We have affections, and it does not touch them — we have souls with boundless longings for an eternal resting-place, and it cannot supply it; we have sin, it cannot make us holy; we are subject to death, and it cannot strip it of its sting. More do God's faithful ones mourn than all things around, because that for which they mourn, their remaining imperfect state, the strife of flesh and spirit, is their own. Hear the cry of the brute world, itself the prey of man, and, in turn, its own tyrant and murderer.2. Why, truly, they got a large share of the curse to bear for man's sake (Genesis 3:17).1. It groans and travails in pain together. Lastly, in regard to their dedication. The continuance of the universe is much longer than the continuance of our lives; therefore let us not repine at so short a time, for the creature hath been in a groaning condition these six thousand years. But it is well to survey the wreck. Unimaginative races suffer comparatively little under appalling mutilations. He commits it into the hands of servants, who are to be the channels of His bounty. (2) So with those few nobler things on which men set their hearts, the pursuit of power and influence over our fellow creatures, and the cultivation of knowledge. All good men from the beginning have been "groaning." Who has not some vision of a perfection, if not for himself, then for the race? If that be the case, the suffering individual may be compensated in the improved and perfected life of the species. (1)He subjected it. The rivers flow, and the sea hath its ebbs and tides; all things in the lower world are full of labour; and so the creature is wearied and worn out to serve man. "Eye hath not seen," etc. "Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked." II. 20; 2 Peter 3:13).2. Of what sins are the daily supplies of our daily food, the occasion! Nature has spread a table for the needs of every man. Which being considered, it may be justly questioned whether, on this supposition, the circumstances of mankind upon the whole would have very much exceeded those in which they now are, if at all. In what manner this is to be done, and how this deliverance of the creature here spoken of is to be accomplished. By the same right a prince levies a fine on a man when he might take his life. Christ, "the brightness of the Father's glory," has become man, and has brought all the regenerate members of the race into immortal unity with Himself, so that His glory is certain to become theirs. In the unsatisfactoriness and uncertainty of his pursuits.II. The creation is subject to "vanity" and is under "the bondage of corruption." J. S. Mill said that "the facts of the universe suggested to his mind, not so much the idea of a beneficent and all-wise Creator, as that of a demiurge dealing with an intractable material, over which he had not acquired complete mastery." (1) If the man of science maintains that he discovers signs of imperfection in every living organisation; that the organs of sense are imperfect; that in the lower types of life there are the mere rudiments of limbs which are found in a useful and complete form only in the higher; that in the higher there are survivals of elementary forms of structure which were useful only in the lower; that there is a universal waste of life; that there is an appalling amount of suffering — St. Paul is ready to accept all these facts. Just as the law gives to the parent the custody of his own child, so God gives to man power over the world to modify it for good or evil at his will. The second opinion is this — that this deliverance of the creature from corruption shall not be by way of annihilation, but only by way of alteration; that they shall not be destroyed, but changed and become new; not for substance, but only for quality. God gave Adam the great estate of the world. It is a principle of life so true, and so strong to bear our faith, that you will allow me once more to endeavour to render this present deeply prophetic significance of human nature intelligible. And the selfish capitalist cries out too: "We can have no emigration schemes. Thirdly, in regard of their signification. The terror and anguish are largely in our imagination. )The solidarity of man and natureProf. That whatever meaning we attach to the word, it should be the meaning that the word will carry through the whole passage. How the blessed prospect stimulates to activity! When God looked on His creatures He saw that they were very good (Genesis 1:31). "Behold, I make all things new." GOD DISTRIBUTES THE BREAD HE IS EVER MULTIPLYING BY NATURAL PROCESSES, AFTER THE PATTERN OF THE SYMBOLIC MIRACLE IN GALILEE. Grove, M.A. St. Paul is not satisfied with lovely landscapes. These first-fruits they do not stay their longing. Secondly, that which shall befal the creature at the day of judgment is here in the text expressly called the deliverance of it. Secondly, the word of benediction. A purified conscience.4. )The universal travailJ. These illustrations fail to touch the mystery of the imperfection and pain of the universe; and yet they may suggest the blended dissatisfaction and rapture with which St. Paul thought of the works of God. THE SAINTS OF GOD. Godet.The physiologist is forced to see in the human body the intended goal and masterpiece of animal organisation which appears as nothing else than a long effort to reach this consummation. )The chrysalis state of manStopford A. Brooke.In truth, we are like the chrysalis, if we suppose it to be gifted with a conscious intelligence. "Then, indeed, all is turned into groaning and travailing! First the natural, then the spiritual, is the Divine order. Well grounded and confident hope.Liberty is not lawlessness. Parker, D.D.The liberty of —1. Cherish that longing, for it is your hope. More particularly in this passage. "The creature also shall be delivered," etc.1. But, while groaning under the pressure of life's burdens, we are "waiting for the adoption," the glorification of the body, and its establishment in the perfect and everlasting joys of heaven.(R. (4) Man struggles against disease and death. Faint motions come to it within its sleeping frame; its limbs, its wings, strive dimly to extend themselves; dreams come to it, through its physical changes, of another life, dim suggestions of some wonderful new birth; yearnings after something which it calls freedom, and light, and beauty, and movement. ITS EVIDENCES. 1. Lastly, the great disorder and confusion of all things here below; it does speak this much unto us, "The whole creation travails and groans"; that is, the whole frame and composure of the world, being a world of trouble. We may leave the "how" to the unseen Hand that will not fail to redress the disturbed balance in the minutest life. The former is repugnant, and will not hold good upon these following grounds. He will stand at bay in the presence of famine rather than run that risk. The apostle's description is confirmed by facts. Can the shepherd not observe when the whole flock is crying together? IN THIS STATE OF VANITY, UNDER WHICH THE WHOLE MORAL CREATION OR WORLD OF MANKIND GROANETH AND TRAVAILETH IN PAIN TOGETHER, THE HUMAN RACE HAS AN EARNEST EXPECTATION OR DESIRE OF A CONDITION MORE PERFECT AND HAPPY.1. Thomas, D.D. TO THE INFERIOR CREATION.1. (1) Man feels his miseries more sensibly than any other creature — not only because he reflects, which is itself a heightening of his distress, but because he has a consciousness that he possesses a capacity of perfect bliss. We see here the great benefit which we have by Jesus Christ, and our redemption through Him. For now they have undergone a sad alteration, but then they shall undergo another (Psalm 102:26; Revelation 21:1).3. Spurgeon. What even now is not, even by Christians, offered to some Baal of pride, or luxury, or "covetousness, which is idolatry"? Expressive of inefficacy, aimlessness. A metaphor taken from a woman bringing forth a child.III. A metaphor taken from a woman bringing forth a child.III. The creature here is subjected in hope (ver. Men's parts, and estates, and employments; all they are, and all they have, and all they do — it is all sanctified by grace, and made well-pleasing and acceptable to God. I hold that the earnest expectation of the whole creation from the first organic cell up to the brain of man waits for the revealing of the sons of God; I would claim that the Christian doctrine of the resurrection and the consummation of nature, as laid down in St. Paul's chapter of inspired interpretation of God's thought, is in accordance with the present prophetic nature of things, and that we can and should believe in the Word of God, which confirms the whole up-look and on-look of the creation; and we may wait, therefore, in the patience of hope for the glory which the heart of man indeed cannot conceive, but which shall be known in us who are risen in Christ, when that which is perfect shall come.(N. They groan. A parallel experience shared between creation and the children of God. Now that vanity, which was only accidental, is not likely to be perpetual. the time of Adam's sin, then they shall be delivered of that burden (vers. Nature is linked with man. They are used by sinners to ends for which God never made them. )The groaning creationD. Willingly he binds himself with the cords of his sins; unwillingly often does he remain in them, galled by the bondage which he cannot break, or, with a maimed will, wishing that he could in earnest will. To give this is the great end of Christianity.II. She shares man's bondage. And not only they but we, who have the first-fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves, etc. It is our hope now.1. But the Bible anticipates this difficulty, and foreshadows a conclusive answer in the text. The earthly fragment which love has received was given as a promise of the Lord; it was never meant as a completed thing. This is not so to be understood as if we should rest ourselves satisfied with these. 2. And it has its end; when the poor soul which has lived on shadows finds itself in the presence of realities more terrible than it has ever dreamed of, and God and eternity, and heaven and hell, supply for ever the place of the childish delights of vanity and the laughter of fools. Not mere creatureship. A thing is, then, said to be vain when it does not reach its proper end, nor does that for which it was intended. Out of this mighty kingly heart, the most capacious of wisdom and satiated with all which the heart could give, power, wisdom, pleasure, comes the same sad cry which gives an articulate voice to the universal sorrow. 20; 2 Peter 3:13).2. (4) What glorious things will be the new heaven and the new earth! The reprobate. Read the history of the tremendous wars by which the Reformation finally upheld itself against Rome. "Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity." So God makes us "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."3. First, take it in its insufficiency, and consider it there. "The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly." Did we not take into account the life of future blessedness that awaits us, our present trials and afflictions would shake our faith in the wisdom and love of God's government of the world.2. What God does for His people here is but little to what He designs to do.5. If beautiful, man loves and admires it, without or more than God, or worships it instead of Him. THE CHARACTERS UNDER WHICH THIS HOPE IS PRESENTED. Put then together in your thoughts these two facts — the self-evident worth of these human relations and friendships, and their present incompleteness — and do you not see how through their partial good the prophecy of the Lord of life begins to come into our lives? That the meaning we attach to it here should agree with the scope of the context and the aim of the writer. And how long it may be to their delivery we know not. The first-fruits are here in this life. Do not look to the berry of the hedgerow, or the dwarf flower of the bleak hill-top, for the gauge of God's beneficent work. The world outside his bedroom window was covered with a blanket of radiant, glistening white. When they do not prove so serviceable to us in some cases and at some times as we expect and desire they should. When man left God, all the creatures would have left him if God had not subjected them anew to him (ver. H. Spurgeon.We are quite certain that what we are cannot be the end of God's design. "Whose god is their belly." Oh, what comfort this is for our faith, that from the fact of our vitality, and the fact that God is at work with us, it is clear and true and certain that our latter end shall be increased. Though grace be but small, yet it is grace for all that, and a fruit of His own blessed Spirit, which He will not refuse, but rather make much of. The covetous oppressor's money groans (James 5:4). Accept your family relations and your human friendships as gifts of God — nay, as revelations to you of what God in His Fatherhood, and the Son of God in His brotherhood is — and then all these human relations through which God Himself comes near to bless you, will grow doubly sacred to you. God has cursed the earth for man's sake, and thereby brought destruction upon it. The old prophecies about the blossoming deserts are meant to teach the lesson that the life of regenerate man will connect itself with the regeneration of nature. The inanimate creatures suffer with him also (Deuteronomy 28:23; Job 37:10; Hosea 2:21).III. WHEN THIS DELIVERY OF THE CREATURES IS COME TO PASS. I have not yet in these statements led you to lay hold, as one may, of the strong principle of reason underlying this prophetic interpretation of our present human relations. That all the effects of the curse are to be gathered together, and confined for ever with the wicked in the lake (Revelation 20:14, 15). Why a righteous man should be merciful to his beast (Proverbs 12:10). It is a mercy God deals not with ourselves as with the creatures for our sake (Lamentations 3:22).IV. Some have held a resurrection of animals. (2) That upon the back of this conflagration there shall be new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). Secondly, God's counsel that hath so ordained it. The creature at its highest, by a last and crowning effort, brings forth the human form; man at his highest, by the supreme act of travail, in and through God, brings forth the new man. Making an idol of it.2. A slave may be virtuous and kindly in character, but if his master be evil, he will have to be the instrument of many an unholy behest. But prayer helps us to use them conscionably, that those things which in themselves are lawful may not become through our improvement sinful. THE AUDITORY THAT LISTENS TO THE MOURNFUL CONCERT. (3) Patience. Yes, in these bodies so wonderfully made, yet so incomplete, we have nature's prophecy of the resurrection, and the earthly preparation for the perfect, spiritual body which shall be. How is it then that we have so little of these heavenly longings? By him who subjected the creature to vanity, may be meant either the first man by his transgression, or God for the sin of man; I rather incline to the latter, though the difference is not very material. )For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until nowThe travail of the creatureThomas Horton, D.D.First, to speak of the creature's passion. The four living creatures placed round about the throne are the symbols of the powers of nature. He will go on with His chisel of affliction, using wisdom and the graving tool together, till by and by it shall appear what you shall be; for you shall be like Him, and you shall see Him as He is. 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