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ness, no waxing old, no need of procreation of children for the continuation of the species of mankind; for death shall not take away any of the individuals of these reigning saints. Indeed, our Saviour says, that at the resurrection, there shall be no marriage; but all the elect shall be in that respect wayyedoɩ— like, or equal to, the angels.
Finally, herein we shall be happier than Adam and Eve, who, though they were in a sinless condition, were nevertheless liable to temptation; whereas we shall neither fall, nor be tempted to fall. We must be conformable to Christ's glorious body after his resurrection.a Christ was tempted before his resurrection ; but after his resurrection he was not tempted. If we might be tempted, this were not a sorrowless condition: for it was a part of Christ's great humiliation that he was tempted, even though he could not be prevailed against. Indeed, the wicked are removed, and Satan is removed and bound up, that he should not seduce the nations any more. All must be subject to Christ: and he must destroy death," and him that had the power of death, which is--the devil.”b If nothing that defileth shall enter into this state, then not "the unclean spirit," as Christ calls him. O glorious time! when there shall be no disposition within, nor temptation without, to sin; but all shall be so full of God and of happiness in the manifestation of Christ, that there shall be no thoughts but in relation to him.
5. The next thing is the restauration of the creatures. For as in Isaiah lxv, it is said, there must be new heavens; (i. e. a new church-state,) so a new earth,—a new natural politic state of persons and things. For there is mention of planting, and of the wolf dwelling with the lamb, &c. and that dust shall be the serpent's meat, who shall no longer devour or hurt; for they shall not destroy nor hurt in all the holy mountain. And the reason of all is, " for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea;" which here imports, that there shall be such an abundant manifestation of God's presence, that all (whether taken literally or metaphorically,) shall be as in Paradise, before Adam's fall.
Add to all this Rom. viii, 18, as the voice of nature. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
a Phil. iii, xxi,
b Heb. ii, 8, 14.
"with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [Mark, revealed,' and 'in us,'-it is a bringing down glory into us.] For the "earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifesta"tion of the sons of God." Mark again, that the natural ‘creature' must be here meant, not the spiritual new creature, or regenerated souls; for regenerated souls now are "the sons of God." And mark further, that it is said, it waits for the manifestation of the sons of God; whereas glory in the highest heavens would be a hiding of them from the creation, and would disappoint it of its expectation; which must not be, because that expectation and waiting is the instinct of the creature, and cannot be in vain. The curse is accidental to the creature, and not of the essence of it;-the creation still by instinct looks for its former state in Adam;-and as, notwithstanding the nipping winter, the creature every spring hath its petty resurrections, as types and pledges of the great one; so the expectation which it has by instinct shall not fail of a great restauration. That it was accidental, the Apostle argues in the next verse,"The creature was made subject to vanity; not willingly, (i. e. not of its essential frame,) but by reason of him who subdued it under hope.” That is, the creature was made substantially glorious, essentially exceeding good; and then, after Adam's fall, was subject to vanity, (i. e. fading, and unconstant with changes, by winter and summer,) by him who subjected it, viz. by God's curse on the creature,—not in anger to it, but as a punishment to man. But God subjected it not for ever to that condition, but under hope: just as he cursed not man for ever, but gave him a promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, Christ. And thus, as man by distinct hope waits, and God is mindful of that promise above four thousand years after ;d so the creatures have an instinct of hope impressed on their essence, that they shall be restored. And here is a promise for it in verse 21.—
The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God." See again, the creature and the sons of God are two distinct things. To understand these words better, note first, that bondage imports, that the creature came into this condition, not from its original essence and first constitution, but accidentally and d Rom. xvi, 10.
c 1 John iii, 2.
violently, by man's corruption. Secondly, note, that ' corruption is of three sorts: first, physical or natural, as when things fade and dissolve or grow unwholesome, as do plants; or when they acquire malignant qualities as air and water; &c.—secondly in civil respects or uses; as when land or cattle are worn and wasted;-thirdly, in a spiritual respect; as when by the sin and corruption yet remaining in the best of men they are made to serve for sinful uses.
Now to be delivered from this corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God imports, that as the saints shall now be advanced to the full liberty of the sons of God, being delivered from corruption in all the above respects; so all the creatures of the whole creation shall partake of the same liberty, so far as they are capable. They shall be delivered from the corruption and fading that adheres to their nature;-from the violence done to them by men, as also from their abuse ;—and they shall be delivered to their right owner, viz. to the second Adam, and his posterity, who shall only use them well.
How plain then is this text, of the restoration of the creation, to them that will understand! Nor was it ever yet fulfilled; but is spoken to saints even, as yet expecting it. "The creature groans, and travaileth in pain till now, (viz. under the corruption before explained ;) and not only they, but we ourselves, who also have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Observe, the creature and the saints are still distinguished. The text is spoken to them that have the Spirit; yet still they groan with the whole creation for a restoration of all, as for a thing not yet come to pass. And this cannot be in the supremest heaven : the creation cannot groan for that; nor can it groan for a dissolution at the last day of judgement. Let the wise understand these things.
Lactantius saith of this restauration, "When the thousand "years come, the world shall bring forth fruit alone; and the "rock shall distil dew, and no creature shall live upon prey.
The dog shall not hunt, and the child shall not be afraid of
the serpent." I add; if in these corrupt times the beast knows his master, sure then all creatures shall be most kind to saints, and saints shall know more perfectly all the creatures,
and be more kind to them. At the lowest, this state shall be as good as that of Adam's innocency; and therefore, as all creatures came tamely before Adam, and Adam gave them all names,e so all now shall be tame toward man. And if afterwards, in that corrupt time of the old world, Noah and the creatures were saved together in one ark; then now also shall all the creatures in their kind enjoy the liberty of the sons of God.
And if this knowledge shall be between man and the creatures, how much more between man and man. I know no reason why all the saints should not know one another by former relations, of husband and wife, father and child, brother and sister., Adam in innocency saw Eve, and knew she was his wife; and yet without sin. In the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah are known. The disciples know Christ risen, and Lazarus after he was raised. And if some Jews shall see Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom, and they themselves cast out; therefore saints shall much more know one another. We shall know Christ, and so all the members of Christ.
6. The next quality is, that when this visible glorious state of the Church shall come, time shall be no more."f Time is itself a quantity; but no more time refers also to qualities.*
Most likely there shall be no more motion of the heavens, which is the cause of time: the stars shall rest. There shall be no more changes, which cause alteration and dissolution of bodies, by becoming old: for if there be no more time, then eternity is begun, and therefore all must stand fixed in their perfection, like eternity; not well to day, weak to morrow; cheer
*Note two circumstances of this assertion. First, it was spoken after the sixth trumpet had sounded; (Rev. ix, 13;) and therefore has respect to the seventh trumpet, viz. to the time of the visible glory of the Church. Secondly, it is spoken (Rev. x, 1) by a mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow about his head, his face as the sun, his feet as a pillar of fire, and in his hand a little book. Therefore this was spoke in relation to the time of Christ's appearing; for he comes down from heaven, and clothed with a cloud, at his appearance. (Chap. i, 7.) The rainbow signifies that he comes as the angel of the covenant. (Mal. iii, 1; Rev, iv, 3.) The sun is also the description of Christ's coming; (Rev. i, 16, and Mal. iv. 2;) as are his feet, as pillars of fire, (Rev. i.) and the little book, (chapter v.) and the mighty angel-viz. Michael, (Dan. xii.) i. e. who is as God-called God's fellow, Zech. xiii, 7. Phil. ii, 8. All these signify the manner of Christ's appearing; which appearance is at the seventh trumpet. (Rev. xi, 15.) And here, after he had cried, and caused the seven thunders, he swears time shall be no more. Now Christ's swearing it, and with such solemnity, imports some great matter.
e Gen. ii, 19.
f Rev. x, 6.
8 Isa. lx, 20; Rev. xxi, 25.
ful to day, and melancholy to morrow; but the saints shall be stable, and all things stable about them. Moreover, there shall be no more time for abusers of time, nor for the things that have caused sorrowful times to the saints. All which further imports, that the happiness of saints shall not be given them by measure of time. For even this thousand years is the prelude to everlasting infinite glory: saints shall not need to wish, saying," This is a happy condition if it would hold." Of this stability of things at this time, see further in Isa. xxxiii, 6, (spoken in relation to the call of the Jews, &c.) "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of times, and strength of salvation, and the fear of the Lord thy treasure." "The sun shall be no "more thy light by day, nor the moon thy brightness by night, "but the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and thy God thy "glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon "withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, "and the days of thy mourning shall be ended." Now the peculiar of eternity is, to give a man all parts and degrees of his comfort at once, throughout every moment of it. In time is succession, where is the beginning, middle, and the end,—the embryo, augment, and the highest perfection which that comfort will amount to; but in eternity, a man is as happy the first moment as ten thousand years after, if there were any time in eternity.
7. "The last quality is, that at this time there shall be a perfection of ALL qualities, both natural and spiritual, in the saints; and a confluence of all comforts." Then, he that is feeble shall be as David; and the house of David as God, (better renrendered as angels,*) and as the angel of God." The sense is, they shall be as Christ. viz.-How strong shall the feeble be? as strong, firm, and sublime, in perfection as David. And how shall David be? as an angel, yea as Christ. Thus the Apostle intimates in 1 Cor. xv, and Phil. iii, 21, that we shall be conformable to Christ; and in 1 Cor. xiii, 12, he adds, that we
h Isaiah lx. 19, 20.
*The Hebrew is Kelohim. Elohim oft signifies angels, and here is an increment in a climax, of which the last must be highest; and the last that follows is " as the angel of God." The Hebrew is emphatical, Hamaleak, the name of Christ, Mal. iii.