« السابقةمتابعة »
Such, then, was Adam, in the day when God crowned him king in Eden, and invested him with sovereignty over the works of his hands; giving him 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.”
It appears to have been the order of Providence, that while the flesh continued in subjection to the spirit, and man to God, so long the creatures should continue in subjection to man, as servants are subject to their lord and master. This original subjection we must suppose to have been universal and absolute. From the creatures man had much to learn, but nothing to fear. If, to answer the purposes of creation, or to convey to his mind ideas of his invisible enemies, any were at that time wild and noxious, with regard to him they were tame and harmless. In perfect security he saw, he considered, he admired. But when he rebelled against his God, the creatures renounced their allegiance to him, and became, in the hands of their common Creator, instruments of his punishment.-" The beasts of the field” were no longer “at peace with him.” Yet, in consequence of the new covenant and promise to redeem man and the world, we find it said after the flood—“The “ fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon
every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon the fishes of the seap.” So far is the su
P Gen, ix. 2.
periority of the human species still preserved, that “ every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, “and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been " tamed of mankind ?." In some cases, for the sake of eminently holy persons, favoured by Heaven on that account, the instincts of the most savage and ravenous have been suspended; as when some of every kind assembled and lodged together in the ark, and when the mouths of the lions were stopped in the den of Babylon, while the righteous and greatly beloved Daniel was there. The Redeemer of the world endued his disciples with the original privilege -“Behold I give you power to tread on serpents “and on scorpions; and nothing shall by any means “ burt you"." . And, agreeably to such promise, St. Paul "shook off the viper into the fire, and felt no 'harmo.” The eighth Psalm is a beautiful representation of the extent of this privilege, as it was possessed, at the beginning, by the first Adam, and as it hath been since restored by the second—“O Lord
our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the “ earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast “ thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, “ that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. " When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fin
gers, the moon and the stars which thou hast or“ dained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? " and the son of man, that thou visitest hiin? For “thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,
9 James, iii. 7.
Luke, s. 19.
· Acts, xxviii.
" and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 66 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works " of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the
sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of “ the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy " name in all the earth !"
Let us indulge a few reflections on the foregoing particulars.
The imagination naturally endeavours to form some idea of the sensations that must have arisen in the mind of the first man, when, awaking into existence, with all his senses and faculties perfect, he beheld the glory and beauty of the new-created world. Faded as we must suppose its glory and its beauty now to be, enough still remains to excite continual wonder, praise, and adoration. Yet it is represented in the Scriptures of truth, as lying under a curse, as groaning and travailing in pain, and as little better than a prison, from which all, who are truly sensible of its condition and their own, wish and pray to be delivered into the liberty of the children of God. But if such be our prison, what notions are we led to form of those mansions, which our Lord is gone before to prepare for us in his Father's house ? Creation was finished in six days; and we read that, "on " the seventh, God rested from all his work which he “ created and made!” But the transgression of man would not suffer him to rest. My Father,” says
Gen ii. 2.
the blessed Jesus, " worketh hitherto, and I work." Sin made its way into the first creation, and is gradually destroying it, as a moth fretteth a garment.“ Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon “ the earth beneath ; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like
a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in “ like manner.” “But we, according to his pro« mise, look for new heavens and a new earth, where“ in dwelleth righteousness?.” We read of one who, in vision, "saw a new heaven and a new earth, for “the first heaven and the first earth were passed "away'.” When the new creation shall be finished and prepared, an act of omnipotence will be exerted, similar to that which passed at the formation of Adam. The Lord God will again “form man out " of the dust of the ground, and breathe into his “ nostrils the breath of life.” From his long sleep in the chamber of the grave, he will awake to behold the never-fading glories of a world which“ will have
no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine « in it: for the Lord God and the Lamb," those brighter and inextinguishable luminaries, shall enlighten it for ever? The Almighty shall again with complacency survey the works of his hands, and pronounce every thing he has made to be “very good;" he shall again rest on the seventh day; the children of the resurrection shall enter into his rest, and keep an eternal sabbath. Let us " comfort one another " with these words."
u John, v. 17.
Isa li. 6.
* 2 Peter, iii. 13.
A view of the different materials of which man is composed, may teach us to form a proper estimate of him. He stands between the two worlds, the natural and the spiritual, and partakes of both. His body is material, but its inhabitant descends from another system. His soul, like the world from which it comes, is immortal; but his body, like the world to which it belongs, is frail and perishable. From its birth it contains in it the seeds and principles of dissolution, towards which it tends every day and hour, by the very means that nourish and maintain it, and which no art can protract beyond a certain term. In spite of precaution and medicine, “the evil days will
come, and the years draw nigh, when he shall say, "I have no pleasure in them.” Pains and sorrows will succeed each other, as "the clouds return after “the rain,” blackening the face of heaven, and darkening the sources of light and joy. The hands, those once active and vigorous “keepers of the house, grown paralytic, “shall tremble;” and “the strong “men,” those firm and able columns which supported it, shall“ bow themselves,” and sink under the weight. The external "grinders” of the food, the teeth, “shall cease, because they are few," and the work of mastication shall be imperfectly performed: Dim suffusion shall veil the organs of sight, “they " that look out of the windows shall be darkened.' The doors, or valves, “shall be shut in the streets or alleys of the body, when the digestive powers are weakened, and “the sound of the" internal “grind“ing is low.” Sleep, if it light upon the eyelids of age, will quickly remove again, and “ he will rise up”