“2. The Scriptures inform us that, before creation was begun, our world was marked out by Eternal Wisdom as the theatre of its joyful operations. This idea is forcibly expressed in the eighth chapter of Proverbs: “Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens,I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the depth; when he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then was I by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: rejoicing always in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
On this interesting passage I shall offer a few remarks. First, Among the variety of objects which are here specified as the works of God, the earth is mentioned as being, in a sort, his peculiar property. Doubtless the whole creation is the Lord’s; but none of his other works is here claimed as his own in the manner that the earth is. It is called his earth. And this seems to intimate a design of rendering it the grand theatre on which his greatest work should be performed; a work that should fill all creation with joy and wonder.
Secondly, The Wisdom of God is described as rejoicing in the contemplation of this part of the creation. Whether Wisdom in this passage be understood of the promised Messiah, or of a Divine attribute personified, it makes no difference as to the argument. Allow it to mean the latter; and that the rejoicing of Wisdom is a figurative mode of speaking, like that of” mercy rejoicing against judgment;”* still, redemption by Jesus Christ is the object concerning which it was exercised: nothing less can be intimated than this, that the earth was the place marked out by Eternal Wisdom as the theatre of its joyful operations.
Thirdly, The habitable part of the earth was more especially the object of Wisdom’s joyful contemplation. The abodes of men, which through sin had become scenes of abomination, were, by the interposition of the Mediator, to become the abodes of righteousness. Here the serpent’s head was to be bruised, his schemes confounded, and his works destroyed; and that by the ” woman’s seed,” the human nature, which he had despised and degraded. Here a trophy was to be raised to the glory of sovereign grace; and millions of souls, delivered from everlasting destruction, were to present an offering of praise to Him ” that loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood.” Here, in a word, the peculiar glory of the Godhead was to be displayed in such a manner as to afford a lesson of joyful amazement to the whole creation ” throughout all ages” of time, yea, ” world without end.”
Lastly, not only were the abodes of men contemplated with rejoicing, the sons of men themselves regarded with delight. The operations of Eternal Wisdom were directed to their salvation ; and their salvation was appointed to become, in return, a mirror in which the whole creation should behold the operations of Eternal Wisdom. This expressive passage contains a fulness of meaning, let the extent of the intelligent creation be what it may; but if it be of that extent which modern philosophy supposes, it contains a greater fulness still. It perfectly accords with all those ideas suggested of this earth being the chosen theatre upon which events should be brought to pass that shall fill creation with everlasting joy; and well they may, if the prospect of them rejoiced even the heart of God.”
Excerpt From “The Gospel Its Own Witness”, 1799
Fuller, Andrew, The Works of Andrew Fuller. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007.