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soul is united to Christ, justified, and reconciled to God, and set beyond the reach of the curse.
11. Lastly, Upon this follows the adoption of the believer, who Row has received and is ingrafted into Christ, John i. 12. Being brought out of the state of condemnation by justification, he is further dignified by a reception as a member into the family of heaven.
(1.) The Lord Jesus presents unto the Father, the Adopter and Judge, the party to be adopted into his family, Heb. ii. 13. as Joseph did Ephraim and Manasseh to Jacob. And he presents him for adoption, as one that, though by nature he be of a strange family, yet is now his own child by the spiritual birth, being born of his Spirit. As an elder brother, he presents the believer as his brother by common human nature ; and as the head and husband, presents the soul as his spouse by marriage-covenant. He pleads his purchase of believers by the price of his blood, and their actual relation to him; and that therefore in fulfilment of his Father's decree, they be adopted by him, Eph. i. 5.
(2.) The natural father, the devil, upon the account of tho purchase made of his child by Jesus Christ, and the child's lawful renouncing of his power and family, and coming unto Christ, is obliged to renounce and give up with him, as no member of his family any more, though sore against his will. If he appear in this judgment to defend his own interest, as Satan stood at Joshua's right hand to resist him, Zech. iii. 1. the Mediator stops his mouth, as ver. 2. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ?'
(3.) Lastly, The Father of our Lord Jesus, for the sake of his Son, receives the believer into the number of his children, saying in effect, As the man Christ and the angel Gabriel, ye are mine, and shall be mine; and as a Judge, he adjudges the believer to be his child, and the relation betwixt him and his natural father extinguished, Isa. xlix. 24, 25. as having purchased them with the blood of his dear Son; and farther gives them a right to the privileges of his sons.
Thus is the glorious benefit brought about, by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the elect soul adopted into the family of hea
And this consists of two parts. First, The adopted arc received into the number of the sons of God. God becomes a Father to them, and they his sons and daughters. His family consists of many children, each one for holiness and happiness illustrious; all resembling, what indeed they are, the children of a king. They are taken by adoption out of the black number of tho devil's family, consisting of devils, damned spirits, and an unconverted world, bearing the devil's image. And they
are taken into the blessed number of the sous of God, whereof his family consists. And who are they that make up that number?
1. Jesus Christ the Son of God by eternal generation, who has taken on our nature, and was declared the Son of God by his resurrection, Psal. ii. 7. IIe is one of the number they are received into, and therefore is not ashamed to call them brethren, Heb. ii. 7. And who can recount the dignity of being of that number, whereof he is one; he who is the brightness of his Father's glory, the luminary of heaven, Rev. xxi. 22. whose splendour is greater than sun and moon? He is the chief of that number, the eldest brother, not only in respect of men, but of angels. To him belongs the dominion, priesthood, the blessing, and the double portion. And it is fit, that while we reckon him one of the number, we notice well his preeminence over all the rest, remembering the dignity of the eldest brother.
(1.) The dominion is his, the supremacy and royalty belongs unto him, and our Father has solemnly invested him therewith, Psal. ii. 6. Though all his brethren are the children of the King, yet he alone is the heir of the crown. On this Lion of the tribe of Judah the kingdom is settled, and the sceptre is given him over all the glorious family of his brethren, who are in number as the sand of tho sea, Col. i. 18. Him must all his brethren praise, to him must they bow down, Gen. xlix. 8. Heb. i. 6. The sceptre put into his hand shall never depart.
(2.) The priesthood is his. In him the crown and the mitre both meet together, Zech. vi. 13. ' He shall sit and rule upon his throne; and ho shall be a priest upon his throne. God hath given him an eternal and unchangeable priesthood, confirmed by an oath, Psal. ox. 4. He hath offered his sacrifice, and gone into the holy of holies in heaven with the blood of atonement. Ile hath redeemed men and confirmed angels, being made their head, Eph. i. 10. Whatever sacrifices we have to offer, God saith of Christ to us, as of Job to his friends, 'Go to my servant Job, and offer for
yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you; for him will I accept,' chap. xlii. 8. For to him it belongs to offer for the family.
(3.) The blessing is his. Though all the children be blessed, yet the eldest brother had a peculiar blessing allotted to him above all the rest. Therefore said Isaac, 'Thy brother hath taken away thy blessing,' Gen. xxvii. 35. So our Lord Christ hath received tho peculiar blessing of his Father, Rom. ix. 5. Ile is tho fountain and storehouse of blessing to all the family. Others receive the blessing in the capacity of a vessel to serve themselves, he in the
as we are.
capacity of a fountain, to shed abroad unto others.
And they whom he blesses shall be blessed indeed.
(4.) Lastly, The double portion of our Father's goods is his, as that is understood, 2 Kings ii. 9. The greatest fulness that ever any had was never comparable to him, who is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, Psal. xlv. 7. Whatever portion of the Spirit men or angels are partakers of, it is still by a certain measure ; but God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, John iii. 34. For the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily, Col. ii. 9. And accordingly his glory in heaven is without a parallel among his brethren, who shall all be glorious : but they receive and borrow their light from him, ho gives it, Rev. xxi. 23.
2. Angels, the sons of God by creation, Job xxxviii. 7. They are of this number, and are an innumerable company of pure, and spotless, and glorious spirits, all sons of the house, with whom the adopted are fellow children of God, Heb. xii. 22. The angelical nature in itself is far more honourable than man's, seeing they are pure spirits, not clogged with bodies, as we are; therefore says the Psalmist of man, Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, Psal. viii. 5. And they have never been polluted with sin,
Yet they own themselves the brethren of the adopted saints even in this life.
Nay, they are content to be ministering spirits to them, even as the grown children of a family are employed to take care of the little children, their brothers and sisters, not capable to take care of themselves, IIeb. i. ult.
3. Lastly, The saints in heaven and earth, sons of God by regeneration and adoption, Eph. iii. 15. The saints on earth are the excellent upon it, more excellent than their neighbours. And as soon as one is adopted of God, he has them all for brothers and sisters ; and so there is a special love among them, as betwixt the children of one family, 1 John iii. 14. Nay, they are in the same relation to the saints in heaven, and incorporated with them, Heb. xii. 23. Though they are very far above us, yet we are children of God as well as they, as the little ones are as truly of the family as the sons of perfect age; and as that part of the family that dwells in the lower rooms, as well as those that are advanced to the higher.
This is that glorious number the adopted are received into; with these they are counted. All these have one and the same Father, God, John xx. 17; the same elder brother, Christ; and do all make up one family, whereof the elder brother is the head, whose head is God.
Use. Sue for this adoption, and for being received into this number; and for this cause come out from among the world lying in
wickedness, and be ye separate. There is a feast before us made for the children. It is a sad token for people never to partake of the childrens' bread, but ever to stand at a distance as strangers to the family: and what concern can there be in the spirits of these for the privileges of God's invisible family, that have no concern for the privileges of his visible family on earth? On the other hand, it is dangerous to intrude among the children, while one is not of the family; to come in among the children of God at the Lord's table, while they are not come out from among the children of Satan.
This adoption is in your offer. Ye that are of the black number this day, may be received into this number so honourable and glorious. If yo believe these things, they cannot but move you to come away, and join yourselves to the household of God.
Secondly, They get a right to the privileges of the sons of God. These are great privileges, even agreeable to the dignity of the family they are taken into. I shall lay these before you, to move you to seek to partake of this benefit.
1. A new name, Rev. ii. 17. and iii. 12. God's name is put upon them; and what is that, but, as it is in the text, their old name is for ever laid aside : they are no more called children of the devil, but the sons and daughters of God. They are called of God sons and daughters, Heb. xii. 5. Let the world call them what names of contempt they will, God will call them by most endearing and honourable names, as his treasure, Exod. xix. 5; his jewels, Mal. iii. 17. See the whole Song of Solomon.
2. The Spirit of adoption, Rom. viii. 15. That is the spirit of the family of heaven, a noble and generous spirit, a spirit of love to God, and confidence in him as a Father. Hereby they are enabled to call God Father, and that is more worth than a thousand worlds. The rest of the world call him Lord, the hypocrite Master; but the believer may call him Fati:er, at all times, in all the changes of his dispensations ; for Abba is a word that, read it backward or forward, is still the same. He disowns others' pretences to this, Jolin viii. 41, 44; but he presses it on and teaches it his own, Jer. iii. 4. · Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father?'
3. Access to God and communion with him. They may come farther in than others, come forward with holy boldness, when others must stand back, Eph. iii. 12. God as a Father is familiar with his children, allows them a holy confidence with him, as children to pour their complaints into his bosom, and tell him all their wants. And never did a father take so much delight in his child's talking to him, as God, in the prayers of his people poured out, by virtue of the Spirit of adoption, Prov. xv. 8. Cant. ii. 14.
4. Special immunities and freedoms. King's children have great immunities, Matth. xvii. 26. but God's children the greatest of all. While others are condemned men, slaves, servants at best; the children are free. They are freed from the law as a covenant of works, the yoke wreathed about all others' necks. Others must work for their living, and must die, if they cannot gain life thereby : but their life is given them without it, as children. They are free from the curse, which is clapt on others, upon every breach of the law, Gal. iii. 10; but their breaches may bring on them a cross, but by no means a curse, ver. 13. They are free from the hurt of
every thing in the issue, Luke x. 19; while others are liable to be worsted by the best things, they shall not be so. Rom. viii. 35, 38, 39; but bettered by the worst things that befal them, ver. 28.
5. God's fatherly love and pity. The little children, while in this world are liable to many infirmities, and he distinguishes their weakness from wickedness and pities them, Psal. ciii. 13. And the elder brother is touched with a feeling of them, Heb. iv. 15. No bowels are so tender and lasting as God's towards his children; no mother so tender of the fruit of her womb as God is of his children, Isa. xlix. 15. When he corrects them, he does it with a fatherly reluctance. Lam. iii. 33. When he gives them a frown or a rough word, his bowels yearn towards them, and their relentings go near his heart, Jer. xxx. 20. His anger is soon over, in comparison of the cloud of wrath that abides on others, though they are ready to look on it as a kind of eternity; but his returning mercies are lasting, Isa. liv. 8. And from this pity many times he spares them, when otherwise they would heavily smart, Mal. iii. 17.
6. Protection, Prov. xiv. 26. They are in danger while they are here, from the devil, the world and the flesh; in danger by temptations to sin. by calamities; but God sets a hedge about them, which neither devils nor their agents can break over, but as he opens a gap by his permission for their trial, Job i. 10. In all cases they have a Father to run to, both able and willing to protect them, Psal. xc. 1. When they fall into the hand of their enemies, they are mercifully delivered, and never left with them, Psal. xxxvii. 14. And at length he will set them beyond all danger, Rev. xxi. 25.
7. Provision, 1 Pet. v. 7. He provides for their souls, Psalm Ixxxiv. 11. And since he is the God of the whole man, he provides for their bodies too, both food and raiment, Isa. xxxiii. 16. Matth. vi. 30, 32. Come what will, God's children shall be provided for ; for he that feeds his birds, the ravens that cry, will not starve his children. Though he will not make provision for their lusts, he will make provision for their necessities, Psal. xxxvii. 3.