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A. According to the best chronology, it was created about five thousand and eight hundred years ago.
Q. 8. Would there have been any more holiness and happiness in the universe, had it been created before it was, or would any good purpose have been answered by its earlier creation?
A. Certainly not. The reasons for creating the world ten thousand years before it was created, would have existed, at that time, for its creation ten thousand years earlier still, and so on, in infinitum. Good and sufficient reasons existed in the Divine mind, for creating the world at the time He did, and not before, and not after, though he may not have divulged them to us. Eternity may be represented by a circle, and, in calculating the distance round a circle, it matters not where measurement commences, the distance will be the same.
Q. 9. In what season of the year, did the world begin to exist?
A. Most probably in Autumn. This seems to have been the fact from astronomical calculations, and from the circumstance, that everything was created in its most mature and complete state. The fruits of the earth were ripe or mature, and fit for the use of man and beast. The first fruits of the earth were produced, not by growth, but by mediate creation, and were so constituted, as to propagate their own species.(a)
Q. 10. In what state did God create all things?
A. In the most perfect state. There was no blemish in the natural or moral world. Every thing came from the hand of its Creator, perfect in its kind.(5)
(f) Gen. 2. 5. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
(8) Gen. 1. 31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good.
Q. 11. What end bad God in view in creating all things?
A. The gratification of His benevolent feelings by exhibiting His own glorious perfections in the production of holiness and happiness. In the communication of holiness and happiness, God must necessarily display His perfections; and in displaying His perfections, He must necessarily communicate holiness and happiness. God had both these objects in view in creating angels and men, and all the works of flis hands. The supreme glory of God, and the supreme good of the universe are necessarily, and inseparably, connected.()
(1) Rom. 11. 36. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Rev. 4. 11. 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. 1 Cor. 10. 31. Whether, therefore, ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1. What is meant by the providence of God! Ă. By it is meant His upholding, governing, and disposing of all creatures and things, and directing all affairs and events, according to the counsel of His own will. Q. 2.
How does it appear, that God exercises such a providence in all the universe?
A. It appears from the consideration, that none but God, who created, can uphold, govern, and dispose of all creatures and things with the regularity, harmony, wisdom, goodness, and design, manifested in them; for preservation is equivalent to continual creation. The supposition, that a created object or agent is independent, or exists of itself, is absurd. Independence is an incommunicable attribute. The doctrine of Divine providence has been generally received by mankind in all ages, and in all countries of the world. It is taught, also, most fully in the Sacred Scriptures.(*)
(a) Heb. 1.3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand the Majesty on high. . Col. 1. 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Ps. 103, 19. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the
heavens, and his kingdom ruleth øyer al.,
Q. 3. In what way does God exercise His providence over the works of creation?
A. He does it either immediately, or mediately. He exercises the former by His own direct and immediate agency; and the latter by the instrumentality of means or second causes. God is free and able to manage all the concerns of the universe with, or without, or against means.
Is the providence of God particular, as well as general?
A. It is. His providence extends to the smallest insect, as well as to the most exalted angel; to every individual, as well as to the species, genus, or whole collectively; to the falling of a sparrow, and the numbering of the hairs of our heads, as well as to the revolutions of empires, or of worlds; to the thoughts, and affections, as well as to the external actions of intelligent creatures; and to all these creatures, things, and events, whether produced with or without means. Nothing, in the whole universe of God, takes place by chance or fate.(b)
Dan. 4.34, 35. And at the end of the days, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honoured himn that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou? Ps. 135. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
(b) Matt. 10. 29, 30, 31. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Isa. 45. 7. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Prov. 21. 1. The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. Gen. 45.7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Jer. 31. 35. Thus saith the Lord which giveth Q. 5. Are the smallest creatures and things objects, worthy of God's notice in their preservation and government?
A. Most certainly they are. If they were worthy of His notice in creation, they are worthy of His superintendence, or providential regard. And their preservation may, and, doubtless does, contribute to important ends, as well as their creation.
Q. 6. Is it not derogatory to the character of the great God to suppose, that His providence is concerned in the trifling occurrences of life?
A. By no means. But it exalts and magnifies His greatness, and goodness, and wisdom, to suppose, that His providence is concerned in the most minute events, as well as those of the greatest magnitude, throughout His vast dominions. Events, it should be remembered, which at the time of their occurrence seemed trivial, are sometimes afterwards found to have been of the greatest moment.
Q. 7. What is the effect of the disbelief, or denial, of God's particular and general providence?
A. It is to destroy the foundation for all subinission, trust, hope, and prayer, and to lead directly to neglect of those important duties.
What is the effect of the belief of God's particular and general providence?
the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name. Amos 9.9. For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. Job 5. 6, 7, 17, 18. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. -Behold happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise, not thou the chastening of the Almighty! For he maketh sore and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 2 Chron. 16. 9. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them, whose heart is perfect towards him.