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Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Ver. 1. In the beginning. ] A BEGINNING there was then, whatever Aristotle a fancied of the world’s eternity. So true is that of a learned Italians - Philosophy seeks after truth; divinity only finds it; religion improves it. b Veritatem quaerit philosophia, invenit theologia, &c. But the philosopher would be yet better satisfied. He had read (say some) c this first of Genesis, and was heard to say thereupon, Well said, Sir Moses; how prove you what you have so said? Egregie dicis, domine Moses; sed quomodo probas? An ancient d answereth, I believe it, I need not prove it. credo, non probo Another, e we believe the holy penmen before heathen wise men. piscatoribus credimus, non dialecticis A third, f The mysteries of the Christian religion are better understood by believing, than believed by understanding Multo melius credendo intelliguntur, quam intelligendo creduntur fidei Christianae mysteria. Abbas Tuiciensis. Theologia non est argumentativa. g But, best of all, the apostle, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Heb 11:3 Divinity doth not use to prove her principles, whereof this is one. No, not Aristotle’s own divinity, (his Metaphysics , I mean) wherein he requires to be believed upon his bare word. Albeit, if Ramus may be judge, those fourteen books of his are the most idle and impious piece of sophistry that ever was set forth by any man. h Thus, "Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools." Rom 1:22 "Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?" Jer 8:9
Plato had read Moses, whatever Aristotle had done; and held truly, that the world had a beginning. So did all the philosophers that were before Aristotle, except the Chaldeans, and Hossellus Lucanus, the Pythagorean, out of whom Aristotle took his arguments, which are to be read, Physic, viii. c. 8, and ii. and l. 1. De Coelo, c. 1, and l. xii.; Metaphysics, c. 7. But it is more than probable that he taught the world’s eternity in opposition to Plato and others, who rightly concluded the world must needs have had a beginning; otherwise we could not know whether the egg or the bird, the seed or the plant, the day or the night, the light or the darkness, were first; sure it is that he held that opinion rather out of an affectation of singularity, than for any soundness of the matter or strength of argument. Himself, in his first book of Topics , and ninth chapter, saith that it is no more than a topical problem: he should have said a plain paradox, yea, a mere falsity. For "In the beginning," the Jerusalem Targum hath "In wisdom," that is, in God the Son, saith Augustine, according to Joh 1:3 2 Chronicles 1:16; 2 Chronicles 1:162 Chronicles 1:16; 2 Chronicles 1:16 . And indeed God created all things by his Son Christ; not as by a concreating cause, but as by his own essential Wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:24 ; Proverbs 1:20 ; Pro 8:1 And of this mystery and appellation some suppose the heathens had some traditional knowledge; for aa Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, was eternally and ineffably begotten in the divine essence, so they worshipped a goddess whom they called the goddess of wisdom, and feigned that she was begotten by Jupiter of his own brain; and they called her Aθηνη , which word is much like in sound with the Hebrew Adonai , as a reverend man i hath well observed.
God created. ] Heb. Dii creavit. Plural subject "Dii" (Gods) singular verb "creavit" . Editor. The Mystery of the blessed Trinity, called by Elihu, Job 35:10 Eloah Gnoscai , "God my Makers"; and by David, Psa 149:1 "The Makers of Israel," and "Remember thy Creators," saith Solomon. Ecc 12:1 To the same sense, sweetly sounds the Haphtera, or portion of Scripture which is read by the Jews, j together with this of Moses, viz., Isaiah 42:5 . And that of the psalmist, Psa 33:6 "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath [or spirit] of his mouth": that is, God the Father, by the Son, through the Holy Ghost, created all. This Trismegist, k an ancient Egyptian (for he flourished before Pharaoh), acknowledged, and thence had his name. The Hebrews also of old were no strangers to this mystery, though their posterity understood it not. Rabbi Solomon Jarchi, writing on that, Son 1:11 "We will make," &c., interprets it, "I and my judgment hall." Now a judgment hall in Israel consisted of three at least, which in their close manner of speech, they applied to God, who is Three in one, and One in three.
Rabbi Simeon, the son of Johai, brings a place out of Rabbi Ibba, on Deuteronomy 6:4 , "Jehovah Elohenu, Jehovah Echad, ‘The Lord our God is one Lord.’" Here the first Jehovah, saith he, is God the Father, Elohenu , the Son (who is fitly called our God , because he assumed our nature, as is well observed by Galatinus), the third Jehovah is God the Holy Ghost. Echad, one, showeth the unity of essence in this plurality of persons; wherefore, saith Luther, doth not Moses begin thus, "In the beginning, God said, Let there be a heaven, and earth," but because he would set forth the three persons in order; the Father, when he saith, God created; the Son, when he saith, God said; and the Holy Ghost, when he saith, God saw the light that it was good?
Created. ] Made all things of nothing, in a most marvellous and magnificent manner, as the word signifieth. This Plato doubts of, Aristotle denies, Galen derides as a thing impossible, l because, with Nicodemus, he cannot conceive how these things can be. "The natural man," the mere animal, Qυχικος , 1Co 2:14 whose reason is not elevated by religion, "pereeiveth not these things of the Spirit of God: they are foolishness unto him." The cock on the dunghill meddles not with these matters. Well might St Paul tell the men of Athens, Act 17:23-24 (and yet Athens was the Greece of Greece, Eλλας Eλλαδος m and had in it the most mercurial wits in the world), that God, "that made all things of nothing," was to them the "unknown God": and Lactantius fitly saith of Plato (who yet merited the style of Divine amongst them), that he dreamed of God, rather than had any true knowledge of him. n He nowhere called God the Creator, but Dημιουζγον , the workman; as one that had made the world of a preexistent matter, co-eternal to himself. Atheists of old scorned at the work of creation; and asked, "Quibus machinis," with what tools, engines, ladders, scaffolds, did the Lord set up this mighty frame? But, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed" (set in joint, ξατηζτισηαι , Hebrews 11:3 , the word signifieth, as all the members of the body are tied together by several ligaments), "by the word of God," without either tool or toil. Isa 40:28 He not only formed and made, but created all by the word of his power: see all these ascribed unto him in Isaiah 43:7 . There were four errors, saith a late learned man, o about the creation: some affirmed that the world was eternal; some that it had a material beginning, and was made of something; some held two beginners of things: that one beginner made things incorruptible, and another made things corruptible. Lastly, some said God made the superior creatures himself, and the inferior by angels. This very first verse of the Bible confutes all four. In the beginning, shows the world not to be eternal. Created, notes that it was made of nothing. The heaven and the earth, shows that God was the only beginner of all creatures. God created all: this excludes the angels. In the government of the world, we grant they have a great stroke. Ezekiel 1:5-6 ; Daniel 10:1-21 ; Dan 11:1-45 Not so in the making of the world, wherein God was alone, and by himself. Isa 44:24 And, lest any should imagine otherwise, the creation of angels is not so much as mentioned by Moses, unless it be tacitly intimated in these words - "The heavens and the earth"; p "The world and all the things that are therein"; Act 17:24 "Things visible and invisible"; Col 1:16 "whether they be thrones or dominions," &c., called elsewhere "angels of heaven"; Matthew 24:26 ; Gal 1:8 because, probably, created with, and in the highest heaven, as Christ’s soul was created with, and in his body, in the Virgin’s womb, the self-same moment. The highest heaven, and the angels were of necessity, say some, to be created the first instant, that they might have their perfection of matter and form together; otherwise they should be corruptible. For whatsoever is of a pre-existent matter is resolvable, and subject to corruption; but that which is immediately of nothing is perfectly composed, hath no other change, but by the same hand to return to nothing again.
Ques. But if this were the heaven, what was the earth here mentioned?
Answ. Not that we now tread upon, for that was not made till the third day; but the matter of all that was afterwards to be created - being all things in power, nothing in act.
The Cabbalists observe that there are in this first verse of the Holy Bible six Alephs: and therehence they conclude, that the world shall last six thousand years. But they may be therein as far out as that wise man q was who, A.D. 1533, affirmed that the world would be at an end that very year, in the month of October, and that he pretended to gather out of those words, Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum: and again those, Videbunt in quem transfixerunt. So some r since that, but little wiser, have foretold as much concerning the year of grace 1657, from those words mundi conflagratio; and because the universal flood fell out in the year of the world 1657. According to these groundless conjectures, confuted already by time, some have argued, that because Solomon’s temple was finished in the year of the world three thousand, therefore the spiritual temple shall be consummated in three thousand more. This reckoning comes up to that of the Cabbalists above mentioned; and to that known prophecy of Elias (but not the Tishbite), that as there were two thousand years, plus minus, before the law, and two thousand under the law, so there are to be two thousand under the gospel.
a Aristotle’s Physic.; vide Sharpei Symphon., p. 11, Pliny, l. i., c. 1. 2 Jo. Picas Mirand.
b Jo. Picus Mirand.
c D. Prid. Cathedra.
h Aristotle’s Sοφια , seu Theologia, sophistica, est, omnium quae literis unquam mandata sunt, maxime stulta, maximeque impia. - Ramus in Theolog.
i Mr Manton upon Jude.
j Moses was read every Sabbath, Act 15:11 with a lecture out of the prophets, Act 13:15
k ηκμασε δε προ του φαραω - Suidas. τρις μεγιστος , in Poemandro. Nam haec propria est Hebraei verbi significatio. Jun.
l Irridet Galenus Mosen eo quod dicat Deum ex nulla praeexistente materia condidisse mundum. - Buch.
n Somniaverat Deum, non cognoverat. - Instit., l. v. c. l4.
p Kοσμος μεν εστι συστημα εξ ουρανου και γης και των εν τουτοις περιεχομενων φυεων - Aristotle, De Mundo , c. 2. Yates’s Model of Divinity.
q Bucholcer., Chronol.
r Alsted., Chronol.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Ver. 2. And the earth was without form and void, ] that is, as yet it had neither essential nor accidental perfection. The Lord afterward did form it into light, the firmament, the water, and the earth; so beginning above, and building downwards (in the new creature he doth otherwise); and in three days laying the parts of the world, and in other three days adorning them. The Rabbins tell us that Tohu and Bohu do properly import Materia prima and privatio; a and others of Tohu , derive Chaos , whence the ancient Latins called the world Chobus , and borrowed their word Inchoo ( εγχυω ), &c.
And darkness was upon the face of the deep, ] that is, not of hell, as Origen expounds it, but of the deep waters ( αβυσσος , see the like, Luk 8:31 ), which "as a garment covered the earth, and stood above the mountains." Psa 104:6 This darkness God created not, for it was but the want of light. And to say that God dwelt in darkness till he had created light, was a devilish sarcasm of the Manichees, as if God were not light itself, 1Jn 1:5 and "the Father of lights"; Jam 1:17 or, as if God had not ever been a heaven to Himself, "Ere ever he had formed the earth and the heavens." Psa 90:2 What he did, or how he employed himself before the creation, is a sea over which no ship hath sailed, a mine into which no spade hath delved, an abyss into which no bucket hath dived. Our sight is too tender to behold this sun. A thousand years, saith a great divine, b are to God but as one day, &c. And who knoweth what the Lord hath done? Indeed, he made but one world to our knowledge; but who knoweth what he did before, and what he will do after? Thus he. As for St Augustine:
“The bishop Lybicus was shaping the underworld according to these verses, he said these ideas which he helps to be examined by means of such a mind.” c
Excellently another, d who wanted not wit: As in the element of fire, saith he, there is a faculty of heating and enlightening; whence proceedeth heat and light unto the external near bodies; and besides this faculty, there is also in it a natural power to go upward; which, when it cometh into act, is received into no other subject, but the fire itself: so that if fire could, by abstractive imagination, be conceived of as wanting those two transient operations, yet could we not justly say it had no action, forasmuch as it might move upward, which is an immanent and inward action. So, and much more so, though we grant that there was no external work of the Godhead, until the making of the world, yet can there be no necessary illation [inference] of idleness, seeing it might have (as indeed it had) actions immanent, included in the circle of the Trinity. This is an answer to such as ask, What God did before he made the world? God, saith Plotinus the Platonist, e not working at all, but resting in himself, doeth and performeth very great things.
And the Spirit of God moved, &c. ] Or hovered over, f and hatched out the creature, as the hen doth her chickens; or as the eagle fluttereth over her young, to provoke them to flight. Deu 32:11 Or as by a like operation, this same Holy Spirit formed the child Jesus in the Virgin’s womb, in that wonderful "overshadowing" Luk 1:35 . The Chaldee here hath it, "The Spirit breathed"; and David saith the same. Psa 33:6 He became, to that rude dead mass, a quickening, comforting Spirit. He kept it together, which else would have shattered. And so he doth still, or else all would soon fall asunder, Heb 1:3 Psa 104:29 were not his conserving mercy still over, or upon, all his works. Psa 145:9
a Ahlsted., Lexic. Theol ., p. 111.
b Dr. Preston, Of God’s Attributes , p. 34. [Rather, 2 Peter 3:8 - ED.]
c Praesul ad haec Lybicus, fabricabat Tartara, dixit, His, quos scrutari talia mente iuvat.
d Cuff’s Differ. of Ages , p. 22.
e Ferebatur super aquas non pervagatione, sed potestate, non per spatium locorum, ut sol super terram, sed pepotentiam sublimitatis suae. - Eucherius
f Dei Dicere est Efficere , "of God, to say is to accomplish"
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Ver. 3. And God saith, Let there, &c. ] He commanded the "light to shine out of darkness." 2Co 4:6 "He spake the word, and it was done." Psalms 33:9 ; Psa 148:5 a Creation is no motion, but a simple and bare emanation; which is, when without any repugnancy of the patient, or labour of the agent, the work or effect doth voluntarily and freely arise from the action of the working cause, as the shadow from the body. So God’s irresistible power made this admirable work of the world, by his bare word, as the shadow and obscure representation of his unsearchable wisdom and omnipotency.
And there was light. ] This first light was not the angels, as Augustine would have it; nor the element of fire, as Damascene; nor the sun, which was not yet created, nor a lightsome cloud, nor any such thing; but the "first day," which God could make without means, as Calvin well observeth. This light was the first ornament of the visible world, and so is still of the "hidden man of the heart," the new creature. Act 26:18 The first thing in St Paul’s commission there, was to "open men’s eyes, to turn them from darkness to light," &c. To dart such a saving light into the soul, as might illighten both organ and object. In which great work also, Christ’s words are operative, together with his commands, in the mouths of his ministers. "Know the Lord; understand, O ye brutish among the people," &c. Psa 94:8 There goes forth a power to heal, as it did in Luke 5:17 ; or as when he bade Lazarus arise, he made him to arise, so here the word and the Spirit go together; and then what wonder that the spirit of darkness falls from the heaven of men’s hearts, "as lightning". Luk 10:18 So as that they that erst "were darkness, are now light in the Lord," Eph 5:8 and do "preach forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light". εξαγγεληζε , 1Pe 2:9
a Dei Dicere est Efficere. "of God to speak is to accomplish"
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Ver. 4. And God saw the light that it was good. ] - Moveover he foresaw , so one renders it. a He saw this long before, but he would have us to see it; he commends the goodness of this work of his to us. Good it is surely, and a goodly creature: "sweet," saith Solomon; Ecc 11:7 "comfortable," saith David. Psa 97:11 Which when one made question of - "That’s a blind man’s question," said the philosopher. b What is it then to enjoy him that is light essential? The Platonists (who were blind in divinis , and could not see afar off) could say that he was a blessed man, who enjoyed God, as the eye doth enjoy the light. c
And God divided the light, &c. ] - Let not us confound them, 2Co 6:14 1Th 5:5-7 and so alter God’s order by doing deeds of darkness, in a day of grace, in a land of light. What make owls at Athens? or such "spots," σπιλοι χαι μωμοι , among saints, as "count it pleasure to riot in the daytime?" 2Pe 2:13 It was a shame that it should be said, There was never less wisdom in Greece, than in the time of the seven wise men of Greece. d It was a worse "shame," that it should be said to the Corinthians, that "some of them had not the knowledge of God"; 1Co 15:34 and that such fornication was found among them as was not heard of among the heathen. 1Co 5:1 For what fellowship hath light with darkness? 2Co 6:14 Surely none. Our morning shadows fall as far as they can toward the west, evening toward the east, noonday toward the north, &c. Alexander having a soldier of his name, that was a coward, he bade him either abandon the name of Alexander, or be a soldier. e
a praeviderat autem - Zaberellus
b τυφλου το ερωτημα , Aristotle
c Beatum esse moninem Deo fruentem, sicut occulus luce. Augustine, De Civitate Dei , l. 3.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Ver. 5. And God called the light day, &c. ] He taught men to call them so; day ירם , from the noise and hurry; night לילה , from the yelling of wild beasts. Darkness he created not, but only by accident; and yet not that, without some notable use. Much less that darkness of affliction which he is said to "create". Isa 45:7 "Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness," Psa 112:4 yea, light by darkness, as to Paul, whose bodily blindness opened the eyes of his mind. Luther said that God’s works are effected usually by contraries. a Opera Dei sunt in mediis contrariis
And the evening and the morning, &c. ] Thales, one of the seven sages, had learned this truth by going to school in Egypt. For being asked whether was first, the day or the night? he answered, that the night was sooner by one day: b as who should say, afore God had created the light, it must needs be confessed that out of him there was nothing but darkness. Evening separates by darkness, morning by light; so the one disjoins day from night, the other night from day. Only this first evening separated not, because light was then uncreated. Yet it was of God appointed, even then, to stand between light and darkness. In the first evening was heaven and earth created, and in the first morning the light, both which make the civil day called νυχθημεζον by the apostle. 2Co 11:25 And this (which doubtless is the natural order of reckoning the day, from evening to evening), was in use among the Athenians, c and is to this day retained by the Jews, Italians, Bohemians, Silesians, and other nations. Our life likewise is such a day, and begins with the dark evening of misery here; but death is to saints the daybreak of eternal brightness. Mourning lasteth but till morning. Psa 30:5 Nay, not so long; for, "Behold at eventide trouble, and before the morning he is not." Isa 17:14 It is but a "moment," yea, a very little moment, and the indignation will pertransire , be overpast, saith the prophet; Isa 26:20 so "little a while" as you can scarce imagine, saith the apostle. ετι γαζ μικζον οσον οσον , Heb 10:37 If it seem otherwise to any of us, consider:
1. That we have some lucida intervalla , some respires, interspiriates, breathing whiles. And it is a mercy that the man is not always sweating out a poor living, the woman ever in pangs of childbirth, &c. Gen 3:16-19
2. That this is nothing to eternity of extremity, which is the just hire of the least sin. Rom 6:23
3. That much good accrues unto us hereby. Heb 12:10 Yea, this "light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out unto us that far more excellent and eternal weight of glory." 2Co 4:17 Oh, pray, pray "that the eyes of our understanding being enlightened by that Spirit of wisdom and revelation, we may know what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," &c. Eph 1:17-18
b Dια των εαυτων ενανια οικονομειτια ινα και μαλλον δαυμαξηται - Nazianz .
c Pliny, l. 2. c. 7.
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Ver. 6. Let there be a firmament. ] Yet not so firm, but it shall be dissolved. 2Pe 3:11 That it is not presently so; that those windows of heaven are not opened, as once in the deluge, having no better a bar than the liquid air, and we suddenly buried in one universal grave of waters; see a miracle of God’s mercy, and thank him for this powerful word of his, "Let there be a firmament." Bartholinus a tells us, that in the year of Christ 1551, a very great multitude of men and cattle were drowned by a terrible tempest, the clouds suddenly dissolving, and the waters pouring down amain with such a strange stupendous violence, that the massy walls of many cities, various vineyards, and fair houses were utterly destroyed and ruined. Clouds, those bottles of rain, are vessels as thin as the liquor which is contained in them. There they hang and move, though weighty with their burdens. How they are upheld, saith a reverend divine, b and why they fall here and now, we know not, and wonder. Job 26:8 They water our lands, as we do our gardens, and are therefore called our heavens. Deu 33:28
a Barthol. l. 2. De Meteoris
b D. H. Contemp.
Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.
Ver. 7. Waters which were above the firmament. ] That is the clouds, and watery meteors above the lower region of the air, where God’s "pavilion round about him is dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies". Psa 18:11 Jer 10:13 These he "weighs by measure"; Job 28:25 not a drop falls in vain, or in a wrong place. And this is the first heaven: as the second is the starry sky, which is firm and fast, "as a molten looking-glass". Job 37:18 To this heaven, some that have calculated curiously, have found it five hundred years’ journey. Others say, that if a stone should fall from the eighth sphere, and should pass every hour a hundred miles, it would be sixty-five years or more, before it would come to ground. a Beyond this second heaven, Aristotle acknowledgeth none other. Beyond the movable heavens, saith he, there is neither body, nor time, nor place, nor vacuum. b But "we have a more sure word of prophecy." God’s blessed book assures us of a "third heaven," 2Co 12:2 called elsewhere "the heaven of heavens," Deu 10:14 the "Paradise" of God, Luk 22:43 the "bosom of Abraham," Luk 16:22 the "Father’s house," Joh 14:2 the "city of the living God," Heb 12:22 the "country" of his pilgrims. Heb 12:14 A body it is, for bodies are in it; but a subtile, fine, spiritual body; next in purity to the substance of angels and men’s souls. It is also, say some, c solid as stone, but "clear as crystal" Rev 21:11 Job 37:18 A true firmament, indeed, not penetrable by any, no, not by angels, spirits, and bodies of just men made perfect; but by a miracle, God making way by His power, where there is no natural passage. It opens to the very angels, Joh 1:51 Gen 28:12 who yet are able to penetrate all under it. The other two heavens are to be passed through by the grossest bodies.
a Burton. Of Melancholy
b ουδε τοπος ουδε κενον ουδε χρονος εστιν εξω του ουπονου - Arist. De Caelo , c. ix.
c Yates’s Model
Gen 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Ver. 8. And the evening, &c. ] Here is no mention of God’s approbation of this second day’s work. Not for that hell was then created, or the reprobate angels then ejected, as the Jews give as the reason of it; but because this day’s work was left unperfected, till the next; to the which, therefore, the blessing was reserved, and is then redoubled. God delights to do his works, not all at once, but by degrees, that we may take time to contemplate them piecemeal, and see him in every one of them, as in an optic glass. "Consider the lilies of the field," saith our Saviour. Kαταμαηετε Mat 6:28 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard," saith Solomon. Pro 6:6 Luther a wished Pontanus, Chancellor of Saxony, to contemplate the star-chamber of heaven, that stupendous archwork borne up by no props or pillars, and yet not falling on our heads: the thick clouds also hanging often over us with great weight, and yet vanishing again, when they have greeted us but with their threatening looks. And cannot God as easily uphold his sinking saints, and blow over any storm that hangs over their heads? An artificer takes it ill, if when he hath finished some intricate piece of work, and sets it forth to be seen, as Apelles was wont to do, men slight it, and take no notice of his handiwork. And is there not a woe to such stupid persons as "regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands?." Isa 5:12 He was telling any tale from a bowl but that one stirred our ears , A sino quispiam narrabat fabulam, at ille movebat aures is a proverb among the Greeks. Christ was by at the creation, and rejoiced; Pro 8:30 angels also were by at the doing of a great deal, and were wrapped with admiration. Job 38:4-7 Shall they shout for joy, and we be silent? Oh, how should we vex at the vile dulness of our hearts, that are no more affected with these indelible ravishments!
a Proponit contemplandam pulcherrimam caeli concame rationem nullis pilis et columnis impositam, &c. - Scultet. Annal. 276
Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.
Ver. 9,10. Let the waters under the heaven be gathered, &c. ] The water, they say, is ten times greater than the earth, as is the air ten times greater than the water, and the fire than the air. Sure it is, that the proper place of the water is to be "above the earth". Psa 104:6 Sailors tell us that as they draw nigh to shore, when they enter into the haven, they run as it were downhill. "The waters stood above the mountain," till (at God’s rebuke here) they "fled, and hasted away at the voice of his thunder, to the place which he had founded for them". Psa 104:6-8 This drew from Aristotle, in one place, a a testimony of God’s providence, which elsewhere he denies. And David, in the 104th Psalm, which one calleth his Physics, tells us that till the word of command, "Let the waters," &c., God "had covered the earth with the deep as with a garment." For as the garment, in the proper use of it, is above the body, so is the sea above the land. And such a garment, saith the divine cosmographer, would it have been to the earth, but for God’s providence towards us, as the shirt made for the murdering of Agamemnon, where he had no issue out. But "thou hast set a bound," saith the psalmist, "that they may not pass over, that they turn not again to cover the earth". Psa 104:9 God had set the solid earth upon and above the liquid waters for our conveniency; so that men are said "to go down" (not up) "to the sea in ships". Psa 107:23 See his mercy herein, as in a mirror, and believe that God, whose work it is still to "appoint us the bounds of our habitation," Act 17:26 will not fail to provide us a hospitium , a place to reside in, when cast out of all, as he did David, Psa 27:10 and David’s parents, 1Sa 22:4 and the apostles, 2Co 6:10 and the English exiles in Queen Mary’s days, and, before them, Luther, who, being asked where he thought to be safe, answered Under Heaven , Sub caelo b and yet before him, those persecuted Waldenses, after whom the Romish dragon cast out so much water as a flood, but the earth swallowed it; Rev 12:15 and God so provided that they could travel from Cullen in Germany to Milan in Italy, and every night lodge with hosts of their own profession. c The waters of affliction are often gathered together against the godly, but, by God’s gracious appointment, ever under the heaven, - where our conversation is, Php 3:20 though our commoration be a while upon earth, - and unto one place, as the text here has it. d The dry land will appear, and we shall come safe to shore, be sure of it. The rock of eternity, Isa 26:4 whereupon we are set, is above all billows. Washed we may be, as Paul was in the shipwreck; drowned we cannot be, because in the same bottom with Christ, and "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." 1Pe 1:5
a Lib. De Mirabil.
b Scultet. Annal.
c Cade. Of the Church , p. 180.
d Pareus, in loc.
Gen 1:10 And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.
Ver. 10. He called earth. ] This is, the earth which we tread (namely, still the land which we manage, the land we desire.) Hoc est, terrain quam terimus (est enim, etiam, terra quam gerimus - our bodies; - and terra quam quaerimus, - heaven) This he called earth , that is, he set it and settled it by the word of his power. Where we may well wonder that the earth, being founded upon the seas, and prepared upon the floods, and poised in the just proportion, by line, and measure, should abide steadfast; when the high mountains, which do, as it were, imboss the earth, may seem able to shake it, oversway it, and tumble it into the sea. a
a Bark. On Com.
Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Ver. 11,12. Let the earth bring forth, &c. ] "Grass for the cattle, and herb for the use of man" Psa 104:14 and both these before either man or beast were created. He made meat before mouths. He fills for us two bottles of milk before we come into the world. Herbs and other creatures we have still to eat and to enjoy. ad esum et ad usum Our land flows not with "milk" only, for necessity; but with "honey" too, for delight. Nature, amidst all, is content with a little; grace, with less. Sing we merrily with him a
Hoc mihi pro certo, quod vitam qui dedit, idem
Et velit et possit suppeditare eibum.
This to me, for certain, because he who gave life, the same
And he wishes and is able to supply needs.
a Georg. Farbric. Chemnicensis
Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
Ver. 12. And the earth brought forth, &c. ] Augustine a thinks that thorns and thistles, brambles and briers were before the fall, though not in the same abundance as now. Basil thinks otherwise, and that till sin came in, the rose was without prickles. It is likely there were such shrubs at first created, non ut loederent hominem non peccantem, sed peccaturum, saith Pareus. Now since the fall, all creatures are armed against man: as that sword which Hector gave Ajax, which, so long as he used against men, his enemies, served for help and defence; but after he began to abuse it to the hurt of haemless beasts, it turned into his own bowels.
Yielding fruit after his kind. ] So that men do not "gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles". Luk 6:44 "Can a fig tree," saith James, "bear olive berries? or a vine, figs?"; Jam 3:12 that were monstrous. And should not every man in like manner bear his own fruit, proper to his kind, to his calling? do his own work? weed his own gardens. "walk within his own house with a perfect heart," Psa 101:2 till God come unto him? Come he will, and look for fruit in its season. When he comes, he will turn up your leaves; and look that, like the tree of life, Rev 22:21 we bear fruit every month: or that we be like the lemon tree, which ever and anon sendeth forth new lemons as soon as the former are fallen down with ripeness; or the Egyptian fig tree, which, saith Solinus, b beareth fruit seven times a year; pull off a fig, and another breaks forth in the place shortly after. Now if we be found like the barren fig tree, Luk 13:6-9 that had leaves only; or the cypress tree, which is said to be fair and tall, but altogether fruitless; or the cyparittree, of which Pliny c affirms, that it is always fruitless; natu morosa, fructu supervacanea, baccis parva, foliis amara, odore violenta, ac ne umbra quidem gratiosa what can we expect, but that he should set down his basket, and taking up his axe, hew us down as fuel for the fire of hell? Spain is said to have nothing barren in it, or not some way useful; d and why should Christ’s orchard, the Church? He pares and prunes αιρει χαηαιρει , Joh 15:2 his leaves and luxuriancies; yea, cuts and slashes where need requires; and all that we may bear more fruit. Sincerity alone will not comfort a man, unless it grow up to fruitfulness; which, springing from the exercise of grace, hath a sweet reflection on the soul, as in sick Hezekiah; Isa 38:3 and sweetly seals up our "calling to glory and virtue," 2Pe 1:3 as the budding of Aaron’s rod did his calling to the priesthood: whereupon one well observeth, that not only all the plants of God’s setting, but the very boughs cut off from the body of them will flourish. Here some demand, Were the trees so created at first, that if sin had never entered, they had ever flourished, laden with fruit? Answer is made by a worthy divine, e that the allusion Rev 22:2 seems to intimate some such matter. And perhaps Christ would else never have cursed the fruitless fig tree, since the time of figs was not yet come. Mar 11:13
a Augustine, De Gen. ad Literam , l. iii. c. 18.
b Unde pomum decerpseris, alterum sine mora protuberat - Sol. in Polyhist. , c. 45.
c Pliny, l. x.
d In Hispania nihil ignavum, nihil sterile. - Solin
e Brightm. On Rev.
Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: Gen 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Ver. 14,15. Let there be light. ] The sun, moon, and stars, are, as it were, certain vessels, whereinto the Lord did gather the light, which before was scattered in the heavens. The sun, that prince of planets, but servant to the saints of the Most High, as his name imports, a cometh "out of his chamber as a bridegroom, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race"; Psa 119:5 this he doth with such a wonderful swiftness, as exceedeth the eagle’s flight, more than it goeth beyond the slow motion of a snail: and with such incomparable "sweetness," Ecc 11:7 that Eudoxus, the philosopher, professed that he would be willing to be burnt up by the sun presently, so he might be admitted to come so near it as to learn the nature of it. In aeternum atri et tetri sunto et habentor, qui non tam cute quam corde Aethiopici, Solem quo magis luceat, eo magis execrentur! b Chrysostom c cannot but wonder, that whereas all fire tends upwards, the sun should shoot down his rays to the earth, and send his light abroad all beneath him. This is the Lord’s own work, and it ought to be marvellous in our eyes. Deu 4:19 It illuminates and beautifies all the orbs and heavenly bodies about it; yea, it strikes through the firmament, in the transparent parts, and seeks to bestow his beauty and brightness even beyond the heavens. It illightens even the opposite part of heaven (gliding by the sides of the earth) with all those glorious stars we see shining in the night. d Yea, it insinuates in every chink and cranny of the earth, and concurs to the making of those precious metals which lie in her bowels, besides those "precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and the precious things thrust forth by the moon." Deu 33:14 For as the sun by warmth, so the moon by moisture, maketh the earth fruitful: whence also she hath her name in the Hebrew, ירח , Jareach, from refreshing the earth with her cool influences. She is here called a "light," and a "great light": therefore she hath some light of her own, as the stars also have, besides what she borroweth of the sun; though not strong enough to rule the night without light from the sun. Galileo used perspectives to descry mountains in the moon; and some will needs place hell in the hollow of it. It is easy to discern that her body is not all alike lightsome, some parts being thicker and some thinner than others, and that the light of the sun falling on her is not alike diffused through her. It is sufficient that the Church looketh forth, at first, as the morning or day-dawning; she shall be "fair as the moon" at least in regard of sanctification, and (for justification) "clear as the sun," and therefore to the devil and his angels "terrible as an army with banners." Son 6:10 Clouded she may be, or eclipsed, but not utterly darkened, or denied of light. Astronomers e tell us, that she hath at all times as much light as in the full; but oftentimes a great part of the bright side is turned to heaven, and a lesser part to the earth. God seems therefore to have set it lowest in the heavens, and nearest the earth, that it might daily put as in mind of the constancy of the one and the inconstancy of the other; herself in some sort partaking of both, though in a different manner; of the one in her substance, of the other in her visage.
a שׁמשׁ of שׁמשׁ , Chald. ministravit.
c Chrysost., Hom. 8 ad pop. Antioch.
d Bolt. Walk with God.
e D. Hackwel’s Apolog. Preface.
Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also. Gen 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Ver. 16,17. He made also the stars. ] To be receptacles of that first light, whence they are called "stars of light," Psa 148:3 and to work upon inferior bodies, which they do by their motion, light, and influence, efficiendo imbres, ventos, grandines, procellas, sudum, &c., by causing foul or fair weather, as God appoints it. Stars are the storehouses of God’s good treasure, which he openeth to our profit. Deu 28:12 By their influence they make a scatter of riches upon the earth, which good men gather, and muckworms scramble for. Every star is like a purse of gold, out of which God throws down riches and plenteousness into the earth. "The heavens" also are "garnished" by them; Job 26:13 they are, as it were, the spangled curtain of the bridegroom’s chamber, the glorious and glittering rough-cast of his heavenly palace, the utmost court of it, at least, from the which they twinkle to us, and teach us to remember our and their Creator, who in them makes himself visible, nay "palpable" ψηλφησειαν , Act 17:27 His wisdom, power, justice, and goodness are lined out unto us in the brows of the firmament; the countenance whereof we are bound to mark, and to discern the face of the heavens, which therefore are somewhere compared to a scroll that is written. "The heavens," those catholic preachers, "declare the glory of God," &c.; "their line," saith David; Psalms 19:1 ; קילם , Hab 3:3 "their voice," saith Paul, citing the same text φηογγος , Rom 10:18 is gone out throughout all the earth; they are real postils of his divinity. These, nay, far meaner creatures, teach us, as Balaam’s ass did that mad prophet; 2Pe 2:16 to this school are we now put back, as idle truants to their A B C. Only let us not, as children, look most on the babies on the backside of our books; gaze not, as they do, on the gilded leaves and covers, never looking to our lessons; but as travellers in a foreign country, observe and make use of everything, not content with the natural use of the creature, as brute beasts, but mark how every creature reads us a divinity lecture, from the highest angel to the lowest worm.
Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
Ver. 21. And God created great whales. ] In creating whereof, creavit Deus vastitates et stupores. For, as Pliny a writes of them, when they swim and show themselves above water, they seem to be so many islands, an nare insulas putes and have been so esteemed by seafaring men, to their great danger and disadvantage. Into the rivers of Arabia, saith Pliny, b there have come whales 600 feet long, and 360 feet broad. This is "that leviathan" that plays in the sea, besides other "creeping" or moving "things innumerable". Psa 104:25 This one word of God’s mouth, Fiat , hath made such infinite numbers of fishes, that their names may fill a dictionary. Philosophers tell us that whatsoever creature is upon the earth, there is the like thereof in the sea, yea, many that are nowhere else to be found; but with this difference, that those things that on the earth are hurtful, the like thereunto in the waters are hurtless, as eels, those water snakes, are without poison, &c., yea, they are wholesome and delicious food. Piscis comes of paseo ; and in Hebrew the same word ברכה signifieth a pond or fishpool, and blessing. Many islands are maintained, and people fed by fish, besides the wealth of the sea. The ill-favoured oyster hath sometimes a bright pearl in it. In allusion whereunto "we have our treasure," that pearl of price, the gospel, saith Paul, οστραξινοις σξευασιν , "in oyster-shells". 2Co 4:7 And albeit now "every creature of God is good," and "to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe"; 1Ti 4:3-4 yet under the Law, those fish only were reputed clean that had fins and scales. Deu 14:9 So saith St. Bernard, c are those only clean in the sight of God, that have the scales of patience, and fins of cheerfulness. qui squamas et loricam habent patientiae, et pinnulas hilaritatis
And every winged fowl. ] Birds were made of all Sour elements, yet have more of the earth. Gen 2:19 And therefore that they are so light, and do so delight in the air, it is so much the more marvellous. They sing not at all till they have taken up a stand to their mind; nor shall we praise God till content with our estate. They use not to sing when they are on the ground, but when got into the air, or on the tops of trees. Nor can we praise God aright, unless weanedly affected to the world. It was a good speech of heathen Epictetus, d Si luscinia essem, facerem quod luscinia. Cure autem homo rationalis sim, quid faciam? Laudabo Deum, nec cessabo unquam; vos vero, ut idem faciatis, hortor. But concerning the creation of birds, there is in Macrobius e a large dispute and disquisition, whether were first, the egg or the bird? And here reason cannot resolve it, since neither can the egg be produced without the bird, nor yet the bird without the egg. But now both Scripture and nature determine it, that all things were at first produced in their essential perfection.
a Pliny, l. ix. c. 3. - Ad quas nautae appellentes nonnunquam magnum incurrunt discrimen.
b Pliny, l. xxxii, c. 1. - Cur pisces vocat reptiles? Repere communiter dicuntur omnia αποδα , vel quae habent pedes breviores ut mures, &c.
c Bern., Serm. in Dei Sancti Andreae
d Epist. Enchirid
e Morneus, De Verit. Relig. c. 9.
Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Ver. 22. Be fruitful and multiply. ] By bidding them do so, he made them do so, for his words are operative. Trismegist saith the self-same things in effect that Moses here doth. God, saith he, crieth out to his works by his holy word, saying, "Bring ye forth fruit, grow and increase," &c. Note the harmony here, and in twenty more passages, between Mercury and Moses. a God hath not left his truth without witness from the mouths of heathen writers. We may profitably read them, but not for ostentation. That were to make a calf of the treasure gotten out of Egypt.
a Morneus, De Verit. Relig. c. 9.
Gen 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Ver. 24, 25. Let the earth, &c. ] Lo here the earth, in itself a dead element, brings forth, at God’s command, living creatures, tame, wild, and creeping. "Why then should it be thought a thing incredible," that the same earth, at God’s command, should bring forth again our dead bodies restored to life, at the last day? Act 26:8 Surely if that speech of Christ, "Lazarus, Come forth," Joh 11:43 had been directed to all the dead, they had all presently risen. If he speak to the rocks, they rend; if to the mountains, they melt; if to the earth, it opens; if to the sea, it yields up her dead; if to the whole host of heaven, they tremble and stand amazed, waiting his pleasure. And shall he not prevail by his mighty power, the same that he put forth in the raising of his Son Christ, Eph 1:19 to raise us from the death of sin; and of carnal, to make us a people created again? Psa 102:18 Doth he not "plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, that he may say to Zion, Thou art my people?" Isa 51:16 "Empty man would be wise," saith Zophar, Job 11:12 "though man be born like a wild ass-colt." Man’s heart is a mere emptiness, a very Tohu vabohu , as void of matter to make him a new creature of, as the hollow of a tree is of heart of oak. God, therefore, creates in his people clean hearts. Psa 51:10 And, as in the first creation, a so in the new creature, the first day, as it were, God works light of knowledge; the second day, the firmament of faith; the third day seas and trees, that is, repentant tears, and worthy fruits; the fourth day, the sun, joining light and heat together, heat of zeal with light of knowledge; the fifth day, fishes to play, and fowls to fly, so to live and rejoice in a sea of troubles, and fly heavenward by prayer and contemplation; the sixth day God makes beasts and man, yea, of a wild ass-colt, a man in Christ, with whom "old things are past, all things are become new," 2Co 5:17 and to whom, besides that they are all taught of God θεοδιδακτοι , 1Th 4:9 the very beasts Isa 1:2 and birds Jer 8:7 do read a divinity lecture. "Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee, and the fowls of the air, they shall tell thee". Job 12:7 The whole world is nothing else, saith one, but b "God expressed," so that we cannot plead ignorance; for all are, or may be, book-learned in the creature. This is the shepherd’s calendar, the ploughman’s alphabet; we may run and read in this great book, which hath three leaves - heaven, earth, sea. "A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this". Psa 92:6 They stand gazing and gaping on the outside of things only, but ask not who is their Father, their Creator; like little children, which when they find a picture in their book, they gaze and make sport with it, but never consider it. Either their minds are like a clock that is over-wound above the ordinary pitch, and so stands still; their thoughts are amazed for a time; they are like a block, thinking nothing at all, or else they think, atheistically, that all comes by nature; but "hast thou not known?" saith the prophet, "hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator?" &c. Isa 40:28 Or, at best, as the common passenger looks only at the hand of the dial to see what of the clock it is, but takes no notice of the clockwork within, the wheels and poises and various turnings and windings in the work; so it is here with the man that is no more than a mere "natural." "But he that is spiritual discerneth all things"; 2Co 2:15 he entereth into the clock-house, as it were, and views every motion, beginning at the great wheel, and ending in the least and last that is moved. He studies the glory of God revealed in this great book of nature, and praiseth his power, wisdom, goodness, &c. And for that in these things "he cannot order his speech, because of darkness," Job 37:19 he begs of God a larger heart, and better language, and cries out continually with David, "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever and ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen". Psa 72:18-19
a Lightf. Miscel.
b Anton. Eremita ap Aug. l. 3. De Doctr. Chris. Neceph. l. 8. c. 40. Clem. Alex.
Gen 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
Ver. 25. And all creeping things of the earth. ] God assigns the parts of the people as of the gnat, saith an ancient. Disponit Deus membra publicis et culicis. And the wisdom of men and angels, saith a modern writer, cannot mend the least thing in a fly. The figure, colour, quality, quantity of every worm, and every flower, with what exactness is it ordered! as if God nod nothing else to do, but to bring forth such a creature into the world, as the product of his infinite wisdom. The devil, with all his skill, could not create a louse. Exo 8:18 Myrmecides spent more time to make an artificial bee, than some do to build a house. Pliny a makes mention of one who had spent sixty-eight years in searching out the nature of the bee, and yet had not fully found it out. God is the greatest in the smallest matters. Deus est maximus in mininis. Holy Mr Dod, being at Holmeby, and invited by an honourable person to see that once stately house, desired to be excused, and to sit still, looking on a flower which he had in his hand. "In this flower," saith he, "I can see more of God than in all the beautiful buildings in the world." b
a Plin. l. xi. c. 9.
b Full. Chur. Hist. p. 210.
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Ver. 26. And God said, Let us make man. ] Man is the masterpiece of God’s handiwork. Sun, moon, and stars are but "the work of his fingers," Psa 8:3 but man the work of his hands. He is made of divine nature, cura divini ingenii made by counsel at first, "Let us make," &c.; and his body, which is but the soul’s sheath a Dan 7:15 is still "curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth," that is, in the womb; comp. Psa 139:15 Eph 4:9 as curious workmen, when they have some choice piece in hand, they perfect it in private, and then bring it forth to light for men to gaze at. "Thine hands have made me" (or took special pains about me), "and fashioned me," saith Job. Job 19:8 "Thou hast formed me by the book," saith David, Psa 139:16 yea, embroidered me with nerves, veins, and variety of limbs, Psa 139:15 miracles enough, saith one, beteen head and foot, to fill a volume. There are six hundred muscles, saith another out of Galen, in the body of man; and every one fitted for ten uses: so for bones, nerves, arteries, and veins, whosoever observeth their use, situation, and correspondency of them, cannot but fall into admiration of the wisdom of the Maker; who hath thus exactly framed all things at first out of nothing; and still out of the froth of the blood. Man, saith a heathen, is the bold attempt of daring nature; b the fair workmanship of a wise artificer,’ c d saith another; the greatest of all miracles, e saith a third. And surely should a man be born into the world but once in a hundred years, all the world would run to see the wonder. Sed miracula assiduitate vilescunt. Galen, f that profane man, was forced, upon the description of man and the parts of his body only, to sing a hymn to the Creator, whom yet he knew not. I make here, saith he, a true hymn in the honour of our Maker; whose service, I believe verily, consisteth not in the sacrificing of hecatombs, or in burning great heaps of frankincense before him, but in acknowledging the greatness of his wisdom, power, and goodness; and in making the same known to others, &c. And, in another place, Who is he, saith Galen, which, looking but only upon the skin of a thing, wondereth not at the cunning of the Creator? Yet, notwithstanding, he dissembleth not that he had tried by all means to find some reason of the composing of living creatures; and that he would rather have fathered the doing thereof upon nature, than upon the very Author of nature. And in the end, g concludeth thus: I confess that I know not what the soul is, though I have sought very narrowly for it. Favorinus the philosopher was wont to say, The greatest thing in this world is man, and the greatest thing in man is his soul. h It is an abridgment of the invisible world, as the body is of the visible. Hence, man is called by the Hebrews, Gnolam hakkaton , and by the Greeks, microcosmus, a little world. And it was a witty essay of him, i who styled woman the second edition of the epitome of the whole world. The soul is set in the body of them both, as a little god in this little world, as Jehovah is a great God in the great world. Whence Proclus the philosopher could say, that the mind that is in us is an image of the first mind, that is, of God.
In our image, after our likeness, ] that is, as like us as may be, to come as near us as is possible; for these two expressions signify but one and the same thing; and, therefore, Genesis 1:27 ; Genesis 5:1 ; Gen 9:6 one of them only is used: howbeit, Basil refers image to the reasonable soul in man, similitude to a conformity to God in holy actions. Some of the fathers had a conceit that Christ made man’s body with his own hands according to the form and likeness of that body which himself would afterwards assume and suffer in. We deny not that man’s body also is God’s image, as it is a little world; and so the idea or example of the world, that was in God from all eternity, is, as it were, briefly and summarily expressed by God in man’s body. But far be it from us to conceive of God as a bodily substance, to think him like unto us, as we are very apt to do. God made man in his own image; and men, of the other side, quasi ad hostimentum , would make God after their image. j It was seriously disputed by the monks of Egypt, A.D. 493, k and much ado there was about it, whether God were not a bodily substance, having bands, eyes, ears, and other parts, as we have. For so the simpler sort among them were clearly of opinion. And in the second Council of Nice under Irene, l John, one of the legates of the Eastern Churches, proved m the making of images lawful, because God had said in this text, "Let us make man after our own image." And it was there decreed that they should be reverenced and adored in as ample and pious manner as the glorious Trinity. But "God is a Spirit," Joh 4:24 saith our Saviour, who best knew, for he came out of his Father’s bosom. And man’s soul is a spirit likewise, invisible, immaterial, immortal, distinguished into. three powers, which ali make up one spirit. Spirit signifies breath; n which, indeed, is a body. But because it is the finest body, the most subtile and most invisible, therefore immaterial substances, which we are not able to conceive, are represented unto us under this name. Such is the soul of man, which, for the worth of it, the Stoics called the whole of man. o The body is but the sheath of the soul, said Daniel; the shell of it, said Zoroastes; the servant, p yea, the sepulchre q of it, say others. Compared to the soul, it is but as a clay wall that encompasseth a treasure; as a wooden box of a jeweller; as a coarse case to a rich instrument; or as a mask to a beautiful face. He that alone knew, and went to the worth of souls, hath told us, that a soul is more worth than all the world besides, because infused by God, aud stamped with, his image and superscription. Now, if we must give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, και τα του θεου τω θεω , three articles, for one in the former clause; Mat 22:21 Gaspar Ens says - why give we not our souls to God, since they are made in his image? Cur non etnos animam nostram, Dei imaginen, soli Deo consignemus?
Why "present we not our bodies" also to God, "a living sacrifice," since Rom 12:1 it is so curiously wrought, so neatly made up? Luther, upon the Fourth Commandment, tells of two cardinals, in the time of the Council of Constance, who, riding thither, saw a shepherd weeping bitterly; they pressed him to tell the cause. He said, "I, looking upon this toad, considered that I never praised God as I ought, for making me a comely and reasonable creature, and not a toad." See Trapp on " Gen 1:28 "
a Animae vaginae.
b τοληροτατης της φυσεως αγαλμα - Trismegls.
c Sοφου τεκτονος καλον ποικιλμα - Eurip.
d Tεχνημα σοφουντος δημιουργου και φιλοξωου - Xenoph.
e Miraculorum omnium maximum. - Stoici.
f Gal. l. iii. De usu partium. l. xi. and xvii.
g l. xv.
h Nihil in terra magnum praeter hominem, nihil in homine praeter mentem.
i Favorinus Gell.
j Molinaeus. De Cogn. Dei.
k Funcius. Chro. in Commentar.
l Heylin’s Geog. [Cosmography] , p. 533.
m Aeute obtusi.
n Omnis nominis Jehovae literae sunt spirituales, ut denotetur Deum esse spiritum. - Insted .
o Solam mentem dignam esse quae homo appelletur, Stoici statuunt. Sic Plato scripsit Oυκ εστιν ανθρωπος το ορωμενον
p Corpus sire corpor quasi cordispor, i.e. puer sire famulus. - Camerarius .
q σωμα quasi σημα. Dεμας , i.e. vinculum, sc. animae. Maerob. Som. Scip., l. i., c. 11.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Ver. 27. So God created man in his own image. ] There is a double image of God in the soul. One in the substance of it, whereof I have spoken in the former verse. The other in the qualities and supernatural graces, of knowledge in the understanding, rightness or straitness in the will, and holiness in the affections. In all these, man, when he came first out of God’s mint, shone most gloriously. O! quantum haec Niobe, &c. But now, Oh, think of this burnt temple, and mourn, as they in Ezra Ezr 3:12 Ebur candidissimum, adhibito igne, nigrescit.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Ver. 28. Subdue the earth, and have dominion. ] Make it habitable by driving out the wild beasts that infest and annoy it. Make it arable also, and useful to yourselves and yours. The creatures are man’s servants and household stuff. "God hath put all things under his feet," Psa 8:1-9 that be may raise himself thereby to God his maker. a A wise philosopher could say, that man is the end of all things in a semicircle; that is, all things in the world are made for him, and he is made for God; to know and acknowledge him, to serve and express him, to say to him as David, and that Son of David, Lord, "a body (a soul) hast thou given me; behold I come to do thy will, O God" Heb 10:5 Psa 40:6 The very Manichees, that denied God to be the author of the body, fasted on Sundays, and in fasting, exercised a humiliation of the body. The Paternians are not worth speaking of, who held this heresy b in the year of Christ 387, that the lower parts of man’s body were not made by God, but by the devil; and therefore allowing liberty of all wickedness to those parts, they lived most impurely. But if superstitious persons must reckon for it, that punish their bodies Col 2:22 without commandment from God, where shall those beasts appear that defile their bodies, and damn their soul? How shall all the creatures, instead of serving them, take up arms for God, and serve against them, yea, rise up in judgment and condemn them, for that when all other things keep their fit and proper places in the frame, and observe their peculiar ends and uses whereunto they were created, men only, as so many Heteroclites and Irregulars, should prove unprofitable, unuseful, nay, hurtful to the whole frame, causing vanity and misery to the poor creature which groans under it, and so defiling the very visible heavens, that they must be purged by the last fire, as those vessels were in the law that held the sin-offering! As for those that are in Christ, they are restored to the privileges of their first creation, as fellowship with God, dominion over the creatures, &c. Rom 8:1-39 , as appears by comparing Psa 8:6 Hebrews 2:6-7 , &c., where whatever is spoken of man is applied to Christ, and so is proper to the Church, which is Christ mystical, union being the ground of communion. Christ is married to his people in faithfulness, and as part of a jointure, he hath taken and bound over the best of the creatures to serve them, and bring them in provision Hos 2:20-22
a Qui dominari in caetera possit, natus homo est.
b Alsted. Chron. p. 387.
Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Ver. 29. Behold, I have given you. ] By this "behold," God stirs up them and us to confidence, thankfulness, Psa 16:1-11 and obedience to so liberal a Lord, so bountiful a benefactor. And surely as iron put into the fire seems to be nothing but fire, so Adam, thus beloved of God, was turned into a lump of love, and bethinks himself what to do by way of retribution. All other creatures also willingly submitted to God’s ordinance and man’s service, well apaid of God’s provision, that great housekeeper of the world, that hath continually so many millions at bed and board. This is intimated in that last clause.
Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Ver. 30. And it was so. ] Both man and beast were well paid of God’s appointment, as good cause they had; for he is no penny father, but openeth his hand, and filleth with his blessing every thing living. Psa 145:16 "And it was so"; an undoubted argument surely of God’s infinite goodness, thus to have provided for so divers natures and appetites, divers food, remedies, and armour; Psa 104:1-35 for men, especially, "filling their hearts with food and gladness" Act 14:17
Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Ver. 31. Behold it was very good. ] Or, extreme good, pleasant and profitable, a curious and glorious frame, full of admirable variety and skill, such as caused delight and complacency in God, and commands contemplation and admiration from us, like as a great garden, stored with fruits and flowers, calls our eyes on every side. Wherefore else hath God given us a reasonable soul, and a Sabbath day, and a countenance bent upward, and, as they say, a peculiar nerves in the eyes, to pull them up toward the seat of their rest? Besides a nature carried with delight after plays, pageants, masks, strange shows, and rare sights, which oft are sinful or vain, or, at best, imperfect and unsatisfactory? Surely those that "regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, God shall destroy, and not build them up"; Psa 28:5 which to prevent, good is the counsel of the prophet Amos; and that upon this very ground, "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel: for lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind," &c. Amo 4:12-13 When he had made man, he made an end of making anything more, because he meant to rest in man, to delight in him, to communicate himself unto him, and to be enjoyed by him throughout all eternity. And notwithstanding the fall, he hath "found a ransom," Job 33:24 and "creating us in Christ Jesus unto good works," Eph 2:10 he "rejoiceth over" his new workmanship "with joy"; yea, he "rests in his love," and wilt seek no further Zep 3:17 But what a mouth of madness did Alfonso b the Wise open, when he said openly, that if he had been of God’s counsel at the creation, some things should have been better made and marshalled! Prodigious blasphemy!
a Bodin. Theat. Naturae.
b Roderit. Santii. Hist. Hisp. p. 4. c. 5. ex antiq. Annanlib.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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