« הקודםהמשך »
of which we have many Instances in the Book of Psalms, and the Prophecies of the OldTeJlament. Thus particularly, P/al. cxlvi, we find, Mountains and all Hills, fruitful Trees and all Cedars, Beajls and all Cattle, Worms and feathered Fowls, are called upon to join with the grand Chorus of Men and Angels, of all the Powers of Heaven and Earth, in the Praises of their Almighty Creator. And Ifai. lv. 12. The Mountains and the Hills Jhall break forth before you into singing, and all the Trees of the Field Jhall clap their Hands. So, Pf. civ. 21. The young Lions roaring after their Prey, are represented in the Form of Supplicants, seeking their Meat from God. So again, Ps. cxlvii. 9. the Cry of young Ravens is represented as calling upon God for their daily Bread, He feedeth the young Ravens that call upon him. That these Expressions are properly metaphorical, is easily granted; but that they are justly and properly founded in the real Nature of Things, cannot be denied, or may be easily proved.—— Let it be granted, that all those pompous Ideas, and magnificent Descriptions which the Scriptures give us of the Redemption of the World, and Renovation of Nature, have a primary and immediate Regard to the human Nature, which cannot be denied; yet, that it does not, and cannot, terminate there, so as to exclude the other Parts of the Creation, is, from the Analogy of Reason, equally certain. When we consider that the whole System of Nature were Partakers of the original Happiness, were included in the universal Benediction, that every Part of the animal and vegetable World, according to their several Capacities, received, through our first Parents, such divine Communications of Lise, Light, and Glory, as were necessary cessary to complete their Happiness, which intirely depended upon his unsinning Obedience; that, by his Transgression, he forseited for them, as well as for himself, the Favour of his Maker, and the original Happineft of their State and Condition, from which they sell into their present lamentable State of Mortality and Corruption, it is natural to conceive, that as the whole animal Creation sympathizes and suffers with their sinsul unhappy Lord and Master; ib they shall, with him, in due Time, recover their lost Happiness, and return to their primitive Persection; that the Redemption and Glorification of the one, must necessarily be the Redemption and Glorification of the other; that as they, as well as we, sell in, and by, the Transgression of the first Adam, so they, as well as we, shall be restored by the meritorious Obedience and powerful Intercession of the Second, which the Royal Psalmist plainly declares, Ps. xxxvi. 6. Thou, Lord, /halt save both Man and Beast. And by Parity of Reason we may conclude, that the vegetable as well as animal Creation, shall have their proportionable Degrees of the fame Blessing, and be Partakers of the fame Glory; so that all the original Blessings implanted in the vegetable World at the first Creation shall be restored again: When all the Fruits and Flowers of Paradise, which were created to administer Nourishment and Pleasure to the paradisiacal Bodies of our fallen unhappy Parents, shall recover their original Tincture, Lise, and Spirit, to be the spiritual Food and Nourishment of the renewed human Nature. This our Blessed Lord plainly tells us, Matt. xxvi. 29. when, at the Celebration of his last Supper, he assures his Disciples, that he would thenceforth drink no more os the Fruit of the Fine, until that Day when hejhould drink it new with them in his Father's Kingdom.
The Certainty of this grand Event, the Restitution of this whole visible World to its original Persection4 is plainly and fully attested by St. Paul, Rom. viii. 19,20, 21,22. The carnest Expectation of the Creature waiteth for the Manifcjlation 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 jhall be delivered from the Bondage of Corruption into the glorious Liberty of the Sor.s of God; for we know that the whole Creation groaneth and traveleth in Pain together until now. The great" Point on which the true Interpretation of this Passage depends, is to find out the true Meaning of the Word Creature, in what Sense the Apostle uses it in this Place. Most of our modern Commentators have gone violently out of the way in quest of any Meaning but the true one. The pious and learned Dr. Hammond understands by it the Gentile World, in Opposition to the sews, whom he supposes to be meant by the Sons of God; and, by this false Key, has entangled and perplexed, instead of opening and explaining, this glorious Prophecy. The late learned Dr. JVlntby justly censures this Interpretation, and has advanced another equally absurd and contradictory. He understands by it the whole Race of Mankind; but seems himself to be sensible he was in the wrong, by shufHing over several Expressions, which, if duly considered, would have shewn him his Mistake, and led him into a more consistent Scheme of Interpretation. However, after he had sussiciently puzzled himself and his Readers with aiming at something like a Meaning, he attempts to
give you from Quotations out of two of the primitive Fathers, what he calls the antient and almost .primitive' Exposition of these Hoards. After which, he modestly subjoins his own Judgment: / differ only from the Fathers in this Interpretation as to this single Circumstance, that I do not extend this Desire of the Redemption of the Body from Corruption to brute Beasts, and insensate Creatures, hut only to Mankind in general subject by Adam's Fall to Mortality, p. 45. Now I must needs fay, it would have been but modest and reasonable in the Doctor, aster having entered his Protest, to have given us his Reasons for dissenting from this almost primitive Exposition. And I believe it would be very hard to produce' any Reason against their suture Restoration, which would not conclude as strongly against their first Creation. If infinite Wisdom and Goodness faw fit to produce such numberless Ranks and Orders of Creatures, to complete the Harmony of the univerfal System, and to share with Man in the Blessings and Glories of Paradise, besore Sin and Death entered into the World, is it not highly reasonable to imagine, that they are preserved by the fame infinite Wisdom and Goodness to be Sharers in the Happiness and Glory of the new World, when Sin and Sorrow shall cease, when Corruption and Mortality shall be no more, and Death itself Jhall he swallowed up in Victory?
There is one Expression in ver. 22. which seems plainly to determine what we are to understand by the Creature, and may be justly considered as an infallible Key to the Apostle's whole Meaning; and that is, that the whole Creation groaneth and travaileth in Pain together till now. Now it is plain at first Sight, that
Vol.i, U the the whole Creation, which groaneth and travailetb in Pain, is that very Creature that waiteth for the Manifestation of the Sons of God; that very Creature that shall he delivered from the Bondage of Corruption into the glorious Liberty of the Sons of God. Whatever Part of the Creation, therefore, susfers under any Shape or Degree of Impersection, Misery, Corruption, and Mortality, may be justly considered as groaning and travailing in Pain, and by consequence, as Candidates for Redemption and Immortality. Now, as it is plain that no one Part of the Creation is exempted from the Bondage of Corruption; so it seems equally plain, that no one Part shall be excluded from the universal Deliverance; and that the Redemption from the Curse must be as univerfal as the Curse itself; so that whatever susfers' by the Fall, shall be restored at last into the glorious Liberty of the Sons of God. And this may help us to an easy Explanation of an Expression, that cannot otherwise be easily reconciled to the ordinary Forms of Speech. The Passage is Mark xvi. 15. where the Apostles are commanded to preach the Gospel to every Creature; from whence some of the legendary Writers of the Church of Rome have justified the Preachments of their Saints to the Birds, Beasts, and Fishes, and thereby given the Precept a ridiculous Turn, and furnished Occasion of Mirth and Derision to Infidels and Fools: But in this View it appears capable of a plain and natural Meaning, Go ye forth into all the World, and preach a joyful Message of Redemption to the whole Creation. And I must needs fay, it has often puzzled me to think, why the fame Expression in the Original should be thus differently rendered in Eng/i/h, so as to be called every Creature