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was designed, yet enough remains to display the power and beneva lence of God, and commandthe admiration and gratitude of mankind. Who can behold the perfection of beauty and grandeur displayed throughout the works of creation ; who can consider with the Psalmist, the heavens, the works of God's fingers, the moon and sicri which he has ordained; who can contemplate those glorious lumi. naries performing such great and benignant offices for the earth, in perfect order and regularity, without exalting his soul to the allpowerful and benevolent Creator, in emotions of wonder and praise ! In all their various and complicated operations there is no confusion of motion, no decay of strength; there is nothing superfluous, nothing wanting. He appointeth the moon for seasons, and the sun knoweth his going down. nd it may justly be said, that all creatures have a proportionate share in the blessing conferred upon Joseph: Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the firecious thing brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon : and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the everlasting hills. And it is impossible to contemplate, with all the veneration which the subject demands, that glorious morn of the creation, when all nature exulted in the perfection of workmanship, and the beauty of youth ; when by the power of the divine word this fair system of the universe was called into being; when the confusion of chaos gave place to the most perfect regularity ; each part of the grand work obedient by assuming its appointed station and harmoniously performing its duty :- When the angels who had viewed with wonder the progress of the work, rejoiced with songs of adoration and praise at the completion and success of the whole! And would they withhold their approbation of that divine achievement which the great author of all perfection had pronounced to be good: An event so glorious as to draw forth tese timonies of exultation from every inanimate substance, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
And behold the completion of the whole work in the creation of man, for whose use the earth seems to have been formed, with the whole host of subordinate creatures. View him in Paridise, yet perfect from the hands of his Maker, glowing with health, and rejoicing in innocence; see him made lord of the creation, in the keeping of angels, and holding conversation with God! His faculties all new and perfect ; the organs of his senses, like the disposi. tion of his mind in unison with that exalted scene of happiness in which he was placed. This was the accomplishment of that work, which for majesty of design, beauty of execution, and harmony of operation, so eminently displayed the glory of its great author.
Another object which the works of creation seem calculated to promote, is the instruction of mankind in divine knowledge. My limits will not permit me to enlarge upon the subject of figures and emblems, and the mysterious relation which all the works of nature bear, to the character and attributes of their author. Every crea. ted thing is stamped with the image of God; the impression in some is fainter than in others, but accurate inspection will discover the
likeness in them all. Our gross conceptions could never compass the mystery of spiritual subjects, but through the medium of sensible things; and to that purpose he has not only created them with these emblematical properties, but in many instances, has referred us to them and explained their mystical signification.
His glory and splendour is eminently displayed in the sun in the firmament, which like its archetype is likewise the source of all the lustre which other objects exhibit. He is in the natural world what God is in the spiritual; the father of lights, or, the true light that tighteth every man that cometh into the world. Placed in the centre of the planetary system, a host of dependant bodies revolving about his throne, and sharing in the emanations of his glory, he gives them life and motion, he guides their course, controuls, sustains and animates the whole. And like the fountain of divine grace, he bestows his blessings more abundantly upon those who approach nearest his presence. To the earth which we inhabit he is a gracious benefactor, through whose genial influence every vegetable and animal substance may be said to live, and move, and have its being. In the union of all his properties we have an emblem of the great JEHOVAH, the ever blessed TRINITY ; in his body or primary substance we behold the futher, the source and cause of all things ; in the rays of light emitted from him, we have an image of the son of Cod, who is coeval with the Father, and cometh from him; who is the means of communication between him and his creatures; an image which, like the blessed Saviour, is the light of the world, revealing the truth, and delivering us from that emblem of sin, the power of darkness. The Holy Ghost is shadowed under the heat and animating influence, which may truly be said to proceed from these emblems of the Father and the Son ; which like its archetype is invisible in its operations, and known only by its effects; which animates, cherishes, and sustains the natural world ; and performs all those kindly offices for the body which the Holy Ghost does for the soul.
The Catholic doctrine of the Trinity was hence asserted and illustrated from the foundation of the world; and the lively image of God in three persons coequal, without division of substance or confusion of character and office, was impressed upon the first works that came from his hand.
In the moon we have a very significant emblem of the Church. She receives her light, her motion and direction ultimately from the sun, the great fountain of every natural impulse. And though restrained to the earth, to which her influence is made subservient, and by which her movements are immediately directed and governed, yet the earth exercises that controul by virtue of a power derived from the sun. Thus the Church receives her spiritual light and djrection from the true sun of righteousness; and though the direct government of her may be exercised by mortal men, yet they act by virtue of an ability and authority committed to them by God, the author of every good and perfect gift. She like the moon is in some degree subject to the changes and vicissitudes of the earth; she wanes and is eclipsed in consequence of the intervention of the earth, or the occurrence of worldly considerations, between her and the
source of her light: Sordid and vain passions, like gross particles of a cloud, often obscure her face for a season ; yet she never fails to emerge again with all her wonted splendour; and though apparently various, she is ever the same. In short, it would be an exhaustless theme to pursue to its just extent, this analogy between the natural and spiritual world ; and I have no reluctance to confess, that what I have advanced is no more than a clew to a more entertaining and profitable prosecution of the subject.
Suffer me then to conclude with merely mentioning the enablematical manner of the creation ; it is declared in the sacred word, that God created the heaven and the earth, whereas the scriptures frequently ascribe this work to the Son of God, or the Lord Jesus Christ. This apparent difficulty is obviated by confessing that Christ is God. One of the most usual appellations given him in scripture is, Logos, or the word ; hence in this history the world was created by the word of God. God the father spake the world into being ; or the word came from him ; thus God said let there be a firmament ; God said, let there be light; which corresponds with the comment of St. John. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God; the same was in the beginning with God; all things were made by him. And should we look for the third person in the Trinity on the same occasion, we read that the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Hence was exhibited in the beginning the three distinct persons in the Holy Trinity, who nevertheless are but ONE GOD.
EXPOSITION OF THE ARTICLES OF THE CHURCH.
ARTICLE VI. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation. a Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that
whatsoever is not read thereio, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture, we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.”
WE have seen that the five first Articles relate to the foundation of all religion, the existence of a God, and to the characteristic doctrines of the Christian religion, concerning the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The next point to be settled is the rule of our faith and practice: this is a subject upon which there is a ma. terial difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England, and to that difference this Article is directed.
The divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and consequently their truth and obligation, is allowed both by Papists and by the members of our Church; but the Papists assert, that the books of the New Testament do not contain the whole rule of a Christian's faith and praòtice; they believe that the Apostles orally delivered many
doctrines and precepts of the highest importance to our eternal happiness, which are not contained in the New Testament ; and they further believe, that these doctrines and precepts have been faithfully transmitted to the present time, and that there is an infallible authority, vested by Christ in his Church, to judge of their correctness, and to distinguish those which are true from those which are false. On the contrary, this article of our Church asserts, that the Scriptures contain a complete rule of faith and practice; and we reject every doctrine and precept, as essential to salvation, or to be obeyed as divine, which is not supported by their authority. · In proof of the former part of this article, we may first observe, that oral tradition, on account of the prodigious length to which human life was at first extended, had greater advantages, than it could have in any subsequent period. Methuselah lived about 300 years while Adam was alive, and Shem lived almost 100 years with Methuselah, and about 100 years with Abraham : but though it thus appears, that two intermediate persons, viz. Methuselah and Shem, were sufficient to convey any tradition from Adam to Abraham, yet the simplicity and purity of the primeval religion were so grossly corrupted in the days of Abraham, that all knowledge of the one true God would have been utterly extinguished, and idol-atry would have prevailed universally, if it had not pleased the Almighty to reveal himself in an especial manner to Abraham and his posterity, and to separate them from the rest of mankind. If to this experience of former times, we add the observation which must have occurred to every one concerning the inaccuracy of reports upon the plainest matter of fact, we may conclude that oral tradition is altogether incompetent to transmit to us, from the times of the Apostles, any doctrines or precepts in which our eternal salvation is concerned. Surely therefore it ought not to be believed, that points of such importance would be trusted to so doubtful a conveyance. It is certain that the Evangelists and Apostles have delivered to us in writing some articles of faith, and some rules of practice, as essential to salvation ; but if some, why not all? Is it probable that we should receive part of our religion in writing and part by oral tradition ? Is there any mention in the New Testament of authentic tradition which was to be added to the written word of God ? of any defects in the gospels, which the Church was to supply by her unwritten precepts and doctrines?
But let us consider the case of the Mosaic dispensation, which was introductory to the gospel, and was derived from the same divine origin. The law of Moses was delivered on mount Sinai under the most striking and impressive circumstances, and it contained rites and feasts calculated preserve the memory of it: it was temporary, and confined to a single people, who were kept united, and were not permitted to mix with other nations : it consisted chiefly of ordinances, which were to be performed, without any great interval of time, at one place; and yet the whole of this religion, thus suited, (if any could be,) to oral tradition, was by the express command of God, committed to writing. On the other hand, the Christian religion is designed for the whole world, for men of all countries, languages
and times, and every part of the worship enjoined by it may be performed in any part of the world. Surely then we may conclude that the whole of the Christian religion was committed to writing; that God would make the same provision for the preservation of the universal religion of mankind, which he did for the partial religion of the Jews.
St. John indeed seems to declare, that a belief of what he alone had written was sufficient to ensure eternal life: These things, says he at the end of his gospel, are written, that ye might believe that Je. 848 is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name...John xx. 31; and St. Luke tells Theophilus, that he wrote his gospel, that he might know the certainty of those things in which he had been instructed...Luke i. 4. Though the whole Jewish religion was in fact contained in the books of Moses; yet the Jews, in the time of our Saviour, had a great number of traditions, which they observed with the utmost strictness. Christ and his Apostles frequently appealed to Moses and the prophets, and encouraged and commanded the searching of the Scriptures; but in no one instance did they acknowledge the authority of the traditions, which were then held in such high esteem; on the contrary, Christ told the Jews, that they had made the law of God of none effect by their traditions... Matt. xv. 6; and that they worshipped God in vain when they tuught for doctrines the commandments of men...Mark vii. 7. We believe therefore, as the article asserts, that “the Holy Scrip. ture containeth all things necessary to salvation.”
The written word of God being the sole rule of our faith and practice, it follows that whatsoever is not read therein, or may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of faith, or to be thought requisite or necess sary to salvation.
6 In the name of the Holy Scriptures, we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.” As enough has been said by various able writers, of the canon of both of the Old and New-Tes. tament, it is unnecessary for me to say any thing upon that subject in this place, except that in the enumeration of the books of the Old Testament contained in this article, the books of Ezra and New hemiah are called the first and second books of Esdras; Esdras being the septuagint translation of the Hebrew word Ezra. Ezra and New hemiah were formerly joined in one book, and when they were separated, the book of Nehemiah, being considered as a continuation of the book of Ezra, was called by his name.
There is no authority, internal or external, for admitting the books commonly called Apocryphal, into the sacred canon ; they contain no prophecy or other authentic mark of inspiration; they were all written subsequent to the cessation of the prophetic spirit, but before the promulgation of the gospel; they were not included in the Jewish canon, and therefore received no sanction from our Saviour; they are not cited or alluded to in any part of the New Testament. There is therefore no ground for applying the books of the Apocrapha to establish any doctrine, but they are highly valuable as ancient wri.