« AnteriorContinuar »
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image : in the image of God created he him ; male and female created he them. And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."-GEN. i. 26-28.
We have now arrived at the last period of creation. God proceeds to the most wonderful and most beautiful of his works -we behold to-day the creation of Man.
The palace was finished; everything there was ready; everything was perfect, for we are told, God himself had seen that all was very good. And now at last the happy king arrives for whom all this magnificence has been prepared ; behold! he appears. Do you see him this first man—your first father and mine too? Imagine his own emotions (and who can tell them) when he for the first time sees himself on this fair earth, in the midst of all the works of his God! But, on the other hand, what a moving and sublime moment was that for the whole creation, in which it saw come to our planet as its priest and king, this first Adam who was afterwards to give occasion to the sending of the second ; that, as Paul has said, “ by the church,” all the glorious perfections of holiness, wisdom, and divine mercy might be “made known unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — There he is, then, placed by God on the earth ; he is in a state of happiness and innocence; he is crowned with glory and honour ; all nature is put under his feet ; God has made him lord over the glorious works of his hands ; moreover, he has made him in his own image, after his own likeness.
Oh, my young friends, let us ask our God to help us to understand that glory and that happiness of our first father, when he came thus pure from his hands; that we may be able also to understand aright whence we have fallen. This—this is necessary for you all, that you may be induced to flee to that Jesus—that second Adam-Son of man and Son of God—who has in his turn come to our poor earth to reinstate us, to raise us from death and to give us eternal life.
I return to the passage where we left off. It begins at the 26th verse, “ And God said, Let us make man in our own image.”
Pay good attention to that sentence, dear children. Here is the Scripture declaring to us at the very beginning, the original unity of the whole human race. All the peoples, then, who move to-day on the globe, from the snows of Lapland and Labrador to the burning plains of Africa, and to the most distant islands of the sea—black skins, red skins, yellow skins, white skins—all the generations which for fifty-eight centuries have come in turn to live and die here below,—all men, in a word, descend from one and the same Adam, created on the sixth day, in the image of God.
I enumerated to you, last Lord's day, about a score of subjects in which the science of the moderns has been compelled
| Eph. iii. 10, 11.
to give glory to the book of God, even when it had begun by throwing obscurity on its assertions, and rashly giving it the lie. But I would have a great many more to lay before you, if, from the material facts of the creation, I were to pass to those which concern the history of our race ; for it is there, above all, that the Bible speaks quite differently from what human wisdom has ever been able to do; and it is there above all that men have been led to acknowledge the incomparable superiority —or, shall I not rather say, the divinity—of its teaching.
Ancient science refused to believe that all nations had issued from one and the same father; it alleged, sometimes, a monstrous variety of races, which it said existed on the earth ; sometimes, generic and fundamental differences, at least, which it supposed to exist in the organism of the different tribes of man. But it has been obliged, more recently, to allow that all the discoveries of geography, as well as those of science, bear witness to the historical, physiological, and moral unity of all the families of men.
Ancient science believed our race as old as the world ; it cited prodigious annals of pretended civilisation, going back, it said, myriads of years. But it has been more lately obliged also to receive, as an undeniable fact, the very modern origin of human societies ; and you will get to read, when a little older, a beautiful discourse of Cuvier on the “Revolutions of the Globe,” in which that great naturalist, who has been called the “ Aristotle of the nineteenth century,” demonstrates, without reference to the Bible, that man has existed on the earth for only a very small number of thousands of years.
Ancient science, again, and all its systems of philosophy, supposed the race of man always divided by the diversity of its climates, of its religions, of its hatreds, by its accidents of war, and by its developments; no philosophy had been able to conceive for man in the future a unity of Divine knowledge and of recon
ciliation with his Maker. But this is, on the contrary, the glory of the Holy Bible. Listen to what it said in Genesis, more than 300 years before the Trojan war; listen to its first page, which we are this day studying ; listen to it in the Prophets, listen to it in the Psalms, and, in a word, in all the Old Testament, as well as in the New ; everywhere it presents you with views on man, on his unity and on his future, as wide as the whole world. It shows you him here, in the 26th verse, created in the image of God, to fill and rule over the earth, and glorify his Creator in it. And when he fell, its shows him, two chapters further on, lost, wicked, rebellious, throughout all the earth : “ By one man," it says, “ sin came into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned : There is none righteous, no not one : All have come short of the glory of God : All are exposed to the wrath to come ; and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” But listen to it also, as early as the third page of Genesis, when it announces to you the coming Redeemer. There is, it tells you, a Saviour for the whole world ; there is a redemption for all nations. All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God,--and this earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. “Go ye into all nations,” the Redeemer says, “preach the good news to every creature; whosoever believeth shall be saved, and whosoever believeth not shall be condemned.” That is the Bible, my young friends; that is your Bible. It is not a book, like those of men, for a family, for a race, for a nation ; it is a book for the whole world : it is the book of the Bassutos as well as of the English ; of the Greenlanders and of the Negroes as well as of the Europeans or Americans. It is the history of the human race; it is the revelation of the love of God, who has so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son, that, instead of perishing, whosoever believeth on him should have eternal life. And in whose hands (listen attentively to this question, dear chil
dren), in whose hands has this wonderful book, which proclaims from God the good news of reconciliation for the whole world, been placed —Ah! attend well, I pray you, to this striking proof of inspiration :-in the hands of Moses, who came out of the schools of idolatrous Egypt, 300 years before the Trojan war. What do I say ?—in the hands of the Jews, the most exclusive, the most bigoted of all people, the most imbued with national prejudices, the most jealous of their prerogatives, and among whom no one, not the very least, would even eat with a man of another nation! And this is the people who give us these good news for all the ends of the earth! This is the people who sang, in their songs in the temple of Solomon, 250 years before the foundation of Rome, the calling of all the Gentiles :
“God be merciful unto us, and bless us;
And cause his face to shine upon us”
they cried ; and the choir answered
“ That thy way may be known upon earth,
Thy saving health among all nations.
Have you sufficiently observed, my dear young friends, this surprising contrast ? Have you comprehended why God has commissioned the Jews to bear to you, in this book, the most antiJudaical declarations, I mean the most entirely opposed to their prejudices ? declarations so broad and beautiful regarding the future of all people—their being reconciled with the same God, and giving him the same worship, that you will never
I Psalm lxvii.