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governing all the creatures, according to their several natures : Acts, xvii. 25. “ Seeing he giveth to all, life, and breath, and all things?" Heb. i. 3. “ Upholding all things by the word of his power.” The sun cannot fhine without him ; nor the earth produce its fruits, nor its fruits be serviceable to man, without him. Whatever is profitable or pleasant in the creatures, is but some drops of the divine goodness distilled into them, for his glory and man's good. Hence it is evident, that the abuse done to the creatures riseth to God himself. As if a mother having suitably sweetened the meat to a child, he should, after all, throw it away, his doing so is a wrong to her as well as the abused creature. Therefore, the abusing of God's works is forbidden in the third commandment, under the notion of taking God's name in vain. For the creature's goodness is in effect God's goodness: “ For there is none good but one, that is, God,” Matth. xix. 17. And therefore (with reverence be it spoken) God groans from the creatures against finners : Amos, ii. 13. “Behold, (says God), I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of fheaves." And as the I.ord from heaven cried to Saul, Acts, ix. 4. “ Saul, Saul, why persecutest thoù me ?" fo, if men had ears to hear, the drunkard, for instance, might hear God, from the creature, saying, Man, why abusest thou me?' &c.
Lastly, Serious Christians groan in behalf of the creatures. Man was made to be the mouth of the creatures, to speak out what they could not; for which cause God gave him a tongue and speech, therefore called his glory. When fin entered, man's mouth was clofed in that respect. When grace comes into the foul, the Lord says, Ephphatha, that is, “ be opened," Mark, vii. 34.
So man becomes the mouth of the creation again, Psal. xix. 1. Thus believers, seeing the reason the creatures have to groan, groan out their case for them, acknowledging, before God and the world, the misery and hard case they are brought into by man's fin.
II. We come now to inquire, what distreffes the creatures so much, that they groan ? What has man's fin done to them, to make them groan under it?
Why, truly, they got a large share of the curse to bear for man's fake: Gen. iii. 17. “ Cursed,” said God to Adam, “ is the ground for thy fake.” The curse coming upon man is also felt upon the earth. Wherefore, but because of its relation to man? It bears him, and feeds him. And if so, that curse would spread to the visible heavens that cover him, and afford him light, and that nourish the earth which nourishes him. If this be not enough, remember they are all to go to the fire together at length; and surely that makes it. So thus man's Gin, as brimstone, is scattered on his habitation : 2 Peter, iii. 10. “ But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements Thall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.” Verse 11. “ Seeing, then, all these things shall be diffolved, what manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy conversation and godliness?”
This curse has subjected the creature to vanity. It has squeezed much of the fat out of it that was put into it at the creation; and from a full ear has brought it to an empty hulk. And it is thereby alfo in bondage to corruption. It is made a
stage of sin, a scene of misery, and liable to destruction as such. But to come to particulars.
1. The whole creation, by man's sin, has fallen far short of its beneficial and nutritive quality, in comparison of what it originally was at its creation. Man has not that benefit of the creatures for which they were appointed at first. While he stood, such fap and nourishment was in them, that could have afforded him all things for necesfity, convenience, and delight, without toil. But sin gave them such a shock, that much of that fap is thaken out of them, and so man must now wring hard to get but a very little nourishment from them. This makes so much barrenness in the earth, which so meanly rewards all the toil of the husbandman. It brings forth thorns and thistles plentifully, under the influence of that curse, while it makes a verysober increase otherwise. And what is the procuring cause of all this but fin? Psal. cvii. 34.
“ He turneth a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickednefs of them that dwell therein.” We see how it is bound up, that the beasts of the field cannot get their food. And if the influences of the heavens were not restrained, it would not be so; the earth would not be iron, if the heavens were not brass. Under this vanity the whole creation groaneth.
2. The whole creation, by man's fin, has come far short of its ultimate end, the 'honour and glory of God. God's revenue of glory from the creature is mightily diminished by the lin of
The whole creation was made to be a book, wherein men might read the name of God; a stringed instrument, by which men were to praise him ; a looking-glass, in which to behold his glory. But, alas ! sin has drawn a veil over Men may say they are unlearned,
and cannot read more than what may make them inexcusable : “ For the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse,” Rom. i. 20. The book is as it were sealed. They have lost the art of praifing; hence the instrument is hung by, being to little purpose in the possession of such persons. They care not for beholding his glory, therefore the looking-glass is overlooked, and very little use is made of it. Under this vanity they groan also.
3. The nature of the whole creation is in some fort altered. When God looked on his creatures, he saw that they were very good, Gen. i. 31. And that is a fad alteration that makes them. groan. Sin has cast the whole creation into a feverifh disorder. There is an evil which accompanies them now, that they long to be rid of. Man complains and groans under the evil of the creatures, and they complain and groan under him. The transgression of man is heavy on the earth, and the case of the earth bound up from his service is heavy upon him. Where is the creature that has no evil about it now? The sun fometimes scorches man, and burns up the fruits of the ground; at other times his absence makes the earth as iron, that he cannot stand before the cold. The air often fickens and kills him. The diftempered winds often fink him in the sea. out of the earth, where he is to get his meat, fometimes he meets with poisonous herbs. What is the cause of all this? Impute it not to the creatures as they came from the creating hand of God, but to the fall of man, whom nothing could have hurt, had he stood in his integrity.
4. The creature has fallen into the ha God's enemies, and is forced to serve them man stood, all the creatures were at his be were ready to come to him at his call. Bu he left God, all the creatures would have the sun would have shined no more on air would have refused his breathing earth would not have fed nor carried if God had not subjected them anew toli viii. 20. “ For the creature was made vanity, not willingly, but by reafon hath subjected the same in hope." far some of them have gone in renou service to him, Job, xxxix. -. 8. “ Will the unicorn be willing to ferv. bide by thy crib?” And they would their service, as a faithful sérvant w master, when he goes out in rebellion fovereign, but that they were forced and therefore they groan.
5. They are used by finners to en God never made them. They fti they are abused, and therefore they made them for his honour, men abu difhonour. Never did a beast speak Jaam's ass, Numb. xxii. 28. 30. 211 complaint on man for abusing it to which God never made it. The du ked the madness of the prophet, tha it to carry him in a way God forbad and where the angel stood to oppose could the creatures speak to us, we many complaints that way. God gav tures to be servants to man, but manh for flaves to his lusts; and who would to be fo maltreated ? There are two th make hard service: