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3. That stability is a fence against temptations. The wavering profeffor is a hopeful prey to temptation. The town that begins to parley, is next door to surrendering. The Jews faw Pilate begin to waver, and then they plied him to condemn Christ, till they carried him off his feet.-Confider,
Lastly, That stability is the foundation of ferviceableness for God. The vefsels of the temple were of gold, silver, brass, &c. but none of glass, no crystal ones; these were too brittle for templeservice. So wavering profeffors will never be honoured of God to be serviceable for him, but they will do much harm to the way of the Lord.
CREATION'S GROANS CONSIDERED AND
SE R MON XXVI.
Rom. viii. 22. For we know that the whole crcation
groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now.
IF we look abroad into the world, we cannot
miss to perceive it in a feverilh condition; the whole head fick, the whole heart faint; good men and God's good creatures also groaning under a weight of misery. If we look above us into heaven, we cannot but see that it is an holy God who has cast them into, and keeps them in this miserable condition. But withal we may conclude, that it shall not be always fo; this fever of the creation will have a cool. A gracious God will not suffer it always to be ill with good men and his good creatures. Therefore the apostle, ver. 18. of the chapter before us, taking a view of the suffering lot of the faints, of which himself had a large share, by faith looks through the cloud of
miseries * Delivered January 1716,
miseries into which the saints are now wrapt up, and beholds a glory that is to be revealed in them, a lightfome day that shall succeed this dark night, when all the clouds shall be scattered, never more to gather. He confirms the revelation of that glory from two confiderations.
1. The creatures, ver. 19. with earnest expectation wait for it. 2. The faints, ver. 23. anxiously look and long for it. And neither of these can be in vain, for they are of God's implanting ; and justice stands not against the satisfying of these appetites raised by the sanctifying Spirit in the saints, and by the creating hand in the creatures.
As to the first of these, the apostle, 1. Aflerts that longing of the creatures for the revelation of that glory in the saints, ver. 19. 2. He shews the misery they are under, from which they are so anxious to be delivered, Vanity, ver. 20. ; Corruption, ver. 21. 3. That their deliverance is connected with, and must be suspended till the revelation of that glory in the saints, ver. 21. 4.
He shews how uneary they are in the mean time, ver. 22.-Thus much for the connection. In the words of the text, we have, The party
whose uneasiness is here taken notice of: “ The whole creation," or every creature in heaven and on earth, is uneasy. Yet this phrase is not fo universal, but that it admits of some exceptions, as Mark, xvi. 15. “ And he faid unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ;” yet not to the angels, glorified faints, devils, &c. The limitation is every creature made for the use of man, in heaven or on earth, which, because of iheir relation to him, were made subject to vanity on occasion of his sin. This shews a good reason for that phrase, Mark, xvi. 15. “Preach the gofpel to every crea- ,
ture ;" that is, the gospel, which is gospel or good. tidings to every creature; for not only man, but the creatures that were sunk in misery with him, shall have the advantage of it. As they smarted by the first Adam's finning, they shall be restored by virtue of the second Adam's suffering. Acts, iii. 21. ~ Whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” So here are to be excepted,
(1.) The angels. For as they were not made for man, so they are already perfectly happy, as the courtiers of the great King, who stand before the throne. continually, as is signified 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 uneasy, and carry their hell about with them, 2 Pet. . ii. 4. “For God fpared not the angels that finned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement;" yet as they were not made for man, so man did not make them miserable, but they made man so. Besides, the creature here was subjected in hope, ver. 20.; but the case of devils is absolutea ly hopeless; for them there is no Saviour, and to them there is no promise. (3.) Men themselves.
For as, i 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;" so when it is said, “The whole creation groaneth,” &c. it is manifeft he is excepted, who was the cause of the groaning of them all. The reprobate, some of them are in hell already, others are posting on, both groaning, but in vastly different degrees. Yet they are not meant
here, for their groans shall never have an end. But all the effects of the curse that are to be found in the universe this day, shall with them be swept out of the world into the lake at the great day, there to be settled on them as their proper base : Rev. xx. 14. « And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
(4.) The elect. Some of them are in heaven, and groan no more. The unconverted elect groan under outward miseries; but they are not meant here, for, being immersed in wickedness with the rest of the world, they are far from the earnest expectation which the creatures here have, ver. 19. Believers groan most sensibly, but they must also be excepted here, as being opposed to this creation or creature. Ver. 23. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Now, these being excepted, it remains, that by the whole creation we understand all the rest of the creatures made at first for the use of man. They are all uneasy. The visible heavens were made the roof of his house, the earth the floor; the sun, moon, and stars, 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 sea and land. Fishes, fowls, and beasts 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 reversed with him, their situation is also reversed ; none of them failed to share in his misery. For though vanity, corruption, and misery, first sprang up in man, they did not halt there, but spread over the