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ences between the heaven that now is, and that which will be after the renovation. But they are above our apprehension : we must leave eternity to explain them.
9. We may more easily conceive the changes which will be wrought in the lower heaven, in the region of the air. It will be no more torn by hurricanes, or agitated by furious storms, or destructive tempests. Pernicious or terrifying meteors will have no place therein. We shall have no more occasion to say:
" There like a trumpet, loud and strong,
Thy thunder shakes our coast :
The banners of thy host !" No: all will then be light, fair, serene; a lively picture of the eternal day.
10. All the elements (taking that word in the common sense, for the principles of which all natural beings are compounded) will be new indeed; entirely changed as to their qualities, although not as to their nature. Fire is at present the general destroyer of all things under the sun; dissolving all things that come within the sphere of its action, and reducing them to their primitive atoms. But no sooner will it have performed its last great office of destroying the heavens and the earth, (whether you mean thereby, one system only, or the whole fabric of the universe; the difference between one and millions of worlds being nothing before the great Creator ;) when, I say, it has done this, the destructions wrought by fire will come to a perpetual end. It will destroy no more : it will consume no more: it will forget its power to burn ;-which it possesses only during the present state of things ;-and be as harmless in the new heavens and earth, as it is now in the bodies of men and other animals, and the substance of trees and flowers ; in all which, (as late experiments show,) large quantities of ethereal fire are lodged ; if it be not rather an essential component part of every material being under the sun. But it will, probably, retain its vivifying power, though divested of its power to destroy.
11. It has been already observed, that the calm, placid air will be no more disturbed by storms and tempests. There will be no more meteors with their horrid glare, affrighting the poor children of men May we not add, (though, at first, it may sound like a paradox,) that there will be no more rain. It is observable, that there was none in paradise; a circumstance which Moses particularly mentions, Gen. ii
, 5, 6; “The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth.But there went up a mist from the earth,” which then covered up
the abyss of waters, “and watered the whole face of the ground," with moisture sufficient for all the purposes of vegetation. We have all reason to believe, that the case will be the same when paradise is restored. Consequently, there will be no clouds or fogs; but one bright, refulgent day. Much less will there be any poisonous damps, or pestilential blasts. There will be no sirocco in Italy; no parching or suffocating winds in Arabia; no keen northeast winds in our OWIJ country,
“Shattering the graceful locks of yon fair trees ;" but only pleasing, healthful breezes,
“Fanning the earth with odoriferous wings." 12. But what a change will the element of water undergo, when all things are made new! It will be, in every part of the world, clear and limpid; pure from all unpleasing or unhealthful mixtures; rising here and there in crystal fountains, to refresh and adorn the earth “ with liquid lapse of murmuring stream." For undoubtedly, as there were in paradise, there will be various rivers gently gliding along, for the use and pleasure of both man and beast. But the inspired writer has expressly declared," there will be no more sea," Rev. xxi, 1. We have reason to believe, that at the beginning of the world, when God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear," Gen. i, 9, the dry land spread over the face of the water, and covered it on every side. And so it seems to have done, till, in order to the general deluge, which God had determined to bring upon the earth at once, “the windows of heaven were opened, and the fountains of the great deep broken up." But the sea will then retire within its primitive bounds, and appear on the surface of the earth no more. Neither indeed, will there be any more need of the sea. For either, as the ancient poet supposes,
Omnis feret omnia tellus ; -every part of the earth will naturally produce whatever its inhabitants want;-or all mankind will procure what the whole earth affords, by a much easier and readier conveyance. For all the inhabitants of the earth, our Lord informs us, will then be warya 01,-equal to angels : on a level with them in swiftness, as well as strength : so that they can, quick as thought, transport themselves, or whatever they want, from one side of the globe to the other.
13. But it seems, a greater change will be wrought in the earth, than even in the air and water. Not that I can believe that wonderful discovery of Jacob Behme, which many so eagerly contend for; that the earth itself, with all its furniture and inhabitants, will then be transparent as glass. There does not seem to be the least foundation for this, either in Scripture or reason. Surely not in Scripture: I know not one text in the Old or New Testament, which affirms any such thing. Certainly it cannot be inferred from that text in Revelation, chap. iv, ver. 6; “ And before the throne there was a sea of glass, like unto crystal.” And yet, if I mistake not, this is the chief, if not the only scripture, which has been urged in favour of this opinion ! Neither can I conceive that it has any foundation in reason. It has been warmly alleged, that all things would be far more beautiful, if they were quite transparent. But I cannot apprehend this : yea, I apprehend quite the contrary. Suppose every part of a human body were made transparent as crystal, would it appear more beautiful than it does now ? Nay, rather, it would shock us above measure. The surface of the body, in particular, “the human face divine,” is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful objects that can be found under heaven; but could you look through the rosy cheek, the smooth, fair forehead, or the rising bosom, and distinctly see all that lies within, you would turn away from it with loathing and horror!
14. Let us next take a view of those changes which we may reasonably suppose will then take place in the earth. It will no more be bound up with intense cold, nor parched up with extreme heat; but
will have such a temperature as will be most conducive to its fruitfulness. If, in order to punish its inhabitants, God did of old
“ Bid his angels turn askar.ce
This oblique globe," thereby occasioning violent cold on one part, and violent heat on the other; he will, undoubtedly, then order them to restore it to its original position : so that there will be a final end, on the one hand, of the burning heat, which makes some parts of it scarce habitable; and on the other, of
“The rage o Arctos and eternal frost.” 15. And it will then contain no jarring or destructive principles within its own bosom. It will no more have any of those violent convulsions in its own bowels. It will no more be shaken or torn asunder, by the impetuous force of earthquakes; and will, therefore, need neither Vesuvius, nor Etna, nor any burning mountains to prevent them. There will be no more horrid rocks, or frightful precipices; no wild deserts, or barren sands; nu impassable morasses, or unfruitful bogs, to swallow up the unwary traveller. There will, doubtless, be inequalities on the surface of the earth ; which are not blemishes, but beauties. And though I will not affirm, that
“ Earth hath this variety from heaven,
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale;" yet I cannot think gently rising hills will be any defect, but an orna ment, of the new made earth. And doubtless we shall then likewise have occasion to say;
Lo, there his wondrous skill arrays
The fields in cheerful green!
A thousand flowers between !" 16. And what will the general produce of the earth be ? Not thorns, briars, or thistles; not any useless or fetid weed; not any poisonous, hurtful, or unpleasant plant; but every one that can be conducive, in any wise, either to our use or pleasure. How far beyond all that the most lively imagination is now able to conceive! We shall no more regret the loss of the terrestrial paradise, or sigh at that well devised description of our great poet:
« Then shall this mount
And there take root, an island salt and bare!"
17. Such will be the state of the new earth with regard to the meaner, the inanimate parts of it. But great as this change will be, it is nothing in comparison of that which will then take place throughout all animated nature. In the living part of the creation were seen the most deplorable effects of Adam's apostasy. The whole animated creation, whatever has life, from leviathan to the smallest mite, was thereby made subject to such vanity, as the inanimate creatures could not be. They were subject to that fell monster, DEATH, the conqueror of all that breathe. They were made subject to its forerunner, pain, in its ten thousand forms; although “God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the death of any living." How many millions of creatures in the sea, in the air, and on every part of the earth, can now no otherwise preserve their lives, than by taking away the lives of others; by tearing in pieces and devouring their poor, innocent, unresisting fellow creatures ! Miserable lot of such innumerable multitudes, who, insignificant as they seem, are the offspring of one common Father; the creatures of the same God of love! It is probable not only two thirds of the aninial creation, but ninety-nine parts of a hundred, are under a necessity of destroying others in order to preserve their own life! But it shall not always be so. He that sitteth upon the throne will soon change the face of all things, and give a demonstrative proof to all his creatures, that " his mercy is over all his works.” The horrid state of things which at present obtains, will soon be at an end. On the new earth, no creature will kill, or hurt, or give pain to any other. The scorpion will have no poisonous sting; the adder, no venomous teeth. The lion will have no claws to tear the lamb; no teeth to grind his flesh and bones. Nay, no creature, no beast, bird, or fish, will have any inclination to hurt any other; for cruelty will be far away, and sarageness and fierceness be forgotten. So that violence shall be heard mo more, neither wasting or destruction seen on the face of the earth. “ The wolf shall dwell with the lamb," (the words may be literally as well as figuratively understood,) "and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: they shall not hurt or destroy,” from the rising up of the sun, to the going down of the same.
18. But the most glorious of all will be, the change which then will take place on the poor, sinful, miserable children of men. These had Sallen in many respects, as from a greater height, so into a lower depth, han any other part of the creation. But they shall“ hear a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men: and he will dwell with them; and they shall be his people ; and God himself shall be their God," Rev. xxi, 3, 4. Hence will arise an unmixed state of holiness and happiness, far superior to that which Adam enjoyed in paradise. In how beautiful a manner is this described by the apostle: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying: neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are done away.” As there will be no more death, and no more pain or sickness preparatory thereto; as there will be no more grieving for, or parting with friends; so there will be no more sorrow or crying. Nay, but there will be a greater deliverance than all this; for there will be no more sin. And, to crown all, there will be a deep, an intimate, an uninterrupted union with God; a constant communion with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, through the Spirit; a continual enjoyment of the Three-One God, and of all the creatures in him!
SERMON LXX.—The Duty of Reproving our Neighbour. “ Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon hiin," Lev. xix, 17.
A great part of the book of Exodus, and almost the whole of the book of Leviticus, relate to the ritual or ceremonial law of Moses; which was peculiarly given to the children of Israel, but was such “ a yoke,” says the apostle Peter, “as neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” We are, therefore, delivered from it: and this is one branch of “the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free." Yet it is easy to observe, that many excellent moral precepts are interspersed among these ceremonial laws. Several of them we find in this very chapter : such as, “ Thou shalt not gather every grape in thy vineyard: thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger. I am the Lord your God," verse 10. “Ye shall not steal, neither lie one to another," verse 11.
" Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him : the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee till the morning,” verse 13. “ Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind: but thou shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord,” verse 14. As if he had said, I am he whose eyes are over all the earth, and whose ears are open to their cry. “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the persons of the poor,” which compassionate men may be tempted to do, “nor honour the person of the mighty," to which there are a thousand temptations, verse 15. “ Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale bearer among thy people,” verse 16: although this is a sin which human laws have never yet been able to prevent. Then follows, “ Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon
him." In order to understand this important direction aright, and to apply it profitably to our own souls, let us consider,
I. What it is that we are to rebuke or reprove? What is the thing that is here enjoined ?
II. Who are they whom we are commanded to reprove ? And,
I. 1. Let us consider, first, What is the duty that is here enjoined ? What is it we are to rebuke or reprove ? And what is it to reprove ? To tell any one of his faults ; as clearly appears from the following words: “Thou shalt not suffer sin upon him.” Sin is therefore the thing we are called to reprove, or rather him that commits sin. We are to do all that in us lies to convince him of his fault, and lead him into the right way.
2. Love indeed requires us to warn him, not only of sin, (although of this chiefly,) but likewise of any error, which, if it were persisted in, would naturally lead to sin. If we do not “hate him in our heart," if we love our neighbour as ourselves, this will be our constant endeavour; to warn him of every evil way, and of every mistake which tends to evil.
3. But if we desire not to lose our labour, we should rarely reprove any one for any one thing that is of a disputable nature; that will bear much to be said on both sides. A thing may possibly appear evil to me; therefore I scruple the doing of it: and if I were to do it while that scruple remains, I should be a sinner before God: but another is