« FöregåendeFortsätt »
4. The creature has fallen into the hands o God's'enemies, and is forced to serve them. When man stood, all the creatures were at his beck, and were ready to come to him at his call. But when he left God, all the creatures would have left him, the sun would have shined no more on him, the air would have refused his breathing in it, the earth would not have fed nor carried him more, if God had not subjected them anew to him : Rom. viii. 20. “ For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” We fee how far some of them have gone in renouncing their service to him, Job, xxxix. 7. 8. And ver. 9. « Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib ?” And they would all have left their service, as a faithful servant will leave his master, when he goes out in rebellion against his fovereign, but that they were forced to go along; and therefore they groan.
5. They are used by finners to ends for which God never made them. They suffer violence, they are abused, and therefore they groan. God made them for his honour, men abuse them to his dishonour. Never did a beast speak but once, BaJaam’s ass, Numb. xxii. 28. 30. and that was 7. complaint on man for abusing it to an end fer which God never made it. The dumb ass rebuked the madness of the prophet, that would have it to carry him in a way God forbade him to go, and where the angel stood to oppose him. And, 'could the creatures speak to us, we would hear many complaints that way. God
gave tures to be servants to man, but man has sold them for flaves to his lufts; and who would not groan to be fo maltreated ? There are two things which make hard service:
(1.) Labour in vain, continual toil, and yet no profit by it. The creatures have no intermission in their service: Ecclef. i. 5. 8. “ All things are full of labour.” But where is the profit of it all ? The sun riseth, and runs his race every day, and never resteth. But what is the issue ? If it were to let men fee to read God's word, to behold and admire his works, to perform acts of piety, to accomplish substantial good, all the toil would never be grudged by the creatures. But, alas ! here is the case, for the most part men see to sin more by it, the worldling, the drunkard, &c. to pursue their lusts by it. The night waits on in its turn, and the thief, the adulterer, and the like, get their lufts fulfilled with it. The air waits about us continually, and the swearer gets sworn by it, the liar lied by it, and the like. The earth and sea wait on us with their produce; and people get their sensuality, their vanity, pride, and the like, nourished by it. What wonder they groan, to be brought to this pafs? Sun, moon, air, earth, and fea, are groaning for this as they can, very meat and drink could groan, they would groan in the dish, cup, throat, and belly of the drunkard, glutton, sensualift, yea, of every one with whom they are not employed to nourish the body for the Lord and his service, but for the world, &c.There is,
(2.) Hard labour, and much lofs by it. We have both these : Hab. ii. 13. « Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts, that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity ?” The creatures not only toil for vanity, but as it were in the fire, where they smart for their pains. The covetous opprefsor's money kept from the labourer, groans in the corner of your chest, and cries, “ Behold, the
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 curse fies
upon me? why wilt thou not let me away to the labourer ?' The oppreffor builds his house by blood and oppression, and the very stones and timber cry out, « Why have you laid me here, where the curse of God will not let me rest ?" Hab. ii. 11.
If a master should force his servant into the king's throne, and force the crown on his head, and the sceptre into his hand, how would he groan to think that he is abused, and that his life must go for it too. Ah! is it
wonder that the beasts, the pastures of the wildernefs, groan this day, who have so often been set 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 speak, · Why get we the first thoughts in the morning, and the last at night? Why set you that love, joy, delight, and trust 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 miseries. Though they do not sin 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 discases billeted.on man, were quartered also on them. Sinful man's neighbourhood infected them; they die groaning with him. In the deluge they perished with him, except a few preserved in the ark,
as living in the same element with him. The beasts in Sodom were destroyed with fire and brimstone, with the men. In the plagues of Egypt, the cattle smarted together with the owners, also their fields, vines, fycomores, &c. The inanimate creatures suffer with him also. He fins, and the very earth is laid in bonds for him ; but groan as it will in that case, he cannot loose them : Job, xxxviii.
o Canst thou bind the sweet 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 shall be iron.” The very waters are straitly bound up on his account : Job, xxxvii. 10. “ By the breath of God frost is given ; and the breadth of the waters is straitened.” 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 fast, like a wild beast, in God's trap. This is the true sense of Job, in the Hebrew, chap. xxxviii. 30. “ The wa
hid as with a stone, 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.”