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have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.* This is the original grant. Now hear a prophecy of the final possession. And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.t And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” I Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.|| Now hear an expression of the hope of those who in true faith wait for it. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Now hear the sovereign declaration of the perfected accomplishment of it. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely. T
But more particularly, consider the language of the Apostle Paul, in the 8th chapter of his epistle to the Romans. Having spoken of the spiritual adoption of the children of God, he connects it with the hope of an inheritance. If children, then heirs. He then connects present suffering with this hope, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. This mention of suffering seemed to detract from the blessedness of the children: he hastens, therefore, to contrast it with the object of hope, in comparison with which it has nothing. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. The sufferings do, indeed, press the creature into an earnest expectation of relief; and there is relief at hand, in the great day of the manifestation, or resurrection, of the sons of God. For the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. A difficulty arises here as to the meaning of the word creature, but the 22nd verse seems fully to explain it. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travelleth in pain together until now. * Gen. i. 26. + Dan. vii. 27. # Zech. xiv. 9. ll Isaiah ix. 7. 8 2 Peter iii. 13.
| Rev. xxi. 5, 6.
There the same original expression is more unequivocally translated by the word creation. The Apostle, enlarging upon the present suffering, and future glory of the people of God, associates with them, both in suffering and in hope, the whole frame of external nature as it exists in this planet. The whole of what we call the animal, vegetable and mineral creations, which, because of their harmony and mutual dependance, and because they all together compose one world, are spoken of in the singular number as the creature, or the creation. This creation is personified, and we read here its history. It was made subject to vanity, or evil folly, as the word imports. * It is here implied that the creation was not originally in this evil state, and so we read, as we have already seen, Gen. i. 31. It was very good. There was cause for groaning in it, for there was no pain. There was no room for it to hope for deliverance; for it was in full possession of liberty, and holiness, and joy. But it fell under a curse, not by its own doing. It had no will. It was under the dominion of Adam. It was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Adam's fall. He brought the curse upon it. He subjected it, in, or under, hope. He cast it down, from a state of enjoyment where there was nothing to hope for, into a state of degradation and suffering where there is no true enjoyment except in the hope of deliverance. In the day that God pronounced the curse upon fallen man for his wilful disobedience, he cursed also, as we have seen, the unwilling, or unconscious earth, Gen: iii. 17. Thus the creation came into the bondage of corruption, under the galling yoke of which it has been ever since, and still is, labouring and groaning in pain. Not only does the ground produce noxious weeds, the clearing away of which wrings additional sweat from the cultivator's brow: but the living creatures also are at enmity one with another. The lion, the tiger, and the wolf, prowl about int haughty pride, and malignant watchfulness, to seize and devour the unsuspecting lamb. The eagle and the hawk mark, and, with ruthless talons, tear the trembling dove. The whale and the shark devour their thousands in the deep waters. And if you wish for a smaller, and more tangible, because more domestic proof of this universal enmity, behold it in the ensnaring web which the spider weaves to make the fly his prey. In the family of beasts, birds, fishes, insects, we behold the counterpart of the fallen family of man, the Cain and Abel, the murderer and the murdered. Yes, worse than the enmity of the ravenous beast or bird of prey, is the enmity of man. The whole creation is
* MATAVOTATO— Used only twice elsewhere in the New Testament, and in both places, in an evil sense-Eph. iv. 17. 2 Peter ii. 18.
pressed into the ungodly service of the intelligent rebel, man —who thus approaches nearer to the nature of devils, than either beast or bird can do. So little is he affected with the groans around him, that he makes use of the enmity of one creature against another to turn it into amusement for himself. He finds horses, and dogs, and foxes ready, and laying hold of their fallen propensities—availing himself of the image of Satan in them, he delights in it, and joins in the loud cry that has emanated from hell. Surely we may well say, the whole creation is under the bondage of corruption! Deformity is on its face! Impurity is in its heart!
Are these thy glorious works, O glorious God? Was it upon such a scene as this, thou lookedst in the evening of the sixth day, and said’st 'tis very good? Mysterious Father! though this scene had not an actual existence in that day, yet it was clearly in thine eye, and thou couldst have prevented it, but didst not. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight! Yea, it seemed better to thee to cast down in order to restore, than altogether to uphold, so as to need no restoration!
But see, my brethren, even in the disjointed ruins, we may discern something of the magnificence and splendour of the original building. We cannot indeed mistake the use of the several parts, for the use intended by the great Builder; but we can discern something of their grandeur, even as they lie prostrate in the dust. You have heard of the ruins of 'Tyre, of the remains of Balbec, and Palmyra, and Pompeii-imagine a neighbouring shepherd to have constructed his hut, or å stall for his cattle, under a majestic but now isolated portico of polished marble--imagine a gang of robbers dividing their spoil behind some curiously carved pillars, or holding their midnight counsel of rapine upon some beautifully tesselated pavement; and you have something like the faint specimen of the disorder of the creation. You see that some dire disaster has plunged a magnificent city into ruins, you cannot mistake its present use for the use designed by the architect.
Take another illustration, in the person of a poor fellow-creature who is deaf and dumb.
The shape and aspect are those of a man. The movements are of a man. The lips part with a human smile: the eye kindles with an expression of human feeling. But speak to him! there is no hearing. Hearken to him! ihere is no speech. Something is wrong; some dire disaster has befallen him. We cannot mistake the inarticulate mutterings of the helpless creature, for the sounds which were designed to issue from the human mouth.
Such is this fallen world! But must it continue so for ever?
Shall the vessel so marred on the wheel, be never re-made by the hand of the potter? Hearken to the glorious answer which the Holy Ghost has given to this question; the creation itself also, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.* Yes there shall be deliverance, at the coming and kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive, until the times of RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, since the world began.† Then, bondage shall be no more, but liberty. Corruption shall be no more, but glory. The curse shall be no more, but blessing.
The Lord shall make all things new; a new earth, new animals, new fruits, the creation new; so that God, again beholding the work of his own hands, shall say, It is very good!
A new earth! We, saith the apostle, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. I But shall not this earth be destroyed by fire? Yes, as truly as it was of old, by water: the Apostle gives the parallel. It is a fire not to annihilate, but to purify; and out of it, shall arise the new earth; the abode of everlasting righteousness according to the promise of the blessed God. It appears to be the common supposition, that the people of God will be taken to a place away from the earth, and the ungodly to another; and that when the one shall be sent to heaven, and the other to hell; the earth itself will be blotted out of creation, as though it had never been.
My brethren, I am well persuaded, that this opinion, so generally and carelessly received, is not grounded upon the Scriptures of truth.
New animals! The wolf, saith the Prophet, shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling, together; and a little child shall lead them; and the cow and bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox: and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp: and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
When the king shall be returned in righteousness; his dominion, in every part, shall be reinstated in harmonious subjection. The creatures, reclaimed from the consequences of the curse, shall be obedient to the Lord, and at peace amongst each other. There shall be no movement of resistance, or mischief, in all God's holy kingdom, on the earth. * Rom. viii. 21. + Acts iii. 21. #2 Pet. iii. 13. & Isaiah xi. 6-9.
New fruits! For a comprehensive description of the new creation, inclusive of the tree of life, with its twelve manner of fruits, and its leaves for the healing of the nations; see the chapter from which our text is taken, and the chapter following. I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they' shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these things are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. This is the descriptive title of the Lord Jesus: the beginning, in whom all Jehovah's purposes stood from eternity; and the end, in whom they shall all be fulfilled, exactly according to their original design: for All are yea and amen in Him, to the glory of God the Father.
After a highly figurative description of the new Jerusalem, the church of God, called by the name of that city in which the typical church dwelt; the Apostle proceeds, at the 22nd verse, And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. This explains a remarkable passage of the prophet Isaiah. Describing the glory that shall be revealed when the Lord shall bind up the breach of his people, he says: “Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound."* Jesus is the sun, and the church the moon. She gives a faint reflection of his light now; but then, every obscuring cloud of corruption shall have disappeared for ever, and her light shall be like his; and his light shall be transcendant in glory, as the light of seven days.
The Apostle proceeds: And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. This language is, in no way, applicable to the state of things, in some other region or regions, quite away from the earth; but supposing the interpretation I have given to be correct, this language is in perfect keeping. The Apostle adds: And he showed me a pure river of water of
* Isaiah xxx. 26.