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The Rights of Creation.

The Rights of Creation.

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Published by glennpease

Job xiv. 15.

Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee : thou wilt have a desire to the

work of thine hands.

Job xiv. 15.

Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee : thou wilt have a desire to the

work of thine hands.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 02, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE RIGHTS OF CREATIO. BY DAVID J. VAUGHA, M.A., Job xiv. 15. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee : thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. 'T'HE pressure of other very sad thoughts prevented me • "^ from dwelling upon these words, as I should have wished to have done, on Sunday evening last, and compelled me to confine my attention to the preceding words : * If a man die, shall he live again ? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.' But the words are so suggestive, so remarkable, so full of life and power, that I feel that I cannot forbear further comment upon them, — cannot pass away from them, without endeavouring to elicit some spark or ray, at least, of their latent heat and light. • Let us try, then, first of all, to understand the train of thought, in the midst of which these words are interposed, as a break, — at least, a momentary break. The chapter opens with the words, so familiar to us through our own burial service : *Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down : he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not' The chapter proceeds throughout in the same mournful strain. A specimen or two must suffice. Take these words, which lead up to our THE RIGHTS OF CREATIO. •-'261 text of last Sunday and to-night : * There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the rbot thereof wax
old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground ; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he ? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up : so man lieth down, and riseth not : till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me ! ' Then, after the momentary outbreak of hope, which we find in our text, he reverts again to the same gloomy train of reflection: *And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. The waters wear the stones : thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth ; and thou destroyest the hope of man. Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth : thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.' . Such a chapter as this does not stand by any means alone in the Old Testament. In the Psalms, in Ecclesiastes, and even in the Prophets, you will find many meditations upon life and death as gloomy, as desponding,' as this. Take but one example. What does Hezekiah say in his hymn of thanks- giving for recovered health and strength ? ' The grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee : they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.' It is such passages as these that bring out into full relief the force of St. Paul's state- ment, that *our Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light' To-night, however, we are concerned, not with the darkness, but with the light; not with the gloomy utterances which precede and follow our text, but with the text itself, which is 262 THE RIGHTS OF CREATIO. [ser. all the more radiant for the surrounding gloom : * Thou shalt
call, and I will answer thee : thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands/ ature theUy as now^ lent but * ugly- dreams ' to the inquirer after immortality. Upon the fairest and upon the strongest of her forms, Job saw and said, there is written * Change and decay ' — nothing else. ' The waters wear the stones ; the rock is removed out of his place : the mountain falling fadeth away.' Poets and geologists harp to this day upon the same melancholy string, — moralizing on the facts, or simply recording them, each from their own special point of view. For one hint from ature which tells in favour of immortality, you may find a hundred from the same quarter which tell against it You must look in a different direction altogether, if you would find anything to stay the hunger for immortality, which only the risen Christ can really satisfy. The nameless writer of this wonderful and truly imperishable work wrote it, in all probability, at the period of Israel's greatest intellectual activity, the reign of Solomon ; — an age of large experience of men and things, — an age intolerant, even to excess, of any arguments that would not stand the test of reason and conscience. In his search for a solid ground upon which to build some hope, however scanty, for the unknown future beyond death, he is driven at last to the simplest and most solid ground of all — the fact of Creation^ and what is involved in creation. Of course he, along with every other inspired writer, takes creation for granted — assumes the existence of a Creator, whom he can address as * Thou,' even as he can speak of himself as * I.' * Thou shalt call, and / will answer thee.' Doubtless, if questioned, he would have admitted to the fullest extent the mystery which envelopes that incomprehensible * Thoi4,' as well as the mystery which envelopes that infinitely smaller thing, which each one of us calls */.' Every chapter of his work is pervaded with the feeling of mystery, vastness, and awe, whenever he speaks of God. But he holds firmly by his faith in a Creator, whose XXVII.] THE RIGHTS OF CREATIO. 263

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