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For these purposes it hath had the bea nefit of regular seasons, which if they have not all the advantages of the first ftate of the earth, have others, that in a good measure compensate them; and give it a preference to that state, which was introduced by the curse, and continued till the flood.
In proportion to the progress, which, age after age, is made in improvements of this kind; and in this age especially, which exceeds all that have gone before it in this respect-In proportion hereto, I say, the curse of the ground is removed and overcome. In a word, 66 The fall was the corruption of the natural and moral world, and the ruin of all the glory and happiness of the creation*." It is the plan of Providence, to bring about the recovery of the creation in both respects, by the concurrence and instrumentality of the creature man ; through whom the
* Bp. Sherlock's Use and Intent of Prophecy, Disc. iii.
corruption and ruin of it was effected : And in such ineasure and degree, as man co-operates, this end is obtained ; and the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption *; and enabled to recover its first flourishing and happy state.
To close this chapter, I shall only observe farther, that the drying up of the earth, by the several causes before mentioned, will, by degrees, render it more combustible; and dispose it for the next catastrophe, which it is to undergo.
* Rom. viii. 21. Kriois is tranflated creation, in the next verse; and it ought to be so translated here and every where, to render the paffage uniform throughOut.
снА Р. Х.
OF THE GENERAL CONPLA
GRATION. . .
THAT the great Creator, and wise
1 Governor of the universe, whose tender mercies are over all his works, should destroy those the works of his own hands, might appear to us incredible; had we not known, that he hath once destroyed the world already; and had it not been revealed to us in his holy word, that it is his fixt purpose and decree to destroy it again.
As it was not without just cause that he was moved to deluge the old world ;
in which he consulted the good of his creation in general; fo he undoubtedly hathi wise and gracious purposes to ferve in the dreadful visitation with which he threa. tens the present world. The old world was drowned, not only for the wickedness of them that dwelt therein; but the wa. ters of the deluge, as observed, Chap. V. served by way of lustration, to wash it from the pollutions which it had contracted by the impurities of its inhabitants.
But though the earth was thus purged and lustrated, and its face was renewed and cleansed, for the better reception of its future inhabitants—Though it hath been acquiring improvements of various kinds ever since, as we have seen in the preceding chapter; and will be yet farther improved and meliorated, beyond what we can at present conceive ; yet in so long a feries of ages, and from the iniquity which in all ages hath abounded, and will too much abound to the end; it will, like
the old world, contract corruption like, wise; which will obstruct its coming up to its primitive model : And how much foever it Thall be enriched and beautified, it will not be without its ,defects and bles mishes. There will be something still wanting in it of that perfe&ion, in which it came out of the hands of its Creator. The deep stain, which entered into it at the fall, was not entirely washed away by the flood; nor hath it been worn out ever fince: And the disorder and confusion, it was thrown into, will not be all rectified; por its dislocated members reduced to their proper fituation, by all the amendments and restoratives, which it shall have had the benefit of. At least, this we may bę positive of—This we know, says the apostle, that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now * : Notwithstanding all the advantages it hạth received, in order to a recovery. Some
* Rom. viii. 22.