Imatges de pÓgina

our sakes, and therefore he is angry much more with us. Look now through the whole creation, above, under, and about us, and we will see the characters of the Lord's anger. It is true, these things bave natural causes, but God guides these. And this lesson we may take for a certain evidence of our sin; see sermon on Joel i. 18.–Another lesson is,

(2.) That it is not easy to get the flame of wrath quenched when once it is kindled. We may say this day, as in Psalm lxv. 5, “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation." Men’s sins may bring that on the creatures which they will not soon get removed. Learn here to beware of kindling the fire by provoking God! It is easier to keep the sword of vengeance in the sheath, than to get it sheathed again when once drawn. It is dangerous to depend on the praying for mercy on a death-bed, delaying all till then, for then wrath may be gone out, not to be quenched.

(3.) It is dangerous to be concerned with those with whom God hath a controversy : thus, all that belonged to Achan perished with him: Josh. vii. 24, 25, “ And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan, the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he bad ; and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.” Had these oxen and asses been another's than Achan’s, they had not perished in the manner they did. Thas the poor creatures lament their relation to sinful men; and many smart sore upon the occasion of the controversy God has with them with whom they are nearly connected. A companion of fools shall be destroyed. Even those God has a kindness for may smart full sorely for the sake of others; see 1 Kings xiv. 10 13. Another lesson is,

(4.) That sin is a heavy burden, which none are able to bear pp under. O sirs ! What think ye of sin, that makes the very earth to groan under it this day? Isa. xxiv. 20, “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again." Ye walk for the present full lightly under it, but the weight of it ere long, will be felt by the most stupid sinner; a dreadful weight! that makes the whole creation groan. Are not the bands of guilt strong and strait, that thus gird up the heaven and earth, and bind down the creatures, that they

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cannot get up their head? It is an offence to an infinite God, no wonder it doth lay an infinite weight on the offender.- We are instructed,

(5.) That God is a jealous and just God, who will not suffer sin to go unpunished. Deceive not yourselves with misapprehensions of God, like the wicked, who, as in Psalm 1. 21, think him altogether such an one as themselves; for as sweet as sin may be in the mouth, it will be bitter in the belly : Job xx. 12–14, " Though wickedness be sweet in his month, though he hide it under his tongue; though he spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth :Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him." Therefore, Exod. xxiii. 21, " Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions." He is true to his word, and it cannot fail. He will reverse the order of nature, turn the heavens to brass, and the earth to iron, rather than one word of his fall to the ground. We may also learn,

(6.) That creatures are ever weak pillars to lean to. You have need of something else to bear your weight, the weight of your comfort, much more of your happiness, for they are not able. There is a vanity that they are under, by reason of which they cannot reach that end : Eccl. i. 2," All is vanity." They that have not something else to lean to, may soon have nothing to look to at all. O what a pitiful idol is the clay god of this world - We may farther learn,

(7.) That God is a sovereign King, against whom there is no rising ap. How can sinners think to escape with their sins, when the whole creation smart for their sakes? Can we think that the innocent creatures should suffer, and we go free ? Can there be an out-braving him, who makes the earth and heavens groan under his hand ? or a fleeing from him, from whom the whole creation cannot make their escape ?—We are instructed farther,

(8.) That the service of the creatures to sinful man is an imposition on them : Rom. viii. 20,“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly.” Man falling from God, lost the right he had to them. But yet they are kept in his service, which they grudge, and therefore they groan.-Hence it comes to pass, that these servants sometimes becoming masters, hurt him, and dispatch bim. The least creature, having a commission for such a service, proves too hard for him, such as a stone in fruit, or a hair in milk.-I only add,

(9.) That the creatures are wearied of the world lying in wickedness, and would fain have it brought to an end : Rom. viii. 19," For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." There is a happy day for the restitution of all things; they are longing for that day, when this world, that sink of sin, that stage of vanity, and scene of misery, shall be taken down; and the wicked shall have poured out upon them the deserved curse, with all its effects, centreing in themselves, without burdening others with it in any measure.— I come now,

2. To an use of exhortation. The groans of the creatures are exciting, stirring up groans. So many of them as are about us this day, so many preachers have we to provoke us to the duty we profess to be engaged in. They cry to us,

(1.) Humble yourselves under the hand of God. He has laid them low, and shall not we lie low before him, since for our sake they are cast down. The noisy waters are now silent as a stone under his hand, the lofty mountains have laid aside their ornaments, and every thing mourns after its kind. Come down, then, from your pride and obstinacy; yield yourselves to the God that made you, lio low in the dust, and join issue with the rest of the creation. -- They cry,

(2.) Repent, repent; for he is a God that will not be mocked, and though he long forbear, he will be avenged on impenitent sinners at last. He has been long pleading with us to let our sins go, and he is saying now, as to Pharach, Exod. ix. 2, 3, “For if you refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still ; behold the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep ;. there shall be a very grievous murrain.” Harden not your hearts to keep fast the bane of strife betwixt God and you, lest it fare with you as it did with Pharaoh, on whose person God's hand fell heavy at last.—They cry,

(3.) Pray, pray. When the heathen mariners were at their prayers in a storm at sea, it was a shame for Jonah to be sleeping ; Jon. i. 4. The creatures, as they can, are crying to the Lord; shall we be more brutish than they, and be silent at such a time? We have been praying in the congregation; it would be a promising thing, and no more but duty, if families and particular persons were fasting and praying : Zech. xii. 12, " And the land shall mourn, every family apart.” There is much work in families otherwise, to take care of them. O! then, will you not do that which is no needful for yourselves and them ?--I exhort you,

(4.) To reform, for the sake of these you would not involve in rain with yourselves. For, Eccl. ix. 18,“ Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one singer destroyeth much good." We see

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how the poor creatures are ruined in this way. But it is not thein only : Achan troubled the camp of Israel. God has threatened to pursue his quarrel to the third and fourth generations. If one in the family be seized with the plague, it is enough to carry away the whole. Be exhorted,

(5.) To endeavour to reform others, for your own sakes. The fire in your neighbour's house may come to burn down yours, if you do not help to quench it. It is thought that Achan's sons perished with him, because they concealed and laboured not to put away their father's sin.

(6.) Seek to find your comfort and happiness only in the enjoyment of God and Christ. Then in the time of famine you may rejoice in the God of salvation, like the prophet Habakkuk, chap. iii. 17. It is a sad matter we should again be so ready to trust the deceiving world, and to lean again to that broken reed that hath so often failed us, and pierced through our hand. Seek it in God, where it can never fail, in the everlasting covenant, that will be a portion of which ye may always be sure.

(7.) Fear God, and stand in awe of him. As the sight of the drawn sword makes him in some measure afraid that wields it, so the sight of God's judgments should fill us with the dread of his majesty : Psalm cxix. 120, “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgment.” When the sea was raging, and Jonah awakened, he was impressed with fear and reverence of him that made it, Jonah i. 9. God would have the hearts of people awed with his works; and it is contempt of God not to be so.

(8.) Labour to get a renewed right to the creatures. Our first charter was lost by Adam at his fall : and as the estates of rebels fall of course to the crown, so our right to the creatures was forfeited, and they fell back into the hands of him that gave them. We must get a new right through Jesus Christ, by faith in bim, if ever we would have true comfort in the creatures. I own a wicked man has a sort of right to the creatures : Psalm cxv. 16, “ The earth hath the Lord given to the sons of men.” By the same law that God hath said, Thou shalt not kill, he has made them over to us. This is a providential right, but it is not a covenant-right. It is but like the right the forfeited condemned man has to his meat till the hour of his execution.

Lastly, Ye that are godly, I would beseech you to long for that blessed day for which the creatures are groaning. You have good reason, as well as they. Long for the day this stage shall be taken down, whereon so much sin and misery are acted, when all that Adam put wrong shall be completely righted by Jesus Christ.



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Rom. viii. 22,
For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain

together until now.

Having, in the preceding discourses, considered the groans of the creatures under the sin of men, I now proceed to the illustration of

Doct. II. That the creatures' pains under the sin of man are travailing-pains, sore indeed, but hopeful, they will not last always, they will be delivered from them.

That this is the sense of this metaphor, appears by comparing 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."

The creatures have now had a sharp shower for several weeks ; blessed be the Lord it has in part intermitted, and that he has heard prayers in their behalf. Many such showers they have had since Adam’s fall; and though they have an intermission of the exquisite pains, they are not well yet; the clouds will return after the rain. But the day will come when they will be quite well, and fairly delivered, and never groan more. What is clear from the scriptures in this point, I shall briefly lay before you, and a more curious inquiry is not fit for the pulpit.-With this view, I shall inquire,

I. When this delivery of the creatures is to come to pass.
II. What delivery shall they then get?
III. Confirm the doctrine of the creatures' delivery.--And then,

IV. Lead you to the practical improvement of the subject. We are, then,

I. To inquire when this delivery of the creatures is to come to pass.

God, that has appointed a set time for every thing, has also appointed the precise time for the delivery of the groaning creation ; and this is plainly revealed to be at the end of the world. For then is that time, Rom. viii. 19, 21 : so Rev. xx. 11, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled ; and there was found no place for them.” The apostle Peter is very express, that then they shall have their bearing shower, as it were, the sharpest ever they had, but it is the last.

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