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SERMON III.

GENESIS, i. 26.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

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Ir a man were suddenly asked, To what created being he would compare the Almighty; what object, among all those that surrounded him, he conceived to have been originally intended by its Creator for his peculiar image and representative? he would probably point to the sun, and would say, that there he saw God at once most faithfully and most gloriously represented. He would say, that in it we seemed “to live, and move, and have our being;" that every where, and at every moment, its influence is felt; that it appears to possess the power calling things into existence, and of consigning them to nothing again; that all creation seems to depend upon it for sustenance, comfort, and enjoyment; that by its kind and gracious light we become acquainted with each other, and with the objects by which we are surrounded:

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that it both gives us all that we enjoy, and afterwards enables us to enjoy it; and that, like its Almighty Creator, it has no respect of persons, but scatters its rich blessings abroad with generous and impartial liberality. This would be a very natural answer: and thus we find that the first kind of idolatry of which men were guilty, was the worship of the sun; and in some nations it is still continued, and he is there regarded not so much the image of the Divinity, as the Divinity himself.

But there was a time when there was a more magnificent representative of the Godhead. There was a time when we were preferred before the sun, and the moon, and the host of heaven. But a little before, God had formed the sun, and the stars, and the firmament, and he saw that they were good; and yet not one of these did he pronounce his image, -and as if he thought he was coming to a greater work than all before, and one in which he felt himself more particularly interested, he seems to prepare Himself for our creation,— "Let us make man in our own image." For the production of inferior animated beings, he was contented to employ inferior agents: when

he would create other living things, he commands the waters and the earth to produce them. "Let the waters bring forth abundantly "the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open fir

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mament of heaven;-and let the earth bring "forth the living creature after his kind, and

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cattle, and creeping thing, and beasts of the "earth after their kind." But when he comes to man, he seems to rise to the work Himself; "Let us make man in our own image." He appears to have taken great and unbounded delight in the production of mankind. The blessing which he pronounced upon him is repeated a second time, as if he felt peculiar pleasure in bestowing it; and when his work was finished, he looked with fondness upon the image of himself that he had made, and pronounced it to be very good; it is as if he had said, I give you a portion of my glory and my character; I consign it into your hands and your care. ⚫ Behold, I gave the sun a portion of my light,

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and bade him go forth with it into the world

as my servant and my minister; but I give you

a share of my attributes and my immortality, ⚫ and my everlasting blessing is upon you if you

• fulfil the trust.'-Which of us will now stand forward and claim the fulfilment ?

This image this beautiful image has been long since shivered and disfigured; but its fragments remain to testify that it once existed. There is in the hearts of men a testimony that they shall live for ever; a voice that echoes through futurity; a sense that they shall see strange things in another world; thoughts that wander through eternity, and find no resting place. This is a fragment of God's image, a shattered remnant of his immortality, and it is there to testify against us; for if it had been perfect, nothing would be more delightful than to think that we should live for ever; to look forward into brighter scenes, and rejoice in the glory that should be revealed. All the gold of Arabia would not be worth one hour's excursion of the mind of man into the regions of futurity. For ever and for ever would his mind be reaching forward, and dwelling with fondness upon the thought, that never, from age to age, when time should be no more, should he cease from being. The pleasures of the spirits that walk to and fro in the light of God's countenance, and circle his throne rejoicing, would crowd his

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fancy and delight his hopes. Visions of celestial happiness would visit him in dreams of the night, and, compared with the dim and distant perspective of eternity, all earthly things would seem weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable." And what is the fact? Let every man judge himself how his natural heart shrinks from the contemplation of a future state of being; how he shudders to look into eternity, as into some dreary and bottomless pit. What a cold and dismal thing does immortality appear; and what a refreshment it is to his spirits to withdraw his thoughts from the consideration, and . return to his beloved earth! And then, only observe with what eagerness and desperation he gives up soul and body to the pursuit of things which he knows full well will soon be to him as if they had never been. And yet, this man, if you were to ask him the question, would tell you, that he expected to live for ever; and that when his body was mouldering in the dust from which it was taken, his soul would plunge into an ocean of spirits without bottom and without shore. This he would tell you gravely, as a matter of course. And then only observe him for one week or for one

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