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THE GROANS OF NATURE.pdf

THE GROANS OF NATURE.pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL COX



' ' For the earnest expectation of the creation
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of
God. For the creation was made subject to
vanity, not of its otan will, but by reason of
him who subjected it, in hpe that the creation
itself also shall be delivered fwn the bondage
of corruption into the liberty of the glory of
the children of God. For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and trav.iileth in
pain together until now." — Romans viii.
19-22.
BY SAMUEL COX



' ' For the earnest expectation of the creation
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of
God. For the creation was made subject to
vanity, not of its otan will, but by reason of
him who subjected it, in hpe that the creation
itself also shall be delivered fwn the bondage
of corruption into the liberty of the glory of
the children of God. For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and trav.iileth in
pain together until now." — Romans viii.
19-22.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 09, 2013
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THE GROANS OF NATURE.BY SAMUEL COX' ' For the earnest expectation of the creationwaiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject tovanity, not of its otan will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hpe that the creationitself also shall be delivered fwn the bondageof corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that thewhole creation groaneth and trav.iileth inpain together until now." — Romans viii.19-22.I GAVE you the general senseof this passage in my lastdiscourse while endeavouringto shew you how, on St. Paul'shypothesis, all the pain andsuffering that are in the worldmay be reconciled with the absolute goodness450 THE GROAXS OF NA TURE.and supremacy of God, and to confirm you inthe conclusion which Browning has so terselyand finely expressed :God is all-wise, all-powerful, all-good :All-wise, and knoiveth therefore what is best ;
 
All-good, and luillcth therefore what is best ;All-powerful — can do therefore what is best :And if he can, why, viust.Hence we may now pass by that great theme,and give ourselves wholly to the pleasant task of studying St. Paul's words, and verifying themin so far as we can.However cursorily we may glance at thesewords, we can hardly fail to gather from them,(i) that St. Paul affirms the whole natural worldto be in a grievous bondage, a bondage to vanityand corruption, a bondage which it resents,against which it struggles, over which it groans ;and (2) that Nature solaces herself under theunutterable miseries of her bondage by cherish-ing a stedfast and ardent hope of being deliveredfrom bondage into freedom, from imperfectioninto perfection, when man, her lord and crown,shall be redeemed, set free, made perfect. Letus examine this double affirmation ; let us ask how far it is verified by what we know of theworld around us, and mark how noble andTHE GROANS OF NATURE. 51statuesque is the form in which the Apostle hasembodied it.I. Of the bondage of Nature St. Paul affirms,(i) that it is a bondage to vanity and corruption ;and (2) that it is an unwilling bondage, a bond-age against which it wrestles and groans.(i) What does he mean by a bondage to" vanity " ? He means much more, and a muchmore terrible doom, than we commonly suspect.
 
For to be in bondage to vanity is, in the Scrip-tural sense, to have been uiade in vain. Itmeans not to have touched one's ideal, not tohave answered one's chief end. It means tosearch and never find, to pursue and not attain,to strive and not to conquer, to live a life of baffled endeavour and defeated hopes. It meanswaste, impotence, failure. And whether for acreature, or for a creation, there can be no moresinister and damnatory doom than this.What does he mean by a bondage to corrup-tion } He means a life made subject to death, toputrescence, to blight, disease, disaster, to all theministries and influences which deform devour,destroy.And as we should not expect to find marks of imperfection and failure on all the works of aperfect God, so neither should we expect to find52 THE GROANS OF NATURE.the sentence and doom of death on all the worksof the living God.Yet to this sinister and terrible bondage, thisunnatural bondage to vanity and corruption,St. Paul affirms that the whole fair free realm of Nature has been reduced. Is there, then, any-thing in the world around us which confirms hisaffirmation } There is everything, everything.The very Science which finds a divine ceconomyin Nature, also finds the most prodigal waste : asingle fish, for example, may spawn a myriad ora million eggs, and only one — not always one — shall be spared to carry on the race ; or a thou-sand seeds may be scattered by the breeze, yet

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