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ticularly the misery brought upon all mankind by the fall of our first parents. This he further intimates to be the state of the child of God in this world, as well as of others, whose character and future hopes are here mentioned. These are subjects in which we are all of us deeply interested. May the Spirit of God seal instruction upon our minds while we consider them.

First, The misery brought upon all mankind by the fall of our first parents is here described. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. This is a matter of universal knowledge and experience among mankind.

mankind. Some persons have supposed that the expression, the whole creation, must relate to the animal creation as well as to all rational creatures. But from the contrast made in the text, between all mankind, in this verse, and the children of God, in the next, it seems evident that rational beings alone are meant. And further, as the word creature, the same as that rendered creation, is used several times in the course of a few verses as applicable to mankind only, it is not likely that there would be a change in its meaning merely by the addition of the word all, or the whole. But the same words are used when our Saviour commanded His apostles to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature ;18 and when our apostle speaks of the gospel being preached to every crea

ture under heaven.19 So that its meaning appears to be very clear. It is said, however, that the sin of man has entailed misery and pain on the brute creation. And it is true that every thing in this world is out of course by reason of sin; but animals have no groaning or pain with regard to futurity; their pains are all circumscribed by this life, and they have no prospect beyond it.

The groaning and travailing in pain, of which the text speaks, arises from mankind being subject to vanity, to sin and death, being by nature born in sin and the children of wrath, and as the natural consequence, being all their lifetime subject to bondage, 20 the bondage of corruption. All persons who have any serious reflection,-and this will obtrude itself at one time or another upon every human being, who is conscious of his fallen state, feel this groaning and these pangs, this anguish of mind respecting eternity. The ravages of death upon all around us, and the consciousness that we must die, that the time will assuredly come, when our mortal spirit must quit its tenement of clay, cannot but cause some anxiety as to whether it will soar to heaven, or sink down to hell; whether eternal life or everlasting destruction will be our portion when we leave this world. Hence it is that so many schemes have been devised by sinful men, to lull

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18 Mark xvi. 16.

19 Col. i. 23.

20 Heb. ii. 15.

their minds into a state of security, and give them a hope, though a delusive one, of escaping the consequences of sin in eternity. Death is called the king of terrors, and as such he is regarded by the multitude of mankind, not without cause, since it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.22 The instructed and informed mind cannot but feel a dread of the awful scrutiny of the Searcher of hearts in that day when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed. For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known. Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness, shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house tops. 23 Such is the statement of our blessed Saviour on the subject. The apprehension of this day of the Lord, which will come as a thief in the night, 24 cannot but occasion, in many, anguish of spirit or pain of mind, which will be manifested by secret sighing and groaning, if the conscience be at all awakened by a sense of our natural condition as we come into the world, and the consequences of it.

But independently of this, because of sin the world is fitly compared to a hospital, filled with patients who have each their own sickness, and their own sore; and who, instead of affording

21 Job xviii. 14. 22 Heb. ix. 27. 23 Luke xii. 2,3. 24 2 Peter iii. 10.


relief to each other, are endeavouring to increase the misery and woe of all around them. The world is filled with groaning and pain, both of body and mind. How dreadful are the diseases to which we are exposed. What numerous accidents, as they are called, are continually occurring, which are the cause of suffering and distress. What losses of friends or of property are mankind liable to, which bring anguish of spirit and pain of mind. When we look around us upon the world at large, may we not ask, Where is the man who has not some secret or open cause of sorrow, grief, and pain, at one time or another? May it not be truly said, The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, into whatever quarter we may look ? This is the actual state of mankind, and a lamentable state it is. Misery and distress appear in all directions; and in numberless instances without hope of relief in that respect which is of the greatest importance; for those who know not the gospel of Christ are described as having no hope, and without God in the world ,2% they have no God to go to for relief, they cannot look up to Him as their Father and their friend, and hope for relief from Him, and they have no good hope of happiness beyond this life; their condition is therefore most deplorable. But the apostle intimates, Secondly, That this is also the state of the children of God in this world. They are exposed, as well as others, to pain of body and anguish of mind. And not only they, mankind in general, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves. The expression used to characterise the children of God is a very remarkable one. They have the first fruits of the Spirit. As the first fruits of the ground are a pledge and earnest of the harvest that is to follow; so the gift of the Spirit of God to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, is to them an earnest of the blessedness which awaits them hereafter, as well as a foretaste of it. The apostle therefore says to the Ephesians, After that ye believed in Christ, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.26 This is a privilege of which it becomes us, as Christians, to seek for the enjoyment. To be sealed with the Spirit, and to have the

25 Ephesians ii. 12.

first fruits of the Spirit, is the same thing as the apostle speaks of under other images, as having the Spirit of God dwelling in us, being led by the Spirit of God, and through the Spirit mortifying the deeds of the body, and having received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. 28

Those who have the first

26 Eph. i. 13, 14.

27 1 Cor. iii. 16.

28 Rom. viii. 13-15.

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