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Three questions here naturally present them- | their source, and to be employed for him as their selves. What is the glory of God? How can sovereign. Even as David saith: Thine, O we glorify him? What are our inducements and Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the obligations to render him glory? glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven, and in the earth, is thine thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as Head above all.'
What is the glory of the Lord? It is, first, that visible splendour in which God has been pleased to make his presence manifest to men's bodily senses. Thus it is said in Exodus that Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel.' But that this was not the sole, but merely one visible exhibition of his glory, is manifest from the fact, that after this Moses says to the Lord, 'I beseech thee, show me thy glory;' and the Lord graciously answers, 'I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts'—or that which I shall hereafter be but my face shall not be seen.' Agreeably to this account of the visible glory, John describes it as exhibited in the Son of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.'
Now since man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever,' it becomes a subject of the most solemn inquiry, How shall we glorify him?
We cannot cause any visible glory to appear to ourselves or others. It might be highly presumptuous, nay, impious, to desire it. But we glorify God when we diligently study, spiritually discover, and humbly and fervently acknowledge his perfections. That this should be our chief end on earth is evident, because it is the chief work of the church in heaven: for, they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when the living creatures give glory, and honour, and thanks, to him that sat on the throne, that liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power.'
We glorify God when we acknowledge all the blessings we enjoy, and all the gifts with which we are endowed, to have come down from him as
We glorify God when we humble ourselves beneath his mighty power, when we confess and lament our sins before him, when we bow to his chastisements, and deprecate and flee from his deserved anger. Thus speaks the prophet to Israel; 'Hear ye and give ear; be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains.
We glorify God when patiently, cheerfully, and joyfully, we are contented to suffer for truth and righteousness. Thus Peter admonishes the church—If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.'
We glorify God when we employ our hearts, and our voices in his praise, and so fulfil his own declaration, 'who offereth praise, glorifies me.'
Our obligations to glorify God result immediately from the various means whereby he may be glorified. We have had his brightest perfections shining upon us in the beams of the Sun of righteousness.' The very opening of our eyes therefore compels us to tell of what we see. He has enriched us with his spiritual treasures, and we are bound to acknowledge our obligation. We have sinned against his law, and come short of his glory in our disobedience; we are bound, therefore, to glorify the mercy by which we are brought to salvation. If tried in the furnace of affliction, we are bound to glorify him; for he only refines us from the dross of worldliness, that the brightness and the value of the gold may appear. He has given us eyes to see, hearts to feel, and voices to praise: we are bound, therefore, to employ our gifts to the honour and glory of the donor.
But beyond the obligations to the duty, there lies this paramount inducement, which we select out of many. Our eternal enjoyment of Godour possession of him as our own—as our Father, our Saviour, our Sanctifier-with all our delight in his perfections and gifts all lie in the very act of glorifying God, and cannot be separated from it. To glorify God, is to enjoy God; an enjoyment that increases as our knowledge, our faith, our love, our hope, our confidence, our submission, our sensibility, and our utterance increase an enjoyment, now impe: ect, because
we but see as through a glass darkly; but it shall be perfected for ever when we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul,'
Gen. ii. 7.
THE appearance of material objects, independent of observation and experience, affords no intimation of what they may become. The man who looks upon a little seed, could, from that sight alone, form no anticipation that, by man's ingenuity, it would be converted into cloth; and the man who looks upon the cloth, it may be coarse in texture, and discoloured in appearance, could never, from that sight alone, foretell that, by a subsequent transformation, it would become the paper from which he reads. Now if such be the changes upon material things produced by man's art and device, how much greater changes may we reasonably expect when the work is from the hand of God! Here is dust of the ground. Dried in the sunbeams, it is scattered by every wind. Wetted by the rain, it again becomes adhesive, and easily formed by the plastic hand of the potter. Burned in the fire, it becomes a vessel of use or of ornament; but the power of man is now exhausted, and further than mere commixture of materials, and change of form, he is utterly unable to proceed.
Of such mean materials, can anything higher be made? Yes; the Lord formed man out' of this very dust of the ground,' intending, no doubt, by this record of his origin, to demonstrate, first, the wondrous wisdom and power of his Maker; and, secondly, to inculcate a perpetual lesson of the deepest humility upon a creature, the root of whose genealogy arises from the 'dust of the ground.'
But how much deeper still sinks the lesson of humility, when through faith we understand that the worlds were formed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.' In other words, that, not of an eternal, or self-existent material, did God make the worlds-but that he made all things of nothing, by the word of his power, by the forthputting of his omnipotence. Those glorious stars of light were formed of nothing not higher was the origin of the light; and of worthless dust of that dust so originated, was
But while the lesson of humility is thus derived from our origin, the lesson of admiration, not of ourselves, but of our Maker, is derived from our structure. 'God formed man,' and every portion of his frame attests the divinity of the workmanship. When we contemplate a timepiece, a telescope, a steam engine, or any other curious piece of machinery, we never hesitate, in deed we cannot hesitate, to ascribe design, and skill, and power, to the mechanist. Nor does our ignorance of the principles of the machine, or of the formation of its several parts, detract one jot or tittle from our admiration of the structure itself, or of the genius of him by whom it was designed and completed. And surely, when we contemplate the human body, the mysterious means by which it is nourished, the wonderful contrivances by which its organs are fitted for their several uses-the adaptation and subserviency of one part to another-and the concurrence of so many contradictory powers and forms to one harmonious result—while we exclaim, with the psalmist, we are fearfully and wonderfully made,' we must acknowledge with the philospher, that the contemplation of one single organ is sufficient to rebuke and to silence atheism, and to demonstrate the being and the perfections of God our Creator.
And if the body be sufficient to call forth our admiration of itself, and of him who formed it, how much more should the soul? We have a soul, a power, a mode of being, for which matter and motion, organ and function, can never give the shadow of account. The soul is the breath of God in man. The breath of the Almighty,' says Job, 'hath given me life.' It is not dust, it returneth not to the dust, because it is not of the dust. 'The dust shall return to the earth as it was, but the spirit, the breath of the Lord, shall return to God who gave it.' God is the former of our bodies, but he is the Father of our
spirits. And while the body of Adam was not formed without reference to the body of Christ, it is in the soul that the image of God in man is chiefly to be traced. Like him it is spiritual, not formed of the dust; like him it is immortal, and to him it returns for judgment; like him, though it have not unlimited knowledge, it hath unlimited capacities; like him, it hath everlasting righteousness, the gift of God through faith of Jesus; like him, it is made perfect in holiness, being renewed by the Holy Spirit; it is the temple in which God is acceptably worshipped, the habitation in which he delights to dwell!
Alas! that our spirit, so nobly born, so gloriously endowed, so highly destined, should ever cleave to the dust! Alas! that it should be proud of dust, and careless of heavenly breathings! Proud of a strength that is crushed beneath the worm; proud of features that fade as the flowers, and wither as the grass; proud of raiment, the memorial of sin; proud of titles of which 'sinner' is the chief, and proud of habitations which must soon be exchanged for the grave! What melancholy proof of a nature fallen far from original righteousness, when men make so much of dust, so little of spirit; so much of time, so little of eternity!
So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,' Gen. i. 27.
WHEN a heathen philosopher was asked by a Sicilian king, what is God?' he requested three days to think of it. Being asked again, he requested three days more--and, at the end of that time, he candidly confessed, that the more he inquired, the more he was bewildered; that the more he thought of it, the less he seemed to know. And this has ever been the case where the light of scripture has been neglected, refused, or unknown. But where that light shines, the question is easily answered. We ask what is God? The scriptures answer, 'God is a spirit.' He is not matter, but the Creator of it. We ask again, ‘what is God?' and the scriptures answer, God is light.' The light of the sun, moon, and stars, so fair, so glorious, is the visible emblem of his invisible glory; and that visible light which the eye beholds, is but the emblem again of that intellectual light by which the mind sees. He is unclouded, unobstructed, unbounded, intellectual light, for 'his understanding is infinite.' We ask again, what is God?'—and we are compelled to But while death smites and corruption de- ask again, for all this description will not entitle stroys the body which God has formed, how God to our affections; and we seek for a God to reviving and glorious is the doctrine of the re- whom we can dedicate the heart—and the scripsurrection. We shall not all sleep, but we tures answer us, 'God is love,' and 'he that shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twink-dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in ling of an eye, at the last trump. For the him.' trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. And when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass that saying which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
Now such was the original in the image of which God created man. He created him spiritual, intimately connected with matter, being the intended heir and invested lord of a material world; yet, at the same time, so totally independent of matter, that his mental powers could strengthen as his bodily powers decayed, and though the outward man perish, yet the inward be renewed, day by day.' He created him intellectual, with a mind full of light-full of the light and knowledge of God, and of duty-full of the light and knowledge of nature-capable of converse with God, not on terms of equality, but in communion of knowledge, possession, and interest. He created him capable of love, the love of gratitude to a bountiful Benefactor, the love of attachment to the Supreme Good.
And while the dust, in the mean time, 'returns to the earth as it was,' let us remember 'the spirit must return to God who gave it, and so 'every man shall give an account of himself to God; seeing then that all these things,' which now court our affections, or excite our cares, 'shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God.' Wherefore, seeing that we look for such things, let us be diligent that we may be Thus God created man in his own image.' found in him in peace,' because justified; 'with- To mark the certainty of it as by a second witout spot,' because washed; and blameless,' be-ness, it is added, in the image of God created cause clothed upon with the righteousness of he him ;' and it is subjoined as an exposition, to mark the extension of it, 'male and female created he them.'
The scriptures never speak a word in vain. helpmate, and partner, in the labours and journey of life-as a being to be won, and kept, and served by flattery, rather than as one to be enlightened by education, convinced by reason, or elevated by religion. And yet, after all, what is this idolatry but the denial of equality, and the disguised establishment of tyranny? The idolater has, no doubt, made his idol a god, yet has he never treated that idol on terms of equality; but changed, discarded, or degraded it, according to the caprice of the moment.
Even in those places where the things spoken seem most superfluous, the Spirit speaks from a deep perception of all that is in man, or in prophetic anticipation of the false opinions and evil practices that may afterwards arise, and which it may be important to correct, or contradict. In this manner do we account for the varied repetition about the image of God in man, and for the seemingly unnecessary appendage to that repetition, ‘male and female created he them.'
For it is well known that in all ages and countries, where Christianity has not prevailed, woman has either been secluded as a prisoner, or degraded into a slave, and that Christianity alone has acknowledged her dignity, asserted her freedom, and conceded and secured her legitimate privileges.
How much happier they who have sought, like those of Cana, to have Christ at their marriage feast! How much happier they, who in ruling their household, have learned to rule it but as Christ rules the church! How much happier they who having learned, from the scriptures, the difference between equality and selfishness, have learned such submission as the church renders to Christ! How much happier they who, instead of living together as the servants and devotees of worldly principles, practices, fashions, and habits, have learned to live as being heirs together of the grace of life, that their prayers be not hindered.' And how much happier they who, judging of time only in the light of eternity, have learned to view every relation, and every duty of this life, as it bears upon their prospects in the life that is to come. The time is coming when there is neither male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus, and if Christ's, then Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the pro
And yet in providing for this blessed domestic revolution in the history of woman, it is instructive to remark, how the Bible never condescends to argue the question, against man's usurpations, or in favour of woman's equality and freedom. And why this oversight, or neglect? Because the scriptures attain the end by a different and more effectual process; that is, by historie narrative, representative parable, or implied consequence. By historic narrative; as when it is shown that woman is the equal copartner with man in the endowment of the image of God; by the converse of angels with women as readily and familiarly as with men, as with Sarah and the wife of Manoah; by the high achievements they were privi-mise.' And the time is nigh when these shall leged to effect, and the divine qualifications with which they were endowed; as were Deborah and Anna; the familiar converse which our Lord held with the woman of Samaria, and plain revelation to her of his divine commission; by the parable in which a woman, engaged in her domestic duties, is employed as an emblem of the kingdom of heaven; by the employment of a woman with her child in the book of Revelation, to set forth the persecutions and preservation of the church; and by the frequent exhortations addressed to godly women, by which their value, in the sight of God, is more clearly evinced, than by any more direct assertion, or more formal argument. And yet these form but a few specimens of the mode in which the scriptures assert the legitimate rank of woman, and in which, while denying to man the privileges of a tyrant, they remove from him those annoyances that must constantly arise from the struggles of a slave.
True it is, that in some countries, and in some states of society, woman has been, or still is, rather treated as an idol to be worshipped, than as an
neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but be as the angels of God in heaven.' Yet, in that heaven, every union of grace shall survive, indestructible as the Spirit by which it was wrought on earth.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it,' Gen. ii, 15.
In what place God made man, the scriptures do not inform us. That it was not in Eden, is evident from the narrative of the creation. For when God had formed man's body of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, he took the man, and did not leave him in the garden, but put him into the garden; and this removal was effected for the purpose of reminding the man, that not only being, but every means of well-being, was derived entirely
from God, was held at his good pleasure, and as easily resumed, as it was freely and generously bestowed. It was needful even in Eden, that man should feel he had no inherent right; for a sense of God's goodness, and of the creature's absolute dependence, is as essential to preservation in a state of holiness, as in a state of restoration from
When God created man, he blessed him. But no gift can render any one blessed, unless in so far as God is seen to be the giver. The happiness of Eden lay not in the majestic rivers by which it was watered; in the pleasant and fruitful trees with which it was planted; in the salubrious sky that shone above the head; nor in the fertile soil that lay beneath the feet; it lay not in the loveliness of the flowers that bloomed in nature's earliest spring, nor in the sweet voice of the birds that sung amongst the branches. It lay not even in the communion of human spirits, though maintained and cemented by innocence. It lay in the fact, that every gift was traced immediately to God as its fountain, and thence deriving its every power of contributing to the creature's enjoyment.
But it is moreover worthy of special remark, that when God placed man in Eden, in a state of holiness and happiness, he did not intend him to be idle. He put him into the garden, 'to dress it, and to keep it.' He gave him the whole earth, but with a commission to 'subdue it.' But this commission to 'subdue' did not imply any stubbornness or rebellion, but the suppression of that superabundant luxuriance with which the vegetable world was invested, and the converting to his purposes of the various powers with which nature, in all her kingdoms, was so bountifully endowed. This order was exactly suited to man's capacities and condition. Enabled to think, one part of his employment must consist in thinking; but enabled to act, another part must necessarily consist in acting; and in the connection of these two capacities, thinking and acting, must the third element of his nature be called forth-that is, his capacity of enjoyment. Without these capacities of thinking and acting, and of thence deriving his enjoyment, man would have been no image of his great Creator. The eternal mind, the Spirit of God, is not a quiescent entity, immovably absorbed in its own contemplations. He acts eternally in purpose, having his delights with the sons of men,' and endowing them with his choicest gifts in Christ Jesus, before the world was.' In the beginning he puts forth the Almighty energies of creation, and in the progress of time is ever acting, not by mere im
pressed or delegated laws, but by the untiring hand which upholds all things' according to the word of his power.' And if the delights' of the eternal love thus lay in the mighty purpose and works of creation, and the beneficent design and accomplishment of redemption, man, to be an exact created image of the uncreated Godhead, must not only be invested with the attributes of thought, but with purposes and capacities of activity, by which he may exercise, not a creative, but a formative power-the image of creation; and by which he may calculate, and anticipate, and prepare for futurity-the image of providence; and from which, in subordination to the will of God, he may derive his chiefest joys,' and be conformed to the image of Him, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, and is now set down on the right hand of God.'
Idleness, in a state of sin, affords not only an opportunity, but an incentive to more sin; and the sweat of the brow,' and the sorrow of the heart, in which man is doomed to eat bread, might be supposed a punishment inflicted upon a criminal, rather than a merciful regimen for the healing of a perishing invalid. Yet, while the infliction of labour as a curse, is neither to be forgotten, nor denied, it is an infliction of punishment only in so far as the bitterness of sin is infused into the original cup of enjoyment. Man's first enjoyment originally lay in perfect communion with God; his second in communion with whatever, as partaking of the same image, enjoyed the same communion; and his third in the active duties of that universal dominion with which God had invested him as his delegated representative. Idleness was therefore inconsistent with man's original nature and office, and must be as inconsistent still, though his nature has become infected, and the dignity of his office forfeited by sin.
When we return to contemplate the first man in the state of innocence, we cannot fail to acknowledge and admire the dignity of his birth. There is a dignity in birth. The son of parents, wise, good, and thus truly great, cannot be disrobed of a portion of the parent's praise. But how transcendant the dignity of Adam's ancestry! He traced his genealogy immediately to Almighty God! And he claims a derivative right to every region of the earth! Yet, thus dignified in descent, thus endowed with dominion, he is immediately appointed to work!
Are we, then, to be surprised, if that labour which was required as a duty, and which was necessary to enjoyment, in a state of holiness, should continue to be required as a duty, and be