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served a very significant rite in commemoration of the creation; and another in commemoration of their preservation from one of the plagues of Egypt: why should we hesitate to admit the certainty of these events? Adam lived with Methuselah two hundred and forty years; Methuselah lived with Shem, the son of Noah, ninety years; and Shem lived with Abraham one hundred and fifty years: what apprehension can we reasonably entertain, that the account of the creation could either have been forged or misrepresented, when it had passed through so few hands before it reached the founder of the Jewish nation?
But I have already gone beyond the limit I had prescribed to myself in this argument, I cannot pursue it further: sceptical men, however, will do well to consider the nature and weight of historic evidence, not only for the existence of God,but for his having made a revelation of himself to the Jewish nation. Let them examine the matter freely, and fully, and I cannot but believe that they will come to the following conclusions: that the creation is a fact; that the deluge is a fact; that the peopling of the world by the descendants of Noah is a fact; that the Jewish theocracy is a fact; and that these facts may be established, as all past transactions of great antiquity must be, by the authority of history, and especially by the history of the Jews, whom God appears to have constituted witnesses of his existence and providence to all nations, in all ages. Of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Tyrians, God hath made, or will make, a full end; but the seed of Israel shall not cease from being a nation before him for ever.' Bp. Watson.
CREATION A PROOF OF THE DIVINE GOODNESS.
CREATION is a display of supreme goodness, no less than of wisdom and power. It is the communication of numberless benefits, together with existence, to all who live. Justly is the earth said to be full of the goodness of the Lord.' Throughout the whole system of things, we behold a manifest tendency to promote the benefit either of the rational or the animal creation. In some parts of nature, this tendency may be less obvious than in others. Objects, which to us seem useless, or hurtful, may sometimes occur; and strange it were, if in so vast and complicated a system, difficulties of this kind should not occasionally present themselves to beings, whose views are so narrow and limited as ours. It is well known, that in proportion as the knowledge of nature has increased among men, these difficulties have diminished. Satisfactory accounts have been given of many perplexing appearances. Useful and proper purposes have been found to be promoted by objects which were, at first, thought unprofitable or noxious.
Malignant must be the mind of that person; with a distorted eye he must have contemplated creation, who can suspect that it is not the production of infinite benignity and goodness. How many clear marks of benevolent intention appear every where around us! What a profusion of beauty and ornament is poured forth on the face of nature! What a magnificent spectacle presented to the view of man! What supply contrived for his wants! What a variety of objects set VOL. I.
before him, to gratify his senses, to employ his understanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and gladden his heart! Indeed, the very existence of the universe is a standing memorial of the goodness of the Creator. For nothing except goodness could originally prompt creation. The supreme Being, self-existent, and all-sufficient, had no wants which he could seek to supply. No new accession of felicity or glory was to result to him, from creatures which he made. It was goodness communicating and pouring itself forth, goodness delighting to impart happiness in all its forms, which in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. Hence, those innumerable orders of living creatures with which the earth is peopled; from the lowest class of sensitive being, to the highest rank of reason and intelligence. Wherever there is life, there is some degree of happiness; there are enjoyments suited to the different powers of feeling; and earth, and air, and water, are, with magnificent liberality, made to teem with life.
Let those striking displays of creating goodness call forth, on our part, responsive love, gratitude, and veneration. To this great Father of all existence and life, to him who hath raised us up to behold the light of day, and to enjoy all the comforts which his world presents, let our hearts send forth a perpetual hymn of praise. Evening and morning let us celebrate him, who maketh the morning and evening to rejoice over our heads; who openeth his hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing.'. Let us rejoice, that we are brought into a world, which is the production
of infinite goodness; and over which a supreme intelligence presides. Convinced that he hateth not the works which he hath made, nor hath brought creatures into existence, merely to suffer unnecessary pain, let us, even in the midst of sorrow, receive, with calm submission, whatever he is pleased to send; thankful for what he bestows; and satisfied that, without good reason, he takes nothing away.
It is not in the tremendous appearances of power merely, that a good and well-instructed man beholds the Creator of the world. In the constant and regular working of his hands, in the silent operations of his wisdom and goodness, ever going on throughout nature, he delights to contemplate and adore him. This is one of the chief fruits to be derived from that more perfect knowledge of the Creator, which is imparted to us by the Christian revelation. Impressing our minds with a just sense of all his attributes, as not wise and great only, but as gracious and merciful, let it lead us to view every object of calm and undisturbed nature, with a perpetual reference to its author. We shall then behold all the scenes which the heavens and the earth present, with more refined feelings, and sublimer emotions, than they who regard them solely as objects of curiosity or amusement. Nature will appear animated and enlivened by the presence of its author. When the sun rises or sets in the heavens; when spring paints the earth, when summer shines in its glory, when autumn pours forth its fruits, or winter returns in its awful forms, we shall view the Creator manifesting himself in his works. We shall meet
his presence in the fields. We shall feel his influence in the cheering beam. We shall hear his voice in the wind. We shall behold ourselves every where surrounded with the glory of that universal spirit, who fills, pervades, and upholds all. We shall live in the world as in a great and august temple; where the presence of the Divinity, who inhabits it, inspires devotion.
THE DIVINE GOODNESS APPARENT IN THE ADAPTATION OF THE EARTH TO MAN.
THE universe may be considered as the palace in which the Deity resides; and the earth, as one of its apartments. In this, all the meaner races of animated nature mechanically obey him; and stand ready to execute his commands, without hesitation. Man alone is found refractory he is the only being endued with a power of contradicting these mandates. The Deity was pleased to exert superior power in creating him a superior being; a being endued with a choice of good and evil; and capable, in some measure, of co-operating with his own intentions. Man, therefore, may be considered as a limited creature, endued with powers imitative of those residing in the Deity. He is thrown into a world that stands in need of his help; and he has been granted a power of producing harmony from partial confusion.
If, therefore, we consider the earth as allotted for our habitation, we shall find, that much has been given us to enjoy, and much to amend; that we have ample reasons for our gratitude, and