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Creator. The religious worship paid to Christ upon earth, and the religious worship paid to him in heaven, affords a plain, conclusive and unanswerable argument in favor of his absolute divinity and equality with the Father, in all his essential attributes.
4. If no other than a divine person be a proper object of religious worship, then the Arians are real idolaters in paying religious worship to Christ, whilst they deny his divinity. Though they acknowledge Christ to be a super-angelic being, yet they deny that he possesses self existence, independence, or any other essential attribute of divinity. And so long as they view him in this inferior light, they cannot pay divine honor to him, without being guilty of worshipping the creature instead of the Creator, which is the essence of idolatry. Though they sincerely profess to believe that he is the greatest of created beings, that he existed before angels and men, that he now reigns over them, and that he will finally judge them at the last day; still they have no right, on this supposition, to pay him religious homage. There is no essential difference beiween worshipping the highest and the lowest created objects, because they are all infinitely below the uncreated, self existent, Supreme Being. If Papists are guilty of idolatry in worshipping the Virgin Mary, and canonized saints; or if heathens are guilty of idolatry in worshipping demons, departed heroes, and graven images; then Arians must be guilty of idolatry in worshipping Christ, who, in their opinion, is totally destitute of every divine attribute. Socinians, who hold Christ to be a mere man, avoid this absurdity by refusing to pay him religious worship. And if Arians would become consistent, they would become Socinians; and after they became Socinians, they would become Unitarians; and after they became Unitarians, they would become Infidels. There is no place to stop between Arianism and Deism. The denial of the divinity of Christ directly tends, in its genuine consequences, to subvert the whole gospel.
5. If God be the only proper object of religious worship, then moral depravity has had a very blinding and fatal influence upon the minds of men in all ages. It has blinded the whole heathen world in respect to the being and perfections of the only living and true God, and plunged them in the grossest idolatry. They have paid religious worship to the hosts of heaven, to demons, to departed spirits, to four footed beasts and creeping things. It has blinded ihe minds of the great majority of the Christian world, and led the Pope and his votaries to worship the Virgin Mary and deified saints and dumb idols. It has led the whole body of Arians to pay divine honors to one whom they believe to be destitute of every divine perfection, and
to blend the worship of a creature with the worship of his Creator. Such great and general blindness of mankind cannot be owing to any
defect in their understandings, but must result from the moral corruption of their hearts. The light of nature and the light of the gospel has shone in darkness, and the darkness has not comprehended it. The apostle ascribes the idol.
. atry of the world to this criminal cause. It was because “they became vain in their imagination, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools: And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
6. If God be the only proper object of religious worship on account of his supremely great and amiable perfections, then those are extremely criminal who never worship him at all. There are vast numbers of the human race who never pay religious worship to any being in the universe. This is more common among those who call themselves christians, than among the most savage and ignorant pagans. They almost universally pay religious worship to some being or object which they deem divine. But how many are there in a Christian land, who cast off fear and restrain prayer before God! Though they know the only living and true God, yet they glorify him not as God, either in secret, in private, or in public. They live without God, without Christ, and without hope in the world. Such persons are more vile than the brutes that perish. “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib;" but such Christian pagans know not their Creator, preserver and benefactor, and treat him with the highest neglect and contempt.
They despise his favor, and defy his frowns. Hear the ad. monitions of the prophet: “ Understand ye brutish among the people; and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct?” Will he not "pour out his fury upon those that call not on his name?" “Can their hearts endure, or their hands be strong in the day when God shall deal with them?"
Finally, this subject exhorts all to renounce the idols which they have set up in their hearts. How many are setting up idols in their hearts! All who love the world, or the things of the world supremely, are idolaters in the sight of God, and these idols are as fatal as graven images; and must be removed, in order to glorify and enjoy God.
THE WORK OF CREATION.
And on Tæus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. the seventh day God ended his work which he had made ; and he rested the seventh day from all his work which he
had made.- GENESIS, ii. 1, 2.
MEN have always been disposed to be wise above what is written, and to lean to their own understanding rather than to divine revelations. The astronomers, who hold the highest rank among philosophers, have made such great discoveries respecting the sun, moon and stars, that they have called in question the account which God has given by Moses of the creation of the world. They suppose that the heavens and the earth which Moses mentions, compose but a small part of the work of creation; and that angels and men compose but a small part of intelligent creatures. They imagine that all the fixed stars are centres of so many distinct systems, just as the sun is the centre of our system; and that all those material worlds are as full of rational inhabitants as this world is. This opinion is generally adopted by commentators and divines, and Mr. Stackhouse in particular, in his history of the Bible. But it is a serious question whether this opinion is not more philosophical than scriptural; and whether it does not bear hard against the account in our text which the Creator himself has given of his great work. 6 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested the seventh day from all his work, which he had made." These words plainly suggest this general idea :
That God created all things in the space of six days. I shall,
I. Consider what things God did create in the period of six days; And,
II. Show that those things which he created in that period, comprise all his works of creation.
I. We are to consider what things God did create in the period of six days.
This we may easily collect from the account which Moses and other inspired writers have given us of the works of creation. Moses tells us what God created the first day, what he created the second day, what he created the third day, what he created the fourth day, what he created the fifth day, what he created the sixth day; and sums up the whole in the words of the text: 66 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made; and he rested the seventh day from all his work, which he had made.” It appears by this account, that the heavens and the earth with their hosts, that is, with their inhabitants, comprise all things that were created in the space of six days. By the heavens we are to understand the upper and lower heaven, or the visible and invisible heaven. The upper heaven is the invisible world, where God and all perfectly holy beings reside; and where all perfectly sinful beings are confined. The lower or visible heaven contains the sun, moon and stars, and the earth, with every thing that lives and moves and exists, either upon it, or below its surface. All these things, contained in the heavens and the earth, were created at one and the same time, or in the space of six days. This we may fairly collect, not only from the account which Moses has given us of the creation, but from the account which other inspired writers have given us of that great work. In the twentieth of Exodus we read, “ In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is ;" that is, all the creatures, whether rational or irrational, which are in heaven and earth. In the first of John we read, “ 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 without him was not any thing made.” Here God is said to create all things by Jesus Christ; and to create nothing without him. As this refers to Moses' account of the creation in six days, so it confines the creation of all things to that particular period of time. But it may be said that none of the texts which have been cited, prove that angels were created at the same period when the heavens and the earth were created. This however, is asserted by another sacred writer. The apostle Paul declares that Christ is the
image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. “For," he adds, “ by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities; all things were created by him and for him." This passage puts it beyond doubt, that not only the heavens and the earth, but all their hosts of men and of angels were created by Christ, and that in the space of six days. I now proceed to show,
II. That those things, which were created at that one period of time, comprised, or included all things that ever were created. This will appear from various considerations.
1. There is reason to think that when God began to create, he would not rest, until he had completely finished his whole work of creation. This Moses represents him to have done in the text. He says he did not rest, until he had created the heavens and the earth, and all that he intended to create at that time. We are not to suppose that God rested from creating the heavens and the earth at the end of six days, because his creating power was exhausted; but merely because he had finished what he proposed to create. When he began to create, he might have continued to create from that time to this, and may still continue to create for ever. But supposing he has been creating and will be creating from eternity unto eternity; his works of creation must nevertheless be limited. He cannot, to speak with reverence, continue to create till his power is exhausted, and all space is filled; so that there is no room left to make another world. His works of creation, therefore, must be bounded, both by time and space. And if they must be bounded by time, why not by six days, as well as by six years, or six thousand years, or any longer space of time? He was undoubtedly able to create all that he ever designed to create, in six days, as well as in any longer period of duration. And if his works must be bounded by space, which never can be filled, why should they not be bounded by that proportion of space which the heavens and the earth now occupy, as well as any other ? God was governed by his wisdom and not by his power, in respect to creation. His wisdom dictated how many things he should create, and how long he should be in creating them. And since he has told us that he finished the work of creation in six days, we have reason to think that he did create all that he intended to create in that space of time. If any imagine that it would have been wiser and better if he had continued to create much longer, and had made many more worlds, and then rested ; let them consider where this mode of reasoning would carry them. Had he created world after world for thousands, or millions of years, it still might be asked, whether