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the trumpet, and other instruments of martial music. Astonishing as would be such a transformation and magnificent sight, still more astonishing will be the revelation, and still more glorious will be the spectacle, which the world will exhibit to the spiritual eye, when the tribes and nations of the human race, quickened by the divine Spirit from their spiritual state of torpor and death, and putting on "the panoply of God," shall muster themselves under the banners of the "Captain of Salvation," ready to fight his battles, and to celebrate his victories.

In conclusion, what is the practical improvement to be made of the whole of this discussion? Should it not excite us to pray for the Spirit, and to pray for him with earnestness and importunity, and with a confident belief that he will be imparted in answer to prayer. Recollect, brethren, that while as "the wind bloweth where it listeth, and men hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit,"—it is the duty of christians to pray that the Spirit may be poured out on all flesh; and it is the duty of those who have received the Spirit to seek more and more of his heavenly influence. How plain the command! how rich the encouragement," Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." "If ye being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give good gifts,-even his Holy Spirit, to those who ask him!"



ROMANS Viii. 19-22.-For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

IN soliciting your attention to this passage, it is proper to premise, that it is the same term in the original which is rendered by the words, "the creature" and "the creation," and that the latter is decidedly the preferable rendering. It is proper to premise, further, that the 20th verse, with the exception of the concluding expression," in hope," is usually regarded as a parenthesis; and that the first term in that case should be translated that, instead of because. The whole passage, then, may be read thus: "For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God, (for the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same) in hope that the creation itself also,"-that is, the creation waits in hope that itself also-"shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

This passage is usually regarded as one of the most difficult and obscure in the writings of Paul; it seems

naturally to invite to curious and difficult disquisitions; but avoiding such disquisition as unsuitable to this place, I shall endeavour to give you a popular illustration rather than a critical discussion of it. Before proceeding further, however, it is necessary to make two or three remarks on the phrase, "the creation,” which forms evidently the key to the right understanding of the passage.

That it cannot refer to the saints or the people of God, as some interpreters suppose, is evident from the 23d verse, in which the saints and the creation are expressly contradistinguished. "And not only they,"-the objects of the whole creation,-but ourselves also which have the first fruits of the Spirit, &c. By the creation others understand the human race at large, or the Gentile world, and consider the passage as descriptive of the anxious and importunate desire of mankind to be released from their present miseries,—and of the accomplishment of that desire either by the introduction of the millennial state, or by the resurrection of the body at the consummation of all things. That the apostle refers not to the millennium, but to the end of the world, can scarcely be doubted, for he mentions expressly "the redemption of the body;" and if by the creation we are to understand the general mass of mankind, the deliverance to be conferred on them is a deliverance to be conferred at the conclusion of the present system of things. Now, allowing that this interpretation may easily be invested with much plausibility, it seems an insurmountable objection to it, that multitudes of the human race shall never participate of that "glorious liberty" into which it is explicitly affirmed that the creation shall be admitted. It may seem to some unwarrantable to assert peremptorily that the whole heathen world shall be

consigned to everlasting perdition. When, however, we consider the vices and crimes which have prevailed almost universally in the heathen world, we must admit that few, if any, of the inhabitants have given decisive tokens of that renovation of heart and character which are declared to be an indispensable prerequisite to admission into the kingdom of heaven. And when we recollect, further, that the gospel, or the word of God, is the only appointed instrument of salvation, and that it is the express declaration of scripture, that, "where no vision is the people perish," we are shut up to the distressing conclusion that, with the exception of those dying in infancy, these inhabitants of heathen lands have reason to dread the day of judgment as the era of their condemnation, not to desire it as the epoch of their deliverance.

For these reasons, and for others which I shall not stop to enumerate, I am disposed to understand the passage as referring neither to the people of God, nor to the heathen world, but to the rest of the creation; that is, to the general system of inanimate and irrational things around us. Of that system the passage exhibits such a picture as it would naturally present to a mind like Paul's, burning with unconquerable zeal for the happiness of man and the honour of God, intensely interested in the scheme of salvation by the death of Christ, and accustomed to take from this, as the central elevation, the loftiest and most comprehensive views of the divine administration. The passage contains obviously a bold and rapid sketch, not a minute or leisurely survey; and it is therefore not so much in particular parts, as in the general aspect and more prominent features of the creation, that we are to look for the realization of the picture.

Leaving the probability of this interpretation to be

established, from the degree of accordance that may be discernible between the text and the illustration of it, I shall now proceed to present that illustration under the four following particulars into which the subject obviously subdivides itself:-The bondage of the creation; the origin and cause of that bondage; the aspirations of the creation after deliverance; and the deliverance which awaits it.

I. The bondage in which the creation is involved. This bondage is described by various expressions, "vanity," "the bondage of corruption," "groaning and travelling together in pain." The first of these terms is applicable to that which is unprofitable and unsatisfactory,-to that which is criminal and foolish, and to that which is perishable and evanescent. Each of these ideas may enter as elements into the "vanity" here mentioned. By the "bondage of corruption," we are, I apprehend, to understand the bondage of death rather than of sin, subjection to that decay, and that death which are the consequences of transgression. Taken together the different expressions intimate, that the evil introduced by the rebellion of man has extended its baleful influences and effects to the rest of the creation. Now, of evil, there are two kinds, moral and natural, or, in plainer terms, sin and misery. Let us inquire how the rest of the creation is subject to each of these. That the whole human race are involved in sin or moral evil is abundantly evident; for in what age or region of the world has there appeared an individual whose heart was the seat of no vicious desire, or who rendered to the Most High that undivided affection and that immaculate obedience which his holy law demands? With regard to the rest of the creation, it must doubtless be allowed, that sin

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