ROMAN5, 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,"

Ver. 19 - 21. '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 sübjected 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.'

To understand these verses let it first be adverted to, that the term here translated creature signifieth also creation; and so might comprehend all animate and all inanimate things. It is true, that the inanimate are not capable of hope; and this feeling perhaps should not be extended beyond the members of the human family - though, certain it is, that, amongst the inferior tribes of living creatures, there is also, in some partial degree, the same restlessness, the same dissatisfaction with present things, the same desire of things better, and perhaps even the same tendency of wish and expectation towards them, that are so palpably evident of ourselves and all the fellows of our species. And then of mute and insensible things it holdeth true, that, though they cannot hope, they at least wait a restoration. MTe cannot ascribe to them, without an effort of poetry or of personification, the posture of looking forward to that day of their coming enlargement, when they shall be emancipated from the distress and imprisonment in which they are now held - But still when we include them in the description of these verses, we commit no greater violence upon the literalities of sober and prosaical truth than is done in other parts of Scripture - when all nature is summoned to an act of attendance upon God - when the voice of praise is heard by the ear of fancy as arising to heaven from the mountains and the forests, and the valleys are made to sing, and the little hills on every side to rejoice - when on the approach of its Maker, the whole creation is represented as vocal - when the fields are called upon to break forth into gladness, and the floods to clap their hands. These all are now waiting such an advent and such a jubilee as this; and there is no great stretch of the imagination, when the apostle affirms that they all now hope for a futurity, at which when it becomes present the Psalmist figures them to rejoice.
The next remark that we shall offer for the elucidation of these verses is, that the middle clause of the 20th verse should be thrown into a parenthesis. The main assertion of this verse is, that the creature was made subject to vanity in hope; and we are told by the way that it was so made subject unwillingly, or without its own consent. It was not for example by any wilful act of theirs, that animals were made subject to death. There could be no willingness on the part of the ground, in that act of which its curse was one of the consequences. It could be from no fault of the will in nature, that she was visited with that sore distemper, under which she now labours; and whereof she giveth palpable symptom in the volcano, and the earthquake, and the storm, and that general conspiracy of all her elements against which man has to fight and to fatigue himself his whole life long - that he might force out a subsistence, and keep footing through a history that is made up of little better than to drudge and to die. It was not of its own willingness that the creation was thus brought under the power of vanity, but by reason of him who subjected the same. There are some who understand this of the great tempter, who, by seducing man from his obedience, brought death into our world and all its woe. Others understand him who yielded to that temptation, our first parent, at whose fall a universal blight came upon nature and she is now become a wreck of what she was - still lovely in many of her aspects, though in sore distress - still majestic and venerable, though a venerable ruin - appearing as if out of joint; and giving token by her extended deserts, and the gloom of her unpeopled solitudes, and her wintry frown, and her many fierce and fitful agitations, that some mysterious ailment hath befallen her.

So that the whole passage may be thus paraphrased.
The creation is now waiting, as if in the attitude of earnest expectancy, for that era when, transformed into a new heavens and a new earth, it shall become a suitable habitation for those who are declared and manifested to be the Sons of God!. For creation, then to be so gloriously restored, has for a time been made subject to vanity not willingly, on the part at least of any who now live, but by reason of him who by his fatal disobedience hath brought it into this bondage - yet is it a bondage that is mingled and alleviated with hope; and that too a warranted hope, because creation shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption: And emancipated from those fetters which now bind and burden and make it impracticable and ungracious, it will come forth in smiles that shall be perennial and immortal it will yield a grateful compliance to the wishes of its happy inmates, and have in all its operations the beneficent flow and freedom of God's own children.
Having rendered to you a general exposition of this remarkable passage, let us now look a little more narrowly into the separate clauses of it. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.' We have already hinted at the extension of this clause even to the lower animals, and to mute insensible things. There might be somewhat of personification and fancy in such an application. But there is no fancy in generalising it so far, as to include at least all the members of the great human family. There is a sort of vague undefinable impression. we think, upon all spirits, of some great evolution of the present system under which we live - some looking towards, as well as longing after immortality - some mysterious but yet powerful sense within every heart, of the present as a state of confinement and thraldom; and that yet a day of light and largeness and liberty is coming.

We cannot imagine of unbelievers, that they have any very precise or perhaps confident anticipation on the subject, any more than the world at large had of the advent of our Messiah - though a very general expectation was abroad of the approaching arrival of some great personage upon earth. And, in like manner, there is abroad even now the dim and the distant vision of another advent, of a brighter and a blander period that is now obscurely seen or guessed at through the gloom by which humanity is encompassed - a kind of floating anticipation, suggested perhaps by the experimental feeling that there is now the straitness of an opprest and limited condition ; and that we are still among the toils, and the difficulties, and the struggles, of an embryo state of existence. it is altogether worthy of remark, arid illustrative of our text, that, in like manner as through the various countries of the world, there is a very wide impression of a primeval condition of virtue and blessedness from which we have fallen - so there seems a very wide expectation of the species being at length restored to the same health and harmony and loveliness as before.

The vision of a golden age at some remote period of antiquity, is not unaccompanied with the vision of a yet splendid and general revival of all things. Even apart from revelation, there floats before the world's eye the brilliant perspective of this earth being at length covered with a righteous and regenerated family. This is a topic on which even philosophy has its fascinating dreams; and there are philanthropists in our day who disown Christianity, yet are urged forward to enterprise by the power and the pleasure of an anticipation so beautiful. They do not think of death. They only thiak of the moral and political glories of a renovated world, and of these glories as unfading. It is an immortality after all that they are picturing. While they look on that gospel which brought life and immortality to light as a fable - Still they find that the whole capacity of their spirits is not filled, unless they can regale them with the prospect of an immortality, of their own. Nothing short of this will satisfy them; and whether you look to those who speculate on the perfectibility of mankind, or those who think in economic theories that they age laying the basis on which might be reared the permanent happiness of nations - you see but the creature spurning at the narrowness of its present condition, and waiting in earnest expectancy for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity.

We have already spoken somewhat of the inanimate creation - of the curse under which the ground lieth, arid the consequent toil to which man is subjected that he might live - of the visible derangement into which nature has been thrown, so that all her elements are impregnated with disease, and often by hurricane or pestilence or sweeping flood become the ministers of desolation. We do not know how much lovelier the face of creation would have stood out to the eye, had not sin entered within its confines. We do not know what tintures of sweeter beauty had diversified the landscape, or with what finer notes of melody and peace the purer and fresher atmosphere had been charged. It is not for us to tell the precise amount of deterioration, which the mute and unconscious materialism hath sustained by the fall of Adam. But certain it is, that vanity hath thereby obtained a sad ascendant over every thing that lives on the surface of our lower world. It was by sin that death entered amongst us; and this stamps the character of vanity of vanities on all who are subject to it. Through the whole of life cloth man walk in a vain show, and he vexeth himself in vain; and even though it had flowed in one clear and untroubled current of felicity, how surely and how sadly it reacheth its termination.

It is this which puts a mockery on all the splendour and stateliness of this world. The grave absorbs all and annihilates all; and as one generation maketh room for another, and the men of the present age are borne off the scene by the men of the age that is to follow, we cannot regard the history of our species, and indeed of all the living tribes that people the surface of this labouring earth - we cannot regard it in any other light than as a series of abortions. There is so much of the promise of immortality in the high anticipation and heyday of youth - there is so much of the seeming power of immortality in the vigour of established manhood - there is even so much of the character of endurance in the tenacity wherewith age keeps itself rivetted to the pursuits and interests of the world, to its busy schemes, and its eager prosecutions, and its castles of fame or accumulated fortune - clinging, as it does, to these things on the very brink of the sepulchre; and keeping the firmer hold with the hand of avarice, the sooner that its deeds and its documents and its various parchments of security are to be torn away from it - Why the whole picture looks so farcical if I may be allowed the term - that surely it may well be said of life under its happiest guise, and in midst of its greatest prosperity, that it is altogether subject unto vanity.

'Not willingly but by reason of him who hath subjected the same.
' This as I said before is a parenthesis, by which the main current of observation is suspended. Yet here it comes most pertinently in. This is a condition which bath passed upon it by the sentence of the Creator, not gone into with the consent of the creature. It is a thing ofordination not of choice. The mute and inanimate things had no choice of that derangement which they have been made to undergo - of that decay under which so many of them, and these the loveliest in nature, do yearly sicken and expire; and so exemplify a death that likens them to those who are immediately above themselves in the scale of creation. Neither had the inferior animals any voluntary part in that law of mortality whereunto they are subject - or in that law of their sentient or organic nature by which, in obedience to a tyrant appetite, they go forth upon each other in mutual fierceness to raven amid to destroy. And even with man it is a thing of destiny, and he comes into the world all unconscious of that which is abiding him. What does an infant know of death? or whaat does it know of those restless passions by which, ere death ensues, the period that intervenes is a troubled dream of vexation and vanity? They lie un-evolved and sleep in mysterious embryo among the curious receptacles of its little bosom.

If this subjection of our world unto vanity is resolvable into willingness at all, it must be either the willingness of that great adversary who plied the first and fatal temptation, or it must be the willingness of those first parents who yielded to it. And it is indeed a most striking demonstration of the malignity of sin, and of God's unfaltering hostility against it - that, on its first entrance within the confines of our planet and ever since, Nature took on a hue of sickhiness; and the very elements were charged with disease; and even that ground, which first offered a soft and flowery carpet for the impress of ethereal footsteps, gathered into a more rugged and intractable temper than before; and death established its grim relentless empire over every thing that breathes; and more especially man has been doomed by the very nobleness of his endowmerits, by the greater reach of his forebodings and the finer sensibilities that belong to him, to a larger participation, to a higher pre-eminence in the general distress.

'In hope.
' Take away the parenthesis and you read 'Vanity in hope ' - or an experience of present evil mixed with the anticipation of release from it. In the condition of the accursed angels, there is evil umixed and unalleviated. We can imagine it, but we do not feel it. We deem that in every clime and with every human creature, there is, it may be dimly and faintly, but there is we think a sort of restless aspiring towards better things, which could not exist without a certain prospect of enlargement. There is a constitutional impulse in the human spirit, by which it is ever stretching forward to a better and a happier condition than the one which it now occupies; and if it can find no earthly prospect on which to rest, still the tendency abides with us; and goads us on as it were • to unknown futurity, which we fill with wishes and schemes and fond imaginations, rather than that a faculty within should lie unemployed, or a feeling should continue to actuate our hearts that shall be left without an object to exercise and entertain it. We cannot fancy a situation of greater wretchedness, than that from which hope is excluded, and before which there lies no open vista whatever that admits one ray of light from the fathomless unknown; or rather perhaps when it is all known to be the cheerless infinite of one vast and unknown desolation - when grim certainty informs the conscience, that what the present void and the present agony are now, such will they ever be. - when the weight that is mow upon the spirit is surely believed by the owner of it to be irremediably there; and there is ever ringing in his ear, the unvaried knell of a ceaseless arid changeless and comfortless eternity.

Such may be the sad estate of those apostate spirits that have fallen before us; but it is not ours. The vanity to which we are subject is mingled with hope; and it bears a kind of experimental evidence to that economy under which we live, that the prospects which it sets before us are so adapted to principles which God hath still permitted to remain in our nature. It shows that there is a counterpart within us to the doctrine that is without us. It secures a more ready coalescence on our part with the revelation of immortality. It gives to that revelation the advantage of being met with and responded to, in a way that it could not so promptly and immediately have been, had there not been such am adaptation between the mechanism of our spirits and the matter that is addrest to them. It secures it, that we shall spring forth with more alacrity and desire to that message by which our futurity is unfolded - And however misdirected this tendency of our mature, either on the part of those who have a false mythology and a fabled elysium, or on the part of those who without religion at all have still a philanthropy that urges them forward in pursuit of an earthly elysium that after the lapse of generations they conceive to be waiting our species - still they are better subjects for being plied with the doctrine of a true revelation, than if they had no such tendency.

That there is this tendency, and a strong one too, even without and beyond the limits of Christianity is quite obvious. The very thirst after immortal fame, on the part of orators and philosophers and poets, is an exemplification of it; and so are the magnificent sketches of a prouder and better day for our species, that float before the eye of our sanguine economists; and so is every effort to shake off the trammels of antiquity, and to speed if possible with an innovator's hand, the amelioration of our race; and so are those lovely visions of a world regenerated into benevolence and purity and peace, that certain uninspired prophets love to gaze upon. Each has a millennium of his own on which he doats and dwells with kindred imagination; and whether you read of the future triumphs of virtue by the progress of light, or are called to look upon it in the perspective of planned and regulated villages - put it all down to the craving appetite, or even to the strong expectancy that there is in human bosoms, for some bright and beauteous evolution in the history of human affairs. There is a prophetic announcement of such an era, or; what is stronger still, a habitual advertence to it, on the part of many prophets and apostles and evangelists.

This is a topic on which Christians feel that they have a warrant for very noble and high anticipations. The gospel throws open to the eye of faith a vista, that terminates in a better day of glory and of rejoicing which shall fill the whole earth; and with this peculiarity, which is all its own, that, while it points the eye to this moral scene, it puts into the hand that specific instrument by which it is to be realized. It is through the ministry of that by which the world is reconciled, that it shall at length be regenerated. It is on their acceptance of the message, of peace, that a purifying influence is to descend from the sanctuary; and, in very proportion as the word of faith circulates and finds admittance with the species, will the work of renovation take effect upon them. And, amid all the ridicule which is incurred by those who put their trust in the operation of a preached gospel, we, at this very day, have witnessed the samples of its efficacy.

And surely it is not for us who, know the wonders of missionary success; who, within the compass of our own evanescent memory, have seen the transition of a whole people from the grossness of heathenism to the light, and love of Christianity - it is not for us to give up as hopeless the cause of this world's amelioration.
Ver. 21. 'Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.' Because - is capable from the original language 'of being rendered into that - in which case the passage would run thus - ' For the creature was made subject to vanity, in hope that the creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.' - We prefer however the present translation. It is not true that all have the specific hope of a deliverance in the terms of the verse - though all I think have a kind of longing and indefinite hope - a vague anticipation of a better and a higher existence that awaiteth them - a fond imagining of future bliss - 'Not confined' to the mythologies or the faiths of the old world; but felt even by the Indians of the new, - mixing itself with their feasts and their battles and their war-songs, and descending with something like the power of inspiration upon their hearts. We would not however just say of these wild and untaught, children of Nature, that 'they hoped specifically for the glorious liberty of the children of God - though we should say, that, because such a liberty is awaiting us, therefore there is a general hopefulness of some enlargement ol' other among all the members of the human family. There is a marvellous adaptation between the truths f the gospel, and the constitutional tendencies of those to whom it is addressed. There are counterparts in revelation, to every feeling and every faculty of nature. There is something in it suited to our fears and our wishes and also to our hopes; and in all that is said of the millennium and the latter-day glory, do we recognise a tallying aceordancy with an expectation, which, however it may have originated, is in some shape or other very widely diffused throughout the world.

But let it be your care, my brethren, to have a hope more precise and practical than this - a hope that looks forward to the prospects, and is founded on the promises of the gospel - a hope of enlargewent certainly, but such an enlargement as even now it is competent for you at least to enter upon though not fully to expatiate in it. What the liberty is, we may infer from what the bondage is. It is the bondage of corruption from which you are to be delivered; or in other words it is the liberty of a will set free from the tyranny of evil desires into which you are to be translated. It is a moral and spiritual liberty to which you look - a release from the servitude of sin, from the power and the prevalency of' those base and earth-born affections which war against the soul.

Now let me apprise you, that, to obtain this release, the soul must now put forth all the energy that is in it, and forthwith embark on a war against them. If you permit them to be your tyrants in time, they will be your tormentors throughout eternity. Here the victory will not be complete, but here the battle must be begun; and it is only to him who overcometh in the conflicts of grace, that the crown of glory is given. The hope of the gospel is not that floating and vague and aerial speculation, which is merely addressed to the contemplative faculties, and over which a man may luxuriate in a sort of indolent elysium of the fancy. It is a hope that turns immediately to a practical account; 'and, if real,' will urge forward; and that immediately, in a practical direction. The hope of unspotted holiness in heaven, leads to the toils and the trials and the purifications of holiness upon earth. This is the life on which a man enters, and that in good, earnest and in a real spirit of business, on the moment that his mind is taken possession of by a true faith in the - gospel. It is when we know the truth that the truth makes us free. It is when we look to the fulness of that propitiation which was made for the sins 'of the world,' and feel how under its blessed operation all sense of guilt and of reckoning is made to disappear from the conscience - it is then that we are loosed from the bond of despair, and' can see' that there is a hope in the new obedience of the gospel. And it is then too that we are visited with trust, when before there was terror - that we are visited with a delight in those ways, to which before there were distaste and antipathy - that we are visited with gratitude to Him, who before was lightly esteemed by us - and that, under the impulse of this gratitude, we enter with alacrity and good-will on that new path, which, by His example and His precepts He hath pointed out to us. You have no part nor lot in these things, if you are not so bestirring yourselves,.

Ver. 22. 'For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.' It may be thought by some that there is a little too much the character of fancy in our previous remarks, for the solid and the simple instruction of those to whom they are addressed. And yet you find that the evangelical Paul, he who was determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified, he who gloried to preach the gospel in the face of the oppositions of vain philosophy and of science falsely so called - you find of him that he casts a widely speculative eye over the whole creation, which in this verse he represents as groaning and travailing in pain. It is quite obvious that he here extends the range of his contemplations, beyond the limits of the Christian church properly so called. In the next verse, he expressly singles out believers, whom he represents also as in the agony of a yet unfulfilled expectation. Not only they - that is Nature at large - not only they but we who have the first-fruits of the Spirit do groan inwardly. So that in this the present verse, he is indulging himself with a very ample perspective - he is taking a distant outlook beyond the precincts of the consecrated territory - he is roaming abroad, as it were, and with generalised survey over the whole expanse of animate aiid inanimate things - he counts not this passing, but sublime and comprehensive regard, unworthy of a place in the page of inspiration. And accordingly, set and shrined as it were in an epistle the most replete of them all 'with the very strictest peculiarities of the theological creed, do you find an image more striking I am sure and more descriptive of a universal character, that takes in the whole compass of nature in all its varieties, than any which I have ventured to bring forward - the creation in a state of big and general distress, giving token of some pregnant but yet undisclosed mystery wherewith it is charged, and heaving throughout all its borders with the pains and the portents of its coming regeneration.

This is the aspect which our present system of things bore to the eyes of the apostle, and its aspect still. The world is not at ease. The element in which it floats is far from being of a tranquil or a rejoicing character. It has somehow gone out of adjustment; and is evidently off the poise or the balance of those equable movements, in which we should desire that it persisted for ever. Like the stray member of a serene and blissful family, it has turned into a wayward comfortless ill-conditioned thing, that still teems however with the recollection of its high original, and wildly gleams and gladdens in the hope of its future restoration. It hath all the character now of being in a transition state,; and with all those symptoms of restlessness about it which brooding insect undergoes, erc it pass into 'the death-like chrysalis, and come forth again in some gay and beauteous expansion on the fields of our illumined atmosphere. Meanwhile it is in sore labour; and the tempest's sigh, and the meteor's flash, and not more the elemental war than the conflict and the agony that are upon all spirits - the ~vexing care, and the heated enterprise, and the fierce emulation, and the battle-cry both that rings among the inferior tribes throughout the amplitudes of unpeopled nature and that breaks as loudly upon the ear from the shock of civilized men - above every thing the death, the sweeping irresistible death, which makes such havoc among all the ranks of anilnated nature, and carries off as with a flood its successive generation. These are the now overhanging evils of a world that has departed from its God.

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