Page images
PDF
EPUB

lieve, and give him the glory of his power, that will perform this great thing. Should all the angels and men in the universe conspire to free the groaning creation, they could not effect it. It is long since they were nonpluffed in the case of refreshing the weary earth with a shower of rain : Jer. xiv. 20. “ Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain ? or can the heavens give showers ?” Nay, men conspire to hold down, to abuse the creatures, and keep the hold they have got of them. And the earth is made a field of blood for the mastery over them. But Cod will end the quarrel, and deliver the creature out of wicked hands. The second Adam is as able to restore, as the firft was to break in picces. Give him the glory of his goodness, that will not allow it always to go ill with the good. God's good creatures suffer for man's fake; but a good God will not suffer it always to be fo. How much more will he provide, that piety shall not always be ashamed, and wickedness triumph! The day will come, when none will be high but they that are holy. Give him the glory of being mindful of his promise, and stedfast to his word. It is more than five thousand years since he subjected the creature to vanity in hope; and fo, to this day, they not only groan, but they travail, in the hope of delivery, and their hope thall not make them afhamed. O that it could make us ashamed of our hope wearing out fo foon under afflictions ! to whom a few years, months, days, nay, even hours, are sufficient

many

times to make us hopeless. (2.) Let us believe this delivery, and walk .fwerable to the faith of it: 2 Pet. iii. 11. " Seeing, then, that all these things shall be diffolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness !”

[1.] : [1.] Let us use the creatures as servants, not as flaves; allowing them a regard suitable to their natures and use. God has given the creatures into our hands, and they must endure much mifery for our profit ; and even that may be humbling to us, as being the consequence of sin., But that ever God allowed man to make a sport of the proper effects of sin, to torment and put to pain, any creature, merely for his pleasure, is what I do not believe. And therefore grave divines do condemn cock-fighting, and such like, as unlawful recreations; and I think not without good ground. Sure I am Solomon says, “ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel,” Prov. xii. 10. And to whom can the needless torment of the poor creatures create pleasure, but to the cruel or unthinking?

[2.] Let us labour to use the creatures soberly, and in the fear of God, and not abuse them to the service of our lusts. God allows us them for our necessity, convenience, and delight, in fobriety, but not to be fuel to our lusts. Let us use them so as we would wish to have done in the day when we will see them delivered ; that is, use them to the honour of God.

[3.] Let us never build our nest in that tree at the root of which the axe is lying. The creature is passing, lay not the weight of your portion

Ye cannot abide with this world, and if ye could, it will not abide with you.

He is a fool, though he act the part of a king on a stage, who looks not for a portion that will be more abiding. For where is he when the stage is taken down?

[4.] Look for your portion in another world, where is an enduring substance : Matth. vi. 19.

upon it.

- Lay

come.

« Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal :” Verse 20. “ But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” This world is no continuing city; look out for one that is to

That is life, which begins after death is subdued, and when men shall die no more. To be easy here is no great matter, but to be so then is what should be our chief concern.

[5.] Be holy in all manner of conversation, 2 Pet. iii. 11. This is the time of God's forbearse ance,

wherein many confusions are suffered in the world : The holy and unholy are mixed : The effects of sin lie on God's good creatures, as well as finners : But this will draw to an end, and there will be a fair separation. It concerns you now to see on what fide you shall be fet, to distinguish yourselves by holiness now, from those you would be distinguished from by happiness hereafter.

(3.) And last place. Believe thy delivery, and help it forwards with your prayers. Cry for the great deliverance, the restitution of all things. It is one of six petitions our Lord has put into our mouths, « Thy kingdom come;" and the last in the book of God is, “ Even so come, Lord Jesus,” Rev. xxii. 20.-I would have you to consider,

[1.] That the churches are all groaning together this day; some of them under temporal plagues, being raised by Antichrist ; all of them under spiritual plagues, a fearful decay of power and purity among them, whereby the disease is become general. The concern for the Protestant interest is

little at the hearts of some Protestant states. But a due concern for the Protestant

very

religion,

religion, the promoting truth and holiness, by a thorough reformation, appears to be very little at the hearts of any of them: Isa. Ixiii.

5.

" And I looked, and there was none to help ; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought falvation unto me, and my fury it upheld me.

[2.] That the wheels of providence seem to be running speedily forward to great changes in the world. God is shaking the nations, and things appear as in Luke, xxi. 10. 11. “ Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and great earthquakes fhall be in divers places, and famines and pestilences ; and fearful sights, and great signs Mall there be from heaven.' And who knows what shall be the issue? But we may be sure that the mystery of God is carrying on by them, and a way making towards it being finished.

Let us then, by our prayers, help on the deliverance of the creation, from sin and its confequences, by crying mightily to the Lord, that these glorious things which are spoken of the city of God in the latter days may be fulfilled, and so the end may come.--I now proceed to Doct. III. THAT the whole creation makes a

mournful concert in the ears of serious Chri

stians, by their groans under man's fin.-Or, That how deaf foever others be to the groans of the

creature under man's sin, ferious Christians will not be fo, they will be affected with them.-In speaking to this, I shall be very short.

I SHALL only, in a few words,
I. Mention the reasons why they so affect serious

Christians.
II. Make fome improvement.

I. I AM to mention the reasons why they fo affect serious Chriftians. Among others, there are the following

1. They are the undoubted marks of man's fall and apostacy from God, which cannot fail to affect a serious heart. Sin has marred the beauty of the creation ; and though blackness is no deformity among blackamores, yet it is so amongst the whites. Some glory in their shame, but they will not do fo to whom sin has been truly shameful. Now, these groans are the memorials of the fall.

2. They are the constant evidences of God's indignation against, and hatred of fin, which are never wanting in the world. And it is a child-like disposition to be affected with the tokens of their father's anger ; though they who have no care to please God, can easily pass the figns of God's difpleasure, others cannot.

3. They bring their own sins to remembrance ; and a tender conscience disposes persons to think, • This is for my fake, for my provocations, that they suffer. And so the saints groan with the groaning creatures, and long for the .common deliverance.

4. God is dishonoured by the finner's abuse of the creatures. This makes both the creature and true Christians to groan, to see God's good creatures abused, to the dishonour of their Creator.

II. I AM now to make some improvement; and all I propose here, is an Exhortation- not to be deaf to the groans of the creation under man's fin, but to be fuitably affected with them. God has not only made them groan with their ordinary, but with an extraordinary groan; and if you do not from hence see what an ill thing fin is, what a just God the VOL. II.

Lord

« PreviousContinue »