« AnteriorContinuar »
able and immortal, is an event of moment beyond the utmost stretch of thought at present to conceive, although it is an event which is usually pas sed over as a trifling, every-day occurence. But if you will be persuaded to consider that every son and daughter of Adam will live for ever-live for ever in bliss or woe—in happiness or in misery unspeakable in degree, as well as eternal in duration, you will be convinced, that all the most magnificent events which history records, or
even the creation of worlds innumerable, are trifles beyond expression when compared with the birth of only one such immortal being. Oh, to be such a being, and born in sin, how serious, and how affecting!
Moreover, concerning the creation of man, we read Gen. ii. 7, ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground. Thus, with respect to his body, Adam was formed of the dust of the ground, as the apostle says, when shewing the pre-eminence of Christ, the second Adam, over the first, as it respects that final state of glory to which he exalts his redeemed,· The first man is of the earth,— earthy. A representation this, which ought to inspire the heart of a redeemed sinner with joy and gratitude, inasmuch as it assures him that by the merit and power of the second Adam, 'who was made a quickening spirit, and is the Lord from heaven he shall ere long have a body superior to that which Adam possessed by creation. 1 Cor. xv. 42-54.
Was Adam formed of the dust of the ground ? this should humble proud sinner. For it is a humbling consideration, that, as to our mortal frame, we can boast of no bigher origin than our common parent. The beggar and the monarch are made of the same mean materials of the same dust as creeping things, and heasts of the earth, for of it they were created as well as man. Gen. i. 24. Let not beings then, who, in an essential part of their nature, have one common original with the meanest reptile, pride themselves on the ground of their origin; nor let us forget, that whatever be our family, our personal comeliness, or strength, or stature, our pedigree can be as infallibly ascertained, as it can be soon told-we are of the dust, of the same dust as the most despicable of creatures.
Again, let me remind you we are sinners, and dying creatures, and therefore the consideration of our common origin, should remind us of our common grave-' dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return,' is language which at least ought to make each careless sinner thoughtful, and induce him to ask himself-where, when my body is in the grave,
my soul be if I continue Christless and prayerless, as I am at present ? knowing, as we must needs do, that the whole of us cannot die,-that our souls will be living, while weeping relatives are conducting our bodies to the grave-living while the words you have so often heard are pronounced, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, earth to earth. Attend to the next sentence in the solemn ritual, ‘in sure and certain hopes of a blessed resurrection to eternal life.? Dying in our present state, over the graves of how many of us might the confidence of future happiness here expressed be consistently uttered ? A question this, as serious as the grave, and which should induce us all, most anxiously, and without farther delay, to enquire into the present state of our spiritual concerns, remembering what is written, Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord,' remembering likewise, that they only are blessed. Once more :-was man formed out of the dust of the ground ? Who then can sufficiently admire the skill of the architect? What wondrous power and wisdom are here displayed! First, out of nothing, to create the material. Then, of such material, and of clay of the same lump, to form such an almost infinite variety of vessels. And last, but not least, of the same dust to form such a vessel to honour as man. For what a little world of wonders is the human body, in which such divine intelligence in inventing the plan, and such matchless skill and power in its execution are expressed, as might well make the Psalmist, with devout admiration exclaim, 'I am fearfully and wonderfully made.'
Wonderfully indeed! This must appear to all who pay the least attention to the subject, for many excellencies of the human frame lie within the comprehension of the weakest capacities, and are perpetually exposed to the observation of all. We need not the help of the anatomist to learn how admirably adapted the members of our body are to perform the offices, for which they were created. As the eyes for seeing the eye-lids for their preservation--the skull for the defence of the brain-the ear for hearing--the tongue for speaking—the windpipe or trachea for the formation of sound, and intromission of air—the vertebræ of the neck for bending, and otherwise moving the head. What a wonderful chain of joints is the spine, or back bone. A great philosopher observes, that,' contrary to all chains made by art, it unites as is required, firmness with flexibility, it is firm to support the erect position of the body-flexible, to allow of the bending of the trunk in all degrees of curvature.'
No man can consider either his hands or his feet without being struck with their admirable fitness for their respective offices. The muscles with their tendons, the sinews and the joints, are the instruments of motion, and, it is most interesting to consider, with what ease and perfection they perform this important service. So perfectly, that by a simple act of our will, all kinds of motion are performed. It is wonderful with what ease we can stand or balance ourselves, seeing that our feet, the pedestals of this moving statue, are but small: with what facility we rise up, or lie down, walk, run, leap, move backwards or forwards, and all these and many more movements, so far as any consciousness of ours is concerned, are performed by simply willing or choosing that they shall be performed; no interposition of any other agency ofourown being required in any of these diversified positions: a fact this, the more to be noticed, because common sense would suggest that even the least alteration in the position of our bodies, requires a corresponding alteration in the instruments by which it is produced : a corresponding movement in the organs of motion as truly mechanical, as it is truly wonderful. On the subject of muscular motion, the learned Archdeacon Paley, in his admirable work called “Natural Theology,' has the following observations, which will illustrate much better than any thing I can state, the remark just made respecting changes of bodily position, as calling into action a corresponding and admirable movement in the organs of motion; his remarks are these: The ejaculations can never be too often repeated. How many things must go right for us to be an hour at ease! How many more to be vigorous and active! Yet vigour and activity are, in a vast plurality of instances, preserved in human bodies, notwithstanding that they depend upon so great a number of instruments of motion; and, notwithstanding that the defect or disorder sometimes of a very small instrument-of a single pair, for instance, out of the four hundred and forty-six muscles which are employed, may be attended with grevious inconveniency.' There is piety and good sense in the following observations taken out of the Religious Philosopher, 'With much compassion,' says this writer, as well as astonishment at the goodness of our loving Creator, have I considered the sad state of a certain gentleman, who, as to the rest, was in pretty good health, but only wanted the use of those two little muscles that