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we but see as through a glass darkly; but it shall be perfected for ever when we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul,'
Gen. ii. 7.
our body formed; so that, not merely are we o dust, and to dust returning, but we are of nothing called into being at the will of the Almighty, and sustained in that being by the same continue will.
The lesson of humility sinks deeper still, whe we reflect that though man was originally forme of the dust, it was, in common with all create things, pronounced very good; whereas th dust of which we now are formed, lies unde God's wrath and curse. 'Cursed,' said the Lor God, is the ground for thy sake;' and 'becaus THE appearance of material objects, independent of these things,' that is, sin-saith the apostleof observation and experience, affords no intima-the wrath of God cometh on the children o tion of what they may become. The man who disobedience.' looks upon a little seed, could, from that sight alone, form no anticipation that, by man's ingenuity, it would be converted into cloth; and the man who looks upon the cloth, it may be coarse in texture, and discoloured in appearance, could never, from that sight alone, foretell that, by a subsequent transformation, it would become paper from which he reads. Now if such be the changes upon material things produced by man's art and device, how much greater changes may we reasonably expect when the work is from the hand of God! Here is dust of the ground. Dried in the sunbeams, it is scattered by every wind. Wetted by the rain, it again becomes adhesive, and easily formed by the plastic hand of the potter. Burned in the fire, it becomes a vessel of use or of ornament; but the power of man is now exhausted, and further than mere commixture of materials, and change of form, he is utterly unable to proceed.
Of such mean materials, can anything higher be made? Yes; the Lord formed man out' of this very dust of the ground,' intending, no doubt, by this record of his origin, to demonstrate, first, the wondrous wisdom and power of his Maker; and, secondly, to inculcate a perpetual lesson of the deepest humility upon a creature, the root of whose genealogy arises from the 'dust of the ground.'
But while the lesson of humility is thus de rived from our origin, the lesson of admiration not of ourselves, but of our Maker, is derived from our structure. 'God formed man,' and every portion of his frame attests the divinity o the workmanship. When we contemplate a time piece, a telescope, a steam engine, or any othe curious piece of machinery, we never hesitate, in deed we cannot hesitate, to ascribe design, and skill, and power, to the mechanist. Nor doe our ignorance of the principles of the machine, o of the formation of its several parts, detract on jot or tittle from our admiration of the structure itself, or of the genius of him by whom it wa designed and completed. And surely, when we contemplate the human body, the mysterious means by which it is nourished, the wonderfu contrivances by which its organs are fitted for their several uses- -the adaptation and subserviency of one part to another-and the concurrence of so many contradictory powers and forms to one harmonious result-while we exclaim, with the psalmist, we are fearfully and wonderfully made,' we must acknowledge with the philospher, that the contemplation of one single organ is sufficient to rebuke and to silence atheism, and to demonstrate the being and the perfections of God our Creator.
And if the body be sufficient to call forth our But how much deeper still sinks the lesson of admiration of itself, and of him who formed it. humility, when through faith we understand how much more should the soul? We have a that the worlds were formed by the word of soul, a power, a mode of being, for which matGod, so that things which are seen were not ter and motion, organ and function, can never give made of things which do appear.' In other words, the shadow of account. The soul is the breath that, not of an eternal, or self-existent material, of God in man. The breath of the Almighty, did God make the worlds-but that he made all says Job, ‘hath given me life.' It is not dust, things of nothing, by the word of his power, by it returneth not to the dust, because it is not of the forthputting of his omnipotence. Those the dust. 'The dust shall return to the earth glorious stars of light were formed of nothing not higher was the origin of the light; and of worthless dust-of that dust so originated, was
as it was, but the spirit, the breath of the Lord, shall return to God who gave it.' God is the former of our bodies, but he is the Father of our
spirits. And while the body of Adam was not formed without reference to the body of Christ, it is in the soul that the image of God in man is chiefly to be traced. Like him it is spiritual, not formed of the dust; like him it is immortal, and to him it returns for judgment; like him, though it have not unlimited knowledge, it hath unhmited capacities; like him, it hath everlasting righteousness, the gift of God through faith of Jesus; like him, it is made perfect in holiness, being renewed by the Holy Spirit; it is the temple in which God is acceptably worshipped, the habitation in which he delights to dwell!
Alas! that our spirit, so nobly born, so gloriously endowed, so highly destined, should ever cleave to the dust! Alas! that it should be proud of dust, and careless of heavenly breathings! Proud of a strength that is crushed beneath the worm; proud of features that fade as the flowers, and wither as the grass; proud of raiment, the memorial of sin; proud of titles of which 'sinner' the chief, and proud of habitations which must * be exchanged for the grave! What melandy proof of a nature fallen far from original righteousness, when men make so much of dust, little of spirit; so much of time, so little of eternity!
But while death smites and corruption destroys the body which God has formed, how reviving and glorious is the doctrine of the resurrection. 'We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkEng of an eye, at the last trump. For the Tmpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised orruptible. And when this corruptible shall are put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass that saying which is written, Death is swallowed p in victory. Thanks be to God, who giveth the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' And while the dust, in the mean time, 'returns to the earth as it was,' let us remember the spirit must return to God who gave it, and every man shall give an account of himself to God;' 'seeing then that all these things,' which ow court our affections, or excite our cares, hall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought e to be in all holy conversation and godliness, boking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God." Wherefore, seeing that we look for ach things, let us be diligent that we may be Sand in him in peace,' because justified; 'withn spot, because washed; and blameless,' bese clothed upon with the righteousness of
So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,' Gen. i. 27.
WHEN a heathen philosopher was asked by a Sicilian king, what is God?' he requested three days to think of it. Being asked again, he requested three days more-and, at the end of that time, he candidly confessed, that the more he inquired, the more he was bewildered; that the more he thought of it, the less he seemed to know. this has ever been the case where the light of scripture has been neglected, refused, or unknown. But where that light shines, the question is easily answered. We ask what is God? The scriptures answer, God is a spirit.' He is not matter, but the Creator of it. We ask again, 'what is God?' and the scriptures answer, God is light.' The light of the sun, moon, and stars, so fair, so glorious, is the visible emblem of his invisible glory; and that visible light which the eye beholds, is but the emblem again of that intellectual light by which the mind sees. He is unclouded, unobstructed, unbounded, intellectual light, for his understanding is infinite.' We ask again, what is God?'—and we are compelled to ask again, for all this description will not entitle God to our affections; and we seek for a God to whom we can dedicate the heart—and the scriptures answer us, 'God is love,' and 'he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.'
Now such was the original in the image of which God created man. He created him spiritual, intimately connected with matter, being the intended heir and invested lord of a material world; yet, at the same time, so totally independent of matter, that his mental powers could strengthen as his bodily powers decayed, and though the outward man perish, yet the inward be renewed, day by day.' He created him intellectual, with a mind full of light-full of the light and knowledge of God, and of duty-full of the light and knowledge of nature-capable of converse with God, not on terms of equality, but in communion of knowledge, possession, and interest. He created him capable of love, the love of gratitude to a bountiful Benefactor, the love of attachment to the Supreme Good.
Thus God created man in his own image.' To mark the certainty of it as by a second witness, it is added, 'in the image of God created he him;' and it is subjoined as an exposition, to mark the extension of it, 'male and female created he them.'
The scriptures never speak a word in vain. helpmate, and partner, in the labours and journe Even in those places where the things spoken of life-as a being to be won, and kept, and serve seem most superfluous, the Spirit speaks from a by flattery, rather than as one to be enlightene deep perception of all that is in man, or in pro- by education, convinced by reason, or elevated b phetic anticipation of the false opinions and evil religion. And yet, after all, what is this idola practices that may afterwards arise, and which try but the denial of equality, and the disguise it may be important to correct, or contradict. In establishment of tyranny? The idolater has, this manner do we account for the varied repeti- doubt, made his idol a god, yet has he nev tion about the image of God in man, and for the treated that idol on terms of equality; bu seemingly unnecessary appendage to that repeti- changed, discarded, or degraded it, according tion, male and female created he them.' the caprice of the moment.
For it is well known that in all ages and countries, where Christianity has not prevailed, woman has either been secluded as a prisoner, or degraded into a slave, and that Christianity alone has acknowledged her dignity, asserted her freedom, and conceded and secured her legitimate privileges.
And yet in providing for this blessed domestic revolution in the history of woman, it is instructive to remark, how the Bible never condescends to argue the question, against man's usurpations, or in favour of woman's equality and freedom. And why this oversight, or neglect? Because the scriptures attain the end by a different and more effectual process; that is, by historie narrative, representative parable, or implied consequence. By historic narrative; as when it is shown that woman is the equal copartner with man in the endowment of the image of God; by the converse of angels with women as readily and familiarly as with men, as with Sarah and the wife of Manoah; by the high achievements they were privileged to effect, and the divine qualifications with which they were endowed; as were Deborah and Anna; the familiar converse which our Lord held with the woman of Samaria, and plain revelation to her of his divine commission; by the parable in which a woman, engaged in her domestic duties, is employed as an emblem of the kingdom of heaven; by the employment of a woman with her child in the book of Revelation, to set forth the persecutions and preservation of the church; and by the frequent exhortations addressed to godly women, by which their value, in the sight of God, is more clearly evinced, than by any more direct assertion, or more formal argument. And yet these form but a few specimens of the mode in which the scriptures assert the legitimate rank of woman, and in which, while denying to man the privileges of a tyrant, they remove from him those annoyances that must constantly arise from the struggles of a slave.
True it is, that in some countries, and in some states of society, woman has been, or still is, rather treated as an idol to be worshipped, than as an
How much happier they who have sought, lik those of Cana, to have Christ at their marriag feast! How much happier they, who in rulin their household, have learned to rule it but Christ rules the church! How much happie they who having learned, from the scriptures, th difference between equality and selfishness, hay learned such submission as the church renders t Christ! How much happier they who, in stead of living together as the servants and de votees of worldly principles, practices, fashions and habits, have learned to live as being heir together of the grace of life, that their prayer be not hindered.' And how much happier the who, judging of time only in the light of eternity have learned to view every relation, and ever duty of this life, as it bears upon their prospect in the life that is to come. The time is coming when there is neither male nor female, but al are one in Christ Jesus, and if Christ's, the Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the pro mise.' And the time is nigh when these shal
neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but b as the angels of God in heaven.' Yet, in tha heaven, every union of grace shall survive, inde structible as the Spirit by which it was wrough on earth.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it,' Gen. ii. 15.
In what place God made man, the scriptures de not inform us. That it was not in Eden, is evident from the narrative of the creation. Fo when God had formed man's body of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, he took the man, and did not leave him in the garden, but put him into the garden; and this removal was effected for the purpose reminding the man, that not only being, but every means of well-being, was derived entirely
from God, was held at his good pleasure, and as easily resumed, as it was freely and generously bestowed. It was needful even in Eden, that man should feel he had no inherent right; for a sense of God's goodness, and of the creature's absolute dependence, is as essential to preservation in a tute of holiness, as in a state of restoration from
When God created man, he blessed him. But no gift can render any one blessed, unless in so far as God is seen to be the giver. The happiness of Eden lay not in the majestic rivers by which it was watered; in the pleasant and fruitful trees with which it was planted; in the salubrious sky that shone above the head; nor in the fertile soil that lay beneath the feet; it lay not in the loveliness of the flowers that bloomed in nature's earliest spring, nor in the sweet voice of the birds that sung amongst the branches. It lay not even in the communion of human spirits, though maintained and cemented by innocence. It lay in the fact, that every gift was traced immediately to God as its fountain, and thence deriving its every power of contributing to the creature's enjoyment.
But it is moreover worthy of special remark, that when God placed man in Eden, in a state of holiness and happiness, he did not intend him to be idle. He put him into the garden, 'to dress it, and to keep it.' He gave him the whole earth, but with a commission to subdue it.' But this commission to subdue' did not imply any stubbornness or rebellion, but the suppression of that superabundant luxuriance with which the vegetable world was invested, and the converting to his purposes of the various powers with which nature, in all her kingdoms, was so bountifully endowed. This order was exactly suited to man's capacities and condition. Enabled to think, one part of his employment must consist in thinking; but enabled to act, another part must necessarily consist in acting; and in the connection of these two capacities, thinking and acting, must the third element of his nature be called forth-that is, his capacity of enjoyment. Without these capacities of thinking and acting, and of thence deriving his enjoyment, man would have been no image of his great Creator. The eternal mind, the Spirit of God, is not a quiescent entity, immovably absorbed in its own contemplations. He acts eternally in purpose, having his delights with the sons of men,' and endowing them with his choicest gifts in Christ Jesus, before the world was.' In the beginning he puts forth the Almighty energies of creation, and in the progress of time is ever acting, not by mere im
pressed or delegated laws, but by the untiring hand which upholds all things' according to the word of his power.' And if the delights' of the eternal love thus lay in the mighty purpose and works of creation, and the beneficent design and accomplishment of redemption, man, to be an exact created image of the uncreated Godhead, must not only be invested with the attributes of thought, but with purposes and capacities of activity, by which he may exercise, not a creative, but a formative power—the image of creation; and by which he may calculate, and anticipate, and prepare for futurity-the image of providence; and from which, in subordination to the will of God, he may derive his chiefest joys,' and be conformed to the image of Him, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, and is now set down on the right hand of God.' Idleness, in a state of sin, affords not only an opportunity, but an incentive to more sin; and the sweat of the brow,' and the sorrow of the heart, in which man is doomed to eat bread, might be supposed a punishment inflicted upon a criminal, rather than a merciful regimen for the healing of a perishing invalid. Yet, while the infliction of labour as a curse, is neither to be forgotten, nor denied, it is an infliction of punishment only in so far as the bitterness of sin is infused into the original cup of enjoyment. Man's first enjoyment originally lay in perfect communion with God; his second in communion with whatever, as partaking of the same image, enjoyed the same communion; and his third in the active duties of that universal dominion with which God had invested him as his delegated representative. Idleness was therefore inconsistent with man's original nature and office, and must be as inconsistent still, though his nature has become infected, and the dignity of his office forfeited by sin.
When we return to contemplate the first man in the state of innocence, we cannot fail to acknowledge and admire the dignity of his birth. There is a dignity in birth. The son of parents, wise, good, and thus truly great, cannot be disrobed of a portion of the parent's praise. But how transcendant the dignity of Adam's ancestry! He traced his genealogy immediately to Almighty God! And he claims a derivative right to every region of the earth! Yet, thus dignified in descent, thus endowed with dominion, he is immediately appointed to work!
Are we, then, to be surprised, if that labour which was required as a duty, and which was necessary to enjoyment, in a state of holiness, should continue to be required as a duty, and be
gifts. Thus life is seen to depend so much on stant reference of godly men to the gracious and original strength of constitution, so much on sovereign will of God, by which he 'gives or food, raiment, climate, medicine, and care; while takes away' as seemeth to him good, and which success is seen to depend so much upon industry, will infallibly be done on earth as it is in heaven.' frugality, acuteness, and honesty; that to these we learn to look as idolatrously and stupidly as Israel to the golden calf when they sung before the works of their own hands, and said, 'These be thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.
Now that we are entirely dependent for the power of either attempting or doing any thing, is evident from the fact, that upon God's will alone we depend for life, and breath, and all things.' 'He made us, and not we ourselves; we are his flock, and the sheep of his pasture.'
3. Such being our condition of humble dependence, how just that our lips should speak the language of our condition! Instead of proudly saying, 'we will go, and we will do,' how necessary to premise, if the Lord will.' The propriety and necessity of this mode of speech is evident upon two accounts. First, For our own sake, that we may be kept 'mindful of our latter end,' and so busy 'counting our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.' Philip, king of Macedon, is said to have had a servant whose duty it was to awake him to business, each morning, with these words, 'Remember, Philip, that you are a man!' And such a memento is constantly furnished to our ears and our hearts, when we habitually refer both life and success entirely to the will of our heavenly Father. Secondly, A continued and habitual reference to the 'will' of the Lord, is equally necessary for the sake of others. We see a world around us hurrying on, not only to death, but to ruin; and as coffin after coffin goes by, we merely hear men inquire, Who is dead? And then so instantly and so earnestly resuming their employment, or their pleasures, that it is evident they do not think how soon they may, or must, follow.
Now, as 'none of us liveth to himself.' we are bound to watch over and warn one another; to have our speech always with grace, seasoned with salt, that is, with such preservative truth, as may resist, to the utmost of our opportunity and power, the corrupting conversation of a 'world that lieth in wickedness.' We are bound, as we shall answer for 'every idle word,' to 'let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth, but that which is good, to the edification of the hearers,' and there is not a truth in the bible, which the world more needs to hear, or by which, under grace, it is more likely to profit, than by the con
'Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,' Jam. i. 17.
'WHO maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?' are questions which nature and grace unite in addressing to every man. The body is God's gift, the life is his gift, the spirit is his gift-every thing that distinguishes the body, its health, and its vigour every thing that distinguishes the life, its sustenance and endurance-every thing that distinguishes the spirit, the understanding, and the affections-all are the gifts of God. So nature testifies, not of man's right and possessions, but of God's liberal endowments. same effect is the testimony of grace, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten. Son,' thereby teaching the redeemed to sing thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.' The Holy Spirit is his gift. I will pray the Father,' says our Lord, and he will give you another Comforter.' The everlasting righteousness which Christ brought in, and which, amongst the things of Christ,' the Spirit shows to us, is a gift. For if by one man's disobedience death reigned by one; much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.' And even that promised life itself, is not our natural inheritance, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Nay, the whole work of salvation, and the faith whereby it is apprehended, are God's gifts; for so it is written, by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.'
Now of the gifts that come by nature, this is remarkable, that though they are many, though they are great, though they are highly prized, yet not one of them is really good, not one of them is perfect. They are not good; for though all combined, they can neither certainly relieve pain, nor communicate happiness; and they are so far from perfect, that most bodily gifts, after a few years of use, become daily worse, until they are utterly extinguished; and the endowments of the spirit, weak at the best,