Genesis 1:2

Genesis 1:1-5. A true and firm foundation of revelation and faith must be laid in a Divine doctrine of "Genesis," the beginnings out of which have come both the world of nature and the world of grace. In this book we are taught what is the order by which all things must be tried. Coming forth from Elohim, from the Infinite Personality; flowing in his appointed course. The genesis of heaven and earth becomes the genesis of the human family. Out of the natural chaos is brought forth the Eden of rest and beauty. Out of the moral waste of a fallen humanity is formed, by the gracious work of a Divine Spirit, through a covenant of infinite wisdom and loves a seed of redeemed and sanctified human beings, a family of God. The genesis of the material creation leads on to the genesis of the invisible creation. The lower is the type and symbol of the higher. The first day is the true beginning of days. See what is placed by the sacred writer between that evening and morning.

I. THE COMING FORTH OF THE EVERLASTING, UNSEARCHABLE SECRET OF THE DIVINE NATURE INTO MANIFESTATION. "God created." The word employed denotes more than the bare summoning of existence out of nothingness. The analogy of human workmanship ("cutting," "carving," "framing") suggests the relation between creation and the God of creation. The heaven and the earth reflect their Maker. Works embody the mind, the spirit, the will, the nature of the workman. Although the name Elohim, in the plural form, cannot be taken as an equivalent of the Trinity, it points to the great fundamental fact of all revelation, the Divine Unity coming forth out of the infinite solitude of eternity, and declaring, in the manifold revelations of the visible and invisible worlds, all that the creature can know of his fathomless mystery.

II. HERE IS A GLIMPSE INTO GOD'S ORDER AND METHOD. "In the beginning," the immeasurable fullness of creative power and goodness. Formless void, darkness on the face of the deeps apparent confusion and emptiness, within a limited sphere, the earth; at a certain epoch, in preparation for an appointed future. Chaos is not the first beginning of things; it is a stage in their history. The evening of the first day preceded the morning in the recorded annals of the earth. That evening was itself a veiling of the light. Science itself leads back the thoughts from all chaotic periods to previous developments of power. Order precedes disorder. Disorder is itself permitted only as a temporary state. It is itself part of the genesis of that which shall be ultimately "very good."

III. THE GREAT VITAL FACT OF THE WORLD'S ORDER IS THE INTIMATE UNION BETWEEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND THAT WHICH IS COVERED WITH DARKNESS UNTIL HE MAKES IT LIGHT. The moving of the Spirit upon the face of the waters represents the brooding, cherishing, vitalizing presence of God in his creatures, over them, around them, at once the source and protection of their life. "Breath;" "wind," the word literally means, perhaps as a symbol at once of life, or living energy, and freedom, and with an immediate reference to the creative word, which is henceforth the breath of God in the world. Surely no candid mind can fail to feel the force of such a witness in the opening sentences of revelation to the triune God.

IV. TO US THE BEGINNING OF ALL THINGS IS LIGHT. The word of God "commands the light to shine out of darkness." "God said, Let there be light," or, Let light be. The going forth of God's word upon the universe very well represents the twofold fact,

(1) that it is the outcome of his will and nature; and

(2) that it is his language - the expression of himself.

Hence all through this Mosaic cosmogony God is represented as speaking to creation, that we may understand that he speaks in creation, as he is also said to look at that which comes forth from himself to behold it, to approve it, to name it, to appoint its order and use. Such intimate blending of the personal with the impersonal is the teaching of Scripture as distinguished from all mere human wisdom. God is in creation and yet above it. Man is thus invited to seek the personal presence as that which is higher than nature, which his own personal life requires, that it may not be oppressed with nature's greatness, that it may be light, and not darkness. There is darkness in creation, darkness in the deep waters of the world's history, darkness in the human soul itself, until God speaks and man hears. Light is not, physically, the first thing created; but it is the first fact of the Divine days - that is, the beginning of the new order. For what we have to do with, is not the. infinite, secret of creation, but the "manifestation of the visible world God manifest. The first day m the history of the earth, as man can read it, must be the day when God removes the covering of darkness and says, Let there be light." The veil uplifted is itself a commencement. God said that it was good. His own appointment confirmed the abiding distinction between light and darkness, between day and night; in other words, the unfolding, progressive interchange of work and rest, of revelation and concealment, the true beginning of the world's week of labor, which leads on to the everlasting sabbath. How appropriately this first day of the week of creation stands at the threshold of God's word of grace! The light which he makes to shine in our hearts, which divides our existence into the true order, the good and the evil separated from one another, which commences our life; and the Spirit is the light of, his own word, the light which shines from the face of him who was "the Word,' "in the beginning with God," "without whom nothing was made that was made." - R.

And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

1. The primeval chaos.(1) Origin of chaos. The direct issue of the Creative Will. God created the atoms of the universe, starting with them in a chaotic state.(2) Picture of chaos. All the elements which now exist were doubtless there; but all were out of relation.(3) Confirmation of science. If the magnificent nebular hypothesis of the astronomers — first propounded by Swedenborg, adopted by Kant, elaborated by Laplace and Herschel, and maintained with modifications by such scientists as Cuvier, Humboldt, Arago, Dana, and Guyot — be true, there has been a time when the earth, and indeed the whole universe, was in a state of nebula, or chaotic gaseous fluid. As such, the earth was indeed without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. Being in a gaseous state, it was "without form and void"; being as yet in an inactive state, it was "dark"; being in a state of indefinite expansion, it was a "deep."

2. The organizing energy.

(1)The breath of God.

(2)Moved over the face of the fluids.

II. And now let us attend to THE MORAL MEANING OF THE STORY.

1. And, first: all life begins chaotically. It is true of physical life. Look at this bioplast; the most powerful microscope fails to detect in it much sign of system, or structure: the most that it detects is a tiny grouping of seemingly unarranged, chaotic material; in fact, so structureless does it seem, that the microscope declines to prophesy whether it will unfold into a cedar, an elephant, or a man. Again, it is true of intellectual life. Look at this newborn infant: how nebulous and chaotic its conceptions! Your little one may grow into a Shakespeare; but at present, and intellectually surveyed — forgive me, fond mother, for saying it — your little one is scarcely more than a little animal. Do we not apply indiscriminately to infants and animals the impersonal pronoun "it"? Once more: it is true of moral life. That is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural: then that which is spiritual. Look at humanity as a whole, and through the ages, ancient, mediaeval, modern, How vast but abortive its endeavours! How besmeared its history with idolatries, barbarisms, wars, butcheries, oppressions, crimes, blasphemies! Verily, humanity, compared with its latent, transcendent possibilities, is indeed a chaos, without form, and void, and darkness is over its deep. And what is so sadly true of humanity as a whole, is as sadly true of each member of humanity, at least in his natural, or rather unnatural, denatured state. For each man is a microcosm, a miniature world of his own. And each man, compared with what is conceivable concerning him, is a chaos.

2. Is there any hope here? Thank God, there is. That same breath of God which moved over the face of those ancient fluids, is moving today over the soul of humanity. Ah, this is the blessed energy by which the chaos of our moral nature is being organized into order and beauty. Observe: as, in shaping the material earth out of the old chaos, the Spirit of God added no new elements, but simply fashioned into order the old; so, in organizing the spiritual chaos, He adds no new faculties, but simply quickens and organizes the old. What man needs is not creation, but re-creation; not generation, but regeneration. And this it is which the Holy Ghost is achieving. Brooding, incubating as God's Holy Dove over the chaos of humanity, He is quickening its latent forces, arranging its elements, assorting its capacities, organizing its functions, apportioning its gifts, perfecting its potentialities: in short, completing, fulfilling consummating man in the sphere of Jesus Christ.

(G. D. Boardman.)

I. EMPTINESS OF GOOD. Chaos was absolutely unproductive. Not a single tree, bush, or flower. Not even the seeds of any useful herbs. So is man as a spiritual being till God's Spirit begins to work on his fallen nature. "In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."

II. DARKNESS. A meet covering for such an unsightly spectacle. The wicked man is said to "walk in darkness" (1 John 1:6); "darkness blindeth his eyes" (1 John 2:11); his "understanding is darkened" (Ephesians 4:18); his "foolish heart is darkened" (Romans 1:21); he "loves darkness rather than light" (1 John 3:21); "he knows not nor understands, but walks on in darkness" (Psalm 82:5); and if he repent not he "shall be cast into outer darkness" (Matthew 25:30). The children of God were "at one time darkness, but now are light in the Lord; " "they walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8); they are "called out of darkness into marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9); they are "delivered from the power of darkness" (Colossians 1:13); they "cast off the works of darkness, and walk honestly as in the day" (Romans 13:12, 13).

III. CONFUSION. The chaos was a hideous mixture of all. discordant materials — earth and water; mud and rock; vegetable and mineral; mire, slime, lees, scum, clay, marl, crag, and pool. This is but a faint image of the turmoil, struggle, and strife that go on continually in the heart of a man who is under the dominion of "lusts and passions that war against the soul." Was there a visible form? If so it may have been some white cloud like the Shechinah. But if cloud there were, there was no vitality in that; it was only a symbol made use of by the vitalizing Agent to intimate that He was present. This power was —

1. Silent in its operation.

2. Efficacious.

3. Instantaneous.In one word, the chaotic state of man's soul before God can only be restored to light, warmth, order, beauty, and life by the working of the Divine Spirit, through applying "the truth as it is in Christ Jesus" as the means. This work is done silently and gently. Zaccheus was thus awakened (Luke 19:5-8); Nathanael (John 1:47-49); the woman of Samaria (John 4:9-29).


1. This may be true of the world of matter.

2. This may be true of the world of mind. Desolate. Not peopled with great thoughts. Not animated by great and noble convictions.

3. This may be true of the world of the soul. The soul life of many lacks architecture.


1. This is true of the material world. The earth was without form and void; but now it is everywhere resplendent with all that is esteemed useful and beautiful. It manifests a fertility most welcome to the husbandman. Whence this transition? It was the gift of God. It was the result of the Spirit's hovering over the darkness of Nature. The world is under a Divine ministry.

2. This is true of the world of mind. The chaos of the human mind is turned into order, light, and intellectual completion, by the agency of the Divine Spirit.

3. This is true of the world of soul. The chaos of the soul of man can only be restored by the creative ministry of the Holy Spirit. He will cause all the nobler faculties of the soul to shine out with their intended splendour. He will make the soul a fit world for the habitation of all that is heavenly.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. A type of many souls.

2. A type of many lives.

3. A type of many books.

4. A type of many sermons.

5. A type of many societies.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The best way to judge of things aright is to consider them in their first original.

1. To bring down our pride.

2. To quicken our endeavours.

3. To fill our mouths with praises to Him that made us what we are, and might have continued, without His free and infinite mercy.

(J. White.)

The text is easily divided into two parts: first, the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: second, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

I. The first subject then for our consideration is THE STATE OF THE WORLD IN THE BEGINNING OF TIME. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: that is, the earth lay a hideous, barren, and desolate heap; as a waste, howling wilderness, earth and sea mingled together. How short and wretched must have been the existence of creatures, if God had doomed any to dwell in such a state! — how utterly impossible would it have been for them to fix a comfortable habitation, or to remedy one even of the existing evils! Where should we have made our pleasant homes and warm firesides? Could we "have commanded the morning, and caused the day spring to know its place"? Could we have driven away the darkness, or "have shut up the sea with doors"?

1. Here, then, we are led to reflect, first, upon the wisdom and goodness of God manifested in His gracious design in the creation. God had no design to form creatures for misery, but for happiness, as the apostle declares when speaking of the Christian dispensation: "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain mercy by Jesus Christ." So here He had determined to make man; but to make him, not a child of sorrow, but a comfortable and happy creature: He therefore first begins, with infinite goodness, to prepare him a pleasant and goodly dwelling place. But which among the angels would have supposed that He would form it from this gloomy chaos, this miserable and barren spot we have been considering? They had no such power themselves, not the mightiest of them; and it is probable they did not yet know the almighty power of God, or, at least, that they had not seen it so marvellously displayed. When, therefore, He fixed the foundation of the earth, and formed the world, He tells Job that then "the morning stars sung together, and all the sons of god shouted for joy": they sung of the mighty power and glory of God: they shouted for joy at the goodness and wisdom of their everlasting Father, here displayed so gloriously. Thus, when we consider the works of the Holy Spirit, how lovely does He himself appear to us! — how worthy of our highest adoration and gratitude! But, further, the word here translated "moved," literally means settled or brooded, and it is understood by some to express that act of the Holy Spirit by which He imparted life and activity. This is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit, "it is the Spirit that quickeneth," saith our Saviour: "the Spirit giveth life," says St. Paul: it was the Spirit that "raised Jesus from the dead": it is the Spirit that shall breathe upon our dry bones, that they may live; for in like manner it was the Spirit of God that entered Adam, and man became a living soul. To this Holy Spirit of God then we are indebted, not only for our own life and preservation from day to day and from year to year, but for all those living creatures which increase and multiply to supply us with food and clothing, and many other comforts. As often, therefore, as we use them, should not our hearts be grateful to Him who is the author of them, and take heed not to abuse them? Now, we have considered the state of this world before the Word of God and the Spirit of God began their operations upon it. You have seen its disorder and confusion, its barren, empty, and useless condition, and the utter darkness in which it was buried. You have seen, then, an exact representation of the fallen state of man, and what the Word and Spirit of God, and these only, can do for him. The whole soul and body of man without these is without form, and void: his heart is a misshapen, hideous, and disordered mass of empty, unprofitable, and good-for-nothing matter; and, when the Holy Spirit of God enters it, He finds it lifeless, dark, and barren, and, like the unrestrained and troubled waters, all ruinous and in wild disorder, as in chaos. This is the state of man, and therefore he is fit for nothing else but destruction, except he is rendered "fit for a habitation of God through the Spirit." There is, as in chaos, a continued strife of elements within us, a continual war and confusion among "our lusts, which war in our members": we "are full of uncleanness," ungodliness, intemperance, and sin: while the ungoverned waters struggle for a vent, and rage and swell, the earth is rent and torn asunder, and at last overwhelmed; and thus, while one desire, one lust, one inclination in our frame rages, and is indulged, another part of us is convulsed and disordered, and at last perhaps "sudden destruction comes upon us." Here, then, we see the free mercy of God towards us, in His willingness to rescue us from this chaotic state. It is plain, then, that a change must be wrought in us if we would be saved: for think not that God will pollute His heavens with such creatures: think not that He will suffer the holiness and harmony of heaven to be interrupted by unsubdued, deformed man. This change, then, from darkness to light, from barrenness to fruitfulness, from confusion to peace, from sin to holiness and loveliness, and happiness, in short "from the power of Satan unto God," this change is needed in all, and none can be saved without it; and it is the work of the Word and Spirit of God: none other can do it; none other has any part in it. I say it is the work of the Word and Spirit: not the Word alone, nor the Spirit alone; but it is the work of the two conjointly.

(J. Matthews, M. A.)

It would be unphilosophical to hold that chaos evolved from herself the order that everywhere appears. Can I believe that the pile of rubbish that marks the site of Babylon will ever produce a city so beautiful and magnificent as that which witnessed nightly the revels of the Chaldean Monarchs? Shall I see, as if by magic, street after street arise, square after square occupy its ancient position, temple after temple point its glittering canopy to heaven; shall I see the city enclosed by walls, filled with a busy, trading, pleasure-seeking population, and be told that all this order, and magnificence, and life, has come of the pile of ruins?

(G. Wight.)

Of such a condition of the earth, a definite idea may be formed by an examination of the moon's surface — a very chaos of explosive action. Thousands of small pits are there, and, as certainly, immense chasms, whose flattened interiors rival a congeries of English counties, while stupendous ridges and peaks encompass them, standing out like the Apennines and Pyrenees, and sometimes transcending the loftiest eminences of the Alps. He who has traversed the Great Schiedegg and the Wengun Alp, beneath the shadow of the almost vertical steeps of the Wetterhorn and the Eiger, has been awe-struck by summits so towering, and descents so profound; and yet feeble is their image of the heights and depths of the moon's Himalayas. What evidences are these of volcanic agency, while other elevations, due possibly to the same mighty power, astound him who steadily contemplates them, by their rectilinear extent. Yet, amidst these cindery plains, no river makes a path, no stream meanders; down those precipices neither silver thread of water winds its way, nor is there the gushing, the tumbling, and foaming of some huge cascade; and hence the great desert of Africa resembles the naked and arid wastes, where no life springs forth to relieve, much less to cheer, this immense scene of unmitigated desolation. As, then, the moon is, so was this earth of ours, when Moses described not its contents, of which he knew nothing, but its surface, as without form and void.

(C. Williams.)

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters:

It is a significant, suggestive fact, that the work of the Holy Spirit is historically coeval with the work of creation. The Divine Being who inspired the Bible appears upon its first page, a mystic centre of light and beauty in the midst of an universe of darkness. And St. Paul tells us that God the Holy Spirit, who first illumined the dark world of matter, still illuminates the dark world of mind. All is midnight in the heart, mind, and soul of a sinner, until He, the Light of Life, saith, "Let there be light."

I. The work of the Spirit in the NATURAL man. The force of Paul's allusion to the creation in Genesis implies that man's original earth, in its perennial darkness, waste, and submersion, is a type of man's heart, as nature moulds it, and sin corrupts it. "The earth was without form and void"; and the heart is without grace, or capacity of spiritual discernment, till the Spirit of God moves in His creative, enlightening energy, upon both the one and the other. This is equally true of every man, for "who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou, O man, that thou didst not receive? "It is our part to preach Christ, but it is the Spirit's office to convince "of sin, righteousness, and judgment." The Spirit Himself is the foundation of all spirituality. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, and the Spirit giveth life: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit," because He spake in the Spirit, lived in the Spirit, and commanded His disciples "to wait" for the Spirit, before they commenced their ministry, that they might be "endued with power from on high." That is the only power still to convert souls. The most powerful ministry is simply that which is the most spiritual, which most prays in the Spirit, preaches in the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, and most constantly insists upon congregations seeking the Spirit, and resting on His gifts and graces as their only source and secret of edification.

II. The work of the Spirit in the REGENERATE man. "The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," for He who gives the first convicting and converting impulse, "giveth more grace." As the original motion of the Spirit of life and light was followed by the creation of the sun, the moon, and the stars, each in their appointed orbits, fulfilling their Creator's munificent purposes of love and goodness; so the work of the quickening Spirit in individual regeneration is succeeded by ampler revelations of Christ as the "Sun of Righteousness," the centre of His redeeming system; of the Church, as His satellite, "fair as the moon," borrowing all her light and influence upon many waters from the Lord, whose fainter image she is, a light shining in dark places: and of Christ's ministers and sacraments, as stars in His right hand, by whose "lesser lights" He deigns to carry on His gracious offices of mercy to "a world lying in darkness, and in the power of the wicked." But it is the Spirit which gives the weight and efficacy to all these means of grace, and channels of edification, by which the child of God is built up in his most holy faith, and rendered more and more conformed to the image of God's dear Son. At every step there is the scriptural impress of the Spirit, from first to last.

(J. B. Owen, M. A.)

In fulfilment of this process of new creation, the Spirit of God descends upon the benighted surface of the human soul.

1. In order to dissipate the darkness in which it is naturally involved. The mind of man, as disordered, corrupted, and clouded by sin, may well be compared to that confused and rayless obscurity which rested over the face of the abyss. It is enveloped in a thick, impenetrable mantle of ignorance, prejudice, and unconcern. And it is only when the Spirit of God begins to move upon the stagnant waters of his cold and damp indifference, that light breaks in upon his mind.

2. Another function equally necessary and important, which the Spirit of God performs in the new creation of the soul, is that of purification. The mind of each one of us, by nature, is full of all impurity and pollution. In this condition we are utterly unfit for the service of God here, and the presence of God hereafter — unfit for communion with God by prayer and devout meditation — unfit for the suitable and acceptable discharge of any one of the duties of God's worship — unfit for life — unfit for death. Under these circumstances it becomes a question of supreme and paramount importance, whether a renovating process has been commenced upon us — whether, under the influence of the salutary motions of the Spirit of God, we have made it our endeavour to cleanse ourselves from all impurity of flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God — whether the various streams of thought, feeling, and conduct, are gradually purifying from their drossy and turbid aspect, and whether our whole character from day to day becomes more thoroughly assimilated to the Divine image, and assumes more of the complexion and the hue of heaven.

3. In connection with the effects already specified, the human soul requires to be reduced to order, and to be harmonized in its various principles and habits. By the fatal shock which it received in Eden, the whole system has been disorganized. In relation to the character and attributes of Jehovah — to His revealed will and the whole range of His service — to the objects and pursuits connected with a spiritual and eternal world, it is altogether out of joint. By the original apostasy from God, in fact, the whole nature of man went to wreck. The various elements of his being forsook their proper combination and position in the system, and entered into new and most destructive relations. The wild and tumultuous anarchy of his affections is like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. The scene of chaos, in which heaven and earth, fire and water, were commingled together into one vast ocean of jarring elements, was not more replete with confusion than is the mind, when let loose unto itself, and freed from the soothing restraints, and the controlling and regulating impulses, of that Spirit which moved upon the face of the waters. It is this Spirit alone, who can rectify the deep disorders of our nature. It is He alone who can separate, direct, soothe, and harmonize the warring elements of our carnal and unsubdued mind, and reduce every faculty and affection into the cheerful and meek obedience of the faith. It is He alone who can restrain the aberrations of the judgment — who can check the wanderings of the imagination — who can curb the impetuosity of the passions, and attemper the whole soul and spirit into one harmonious and well-balanced scheme of Christian character and conduct. Other means may be used, indeed, and ought to be used. The Bible should be read — the ordinances of religion should be attended — the duties of prayer, and devout meditation and reflection, should be solemnly and uninterruptedly discharged; but other means, without the accompanying and moving energies of the Spirit, will be found ineffectual.

4. Nor is the Spirit merely the author of light, purity, and order, in the formation of the new creature, but life itself: that which is essential to the exercise and enjoyment of all other endowments in His special gift. While He moved upon the face of the waters, the command went forth, and they were at once seen to teem with animated existence. Impregnated with His vital energies, the great deep became instinct with life and motion. The various forms of vegetable and organized existence — the tenants of the ]and, and those that wing their flight through the regions of air, were seen to burst forth from its capacious bosom, until every quarter of the universe became peopled with its appropriate inhabitants. The great Spirit, who was thus the primary agent in kindling material nature into life, is also the author of that higher life which pervades the new creation.

(J. Davies, B. D.)

I. THE SPIRIT OF GOD BROUGHT ORDER AND DEVELOPMENT TO THE MATERIAL WORLD. How did that shapeless mass become such a world as this? What account of the transition does science give? It says, "Change succeeded to change, in strict accordance with physical law, very slowly but surely, with no sudden transitions, till, step by step, the one condition passed into the other." Those regular changes were all that appeared; and they are all which appear now, though the same changes are still going on. We cannot see the intelligence, the mind, which directs the works of nature; but it is equally true that we cannot see them in the works of man. Yet the mind of man is at work, though invisible, animating his body; and it is truer to speak of his mind as planning the house he builds, and the steam engine he sets to work, than to say that the materials came together into their right places, though that is all that we see. And so it is truer to say that the Invisible Mind, the unseen Spirit of God, moved upon the formless earth, and brought it to its present ordered form, than to say it happened so. Science mentions only what appeared; but Genesis tells the deeper truth, that the informing mind accomplished all — Genesis, which was written centuries before science was born. There is special fitness in the words employed, "The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." It indicates the quiet untiring ways in which God works in the heavens and the earth.

II. THE SPIRIT OF GOD MUST BRING ORDER AND DEVELOPMENT TO THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. The moral and spiritual nature of man forms quite another world from the material universe, and yet how closely the two are linked in the human body and soul! Look at the moral and spiritual nature of men. How high they can rise! so high that there is fitness in speaking of God's image in them as a real kinship of nature with God. What noble examples there have been among men, of righteousness, faithfulness, and love — the very attributes of God — yet we feel man has not realized the greatness and goodness that he may. But how low men can sink! to what extremes of wrong, and treachery, and selfishness, and cruelty! We cannot picture it all; to do so would be to have present to the mind what human society has been and is — the crimes, the woes, the degradation, and shame, of generations of human lives and hearts. To picture human society as it is — I mean especially its evils — would be more, not only than imagery could realize, but more than any feeling heart could bear. The material chaos is but a faint image of this deeper spiritual chaos; but taking it as such, we may ask, Does God leave the world in this chaos of degradation and woe? Turn to another Bible picture: "I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes" (emblems of purity), "and palms in their hands" (emblems of victory).

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

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