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not be unto the residue of this people as in the former day, faith the Lord. For the feed shall be prosperous: the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the hia vens shall give their dez: and I will cause the remnant off this people to polless all these things *. Thus shall the curse be taken away, and the throne of God and the Lamb shall be erected, and forrow and igbing shall cease t.
6. It is very probable that some may object--all these are figurative expressions, and, as such, are to be understood, and therefore are nothing to the purpose for which they are quoted. I grant, some of the above quotations may have a figurative meaning, as the Bible abounds with much of that sort ; yet it does not follow that it may not have a literal meaning; nay, it is the opinion of very judicious Divines, that the literal meaning of every text is always first to be understood, unless there be some very palpable absurdity in the same, which I profess I do not fee in any of the fore-çited paffages. I am thoroughly perfuaded that the creation is not in the same state now which it o.iginally was, when the Divine Creator pronounced it very good. It is now compared to a woman in the pangs of labour, and it is not a hopeless labour. Mark well what the Apostle says to this very point:For the earnest expezarion of be creature waiteth for the manifestation of the fons of God. For the creature was made fubject to vanity; that is, to sickness, pain, corruption, and death-not willingly, but by reason of Him auko hath subjeeted the same in hope: But the creature is felf also fhall be delivered from the
bondage * Zecb. viii, 11, 12.
+ Rev. xxii. 3.
bondege of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travelleth in pain together until now *. These verses are a key to all which I have cited before, and plainly evidence the fallen and ruined condition of the creation, and which we see every day, and not only their fall, but also their blefied restoration again.
7. SATAN shall not always triumph in ruin and defola. tion; to his unspeakable rage, when in chains, he shall see the Bruiser of his head claiming a ranfomed world for his own, riding his white horse, and going from conquering and to conquer, and all the ends of the earth rejoicing in his great falvation, while all the creation, like Eden of old, flourishing beneath the Creator's smile. Then may be sung, in sweet accents,
Lo, for us the whole are glad,
Bud, and blotiomas the role. 8. Ir may be objected that the axles t of the earth being removed, confequently the position of the earth is changed,
and * Rom. viii. 19, 23. + MILTON seems to be entirely of my mind with regard to the state of the creation before the Fall; and so with regard to the causes which have brought forth such dreadful effects, as appears in the following passage :
Some say be bid his Angels turn a-scanse
and that the influences of the heavens must be as they are, and, therefore, no such change can take place as has been asserted: that storms and tempefts, chilling blafts, scorching heats, and noxious vapours must continue, I
Paradise Loft.---Book X.
answer, admitting the axles of the earth may have been removed, and therefore the pofition of the earth may be changed, that was either done by the exprefs command of God, or by his permission whether by the general deluge, or before it : but cannot the same Almighty Hand replace every thing in its pristine and harmonious order? And as he has declared such effects shall take place, we may be very well assured he will not be at a loss to find out causes. When he resolved upon the redemption of the world, he found out a way which astonished both heaven and hell ; so, in this momentous affair, he will bring to pass his own gra. cious purposes, either making second causes subservient, or accomplishing his own gracious designs without them, seeing he ruleth in the armies of the heavens above, and doeth what he pleaseth among the inhabitants of the earth, and there is none can stay his hand, or say, What doit thou ?
9. It is very probable, before this great revolution shall take place, many changes will happen in the earth. Many awful calamities, such as wars, peitilences, famines, earthquakes, and the like, by which many of the ungodly will be cut off : tor, in the general, it may be observed, that these awful judgments fall upon the wicked and incorrigible, who hate to be reformed. Herein God says, Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and fout tky doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpaft. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth alfo firall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her fiain*.
10. We * Ifa, xxvi. 20, 21.
10. We find, during the calamities in Egypt, God mercifully preserved his own, especially in the deftruction of the cattle and first-born. The deftruation of Sodom and Gomorrah fell upon t'ie ungodly ; ever those Ilraelites, who fell in the wilderness, were rebels : and the dreadful carnage made in the land of Canaan, fell upon such whose iniquities were fall. And again, in Israel, destroyers were sent to fly all such as had not the mark in their foreheads; and none were marked but such as fighed and mourned for the iniqnity of the land *. In the general, such as are cut off in war are those that would be a curse to the earth, if spared; and, it is very remarkable, in the destruction of Jerusalem, when so many thou- . fands perished, yet it is thought not one Christian was lain. The Lord had forewarned them to flee to the mountains, and so they did; and although the Roman General had actually besieged the city, yet he strangely withdrew, and gave the Christians an opportunity of escaping, while the ungodly Jeivs seemed bent upon their , own ruin.
So true is it that, He that, being often reproved, and hardeneth his neck (that is, his heart) ball suddenly be diftreyed, and that without remedy +.
Indeed, it would be endless to cite all the instances io which the truth of this oblervation is manifefted; fo truly does God diitinguish between the righteous and the wicked--between him who serveth his Maker, and him that serveth him not.
11. As the generality of the promises in the Old Testament run in a temporal (train, I make no doubt but they refer to S
+ Prov. xxix. 1.