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ture;" that is, the gofpel, which is gospel or good. tidings to every creature; for not only man, but the creatures that were funk in mifery with him, Thall have the advantage of it. As they smarted by the firft Adam's finning, they fhall be reftored by virtue of the fecond Adam's fuffering. Acts, iii. 21. "Whom the heavens must receive, until the times of reftitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets fince the world began." So here are to be excepted,
(1.) The angels. For as they were not made for man, fo they are already perfectly happy, as the courtiers of the great King, who stand before the throne continually, as is fignified by that phrase, Matth. xviii. 10. That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven." (2.) The devils. For though they be most uneafy, and carry their hell about with them, 2 Pet. ii. 4. "For God fpared not the angels that finned, but caft them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darknefs, to be referved unto judgement;" yet as they were not made for man, fo man did not make them miferable, but they made man fo. Befides, the creature here was subjected in hope, ver. 20.; but the cafe of devils is abfolutely hopeless; for them there is no Saviour, and to them there is no promise.
(3.) Men themselves. For as, 1 Cor. xv. 27.. "But when he faith all things are put under him, it is manifeft, that He is excepted who did put all things under him;" fo when it is faid, "The whole creation groaneth," &c. it is manifeft he is excepted, who was the cause of the groaning of them all. The reprobate, fome of them are in hell already, others are pofting on, both groaning, but in vastly different degrees. Yet they are not meant
here, for their groans fhall never have an end. But all the effects of the curse that are to be found in the universe this day, fhall with them be swept out of the world into the lake at the great day, there to be fettled on them as their proper base: Rev. xx. 14. "And death and hell were caft into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (4.) The elect. Some of them are in heaven, and The unconverted elect groan ungroan no more. der outward miferies; but they are not meant here, for, being immerfed in wickedness with the reft of the world, they are far from the earnest expectation which the creatures here have, ver. 19. Believers groan moft fenfibly, but they must alfo be excepted here, as being opposed to this creation or creature. Ver. 23. "And not only they, but ourselves alfo, which have the firft-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Now, thefe being excepted, it remains, that by the whole creation we understand all the rest of the creatures made at firft for the use of man. They are all uneafy. The vifible heavens were made the roof of his house, the earth the floor the fun, moon, and ftars, were made to be his lights, the air to breathe in, the wind to refresh him; the various produce of the earth to afford him neceffaries, conveniences, and delights. He was lord of fea and land. Fishes, fowls, and beafts of the earth, were all at his command. While he stood, they were all of them most easy in his service. But now that matters are reverfed with him, their fituation is also reversed; none of them failed to fhare in his mifery. For though vanity, corruption, and misery, first sprang up in man, they did not halt there, but fpread over the
face of the whole earth, diffused themselves over the brinifh waters of the sea, and ascended through the air to the very glorious lights in heaven. In the words of the text we have,
2. The agony that the whole creation or creatures are in,--a great agony. It is expreffed two ways, both metaphorical.
(1.) They groan. This is a metaphor, taken from a man, with a heavy burden on his back, . which fo ftraitens him, that he cannot freely draw his breath; and when he gets it, it is a groan. So there is a heavy weight lying on the whole creation, that makes it groan; or, in other words, creatures got their death-wounds that day Adam got his, and fo they are groaning ftill with the groans of a deadlywounded man. His fin ftung them to the heart, and fo they groan. The weight they are lying under is the weight of the curfe, which binds vanity and corruption on them by virtue of the fin of man: Gen. iii. 17. "Curfed is the ground for thy fake." A weight under which, though stupid impenitent man groans not to God, yet his very beasts, and the very earth on which he walks, do.
(2.) They travail in pain. A metaphor taken from a woman bringing forth a child. The pains of child-birth are exquifite pains, and put the patient both to groans and ftrong cries. And into this condition is the whole creation brought by man's fin. They are in pangs, and they cry out of their pangs. But though birth-pains are fore pains, yet they are hopeful. There is thus fome hope that the creature will be delivered. They are travailing in pain with the hinds, to cait out their forrows, Job, xxxix. 3. They have conceived vanity and mifery, and they have gone long with it, and they are travailing in pain to be delivered, of the unhappy birth. They groan, and
and also they travail. One that has too heavy a burden on his back, groans continually while it is on. But bleffed be the holy and wife God, that has made the pains of travail intermitting; now and then a fhower. So the creatures have their ordinary pains that are never off them. But fometimes, as at this day, they have extraordinary, and as it were travailing-pains, which will off again, though they will return; Joel, i. 18. « How do the beafts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pafture; yea, the flocks of fheep are made defolate."-In our text we have,
3. The mournful concert they make: They groan together and travail together. Not together with us, verfe 23. but together among themfelves. Before fin entered into the world, they all looked blyth, and as it were fung together: But now they have changed their tune, and groan together. The beasts and the fowls groan from the earth, and the very heavens echo back to them the fame ftrain. So many creatures as there are, fo many groaners, each of them with their mourn. ful note. We have,
4. How long they have fung to the melancholy tune: Until now. They began at Adam's fall, and they have groaned ever fince, and travailed on till the apostles days, but they had not done with it then. Nay, they have groaned and travailed till now in our days, long five thousand feven hundred years, and yet their burden is not off their backs, nor have they yet got their forrows caft out. And how long it may be to their delivery, we know not. But one thing we know, it will never be till the world end by the general conflagration, when the new heavens and the new earth may rife, like the phoenix, out of their own afhes. We have,
Lastly, The auditory that liftens to the mournful concert: We, " we know," &c. We believers, we serious Chriftians, hear and certainly know the mournful ditty." Can the fhepherd who is fent to notice the sheep, not observe when they make their moan for lack of their food, especially when the whole flock is crying together? Were all the men of a city groaning of their wounds, and all the women travailing in pains together, that perfon must be deaf that would not hear the found, and he must have an heart of adamant that would not be affected. But the whole creation, above us and about us, are groaning and travailing together, and that for our fakes; yet a finful generation has no ears to hear, no heart to be affected with it, and with fin which is the caufe. But ferious Chriftians, awake to it, cannot miss to hear, and their ears affect their hearts. You will obferve, that they hear it diftinctly, not confufedly, as we apprehend fometimes we hear a thing, which we are not fure whether it be a real voice, or only an illufion of the fancy. We know, fays the apostle, we are fure, it is no fancy. Some creatures have a voice that every body can hear. But there is no creature fo mute, but a serious Chriftian, whofe fenfes are exercifed, can difcern its voice. David could hear the filent heavens, day and night, and alfo know their meaning, Pfal. xix. 1. 2.; and verfe 3.." Their is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." O that we could hear their voice this day! and that their groans and cries might pierce our hearts for fin.
This fubject is highly important.-There is contained in it the three following DOCTRINES, which in their order we propose to confider.