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attributed the glory of the divine nature, to the moon and ftars, to the earth and planets; to water, to the winged fowls and creatures incapable of reafon. To the relief of man in fuch a fituation, infected with fo fatal a malady, came Mofes, the author and inftitutor of the beft of all doctrines, who with a clear and diftinct voice cried out, there is but ONE GOD, the maker of all things, according to the order of nature, and diftinguifhed him from all other things (which he had made.) Therefore wifely omitting minutie and fubtleties, he turned his difcourfe to more effential matters.
Origen, in his controverfy with Celfus, expreffes himself to the fame purpose, that to teach philofophy was not the intention of Mofes, but found principles of religion and morality. Such alfo, was the opinion of Eufebius, who in many places illustrates this truth. That revelation, where the works of nature, and where the beauties of creation are mentioned in a ftile truely elevating and fublime, which awaken in the mind a fenfe, both of the power, the wifdom, and goodnefs of God; yet the language of revelation is fimple and plain, free from philosophical difqui
difquifition and abstruse research. If the obfervation of Montefquieu be just, that vidence preferves all things by the fame laws they were created, we may yet expect to understand how the earth rofe out of Chaos into that beautiful form and order which it poffeffes.
But this is a fond idea, the warmest of all vain imaginations. Canft thou by searching find out the Almighty to perfection? 'Tis true that the illuftrious Newton has wonderfully discovered certain laws which nature obferves uniformly in her operations, and which feem to extend through all creation, to produce that beautiful order observed by the heavenly bodies in their revolutions; yet these laws will not explain the original formation of a single fly,, or of an embrio seed. No, those laws which created worlds out of nothing, are to be refolved into that infinite power and wifdom which are inexplicable. All who have attempted to explain the laws of creation, however learned, have appeared in a ridiculous light; men, who perhaps might fhew their genius in planning and building a royal palace with elegance and convenience, for in a work of this kind, they could sketch out the line, measure the length and breadth, and
and divide it into convenient apartments, adjusted for different purposes, and suitable to the station and allotment of the feveral perfons who were to inhabit it; yet fuch architeas, when they produce their different and contradictory plans of forming the world, are by no means able to ftand the fcrutiny of common fenfe, and like that bold and prefumptuous race, who attempted to build a tower to heaven, their language, and also their ideas, have all the appearance of confufion and distraction.
Will then, any perfon in his right fenfes, either attempt to inveftigate the laws of creation, or because he cannot find them out, prefume to cenfure them, as they are probably beyond our infinite capacities, fuck knowledge being too wonderful for us, and more than we could well bear.
HAXAEMERON nearly explained by extracts from Heathen writers.
DISPERSED in the scattered frag
thents of ancient authors, in like manner as travellers ftill trace the veftiges of art in heaps of ruin, and the shattered monuments of antiquity; we can evidently trace, and clearly difcern the effects of primæval tradition in the writings of heathen poets and philofophers, efpecially in their different fyftems of cofmogony. I have therefore felected a few examples of this nature, wonderfully correfpondent with the hexaemeron
GENESIS, CHAP. Ì.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Many and various were the opinions of ancient philosophers relative to the origin of
the world, fome were firmly perfuaded that the world was created, whilft others remained doubtful whether it might not have co-existed with the deity, πότερον ην αιει, γινησεως αρχήν εχών εδέμιαν, ή γεγονεν απ αρχής τινος αρξαμενου. Let us then hear the most illuftrious of the gentile philofophers on this point. His hypothefis relative to the TO ΟΥ OLIE, and the To γιγνόμενον, that which might be properly faid always to have exifted, that is the creator, and that which was brought into existence or the creature, he thus illuftrates. ἐσιν ἔν δὴ καὶ μην δοξάν πρῶτον διαιρετεον ταδε τί το όν μεν άνει, γενεσιν δ εκ εχον και τι το γιγνόμενον μεν, ὁ δὲ εδέποτε το μεν δη, νοήσει μετα λογα περιληπον ZIEL κατά ταντα οὐ το δε αυ δόξη μετ αισθησεως αλόγου, δόξαςον, γιγνόμενον και απολλυμενον, οντως δε υδεποτε ον παν δε αυτο γιγνομε που υπ' αιτία τίνος εξ αναγκης γιγνεσθαι. Timæo, p. 28. According to my opinion, it is first to be difcuffed what that is, which always existed without any generation, and what that is which has been made and has no felf-existence. The one is comprised in reafon and understanding, unchangeably, and always the fame; the other endowed with opinion, with a fenfibility of reafon, created and perishable, and cannot properly be faid to exift. Thus Plato believed the world to have been brought into a dependent ftate of existence by a