweetly losing itself in God, that immense sea of excellencies! What a bottomless wonder is that Power, from which, by a simple act of will, issued forth all being! This vast fabric, and all things in it, He willed they should be, and where never any thing was, there appeared, on a sudden, Heaven and Earth : the . earth settled upon His word, so that it cannot be moved, and enriched with such a variety of plants, and flowers, and fruits growing forth, and springs and mines within the bowels of it; the seas fitted for navigation, together with the multitudes of creatures in it, small and great, and the impetuousness of it, yet confined and forced to roll in its channel, so that it cannot go forth ; the small sands giving check to the great waters. Oh, how strong and large that Hand, which without help expands the heavens as a curtain! Look up and see, consider their height and roundness, such a glorious canopy set with such sparkling diamonds ; then think how swift their motion,



545 ahu 'y'et imperdeivable to us, 'no motion 'liere belot tontiparable; and yet they seem not to''stir at all?il Altd in wll; their great Lord and oturesso conspicuotis ! And yet who looks on them with such an eye as' to behold Him, as David here, 'When I consider Thy heddens, the work, &c. He is admirable in alle the very lowest and smallest creatures have their wonders of Divme wisdom # their frame, more than we are able to think! Magnus in mitrimis- He is great in the least "of His works."

The smallest flies, how strange the fashioning of the organs of life and husetin so little room! The man who is still in search of wisdom will find a school and a lesson in" all places, and see every where the greatness and goodness bf his God: b»If he Walk forth in the evening, when this lower world is clothed with the dark mantle of' night, yet still ke can look upwards to the pavement of the throne of God, and think how gloribus it is on the other side, when the moon and stars make this side, even in the night, so beautiful. ll And this of David's, I looks like a night meditation by the view of moon and starsio Thy heavens, these Thy works to glorious, Thouy therefore, infinitely more glorious ; then can I not but increase in wonder, that, dwelling above these heavens, Thou regardest so poor ai wortwas man creeping on this earth: .'1 Lbor peo!

What is man die Enosh," weak, mortal man; and 6 BenAdam," the son of earth, the earthly man." David was taught so to look on his mean part and low condition, and on his beta ter party as followe, ver.5, as a sort of divinity being freely conferred upon him. bilis : Thus men should learn to view themselves in this two-fold light:bu By the grace of God I am that I am, saith St. Pauldi Truly man is a wretched and proud creature, a bundle of vanity and vileness and yet he thinks himself some great matter while God' is hid from him, and he is ignorant of HIS” greatness. *1500din !)bubil 1517!!" bale (1.31]- VOL 10

"No discourse or reasoning will humble the foolish heart of man: though he beleven of the most worthless and basest sort 1901 11.12 dormis !!!

1,'ilbolo A Nity to


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of men, and hath in this condition nothing but what is despicable, yet he flatters himself with some fancy or other, some imagined advantage that swells him. He cannot be truly vile in his own eyes till they look up to the excellency of God, and return from that down upon himself. Then he is forced to bow, and fall low, and abhor himself in dust and ashes. Once he was wise and powerful, or some way deserving (as he thought) to be respected; but now the glory and sublimity of God make him to be as nothing in his own eyes. What is man! David, , a great and a good man, a king and a prophet, and yet a man, viewing and comparing himself with his own eyes, in respect of the great King of all the world, he cries out, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? These words deserve to be considered. Thou mindest him in all these things, the works above him, even in the framing of these heavens, the moon and the stars, designing his good; Thou makest all attend and serve him. It is not an empty visiting of him, but Thou seest all his necessities, and providest for them. He sets his heart on man, and all his delights are with the sons of men. (Prov, viii. 31.)

But, above all visits, that visit is to be remarked and admired, when the Eternal Word, by whom this world was made, came down, and was made flesh; came from His glorious palace, from the bosom of the Father, to visit man in that deep and profound abyss of misery into which he was fallen, and to lift him out of it, and cleanse, and clothe, and dignify him ; came to make the slaves of Satan sons of God. And the Psalmist points at Christ, as the following words are applied, Heb. ii. 9. This is a descending indeed, which the angels are still prying into, looking into for the bottom, and cannot see it, for it hath none.

Oh, that Christ should be disregarded, and His love slighted! He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. (John i. 10.) He, the same who became like unto us, and united our flesh to His blessed deity, did give a being to all things, and by Him all things consist. (Colos, i. 17.)

Our Head and Saviour is no less than the Mighty Power, Creator of the world. He who is our flesh, He who had His arms wrapped up in swaddling clothes, and afterwards stretched upon the cross, He it was who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth. The weight of the love of so great a King should press us low. And then, the persuasion of His almighty power assures us of complete redemption ; for our salvation is in a sure and strong hand. We have a mighty Redeemer: Thy Maker is thy husband, The Lord of Hosts is His name, and thy Redeemer, The Holy one of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called.

When I behold, says the Psalmist.

The carnal mind sees God in nothing, not even in spiritual things, His word and ordinances. The spiritual mind sees Him in every thing, even in natural things, in looking on the heavens and the earth, and all the creatures,—Thy heavens ; sees all in that notion, in their relation to God as His work, and in them His glory appearing ; stands in awe, fearing to abuse His creatures and His favours to His dishonour. The day is Thine, and the night also is Thine; therefore ought not I to forget Thee through the day, nor in the night.

All that I use, and all that I have, is not mine, but Thine, and therefore all shall be for THEE; Thou art my aim and scope in all. Therefore God quarrels with His people, because they had forgotten this. Hos. ji. 8, 8c. The most are strangers to these thoughts; they can eat, drink, and sleep, lie down and rise


pass one day after another, without one reverend or affectionate thought of God. They may give Him a formal good morrow, and then farewell for all the day long ; they offer up their prayers, (as they speak,) and think they have done enough, and that afterwards their hearts may go whither they will, provided they escape grosser sins ; they never check themselves in wandering from God all the day, if they fall not into some deep mire.

But even they who are somewhat more mindful of God, and see Him in His works, and consider them so as to observe Him

« EelmineJätka »