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The Destiny of the Creature-suffering.

The Destiny of the Creature-suffering.

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Job xiv. i.

Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

Job xiv. i.

Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 19, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE DESTIY OF THE CREATURE-SUFFERIG. BY REV. CHARLES JOH ELLICOTT, D.D. Job xiv. i. Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. T our meditations last Sunday^ brethren, we were -*- led, by the solemn tenor of the profound text which I attempted to illustrate, to sad and serious views on the present condition of the creature. We were brought to acknowledge in all that creation with which we have any direct connexion, the working of a mysterious and pervasive counter-law; we were led to contemplate a destiny — if I may use such a term — of all created things around us, startling in its universality, mournful in its evolution, and strikingly suggestive in respect of its origin and early development. Though we were obliged to pass over much that in detail was inexplicable or insoluble,  — though there were suggested to us many questions, to which we could only give faltering, and perhaps unsatisfying answers, we did, I trust, still distinctly perceive and acknowledge the existence of laws of perverted action, depravations of instincts, thwarted SUFFERIG. 27 developments, injurious change, — all of which, under the generic term of Vanity, were to be referred for their origin to the disobedience and fall of man. We may now suitably and profitably take a step onward. We have contemplated the universal sub-  jection : let us now proceed to trace out its more concentrated and specific manifestations in the mystery of suffering, and so prepare ourselves for a
future consideration of its more complete develop- ment in the awfid climax of death. Yet let us be careful to order our thoughts soberly and wisely. Let us attempt no comprehensive esti- mate of the various forms and degrees of suffering, but simply, by the light of Scripture alone, endeavour to gain a clear view of the aspects in which it is presented to us both in the Old and in the ew Testament. Let us mark the changed relations it assumes, the altered attitudes in which it is found in the two Dispensations, — and then from all, let us, by the help of God, draw such practical consolations as may serve to make us more bravely patient, more hopeful, yea, more thankful, in our sojourn in a world which at every turn flings back on us the shadows of our own disobedience. It is clear that such a mode of treating this diffi- cult subject tends inevitably to limit our meditation to suffering, as seen and felt in our own race. But it must be so. For the origin and import of suffer- ing, considered in its most comprehensive relations, and regarded as the lot of other orders of creation 28 DESTIY OF THE CREATURE. [sERM. beside our own_, involves mysteries_, and apparently points backward to primal dispensations^ which on this side the grave we can never hope to understand, and on which it is fruitless, if not irreverent, to speculate. It is certainly, and it must be acknow- ledged a startling fact, that ages before the sin of man cast the shadow of vanity on the world, suffering in one of its forms, the corporeal, was certainly pre- sent. As I said last Sunday, the very stones and rocks bear witness of it ; the acknowledged presence in the pre- Adamite world of the fierce and fell race
of the carnivorous animals,^ renders its past existence a certainty ; and to deny it is as fruitless as to deny its present manifestations and potency. We must distinctly admit it as a startling fact, — a fact of which we cannot venture to give any explanation, but still a fact which need cause us to feel no prac- tical difficulties, and which is in no w^ay incompatible witli our conceptions of God as a just and beneficent governor of the world. Though attempts to explain the seeming difficulty are worse than idle, yet let me offer briefly the two following observations : — First, in every endeavour to view suffering in its most comprehensive and general aspects, we must be especially careful to draw a clear line of demarcation between the corporeal sufferings of the individuals that belong to lower genera unendued with foresight and reason, and the mixed mental and corporeal 1 See note A. n.] SUFFERIG. 29 sufferings of a personal and intelligent being, the immediate child and otfspring of God. Between the individuals of races, brought forth by a prolific earth, ^ and the living soul that drew its existence from the breath of God, the difference is really so great that it does not seem either unreasonable or evasive to pause before we refer to a common origin or group in common analogies, the sufferings of two orders of creation thus widely different in origin, relations, and characteristics. Secondly, the scattered hints and speculations of earlier writers, afterwards more fully developed by some of the deeper thinkers of the seventeenth century, that regard the early history of the world and the fall of angels as in some sort of

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