Genesis 1




-Year before the common era of Christ, 4004.

-Julian Period, 710.

-Cycle of the Sun, 10.

-Dominical Letter, B.

-Cycle of the Moon, 7.

-Indiction, 5.

-Creation from Tisri or September, 1.


First day's work-Creation of the heavens and the earth, 1, 2.

Of the light and its separation from the darkness, 3-5.

Second day's work-The creation of the firmament, and the separation

of the waters above the firmament from those below it, 6-8.

Third day's work-The waters are separated from the earth and formed

into seas, &c., 9,10.

The earth rendered fruitful, and clothed with trees, herbs, grass,

&c., 11-13.

Fourth day's work-Creation of the celestial luminaries intended for

the measurement of time, the distinction of periods, seasons, &c., 14;

and to illuminate the earth, 15.

Distinct account of the formation of the sun, moon, and stars, 16-19.

Fifth day's work-The creation of fish, fowls, and reptiles in general,


Of great aquatic animals, 21.

They are blessed so as to make them very prolific, 22, 23.

Sixth day's work-Wild and tame cattle created, and all kinds of animals

which derive their nourishment from the earth, 24, 25.

The creation of man in the image and likeness of God, with the dominion

given him over the earth and all inferior animals, 26.

Man or Adam, a general name for human beings, including both male and

female, 27.

Their peculiar blessing, 28.

Vegetables appointed as the food of man and all other animals, 29, 30.

The judgment which God passed on his works at the conclusion of his

creative acts, 31.


Verse 1. Bereshith bara

Elohim eth hashshamayim veeth haarets; GOD in the beginning

created the heavens and the earth.

Many attempts have been made to define the term GOD: as to the

word itself, it is pure Anglo-Saxon, and among our ancestors

signified, not only the Divine Being, now commonly designated by

the word, but also good; as in their apprehensions it appeared

that God and good were correlative terms; and when they thought or

spoke of him, they were doubtless led from the word itself to

consider him as THE GOOD BEING, a fountain of infinite benevolence

and beneficence towards his creatures.

A general definition of this great First Cause, as far as human

words dare attempt one, may be thus given: The eternal,

independent, and self-existent Being: the Being whose purposes and

actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence:

he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple,

and most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent,

beneficent, true, and holy: the cause of all being, the upholder

of all things; infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect; and

eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made:

illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of

existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only to

himself, because an infinite mind can be fully apprehended only by

itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot

err or be deceived; and who, from his infinite goodness, can do

nothing but what is eternally just, right, and kind. Reader, such

is the God of the Bible; but how widely different from the God of

most human creeds and apprehensions!

The original word Elohim, God, is certainly the plural

form of El, or Eloah, and has long been supposed, by

the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of

Persons in the Divine nature. As this plurality appears in so

many parts of the sacred writings to be confined to three Persons,

hence the doctrine of the TRINITY, which has formed a part of the

creed of all those who have been deemed sound in the faith, from

the earliest ages of Christianity. Nor are the Christians

singular in receiving this doctrine, and in deriving it from the

first words of Divine revelation. An eminent Jewish rabbin, Simeon

ben Joachi, in his comment on the sixth section of Leviticus, has

these remarkable words: "Come and see the mystery of the word

Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone,

and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in

one, and are not divided from each other." See Ainsworth. He

must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the

doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in

the above words. The verb bara, he created, being joined in

the singular number with this plural noun, has been considered as

pointing out, and not obscurely, the unity of the Divine Persons

in this work of creation. In the ever-blessed Trinity, from the

infinite and indivisible unity of the persons, there can be but

one will, one purpose, and one infinite and uncontrollable energy.

"Let those who have any doubt whether Elohim, when

meaning the true God, Jehovah, be plural or not, consult the

following passages, where they will find it joined with

adjectives, verbs, and pronouns plural.

"Ge 1:26 3:22 11:7 20:13 31:7, 53 35:7.

"De 4:7 5:23 Jos 24:19 1Sa 4:8 2Sa 7:23

"Ps 58:6 Isa 6:8 Jer 10:10 23:36.

"See also Pr 9:10 30:3 Ps 149:2 Ec 5:7 12:1;

"Job 5:1 Isa 6:3 54:5 62:5 Ho 11:12,

or Ho 12:1 Mal 1:6 Da 5:18, 20 7:18, 22."-PARKHURST.

As the word Elohim is the term by which the Divine Being is

most generally expressed in the Old Testament, it may be necessary

to consider it here more at large. It is a maxim that admits of

no controversy, that every noun in the Hebrew language is derived

from a verb, which is usually termed the radix or root, from

which, not only the noun, but all the different flections of the

verb, spring. This radix is the third person singular of the

preterite or past tense. The ideal meaning of this root expresses

some essential property of the thing which it designates, or of

which it is an appellative. The root in Hebrew, and in its sister

language, the Arabic, generally consists of three letters, and

every word must be traced to its root in order to ascertain its

genuine meaning, for there alone is this meaning to be found. In

Hebrew and Arabic this is essentially necessary, and no man can

safely criticise on any word in either of these languages who does

not carefully attend to this point.

I mention the Arabic with the Hebrew for two reasons. 1.

Because the two languages evidently spring from the same source,

and have very nearly the same mode of construction. 2. Because

the deficient roots in the Hebrew Bible are to be sought for in

the Arabic language. The reason of this must be obvious, when it

is considered that the whole of the Hebrew language is lost except

what is in the Bible, and even a part of this book is written in

Chaldee. Now, as the English Bible does not contain the whole of

the English language, so the Hebrew Bible does not contain the

whole of the Hebrew. If a man meet with an English word which he

cannot find in an ample concordance or dictionary to the Bible, he

must of course seek for that word in a general English dictionary.

In like manner, if a particular form of a Hebrew word occur that

cannot be traced to a root in the Hebrew Bible, because the word

does not occur in the third person singular of the past tense in

the Bible, it is expedient, it is perfectly lawful, and often

indispensably necessary, to seek the deficient root in the Arabic.

For as the Arabic is still a living language, and perhaps the most

copious in the universe, it may well be expected to furnish those

terms which are deficient in the Hebrew Bible. And the

reasonableness of this is founded on another maxim, viz., that

either the Arabic was derived from the Hebrew, or the Hebrew from

the Arabic. I shall not enter into this controversy; there are

great names on both sides, and the decision of the question in

either way will have the same effect on my argument. For if the

Arabic were derived from the Hebrew, it must have been when the

Hebrew was a living and complete language, because such is the

Arabic now; and therefore all its essential roots we may

reasonably expect to find there: but if, as Sir William Jones

supposed, the Hebrew were derived from the Arabic, the same

expectation is justified, the deficient roots in Hebrew may be

sought for in the mother tongue. If, for example, we meet with a

term in our ancient English language the meaning of which we find

difficult to ascertain, common sense teaches us that we should

seek for it in the Anglo-Saxon, from which our language springs;

and, if necessary, go up to the Teutonic, from which the

Anglo-Saxon was derived. No person disputes the legitimacy of

this measure, and we find it in constant practice. I make these

observations at the very threshold of my work, because the

necessity of acting on this principle (seeking deficient Hebrew

roots in the Arabic) may often occur, and I wish to speak once for

all on the subject.

The first sentence in the Scripture shows the propriety of

having recourse to this principle. We have seen that the word

Elohim is plural; we have traced our term God to its

source, and have seen its signification; and also a general

definition of the thing or being included under this term, has

been tremblingly attempted. We should now trace the original to

its root, but this root does not appear in the Hebrew Bible. Were

the Hebrew a complete language, a pious reason might be given for

this omission, viz., "As God is without beginning and without

cause, as his being is infinite and underived, the Hebrew language

consults strict propriety in giving no root whence his name can be

deduced." Mr. Parkhurst, to whose pious and learned labours in

Hebrew literature most Biblical students are indebted, thinks he

has found the root in alah, he swore, bound himself by oath;

and hence he calls the ever-blessed Trinity Elohim, as being

bound by a conditional oath to redeem man, &c., &c. Most pious

minds will revolt from such a definition, and will be glad with me

to find both the noun and the root preserved in Arabic. ALLAH

[Arabic] is the common name for GOD in the Arabic tongue, and

often the emphatic [Arabic] is used. Now both these words are

derived from the root alaha, he worshipped, adored, was struck

with astonishment, fear, or terror; and hence, he adored with

sacred horror and veneration, cum sacro horrore ac veneratione

coluit, adoravit.-WILMET. Hence ilahon, fear, veneration, and

also the object of religious fear, the Deity, the supreme God, the

tremendous Being. This is not a new idea; God was considered in

the same light among the ancient Hebrews; and hence Jacob swears

by the fear of his father Isaac, Ge 31:53. To complete the

definition, Golius renders alaha, juvit, liberavit, et tutatus

fuit, "he succoured, liberated, kept in safety, or defended." Thus

from the ideal meaning of this most expressive root, we acquire

the most correct notion of the Divine nature; for we learn that

God is the sole object of adoration; that the perfections of his

nature are such as must astonish all those who piously contemplate

them, and fill with horror all who would dare to give his glory to

another, or break his commandments; that consequently he should be

worshipped with reverence and religious fear; and that every

sincere worshipper may expect from him help in all his weaknesses,

trials, difficulties, temptations, &c,; freedom from the power,

guilt, nature, and consequences of sin; and to be supported,

defended, and saved to the uttermost, and to the end.

Here then is one proof, among multitudes which shall be adduced

in the course of this work, of the importance, utility, and

necessity of tracing up these sacred words to their sources; and a

proof also, that subjects which are supposed to be out of the

reach of the common people may, with a little difficulty, be

brought on a level with the most ordinary capacity.

In the beginning] Before the creative acts mentioned in this

chapter all was ETERNITY. Time signifies duration measured by the

revolutions of the heavenly bodies: but prior to the creation of

these bodies there could be no measurement of duration, and

consequently no time; therefore in the beginning must necessarily

mean the commencement of time which followed, or rather was

produced by, God's creative acts, as an effect follows or is

produced by a cause.

Created] Caused existence where previously to this moment

there was no being. The rabbins, who are legitimate judges in a

case of verbal criticism on their own language, are unanimous in

asserting that the word bara expresses the commencement of the

existence of a thing, or egression from nonentity to entity. It

does not in its primary meaning denote the preserving or new

forming things that had previously existed, as some imagine, but

creation in the proper sense of the term, though it has some

other acceptations in other places. The supposition that God

formed all things out of a pre-existing, eternal nature, is

certainly absurd, for if there had been an eternal nature besides

an eternal God, there must have been two self-existing,

independent, and eternal beings, which is a most palpable


eth hashshamayim. The word eth, which is

generally considered as a particle, simply denoting that the word

following is in the accusative or oblique case, is often

understood by the rabbins in a much more extensive sense. "The

particle ," says Aben Ezra, "signifies the substance of the

thing." The like definition is given by Kimchi in his Book of

Roots. "This particle," says Mr. Ainsworth, "having the first

and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet in it, is supposed to

comprise the sum and substance of all things." "The particle

eth (says Buxtorf, Talmudic Lexicon, sub voce) with the

cabalists is often mystically put for the beginning and the end,

as α alpha and ω omega are in the Apocalypse." On this ground

these words should be translated, "God in the beginning created

the substance of the heavens and the substance of the earth," i.e.

the prima materia, or first elements, out of which the heavens and

the earth were successively formed. The Syriac translator

understood the word in this sense, and to express this meaning has

used the word [Arabic] yoth, which has this signification, and is

very properly translated in Walton's Polyglot, ESSE, caeli et ESSE

terrae, "the being or substance of the heaven, and the being

or substance of the earth." St. Ephraim Syrus, in his comment on

this place, uses the same Syriac word, and appears to understand

it precisely in the same way. Though the Hebrew words are

certainly no more than the notation of a case in most places, yet

understood here in the sense above, they argue a wonderful

philosophic accuracy in the statement of Moses, which brings

before us, not a finished heaven and earth, as every other

translation appears to do, though afterwards the process of their

formation is given in detail, but merely the materials out of

which God built the whole system in the six following days.

The heaven and the earth.] As the word shamayim is

plural, we may rest assured that it means more than the

atmosphere, to express which some have endeavoured to restrict

its meaning. Nor does it appear that the atmosphere is

particularly intended here, as this is spoken of, Ge 1:6, under

the term firmament. The word heavens must therefore comprehend

the whole solar system, as it is very likely the whole of this was

created in these six days; for unless the earth had been the

centre of a system, the reverse of which is sufficiently

demonstrated, it would be unphilosophic to suppose it was created

independently of the other parts of the system, as on this

supposition we must have recourse to the almighty power of God to

suspend the influence of the earth's gravitating power till the

fourth day, when the sun was placed in the centre, round which the

earth began then to revolve. But as the design of the inspired

penman was to relate what especially belonged to our world and its

inhabitants, therefore he passes by the rest of the planetary

system, leaving it simply included in the plural word heavens. In

the word earth every thing relative to the terraqueaerial globe is

included, that is, all that belongs to the solid and fluid parts

of our world with its surrounding atmosphere. As therefore I

suppose the whole solar system was created at this time, I think

it perfectly in place to give here a general view of all the

planets, with every thing curious and important hitherto known

relative to their revolutions and principal affections.







IN Table I. the quantity or the periodic and sidereal

revolutions of the planets is expressed in common years, each

containing 365 days; as, e.g., the tropical revolution of Jupiter

is, by the table, 11 years, 315 days, 14 hours, 39 minutes, 2

seconds; i.e., the exact number of days is equal to 11 years

multiplied by 365, and the extra 315 days added to the product,

which make In all 4330 days. The sidereal and periodic times are

also set down to the nearest second of time, from numbers used in

the construction of the tables in the third edition of M. de la

Lande's Astronomy. The columns containing the mean distance of

the planets from the sun in English miles, and their greatest and

least distance from the earth, are such as result from the best

observations of the two last transits of Venus, which gave the

solar parallax to be equal to 8 three-fifth seconds of a degree;

and consequently the earth's diameter, as seen from the sun, must

be the double of 8 three-fifth seconds, or 17 one-fifth seconds.

From this last quantity, compared with the apparent diameters of

the planets, as seen at a distance equal to that of the earth at

her main distance from the sun, the diameters of the planets in

English miles, as contained in the seventh column, have been

carefully computed. In the column entitled "Proportion of bulk,

the earth being 1," the whole numbers express the number of times

the other planet contains more cubic miles, &c., than the earth;

and if the number of cubic miles in the earth be given, the number

of cubic miles in any planet may be readily found by multiplying

the cubic miles contained in the earth by the number in the

column, and the product will be the quantity required.

This is a small but accurate sketch of the vast solar system;

to describe it fully, even in all its known revolutions and

connections, in all its astonishing energy and influence, in its

wonderful plan, structure, operations, and results, would require

more volumes than can be devoted to the commentary itself.

As so little can be said here on a subject so vast, it may

appear to some improper to introduce it at all; but to any

observation of this kind I must be permitted to reply, that I

should deem it unpardonable not to give a general view of the

solar system in the very place where its creation is first

introduced. If these works be stupendous and magnificent, what

must He be who formed, guides, and supports them all by the word

of his power! Reader, stand in awe of this God, and sin not. Make

him thy friend through the Son of his love; and, when these

heavens and this earth are no more, thy soul shall exist in

consummate and unutterable felicity.

See the remarks on the sun, moon, and stars, after Ge 1:16.

See Clarke on Ge 1:16.

Verse 2. The earth was without form and void] The original

term tohu and bohu, which we translate without

form and void, are of uncertain etymology; but in this place, and

wherever else they are used, they convey the idea of confusion and

disorder. From these terms it is probable that the ancient Syrians

and Egyptians borrowed their gods, Theuth and Bau, and the Greeks

their Chaos. God seems at first to have created the elementary

principles of all things; and this formed the grand mass of

matter, which in this state must be without arrangement, or any

distinction of parts: a vast collection of indescribably confused

materials, of nameless entities strangely mixed; and wonderfully

well expressed by an ancient heathen poet:-

Ante mare et terras, et, quod tegit omnia, caelum,

Unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,

Quem dixere Chaos; rudis indigestaque moles,

Nec quicquam nisi pondus iners; congestaque eodem

Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.


Before the seas and this terrestrial ball,

And heaven's high canopy that covers all,

One was the face of nature, if a face;

Rather, a rude and indigested mass;

A lifeless lump, unfashion'd and unframed,

Of jarring seeds, and justly Chaos named.


The most ancient of the Greeks have spoken nearly in the same

way of this crude, indigested state of the primitive chaotic mass.

When this congeries of elementary principles was brought

together, God was pleased to spend six days in assimilating,

assorting, and arranging the materials, out of which he built up,

not only the earth, but the whole of the solar system.

The spirit of God] This has been variously and strangely

understood. Some think a violent wind is meant, because ,

ruach often signifies wind, as well as spirit, as πνευμα,

does in Greek; and the term God is connected with it merely, as

they think, to express the superlative degree. Others understand

by it an elementary fire. Others, the sun, penetrating and drying

up the earth with his rays. Others, the angels, who were supposed

to have been employed as agents in creation. Others, a certain

occult principle, termed the anima mundi or soul of the world.

Others, a magnetic attraction, by which all things were caused to

gravitate to a common centre. But it is sufficiently evident from

the use of the word in other places, that the Holy Spirit of God

is intended; which our blessed Lord represents under the notion of

wind, Joh 3:8; and which, as a

mighty rushing wind on the day of pentecost, filled the house

where the disciples were sitting, Ac 2:2, which was immediately

followed by their speaking with other tongues, because they were

filled with the Holy Ghost, Ac 2:4. These scriptures

sufficiently ascertain the sense in which the word is used by


Moved] merachepheth, was brooding over; for the

word expresses that tremulous motion made by the hen while either

hatching her eggs or fostering her young. It here probably

signifies the communicating a vital or prolific principle to the

waters. As the idea of incubation, or hatching an egg, is implied

in the original word, hence probably the notion, which prevailed

among the ancients, that the world was generated from an egg.

Verse 3. And God said, Let there be light] YEHI

OR, vaihi or. Nothing can be conceived more dignified than this

form of expression. It argues at once uncontrollable authority,

and omnific power; and in human language it is scarcely possible

to conceive that God can speak more like himself. This passage,

in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, fell in the way of

Dionysius Longinus, one of the most judicious Greek critics that

ever lived, and who is highly celebrated over the civilized world

for a treatise he wrote, entitled περιυψους, Concerning the

SUBLIME, both in prose and poetry; of this passage, though a

heathen, he speaks in the following terms:-ταυτηκαιοτων


δυναμινκατατηναξιανεχωρησεκαξεφηνενευθυςεντν εισβολη

γραψαςτωννομωνειπενοθεοςφησιτι γενεσθωφωςκαι

εγενετογενεσθωγεκαιεγενετο "So likewise the Jewish

lawgiver (who was no ordinary man) having conceived a just idea of

the Divine power, he expressed it in a dignified manner; for at

the beginning of his laws he thus speaks: GOD SAID-What? LET

THERE BE LIGHT! and there was light. LET THERE BE EARTH! and

there was earth."-Longinus, sect. ix. edit. Pearce.

Many have asked, "How could light be produced on the first day,

and the sun, the fountain of it, not created till the fourth day?"

With the various and often unphilosophical answers which have been

given to this question I will not meddle, but shall observe that

the original word signifies not only light but fire, see

Isa 31:9 Eze 5:2. It is used for the SUN, Job 31:26. And

for the electric fluid or LIGHTNING, Job 37:3. And it is worthy

of remark that It is used in Isa 44:16,

for the heat, derived from ( esh, the fire. He burneth

part thereof in the fire ( bemo esh:) yea, he warmeth

himself, and saith, Aha! I have seen the fire, raithi

ur, which a modern philosopher who understood the language would

not scruple to translate, I have received caloric, or an

additional portion of the matter of heat. I therefore conclude,

that as God has diffused the matter of caloric or latent heat

through every part of nature, without which there could be neither

vegetation nor animal life, that it is caloric or latent heat

which is principally intended by the original word.

That there is latent light, which is probably the same with

latent heat, may be easily demonstrated: take two pieces of

smooth rock crystal, agate, cornelian or flint, and rub them

together briskly in the dark, and the latent light or matter of

caloric will be immediately produced and become visible. The

light or caloric thus disengaged does not operate in the same

powerful manner as the heat or fire which is produced by striking

with flint and steel, or that produced by electric friction. The

existence of this caloric-latent or primitive light, may be

ascertained in various other bodies; it can be produced by the

flint and steel, by rubbing two hard sticks together, by hammering

cold iron, which in a short time becomes red hot, and by the

strong and sudden compression of atmospheric air in a tube.

Friction in general produces both fire and light. God therefore

created this universal agent on the first day, because without It

no operation of nature could be carried on or perfected.

Light is one of the most astonishing productions of the

creative skill and power of God. It is the grand medium by which

all his other works are discovered, examined, and understood, so

far as they can be known. Its immense diffusion and extreme

velocity are alone sufficient to demonstrate the being and wisdom

of God. Light has been proved by many experiments to travel at

the astonishing rate of 194,188 miles in one second of time! and

comes from the sun to the earth in eight minutes 11 43/50 seconds,

a distance of 95,513,794 English miles.

Verse 4. God divided the light from the darkness.] This does not

imply that light and darkness are two distinct substances, seeing

darkness is only the privation of light; but the words simply

refer us by anticipation to the rotation of the earth round its

own axis once in twenty-three hours, fifty-six minutes, and four

seconds, which is the cause of the distinction between day and

night, by bringing the different parts of the surface of the earth

successively into and from under the solar rays; and it was

probably at this moment that God gave this rotation to the earth,

to produce this merciful provision of day and night. For the

manner in which light is supposed to be produced, see Ge 1:16,

under the word sun.

Verse 6. And God said, Let there be a firmament] Our translators,

by following the firmamentum of the Vulgate, which is a

translation of the στερεωμα of the Septuagint, have deprived this

passage of all sense and meaning. The Hebrew word rakia,

from raka, to spread out as the curtains of a tent or

pavilion, simply signifies an expanse or space, and consequently

that circumambient space or expansion separating the clouds, which

are in the higher regions of it, from the seas, &c., which are

below it. This we call the atmosphere, the orb of atoms or

inconceivably small particles; but the word appears to have been

used by Moses in a more extensive sense, and to include the whole

of the planetary vortex, or the space which is occupied by the

whole solar system.

Verse 10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering

together of the waters called he Seas] These two constitute what

is called the terraqueous globe, in which the earth and the water

exist in a most judicious proportion to each other. Dr. Long took

the papers which cover the surface of a seventeen inch terrestrial

globe, and having carefully separated the land from the sea, be

weighed the two collections of papers accurately, and found that

the sea papers weighed three hundred and forty-nine grains, and

the land papers only one hundred and twenty-four; by which

experiment it appears that nearly three-fourths of the surface of

our globe, from the arctic to the antarctic polar circles, are

covered with water. The doctor did not weigh the parts within the

polar circles, because there is no certain measurement of the

proportion of land and water which they contain. This proportion

of three-fourths water may be considered as too great, if not

useless; but Mr. Ray, by most accurate experiments made on

evaporation, has proved that it requires so much aqueous surface

to yield a sufficiency of vapours for the purpose of cooling the

atmosphere, and watering the earth. See Ray's Physico-theological


An eminent chemist and philosopher, Dr. Priestley, has very

properly observed that it seems plain that Moses considered the

whole terraqueous globe as being created in a fluid state, the

earthy and other particles of matter being mingled with the water.

The present form of the earth demonstrates the truth of the Mosaic

account; for it is well known that if a soft or elastic globular

body be rapidly whirled round on its axis, the parts at the poles

will be flattened, and the parts on the equator, midway between

the north and south poles, will be raised up. This is precisely

the shape of our earth; it has the figure of an oblate spheroid, a

figure pretty much resembling the shape of an orange. It has been

demonstrated by admeasurement that the earth is flatted at the

poles and raised at the equator. This was first conjectured by

Sir Isaac Newton, and afterwards confirmed by M. Cassini and

others, who measured several degrees of latitude at the equator

and near the north pole, and found that the difference perfectly

justified Sir Isaac Newton's conjecture, and consequently

confirmed the Mosaic account. The result of the experiments

instituted to determine this point, proved that the diameter of

the earth at the equator is greater by more than twenty-three and

a half miles than it is at the poles, allowing the polar diameter

to be 1/334th part shorter than the equatorial, according to the

recent admeasurements of several degrees of latitude made by

Messrs. Mechain and Delambre.-L'Histoire des Mathem. par M. de la

Lande, tom. iv., part v., liv. 6.

And God saw that it was good.] This is the judgment which God

pronounced on his own works. They were beautiful and perfect in

their kind, for such is the import of the word tob. They were

in weight and measure perfect and entire, lacking nothing. But

the reader will think it strange that this approbation should be

expressed once on the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth days;

twice on the third, and not at all on the second! I suppose

that the words, And God saw that it was good, have been either

lost from the conclusion of the eighth verse, or that the clause

in the tenth verse originally belonged to the eighth. It appears,

from the Septuagint translation, that the words in question

existed originally at the close of the eighth verse, in the copies

which they used; for in that version we still find, καιειδενο

θεοςοτικαλον And God saw that it was good. This reading,

however, is not acknowledged by any of Kennicott's or De Rossi's

MSS., nor by any of the other versions. If the account of the

second day stood originally as it does now, no satisfactory reason

can be given for the omission of this expression of the Divine

approbation of the work wrought by his wisdom and power on that


Verse 11. Let the earth bring forth grass-- herb--fruit-tree,

&c.] In these general expressions all kinds of vegetable

productions are included. Fruit-tree is not to be understood here

in the restricted sense in which the term is used among us; it

signifies all trees, not only those which bear fruit, which may be

applied to the use of men and cattle, but also those which had the

power of propagating themselves by seeds, &c. Now as God delights

to manifest himself in the little as well as in the great, he has

shown his consummate wisdom in every part of the vegetable

creation. Who can account for, or comprehend, the structure of a

single tree or plant? The roots, the stem, the woody fibres, the

bark, the rind, the air-vessels, the sap-vessels, the leaves, the

flowers, and the fruits, are so many mysteries. All the skill,

wisdom, and power of men and angels could not produce a single

grain of wheat: A serious and reflecting mind can see the grandeur

of God, not only in the immense cedars on Lebanon, but also in the

endlessly varied forests that appear through the microscope in the

mould of cheese, stale paste, &c., &c.

Verse 12. Whose seed was in itself] Which has the power of

multiplying itself by seeds, slips, roots, &c., ad infinitum;

which contains in itself all the rudiments of the future plant

through its endless generations. This doctrine has been

abundantly confirmed by the most accurate observations of the best

modern philosophers. The astonishing power with which God has

endued the vegetable creation to multiply its different species,

may be instanced in the seed of the elm. This tree produces one

thousand five hundred and eighty-four millions of seeds; and

each of these seeds has the power of producing the same number.

How astonishing is this produce! At first one seed is deposited

in the earth; from this one a tree springs, which in the course of

its vegetative life produces one thousand five hundred and

eighty-four millions of seeds. This is the first generation.

The second generation will amount to two trillions, five hundred

and nine thousand and fifty-six billions. The third generation

will amount to three thousand nine hundred and seventy-four

quadrillions, three hundred and forty-four thousand seven hundred

and four trillions! And the fourth generation from these would

amount to six sextillions two hundred and ninety-five thousand

three hundred and sixty-two quintillions, eleven thousand one

hundred and thirty-six quadrillions! Sums too immense for the

human mind to conceive; and, when we allow the most confined space

in which a tree can grow, it appears that the seeds of the third

generation from one elm would be many myriads of times more than

sufficient to stock the whole superfices of all the planets in the

solar system! But plants multiply themselves by slips as well as

by seeds. Sir Kenelm Digby saw in 1660 a plant of barley, in the

possession of the fathers of the Christian doctrine at Paris,

which contained 249 stalks springing from one root or grain, and

in which he counted upwards of 18,000 grains. See my experiments

on Tilling in the Methodist Magazine.

Verse 14. And God said, Let there be lights, &c.] One principal

office of these was to divide between day and night. When night

is considered a state of comparative darkness, how can lights

divide or distinguish it? The answer is easy: The sun is the

monarch of the day, which is the state of light; the moon, of the

night, the state of darkness. The rays of the sun, falling on the

atmosphere, are refracted and diffused over the whole of that

hemisphere of the earth immediately under his orb; while those

rays of that vast luminary which, because of the earth's smallness

in comparison of the sun, are diffused on all sides beyond the

earth, falling on the opaque disc of the moon, are reflected back

upon what may be called the lower hemisphere, or that part of the

earth which is opposite to the part which is illuminated by the

sun: and as the earth completes a revolution on its own axis in

about twenty-four hours, consequently each hemisphere has

alternate day and night. But as the solar light reflected from

the face of the moon is computed to be 50,000 times less in

intensity and effect than the light of the sun as it comes

directly from himself to our earth, (for light decreases in its

intensity as the distance it travels from the sun increases,)

therefore a sufficient distinction is made between day and night,

or light and darkness, notwithstanding each is ruled and

determined by one of these two great lights; the moon ruling the

night, i.e., reflecting from her own surface back on the earth the

rays of light which she receives from the sun. Thus both

hemispheres are to a certain degree illuminated: the one, on which

the sun shines, completely so; this is day: the other, on which

the sun's light is reflected by the moon, partially; this is

night. It is true that both the planets and fixed stars

afford a considerable portion of light during the night, yet they

cannot be said to rule or to predominate by their light, because

their rays are quite lost in the superior splendour of the moon's


And let them be for signs] leothoth. Let them ever be

considered as continual tokens of God's tender care for man, and

as standing proofs of his continual miraculous interference; for

so the word oth is often used. And is it not the almighty

energy of God that upholds them in being? The sun and moon also

serve as signs of the different changes which take place in the

atmosphere, and which are so essential for all purposes of

agriculture, commerce, &c.

For seasons] moadim; For the determination of the

times on which the sacred festivals should be held. In this sense

the word frequently occurs; and it was right that at the very

opening of his revelation God should inform man that there were

certain festivals which should be annually celebrated to his

glory. Some think we should understand the original word as

signifying months, for which purpose we know the moon essentially

serves through all the revolutions of time.

For days] Both the hours of the day and night, as well as the

different lengths of the days and nights, are distinguished by the

longer and shorter spaces of time the sun is above or below the


And years.] That is, those grand divisions of time by which all

succession in the vast lapse of duration is distinguished. This

refers principally to a complete revolution of the earth round the

sun, which is accomplished in 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and

48 seconds; for though the revolution is that of the earth, yet it

cannot be determined but by the heavenly bodies.

Verse 16. And God made two great lights] Moses speaks of the sun

and moon here, not according to their bulk or solid contents, but

according to the proportion of light they shed on the earth. The

expression has been cavilled at by some who are as devoid of

mental capacity as of candour. "The moon," say they, "is not a

great body; on the contrary, it is the very smallest in our

system." Well, and has Moses said the contrary? He has said it

is a great LIGHT; had he said otherwise he had not spoken the

truth. It is, in reference to the earth, next to the sun himself,

the greatest light in the solar system; and so true is it that the

moon is a great light, that it affords more light to the earth

than all the planets in the solar system, and all the innumerable

stars in the vault of heaven, put together. It is worthy of

remark that on the fourth day of the creation the sun was formed,

and then "first tried his beams athwart the gloom profound;" and

that at the conclusion of the fourth millenary from the creation,

according to the Hebrew, the Sun of righteousness shone upon the

world, as deeply sunk in that mental darkness produced by sin as

the ancient world was, while teeming darkness held the dominion,

till the sun was created as the dispenser of light. What would

the natural world be without the sun? A howling waste, in which

neither animal nor vegetable life could possibly be sustained. And

what would the moral world be without Jesus Christ, and the light

of his word and Spirit? Just what those parts of it now are where

his light has not yet shone: "dark places of the earth, filled

with the habitations of cruelty," where error prevails without

end, and superstition, engendering false hopes and false fears,

degrades and debases the mind of man.

Many have supposed that the days of the creation answer to so

many thousands of years; and that as God created all in six days,

and rested the seventh, so the world shall last six thousand

years, and the seventh shall be the eternal rest that remains for

the people of God. To this conclusion they have been led by these

words of the apostle, 2Pe 3:8:

One day is with the Lord as a thousand years; and a thousand

years as one day. Secret things belong to God; those that are

revealed to us and our children.

He made the stars also.] Or rather, He made the lesser light,

with the stars, to rule the night. See Claudlan de Raptu PROSER.,

lib. ii., v. 44.

Hic Hyperionis solem de semine nasci

Fecerat, et pariter lunam, sed dispare forma,

Aurorae noctisque duces.

From famed Hyperion did he cause to rise

The sun, and placed the moon amid the skies,

With splendour robed, but far unequal light,

The radiant leaders of the day and night.


On the nature of the sun there have been various conjectures.

It was long thought that he was a vast globe of fire 1,384,462

times larger than the earth, and that he was continually emitting

from his body innumerable millions of fiery particles, which,

being extremely divided, answered for the purpose of light and

heat without occasioning any ignition or burning, except when

collected in the focus of a convex lens or burning glass. Against

this opinion, however, many serious and weighty objections have

been made; and it has been so pressed with difficulties that

philosophers have been obliged to look for a theory less repugnant

to nature and probability. Dr. Herschel's discoveries by means of

his immensely magnifying telescopes, have, by the general consent

of philosophers, added a new habitable world to our system, which

is the SUN. Without stopping to enter into detail, which would be

improper here, it is sufficient to say that these discoveries tend

to prove that what we call the sun is only the atmosphere of that

luminary; "that this atmosphere consists of various elastic fluids

that are more or less lucid and transparent; that as the clouds

belonging to our earth are probably decompositions of some of the

elastic fluids belonging to the atmosphere itself, so we may

suppose that in the vast atmosphere of the sun, similar

decompositions may take place, but with this difference, that the

decompositions of the elastic fluids of the sun are of a

phosphoric nature, and are attended by lucid appearances, by

giving out light." The body of the sun he considers as hidden

generally from us by means of this luminous atmosphere, but what

are called the maculae or spots on the sun are real openings in

this atmosphere, through which the opaque body of the sun becomes

visible; that this atmosphere itself is not fiery nor hot, but is

the instrument which God designed to act on the caloric or latent

heat; and that heat is only produced by the solar light acting

upon and combining with the caloric or matter of fire contained in

the air, and other substances which are heated by it. This

ingenious theory is supported by many plausible reasons and

illustrations, which may be seen in the paper he read before the

Royal Society. On this subject See Clarke on Ge 1:3.


There is scarcely any doubt now remaining in the philosophical

world that the moon is a habitable globe. The most accurate

observations that have been made with the most powerful telescopes

have confirmed the opinion. The moon seems, in almost every

respect, to be a body similar to our earth; to have its surface

diversified by hill and dale, mountains and valleys, rivers,

lakes, and seas. And there is the fullest evidence that our earth

serves as a moon to the moon herself, differing only in this, that

as the earth's surface is thirteen times larger than the moon's,

so the moon receives from the earth a light thirteen times greater

in splendour than that which she imparts to us; and by a very

correct analogy we are led to infer that all the planets and their

satellites, or attendant moons, are inhabited, for matter seems

only to exist for the sake of intelligent beings.


The STARS in general are considered to be suns, similar to that

in our system, each having an appropriate number of planets moving

round it; and, as these stars are innumerable, consequently there

are innumerable worlds, all dependent on the power, protection,

and providence of God. Where the stars are in great abundance,

Dr. Herschel supposes they form primaries and secondaries, i.e.,

suns revolving about suns, as planets revolve about the sun in our

system. He considers that this must be the case in what is called

the milky way, the stars being there in prodigious quantity. Of

this he gives the following proof: On August 22, 1792, he found

that in forty-one minutes of time not less than 258,000 stars had

passed through the field of view in his telescope. What must God

be, who has made, governs, and supports so many worlds! For the

magnitudes, distances, revolutions, &c., of the sun, moon,

planets, and their satellites, see the preceding TABLES.

See Clarke on Ge 1:1.

Verse 20. Let the waters bring forth abundantly] There is a

meaning in these words which is seldom noticed. Innumerable

millions of animalcula are found in water. Eminent naturalists

have discovered not less than 30,000 in a single drop! How

inconceivably small must each be, and yet each a perfect animal,

furnished with the whole apparatus of bones, muscles, nerves,

heart, arteries, veins, lungs, viscera in general, animal spirits,

&c., &c. What a proof is this of the manifold wisdom of God! But

the fecundity of fishes is another point intended in the text; no

creature's are so prolific as these. A TENCH lay 1,000 eggs, a

CARP 20,000, and Leuwenhoek counted in a middling sized COD

9,384,000! Thus, according to the purpose of God, the waters

bring forth abundantly. And what a merciful provision is this for

the necessities of man! Many hundreds of thousands of the earth's

inhabitants live for a great part of the year on fish only. Fish

afford, not only a wholesome, but a very nutritive diet; they are

liable to few diseases, and generally come in vast quantities to

our shores when in their greatest perfection. In this also we may

see that the kind providence of God goes hand in hand with his

creating energy. While he manifests his wisdom and his power, he

is making a permanent provision for the sustenance of man through

all his generations.

Verse 21. And God created great whales]

hattanninim haggedolim. Though this is generally understood by

the different versions as signifying whales, yet the original must

be understood rather as a general than a particular term,

comprising all the great aquatic animals, such as the various

species of whales, the porpoise, the dolphin, the monoceros or

narwal, and the shark. God delights to show himself in little as

well as in great things: hence he forms animals so minute that

30,000 can be contained in one drop of water; and others so great

that they seem to require almost a whole sea to float in.

Verse 22. Let fowl multiply in the earth.] It is truly

astonishing with what care, wisdom, and minute skill God has

formed the different genera and species of birds, whether intended

to live chiefly on land or in water. The structure of a single

feather affords a world of wonders; and as God made the fowls

that they might fly in the firmament of heaven, Ge 1:20, so he

has adapted the form of their bodies, and the structure and

disposition of their plumage, for that very purpose. The head and

neck in flying are drawn principally within the breast-bone, so

that the whole under part exhibits the appearance of a ship's

hull. The wings are made use of as sails, or rather oars, and the

tail as a helm or rudder. By means of these the creature is not

only able to preserve the centre of gravity, but also to go with

vast speed through the air, either straight forward, circularly,

or in any kind of angle, upwards or downwards. In these also God

has shown his skill and his power in the great and in the

little-in the vast ostrich and cassowary, and In the beautiful

humming-bird, which in plumage excels the splendour of the

peacock, and in size is almost on a level with the bee.

Verse 24. Let the earth bring forth the living creature, &c.]

nephesh chaiyah; a general term to express all creatures

endued with animal life, in any of its infinitely varied

gradations, from the half-reasoning elephant down to the stupid

potto, or lower still, to the polype, which seems equally to

share the vegetable and animal life. The word chaitho, in

the latter part of the verse, seems to signify all wild animals,

as lions, tigers, &c., and especially such as are carnivorous, or

live on flesh, in contradistinction from domestic animals, such as

are graminivorous, or live on grass and other vegetables, and are

capable of being tamed, and applied to domestic purposes.

See Clarke on Ge 1:29. These latter are probably meant by

behemah in the text, which we translate cattle, such as

horses, kine, sheep, dogs, &c. Creeping thing, remes, all the

different genera of serpents, worms, and such animals as have no

feet. In beasts also God has shown his wondrous skill and power;

in the vast elephant, or still more colossal mammoth or

mastodon, the whole race of which appears to be extinct, a few

skeletons only remaining. This animal, an astonishing effect of

God's power, he seems to have produced merely to show what he

could do, and after suffering a few of them to propagate, he

extinguished the race by a merciful providence, that they might

not destroy both man and beast. The mammoth appears to have been

a carnivorous animal, as the structure of the teeth proves, and of

an immense size; from a considerable part of a skeleton which I

have seen, it is computed that the animal to which it belonged

must have been nearly twenty-five feet high, and sixty in

length! The bones of one toe are entire; the toe upwards of three

feet in length. But this skeleton might have belonged to the

megalonyx, a kind of sloth, or bradypus, hitherto unknown. Few

elephants have ever been found to exceed eleven feet in height.

How wondrous are the works of God! But his skill and power are not

less seen in the beautiful chevrotin, or tragulus, a creature

of the antelope kind, the smallest of all bifid or cloven-footed

animals, whose delicate limbs are scarcely so large as an ordinary

goose quill; and also in the shrew mouse, perhaps the smallest of

the many-toed quadrupeds. In the reptile kind we see also the

same skill and power, not only in the immense snake called boa

constrictor, the mortal foe and conqueror of the royal tiger, but

also in the cobra de manille, a venomous serpent, only a little

larger than a common sewing needle.

Verse 25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind,

&c.] Every thing both in the animal and vegetable world was

made so according to its kind, both in genus and species, as to

produce its own kind through endless generations. Thus the

several races of animals and plants have been kept distinct from

the foundation of the world to the present day. This is a proof

that all future generations of plants and animals have been

seminally included in those which God formed in the beginning.

Verse 26. And God said, Let us make man] It is evident that God

intends to impress the mind of man with a sense of something

extraordinary in the formation of his body and soul, when he

introduces the account of his creation thus; Let US make man. The

word Adam, which we translate man, is intended to designate

the species of animal, as chaitho, marks the wild beasts

that live in general a solitary life; behemah, domestic or

gregarious animals; and remes, all kinds of reptiles, from

the largest snake to the microscopic eel. Though the same kind of

organization may be found in man as appears in the lower animals,

yet there is a variety and complication in the parts, a delicacy

of structure, a nice arrangement, a judicious adaptation of the

different members to their great offices and functions, a dignity

of mien, and a perfection of the whole, which are sought for in

vain in all other creatures. See Ge 3:22.

In our image, after our likeness] What is said above refers

only to the body of man, what is here said refers to his soul.

This was made in the image and likeness of God. Now, as the

Divine Being is infinite, he is neither limited by parts, nor

definable by passions; therefore he can have no corporeal image

after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness must

necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been

formed after the nature and perfections of his God. The human

mind is still endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was

more so when issuing out of the hands of its Creator. God was now

producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the

perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain whence this

spirit issued, hence the stream must resemble the spring which

produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must

the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing

impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was

created after the image of God; and that image, St. Paul tells us,

consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge,

Eph 4:24 Col 3:10. Hence man was

wise in his mind, holy in his heart, and righteous in his

actions. Were even the word of God silent on this subject, we

could not infer less from the lights held out to us by reason and

common sense. The text tells us he was the work of ELOHIM, the

Divine Plurality, marked here more distinctly by the plural

pronouns US and OUR; and to show that he was the masterpiece of

God's creation, all the persons in the Godhead are represented as

united in counsel and effort to produce this astonishing creature.

Gregory Nyssen has very properly observed that the superiority

of man to all other parts of creation is seen in this, that all

other creatures are represented as the effect of God's word, but

man is represented as the work of God, according to plan and

consideration: Let US make MAN in our IMAGE, after our

LIKENESS. See his Works, vol. i., p. 52, c. 3.

And let them have dominion] Hence we see that the dominion was

not the image. God created man capable of governing the world,

and when fitted for the office, he fixed him in it. We see God's

tender care and parental solicitude for the comfort and well-being

of this masterpiece of his workmanship, in creating the world

previously to the creation of man. He prepared every thing for his

subsistence, convenience, and pleasure, before he brought him into

being; so that, comparing little with great things, the house was

built, furnished, and amply stored, by the time the destined

tenant was ready to occupy it.

It has been supposed by some that God speaks here to the

angels, when he says, Let us make man; but to make this a likely

interpretation these persons must prove, 1. That angels were then

created. 2. That angels could assist in a work of creation. 3.

That angels were themselves made in the image and likeness of God.

If they were not, it could not be said, in OUR image, and it does

not appear from any part in the sacred writings that any creature

but man was made in the image of God.

See Clarke on Ps 8:5.

Verse 28. And God blessed them] Marked them as being under his

especial protection, and gave them power to propagate and multiply

their own kind on the earth. A large volume would be insufficient

to contain what we know of the excellence and perfection of man,

even in his present degraded fallen state. Both his body and soul

are adapted with astonishing wisdom to their residence and

occupations; and also the place of their residence, as well as

the surrounding objects, in their diversity, colour, and mutual

relations, to the mind and body of this lord of the creation. The

contrivance, arrangement, action, and re-action of the different

parts of the body, show the admirable skill of the wondrous

Creator; while the various powers and faculties of the mind,

acting on and by the different organs of this body, proclaim the

soul's Divine origin, and demonstrate that he who was made in

the image and likeness of God, was a transcript of his own

excellency, destined to know, love, and dwell with his Maker

throughout eternity.

Verse 29. I have given you every herb-for meat.] It seems from

this, says an eminent philosopher, that man was originally

intended to live upon vegetables only; and as no change was made

In the structure of men's bodies after the flood, it is not

probable that any change was made in the articles of their food.

It may also be inferred from this passage that no animal whatever

was originally designed to prey on others; for nothing is here

said to be given to any beast of the earth besides green

herbs.-Dr. Priestley. Before sin entered into the world,

there could be, at least, no violent deaths, if any death at all.

But by the particular structure of the teeth of animals God

prepared them for that kind of aliment which they were to subsist

on after the FALL.

Verse 31. And, behold, it was very good.] tob meod,

Superlatively, or only good; as good as they could be. The plan

wise, the work well executed, the different parts properly

arranged; their nature, limits, mode of existence, manner of

propagation, habits, mode of sustenance, &c., &c., properly and

permanently established and secured; for every thing was formed to

the utmost perfection of its nature, so that nothing could be

added or diminished without encumbering the operations of matter

and spirit on the one hand, or rendering them inefficient to the

end proposed on the other; and God has so done all these

marvellous works as to be glorified in all, by all, and through


And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.] The word

ereb, which we translate evening, comes from the root

arab, to mingle; and properly signifies that state in which

neither absolute darkness nor full light prevails. It has nearly

the same grammatical signification with our twilight, the time

that elapses from the setting of the sun till he is eighteen

degrees below the horizon and the last eighteen degrees before he

arises. Thus we have the morning and evening twilight, or mixture

of light and darkness, in which neither prevails, because, while

the sun is within eighteen degrees of the horizon, either after

his setting or before his rising, the atmosphere has power to

refract the rays of light, and send them back on the earth. The

Hebrews extended the meaning of this term to the whole duration of

night, because it was ever a mingled state, the moon, the planets,

or the stars, tempering the darkness with some rays of light. From

the ereb of Moses came the ερεβος Erebus, of Hesiod,

Aristophanes, and other heathens, which they deified and made,

with Nox or night, the parent of all things.

The morning- boker; From bakar, he looked

out; a beautiful figure which represents the morning as looking

out at the east, and illuminating the whole of the upper


The evening and the morning were the sixth day.-It is somewhat

remarkable that through the whole of this chapter, whenever the

division of days is made, the evening always precedes the morning.

The reason of this may perhaps be, that darkness was pre-existent

to light, (Ge 1:2,

And darkness was upon the face of the deep,) and therefore time

is reckoned from the first act of God towards the creation of the

world, which took place before light was called forth into

existence. It is very likely for this same reason, that the Jews

began their day at six o'clock in the evening in imitation of

Moses's division of time in this chapter. Caesar in his

Commentaries makes mention of the same peculiarity existing among

the Gauls: Galli se omnes ab Dite patre prognatas praedicant:

idque ab Druidibus proditum dicunt: ab eam causam spatia omnis

temporis, non numero dierum, sed noctium, finiunt; et dies

natales, et mensium et annorum initia sic observant, ut noctem

dies subsequatur; De Bell. Gall. lib. vi. Tacitus likewise records

the same of the Germans: Nec dierum numerum, ut nos, sed noctium

computant: sic constituent, sic condicunt, nox ducere diem

videtur; De Mor. Germ. sec. ii. And there are to this day some

remains of the same custom in England, as for instance in the word

se'nnight and fortnight. See also Aeschyl. Agamem. ver. 273, 287.

Thus ends a chapter containing the most extensive, most

profound, and most sublime truths that can possibly come within

the reach of the human intellect. How unspeakably are we indebted

to God for giving us a revelation of his WILL and of his WORKS! Is

it possible to know the mind of God but from himself? It is

impossible. Can those things and services which are worthy of and

pleasing to an infinitely pure, perfect, and holy Spirit, be ever

found out by reasoning and conjecture? Never! for the Spirit of

God alone can know the mind of God; and by this Spirit he has

revealed himself to man; and in this revelation has taught him,

not only to know the glories and perfections of the Creator, but

also his own origin, duty, and interest. Thus far it was

essentially necessary that God should reveal his WILL; but if he

had not given a revelation of his WORKS, the origin, constitution,

and nature of the universe could never have been adequately known.

The world by wisdom knew not God; this is demonstrated by the

writings of the most learned and intelligent heathens. They had

no just, no rational notion of the origin and design of the

universe. Moses alone, of all ancient writers, gives a consistent

and rational account of the creation; an account which has been

confirmed by the investigation of the most accurate philosophers.

But where did he learn this? "In Egypt." That is impossible; for

the Egyptians themselves were destitute of this knowledge. The

remains we have of their old historians, all posterior to the time

of Moses, are egregious for their contradictions and absurdity;

and the most learned of the Greeks who borrowed from them have not

been able to make out, from their conjoint stock, any consistent

and credible account. Moses has revealed the mystery that lay hid

from all preceding ages, because he was taught it by the

inspiration of the Almighty. READER, thou hast now before thee the

most ancient and most authentic history in the world; a history

that contains the first written discovery that God has made of

himself to man-kind; a discovery of his own being, in his wisdom,

power, and goodness, in which thou and the whole human race are

so intimately concerned. How much thou art indebted to him for

this discovery he alone can teach thee, and cause thy heart to

feel its obligations to his wisdom and mercy. Read so as to

understand, for these things were written for thy learning;

therefore mark what thou readest, and inwardly digest-deeply and

seriously meditate on, what thou hast marked, and pray to the

Father of lights that he may open thy understanding, that thou

mayest know these holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee

wise unto salvation.

God made thee and the universe, and governs all things

according to the counsel of his will; that will is infinite

goodness, that counsel is unerring wisdom. While under the

direction of this counsel, thou canst not err; while under the

influence of this will, thou canst not be wretched. Give thyself

up to his teaching, and submit to his authority; and, after

guiding thee here by his counsel, he will at last bring thee to

his glory. Every object that meets thy eye should teach thee

reverence, submission, and gratitude. The earth and its

productions were made for thee; and the providence of thy heavenly

Father, infinitely diversified in its operations, watches over and

provides for thee. Behold the firmament of his power, the sun,

moon, planets, and stars, which he has formed, not for himself,

for he needs none of these things, but for his intelligent

offspring. What endless gratification has he designed thee in

placing within thy reach these astonishing effects of his wisdom

and power, and in rendering thee capable of searching out their

wonderful relations and connections, and of knowing himself, the

source of all perfection, by having made thee in his own image,

and in his own likeness! It is true thou art fallen; but he has

found out a ransom. God so loved thee in conjunction with the

world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth

on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Believe on

HIM; through him alone cometh salvation; and the fair and holy

image of God in which thou wast created shall be again restored;

he will build thee up as at the first, restore thy judges and

counsellors as at the beginning, and in thy second creation, as in

thy first, will pronounce thee to be very good, and thou shalt

show forth the virtues of him by whom thou art created anew in

Christ Jesus. Amen.

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