« ForrigeFortsett »
DOCT. I. That the whole creation, made for the use of man, groans under the sin of man. DOCT. II. That the creatures' pains, under the fin of man, are travailing-pains, fore indeed, but hopeful, they will in due feafon be delivered from them.
DocT. III. That the whole creation makes a mournful concert in the ears of ferious Chriftians, by their groans under man's fin.
WE begin with
DOCT. I. That the whole creation made for the use of man, groaneth under the fin of man.
What is to be offered on this doctrine fhall be comprehended under the three following heads of difcourfe.
I. IN what refpects the creation, or creatures are faid to groan; for many of them, as the earth, &c are properly incapable of groaning.
II. What diftreffes the creatures fo much, that they groan? What has man's fin done to them, to make them groan under it?
III. How, and by what right, can the harmless creatures be made to groan for our fakes? They have not finned. True, these poor sheep
what have they done?
IV. I fhall add a practical improvement of the fubject.
I. I AM, then, to fhew in what refpects the creation, or the creatures are faid to groan, for many of them, as the earth, &c. are properly inoapable of groaning.-Here I obferve,
1. That the fenfible part of the creation really groans, each after its kind: Joel, i. 18. "How do the beafts groan? the herds of cattle are perplexed, because
because they have no pafture; yea, the flocks of fheep are made defolate." The beafts, the birds, all that can groan, do groan. And these may be admitted as the mouth of the reft; they groan out their own misery, and the misery of their matefellows, that are in the fame condemnation with them, while they stand about, as it were, looking on, like a company of foreigners, one of whom only being capable of speaking our language, speaks for the reft.
2. The whole creation appears in a mournful mood and groaning pofture. The fun, the eye of the world, has often a veil drawn over it for many days; and he with the reft of the lights of heaven are covered with blackness, like mourners. The earth, trees and plants upon it, lay aside their ornaments, and every head among them is bald; because man, whom they were appointed to serve, is flain by the great murderer, the devil; therefore all his fervants are gone into mourning.
3. The whole creation, if they could, would groan, for they have good reafon, as we will fee afterwards. As our Lord fays, Luke x. 40. " If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." The preffure they are under would make them groan, if they had sense or reason to understand it. It is God's goodness to man that his sense of hearing is not more quick than it is, otherwise he could never have rest, there being always fome noise in the world. And it is well for man that the creatures cannot represent their mifery as it deferves, otherwise they would deafen him with their complaints, and make him continually uneafy with their groans.
4. The Spirit of God is grieved, and groaneth (so to speak) in the creatures. God is every where prefent, quickening, influencing, preserving, and VOL. II, governing
governing all the creatures, according to their feveral natures: Acts, xvii. 25. "Seeing he giveth to all, life, and breath, and all things?" Heb. i. 3. "Upholding all things by the word of his power." The fun cannot fhine without him; nor the earth produce its fruits, nor its fruits be ferviceable to man, without him. Whatever is profitable or pleasant in the creatures, is but fome drops of the divine goodness distilled into them, for his glory and man's good. Hence it is evident, that the abuse done to the creatures rifeth to God himself. As if a mother having fuitably sweetened the meat to a child, he fhould, after all, throw it away, his doing fo is a wrong to her as well as the abused creature. Therefore, the abufing of God's works is forbidden in the third commandment, under the notion of taking God's name in vain. For the creature's goodness is in effect God's goodness: "For there is none good but one, that is, God," Matth. xix. 17. And therefore (with reverence be it spoken) God groans from the creatures against finners: Amos, ii. 13. "Behold, (fays God), I am preffed under you, as a cart is preffed that is full of fheaves." And as the Lord from heaven cried to Saul, Acts, ix. 4. "Saul, Saul, why perfecuteft thou me ?" fo, if men had ears to hear, the drunkard, for instance, might hear God, from the creature, faying, Man, why abuseft thou me?' &c.
Laftly, Serious Christians groan in behalf of the creatures. Man was made to be the mouth of the creatures, to speak out what they could not; for which caufe God gave him a tongue and fpeech, therefore called his glory. When fin entered, man's mouth was clofed in that respect. When grace comes into the foul, the Lord fays, Ephphatha, that is, « be opened," Mark, vii. 3'4.
So man becomes the mouth of the creation again, Pfal. xix. 1. Thus believers, feeing the reason the creatures have to groan, groan out their cafe for them, acknowledging, before God and the world, the misery and hard case they are brought into by man's fin.
II. WE come now to inquire, what diftreffes the creatures fo much, that they groan? What has man's-fin done to them, to make them groan under it ?
Why, truly, they got a large share of the curse to bear for man's fake: Gen. iii. 17. “ Curfed," faid God to Adam," is the ground for thy fake." The curfe coming upon man is also felt upon the earth. Wherefore, but because of its relation to man? It bears him, and feeds him. And if fo, that curfe would spread to the visible heavens that cover him, and afford him light, and that nourish the earth which nourishes him. If this be not enough, remember they are all to go to the fire together at length; and furely that makes it. So thus man's fin, as brimftone, is scattered on his habitation: 2 Peter, iii. 10. « But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens fhall pass away with a great noise, and the elements fhall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, fhall be burnt up." Verse 11. "Seeing, then, all these things fhall be diffolved, what manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy converfation and godliness?"
This curfe has fubjected the creature to vanity. It has squeezed much of the fat out of it that was put into it at the creation; and from a full ear has brought it to an empty husk. And it is thereby alfo in bondage to corruption. It is made a
stage of fin, a fcene of misery, and liable to deftruction as fuch. But to come to particulars.
1. The whole creation, by man's fin, has fallen far fhort of its beneficial and nutritive quality, in comparison of what it originally was at its creation. Man has not that benefit of the creatures for which they were appointed at first. While he ftood, fuch fap and nourishment was in them, that could have afforded him all things for neceffity, convenience, and delight, without toil. But fin gave them fuch a fhock, that much of that fap is fhaken out of them, and fo man must now wring hard to get but a very little nourishment from them. This makes fo much barrenness in the earth, which fo meanly rewards all the toil of the husbandman. It brings forth thorns and thistles plentifully, under the influence of that curfe, while it makes a very fober increase otherwise. And what is the procuring caufe of all this but fin? Pfal. cvii. 34. "He turneth a fruitful land into barrennefs, for the wickednefs of them that dwell therein." We see how it is bound up, that the beasts of the field cannot get their food. And if the influences of the heavens were not reftrained, it would not be fo; the earth would not be iron, if the heavens were not brafs. Under this vanity the whole creation groaneth.
2. The whole creation, by man's fin, has come far fhort of its ultimate end, the honour and glory of God. God's revenue of glory from the creature is mightily diminished by the fin of man. The whole creation was made to be a book, wherein men might read the name of God; a ftringed instrument, by which men were to praise him; a a looking-glass, in which to behold his glory. But, alas! fin has drawn a veil over our eyes. Men may fay they are unlearned,