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his power, what, in the ordinary operations of nature, it would have required ages to concrete, so there is no reason for demanding, on this account, so extended an era for the works of creation.

We are aware that this does not meet all the difficulties of the case; for the various series of fossil remains which have been discovered are sufficient to perplex the most accurate observer. Still we are fully persuaded, that if the power of Almighty God be always recognized, as it should be by every believer in revelation, by far the greater portion of these difficulties will vanish, while a more perfect knowledge of the structure of our earth will gradually dissipate the remainder.

We now proceed to consider the particulars of the Mosaic narrative.

The first truth enunciated is this: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth ;” and it is added: "The earth was without form and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Gen. i, 1, 2.

We have already said that this passage communicates the important information, that not only the form, but the material, of which the universe is composed, was created by God—that it was made out of nothing.

This, although opposed to the judgment of several eminent critics, appears to be the evident meaning of the language we have quoted. It has, indeed, been contended, that the Hebrew term, xha, which our translators have rendered "created," does not necessarily mean to bring the substance of a thing into being, it being sometimes used to describe the formation of a thing out of pre-existent materials; indeed, that it is applied indifferently to the one case or the other, and that its meaning in this respect is to be ascertained by the context, and the scope and intention of the writer. We believe this is correct, and that on these principles the doctrine we have stated may be proved to arise out of this text. In the first place, the passage speaks of " the beginning," the first act of God's creative power, at least in respect of this world. Unless, therefore, we admit the eternity of matter, we must admit that this passage speaks of its creation. Again : admitting that the word rendered "created” may sometimes mean the having formed or fashioned a thing out of pre-existing materials, it is plain, it cannot mean this in the text under consideration ; for, as if to guard against this misapprehension, it is

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immediately added, “ The earth was without form and void;" an undoubted proof that the act referred to cannot be understood to mean the giving a new form to existing matter, and must, therefore, refer to the creation of the matter itself.

On this point, however, we are not left to the uncertainties of verbal criticism. An inspired apostle has made this doctrine an .article of faith. He assures us " that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Heb. xi, 3. This settles the point. It proves that the world was made, in respect of its .substance as well as its form, immediately by God." In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

“ And the earth was without form and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” “The few first words of Genesis" are appealed to by geologists, “as containing a brief statement of the creation of the material elements," at a time distinctly preceding the operations of the first day: because “it is nowhere affirmed that God created the heaven and the earth in the first day, but in the beginning;" and it is contended, therefore, that " this beginning may have been an epoch at an unmeasured distance, followed by periods of undefined duration, during which all the physical operations of geology were going on.”Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise, vol. i, p. 21.

If putting this sense on the narrative be sufficient to satisfy the demands of geology, there cannot be the slightest reason for presuming that the science is directly opposed to the teaching of revelation. For the brief account of Moses certainly does not say that this creation took place on the first day; and, therefore, if it is really necessary, we do not see why this concession may not be made, without at all impugning the verity of holy writ. Yet we are by no means satisfied, either that the discoveries of geology at present establish a system of facts which necessarily. demand this interpretation, or that it is the natural sense of the words. The terms, “the beginning,” are thus in their application thrown back into eternity; their connection with the subject of the Mosaic narrative, if not cut off, is made distant and indirect; and, therefore, at present, we will not presume to dogmatize on the subject, but take the language as distinctly teaching the creation of the matter of which our earth is composed, without at all determining the chronology of this great event.

First Day." And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was

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light. And God saw the light, that it was good : and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Gen. i, 2-5.

On the first clause of this passage, we observe, that it confirms and extends the truth stated in the first verse, and impressively teaches the immediate agency of the Spirit of God in the formation of the world. The matter had been previously created; but now infinite Wisdom and infinite Power unite in working up these materials into the structure of our earth. We have evidences of this on every side : “ Everything we see, feel, or handle, is a composition, a mixture or union, of more particles or of more elements than one. Not merely the grosser earthly bodies are so, but even the water, the air, and the light, are in this compounded state. Now it is impossible that any compound can have been eternally a compound. Composition and eternity are as incompatible as to be and not to be. The particles of which compounds consist must have been in some other state before they were compounded together. The single condition of the elements must have preceded their union in the composition; and thus it is physically impossible that a compound can have been eternal.”Turner's Sacred History, vol. i, p. 12.

But by what means were those varying compounds formed ? Here is a miracle, perhaps no less striking than the creation of matter. How is it accounted for? By the simple terms of this passage of revealed truth. The Spirit of God came down on this inert mass of material elements, and moved upon it; the omnipotent power of God, guided and directed by his infinite wisdom, operated on this chaos of particles, and designed and effected all the combinations and arrangements of them, which the human intellect in its happiest efforts can but partially know-can do little more than guess at.

But it may be asked, “Has this writer never heard of the laws of nature which have most evidently conduced to the present state of material being ? Has he never considered the effects of gravity, concretion, chemical affinity, magnetism, electricity, and various other natural agencies, which are now, and have from the beginning been, in operation ?” Yes; he has carefully considered all these, and asks in return, Whence did they arise ? Are they not all indubitable witnesses of the truth of this text ? Do they not all attest the agency of the Spirit of God in creation ?

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Let science display all the wonders of nature, let her testimony be implicitly received ; but let the truth of revelation be at the same time granted, and we are necessarily conducted to this im. portant conclusion, that the mysterious agencies which have been referred to, with all that are usually called “the laws of nature,” are but records of what the Holy Ghost, in the beginning, imprinted on the passive elements of matter. And if the human mind faints in the attempt to follow these in their ordinary opera. tion, need we wonder that we cannot unravel the mysteries which they produced when called into the most energetic action by the word of his power, when instinct with the omnipotent energy of the Spirit of God? Yet how wonderful is the fact, that, so far as the researches of physical science extend, it appears that the means which the wisdom and power of Jehovah employed in building up our world are left by him as the great conservative principles of this terrestrial fabric; and through these natural laws and agencies nature proclaims, in all her works, the being, the wisdom, and the power of God!

The next important point in the narrative which demands attention, is the creation of light, and its alternation with darkness. We will not dwell on the simple, but intensely sublime, language in which this fact is announced : “Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God said, Light be: and light was.” Gen. 1, 2, 3. There have not been wanting men who would persuade us that as Moses wrote at a time when the physical sciences were unknown, we must regard his language with the greatest kindness and consideration, as if God, who made the world, could not teach his servant to give a proper account of its origin! This passage, of itself, justly exposes all such ridiculous assumption. Moses here speaks of the creation of light as being antecedent to the existence of the sun. For many ages after he wrote, the possibility of this was unknown to the philosophy of this world, although now it is recognized and believed.

“And God divided the light from the darkness.” Genesis i, 4. We do not know how this could have been done but by means of the diurnal rotation of the earth; and it does not appear improbable that, from this event, time began. The darkness previously existed. God created the light. And to divide the light from the darkness, and to afford this world a rotation of day and night, the daily revolution of the earth was given to it: “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Verse 5.

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Second Day.--"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” Gen. i, 6–8.

In this passage we have only the subject of the firmament calling for particular notice. 'Respecting this, much misconception has prevailed. The meaning of Moses is evident. The term signifies “an expanse,” anything stretched or spread out; and with peculiar force and propriety applies to the atmosphere which is spread over our earth, and encompasses it as a garment. Light had been called into being; and now air succeeds, as the next essential material in the garniture of the earth.

It is important to observe the special purpose which this atmosphere is here said to be appointed to serve: “to divide the waters from the waters.” The account appears to teach, that, at first, the whole earth was encompassed with water, and that, when the atmosphere was created, a portion of the water was taken up and suspended on it. The portion so raised and suspended must have been very large, to justify the language of the text. It is, we know, generally supposed that but a small quantity of water, comparatively, is sustained in aqueous vapor in the air; but, whatever may be the quantity so sustained now, we are not aware that any reason exists which would prevent us from believing that a very large proportion of the waters of the ocean might be raised and suspended in the atmosphere without the violation of any natural law.

Third Day." And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God 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: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after bis kind : and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.” Gen. i, 9-13.

The first operation of this day was to constitute this world a terraqueous globe, by gathering the waters together, and bringing

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