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piece of the creation, man endued with reason and intellect. The house being built, its inhabitant appeared; the feast being set forth, the guest was introduced; the theatre being decorated and illuminated, the spectator was admitted, to behold the splendid and magnificent scenery in the heavens above and the earth beneath; to view the bodies around him moving in perfect order and harmony, and every creature performing the part allotted it in the universal drama; that seeing he might understand, and understanding, adore its supreme Author and Director.
Not that, even in the original and perfect state of his intellectual powers, he was left to demonstrate the being of a God, either a priori or a posteriori. His Creator, we find, immediately manifested himself to him, and conversed with him, informing him, without all doubt, of what had passed previous to his own existence, which otherwise he never could have known; instructing him how and for what purpose the world and man were made, and to whom he was bound to ascribe all praise and glory on that account. The loss of this instruction occasioned some of his descendants, in after ages, to worship the creature instead of the Creator. Ignorant of him who gave the sun for a light by day, they fell prostrate before that bright image of its Maker's glory, which, to the eye of sense, appeared to be the god that governed the world.
The other parts of this the word of the Creator.
system were produced by "He spake, and it was "done." The elements were his servants: "He
"said to one, Go, and it went; to another, Come, "and it came; to a third, Do this," and the commission was instantly executed. But to the formation of man (with reverential awe, and after the manner of men, be it spoken) he seems more immediately to have addressed his power and wisdom. "Let us make man;" all things are now ready; let the work of creation be completed and crowned by the production of its possessor and lord, who is to use, to enjoy, and to rule over it: "Let "us make man."
The phraseology in which this resolution is couched, is remarkable; "Let us make man;" but the Old Testament furnishes more instances of a similar kind: "Behold man is become like one of us; Let us go down, and confound their language; Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?" These plural forms, thus used by the Deity, demand our attention.
Three solutions of the question have been offered.
The first is that given by the Jews, who tell us, that in these forms, God speaks of himself and his angels. But may we not ask, upon this occasion"Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who "hath been his counsellor?" With which of the angels did he, at any time, vouchsafe to share his works and his attributes? Could they have been his coadjutors in the work of creation, which he so often claims to himself, declaring he will not give the glory of it to another? Do we believe-do the Jews believe-did any body ever believe, that man was
made by angels, or made in the image and likeness of angels? Upon this opinion, therefore, we need not spend any more time. We know from whence it came, and for what end it was devised and propagated.
A second account of the matter is, that the King of heaven adopts the style employed by the kings of the earth; who frequently speak of themselves in the plural number, to express dignity and majesty. But doth it seem at all reasonable to imagine, that God should borrow his way of speaking from a king, before man was created upon the earth? The contrary supposition would surely carry the air of more probability with it; namely, that because the Deity originally used this mode of expression, therefore kings, considering themselves as his delegates and representatives, afterwards did the same. But, however this might be, the interpretation, if admitted, will not suffice to clear the point. For, as it has been judiciously observed, though a king and governor may say us and we, there is certainly no figure of speech, that will allow any single person to say, one of us," when he speaks only of himself. It is a phrase that can have no meaning, unless there be more persons than one concerned.
What, then, should hinder us from accepting the third solution, given by the best expositors, ancient and modern, and drawn from this consideration, that, in the unity of the Divine Essence, there is a plurality of Persons, co-equal and co-eternal, who might say, with truth and propriety, "Let us make man ;" and, "Man is become like one of us?" Of such a
personality revelation informs us; it is that upon which the economy of man's redemption is founded; his creation, as well as that of the world, is in different passages attributed to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; what more natural, therefore, than that, at his production, this form of speech should be used by the Divine Persons? What more rational than to suppose, that a doctrine so important to the human race, was communicated from the beginning, that men might know whom they worshipped, and how they ought to worship? What other good and sufficient reason can be given, why the name of God, in use among believers from the first, should likewise be in the plural number, connected with verbs and pronouns in the singular1? It is true, we Christians, with the New Testament in our hands, may not want these arguments to prove the doctrine: but why should we overlook, or slight, such very valuable evidence of its having been revealed and received in the church of God from the foundation of the world? It is a satisfaction, it is a comfort, to reflect that, in this momentous article of our faith, we have patriarchs and prophets for our fathers; that they lived and that they died in the belief of it; that the God of Adam, of Noah, and of Abraham, is likewise our God; and that, when we adore him in three persons, and give glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, we do as it was done in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
,1 .Gen. i ברא אלהים :
Proceed we to consider the materials of which man was composed.
"The word of the Lord once came to the prophet "Jeremiah, saying, Arise, and go down to the pot"ter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my "words. Then he went down to the potter's house, "and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheel. And "the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Be"hold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye "in my hand."
A scene like this is presented to our imaginations by the words of Moses: "The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground;" he moulded" or modelled him as a potter doth; we see the work, as it were, upon the wheel, rising and growing under the hands of the divine Artificer!
The human body was not made of the celestial elements, light and air, but of the more gross terrestrial matter, as being designed to receive and communicate notices of terrestrial objects, by organs of a nature similar to them. In this instance, as in another since, God seemeth to have "chosen the "base things of the world, to confound things honour"able and mighty," when, of the dust of the ground, he composed a frame, superior, in rank and dignity, to the heavens and all their hosts. They whose profession leads them to examine the structure of this astonishing piece of mechanism, these men see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the formation of the human body. A contemplation of its parts,
Jer. xviii. 1.
e 1 Cor. i. 28.