Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. They will be yours for food.
I. As a revelation of God in his relation to man.
II. As a revelation of man to himself.
I. GOD IN RELATION TO MAN.
1. As the Father as well as Creator. As to the rest of creation, it is said, "Let be," and "it was." As to many "Let us make in our image." Closely kin by original nature, man is invited to intercourse with the Divine.
2. The spirituality of God's highest creature is the bond of union and fellowship. The languages "Let us make," suggests the conception of a heavenly council or conference preparatory to the creation of man; and the new description of the being to be created points to the introduction of a new order of life the spiritual life, as above the vegetable and animal.
3. God entrusts dominion and authority to man in the earth. Man holds from the first the position of a vicegerent for God. There is trust, obedience, responsibility, recognition of Divine supremacy, therefore all the essential elements of religion, in the original constitution and appointment of our nature and position among the creatures.
4. The ultimate destiny of man is included in the account of his beginning. He who made him in his image, "one of us," will call him upward to be among the super-earthly beings surrounding the throne of the Highest. The possession of a Divine image is the pledge of eternal approximation to the Divine presence. The Father calls the children about himself.
II. MAN REVEALED TO HIMSELF. "The image and likeness of God." What does that contain? There is the ideal humanity.
1. There is an affinity in the intellectual nature between the human and the Divine. In every rational being, though feeble in amount of mental capacity, there is a sense of eternal necessary truth. On some lines the creature and the Creator think under the same laws of thought, though the distance be immeasurable.
2. Man's by original creation absolutely free from moral taint. He is therefore a fallen being in so far as he is a morally imperfect being. He was made like God in purity, innocence, goodness.
3. The resemblance must be in spirit as well as in intellect and moral nature. Man was made to be the companion of God and angels, therefore there is in his earthly existence a superearthly, spiritual nature which must be ultimately revealed.
4. Place and vocation are assigned to man on earth, and that in immediate connection with his likeness to God. He is ruler here that he may be prepared for higher rule elsewhere. He is put in his rank among God's creatures that he may see himself on the ascent to God. Man belongs to two worlds. He is like God, and yet he is male and female, like the lower animals, lie is blessed as other creatures with productive power to fill the earth, but he is blessed for the sake of his special vocation, to subdue the earth, not for himself, but for God.
5. Here is the end of all our endeavor and desire - to be perfect men by being like God. Let us be thankful that there is a God-man in whom we are able to find our ideal realized. We grow up into him who is our Head. We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. When all things are put under him, man will see the original perfection of his creation restored.
6. Man is taught that he need not leave the earthly sphere to be like God. There has been a grand preparation of his habitation. From a mere chaotic mass the earth has by progressive stages reached a state when it can become the scene of a great moral experiment for man's instruction. The god-like is to rule over all other creatures, that he may learn the superiority of the spiritual. Heavenly life, communion, society, and all that is included in the fellowship of man with God, may be developed in the condition of earth. Grievous error in early Church and Eastern philosophy - confusion of the material and evil. Purity does not require an immaterial mode of existence. Perfection of man is perfection of his dominion over earthly conditions, matter in subjection to spirit. Abnormal methods, asceticism, self-crucifixion, mere violence to original constitution of man. The "second Adam" overcame the world not by forsaking it, but by being in it, and yet not of it.
7. God's commandments to man are commandments of Fatherly love. "Behold, I have given you," &c. He not only appoints the service, but he provides the sustenance. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. Here is the union of creative power and providential goodness. We are blessed in an earthly life just as we take it from the hand of God as a trust to be fulfilled for him. And in that obedience and dependence we shall best be able to reach the ideal humanity. The fallen world has been degrading man, physically, morally, spiritually; he has been less and less what God made him to be. But he who has come to restore the kingdom of God has come to uplift man and fill the earth with blessedness. - R.
1. It is as good as the body it nourishes.
I. LET EVERYONE DEPEND UPON GOD FOR THE NECESSARIES OF LIFE.
To you it shall be for meat.I. THE GIFT.
3. Increasing.Every day becoming better known and more thoroughly appreciated. All the gifts of God are productive; time unfolds their measure, discloses their meaning, and demonstrates their value.
II. THE PURPOSE.
1. To evince love. One of the great objects of creation was to manifest the love of God to the human race, which was shortly to be brought into existence. The light, the sun, the stars, and the creation of man; all these were the love tokens of God. These were designed, not to display His creative power — His wisdom, but His desire for the happiness of man.
2. To teach truth. The world is a great school. It is well supplied with teachers. It will teach an attentive student great lessons. All the Divine gifts are instructive.
3. To sustain life. God created man without means, but it was not His will to preserve him without; hence He tells him where he is to seek his food. We must make use of such creatures as God has designed for the preservation of our life. God has provided for the preservation of all life. Let us learn to trust God for the necessities of life in times of adversity. Men who have the greatest possessions in the world must receive their daily food from the hand of God.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
1. Asking them by prayer.
2. Acknowledging our own beggary.
3. Trusting Him by faith.
4. Remembering His promise.
5. Obedient to His will.
II. LET US SERVE HIM FAITHFULLY AT WHOSE TABLE WE ARE FED.
1. Else we are ungrateful.
2. Else we deserve famine. All the provisions that God allows man for food are drawn out of the earth. The homeliness of the provision on which God intended man to feed.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
2. It is better than we deserve.
3. It is more than we are able to procure of ourselves.
4. It is more profitable for health.
5. It is free from the temptation to excess. God gives us not all our provisions at once, but a daily supply of them.
(1) (2) (3) (4) (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(2) (3) (4) (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(3) (4) (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
2. It indicates the civilized condition of man. You are told that a people are a wheat-eating people. Of course they must raise it; they must have the plough and the ploughshare; they must command iron, or, at least, some hard metal; they must understand the process of mining and smelting; they must have fields and fences; they must have foresight to sow and patience to wait for a crop; and, finally, they must be protected by law, for no one will lend the labour who is not assured of protection.
3. It contributes to extensive social changes. The introduction of sugar, for example, has changed the whole face of society. It was found to be one of the purest and least cloying sweets ever discovered. It was handed from the Arabs to the Spaniards; it was cultivated first in the Madeira Islands; then it was given to all the European nations; was raised in the West Indies on an immense scale. Then came rum, brandy, and all the alcoholic drinks, slavery and all its consequences, until now it is a debated problem whether the sweet cane was a blessing or a curse. At any rate this single article of food, so unimportant and neglected in its origin, changed the whole face of society.
4. It indicates the general refinement of the mind. Nay, we are instructed not to be totally indifferent to the kind of food, for discrimination here is connected with other discrimination, and indicates improvement in the taste. We will not take advantage of Dr. Johnson's remark, who held that he who did not mind his dinner would scarcely mind anything else. Suffice it to say, that taste in food and taste in dress, science, and literature, always go together. He that feeds grossly will judge grossly.
5. It is essential in order to the higher pursuits of life. Take away from the astronomer his food, and he will soon cease to lift his telescope to the stars. The saint, the martyr, the moralist, and the poet, all pursue their sublime occupations through the vigour and animation of the body. In a word, as the sweetest blossom on the highest tree, though it seems to be fed by the very air which it decorates, is nourished by the dirt and manure around the roots of the tree, so the sublimest mind is supplied by the food of the body.
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