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ditation on the creation of the world ought to produce. It presents such an astonishing conjunction of power, wisdom, and goodness, as cannot be beheld without religious veneration. Accordingly, among all nations of the earth, it has given rise to religious belief and worship. The most ignorant and savage tribes, when they looked round on the earth and the heavens, could not avoid ascribing their origin to some invisible designing cause, and feeling a propensity to adore. They are, indeed, the awful appearances of the Creator's power, by which, chiefly, they have been impressed, and which have introduced into their worship so many rites of dark superstition. When the usual course of nature seemed to be interrupted, when loud thunder rolled above them in the clouds, or earthquakes shook the ground, the multitude fell on their knees, and, with trembling horror, brought forth the bloody sacrifice to appease the angry divinity. But it is not in those tremendous appearances of power merely, that a good and well-instructed man beholds the Creator of the world. In the constant and regular working of his hands, in the silent operations of his wisdom and goodness, ever going on throughout nature, he delights to contemplate and adore him.
This is one of the chief fruits to be derived
from that more perfect knowledge of the Creator, which is imparted to us by the Christian revelation. Impressing our minds with a just sense of his attributes, as not wise and great only, but as gracious and merciful, let it lead us to view every object of calm and undisturbed nature, with a perpetual reference to its Author. We shall then behold all the scenes which the heavens and the earth present, with more refined feelings, and sublimer emotions, than they who regard them solely as objects of curiosity or amusement. Nature will appear animated and enlivened, by the presence of its Author. When the sun rises or sets in the heavens, when spring paints the earth, when summer shines in its glory, when autumn pours forth its fruits, or winter returns in its awful forms, we shall view the Creator manifesting himself in his works. We shall meet his We shall meet his presence in the fields. We shall feel his influence in the cheering beam. We shall hear his voice in the wind. We shall behold ourselves everywhere surrounded with the glory of that universal spirit, who fills, pervades, and upholds all. We shall live in the world as in a great and august temple, where the presence of the divinity, who inhabits it, inspires devotion.
Magnificent as the fabric of the world is, it was not, however, intended for perpetual du
ration. It was erected as a temporary habitation for a race of beings, who, after acting there a probationary part, were to be removed into a higher state of existence. As there was an hour fixed from all eternity for its creation, so there is an hour fixed for its dissolution; when the heavens and the earth shall pass away, and their place shall know them no more. The consideration of this great event, as the counterpart to the work of creation, shall be the subject of the following discourse.
ON THE DISSOLUTION OF THE WORLD.
2 PETER, iii. 10.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt ир.
THESE words present to us an awful view of the final catastrophe of the world. Having treated, in the preceding discourse, of the commencement, let us now contemplate the close, of all human things. The dissolution of the material system is an article of our faith, often alluded to in the Old Testament, clearly predicted in the New. It is an article of faith so far from being incredible, that many
appearances in nature lead to the belief of it. We see all terrestrial substances changing their form. Nothing that consists of matter, is for perpetual duration. Every thing around us is impaired and consumed by time, waxes old by degrees, and tends to decay. There is reason, therefore, to believe, that a structure so complex as the world must be liable to the same law; and shall, at some period, undergo the same fate. Through many changes, the earth has already passed; many shocks it has received, and is still often receiving. A great portion of what is now dry land, appears, from various tokens, to have been once covered with water. Continents bear the marks of having been violently rent, and torn asunder from one another. New islands have risen from the bottom of the ocean; thrown up by the force of subterraneous fire. Formidable earthquakes have, in divers quarters, shaken the globe; and at this hour terrify with their alarms many parts of it. Burning mountains have, for ages, been discharging torrents of flame; and from time to time renew their explosions in various regions. All these circumstances show, that in the bowels of the earth the instruments of its dissolution are formed. To our view, who behold only its surface, it may appear firm and un