by James Meikle, 1730-1799
On the works of Creation
Everything is full of God! How is our earth replenished.
Skies and seas are crowded with inhabitants! Every blade is covered with
life, and every drop of each pond abounds with microscopic organisms—so that
we have an endless field for admiration, gratitude, and wonder, on our
terrestrial globe. Now, to a mind which would admire the glory of the
Creator—what a noble prospect is our planet! So many worlds of intelligent
creatures, living on his providence, and paying him the tribute of praise!
Moreover, at immense distances on every hand, beyond all
the planets of our system, we see a great many fixed stars with our naked
eye; and, by the help of telescopes, millions more; and the better the
lenses are, still more distant and starry galaxies, are brought into view,
and astonish every beholder. How vast the survey may still grow, as lenses
may be further and further improved, I shall not dare to conjecture.
No arm but an omnipotent one, can support such legions of
worlds, no eye but an omniscient can survey the whole. Well may we, with
astonishment, join Bildad, and cry, "Who can count the multitude of stars?"
From this view of creation we may infer,
1. How great must the Creator be, who holds, and upholds,
in the hollow of whose hand—so many millions of worlds! How prolific every
hour of the six days creation! What multitudes of holy angels admiring these
works worthy of a God! We read of "the voices of many angels around
the throne. There were millions and millions of them!" And how many more
they are, none can tell.
2. What desperate madness would it for sinners, who, by
their sin, challenge the Lord of these millions of worlds—and run stubbornly
and proudly to fight against Almighty God—whose arm is omnipotent, whose
blow is irresistible, and whose displeasure is death!
3. What must be the power which made—and the wisdom which
governs and upholds all these worlds! In what a blaze of glory must the
Creator appear, who has kindled up so many millions of suns, and kept so
many millions of planets regularly rolling around them, and even wandering
comets—so that not one, through so many ages, has mistaken its course!
Earthly kingdoms and churches, and families, may dwell secure under the
providence and scepter of such a King! And every individual of the human
race may commit his way to this great Governor—without an uneasy thought, an
irksome murmur, or an anxious wish!
4. When sinners on every side create us sorrow, let us
reflect—that even from this earth, the ransomed of the Lord shall be a great
multitude, which no man can number. What, then, must the heavenly assembly
be—the inhabitants of so many millions of worlds—and all the multitudes of
holy angels—all in the presence of God and the Lamb—and all shouting his
praises through an endless evermore!
5. Creation is the admiration of men. But redemption is
the wonder of angels. Redemption is the furthermost that God can go. Had he
pleased, he could have created still more and more worlds. But he could give
nothing better, nothing more—than his Son! In creation his wisdom, his
power, and his goodness—are manifested. But in redemption—his manifold
wisdom, his mighty power, his spotless holiness, his unbounded goodness, his
inflexible justice, and his invariable truth—shine forth, and will shine,
while the ransomed eternally sing before the throne! And here the astronomer
and philosopher are reproved—who survey the whole creation—but stop short of
God; or are filled with wonder at the works of his hands—but never have
their hearts filled with gratitude at his love and grace in redemption!
6. However God may shine in the works of creation—still
he shines with uncommon, unrivaled, unparalleled luster in the work of
redemption! For, to save one soul is more than to create all these worlds!
In creation—he merely spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood
fast. He said, 'Let it be'—and light and suns, and systems, filled part of
the mighty regions of space!
But nothing less could ransom sinners—than his own
eternal Son, united to human nature, and sustaining unutterable agonies, the
acutest sense of divine wrath—and thus expiring on the accursed tree! O
astonishing price of our redemption! Though all the millions of angels round
the throne, and all the sinless inhabitants of these millions of worlds, had
been sacrificed for the salvation of one soul, that soul, notwithstanding
such a sacrifice—they must have perished forever; for it is impossible that
the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sin. And on one level stand
all creatures here, from the highest angels, through every rank of
intelligent beings—because all are creatures still. I see, then, that my
Redeemer must be a divine person—as there is no semi-deity. I see that Jesus
must be the supreme, the self-existent Jehovah.
7. And will I cast away my soul forever—a soul of such
value—for earthly vanities, for phantoms, for shadows, for nothing? How
should an immortal soul rise above all the trifles of creation, the
'pageantry of an opulent life', and the splendors of royalty--and expand
every power of the soul, every mental faculty, to be numbered among those
holy multitudes which daily arrive at heaven; and to the fellowship of
millions of angels, and to eternal communion with God!
8. What must the wicked feel at last, when in the
presence of all these assembled worlds—they shall be loaded with infamy,
condemned to the abodes of horror and despair, and thus punished with
everlasting destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the
glory of his great power—which was displayed in the grand work of
redemption, and in the creation of that vast multitude of worlds! Not only
cut off from this dear society of holy angels, and blissful innocents from
all these worlds—but banished from the divine presence—and pursued with
burning wrath forever!
9. What a noble prospect opens beyond death to every
saint, who by nature is a social creature; for grace does not destroy
nature—but purifies and exalts it! In the celestial courts, among immortal
nobles—they shall enjoy the divine presence! Though now the presence of one
sovereign is courted with avidity; and to be admitted into a congress of all
the kings and potentates of this world would be a rare and highest
honor—this would be despicable compared to that renown which attends
admission into eternal glory! How magnificent is this assembly! how
delightful their song! and how vast their felicity—none can tell!
Though all these worlds can claim God as their Creator,
yet only the saints can claim God as their Redeemer, and have notes in their
hosannas which neither angels nor any other can imitate!
How the blessed will be employed in eternity, we cannot
say. But as God is everywhere present, so they will find heaven everywhere.
Yet, where the God-man, God in our nature, shall dwell in the bright
effulgence of his glory, there shall the redeemed assemble. And wherever
they go, or whatever they do, they shall enjoy God in a manner that will
make them happy above conception or thought!
I offer a few more thoughts, and leave them with the
reader. Where God is, in his divine essence, filling immensity alike,
wherever he manifests his glory, and communicates his goodness—there is
1. It seems to be the general opinion of divines, that
neither sun, moon, nor stars, nor our earth, shall be annihilated. But the
world at last shall be purified by fire, and appointed for some noble use by
the supreme Disposer of all things.
2. If in this new earth, righteousness, (that is, the
saints or righteous ones,) shall dwell; who, like the angels that come from
the realms of bliss, shall, though inhabiting the earth, dwell in the very
heart of heaven; so, after the general judgment, the inhabitants of all
these other worlds shall dwell in their distinct globes. Yet all these
numerous worlds shall make but one heaven, one commonwealth of bliss, and be
forever blessed with the vision of God's glory, with the communications of
3. Who can tell but that in eternity there may be some
grand festivals, some magnificent solemnities, when the inhabitants of all
these worlds shall assemble to worship him in universal chorus, who truly is
the Lord almighty, and to pay special honors to the man Christ, who, because
he humbled himself to the death, the death of the cross, has a name given
him, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue
confess, through heaven and earth, and universal nature!
What a glorious sight will this be in the eyes of every
adorer! And how will the redeemed rejoice to see their incarnate God exalted
as Head over all! And what a field of wonder, what a flood of ecstasy will
pour into these innumerable millions, when the mystery of redemption is
revealed to them—which things the angels, bending down from their heavenly
orbs, desire to look into!
4. When the inhabitants of all these worlds assemble
again around the heavenly throne, with what additional luster will they
shine to one another! Even in Heaven wisdom makes the face to shine; and as
their researches into God are unremitted, so their growth in knowledge will
be constant. And though all are employed in studying God, yet some may have
some sweet display of one divine attribute, others of another, which they
may communicate to each other, to their mutual joy and increase of
knowledge. Just as Christians now, though their search may be after all
truth, yet one may have a bright discovery of one truth, and another of a
distinct truth, and so on—by which they may improve and edify one another.
Thus, every time they meet in heaven, it will be with additional degrees of
knowledge, felicity, and glory.
Moreover, the angels, these heavenly courtiers, that have
explored the Godhead for many thousand years, will communicate their
knowledge to all the happy adorers—for, in the world of spirits, every
intelligent being can freely converse with one another.
But, above all, Jesus, who has been the prophet to his
church in the militant state, will continue to be her prophet in the
triumphant state; and, as far as his divine wisdom sees fit—will unfold to
them more and more the mysteries of grace, the treasuries of glory, the
depths of Deity, the secrets of God!
5. As all these worlds are but like the cities of one
kingdom, the states of one republic, the members of one family, and the
servants of one God. May not the inhabitants, being nimble as the angels of
light, visit one another? But O how different from the visits below! The
praise of God fill every mouth, and his glory shine in every countenance.
Thrice happy guests! They will set out from world to world—as swift as
angels, or quick as thought! And to hear, and speak, and learn still more
and more of God—will be their constant employment, and soul-refreshing
theme. If the sweets of society and friendship be esteemed among the sons of
men; how shall the sweets of sacred friendship and sinless society be
esteemed among the sons of God!
6. May not we suppose poor sinners, who are shut up in
the gulf of hell—to be like state prisoners, who hear their offended
sovereign passing in triumph, attended by his loyal nobles, and happy
favorites—but no ray of hope for them! They therefore gnaw their very chains
in the anguish of despair! And, with redoubled howlings, and severest
remorse, bewail themselves as banished forever from the glory of his power,
which shines in such an assembly, and beams brightly in redeeming love.
And they shall feel the added sense of divine displeasure
striking into every power and faculty of their soul forever. Oh! how must
the torments of sinners, the anguish of damnation, be heightened, sharpened,
and pitched up to the highest pitch, by this sad reflection—that their state
is fixed, and their misery shall endure to all eternity, in the fullest
meaning of the word—in spite of all that witless votaries for hell have said
to the contrary!
7. Wherever the saints, the ransomed of the Lord, may
dwell—it must be in heaven, and they shall be blessed with the presence of
the man Christ; for he is their Head, and they are his members. Angels, and
all the happy worlds, are related to him as their Creator and supreme
good—but the saints claim him as their Brother, their Husband, their Head,
their Redeemer; and, by this relation, have an honor superior to any other
8. Whatever delight and satisfaction all these
intelligent beings may find in searching into the wonders of creation, into
that astonishing variety that may prevail among the inhabitants of the
numerous worlds, (since even among the angels, who are all immaterial
beings, we find thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, angels and
archangels, cherubim and seraphim;) yet, every happy adorer will join the
psalmist of old, "Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none I desire
but you!" None in all these millions of worlds—that I desire besides you!
Though the students on divine subjects shall be
innumerable, yet every divine perfection, being infinite, shall afford them
ample scope for their searches. For I am of opinion, that their knowledge
shall be so acute and comprehensive, that the motions, laws, and universal
connection that the systems of nature have with one another—shall be
familiar and easy to them. But, with what growing wonder, and holy delight,
shall they admire that Power who produced such numerous worlds from mere
nothing—from pure nothing! and called such mighty spirits as the angels into
being with a word! And how will the most penetrating geniuses of angels, or
of men, or other intelligent beings, find themselves lost in searching into
God's self-existence and essence! His essential being is so infinite, that
it defies, and will forever defy, their researches. Compared with him, all
these millions of angels, and millions of worlds, with their inhabitants,
are but as an atom—to space; or a point—to infinity! In this infinite
essence, the happy inquirers will find glories forever new!
Moreover, how will they be completely ravished to think,
(though no creature can understand how,) that this great God, in three
co-equal persons, have existed with all the necessary attributes of
infinity, omnipotence, omniscience, an immutability, as well as holiness,
justice, goodness, and truth, from all evermore!
Likewise, the works of providence in every world,
and respecting every individual, will be a noble theme to the heirs of
felicity! Also, the salvation of sinners, by the incarnation, sufferings,
and atonement of the Son of God—will be the wonder of all the glorious
intelligences, as well as the song of the redeemed.
9. Finally, the Lord shall rejoice in all his works, and
his glory shall continue forever—while to millions of millions he
communicates of his goodness through eternity! Compared with those in
bliss—what a small handful shall lie under his burning indignation forever!
But, O melancholy thought! perhaps my dear friends, my daily companions, or
my near relations—may be among the unhappy people! O that they may be made
to flee from the wrath to come!
To add no more, how dark are our views, and how ignorant
are we of the world to come! But this may fill us with solid joy—that it is
wholly in his hand, who will make his people happy in and with himself
forever—whose presence is fullness of joy, and to be at whose right hand is