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like a garment; as a vefture fhalt thou change them, and they fhall be changed." And that it fhall be to the better, is evident from Rev. xxi. 1. "And I faw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were paffed a way, and there was no more fea.”
3. They fhall no more be abused by finners; they shall never more ferve the luft of any man whatsoever, Rom. viii. 21. They fhall then be recovered, the groaning creature rescued, never to fuffer a relapse any more. However the lufts of the wicked may then be, they must prey upon their own bowels, but they fhall get no more of the creation to feed them.
4. They shall serve God's enemies no longer. Their long captivity shall then be at an end: Rom. viii. 21. The fun fhall no more be tow one beam of its light on an ungodly wretch, nor shall the face of the earth bear him any longer. drop of water to cool the tongue, fhall no more be at his service. Then they hall bid an eternal farewell to the mafters they ferved fo long against
5. All their misery, which was brought on them by man's fin, fhall then be at an end. They have shared long with man in his plagues, but then they will get the burden off their back, Rom. viii. 21. The eating of the forbidden fruit cast them into a fever, they have groaned under it ever fince, but then they fhall get a cool, and never relapse more.. Now, as to the way this fhall be brought to pass, the scriptures are clear in two things:
(1.) That the world shall all go up in flames at the laft day, which we call the general conflagration: 2 Pet. iii. 7. "But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the fame word are kept in ftore, referved unto fire against the day of judge
ment, and perdition of ungodly men." The apostle is very particular on this, in the 10th verfe: "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 shall melt with fervent heat, the earth alfo, and the works that are therein, fhall be burnt up." The vifible heavens by these means fhall pass away with a great noise. What a fearful noise would there be in a burning palace! what a noise, then, must there be arifing from a diffolving world! the elements of air, water, and earth, fhall be melted down like metal by that fire; the habitable earth fhall be burnt up, with the works therein; men's works, cottages, palaces, caftles, towns, and cities; God's works, all the creatures therein, birds, beasts, plants, trees, filver, gold, coin, &c.
(2.) That upon the back of this conflagration, there fhall be new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, as in 2 Pet. iii. 13. This John fees, Rev. xxi. 1. To this purpose the pfalmift fpeaks, telling us that the heavens and the earth fhall be changed, which is quite another thing than to be annihilated. So the apostle Peter calls it only a diffolution, 2 Pet. iii. 11. And to this agrees what he says of melting by fire, which, we know, does not annihilate, but only purges the metal from drofs.
So far the fcripture clearly goes. But what particular creatures fhall be renewed in the new earth, their actions, properties, and uses, I will not inquire into these things. It is certain that fome creatures came in after fin. Anah found mules in the wilderness, as he fed the affes of Zibeon his father, Gen. xxxvi. 24. The day will discover these things. But when one confiders the world was made to be a looking-glafs, wherein to behold
God's glorious perfections; and that ever fince it was made, it has been before finful man, blinded with fin, except the short time Adam ftood, it may occasion some thoughts as to what the state of matters fhall be in a new heaven, and in a new earth. -We come now,
III. To confirm the doctrine of the creatures' delivery. As to this,
1. Confider, that the great day is the day of the reftitution of all things: Acts, iii. 21. "Whom the heaven must retain, until the times of reftitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, fince the world began." When God made the world, there was nothing but harmony and orderlinefs in it. But as ever a rude heedlefs perfon, by a rash touch of his hand, defaced a fine picture, or disjointed and unframed a curious piece of work; fo did Adam's fin the world. But there is a restoration coming.Confider,
2. That our Lord Jefus is the heir of all things, Heb. i. 2. God gave Adam a charter, to hold of him the great eftate of the world. But, rebelling against his God, his eftate was forfeited, and that charter-right void, because it depended on his good behaviour. The second Adam coming in his room, the forfeited estate is made over to him, Pfal. viii. 5. 6. 7. compared with Heb. ii. 6. 7. 8. " But now we fee not yet all things put under him." Ver. 9. "But we fee Jefus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the fuffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that he by the grace of God fhould tafte death for every man.' But ftill in fome fense he has not yet the actual poffeffion of all, there are many of them still in the hands of his enemies, Heb. ii. 8. As
Jefus Chrift has a right to all the elect, though some of them are yet under the power of fin and Satan, and all of them, except a few fingular perfons, under the power of death, but Chrift at that day will fully recover them all; fo the creatures yet in the hand of his enemies, he will then restore, seeing they are all his by his Father's gift; hence we are taught that he will come again out of heaven for that restoration: Acts, iii. 21.-Confider,
3. That all the effects of the curfe are to be gathered together, and confined for ever with the wicked in the lake: Rev. xx. 14. 15. " And death and hell were caft into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whofoever was not found written in the book of life, was caft into the lake of fire." Now, they lie fcattered up and down through the whole creation, but they shall all meet together there; and therefore it evidently follows, that as to the creatures, their fhare of them, which makes them groan now, fhall then be taken off them, and they for ever made free. As the mud. and filthiness that lies in every part of the street being swept together, and caft into the common fink, it is all there then, and in no place elfe.It remains,
IV. THAT we make fome improvement. 1. In an ufe for information.
(1.) This teaches us that every wicked man fhall at length get all his own burden to bear himself alone. Many one takes a light lift of the burden of fin, because there are so many to bear a share of it. Men provoke God, and God fmites the earth that bears them with a curfe, makes their poor beafts groan, &c. But thefe ftrokes are far from their hearts; they notwithstanding keep their fins.
If they groan at one time, they will recover again. But remember, O impenitent finner! the day is coming when the creature fhall efcape, and leave thee in the lurch for all. The whole weight that is on them and thee together now, fhali lie on thyfelf alone, and prefs thee down through eternity, while not one of the creatures fhall touch it with the leaft of their fingers.-Learn,
(2.) That people had need to take heed how they use the creatures while they have them. For as much as they are under our feet now, their ears are not nailed to our door-pofts to be our flaves for ever. The day of their freedom is approaching. Let us not abuse them to the fervice of our lufts, left they witness against us at last. Let us not dishonour their Lord by them, left they rejoice over us for ever in our misery, when their foot is out of the fnare, and ours in it. Let us not put them in God's room, left they fend all the effects of the curfe from off themselves on us, and fo put us in the fame place with devils.-We may hence fee,
(3.) That this world, and what is therein, paffeth away: John, ii. 17. " And the world paffeth away, and the luft thereof." It is a stage of vanity that will be taken down, and the table of a dying life will come to an end. What marvel is it that man dies, feeing he lives by deaths, the death of the creatures; but this bondage of the creatures will not continue, they will be delivered, and God will support the life of man another way in eternity.
(4.) We may learn what glorious things will be the new heaven and the new earth! When the old cracked pewter veffel is melted down and refined, and cast into a new mould, how unlike will it be to what it was! The heavens and earth are now very glorious, yet fin has marred them. He VOL. II.