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would be lost but for its secret strength. There comes a supreme moment to all when hope-or we may say “ faith working by hope -is the only anchor of the soul. And, when it has endured its final strain, it will, like faith and charity, be glorified for ever. For hope is in reality an imperishable grace, as the others are. The eternity of love needs no advocate. Nor can any one doubt that faith will never be swallowed up of sight: there will be a boundless realm for faith that the eye of even the glorified shall never penetrate. And with all its fruition, hope will have its everlasting anticipation of glories not yet revealed. But it is not of our hope in eternity that this Prayer speaks: rather of an eternal hope. For the never failing abundance of this "very present help in trouble” let every Christian make his humble supplication to Him who has suffered Himself to be called by this name, " Tuz GOD OF HOPE.”
THE CREATION AND ORIGINAL CONDITION OF MAN.
The Bible is the only book which furnishes an intelligent and satisfactory account of the creation of the human race, and the world which it inhabits. Though the historical character of the records of that book has been confidently called in question, we regard the testimony of Christ as conclusive in their favour. There is no valid reason to imagine, for a moment, that He who is "the Truth” could speak of those writings as the veritable productions of Moses from mere compliance with the mistaken notions of the people whom He addressed. Any such compromise of historical veracity must be considered morally impossible. To have deviated from the line of perfect truthfulness in His teaching would have been to tarnish the purity of His own character, and to abandon His great mission. Neither can we suppose that it was possible for Him to be in ignorance on a matter of such importance. With whatever precision the two natures in the Person of Christ may be defined, we must maintain that He possessed all the knowledge that was requisite for the unerring accomplishment of the work which the Father had given Him to do: His testimony on any question affecting Divine revelation is final. The writings of Moses are “the sayings of God.” The simple assertion that "all Scripture is God-breathed" contains the correct reply to many current speculations which aim at the destruction of the records of Moses.
The first sentence in the sacred Book is sublime and impressive from its simplicity as well as from its significance. The modern investigations and discoveries of science impugn the ancient interpretations of that primary statement; they seem to disclose a series of creative acts, which carries that "beginning" into indefinitely remote periods of the past, when the production of the world's material took place. To fix the time when creation began is a task which involves the profoundest difficulties, and any attempt to do so is beset with danger, even in the case of the clearest thinkers, who, meanwhile, may labour to uphold the truth of God. This appears in the views expressed by Saisset, in his masterly work on “Modern Pantheism." It is one of those inquiries which the line of the human intellect cannot fathom. With however bold and firm a step it may advance in its attempts to penetrate the domain of Divine action, it ever finds, when it has reached the limits of the possible to human thought, that there yet remains an unexplored region beyond. This announcement of Moses is introductory; and intimates that in the distant and un. known past, which he denominates "the beginning," the work of creation was commenced.
“The heaven" directs our attention to the numberless worlds around us, so many of which are seen by the naked eye, while, by the aid of optical instruments, multitudes of others are discovered, which fill the abyss of space as far as the assisted eye can follow their retreating light. "The earth” refers to this world, which has become the theatre of human existence and history. Analogy alone would suggest that the preparation of the earth for the placing of man upon it was gradual, and even slowly progressive, a vast reach of time being consumed in the great process. From the discoveries of the geologist it is concluded that a succession of creative periods has occurred in the history of our world and its occupants. We have thus opened to us the most imposing views of the grandeur of God, and of the work of His hands." To sketch these operations, to trace the progress in the development of the earth's condition, and of the several forms of animal life that have flourished upon it, is the business of science. It is to the appearance upon the earth of the “ image of God” that we for the present confine our attention.
When the habitation was prepared, and the previous work of the six days was completed, God proceeded to form man, the last and highest order of His terrestrial creatures, and the only one endowed with intelligence and a moral nature. It is worthy of note that this final display of creative power is declared to have been the result of counsel and deliberation. “ The temple was furnished, the altar was raised, the incense breathed, the lamps burned, and then its appointed priest appeared." " Already on the third day had vegetation been called forth; on thefifth and sixth days the scale of creation ascended from the fish in the sea to the eagle that soars in the sky, from the worm that creeps in the dust to man who lifts his head to the stars, and represents the climax and completion of terrestrial life." We do not discuss the question whether or not the days of creation are to be regarded as natural days; great names might be given on both sides. The able writer just quoted says, “Of course the duration of these days, according to the measure of the clock, cannot be determined, at least with reference to the first three days. The conclusions of geology may be reconciled with the exegetical inference,--that criticism, if impartial, must explain these creative as natural days; and that, even though we were to grant that geology could claim thousands or even millions of years for its premundane periods.” On the other hand, writers, equally able, hold that these geologic periods are embraced within the six days of the Mosaic account. And it is very true that the geologist's ascending scale of the putting forth of creative energy substantially accords with that of Moses.
The origin of man is described in Gen. i. 26, 27, and Gen. ii. 7. This account is boldly declared by some professedly wise men of modern times to be a mere myth, and not veritable history. As previously intimated, we take the testimony of our Lord to be conclusive on this point. It is also vindicated as an historical record by the most competent writers. It bears the marks of a narration of actual events. “ The whole narrative is sober, definite, clear, and concrete. The historical events described contain a rich treasury of speculative thoughts and poetic glory; but they themselves are free from the influence of human invention and human philosophizing." We are told that man is nothing more than the complete development of an original life-germ under the influence of blind physical law; in a word, that he is the apex of a pyramid the base of which is a worm. All our modern speculations of this school are substantially a return to the crude conclusions of the most ancient attempts to philosophize on the constituent elements of human nature. Materialism is the one principle which pervades them all; they receive their inspiration from antagonism to Divine revelation. Is it a possible conception to healthy thought, that mind can be a product of matter ? "Are intelligence and feeling properties inherent in matter? Let material substance be organized as it may, it is dead matter notwithstanding, and could in no sense produce those results which are manifest in and through the mind. The human being is an original creation. The developmental theory is a pure speculation; and is unsupported by a single fact that gives it the appearance of reality. The intelligence of our nature, when free from the prejudice of theory, recoils from these degrading hypotheses. In this respect, at least, man feels that he is from above, and not from beneath ; that he is the result of a special act of creative will on the part of God; and that by his endowments he is separated by an impassable gulf from every other creature around him. The capacities and powers of which he is conscious render him singular and sacred in his own estimation. By the action and manifestation of mind itself man is furnished with the demonstration of its separate existence.
“ Nature is confounded with the act of creation, and even regarded as the creator, when the subsequent is looked upon as the mere product of the antecedent, the higher as the mere birth of the lower." “ With each new gradation of life, a new idea actually appears as a new life-principle,-an idea certainly announced and prepared for, but not created, by preceding formations...... We shall thus be obliged to allow that new forms in the ascending scale of life do not make their respective appear. ances as mere natural products, but as thoughts and words of God."
“In man appears the principle of all the days of creation. God first formed the earth ; and made plants and animals. But man was, nevertheless, that principle in the mind of God, whose life called all nature into life.” We may, then, boldly assert, that man is the apex of a pyramid the base of which is not a worm, but the heaven and the earth." "He is the representative of all former stages of existence, the unit in which the multiplicity of earthly creatures terminates. Although both the turn of thought and the form of expression are foreign to the narrative, yet it quite accords with its idea when we designate man as the microcosm and the centre of this world."
The sacred record represents God as saying, (Gen. i. 26,) “ Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” This is the first instance of the use of such a form of expression. In the other acts of creation God appears in His oneness only; but in the formation of man the plurality of persons in the Divine nature is indicated. It is not sufficient to say that God is here addressing Himself, “ the subject and the object being identical.” And much less is it to be imagined, with Philo, that God is appealing to some council of angels by which He was surrounded. An interpretation must be given of the plural “ We," " which comprehends in its deepest and intensest form the truth that lies at the foundation of the Trinitarian view, namely, that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as Persons of the Divine Being.” This form of expression was reserved for the act of man's creation; and not improbably with reference to his future redemption, in
which the three Persons in the Divine unity were to be so clearly revealed.
“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.) The manner in which Adam's origin is spoken of clearly indicates the importance which God attached to the creature He was about to produce. These two grand acts, -the construction of the elaborate, symmetric, and unique physical organism of man, and the inspiring of that organism with an intelligent and immortal soul,-may well be regarded as simultaneous: the body was formed, the “ breath of life" entered into it, and the vice-regal governor of the world entered upon his wondrous history. The earthly and the Divine, the body and the intelligent soul, invested their subject with pre-eminence here: he was made " in the image of God.” “By an act of Divine omnipotence man rose from the dust; and in the same moment in which the dust, by virtue of creative omnipotence, shaped itself into a human form, it was pervaded by the breath of life, and created a living being, so that we cannot say the body was earlier than the soul...... The earth does not bring forth man's body, but God Himself puts His hand to the work, and forms him; nor does the life already imparted to the world, by the Spirit of God, individualize itself in him, but God breathes directly into the nostrils of the one man, in the whole fulness of His personality, the breath of life, that, in a manner corresponding to the personality of God, he may become a living soul.” The soul of man is no part of the soul of the world. “ The life-wind of nature” animated every other living creature, “ so that the animal soul is nothing but a naturesoul individualized into certain, though still material, spirituality." The life of the mere animal is a psychical life, whereas the life of man is the breath of God.
On this principle it is not difficult to conclude that death may have been in the world prior to the existence and sin of our first parents. The psychical life of the animal might cease without any reference to man's condition. We do not attempt to discuss the question, whether the violent death of animals was a part of the malediction which followed upon man's violation of the law of God. So able a judge as Dr. Kurtz takes the affirmative view of this inquiry. He says, “ The decay of animals is a law of nature established in the creation itself, and not a consequence of sin, or an effect of the death brought into the world by the sin of man. At the same time, it was so far involved in the effects of the fall, that the natural decay of the different animals was changed into a painful death or violent end." This he regards a result of the curse, and as a part of the " vanity and the bond of corruption" to which