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God glorified in Heaven for his Works of Creation and Providence.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
T. John, in this chapter, describes a vision which he had of the heavenly worship. He saw a throne placed in heaven, with the appearance of divine glory upon it; and seats disposed around, on which sat the elders, clothed in white raiment, with golden crowns on their heads; and in the midst, and round about the throne, were the principal angels. These began the worship with celebrating the infinite purity of the divine nature, and ascribing all glory to him, who sat on the throne; and then the elders joined their voices, falling before the throne, casting down their crowns, and saying, Thou art worthy to receive glory, and honour, and power; for VOL. I.
REVELATION iv. 11.
thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
In these words we may observe,
I. That all things were created by God. II. That they were created, and are upheld for his pleasure.
III. That all rational beings are to glorify him for his creation and providence.
I. The heavenly church acknowledge that God created all things.
If the world was created, there was a time when it did not exist. Though it received its present form from preexisting matter, yet this matter must, at some time or other, have received its existence from the same hand which moulded it into its wondrous form. The worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen, were not made of things which do appear. If the world were eternal and self existent, it would be immutable; for that which exists necessarily, is necessarily what it is, and not liable to change or dissolution. But we see these material things continually subject to alteration and decay; we may therefore conclude that they are the creatures of time.
As all creation had a beginning, so this part of it had a late beginning. The scriptural account, which dates it but a few thousand years back, is in some measure confirmed by observation. The lateness of our most ancient histories, the imperfection of arts and sciences, and even of the geography of the world, and the vast tracts, which still remain unpopulated, or but sparsely inhabited, though mankind have, in general, been in a state of increase, make it credible, that the world cannot have existed much longer than the Mosaic account represents.
"But, Can we suppose, that the Deity, who is eternal, would suffer such a long duration to pass
away, before he employed his power, wisdom, and goodness, or made beings to know, enjoy, and praise him ?"
This question has been asked, and urged as an objection against the lateness of creation.
But the objection, if it may be called one, can respect only that part of creation of which Moses has given an account. Space is boundless, as well as duration endless. Beyond our system-beyond these visible heavens, there is room for innumerable worlds to have existed, millions of ages before this part of the universe rose into being. Besides, the objection itself, when it is examined, vanishes into nothing. If the world was created, there was a time when it began. And if, for its origin, you go back as many millions of ages as there are sunbeams in the heavens, still there was a time, when it had not existed six thousand years. And this objection might then be made, as well as now; for it was then as true, as it is now, that there had passed a duration without beginning. The difficulty in such cases is, we attempt by time to measure eternity; and the measure is not adequate to the object.
From the things which exist, we know there is a God. The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and godhead.
If God created all things, then a creating power belongs not to creatures. It is a power, which we may suppose them incapable of receiving; for creation is the highest act of Divinity that we can conceive of; probably there can be none higher.
By the ability and ingenuity of a single man many things have been done, which to the unexperienced appear surprising. The combined skill and power of a number have produced works far greater still. But all their works are only giving a new
form to things which already exist. They cannot originate matter, nor animate it when it is made. There are beings above us endued with superiour powers; but to none of these does the scripture ascribe the power of creation. On the contrary, it expressly tells us, all things were created by God. But our apostle, in his gospel, says, "All things were made by Jesus Christ, and without him was not any thing made, that was made." Hence then we must conclude, that he is not merely an exalted creature, but properly divine, possessed of divine power, and entitled to divine honour.
How vast is creation! Even this world, when we view it in comparison with the little creatures which inhabit it, appears a mighty thing. But, what is this, with all its innumerable inhabitants, to the universe! When we step abroad, and cast our eyes up to the heavens, what an astonishing cene do we behold! What multitudes of worlds do we there see scattered around, and sunk in the depths of space! At what an amazing distance are they placed from us, and from one another! How small is the spot which our sight commands, compared with unlimited space! How inconsiderable the number of bodies which we see, compared with those which may be supposed to exist! After imagination has taken its most distant flight, still, How far is it from having reached the bounds of creation! And yet all these things were created and are upheld by one almighty, omnipresent, eternal Being. He spake and they were made; he commanded, and they stood fast. By his word the heavens and the earth were created, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He still upholds them all by the word of his power. The thunder of his power, who can understand!
We proceed to our second observation.
pleasure; or for his will, as the word properly signifies.
If you ask, why God made the world, and upholds it; why he framed the universe, and formed this globe, in such time and manner, as he has; this song of angels gives the proper answer. "All things were made for his pleasure." The apostle Paul expresses the same sentiment: He works all things according to the counsel of his own will.
There has been much inquiry, and some controversy among Christians, concerning God's ultimate end in the work of creation; whether it was his own glory, or the exercise of his goodness in the communication of happiness. But the apostle, in the text, cuts the matter short. He introduces the spirits in heaven as celebrating the wonders of creation, and ascribing them all to God's will. Here is a plain intimation, that these speculations on the supreme and ultimate end of an infinite and all perfect Being, in the formation of all his works, are too high for mortals. Angels, with greater modesty, bow down and adore unsearchable wisdom. Wise ends he certainly has in all his works. But, farther than he has given us an account of his matters, his counsels are too deep for us.
Creation is a vast and stupendous work. It is but a small part of it which comes within our observation; and even this we know but imperfectly. And if we know not the work itself, much less can we know all the purposes for which it was intended. For us it is enough to know, that all things were made by a most perfect Being, and that for his pleasure they are and were created.
But though we cannot comprehend the works of God, nor determine that they were made for this or that purpose solely or supremely, yet there are certain uses to which we see many of them adapted; and these it becomes us to observe.