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2. The

face of the whole earth, diffused themselves over the brinish waters of the sea, and ascended through the air to the very glorious lights in heaven.In the words of the text we have,

agony

that the whole creation or creatures are in,-a great agony. It is expressed two ways, both metaphorical.

(1.) They groan. This is a metaphor, taken from a man, with a heavy burden on his back, . which fo ftraitens him, that he cannot freely draw his breath ; and when he gets it, it is a groan. So there is a heavy weight lying on the whole creation, that makes it groan; or, in other words, creatures got their death-wounds that day Adam got his, and so they are groaning still with the groans of a deadlywounded man. His fin stung them to the heart, and so they groan. The weight they are lying under is the weight of the curse, which binds vanity and corruption on them by virtue of the fin of man : Gen. iii. 17. “ Curfed is the ground for thy fake.” A weight under which, though stupid impenitent man groans not to God, yet his very beasts, and the very earth on which he walks, do.

(2.) They travail in pain. A metaphor taken from a woman bringing forth a child. The pains of child-birth are exquisite pains, and put the patient both to groans and strong cries. And into this condition is the whole creation brought by man's fin. They are in pangs, and they cry out of their pangs. But though birth-pains are fore pains, yet they are hopeful. There is thus fome hope that the creature will be delivered. They are travailing in pain with the hinds, to cait out their forrows, Job, xxxix. 3. They have conceived vanity and misery, and they have gone long with it, and they are travailing in pain to be delivered, of the unhappy birth. They groan,

and

and also they travail. One that has too heavy a burden on his back, groans continually while it is on. But blefled be the holy and wife God, that has made the pains of travail intermitting ; now and then a shower. So the creatures have their crdinary pains that are never off them. But fometimes, as at this day, they have extraordinary, and as it were travailing-pains, which will off again, though they will return : Joel, i. 18. « How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of fheep are made desolate.”—In our text we have,

3. The mournful concert they make: They groan together and travail together. Not together with us, verse 23. but together among themselves. Before sin entered into the world, they all looked blyth, and as it were sung together : But now they have changed their tune, and groan together. The beasts and the fowls groan from the earth, and the very heavens echo back to them the same strain. So many creatures as there are, fo many groaners, each of them with their mourn. ful note. - We have,

4. How long they have sung to the melancholy tune : Until now. They began at Adam's fall, and they have groaned ever sinci, and travailed on till the apostles days, but they had not done with it then. Nay, they have groaned and travailed till now in our days, long five thousand seven hundred years, and yet their burden is not off their backs, nor have they yet got their forrows caft out. And how long it may be to their delivery, we know not. But one thing we know, it will never be till the world end by the general conflagration, when the new heavens and the new earth may rise, like the phoenix, out of their own ashes. We have,

Lasily, Lastly, The auditory that listens to the mournful concert: We, “ we know,” &c. 'We believers, we serious Chriftians, hear and certainly know the mournful ditty." Can the fhepherd who is sent to notice the sheep, not observe when they make their moan for lack of their food, especially when the whole flock is crying together? Were all the men of a city groaning of their wounds, and all the women travailing in pains together, that person must be deaf that would not hear the sound, and he must have an heart of adamant that would not be affected. But the whole creation, above us and about us, are groaning and travailing together, and that for our sakes; yet a sinful generation has no ears to hear, no heart to be affected with it, and with sin which is the cause. But serious Christians, awake to it, cannot miss to hear, and their ears affect their hearts. You will observe, that they hear it distinctly, not confusedly, as we apprehend sometimes we hear a thing, which we are not sure whether it be a real voice, or only an illusion of the fancy. We know, says the apostle, we are sure, it is no fancy. Some creatures have a voice that every body can hear. But there is no creature so mute, but a serious Chriftian, whose senses are exercised, can discern its voice. David could hear the filent heavens, day and night, and, also know their meaning, Psal. xix. 1. 2.; and verse 3..“ Their is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” O that we could hear their voice this day! and that their groans and cries might pierce our hearts for fin.

This subject is highly important. There is Contained in it the three following DocTRINES, which in their order we propose to consider.

Doct.

Doct. I. That the whole creation, made for the

use of man, groans under the sin of man. Doct. II. That the creatures' pains, under the fin

of man, are travailing-pains, fore indeed, but hopeful, they will in due season be delivered

from them. Doct. III. That the whole creation makes a

mournful concert in the ears of serious Chriftians, by their groans under man's fin.

We begin with Doct. I. That the whole creation made for the use

of man, groaneth under the fin of man.

What is to be offered on this doctrine shall be comprehended under the three following heads of discourse. I. ÎN what respects the creation, or creatures are

said to groan ; for many of them, as the earth,

&c are properly incapable of groaning. II. What distresses the creatures so much, that

they groan? What has man's fin done to them,

to make them groan under it? III. How, and by what right, çan the harmless

creatures be made to groan for our fakes ? They have not sinned. True, these poor sheep

what have they done ? IV. I shall add a practical improvement of the

subject.

I. I AM, then, to fhew in what respects the creation, or the creatures are faid to groan, for many of them, as the earth, &c. are properly inoapable of groaning.--Here I observe,

1. That the sensible part of the creation really groans, each after its kind : Joel, i. 18. “How do the beafts groan? the herds of cattle are perplexed,

because

because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made defolate.” The beasts, the birds, all that can groan,

do
groan.
And these

may

be admitted as the mouth of the rest ; they groan out their own misery, and the misery of their matefellows, that are in the fame condemnation with them, while they stand about, as it were, looking on, like a company of foreigners, one of whom only being capable of speaking our language, speaks for the rest.

2. The whole creation appears in a mournful mood and groaning posture. The sun, the eye of the world, has often a veil drawn over it for many days; and he with the rest of the lights of heaven are covered with blackness, like mourners. The earth, trees and plants upon it, lay aside their ornaments, and every head among them is bald ; because man, whom they were appointed to serve, is llain by the great murderer, the devil; therefore all his fervants are gone into mourning.

3. The whole creation, if they could, would groan, for they have good reason, as we will see afterwards. As our Lord says, Luke x. 40. “ If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” The pressure they are under would make them groan, if they had sense or reason to understand it. It is God's goodness to man that his sense of hearing is not more quick than it is, otherwise he could never have rest, there being always some noise in the world. And it is well for man that the creatures cannot represent their misery as it deserves, otherwise they would deafen him with their complaints, and make him continually uneasy with their groans.

4. The Spirit of God is grieved, and groaneth (so to speak) in the creatures. God is every where present, quickening, influencing, preserving, and VOL. II.

governing

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