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PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS UPON THE FIRST BOOK OF MOSES
I. We have now before us the Holy Bible, or Book, for so Bible signifies. We call it the Book by way of eminency; for it is
incomparably the best book that ever was written, the Book of books, shining like the sun in the firmament of learning; other valuable and useful books, like the moon and stars, borrowing their light from it. We call it the Holy Book ; because it was written by holy men, and indited by the Holy Ghost; it is perfectly pure from all falsehood and corrupt intention; and the manifest tendency of it is to promote holiness among men. The great things of God's Law and Gospel are here written to us, that they might be reduced to a greater certainty, might spread further, remain longer, and be transmitted to distant places and ages, more pure and entire than possibly they could be by report and tradition: and we shall have a great deal to answer for, if these things which belong to our peace, being thus committed to us in black and white, be neglected by us as a strange and foreign thing, Hos. viii. 12. The Scriptures, or Writings of the several inspired penmen, from Moses down to St. John, in which divine light, like that of the morning, shone gradually, (the sacred Canon being now completed,) are all put together in this blessed Bible, which, thanks be to God, we have in our hands, and they make as perfect a day as we are to expect on this side heaven. Every part was good, but altogether very good. This is the light that shines in a dark place, 2 Pet. i. 19, and a dark place indeed the world would be, without the Bible. II. We have before us that part of the Bible which we call the Old Testament, containing the acts and monuments of the
church, from the creation almost to the coming of Christ in the flesh, which was about four thousand years, the truths then revealed, the laws then enacted, the devotions then paid, the prophecies then given, and the events which concerned that distinguished body, so far as God saw fit to preserve to us the knowledge of them. This is called a Testament, or Covenant, (AiaOnkn,) because it was a settled declaration of the will of God concerning man in a federal way, and had its force from the designed death of the great Testator, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. xiii. 8. It is called the Old Testament, with relation to the New, which does not cancel and supersede it, but crown and perfect it, by the bringing in of that better hope which was typified and foretold in it: the Old Testament still remains glorious, though the New far exceeds in glory, 2 Cor. iii. 9. UI. We have before us that part of the Old Testament, which we call the Pentateuch, or five Books of Moses, that servant
of the Lord who excelled all the other prophets, and typified the Great Prophet. In our Saviour's distribution of the books of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, or Hagiographa, these are the Law ; for they contain not only the laws given to Israel, in the four last, but the laws given to Adam, to Noah, and to Abraham, in the first. Theso five books were, for aught we know, the first that ever were written; for we have not the least mention of any wriling in all the book of Genesis, nor till God bid Moses write, Ex. xvii. 14; and some think Moses himself never learned to write, till God set him his copy in the writing of the Ten Commandments upon the tables of stone. However, we are sure these books are the most ancient writings now extant, and therefore best able to give us a satisfactory account of the most ancient
things. IV. We have before us the first and longest of those five books, which we call Genesis ; written, some think, when Moses was in Midian, for the instruction and comfort of his suffering brethren in Egypt: I rather think he wrote it in the wilderness, after he had been in the Mount with God, where, probably, he received full and particular instructions for the writing of it. And as he framed the tabernacle, so he did the more excellent and durable fabric of this book, exactly according to the pattern showed him in the mount; into which it is better to resolve the certainty of the things here in contained, than into any tradition which possibly might be handed down from Adam to Methuselah, from him to Shem, from him to Abraham, and so to the family of Jacob. Genesis is a name borrowed from the Greek. It signifies the original, or generation : fitly is this book so called, for it is a history of originals-the creation of the world, the entrance of sin and death into it, the invention of arts, the rise of nations, and especially the planting of the church, and the state of it in its early days. It is also a history of generations-the generations of Adam, Noah, Abraham, &c. not endless, but useful genealogies. The beginning of the New Testament is called Genesis too, Matt. i. 1. Biblos yevlocws. The Book of the Genesis, or Generation, of Jesus Christ, Blessed be God for that Book which shows us our remedy, as this opens our wound. Lord, open our eyes, that we may see the wondrous things both of thy Law and Gospel!
In the beginning «God created "the heaven and
B. C. 4004. CHAPTER I.
universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers. The lively faith of humble Christiano understands this matter better than the elevated fancy of the greatest
wits, Heh. 11. 3. The foundation of all religion being laid in our relation to God as our Creator, it
We have three things in this chapter ; 1. A general idea given us of the work of crewus fit that that book of divine resclations, which was intended to be the guide,
ation, v. 1, 2. 11. A particular account of the several days' work, registered, as Bpport, and rule, of religion in the world, should begin, as it does, with a plain
in a journal, distinctly and in orrler. The creation of the light, the first day, Y. ani full account of the creation of the world-in answer to that first inquiry of a
3—5; of the firmament, the second dav, . 6-8; of the sea, the earth, and its root conscience, Where is God my Maker? Joh 35. 10. Concerning this, the
fruits, the third day, v. 13; of the lights of heaven, the fourth day, v.14 pagan philosophers wretchedly blondererl, and became vain in their imaginations ;
19; of the fish and fowl, the fifth day, v. 2—23 ; of the leasts, v. 24, 25; of Bome asserting the world's eternity and selleristence, others ascribiug it to a for
man, v. 28-28; and of food for both, the sixth day, v. 29, 30. m. The review tuitous concourse of atoms: thua ihe world by wiadom knes not Gord, but look a
and approbation of the whole work, v. 31. great deal of pains to kee him. The holy scripture, therefore, designing by re. Vealal religion to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decars of it, and supply the defects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of the precepts of the law of nature ; lays down, al fint, this principle of the unclouded light of nature, That this world was, in the reginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wis
The entrance 2 And the earth was without form, and void ; inus cool word gives this ligne, P. 119.130. The first worse or the Bible anã darkness was upon
the face of the deep. And us a surer ara helter, a more satisfying and useful knowledge of the origin of the « Prov. 8. 23. John 1.1, 2. Heb. 1. 10. 6 Job 38. 4. Ps. 33. 6. Io. 40.26. Jer. 51. 15. Zech. 12. 1. Acts 14. 15. Rom. 1. 20. Col. 1. 16. Job 26. 7. Jer. 4. 23. NOTES.
1. The effect produced; the heaven and the earth, that is, the CHAP. I.-V. 1,2. In these verses we have the work of cre-world, including the whole frame and furniture of the universe, ation in its epitome, and in its embryo.
the world and all things therein, Acts 17. 24. The world is a 1. In its epilome, v. 1, where we find, to our comfort, the first great house, consisting of upper and lower stories, the strucarticle of our creed, that God the Father Almighty is the Maker ture stately and magnificent, uniform and convenient, and every of heaven and earth, and as such we believe in him. Observe, room well and wisely furnished. It is the visible part of the in this verse, four things,
creation that Moses here designs to account for ; therefore, hu
& Pa. 83. 9. Matt. 8. 3.
the Spirit dof God moved upon the face of the 3 And God said, "Let there be light: Vand there waters.
was light. d Job 25. 13. Ps. 104.30.
s 2 Cor. 4.6. Eph. 5. 14. mentions not the creation of angels: but as the earth has not made the world, he needs not our services, nor can be benefitonly its surface adorned with grass and flowers, but also its ed by them, Acts 17. 24, 25, and yet he justly requires them, bowels enriched with metals and precious stones, which par- and deserves our praise, Rev. 4. 11. If all is of him, all musi take more of its solid nature and are more valuable, though the be to him. creation of them is not mentioned here; so the heavens are not II. Here is the work of creation in its embryo, (v 2,) where only beautified to our eye with glorious lamps which garnish its we have an account of the first matter, and the first Mover. outside, of whose creation we here read, but they are within 1. A chaos was the first matter ; it is here called the earth, replenished with glorious beings, out of our sight, more celes- (though the earth, properly taken, was not made till the third tial, and more surpassing them in worth and excellency, than day, v. 10,) because it did most resemble that which afterward the gold or sapphires do the lilies of the field. In the visible was called earth, mere earth, destitute of its ornaments, such world it is easy to observe, (1.) Great variety ; several sorts a heavy unwieldy mass was it; it is also called the deep, both of beings vastly differing in their nature and constitution from for its vastness, and because the waters which were afterward each other. Lord, how manifold are thy works, and all good! separated from the earth, were now mixed with it. This im(2.) Great beauty; the azure sky and verdant earth are charm- mense mass of matter was it, out of which all bodies, even the ing to the eye of the curious spectator, much more the orna- firmament and visible heavens themselves, were afterward proments of both. How transcendent then must the beauty of the duced by the power of the Eternal Word. The Creator could Creator be! (3.) Great exactness and accuracy ; to those that have made his work perfect at first, but by this gradual prowith the help of microscopes, narrowly look into the works of ceeding he would show what is, ordinarily, the method of his nature, they appear far more fine than any of the works of art. providence and grace. Observe the description of this chaos. (4.) Great power; it is not a lump of dead and inactive mat-|(1.) There was nothing in it desirable to be seen, for it was ter, but there is virtue more or less, in every creature; the without form, and void. Tohu and Bohu, confusion and emptiearth itself has a magnetic power. (5.) Great order; a mutual ness ; so those words are rendered, Is. 34. 11. It was shapedependence of being, an exact harinony of motions, and an less, it was useless, it was without inhabitants, without ornaadmirable chain and connexion of causes. (6.) Great mystery; ments, the shadow or rough draught of things to come, and not there are phenomena in nature which cannot be solved, secrets the image of the things, Heb. 10.1. The earth is almost reduced which cannot be fathomed or accounted for. But from what to the same condition again by the sin of man, under which we see of heaven and earth, we may easily enough infer the the creation groans ; see Jer. 4. 23; I beheld the earth, and lo, eternal power and Godhead of the great Creator, and may fur- it was without form, and void. To those who have their hearts nish ourselves with abundant matter for his praises. And let in heaven, this lower world, in comparison with that upper, our make and place, as men, remind us of our duty as Chris- still appears to be nothing but confusion and emptiness. There tians, which is, always to keep heaven in our eye, and the is no true beauty to be seen, no satisfying fulness to be enjoyearth under our feet.
ed in this earth, but in God only. (2.) If there had been
any 2. The Author and Cause of this great work, GOD; the thing desirable to be seen, yet there was no light to see it by ; Hebrew word is Elohim, which bespeaks, (1.) The power of for darkness, thick darkness, was upon the face of the deep. God God the Creator. El signifies the strong God; and what less did not create this darkness, (as he is said to create the darkthan an almighty strength could bring all things out of nothing ? ness of affliction, Is. 45.7,) for it was only the want of light, (2.) The plurality of persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, which yet could not be said to be wanted, till something was and Holy Ghost. This plural name of God, in Hebrew, which made, that might be seen by it; nor needs the want of it be speaks of him as many, though he is one, was to the Gentiles much complained of, when there was nothing to be seen but perhaps a savour of death unto death, hardening them in their confusion and emptiness. If the work of grace in the soul is idolatry; but it is to us a savour of life unto life, confirming a new creation, this chaos represents the state of an unregeneour faith in the doctrine of the Trinity, which, though but rate graceless soul : there is disorder, confusion, and every evil darkly intimated in the Old Testament, is clearly revealed in work; it is empty of all good, for it is without God; it is dark, the New.. The Son of God, the eternal Word and Wisdom it is darkness itself: this is our condition by nature, till almighty of the Father, was with him, when he made the world, Prov. grace effects a blessed change. 8. 30; nay, we are often told that the world was made by him, 2. The Spirit of God was the first Mover; he moved upon and nothing made without him, John 1. 3, 10, Eph. 3. 9, Col: the face of the waters: When we consider the carth without 1. 16, Heb. 1.2. O what high thoughts should this form in form, and void, methinks, it is like the valley full of dead and our minds, of that great God whom we draw nigh to in reli- dry bones. Can these live? Can this confused mass of mat. gious worship, and that great Mediator in whose name we ter be formed into a beautiful world? Yes, if a spirit of life draw nigh!
from God enter into it, Ez. 37. 9. Now there is hope con 3. The manner in which this work was effected; God created, cerning this thing; for the Spirit of God begins to work, and that is, made it out of nothing ; there was not any pre-existent if he work, who or what shall hinder? God is said to make matter out of which the world was produced. The fish and the world by his Spirit, Ps. 33. 6, Job 26. 13, and by the same fowl were indeed produced out of the waters, and the beasts Mighty Worker the new creation is effected. He moved upon and man out of the carth; but that earth and those waters the face of the deep, as Elijah stretched himself upon the dead were made out of nothing. By the ordinary power of nature, child ; as the hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and it is impossible that something should be made out of nothinghovers over them, to warm and cherish them, Matt. 23. 37, as no artificer can work, unless he has something to work on. But the cagle stirs up her nest, and flutters over her young, (it is by the almighty power of God, it is not only possible that some- the same word that is here used,) Deut. 32. 11. Learn henco thing should be made of nothing, (the God of nature is not That God is not only the Author of all being, but the Fountair. subject to the laws of nature,) but in the creation it is impos- of life, and Spring of motion, Dead matter would be for ever sible it should be otherwise, for nothing is more injurious to the dead, if he did not quicken it. And this makes it credible to honour of the Eternal Mind than the supposition of eternal us, that God should raise the dead. That power which brought matter. Thus the excellency of the power is of God, and all such a world
as this out of confusion, emptiness, and darkness, the glory is to him.
at the beginning of time, can, at the end of time, bring our ? 4. When this work was produced ; In the beginning, that is, vile bodies out of the grave, though it be a land of darkness as in the beginning of time, when that clock was first set a going: darkness itself, and without any order, Job 10. 22, and can make time began with the production of those beings that are mea-them glorious bodies. sured by time. Before the beginning of time there was none V.3–5. We have here a further account of the first day's but that Infinite Being that inhabits eternity. Should we ask work. In which observe, why God made the world no sooner, we should but darken coun I. That the first of all visible beings which God created was sel by words without knowledge; for how could there be sooner light; not that by it he himself might see to work, (for the or later in eternity? And he did make it in the beginning of darkness and light are both alike to him, but that by it we time, according to his eternal counsels before all time. The might see his works, and his glory in them, and might work our Jewish Rabbins have a saying, that there were seven things works while it is day. The works of Salan and his servants which God created before the world, by which they only mean are works of darkness; but he that doeth truth, and doeth good, to express the excellency of these things—The Law; Repen- cometh to the light, and coveteth it, that his deeds may be made tance , Paradise ; Hell; the throne of Glory; the House of the manifest, John 3. 21. Light is the great beauty and blessing Sanctuary; and the Name of the Messiah. But to us it is of the universe : like the first-born, it does, of all visible beings, enough to say, In the beginning was the Word, John 1. 1. most resemble its great Parent in purity and power, brightness
Let us learn hence,. (1.) That atheism is folly, and atheists and beneficence; it is of great affinity with a spirit, and is next are the greatest fools in nature ; for they see there is a world to it; though by it we see other things, and are sure that it is, that could not make itself, and yet they will not own there is a yet we know not its nature, nor can describe what it is, or by God that made it. Doubtless, they are without excuse, but what way the light is parted, Job 38. 19, 24. By the sight of it the god of this world has blinded their minds. (2.) That God let us be led to, and assisted in, the believing contemplation of is sovereign Lord of all, by an incontestible right. If he be the Him who is Light, infinite and eternal Light, 1 John 1. 5, and Creator, no doubt he is the Owner and Possessor, of heaven the Father of Lights, Jam. 1. 17, and who dwells in inaccesand earth. (3.) That with God all things are possible, and sible light, I Tim. 6. 16. In the new creation, the first thing therefore happy are the people that have bim for their God, wrought in the soul, is light : the blessed Spirit captivates tho and whose help and hope stand in his name, Ps. 121.2.-124 will and affections by enlightening the understanding, so coming 8. (4.) That the God we serve is worthy of, and yet is exal-into the heart by the door, like the good shepherd whose own tod for above, all blessing and praise, Neh. 9. 5, 6. If he l it is, while sin and Satan, like thieves and robbers, climb up
& Ps. 74. 16. 18. 45. 7.
i Jer. 10. 12.
Prov. 8. 29.
m Matt. 6. 30.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And God divided *the light from the darkness. the evening and the morning were the second day.
5 And God called the light Day, and the dark 9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven ness he called Night. And the evening and the be gathered together unto one place, and let the inorning were the first day.
dry land appear: and it was so. 6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters gathering together of the waters called he Seas : from the waters.
and God saw that it was good. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth waters which were under the firmament from the grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree waters which were above the firmament: and it yielding "fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, was so.
upon the earth : and it was so. • between the light, and between the darkness.
Sierder grasa. t and the evening was and the morning vas. h Job 37, 18. 1erpansion. Luke 6. 44. some other way. They that by sin were darkness, by grace I. The command of God concerning it ; Lat there be a firmabecome light in the Lord.
ment, an expansion, so the Hebrew word signifes, like a sheet II. That the light was made by the word of God's power; spread or a curtain drawn out. This includes all that is visible he said, Let there be light; he willed and appointed it, and it above the earth, between it, and the third heaven; the air, its was done immediately; there was light, such a copy as exactly higher, middle, and lower regions ; the celestial globe, and all answered the original idea in the Etemal Mind. O the power the spheres and orbs of light above : it reaches as high as the of the word of God! He spake, and it was done ; done really, place where the stars are fixed, for that is called here the firmaeffectually, and for perpetuity, not in show only, and to serve a ment of Heaven, v. 14, 15, and as low as the place where the present turn, for he commanded, and it stood fast: with him it birds ily, for that also is called the firmament of Heaven, v. was dictum, factum-a word, and a world. The word of God, 20. When God had made the light, he appointed the air to be that is, his will and the good pleasure of it, is quick and powerful the receptacle and vehicle of its beams, and to be as a medium Christ is the Word, the essential eternal Word, and by him of communication between the invisible and the visible world ; the light was produced, for in him was light, and he is the true for though between heaven and earth there is an inconceivable Light, the Light of the world, John 1. 9.-9.5. The divine distance, yet there is not an unpassable gulf, as there is between light which shines in sanctified souls is wrought by the power heaven and hell. This firmament is not a wall of partition, but of God, the power of his word, and of the Spirit of wisdom and a way of intercourse. See Job 26. 7.-37. 18. Ps. 104. 3. revelation, opening the understanding, scattering the mists of Amos 9. 6. ignorance and mistake, and giving the knowledge of the glory II. The creation of it. Lest it should seem as if God had of God in the face of Christ, as, at first, God commanded the only commanded it to be done, and some one else had done it, light to shine out of darkness, 2 Cor. 4. 6. Darkness had been he adds, And God made the firmament. What God requires of perpetually upon the face of fallen man, if the Son of God had us, he himself works in us, or it is not done. He that coinmands not come, and given us an understanding, 1 John 5. 20.
faith, holiness, and love, creates them by the power of his grace III. That the light which God willed, when it was produced, going along with his word, that he may have all the praise. he approved of; God saw the light that it was good. It was Lord, give what thou commandest, and then command what thou exactly as he designed it, and it was fit to answer the end for pleasest. The firmament is said to be the work of God's fingers, which he designed it. It was useful and profitable; the world, Ps. 8. 3. Though the vastness of its extent declares it to be which now is a palace, would have been a dungeon without it. the work of his arm stretched out, yet the admirable fineness of It was amiable and pleasant; truly light is sweet, Ec. 11.7, its constitution shows that it is a curious piece of art, the work it rejoiccth the heart, Prov. 15. 30. What God commands he of his fingers. will approve and graciously accept of, and be well pleased with III. The use and design of it ; to divide the waters from the the work of his own hands. That is good indeed, which is so waters, that is, to distinguish between the waters that are wrape in the sight of God, for he sees not as man sees. If the light up in the clouds, and those that cover the sea ; the waters in the be good, how good is he that is the Fountain of light, from air, and those in the earth. See the difference between these two, whom we receive it, and to whom we owe all praise for it, and carefully observed, Deut. 11.10, 11, where Canaan is, upon this all the services we do by it!
account, preferred to Egypt, that Egypt was moistened, and IV. That God divided the light from the darkness, so put made fruitful, with the waters that are under the firmament; them asunder as that they could never be joined together or but Canaan with waters from above, out of the firmament ; even reconciled; for what followship has light with darkness? 2 Cor. the dew of heaven, which larrieth not for the sims of men, Mic. 6. 14. And yet he divided time between them, the day for 5.7. God has, in the firmament of his power, chambers, storelight, and the night for darkness, in a constant and regular suc- chambers, whence he watereth the earth, Ps. 101. 13.-65.9, 10. cession to each other. Though the darkness was now scattered He has also treasures, or magazines, of snow and hail, which he by the light, yet it was not condemned to a perpetual banish- hath reserved against the day of battle and var, Job 38. 22, 23. ment, but takes its turn with the light, and has its place, because O what a great God is he', who has thus provided for the comfort it has its use ; for as the light of the morning befriends the busi- of all that serve him, and the confusion of all that hate him! It ness of the day, so the shadows of the evening befriend the is good having him our friend, and bad having him our enemy. repose of the night, and draw the curtains about us, that we IV. The naming of it; He called the firmament Heaven. It may sleep the better; see Job 7. 2. God has thus divided time is the visible heaven, the pavement of the holy city; above the between light and darkness, because he would daily remind us firmament God is said to have his throne, Ez. 1. 26, for he that this is a world of mixtures and changes. In heaven there has prepared it in the heavens; the heavens therefore are said is perfect and perpetual light, and no darkness at all; in hell, to rule, Dan. 4. 26. Is not God in the height of heaven? Job 22. utier darkness, and no gleam of light. In that world, between 12. Yes, he is, and we should be led by the contemplation of these two, there is a great gulf fixed; but in this world they are the heavens that are in our eye, to consider Our Father wluch counterchanged, and we pass daily from one to another; that is in heaven. The height of ihe heavens should remind us of we may learn to expect the like vicissitudes in the providence God's supremacy, and the infinite distance that is between us of God, peace and trouble, joy and sorrow, and may set the one and him; the brightness of the heavens and their purity should over against the other, and accommodate ourselves to both, as remind us of his glory and majesty, and perfect holiness; the we do to the light and darkness, bidding both welcome, and vastness of the heavens, their encompassing of the earth, and making the best of both.
the influence they have upon it, should remind us of his V. That God divided them from each other by distinguishing immensity and universal providence, names; he culled the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. V. 9–13. The third day's work is related in these verses; He gave them names, as Lord of both ; for the day is his, the the forming of the sea and the dry land, and the making of the night also is his, Ps. 74, 16. He is the Lord of time, and will earth fruitful. Hitherto the power of the Creator had been be so till day and night shall come to an end, and the stream exerted and employed about the upper part of the visible of time be swallowed up in the ocean of eternity. Let us ac- world; the light of heaven was kindled, and the firmament of knowledge God in the constant succession of day and night, heaven fixed; but now he descends to this lower world, the and consecrate both to his honour, by working for him every earth, which was designed for the children of men, designed day, and resting in him every night, and meditating in his law both for their habitation, and for their maintenance; and here day and night.
we have an account of the filling of it for both, the building of VI. That this was the first day's work, and a good day's their house, and the spreading of their table. Observe, work it was; the evening and the morning were the first day. 1. How the earth was prepared to be a habitation for man; The darkness of the evening was before the light of the mor- by the gathering of the waters together, and the making of the ning, that it might serve for a foil to it, to set it off, and make it dry land to appear; thus, instead of that confusion which was, shine the brighter. This was not only the first day of the world, v. 2, when earth and water were mixed in one great mass, but the first day of the week. I obscrve it, to the honour of behold, now, there is order, by such a separation as rendered that day, because the new world began on the first day of the them both useful. God said, Let it be so, and it was 80: no week likewise, in the resurrection of Christ, as the Light of the sooner said than done. 1. The waters which had covered the world, early in the morning. In him, the dayspring from on earth were ordered to retire, and to gather into one place, high has visited the world ; and happy are we, for ever happy, namely, those hollows which were fitted and appointed for if that Daystar arise in our hearts.
their reception and rest: the waters, thus cleared, thus colV. 6-8. We have here an account of the second day's work, lected, and thus lodged in their proper place, he called Scar; the creation of the firmament : in which observe,
for though they are many, in distant regions, and washing VOL. I.-4
( 25 )
. Ps. 136. 7.
12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb | the night; and let them be for signs, and Pfor seayielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding sons, and for days, and years : fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind : and 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of God saw that it was good.
the heaven, to give light upon the earth : and it 13 And the evening and the morning were the was so. third day;
16 And God made two great lights; the greater 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the light 'to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the firmament of the heaven, to divide the * day from night: he made the stars also. between the day and belveen the night.
p Ps. 104. 19. t for the rule of the day. several shores, yet either above ground, or under ground, they I. In general, v. 14, 15, where we have, 1. The command have communication with each other, and so they are one, and given concerning them; Let there be lights in the firmament of the common receptacle of waters, into which all the rivers flow, heaven. God had said, v. 3, Let there be light, and there was Ec. 1. 7. Waters and seas often, in scripture, signify troubles light: but that was, as it were, a chaos of light, scattered and and afflictions, Ps. 69.2, 14, 15.–42. 7. God's own people are confused; now it was collected and modelled, and made into not exempted from these in this world; but it is their comfort, several luminaries, and so rendered both more glorious, and that they are only waters under the heaven, (there is none in more serviceable. God is the God of order, and not of conheaven,) and that they are all in the place that God has fusion ; and as he is Light, so he is the Father and Former of appointed them, and within the bounds that he has set them. lights. Those lights were to be in the firmament of heaven, How the waters were gathered together, at first, and how they that vast expanse which encloses the earth, and is conspicuous are still bound and limited by the same Almighty Hand that to all; for no man, when he hath lighted a candle, puts it under first confined them, is elegantly described, Ps. 104. 6-9, and is a bushel, but on a candlestick : Luke 8.16; and a stately golden there mentioned as matter of praise. They that go down to candlestick the firmament of heaven is, from which these the sea in ships, ought to acknowledge daily the wisdom, power, candles give light to all that are in the house. The firmament and goodness of the Creator, in making the great waters itself is spoken of as having a brightness of its own, Dan. xii. serviceable to man for trade and commerce; and they that tarry 3, but that was not sufficient to give light to the earth; and at home, must own themselves indebted to him that keeps the perhaps, for that reason, it is not expressly said of the second sea with bars and doors in its decreed place, and stays its day's work, in which the firmament was made, that it was good, proud waves, Job 38. 10, 11. 2. The dry land was made to because, till it was adorned with these lights on the fourth day, appear, and emerge out of the waters, and was called Earth, it was not become serviceable to man. 2. The use they were and given to the children of men. The earth, it seems, was in
intended to be of to this earth. (1.) They must be for the being before; but it was of no use, because it was under distinction of times, of day and night, summer and winter, water: thus many of God's gifts are received in vain, because which are interchanged by the motion of the sun; whose they are buried; make them to appear, and they become rising makes day, his setting night; his approach towards our serviceable. We who, to this day, enjoy the benefit of the dry tropic makes summer, his recess to the other, winter : and land, (though, since this, it was once deluged, and dried again, thus, under the sun, there is a season to every purpose, Ec. 3. must own ourselves tenants to, and dependents upon, that God 1. (2.) They must be for the direction of actions. They are whose hands formed the dry land, Ps. 95. 5. Jon. 1. 9.
for signs of the change of weather, that the husbandman may II. How the earth was furnished for the maintenance and order bis afiairs with discretion, foreseeing by the face of the support of man, v. 11, 12. Present provision was now made, by sky, when second causes have begun to work, whether it will the immediate products of the upstart earth, which in obedience be fair or foul, Matt. 16. 2, 3. They do also give light upon to God's command, was no sooner made than it became fruitful, the earth, that we may walk, (John 11. 9,) and work, (John 9. and brought forth grass for the cattle, and herb for the service 4,) according as the duty of every day requires. The lights of of man.
Provision was likewise made for time to come, by the heaven do not shine for themselves, nor for the world of spirits perpetuating of the several kinds of vegetables, which are above, they need them not; but they shine for us, and for our numerous, various, and all curious, and every one having its pleasure and advantage. Lord, what is man, that he should be seed in itself after its kind, that, during the continuance of man ihus regarded! Ps. 8. 3, 4. How ungrateful and inexcusable upon the earth, food might be fetched out of the earth, for his are we, if when God has set up these lights for us to work by, use and benefit. Lord, what is man, that he is thus visited and we sleep, or play, or trifle away the time of business, and regarded--that such care should be iaken, and such provision neglect the great work we were sent into the world about! made for the support and preservation of those guilty and The lights of heaven are made to serve us, and they do it obnoxious lives which have been, a thousand times, forfeited! faithfully, and shine, in their season, without fail: but we are Observe here, 1. That not only the earth is the Lord's, but the set as lights in this world to serve God; and do we in like fulness thereof, and he is the rightful Owner and sovereign manner answer the end of our creation? No, we do not; Disposer, not only of it, but of all its furniture. The earth our light does not shine before God, as his lights shine before was emptiness, v. 2, but now, by a word's speaking, it is become us, Matt. 5. 14. We burn our Master's candles; but do not full of God's riches, and his they are still; his corn and his wine, inind our Master's work, his wool and his flar, Hos. 2. 9. Though the use of them is II. In particular, v. 16--18. The lights of heaven are the allowed to us, the property still remains in him, and to his sun, moon, and stars; and these are all the work of God's service and honour they must be used. 2. That common provi- hands. 1. The sun is the greatest light of all, one hundred dence is a continued creation, and in it our Father worketh and sixty-six times greater than the earth, and the most glorious hitherto. The earth still remains under the efficacy of this and useful of all the lamps of Heaven ; a noble instance of the command, to bring forth grass, and herbs, and its annual Creator's wisdom, power, and goodness, and an invaluable products; though, being according to the common course of blessing to the creatures of this lower world. Let us learn nature, they are not standing miracles, yet they are standing from Ps. 19. 1–6, how to give unto God the glory due unto his instances of the unwearied power, and unexhausted goodness, name, as the Maker of the sun.
2. The moon is a lesser of the world's great Maker and Master. 3. That though God, light, and yet is here reckoned one of the greater lights, because, ordinarily, makes use of the agency of second causes, according though, in regard of its magnitude and borrowed light, it is to their nature, yet he neither needs them, nor is tied to them; inferior to many of the stars, yet, by virtue of its office, as for though the precious fruits of the earth are usually brought ruler of the night, and in respect of its usefulness to the earth, forth by the influences of the sun and moon, Deut. 33. 14, yet it is more excellent than they. Those are most valuable that here we find the earth bearing a great abundance of fruit, are most serviceable; and those are the greater lights, not that probably ripe fruit, before the sun and moon were made. 4. have the best gifts, but that humbly and faithfully do the most That it is good to provide things necessary, before we have good with them. IVhosoever will be great among you, let him occasion to use them: before the beasts and man were made, be your minister, Matt. 20. 26. 3. He made the stars also ; here were grass and herb prepared for them. God thus dealt which are here spoken of, as they appear to vulgar eyes, wiscly and graciously with man; let not man then be foolish without distinguishing between the planets and the fixed stars, and unwise for himself. 5. That God must have the glory of or accounting for their number, nature, place, magnitude, all the benefit we receive from the products of the earth, either motions, or influences; for the scriptures were written, not to for food or physic. It is he that hears the heavens, when they gratify our curiosity, and make us astronomers, but to lead us hear the earth, Hos. 2. 21, 22. And if we have, through grace, to God, and make us saints. Now these lights are said to an interest in him who is the Fountain, when the streams are rule, v. '16, 18, not that they have a supreme dominion, as God dried up, and the fig-tree doth not blossom, we may rejoice in him. has, but they are deputy governors, rulers under him. Here
V. 14–19. This is the history of the fourth day's work, the the lesser light, the moon, is said to rule the night; but, Ps. creating of the sun, moon, and stars, which are here accounted 136. 9, the stars are tioned as sharers in that government, for, not as they are in themselves, and in their own nature, to the moon and stars to rule by night. No more is meant, than satisfy the curious, but as they are in relation to this earth, to that they give light, Jer. 31. 35. The best and most honourable which they serve as lights; and this is enough to furnish us with way of ruling, is by giving light, and doing gond: those matter for praise and thanksgiving. Holy Job mentions this as command respect that live a useful life, and so shine as lights. an instance of the glorious power of God, that by his Spirit he Learn from all this, (1.) The sin and folly of that ancient hath garnisheil the heavens ; Job 26. 13; and here we have an idolatry, the worshipping of the sun, moon, and stars, which, account of that garniture, which is not only so much the beauty some think, took rise, or countenance at least, from some of the upper world, but so much the blessing of this lower; for broken traditions in the patriarchal age, concerning the rule though heaven is high, yet hath it respect lo this earth, and and dominion of the lights of heaven. But the account here therefore should have respect from it. or the creation of the given of them plainly shows that they are both God's crealights of heaven wo have an account.
tures, and man's servants; and therefore it is both a great