Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

the identical body whose movements it so easily directed before its mortal dissolution.

It was God, by the word of his Spirit, who created the heaven and the earth out of nothing. It was the same God who likewise formed the material or bodily part of man of the dust of the ground, and afterwards breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, “by which means man became a living soul.” By this process was it that the determination of the Almighty was fulfilled when he said “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” And in virtue of this peculiar creation of man, which differed from that of all other animals, he was enabled to exercise dominion over the whole earth, and “over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” This dominion is not complete ; it is not equal to that of the Almighty: yet is it more or less apparent, and more or less complete, according to the objects to which it applies. And every common observer cannot fail to remark, that this dominion of man over the whole material world becomes greater and greater in the same ratio as the mind, the spiritual part of man, improves itself by study and application. Who, then, shall take

upon himself to say where this improvement, and the power which is its natural consequence, shall cease? The corrupt body, as I have before observed, undoubtedly obstructs the power and extension of the mind, and though it advances much, yet would it advance still more were this obstruction removed from its path. When, however, the dissolution of our earthly tabernacle shall take place, then will the soul be no longer imprisoned, but having escaped into the immensity of space, an atmosphere so suitable and so congenial to her nature, she will doubtless obtain that power and that superiority over matter of which her bodily fetters had before deprived her. Undoubtedly, brethren, the spirit of man, whether in the body or out of the body, will at all times be subservient to the Eternal Spirit which brought it into existence. And though after death the soul has hitherto exercised no dominion over the body, yet is this inactivity to be regarded as the consequence of God's will; and it would not, I conceive, follow that the disembodied spirit could not return to the tenement which it had quitted, if it were not forbidden to do so by the uncontrollable will of the Most High. This prohibition, it is true, in the same way as it exists for a time, might likewise exist to all eternity. And in truth, if we had not the best and well authenticated reasons for believing otherwise, it might be feared that life and movement would never again be restored to the deceased corpse; but when the contrary of this is asserted, when we are told by an authority which we know to be no less authority than the word of God, that the resurrection of the body shall take place, we do not in such a case express our doubt or disbelief of the assurance because it appears impossible, but we rather look forward to it not only as a possibility, but as a probability; for that the soul wills it, our present feelings assure us, and that she has the inherent ability to achieve it, cannot be doubted, when we reflect that the soul of man is an emanation of that Divine Spirit who created the world, and breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life.

a Gen, ii. 7.

Such, brethren, I conceive to be the train of argument which the reflecting mind is led into by the words of our text. By applying these to such a purpose as this, I imagine we apply them to a more useful and important purpose than we should do by endeavouring, through the means which they offer us, to ascertain the precise time when the heaven and the earth were created. We know, indeed, that these were created; we know likewise that they were created by God. More than this, we know that they were created in the beginning ; but beyond this we know nothing. We know not when the beginning was which is here alluded to by Moses. And in reference to this I would observe, that the design of the Scriptures throughout is not to satisfy a useless and unnecessary curiosity, but their design is to provide us with such information as will directly or indirectly contribute to our spiritual edification.

I flatter myself, that some of the advantages to be derived from the fact of knowing who it was that created the heaven and earth, have been held out

But to know the precise time when these were created could not, I conceive, be of any essen

We are not, perhaps, much mistaken as to

to you.

tial use.

the period when the chaotic and confused state of our earth was reduced to order and arrangement, and when it was stocked with the various animate and inanimate objects which exist upon it. But to know these points, and to know when the heaven and the earth were made out of nothing, are things widely different. Let us not therefore be too curious about those things which are wisely hidden from us. Let us rather make good use of such as we do know, and endeavour to profit by them, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who suffered death upon the cross, for the purpose of restoring us unto God.

SERMON II.

CEREMONIAL SUBSERVIENT TO PRACTICAL

RELIGION.

Micah vi. 6, 7, 8.

year old ?

Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and

bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a

old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, Oman, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The prophet Micah was sent by the Almighty for the purpose,

if it had been possible, of reclaiming the inhabitants of Israel and Judah at a time when idolatry prevailed over the two countries to a most serious and lamentable extent. At the same time, moreover, that the infatuated and ungrateful descendants of Abraham were offering their religious homage to the ministers of Satan, and to the images of those who were no gods, it is sufficiently clear

« ÎnapoiContinuați »