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and to be enabled to see the thing as it is; not distorted by the qualities of the medium through which I look at it. I will own to them that as I am not so well acquainted as many are with the traditions of the past—the notions of the present, the impressions which one receives from the current religious literature, from the popular religious dialect, have been greater impediments to me in the search for the living and literal sense of Scripture, than any other influences whatsoever always excepting the influence of my own selfconceit and presumption. The forms of my Church have seemed to me useful in getting rid of both these hinderances; therefore I have prized them. I do not ask or expect the dissenter to prize them, or to use them for this purpose. Let him hold fast his own maxim — let him determine to learn from the Bible only. If he does so faithfully, I am sure it will teach him. And if he succeeds in breaking more fetters from the hearts and consciences of men than I have been able to break, he will be acting more in the spirit of my Church, and be carrying out its lessons better than I have done.
Lastly, the liberal teachers of our day say that a written revelation is itself an imposition upon men's minds, which they have endured long, and must now shake off. The revelation of Nature is what they want. 'Let that be laid open to men fully and broadly; there will be no more fear of the priest; his occupation will be gone.' Yes, let that be tried. Open this revelation of Nature as fully as you can; let every artist, every scientific man, feel that it is his business and duty to translate, and, if he thinks fit, to illuminate its pages. Let them say, one and all, that these pages are meant for the poor and ignorant to read in; that the beauties and glories of the outward creation, as well as its secret depths, are intended not for connoisseurs and men of leisure, but for the toilers and sufferers of the earth. Let such words be spoken, and let acts be done in conformity with them. And then it will be seen whether men can be satisfied with this revelation, glorious as it is; whether they will not demand another; whether they will not be miserable slaves, incapable of enjoying the good things which God has provided for their eyes and ears, the victims of every impostor, of every new superstition, unless they know what they themselves are, whence they came, whither they are going, whether He who made them wishes them to dwell in hopeless bondage, or to be the citizens of a divine kingdom.*
* There is no Sermon in this Volume on the fifth Sunday after Easter, as I was absent on that day from Lincoln's Inn. I had thought of introducing a Sermon which I preached at Oxford, on the 9th of Deuteronomy; but I determined on the whole that a discourse addressed to a different congregation would confuse the course rather than complete it. Happily the Church has selected so many chapters from the Book of Deuteronomy, that the omission of two is of less consequence. The Sermon on Whit Sunday is taken from one of the lessons for Whit Tuesday. There are none on Trinity Sunday, as the lessons for that day are taken from the Book of Genesis, on which I had preached already.
THE CREATION OF MANKIND, AND OF ADAM.
Lessons for the day, Genesis I. and II,
Preached at Lincoln's Inn, on Septuagesima Sunday, Feb. 16,1831.
Genesis II. 1.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
ON Septuagesima Sunday we begin the Old Testament. I propose, if God permit, to take the subjects in order which the first Lessons for the Morning and Evening bring before us.
To day the subject is Creation. I have chosen my text from a verse which speaks of Creation not in progress, but as completed. I have done so advisedly, not because I wish to evade the questions which are suggested by the previous chapter, but because I believe we shall understand them better, if we examine them by the light which is thrown upon them from this.
When does the Historian say 'that the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them?' The last paragraph of the former chapter leaves us in no doubt. The heavens and the earth were finished when 'God created man in His own image.' Then the Universe was that which
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He designed it to be; then he could look not upon a portion of it, but upon the whole of it, and say, 'it is very good.' Then it was a unity: such a unity as was implied in the existence of light and a firmament, a productive earth, a sun and moon, fishes, birds, beasts of the field; such a unity as none of these separately, nor all of them together, could constitute. They find their meaning and interpretation in Man; as man finds his meaning and interpretation in God.
If we start from any other principle than this, we may talk very learnedly about the cosmogony of Moses; we may attack it as unscientific, or defend it as divine; but we shall never know of what we are complaining, or for what we are apologizing. The principle, as I hope to shew you hereafter, goes through the Bible; its records are incoherent if you do not recognize it; just so far as you do, they come into harmony with each other. If any one strives to speculate upon the different days of Creation, or the works which are said to be done in them, without referring them all to this final day and final work, and without referring that to the seventh day and the divine rest, he may construct a very ingenious theory, or a number of ingenious theories; but his thoughts will only have the most remote and accidental connexion with the book of Genesis or the Bible.
Now, supposing this to be the case, we ought to derive our idea of Creation—at least we ought to determine what is the idea of Creation in the first chapter of the book of Genesis—from what