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Amidst this infinite variety of beings there was not a single one which to a material body added an immaterial immortal soul ; so that there was still a great blank in creation. A wonderful and magnificent temple was reared, and shone in glory and beauty, but there was as yet no priest therein to offer up incense to the Deity to whom it was dedicated.
We are now, therefore, to consider the creation of him for whom this high office was reserved, who, as king and priest, was to render to the common Creator the praises due from all created things, and be the spokesman for all the inhabitants of this terrestrial globe.
The vast distance, on this account, intervening between man and the highest animals in the scale of being, appears evident from the different circumstances attending their creation. When they were brought into existence, the word was—“Let the waters bring forth— Let the earth bring forth,” from which it should seem that God did not act immediately in their creation, except by his agency on those powers that he had established as rulers in nature, and by which he ordinarily taketh hold, as it were, of the material universe. But when a being, combining the spiritual with the material world, is to be created, all the persons of the Godhead unite immediately in the work, and without the intervention of
“ Let us make man.” He was therefore neither sea-born nor earth-born, as some ancient nations claimed to be, but born of God; though, as Christ moistened clay when he was about to exercise his creative power, in the re-forming of an eye;'
' so was the humid earth used in the creation of the body of man' by his Maker, and when that wonderful machine, with its complex apparatus of organs, both external and internal, was finished ; when a throne and presence chamber were prepared for the intellectual and spiritual, and governing part of his nature, and that wonder-working pulp the brain, with its silver spinal cord and infinitely divaricated threads, already fitted for the mastery of every motive organ, was in a state to transmit without obstruction, each flux and reflux of that subtile fluid, intermediate, as it were, between matter and spirit, which so instantaneously conveys and causes the execution of the commands of the will by every external bodily organ ; when the heart was ready to beat ; the lungs to play; the blood to circulate; and every other system to start for the fulfilment of its prescribed errand. “ Then the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives, and man became a living soul.” He was now installed into his kingdom over the globe which he inhabited, and dominion was given him over the inhabitants of the water, of the air, and of the earth; and the divine image, in which he was to be created, was rendered complete.
1 John, ix. 6.
2 See Appendix, note 3.
Now, the generations of the world were perfect and healthful, and God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good. That is,--every individual essence, whether inanimate or animate, was fitted in every respect to answer the end of its creation, and perform its allotted part in contributing to the general welfare. The entire machine was now in action, every separate wheel was revolving, and the will of Him who contrived and fabricated it had full and uninterrupted accomplishment. The instincts of the whole circle of animals urged them, by an irresistible impulse, to fulfil their several functions; I mean those that were necessary to the then state of things : for if the instinct of the predaceous ones was not restrained, they would soon have annihilated the herbivorous ones, even if, as Lightfoot supposes, they were at first created by sevens. They must, therefore, originally have eaten grass or straw like the ox, and neither injured nor destroyed their fellow-beasts of a more harmless character; this, indeed, appears clearly from the terms of the original grant, “ To every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.” And to this vegetable diet, before the close of the present scene, we are assured they shall again return so as to render the last age of the world as happy as the original state of man in Paradise. This harmony of the animal creation, continued probably long enough, after the fall, to allow sufficient time for such a multiplication of the flocks and herds, and flights and shoals of the gregarious animals, as would secure them from extinction—but then, as the poet sings :
1 See Appendix, note 4.
Had Adam not fallen, this sad change would, probably, never have taken place, for as the author of the book of wisdom argues :-“ God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things that they might have their being; and the generations of the world were healthful: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor the kingdom of death upon the earth.” When we consider the relative position of man and the animal kingdom, by the divine decree, subjected to his dominion, the harmony and goodwill that subsisted between them, it appears improbable that immortal man would have been afflicted by the appearance of death and destruction amongst his subjects from any cause, especially by the strong, and those armed with deadly weapons, attacking and devouring the weak and helpless. Even now, fallen as we are from our original dignity, there is no creature so fell and savage that we have not more or less the power to subdue and tame; no natures so averse, that we are not skilled to reconcile; we can counteract even instinct itself, and make a treaty of peace and mutual good will between animals, whom nature, by a law, has placed in the fiercest enmity and opposition to each other.
1 Isaiah, Ixv, 25.
The Creator, indeed, foreseeing the fatal apostacy that plunged our race in ruin, and providing for the circumstances in which our globe would eventually be placed from the too rapid increase of various animals most given to multiply, furnished the predatory tribes with organs and offensive arms, which, when he gave the word and let loose the reins, would urge them to the
1 See Appendix, note 5.