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the dry land into appearance. So far as our knowledge extends, the only way in which this could have been done was to cause some parts of the solid surface of the earth to sink, and the others to become elevated, and thus to form a natural receptacle for the waters. It seems extremely probable that this aetually took place, not merely from the appearance of the earth, but also from the general tenor of the language employed. After a part of the waters had been placed above the firmament, we are not told that the quantity which remained was either increased or diminished: they were simply "gathered together.”
After this, we have the creation of the vegetable kingdom. This was a grand manifestation of divine power. The creation of vegetables was the formation of living organized beings, with spontaneous internal powers, but without locomotion. We will not dwell on their endless variety, their exquisite beauty, or the astonishing adaptation and design so strikingly apparent in every part of this creation ; although each of these presents an inviting subject of inquiry. We therefore simply observe, Moses does not tell us that God spoke trees, shrubs, and flowers, into existence, as he did the light and the air: he caused them to grow. He said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.” Verse 11. We have here a striking illustration of the sentiment advanced in a preceding page.
The vegetable kingdom was called into being as vegetables now rise into being : they grew out of the earth.
“And it was so.' The grass, the herbs, the trees, grew in one day; they rose up into such perfect being, that God saw that it was good. If this does not teach that results which now, in the ordinary operations of nature, require a considerable time for their production, were then, by the power of God, produced in the same manner, but in the short space of a day, we candidly confess we can attach no meaning to the language.
Fourth Day.—“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years : and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night : he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over
the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Verses 14–19.
Moses has already informed us, that light was created on the first day; and here he teaches that the sun and moon were formed on the fourth. This has been urged as one of the most serious objections to the Scripture narrative, on the supposition that the sun, being the fountain of light, must have been created before light could exist. Such, for ages, was the commonly received opinion. But now “no truth in philosophy seems to be more clearly ascertained, than that light has a distinct existence, separate and independent of the sun.”—Turner's Sacred History, vol. 1, p. 91. The progress of philosophical knowledge has, in this particular, fully justified the Mosaic account. This circumstance is very important. The sacred historian is frequently represented as having written according to the external appearance of physi. cal objects; and it is therefore supposed that, as we obtain a more correct knowledge of natural science, his language will be found to some extent inapplicable to the true state of things. But what is the fact, in the case before us ? According to appear ance, light emanates from the sun. The idea of the existence of light, independent of the sun, could never have been popular. Yet we find Moses speaking of this separate existence, and declaring that light was created three days before the sun. How is this to be accounted for? What does it involve? Undoubtedly, that Moses wrote under the influence of that knowledge which was intimately acquainted with the origin and constitution of all physical being; and that, therefore, any apparent discrepancy between the Scripture account and the discoveries of science, instead of reflecting discredit upon the former, ought rather to teach us that in those respects our philosophical knowledge is imperfect—that as yet we have not hit upon the true key to natural phenomena.
It is an interesting circumstance, that Moses so distinctly alludes to the effect of the motions and influence of these heavenly bodies in regulating the division of time. This purpose they have served by regulating days and seasons, as well as by affording every observer the means of marking, measuring, and counting, the
progress of that portion of eternity during which this universe is permitted to exist.
Fifth Day. “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abun
dantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind : and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” Gen. i, 20–23.
How grand, yet how beautiful, are the developments of creative wisdom and power! We have seen the structure of our earth built up by the fiat of God; its rocks and hills compounded and arranged by his power, the fluid waters laving the shores beneath, and a transparent atmosphere encompassing all above. The vegetable kingdom rises into being, displaying an entirely new feature of the divine procedure. Before this, matter had indeed been not only created, but also variously arranged and compounded; yet, hitherto, this had only amounted to an aggregation of separable parts and particles. In vegetable nature, we have more than this; we have organization accompanied with what is properly called life. A stone and a tree may both increase in size; but it is in a very different way, and through the operation of entirely opposite principles. The former increases by the aggregation of suitable material to its external surface; the latter, by the living action of an internal organization. We have now to contemplate a further progress in creation : we find in animal nature, not only organized living being, but this connected with sentient powers and locomotion. Without venturing upon the nice and difficult question of animal mind, we may observe a very important quality of it-it is one and indivisible. This life cannot be divided. If you take off the limb of a sentient creature, though you make it to become a separate part, you carry no feeling with it. The entire life and feeling remain in the maimed animal, and the separated part becomes devoid of feeling and life.
The fishes and fowls, in all their varieties, were the products of this day's creation.
The Sixth Day." And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind : and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind : and God saw that it was good.” Gen. i, 24, 25.
On this day all terrestrial animals were created. In the first instance this seems but a continuation of the fifth day's work, until it is crowned with the creation of the first human pair. The narrative proceeds, stating the facts in consecutive order, until, having noticed all the several particulars, Moses, in verse 26, returns to the subject, and gives a more extended account of the origin of that order of beings who were to be the subjects of very special consideration from their divine Author, and for whose benefit the sacred narrative was given.
The terms in which the divine purpose in the creation of man was declared are very remarkable : “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.” Verse 26.
“ It was a superb destiny that man should be appointed to be the image and likeness of God, and this great truth is not left to be elicited inferentially : it is expressly revealed, and stands out in the Old and New Testament Scriptures as the important fact and principle of their inspired communications.
" He has, therefore, made our intelligent spirit in such a likeness to his own, that there can be intercourse and communion, and sympathy, affection, and affinity, between man and his God. His sacred mind can at all times, from this similarity, make himself intelligible to us, and perceptible by us. He can at all times impress our sensibilities, and communicate his influences. We are essentially his image and likeness in our original nature and capacities; and the more steadily and successfully we advance to all the attainable perfections of our being, the more complete the actual assimilation will become.”—Turner's Sacred History,
vol. i, p.537
We have also special information respecting the origin of woman. This exhibits the result of one of the most beautiful and interesting, as well as most benevolent, ideas of the divine Mind. Of man, even when existing in all his pristine perfection, the allwise Creator said, “ It is not good that the man should be alone.” Gen. ii, 18. And the infinite attributes of Jehovah were called into exercise to supply this want by providing him a “help meet.” In the creation of woman this object was secured in the most Perfect manner. “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. i, 31.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” Gen. ii, 3. It is thus that the sacred narrative of the creation closes. After exhibiting the progressive origin of all earthly things and earthly creatures, the Almighty marks out the seventh day by a sacred ordinance, claiming it specially for his own, investing it with a peculiar sanctity; as if, even during the time of human innocence, it was necessary repeatedly to bring to mind the divine origin of created things, and specially man's relation to and connection with God.
We now direct attention to a few of those notices of creation which profane history has, in various detached fragments, handed down to us. We consider them valuable, as exhibiting striking evidence that the leading facts of the Mosaic narrative were generally known in the early ages of the world; and also as showing the gradual, but extensive, manner in which primitive tradition was corrupted, until at length it became lost in a mass of poetry and fable.
The first writer to whom we refer is Sanchoniatho. He is supposed to have lived before the Trojan war. His writings are the oldest that have come down to us, with the exception of the Holy Scriptures. He wrote a treatise respecting the theology and antiquities of Phenicia; of this only a few fragments remain. That which we now quote is the account which Eusebius (Prepar. Evangel., lib. i, cap. 10) has preserved of Sanchoniatho's cosmogonic system.
“ He supposes that the beginning of all things was a dark and condensed windy air, or a breeze of thick air, and a chaos turbid and black of Erebus; and that these were unbounded, and for a long series of ages destitute of form. But when this wind became enamored of its own first principles, (the chaos,) and an intimate union took place, that connection was called Pothos ;* and it was the beginning of the creation of all things. And it (the chaos) knew not its own production; but, from its embrace with the wind, was generated Môt, which some call Ilus, (mud,) but others, the putrefaction of a watery mixture. And from this sprung all the seed of the creation, and the generation of the universe.
" And there were certain animals without sensation, from which
*“ This union, among the heathens, and particularly among the Phenicians, was symbolized by an egg enfolded by a serpent, which disjunctively represented the chaos and the ether, but, when united, the hermaphroditic first principle of the uni. verse, Cupid, or Pothos."