« PreviousContinue »
was not for the exclusive benefit of that people, but introductory to a dispensation, by which all the nations of the earth were to be blessed ; and it enables us to trace the preparatory progress.
IV. The union of the above peculiarities in the Mosaic dispensation, presents us with strong internal evidences of its divine origin.
ON THE DOCTRINES CONCERNING THE BEING AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD, THE DUTIES OF MORALITY, AND THE SANCTIONS OF THE MORAL LAW, AS REVEALED IN THE
The sacred penman commences his history by asserting the existence of One God, and ascribing to him the creation of all things. He gives us, with a sublime simplicity, a distinct account of the process of creation, as it was accomplished at different periods,—by that Word which is omnipotent,-from the darkness of chaos, to the preparation of inanimate nature for the reception of living beings; and from the creation of the inferior race of animals, to the formation of man.
Although the inspired historian particularlyenlarges upon the formation of this earth, with its various inhabitants, yet, lest the creation of other worlds should be ascribed to other beings, he attributes the existence of the heavenly bodies to the same Almighty cause. « And God made two great lights; the greater to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and he made the stars also."
This simple and dignified narrative of Moses, has been received as a fundamental article of the public faith, by the whole Jewish people, from their first existence as a nation, to the present hour. Through every change experienced by them, they have as a body preserved the one principle-that God is the creator of all things, immutably the same. Although a belief in the being of a great first Cause was professed in the earlier ages, preceding the existence of the Jewish economy, yet by this people alone did it continue to be acknowledged and preserved, for a series of ages. It was perpetually inculcated in every part of the Old Testament, in opposition to the idolatrous notions of the Gentile world. When the ten commandments were proclaimed from Mount Sinai, in a manner the most solemn and awful, they were introduced by the majestic declaration, “ I am the Lord thy God who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me,"&c.&c. While the sacred Historians uniformly maintain the infinite importance of this doctrine, and record the
repeated prohibitions to worship the celestial bodies, or the most remote emblems of power and attributes of any kind, in imitation of the surrounding nations,—and that under the most dreadful threatening, their Poets and Prophets proclaim and celebrate the great Creator of all things, in language the most solemn and sublime. “ Praise him," exclaims the enraptured Psalmist, " sun and moon; praise him all ye stars of light; praise him ye heaven of heavens ! · Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created.” The prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the name of the Being who inspired him, declares, “ I have made the earth, and created man upon it. I, yea my own hand have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded.” Expostulating with the Israelites for their propensities to idolatry, he reminds them that, “ the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and an everlasting king. The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens. “ He hath made the earth by
he hath established the world by his wisdom ; and he hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion."
As the existence of one God is uniformly
maintained, in opposition to every imagined deity, thus do these Scriptures repeatedly ascribe to him all those attributes, natural and moral, or relative, which we have shewn to be so conformable to the truest reason, and essential to the happiness of man:- Eternity, Omnipresence, Power, Wisdom, Knowledge, Holiness, Justice, Truth, and Goodness in its various branches. The passages in which these perfections are ascribed to the one God, are numberless. We shall select a very few under each head. Their interesting sublimity will prevent their appearing tedious to the devout reader.
“ Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” “ A thousand years in thy sight, are but as yesterday when it is passed, and a watch in the night.” “ Of old thou hast laid the . foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; yea all of them shall wax old like a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed ;