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The holy scripture, being designed to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it. and supply the defects of it, since the fall, lays down at first this principle of the unclouded light of nature: That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time, and all worlds. And the first verse of the Bible gives us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers. We have three things in this chapter.

I. A general idea of the work of creation, ver. 1, 2.

II. A particular account of the several days work, distinctly and in order. The creation of light, the first day, ver. 3-5. Of the firmament, the second day, ver. 6-8. Of the sea, the earth and its fruits, the third day, ver. 9-13. Of the lights of heaven, the fourth day, ver. 14-19. Of the fish and fowl, the fifth day, ver. 20-23. Of the beasts, ver. 24, 25. Of man, ver. 26-28. And food for both, the sixth day, ver. 29, 30.

III. The review and approbation of the whole work, ver. 31.

1. Observe here.

1. The effect produced, The heaven and the earth - That is, the world, including the whole frame and furniture of the universe. But 'tis only the visible part of the creation that Moses designs to give an account of. Yet even in this there are secrets which cannot be fathomed, nor accounted for. But from what we see of heaven and earth, we may infer the eternal power and godhead of the great Creator. And let our make and place, as men, mind us of our duty, as Christians, which is always to keep heaven in our eye, and the earth under our feet. Observe

2. The author and cause of this great work, God. The Hebrew word is Elohim; which (1.) seems to mean The Covenant God, being derived from a word that signifies to swear. (2.) The plurality of persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The plural name of God in Hebrew, which speaks of him as many, tho' he be but one, was to the Gentiles perhaps a favour of death unto death, hardening them in their idolatry; but it is to us a favour of life unto life, confirming our faith in the doctrine of the Trinity, which, tho' but darkly intimated in the Old Testament, is clearly revealed in the New. Observe

3. The manner how this work was effected; God created, that is, made it out of nothing. There was not any pre-existent matter out of which the world was produced. The fish and fowl were indeed produced out of the waters, and the beasts and man out of the earth; but that earth and those waters were made out of nothing. Observe

4. When this work was produced; In the beginning - That is, in the beginning of time. Time began with the production of those beings that are measured by time. Before the beginning of time there was none but that Infinite Being that inhabits eternity. Should we ask why God made the world no sooner, we should but darken counsel by words without knowledge; for how could there be sooner or later in eternity?

2. Where we have an account of the first matter, and the first Mover.

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