Imágenes de páginas

Now rejoicing, shouting for joy, singing, breaking forth into singing, clapping of hands, crying out, answering, mourning, languishing, &c. are certainly in these passages applied to inanimate creatures. But they are applicable to such creatures, not more naturally and obviously, than earnest expectation, groaning and travailing in pain.


Though the Doctor thinks these expressions not properly applicable to any other creatures than mankind; yet he himself applies them to mankind in no other sense, than that in which they are applicable to the brutal creation. The sense in which he supposes all mankind long and wait for the manifestation of the sons of God, is, that they " groan under the afflictions of this world, sensible of its imperfections, and consequently desire something better." Now the calamities of the world fall not on the rational part of it only, but on all the animal, sensitive parts, and consequently they, as well as mankind, "desire something better." From these calamities and miseries the animal parts of the world will be delivered, at the manifestation of the sons of God.

[ocr errors]

Further, the inanimate parts of the world, once personified, as they are in innumerable instances throughout the scriptures, may as properly have the particular personal affections, actions and sufferings, of expectation, waiting, groaning, travailing, &c. ascribed to them, as any other personal affections, actions or sufferings.

If any should think it impossible for brutes and inanimate matter to enjoy the liberty of the children of God, and therefore that it is absurd to represent, that they shall be delivered into that liberty: let it be observed, that though this would be absurd, while they are represented to be still brutes and inanimate matter; yet as soon as they are represented to be intelligent beings,

[ocr errors]

the absurdity ceases. There is in this case no more absurdity in representing them, as brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God after the resurrection, than in representing, that they rejoice in the manifestation of the divine perfections and in the prevalence of true religion in this world; as is done in the passages before quoted.

Objection. Though there would be no absurdity in figuratively representing brutes and inanimate creatures, in this world, as rejoicing in the manifestations of divine power, wisdom and goodness, yet there is an absurdity in the representation, that they shall be brought into the liberty of the children of God, after the end of the world; because then they will be annihilated; and to represent that after they shall be annihilated, they still enjoy glorious liberty, is a gross inconsistency. This is the objection in its full strength.-Let us attend to it.

It is not agreed by all writers, that the liberty of the children of God mentioned in the 21st verse, means that liberty and blessedness which they shall enjoy after the resurrection and general judgment; some are of the opinion, that it means that liberty which they shall enjoy on earth in the latter days, when Christ shall reign on earth for a thousand years.* If this be the true sense of the apostle, the objection vanishes at once, as the brutal and inanimate creation will then be in as real existence, as they are now.

Nor is it agreed among writers, that this world will, after the general judgment be annihilated. It is the opinion of many, and of great authority too, that after a purification by fire, it will be restored to a far more glorious state, than that in which it is at present, and will

*See Guise's Paraphrase in Loc. and Hopkins's Inquiry concerning the Future State of the Wicked. Page 101.

forever be the place of the residence of holy and happy beings. If this be true, the objection again van


Finally, if it be the real truth, that the brutal and material creation will be annihilated, after the general judgment, yet there is no absurdity in representing, that it shall be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Wherein does the liberty of the children of God consist? Doubtless in a great measure in deliverance from sin, and from the influence of it in themselves and others. So the brutal and material creation, even if it be annihilated, shall be delivered from the power, abuse and abominable perversion of wicked men, to which it had been long subjected, and under which it had long groaned. Therefore this creation introduced as a rational person, may, without impropriety be represented as earnestly wishing for that deliverance. And as the deliverance from sin in themselves and from the effects of sin in others, is at least a great part of the liberty which the children of God shall obtain after the general judgment; so the aforesaid deliverance of the creation may not improperly be called a deliverance into the liberty of the children of God, into a similar liberty, a like freedom from the tyranny, abuses and perversions of wicked men. Or the sense may be a deliverance in, at, or on occasion of, the glorious liberty of the children of God. The preposition Es, is capable of this sense, and then the construction of this passage will be, That the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption, at the time, or on occasion, of the glorious liberty or deliverance of the children of God.

2. Doctor C. further pleads, "That xao xiis, the whole creation, is never used (one disputed text only excepted, Col. i. 15,) to signify more than the whole moral

creation, or all mankind."*—This is a matter of importance, and requires particular attention.-The phrase Tara is used four times only in all the New Testament, beside the instance which is now under consideration. The places are, Mark xvi. 15, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature ;" Col. i. 15, "The first born of every creature;" v. 23, "The gospel which ye have heard, which is preached to every creature, which is under heaven;", 1 Pet. ii. 13, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake,"

As to Mark xvi. 15, it is granted, that in that text every creature means human creature.-Though Dr, C. says, that Col. i. 15, is disputed; yet he pretends not, that every creature here means mankind merely nor does it appear, that the text is in this respect disputed. It is indeed disputed, whether ñuors xliσews, every creature, or rather, all the creation, refer to the new creation, i. e. the church, or to the old creation, which was made at the beginning of the world. It is also disputed, whether Christ be so the first born of all the creation, as to be a creature himself; or whether he be the first born in this sense only, that he is the heir, the head and Lord of all the creation. Пpalloxos, in our version rendered firstborn, is by some rendered first creator or producer, which gives a still different sense to the passage. But it does not appear, that it has ever been contended, that wors "signifies no more than all mankind." For in whatever sense Christ is the first-born of all the creation, he is the first-born not only of the human race, but of - all the creation absolutely. If it be said, that Christ is the first-born of all the creation, as he is the first creature which was made; this implies, that he was made not

* Page 99.

before all men only, but before all creatures. If it be said, that he is the first-born of all the creation, as he was begotten from eternity, and so begotten before all the creation; still he was in this sense begotten not before all men only, but before all creatures. If it be said, that he is the first-born of all the creation, as he is the heir, the head, the Lord of all; still in this sense he is the first-born not of mankind only, but of all creatures.— What right then had Dr. C. to suggest, that it is disputed, whether as 70ws in this text "signify more than the whole moral creation of this world, or all mankind?”

The next passage, in which wata xls occurs, is Col. i. 23, "The gospel, which was preached to every creature under heaven The Doctor, who was well acquainted with the original, doubtless recollected, or at least, he ought to have examined, and then he would have seen, that in the original it is, εν παση 7η κλίσει, τη all the creation under heaven," or in all the world. Surely the Doctor did not imagine, that the gospel was preached within every man.


The other passage is 1 Pet. ii. 13, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of men;” πάση ανθρώπινη κλισει, every human creature. The question is whether these words signify all mankind: and the very proposing of the question, I presume, suggests the answer. Will any man say, that every Christian is required, either by reason or revela. tion, to submit to every indiv dual of the human race, whether man, woman or child; and whether the Christian be a lord or a tenant, a king or a subject?-Besides; allowing that the phrase as it stands, means the human race; the addition of ανθρώπινη to παση κλίσει shows that παση κλίσει without ανθρωπινη, would not signify the human race; otherwise why is it added? If the words in our language, every creature, mean always every human creature, it would be needless in any case to insert the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »