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The Creation, The time was when this earth, the heavens, and their revolving suns, existed not: God ordained their being, and at his almighty will they arose. Before that period the whole was one huge and shapeless mass, where confusion ruled and chaos held her empire; the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. On the first day of the creation the spirit of God moved upon the face of this rude and formless heap, which now felt a motion penetrate deep as the centre, from above, and beneath, and all around. He said, Let there be light, and there was light, and God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. Hitherto the waters and the earth were confounded together, undistinguished from each other. God separated them, and said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so; and God called the firmament heaven : and the evening and the morning were the second day. The waters still covered the face of the earth, when on the third day God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind : and it was so. On the fourth day God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for sea sons, and for days, and for years : and it was so. The sun appeared as the greater light to rule the day, and the moon, with inferior splendour, to rule the night; the stars also were then created. On the fifth day God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life; and immediately the whales rolled in the ocean, and the seas teemed with life: and the winged fowl he gave to possess the air. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas; and let fowls multiply in the earth.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living crea. ture after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind : and it was so. Every thing was now prepared; and God created man, to whom he gave dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For this purpose he created him in his own image, after his own likeness, and endued with a rational soul. As a companion to man he created woman, with equal gifts and equal rule: to them both he gave dominion over the earth and all created things, and with them he rested from all the works which he had made.
Can any one reflect upon this sublime history without being astonished at the power, the intelligence, and infinite wisdom manifested in the works of the creation? Or can any one peruse it without pausing awhile to admire the grandeur of the objects and the sublimity of the design? Wherever we cast our view we see the proofs of a Divinity, whose glory the heavens declare, whose power unlimited their extent gives to know. It is only by being led from the sight of the objects of the creation to a contemplation of the Divinity, of his attributes, and of our own real condition, that we derive any true benefits from their presence, or even that we deserve to be inhabitants of this fair universe. But we cannot acknowledge the greatness and the glory of God in the works of the creation, without our souls being enlarged, and our hearts penetrated with love and gratitude for the Divine Author. If this truth were universally felt we should have little need of coercion to deter men from vice, or of lectures to excite them to virtue. Let those whose feelings are not yet callous walk abroad and contemplate nature, where they will find objects sufficient to arrest their attention, to excite their utmost admiration, and to call forth their charity and their love. Here is the source of every thing that is sublime, beautiful, and enrapturing; and here is ever to be found the Almighty God, wbo alone is worthy of our homage, our praise, and our adoration.
Of Brutes. When we attentively examine the bodies of different ani. mals, we discover many advantages which they possess over man. Many of them have bodies much stronger and more compact than those of the human species. Most of them at their first entrance into the world are capable of using all their limbs, of seeking for their food, and of fol. lowing the instinct imparted to them by nature; and are not liable to the cruel sufferings which we experience in our infancy, and which so often injure our constitution. And what an admirable instinct and sagacity they display! What address and skill they exert in the use of their senses! How exquisite is their sense of smell ! How piercing their sight! How rapid, how nimble, how active all their movements! How they speed and fly along! And if we consider the wonderful structure of some of their organs, the noble and majestic figure of some animals, we shall find, with respect to bodily perfections, we often yield to, or scarcely equal, many of the brute creation.
Some people are so weak as to complain that God has not given them the wings of the eagle, the force and speed of the fiery courser, the subtle smell of the dog, the eye of the hawk, and the agility of the stag. But such desires are the offspring of ignorance, of folly, and of presumption; of men, who do not feel that they possess a soul which enables them to soar far above these animals, and to make all their powers serve the convenience of man. Without mind we should indeed be inferior to brutes, which so far excel us in bodily powers; but they enjoy these advantages to enable them to live in the state allotted them without the reasoning faculty: for miserable indeed would have been their lot, did they not possess their present advantages; or were they possessed of reason, in a state of slavery, living only to be batchered, or to perpetually toil for the benefit of man.
We have here renewed cause to admire the wisdom and mercy of Providence, who has thus formed the brute creation. We see bis wisdom in having given them instinct, sagacity, and strength, in a certain degree, proportionate to their necessities; and made all subservient to man: and his mercy is manifest in their entire ignorance of their si. tuation. They possess all the pleasures they are capable of enjoying, but they cannot anticipate evil, nor think beyond the present moment: formed for this life only, they cannot in thought penetrate unknown regions, nor feel any pleasure but from the senses; whilst the mind of man, finding nothing in this state of existence worthy to rest upon, reposes in confidence upon the certainty of a future state, where all its powers will shine with unclouded lustre,
of the Moon. Op all the heavenly bodies, next to the sun, the moon has the most salutary influence upon our earth; and though her grandeur and beauty did not mark her as an object highly worthy of our attention, she would yet be so from the very great benefits she produces. With the naked eye we can discover several phenomena in the moon; we find she is an opaque body, with her luminous part always opposed to the sun, shining only by reflecting the sun's light; hence it follows that that side which is next the sun is enlightened, whilst the other half must be dark and invisible : when exactly opposite the sun she appears with a round illumined orb, which we call the full moon. By her continual changes we know that she shines with a borrowed light; for if the light was her own, being globular, we should always see her with a full round orb like the sun. She turns round the earth once in twenty-four hours, and finishes her complete revolution in about twenty-nine days and a half. But what we can observe by the naked eye is far short of what we discover by the aid of telescopes, and ascertain by nice calculations. How great are our obligations to those enlightened men who have extended the limits of our knowledge by researches and discoveries, which enable us to form more distinct and certain notions of the heavenly bodies! By means of their profound in. vestigations we now know that the moon, apparently so small, is but tbirteen times less than this earth : its di. ameter is 2180 miles, and its distance from the earth's centre 220.000. Upon the face of the moon several spots are discovered visible even to the naked eye. Some of these are pale and obscure, others more luminous, as they reflect more or less light. The luminous spots are high mountains, which reflect the sun's light from their lofty sum. mits: and the dark spots are the transparent fluid bodies of seas, which from their nature absorb most of the rays of light, and reflect very few.* These discoveries, to which we can oppose no well-grounded objection, inform us, that the moon is a body much more considerable and of greater consequence than ignorant people have imagined. The magnitude, the distance, and all that we have hitherto discovered respecting this planet, afford us fresh proofs of the almighty power of the Creator. But can this vast body have no other use and 'destination than to illumine this earth during the night? Can this body, which in many respects resembles our world, and appears calculated to perform the same ends, and to which this earth itself serves as a moon, be created merely to produce the ebbing and flow. ing of the sea, and some other of the advantages we derive from it? Can it be supposed that the surface of a body some hundreds of thousands of square miles in extent should be destitute of living creatures? Would the Infinite Being have left this immense space empty and desert? We can. not reconcile such a supposition with the wisdom and goodness of God; let us rather suppose that he has established his empire in the moon as well as in our world, and that he receives aspirations of gratitude from millions of crea
# As this opinion is regarded by some to be erroneous, it may be instructive to quote that of Mr. Ferguson, who says, 'Those dark parts of the moon, which were formerly thought to be seas, are now found to be only vast deep cavities and places which reilect not the sun's light so strongly as others, having many caverns and pits whose shadows fall within them, and are always dark on the side next the sun; which demonstrates their being hollowand most of these pits have little knobs like hilLocks standing within them, and casting shadows also, which cause these places to appear darker than others which have fewer or less remarkable caverns. All these appearances shew that there are no seas in the moon; for if there were, their surfaces would appear smooth and even, like those on the earth.