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I.-UPON THE EARTH.
Walking in the garden in the cool of the day, among other things that offered themselves to my consideration, I observed my mother the earth, out of whose womb I had my being. I considered how near of kin I was to those senseless clods that lay under my feet; that I was made of the same matter, only a little more refined and moulded up into a better form, and made by God a little breathing clay, and that I shortly must return to my first origin; “for dust thou art,” saith God, "and unto dust shalt thou return,” Gen. iii. 19. These and the like thoughts had a varied operation upon my soul : sometimes they led me to admire the Creator, who, out of so rude and undigested a mass, such coarse materials, could make so glorious a production as the body of man is, and endue it with such excellent parts and faculties, making it a cabinet fit to hold that precious jewel, the soul. When I had a little considered this, I began to glory that I was
and did not remain a senseless clod.
made a man,
URON THE EARTH.
But, on the other side, when I considered my original, and remembered the rock whence I was hewn, and the hole of the pit whence I was digged, Isa. li. l; and that I could say “to corruption, Thou art my father : and to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister,” Job xvii. 14; I, who was even now proud that I was a man, began to vail my plumes, and to wonder at my own folly. I saw there was little cause to boast of birth or blood, of great parentage or relations. It is a shame and sin for an angel to be proud, much more for a worm of the earth.
O my soul, bless God that thou wast made a man, and not a clod of clay; a rational creature, and not a brute beast. Thou wast clay in the hands of this Potter, and mightest have been the most despicable creature that ever dropped from his fingers; but he has made thee little lower than the angels, and crowned thee with glory and honour, Psa. viii, 5. What cause, then, hast thou to admire thy Creator, who made thee thus to differ, and made thee capable of communing with him here, and enjoying him for ever? But beware of pride, that reigning condemning sin, which turned angels out of heaven, Adam out of paradise, and has since cast many thousands into hell. If ever tempted to boast of the greatness of thy stock, or the honour of thy progenitors, ascend as high as thy great progenitor, the earth; who opened her womb to bear us all, and ere long will open her mouth to receive us all, when we shall be resolved into our first matter. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it,” Eccl, xii, 7.
It is true,
UPON THE EARTH.
thou hadst a more noble Father, in whose image thou wast made; but this image is lost, and thou art become more deformed than thy mother.
O my God, as thou hast endued me with more noble faculties than many other of thy creatures, that I might be better able to serve thee, enable me so to do; renew thy image in me, which was lost by the fall, and give me thy grace, without which my condition will be worse than that of beasts which perish, and whose misery ends with their life. Where much is given, much will be required, Luke xii. 48. As thou hast made me a man, let me act as a rational man, and answer the ends of my creation.
Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou réturn, Gen. ii. 19.
Behold, I am but dust and ashes, Gen. xviii.
Who dwell in houses of clay, and whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth! Job iv. 19.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it, Eccl. xii. 7.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.-As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly, 1 Cor. xv. 47, 49.