[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]
by Dr. John Thomas
This, then, is the present order of things.
Man is replenishing the earth and subduing it.
He is reducing it from its natural wildness.
Subduing land and sea to the convenience of nations; and subjugating, likewise, the wild creatures of his own species to law and order, and exterminating the untameable; -- he is preparing the world for an advance to a more exalted, yet not perfect, state, which the Man from heaven shall introduce, and establish; not, however, upon the destruction of nature and society, but upon the improvement of the first, and the regeneration of the last; which shall continue for a thousand years, as the intermediate state between the present purely animal and natural, and the final purely spiritual, or incorruptible, and unchangeable constitution of the globe.
In carrying his mission into effect, it was necessary that the animal man should have dominion.
He was too feeble to execute it without assistance; and there was no source from which he could receive voluntary aid.
It was needful, therefore, that he should receive power by which he could compel the co-operation he required.
For this reason, as well as for his own defence against the inconvenient familiarity of the inferior creatures with their lord, God gave him dominion over them all.
"Have dominion," said He, "over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth".
This was the charter of man's sovereignty over flesh and blood.
Himself the king, and all living creatures the subjects of his dominion.
As to his own species, however, he was permitted to be neither a law to himself, nor to his fellows.
The right of man to exercise lordship over his fellow-man beyond the circle of his own family, was not granted to him "by the grace of God".
God's grace only conferred upon him what I have already stated.
Even his domestic sovereignty was to cease, when the time came for one to leave father and mother.
After this separation, all paternal rule ended, and the only bondage which continued was the yoke of affection.
Man rules in his family by the grace of God, which says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long in the land".
This obedience is founded on the fitness of things; but even this is not enjoined absolutely.
It is only "parents in the Lord," who have a divine fight to expect unqualified obedience from the Christian children of their household.
If parents not in the Lord, require their children to do contrary to, or to abstain from doing, His will, obedience should be firmly, but affectionately, refused.
This would probably produce trouble and division in the family, if the parent were an uncultivated man of the flesh, or a bigot.
In that case, he would behave like a tyrant, and endeavour to coerce them to obey him, rather than their conviction of the truth; whose nature it is to divide between flesh and spirit, sinners and saints, and to create a man's foes out of the members of his own household.