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hire of the labourers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth, and the cries of them that have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of fabaoth," James, v. 4.
Why do you lock me up here, where a heavy curfe hes upon me? why wilt thou not let me away to the labourer? The oppreffor builds his house by blood and oppreffion, and the very stones and timber cry out, "Why have you laid me here, where the curfe of God will not let me reft?" Hab. ii. 11. If a master should force his fervant into the king's throne, and force the crown on his head, and the fceptre into his hand, how would he groan to think that he is abufed, and that his life must go for it too. Ah! is it any wonder that the beafts, the paftures of the wilderness, groan this day, who have so often been fet in God's throne, the heart; have had room with him, yea, more room than him, nay, many times the only room there? O! would they not cry, if they could fpeak, Why get we the first thoughts in the morning, and the laft at night? Why set you that love, joy, delight, and truft in us, that you ought to place in God? O let us out of this dangerous place, let us out of your hearts, that is a dangerous place to us,' Ezek. xxiv. 25. 26.—I only add,
6. And last reason of their groaning, that the creatures partake with man in his miferies.Though they do not fin with him, yet they suffer with him. They that have life, live groaning with him. They are liable to sickness, pains, and fores, as well as he; for not a few of the troops of difeases billeted on man, were quartered alfo on them. Sinful man's neighbourhood infected them; they die groaning with him. In the deluge they perifhed with him, except a few preserved in the ark,
as living in the fame element with him. The beasts in Sodom were destroyed with fire and brimftone, with the men. In the plagues of Egypt, the cattle smarted together with the owners, also their fields, vines, fycomores, &c. The inanimate creatures fuffer with him alfo. He fins, and the very earth is laid in bonds for him; but groan as it will in that cafe, he cannot loose them: Job, xxxviii. 31. "Canft thou bind the fweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion ?" Their iron-bands he cannot break: Deut. xxviii. 23. "And the heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee fhall be iron." The very waters are ftraitly bound up on his account: Job, xxxvii. 10. "By the breath of God froft is given; and the breadth of the waters is ftraitened." Nay, they are muffled up with a weight above them, like a stone under ground; for as swift as they rise to go, and as nimble as they run, they are catched and held faft, like a wild beaft, in God's trap. This is the true fenfe of Job, in the Hebrew, chap. xxxviii. 30. "The waters are hid as with a ftone, and the face of the deep is frozen." Nay, the very heavens are in bonds too, Deut. xxviii. 23. And they cry out in their bands, Hof. ii. 21. "I will hear, faith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth."
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED *.
ROM. viii. 22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now.
AVING confidered in what refpects the creation, or creatures, are faid to groan, and what diftreffes the creatures fo much that they groan, we now proceed to inquire,
III. How, and by what right, can the harmless creatures be made to groan for our fakes? They have not finned. True, thefe poor fheep, what have they done?-Here I observe,
1. That there is fovereignty in this groaning. The creatures are all his own, and it is lawful for him
*This Sermon was delivered on a Faft-day, appointed by the Prefbytery of which the Author was a member, on occafion of a fevere threatening form which then prevailed. In this difcourfe, and through the whole of this fubject, the Author has evidently a reference to the unnatural rebellion which was then raging, and appears deeply affected with the ftate of the church and nation at that period.
him to do with his own what he will, Matth. xx. 15. Solomon tells us, Ecclef. viii. 4. "Where the word of a king is, there is power, (Heb. dominion), and who may fay unto him, What doest thou?" God is the great ftore-master, to whom all the flocks and herds in the world belong : « The cattle upon a thousand hills are his," Pfal. 1. 10. He has given you the use of them, but has referved the abfolute property to himself. You have them in kain, and that is ill paid; therefore no wonder he take them out of your hand, and difpofe of them in another way, whereby he may get the use of them, that is, glory to himself.—I obferve,
2. That the creatures are liable to this groaning, because of their relation to finful man, who has a fubordinate, limited, providential intereft in them; and that by the same justice that the whole which a malcfactor has, fmarts with him; as it was in the cafe of Achan, and all that he had, Jofh. vii. 24. The fun is a light to him, therefore it is overclouded; it nourishes his ground, therefore its influences are restrained. The ground feeds his flocks and herds, therefore it is inhibited. They furnish him with neceffaries, conveniences, and profits, therefore they fuffer. They stand in a nearer relation to him than other creatures; they were made the fame day, and of the fame earth, and live in the fame element with him, and therefore they smart foreft, because they are nearest to him, They are nearer, and therefore it is harder with them than with fishes and fowls, which were of the water, and live, the one in the water, the other in the air.-I obferve,
3. That the creatures groan because of their ufefulness to him, by the fame right that, in war,
one takes from his enemy whatever may be of ufe to that enemy in the war. None fcruple to take every thing from an enemy, that so he may be disabled, and yield. Now, God is angry, and carrying on a war with us, which we began; and to oblige us to yield, he falls on the creatures that are useful to us. Pharaoh will not let Ifrael go, and the cattle, and the very trees and water of Egypt, fmart. They kill, fwear, lie, fteal, commit adultery: Hof. iv. 3. "Therefore fhall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beafts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the fea alfo fhall be taken away." Men are very indifferent about the intereft of God, and if they get their own intereft feen to, are little concerned as to any thing elfe and therefore God blasts their profpects; as you may fee, by confulting Haggai, i. 4.-11.I observe,
4. That the creatures groan, by the same right one takes a fword from a man wherewith he is running at him. The creatures are idols of jealoufy often to provoke God, and therefore he ftrikes them down. Often, and moft juftly, does God punish sinners in that wherein they have finned, fo as they may read their fin in their punishment, as in Eli's cafe, and in Ifaac's, Gen. xxv. 28. and xxvi. 35. The farm, and the care about it, often keeps people from the marriage-fupper of the King's Son, Matth. xxii. 5. The Gadarenes, for their liking of fwine better than a Saviour, had their wretched idols drowned in the fea.-—I obferve,
5. That the creatures groan by the fame right one takes back his loan, when he gets no thanks for it, but, on the contrary, it is improved against himself: Hof. ii. 8. 9. " For fhe did not know that I