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Jesus our Saviour “liveth and reigneth with the Father, in the unity of the same Spirit,* one God, world without end."
In my next letter I propose to consider the analogy which the Scripture points out between the offices of the Divine and subordinate Trinity, the Divine and material agents. In the mean time, may the enlightening Spirit give, both to you and me, a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort:”
* Cæterum Veteres in &oc.cytaus non modd cum Spiritu Sancto sive et Spiritu Sancto, sed nonnunquam etiam in Spiritu Sancto ideo usurpasse mihi videntur, ut significarent, Spiritum Sanctum, quatenus a Patre et Filio, sive a Patre per Filium, procedit, amborum esse communionem et unitatem, adeoque quasi vinculum Sanctissimæ Trinitatis : quo modo et a veteribus disertè appellatur. Quod clariùs exprimitur in formulâ illâ perantiquâ, quâ dicitur ; Gloria Patri et Filio in unitate Spiritús Sancti. Hinc antiquissimus Scriptor Athenagoras in Legat. pro Christianis, dicit Ρatrem et Filiumn unum esse ενοτητα Πνευματος, Unitate Spiritûs. Synesius in Hymnis suis mysterium eleganter exprimit non uno in loco; e. g. in hymno tertio Spiritum Sanctum sic alloquitur :
Ορος ει φυσιων
Terminus es naturarum
Et in hymno quarto, postquam laudes Dei, Patris et Filii, celebraverat, deinde canit
Μεσαταν Αρχαν, ,
Is not all this philosophically true in relation to the threefold powers of nature, on the hypothesis brought forward in these letters?
THE AGENCY EMPLOYED IN THE FORMATION
OF THE EARTH.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
have received the same pleasure from the physico* theological views, exhibited in the several volumes which I have recommended to your notice, which, at an early period of life, I received myself, I am encouraged to prosecute the work you have assigned me, by calling your attention to the Scriptural account of the creation of the Universe, contained in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.
Allow me, however, before I proceed to my subject, to lay down a maxim which appears to me of high importance. And this I shall do in the words of another: They are worthy of blame, who choose rather to subject the Scripture to the rules of Philosophy, than, as would be more decent; to make Philosophy subject to Scripture, as its handmaid."* “ Through faith
* Taxandi sunt, qui potius volunt Sacram Scripturam Philosophiæ regulis subdere, quam, ut majis decet, Philosophiam, tanquam ancillam, illi deservire.
we understand that the worlds were made by the word of God, so that the things which are seen, were not made of things which do appear.” Heb. xi. 2. And if this subject can only be understood “by faith,” and if Divine Revelation be the only warrant and object of faith, then are we indebted to Divine Revelation for all we know of the matter. Let us therefore consult that Revelation with all humility of mind, acknowledging that the great Artificer is best able to give an account of his own work, and that all our experiments and our reasonings upon them must be fallacious, if they should prove inconsistent with that account which is furnished for our instruction by inspiration of God.
“ IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH."* Such is the simple,
* « In the works of the creation we behold a twofold emanation of the Divine virtue; of which the one relates to its power ;
the other to its wisdom. The former is especially observed in the creating the material mass; the latter in the disposing the beauty of its form. This being established, it is to be remarked that there is nothing in the History of the creation' to invalidate the fact, that the mass and substance of heaven and earth was created—confusa—confusedly or undistinguishably, in one moment of time; but that six days were assigned for disposing and adjusting it: in so signal a manner did God distinguish between the works of his power and of his wisdom. We may further observe that in the creation of matter, it is not related, ' God said, Let the heaven and the earth be,' as it is related of His other works which ensued ;. but, simply and actually, ‘God created the heaven and the earth :'
concise, but withal, magnificent account which Moses has given of the production of those materials, out of which the several parts of the universe were afterwards formed. I have already observed that the word translated heaven is, in the original, a plural noun; because the etherial fluid subsists in three conditions; and that it signifies the disposers, the etherial fluid being so denominated on account of its subordinate agency in the distribution and formation of passive matter, and in producing and maintaining its various operations in all its modes of subsistence. There is an emphasis in the original Hebrew, which can only be accounted for on the hypothesis, that Moses is speaking of the original creation of those atoms out of which the heavens and the earth were afterwards framed.*
This derives further confirmation from the description given of the state in which the grosser parts of matter were, after they had been thus created. “ The earth was without form;" a loose, unconnected, unformed mass of materials, to be moulded into beauty and utility according to the will of its all-wise and omnipotent Creator. It was also
so that the matter itself seems to have been as it were a work of hand; but the introduction of its form bears the style of a law or decree.” Bacon de augment. Scient. lib. i. P. 37, vol. iv.
* See Bp. Horsley's “ General view of the three first chapters of Genesis,” in the first volume of his BIBLICAL CRITICISM.”