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uniformity which renders them fit to illustrate, and be illustrated by each other. Accordingly, we find that they are so used in the Bible. The Gospel of the Grace of God is employed to throw light upon the existing condition of our world. And the works of Creation-in all their boundless variety, from the Lily of the field to the Sun in the firmament-are constantly, and abundantly brought forward to explain the nature, the value, and the influence of the Gospel. There are many striking analogies between the work of the Creator and that of the Saviour. The same loving kindness surrounded by equal difficulties—the same unity of purpose emerging from apparent confusion—the same admirable adjustment of adequate means to merciful and noble purposes. Now let us apply these observations to the subject before us.
One of the leading objections to the written Revelation of God, is, the careless and confused manner in which its materials appear to be thrown together. There is an absence of that order and regularity which we expect in a literary composition intended to instruct and improve
We have Psalms, Proverbs, Types, Prophecies, Letters, Laws, Canticles, things mean, and things excellent, written by different men of different ages and countries. All these productions are piled upon each other, with little or no connection--with a total disregard of that dramatic unity which constitutes the charm of human poetry and prose. Is it possible that the Lord Almighty can be the Author of such a patchwork compilation ? Is it possible that He, the God of order, and of beauty, from whom we might expect simplicity and elegance in their purest forms, can be the Editor of so loose and disjointed a work as this ?
Now, the way to deal with this objection is to take some acknowledged work of the Creator, and see whether we can discover a family resemblance between its structure and that of the Bible. The crust of the earth on which we reside is, indisputably, the work of the Creator, and it is just such a mass of irregular and dislocated confusion. Its surface is broken up without the slightest regard to what we choose to call, order. The strata of which it is composed do not lie over each other in concentric circles like the coats of an onion. They have been plainly fractured by disturbing forces, and piled upon each other like pieces of ice, which had been jumbled together by a storm, and then frozen together a second time. There are cracks, and slips, and displacements. The richest jewels are embedded in the coarsest materials, and the whole surface is shattered and shoved into every conceivable angle of inclination. Now, let us see what the science of the Earth tells us of an arrangement, which, superficially considered, appears like that of the Bible, to be unsightly disorder. “ We shall form a better estimate (says Dr. Buckland) of the wisdom of the confused and complex disposition of the materials of the earth, if we consider the inconvenience that might have attended other arrangements, smoother and more simple, than those which actually exist. Had the earth's crust presented one unvaried mass of crystal, or, granite, or, limestone, or, had they lain over each other in regular folds like the coats of an onion, only one of these coats could have been within the reach of the inhabitants. And the varied intermixture of sand, and clay, and mould, and limestone, which constitute the soil of agriculture, and are so necessary to the beauty, fertility, and habitability of the field, would have had no place whatever upon
its surface. Again, there would be no reservoirs of water, admitted through the pores of the earth, sheltered and purified for the use of man. The water that fell being retained under the sun would be soon evaporated, and the rivers not being fed by springs would rush at once into the sea and leave their channels dry. Again, the inestimable treasures of salt, and coal, and iron, confined as they are, to rocks of unusual thickness, would have been wholly inaccessible, and we should have been destitute of the essential element of industry and civilisation. Yes, it is the very disordered condition of its crust which covers the earth with food and verdure, that gives us access to its hidden treasures, and renders it the convenient and delightful habitation of man, and the multitude of animated beings with which it is crowded; and he must be blind, indeed, who refuses to recognise the wise foresight and benevolent intention of Him whose works are so manifold, and who, it is justly said, in wisdom, has made them all.” So speaks Geology of the crust of the earth on which we live. Now, the similar structure of the Bible promotes spiritual industry, forces us into contact with every portion of its surface, and is one of the sources of that inexhaustible fulness and freshness which distinguishes it from every other book. If the Bible were constructed with epic or dramatic regularity, it would consist of a simple moral, and a simple set of characters, easily found, and very soon exhausted. The parts of striking beauty and interest would be known and remembered, the rest would be neglected and forgotten. Here the Truth of God is scattered through the independent productions of men, of different ages and countries, giving force to their testimony because it shews the impossibility of collusion. It is brought into contact with every variety of character and condition, and thus, instead of a simple moral we have lessons of instruction, wide as our nature, and numerous as our spiritual wants. Here, as elsewhere, the jewels are embedded in coarser and less valuable materials, and as we know where we may find the precious stone which is suited to the spiritual exigency of the
moment, we are, therefore, habitually brought into contact with every portion of that Word which the Lord Almighty has constructed to make us wise unto salvation. Thus the endless number of connexions in which the Truth of God is placed in the Bible, and the aptness with which it never fails to meet our spiritual wants and wishes, gives to “its
green pastures and its still waters” that peculiar character of life and freshness which renders it another, and yet, still the same. Now, if it be so—if it be plain that God in His works does not confine Himself to what we call regularity—if His Word be constructed not like the clipped and bordererd garden, but with something of the wild luxuriance which distinguishes the works of Nature -if its materials be thrown together with the careless grandeur in which the stars are sprinkled over the firmament, or the flowers over the enamelled field-if it does really resemble the crust of the earth, not only in the apparent disorder, but in the wise foresight, the benevolent intention, and the wonderful and magnificent result, then, its peculiar structure, coupled with this result, is so far from being an objection that it is hardly possible to conceive a more beautiful or decisive proof of its Divine origin.