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Moses! What sublime truths are contained in its hidden depths! Could such a composition have proceeded from an impostor?
I trust I have now shewn that we are authorized by Scripture to assert, that the works of God were in general brought to perfection by a long and continued process. This may have been done, because the divine attributes would thereby be more eminently glorified, as I shall endeavour to evince in the next article. It may also have been done, that the holy angels might take a deeper interest in that favoured being for whom such great things were doing, for whom those works of nature, which to them appeared so lovely, were not deemed of sufficient excellence!
Objection III.-It is intimated in Scripture, and it has always been held by orthodox divines, that all suffering is in consequence of sin. If there had been no sin, there would have been no suffering, no pain, no death. Adam was constituted the federal head and representative, not only of the human race, but also of the whole creation. Adam sinned; and the brute creation, as well as the human race, participated in the effects of his disobedience. But according to your system, the various kinds of animals were obnoxious to pain and death before Adam had any existence. Thus, there were misery and death in the world before the introduction of sin. Answer. To the mind of an Unitarian, this objection would be light as air. An Unitarian, in common with infidels, denies in toto the fall of man!!! He denies, of course, its imputed consequences. But I am not of their party; and I hope, O reader, that thou art not among their number. May God preserve both thee and me from this last extremity. I say, this last extremity. I conceive that the Deist or the Atheist, who openly and honestly rejects the Bible, must incur less of the Divine displeasure, than the man who professes to believe the Scripture, and yet labours to undermine its very foundation.
But although this objection present not aught of difficulty to the Unitarian, it has occasioned unto me considerable perplexity. I acknowledge that it is a difficulty, and I pity those who do not perceive it. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost."
I think we are clearly taught, that all pain and suffering, whether physical or moral, are the effects of sin; the effects of Adam's sin. How comes it then, that any part of the creation was exposed to suffering and death before sin was introduced? On this perplexing question I will venture to offer my ideas. If I should succeed, it must be attributed to the light which I have derived from the sixteenth chapter of Dr. Owen, on the person of Christ; or rather, to that Fountain of light and glory whose refulgent beams irradiated the page of Owen.
The great end and object of all the divine counsels and proceedings, is the glory of God. Let us then, in the course of our inquiry, keep in sight this grand truth. The glorification of the divine perfections was the primary object of the Son of God, when, by the power of the Father, through the operation of the Spirit, he formed the mundane system. But before the creation of Adam, there was no visible image; there was no representation of the holy attributes of God in this lower world. Some traces, indeed, of his goodness, his wisdom, and his power, were impressed upon the brute creation. But they could not bear the impress of his moral excellencies; they could exhibit no similitude of his holiness and righteousness, those properties whereby he is peculiarly glorified, and wherein he is pre-eminently known. Thus, at that early period, there was no established method by which Jehovah might be magnified; there was no medium by which the various works of nature might accomplish their high destiny, through which they might bring in a revenue of glory and honour to the Lord. Now, as the glory of God was the especial object of the creation, but the creatures could not then subserve that blessed purpose, it would not have comported with the justice of the Deity to place them in a state of perfect happiness. This would have been to place them on a level with those beings who fulfil the ends of their existence. Neither would it have been suitable unto the Divine wisdom. For it was the plan of the Deity, that the creation should be in a progressive state, and should gradually improve unto its very end. If therefore the animals had been in a state of absolute unmixed happiness, the order of things would have been
violated, and there would have been perfection and imperfection at the same time. But when man was made, the image of the Divinity shone forth in cloudless majesty; and when he was appointed the head and representative of the whole creation, then was creation's end accomplished. It then comported with the holy attributes of Deity, that the animals should be brought into a state of absolute felicity: and more glory redounded to the Creator from this wondrous transition on the introduction of his image, than could have accrued from the continuance of these animals in a state already perfect.-Reader, have I, in any degree, removed the difficulty?
It must not, however, be forgotten, that the beneficent Creator so ordered things, that all the animals which existed previous to man, enjoyed a large portion of felicity. On three accounts, their happiness must have been far greater than it is at present: 1. The face of the earth was not overspread with towns and cities, nor fenced in with inclosures, nor desolated by wars. The fruits of the earth were produced for them alone. 2. They were free from the dominion of man, and therefore were not kept in the unnatural state in which many of them are now confined. They must, consequently, have had fewer, and perhaps they had no diseases. 3. They were not exposed to the cruelty of man, which is probably the most fertile source of their misery. Thus their enjoyments greatly outweighed their sufferings, and existence was to them a considerable blessing.-If then you ask me, whether in the present state there would have been any suffering, had there been no sin? I answer, that there would have been none. If you again ask me, whether there could have been any? my reply is this: I conceive that there could not have been any mental suffering, or any corporeal suffering, to rational beings, if there had been no previous sin. I think, however, that God might justly expose his irrational creatures to physical evil, especially if he so ordered matters that their happiness would far exceed their misery; and that existence upon such terms would be greatly preferable to non-existence.
Objection IV.-We are informed by Moses, that the trees and plants were made on the third day, and the fishes
on the fifth. It is clear, however, from the system of modern Geologists, that there must have been a new creation of vegetables after the various shelly strata had been deposited. It is also evident, from the concluding letter in Parkinson's third volume, that the formation of fishes must have been continued while the beasts were being created. Does this harmonize with the Scripture? Answer. The proper answer to this is contained in my answers to your second objection.
Objection V.-Moses gives us a particular account of a great and universal deluge, without even hinting that any other ever occurred. But according to the Geologists, various deluges happened even before the creation of man; and you yourself have intimated as much. Is this Scriptural?
Answer. The proper answer to this also is contained in my answers to your second objection.
Objection VI.-Moses tells us, that the reptiles were formed together with the beasts; but according to Cuvier, crocodiles and some other oviparous animals were created with the fishes at a much earlier period.
Answer.-Moses says, that the earth brought forth beasts and reptiles. It is therefore clear, that he must be speaking of the land reptiles. Crocodiles, and some other amphibious animals, are certainly more nearly allied to fishes than to beasts; and therefore there can be little doubt that they were produced from water, and not from the earth. What Moses says does not appertain to them. He passes them over in silence, as he did the insects. But on this point, I said enough in a former place.
Objection VII.-Cuvier asserts, that after the primitive mountains had once emerged from the ocean, their summits were never again covered by it. This is in direct opposition to Moses, who states, that the waters rose above the highest mountains.
Answer. It is evident, from the context, that Cuvier's meaning is this: after the primitive mountains were once uncovered, the sea never again covered them for a length of time, so as to deposit any shelly strata. I conceive, he would not deny that the waters may have risen above the most elevated mountains, and have continued there for a few months.
(To be concluded in our next.)
ON THE EARTH'S INCLINATION TO THE | grace; and the moment we attempt to
PLANE OF ITS ORBIT.
comprehend or encircle the former, we THE following remarks, extracted from betray our presumption and folly.' It is here that our most vigorous imagian original and unfinished MS., on the probable cause of the Earth's In- nation is swallowed up, by the immenclination to the plane or level of its sity of that self-existent, incomprehensible Being, whose nature is inscruOrbit, and on the polarity of the mag-table, and whose ways are "past findnetic needle, deduced from reflections on the primeval and chaotic state of matter, will, I trust, be favoured with an insertion in the Imperial Magazine. They are perfectly new to me; and I am unconscious that any similar conjectures have ever appeared before the public. Their early appearance in valuable Miscellany, will greatly oblige your most obedient servant, Oct. 21, 1819.
In our evening contemplations, when surveying his works, we behold the moon like an immense crystal lamp; the stars, as so many golden tapers, advance in a glittering train; a thousand and a thou
sand luminaries shine forth in succes
sive splendour; and pendulous in fluid æther, a countless multitude of globes accomplish their rotations in one eternal harmony. Touched with solemn transport at scenes so vast, and yet so uniform, the intelligent and reflecting spectator is irresistibly conducted from the workmanship to the great Workman; and his mind is sweetly_captivated in the contemplation of the stupendous attributes of power, mercy, and love, which unite to form that indescribable constellation of beauties hu-centering in the divine Being. It was under the most devout and exalted conception of God, that the mind of our incomparable Milton dictated the following pathetic and sublime lines,
There is perhaps no subject with which we are acquainted, that excites an equal degree of interest in the mind, or tempts so much the industry of man to study and to explore, as the wisdom of God displayed in the works of creation. Conscious of its divine origin, and impatient of confinement, the man mind, fond of bold adventures, is perpetually on the alert, in the pursuit of good or ill. As the evanescent creatures of a day, we live upon the wing of time, and we exist on the margins which divide a material from a spiritual world; where the vanishing extremes of both, mingle themselves in shades and tints which are almost imperceptible; and where the intellectual powers seem poised, in a condition unable wholly to quit the one, or successfully to reach the other. Whatever we learn of either, is through the convoluted or obstructed paths of organized matter. With this, our boasted intelligence is mysteriously connected. It sustains, the mind in its most vigorous exertions, and serves as a sort of prop or rallying point, whenever we sally forth into those presumptive regions, where the fertility of our imaginations too often carry us. Tired of the flight, like a bird outdone by space at sea, we gladly lay hold of the first support. The mind recoils at the immeasurable distance before it; and, shrinking from the awful scene, is introverted upon itself, in taking a new survey of its own powers, which had been lost between the immensity of God, and human imbecility.
"These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good; Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair, Thyself how wondrous then!"
The alternate approximation and recession of the polar regions of the Earth to the Sun, during its annual march round that luminary, giving to the husbandman his seed-time and harvest, which clothe the smiling fields with
nutrimental treasure," are continually recognized from their beneficial effects; and we know it is to this peculiar position of the earth that we are indebted for our vernal flowers, our summer and autumnal fruits, our healthy vicissitudes of heat and cold, of frost and snow. The gales of winter, the summer airs, the noontide calms, and evening zephyrs which fan the heated air, and a numberless train of other blessings, are alike conducive to the comfort and happiness of man. We read of this Inclination; and the periodical return of the seasons, bringing with them the blessings I have here enumerated, bear indisputable testimony to the well-known fact. But why it should be so, and by what peculiar agency, or sediscret cause, a phenomenon so benign in
The latter, we have reason to lament, because it bears testimony to our
its influence, so constant and harmoni- | state of matter, I have elsewhere enous in its operations, is brought about, deavoured to prove; and if the reasonis hidden in profound obscurity; the ing there adduced be conclusive, I investigation of which, is the interest- take it for granted, that the earth, and ing subject of our present inquiry. its numerous appendages, were then To pursue this intricate subject with held in solution. Whether the univerany probable prospect of success, we sal menstruum were air or water, is of must carry our reflections back to the no importance to the present theory, primeval state of the earth, when days since, according to our popular views and nights began their endless rounds, of chemical affinity, a partial, and in when chaos triumphed over disordered many instances a complete state of soworlds. lution, is essentially necessary in giving scope to the play of essences. From these premises we may safely infer, that what we can denominate the earth, was, in its original state, a soft, compressible, and yielding substance, between that of a solid, compact, and a complete fluid; and that during this fluid consistence, the earth received its first impulse to move. Whether the intestine motion of atomic forces constituting the play of elements, arose from emanations, or spiritual impulsions immediately from the Divine mind, or was consequent upon the secondary agency of solar heat, I shall not risk my opinion. Whatever may have been the nature of the immediate influence, we are well assured, that the primary agency was immaterial; and in what way soever the moving agent formed a contact with the body to be moved, the result was certain and uniform, and the whole chaotic mass became the scene of chemical alterations dis--sympathetic unions, the marriage of essences, and the parade of elements, in endless succession and variety.
There appear to be but two states of matter which claim our attention, as candidates for priority of existence one, where the elements may be supposed to have existed in a distinct and separate manner, before the countless assemblage of them, called aggregates, was issued into being; the other, where the aggregates made a primary appearance, and were rendered capable of yielding, from the progressive development of their atomic parts, those elements which now engross the material universe. In the first case, the numberless systems composing universal nature, resulted from the coalesence or rendezvous of previously created scattered elements. In the latter, the aggregates were first in order on the great theatre of being, with their pregnant causes, and the virtual existence of those elements which, in their pleasing or terrific effects, alternately create in the mind of man, the occasions of so much admiration or may. To determine the seniority of these candidates, is not our present intention. It is more compatible with the structure of compound bodies, and congenial with our notions of divided elements, to suppose that the aggregates were formed from the coalescence of elements, than that the elements should have made their respective aggressions from the progressive involutions of those unwieldy masses of organized matter, of which they were themselves the constituents. I shall not at present dispute to which of these the palm is due, because the interest of the present subject is not involved in the issue. I shall confine my remarks to the chaotic state of the earth, that congeries of things blended in one confused and indiscriminate mass of matter, to which the ancient Hebrews annexed the terms tohoo and bohoo, and the equally sagacious and critical Greeks the word chaos.
That chaos was an unconsolidated
In the short interval of six successive days, the amazing whole was completed; and God is said to have rested from his labours. This is a metaphorical idea, inapplicable to the immateriality of the Almighty, but beautiful in itself, and consistent with those terms we are obliged to use, in defining ideas we derive from the contact of visible things.
Without annexing certain images to our perception of spiritual and invisible things, man could not be intelligible to man. God rested; in other words, he discontinued his creative operations. What he had previously formed, he now left, to follow the energies or impulsions he had implanted in the original constitution of matter; and these go on with the same undeviating regularity, as if God were actually interposing his power at every subsequent event. It is in this sense
we say, that natural effects have their proximate and natural causes; and that all the operations in nature which we term phenomena, are to be explained on some material principle, and not ascribed to the immediate interposition of mysterious agency or temporary efforts of Divine efficiency.
The science of chemistry consists in a knowledge of these affinities, derived for the most part from analytical investigation, by the operation of matter upon matter, and from the hostility of adverse elements, termed re-agents; instruments in the hands of the philosopher, which enable him to torture confession, by unlocking the charm which gave security to elementary alliance, in which nothing can be said to perish; the internal constitution of essence remaining unchanged: so that not an inconceiveably minute atom can be annihilated. From the principles here laid down, I think there can be no doubt that the earth was thrown into motion, while the elements were yet in full play, and before
pede their motion, would have easily descended through softer bodies; while subsequently formed masses, in their approach to what has been called the centre of gravity, would be obstructed in their course. In the latter case, no mechanical motion of rotatory velocity could deflect masses of matter through substances of equal density. The combinations of elements, and the consequent formation of substances going on, after the earth was put in motion, huge and ponderous compounds multiplied upon each other, which being unable to descend through inferior and previously-formed strata, are mechanically sustained above their " due level;" and consequently the weight, which would have otherwise surrounded the centre, accumulates laterally, and thus removes the centre of gravity at a distance from the mathematical centre of the whole mass.
(To be concluded in our next.)
the operation of chemical agency had DOUBTS CONCERNING THE DOCTRINE
fixed them in their more permanent abodes. The effect of motion, from whatever cause it was derived, would be to precipitate newly formed substances from the circumference to the centre of the whole mass; and as the union of some elements produces more ponderous compounds than others, so their respective influence operates more powerfully in bringing them to the most depending part of the aggregate, if quiescent, and to the physical centre, if in motion.
Whether we suppose the consolidation of the earth, and arrangement of its strata, to have taken place either before or after it was put in motion, the result we imagine would have been what it now is. If a principle of gravity exist at all, it existed then, and was as much the quality of an atom as of a world. It is true, the scattered particles had not brought together into one centre their individual quotas; for which reason the principle of gravity, in that stage of creation, could not be so extensively influential as at present. Be this as it may, in neither case could all the ponderous substances equally surround the centre. In the former case, while the earth is supposed to be at rest, the primarily formed modifications, resulting from hasty affinities, having nothing to im
OF THE ETERNAL SONSHIP OF CHRIST.
The Evangelists commonly speak of our Lord as the Son of man, whilst he is generally designated the Son of God by the Apostles. But the terms are indifferently used to denote one person, Jesus, the Christ; and it is predicated equally and indifferently, of the Son of Man and of the Son of God, that "he that believeth in me hath eternal life.” But since the terms, the Son of man, and the Son of God, are employed equally and indifferently to denote one Son, which is the Christ, they can be alone referrible to one Sonship. For if there be two Sonships, there must be two Sons; and since "we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son," if there be two, which of them died upon the cross?
But to escape this dilemma, we may insist, without fear of contradiction, that the Son of man and the Son of God are one; and it is predicated indifferently of each, that the believer hath eternal life in him. But since there cannot be two Sonships, and one is distinctly enunciated by the Evangelists, that is, the filiation in time; the eternal Sonship must of necessity be false.
The Lord Jesus Christ exists in the