« EdellinenJatka »
Father, dispose by testament of his goods to be communicated to the elect: “ and I diarios de appoint by testament unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath dreSero appointed by testament unto me," Luke xxii. 29. So that this making of the testament is, indeed, originally from the Father, yet immediately from Christ the mediator: who died, not to vacate or annul, by his death, the inheritance; for, he is alive for evermore, Rev. i. 18. but to seal the promises, and acquire for his people a right to the inheritance. Hence the blood which he shed, is called the blood of the testament, Zech. ix. 11. Mat. xxiv, 28.
XXIX. The goods or blessings bequeathed by this testament, are of all others the most excellent; as became, 1st. The riches and liberal bounty of our heavenly Father, from whom we may expect so extraordinary goods or blessings, which neither eye hath geen nor ear heard, nor bath entered into the heart of man to conceive any like them, 1 Cor. ii. 9. Concerning this the Psalmist deservedly sings, O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men ! Psal. xxxi. 19. 2dly. The glory of our elder brother, whose joint-heirs we are, Rom. viii. 17. and who glories in his heritage, Psal. xvi. 6. 3dly. As became that dignity, to which God hath raised us, having adopted us for his sons ! for to them he gives great and precious promises, 2 Pet. i. 4. Did we minutely prosecute these points, we should write a large volume; at present we will reduce the whole to three principal heads.
XXX. The first is the possession of the whole world: for it was promised to Abraham and his seed that they should be heirs of the world, Rom. iv. 13. On which place let us hear the commentary of Ludovicus de Dieu : “as sin, by separating us from God, and subjecting us to his curse, banished and disinherited us, so that we have no spiritual right or dominion, as became sons of God, over the meanest creature; so on the other hand, when God becomes our God, and we his blessed people, we are restored as sons, to the right and dominion of all our paternal inheritance; and seeing there is nothing besides God and the world, we are made heirs of the world, both the earthly, the heavenly, the present, and the world to come.” When God introduced Adam into the habitable earth, he constituted him Lord of the world, and gave him a right and claim to use the rest of the creatures for his own advantage, Gen. i. 28. But Adam, by his sin, lost that right; so that neither himself, nor any
of his posterity, while in a state of sin, have any true and spiritual right which can stand in the court of heaven, to touch any creature.
But Cbrist has made a new purchase of it for himself and his brethren, Psal. ym. 6. Whence 1 Cor. i. 21. all things are yours : and among these all things, the world is mentioned ver. 22. and whatever is in it, things present and things to come. For, adds the apostle, ver. 28. ye are Christ's.
XXXI. Now this possession of the world consists in these following things : Ist
. That every son of God does possess so much
of the good things of this world, as the wisdom of his heavenly Father has ordained, to be so sufficient for the
support of his animal life, that his spiritual may suffer no detriment, and that he truly possess it in such a manner, as in the use and enjoyment thereof, he may taste the love of his father, bestowing that upon him, as an earnést of a far better good, and of bis elder brother who became poor, that his people might be rich, 2 Cor. vii. 9. This love of God the Father, and of Christ, when added to the least crumb of bread, or drop of cold water, makes these preferable, in the highest degree, to all the most exquisite dainties of the rich of this world : "a little that a righteous man hath, is better than the riches of wany wicked," Psal. xxxvii. 16. 2dly. That all the creatures ought to serve them as steps, by which to ascend to the Creator. For in all of them they view, as in a bright mirror, his adorable perfections, Psal
. civ. 24. and in that meditation they exult, Psal. xcii. 4, 5. Above all, they perceive in them the love of God towards them. When they view the sun, the moon, the 'stars, they rejoice that their Father bas lighted up so mapy tapers for them, at which they may work, what becomes the sons of God: nor do they less admire this, than if every one had his own sun or his own moon, shining upon him. Neither do they exceed the bounds of decency, Psal. vi. 8, 4. when they think, that the world remains in its present state on their account, and that the wicked are indebted to them for this: for the holy seed is the substance (support) of the world, Isa. vi. 18. Sdly. That all the creatures, and the whole go veroment of God about them, may work together for their. good, Rom. viii. 28. This is so extensive, that both angels and devils are obliged to this service; as to angels, are they not “ ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" Heb. i. 14. Psal. xxxiv. 7. and Psal. xci. 11. And with respect to that infernal spirit, the teacher of arrogance;
was he not constrained, by his buffetings, in spite of himself, and acting from a different view, to
[BOOK II. teach Paul humility ? 2 Cor. xii. 7. 4thly. If this world, which is subjected to vanity because of sin, shall not suffice them; from its ashes, when perished, God is to form another ; to make “ a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness," 2 Pet. ii. 13. There is none of these things, which may not be included in that general promise of the inheritance of the world.
XXXII. The second good thing in this testament is “a spiritual kingdom; I appoint unto you a kingdom," Luke xxü. 29. To which, even the most despicable of the children of God in other respects, even man-servants and maid-servants, are called ; “ bath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him?" Jam. i. 5. To this belong (1.) The excellency of the sons of God, whereby they surpass all other men, Prov. xii. 26. (2.) Victory over sin, and the unruly lusts of the flesh, to which kings themselves and the most dreaded tyrants are subject and inslaved, Rom. vi. 14, 18. (3.) The bruising of Satan under their feet, Rom. xvi. 20. (4.) Triumph over a whole conquered world, for notwithstanding its rage, they shall be for ever saved, 1 John v. 4, 5. (5.) Inestimable riches of spiritual gifts, Psal. xlv. 9. even in the midst of poverty, Rev. ii. 9. (6.) Holy peace of soul and joy in the Holy Ghost, Rom. xiv. 17. All these begin here in grace, and shall be consummated hereafter in glory.
XXXIII. The third benefit is God himself, Rom. viii. 17. Heirs of God: here is a mutual inheritance; believers are God's portion, and God is their portion, for these are ma le reciprocal, Jer. x. 16. “ the portion of Jacob is the former of all things, and Israel is the rod (tribe) of bis inheritance." In this possession of God, his children find, (1.) Protection against every evil, Psal. xci
. 2. “ I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress. Why? He is my God, in whom í will trust." See Psal. xxvii. 1, 2. Isa. xliii. 2, 3. (2.) Communication of every good, Psal. xxxvi. 7. For first, all that infinity of perfections, which are in God himself, will
appear glorious and admirable in the children of God, and be enjoyed by them to complete their consummate happiness. And wbat can the soul desire beyond that infinity? Psal. lxxiii. 25. Secondly, What will not God give those, to whom he gives himself? 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23.
XXXIV. There are no proper stipulations in this testament, if considered in its whole extent, together with all its promises; for it consists of absolute and mere promises, which depend on no condition, to be performed in our own strength. Yet divine providence hath so disposed every particular in it,
as to have a certain and wise order among themselves, and the * practice of the former benefits, which are promised, is to pave the way for the possession of further blessings. We have at large treated of this, chap. i. & X. seq. of this book. To which I now add the words of Ames in his Coronis ad Collectionem Hagicusem, Art. V. chap. ii. “ The whole of the disposition hath the nature of a testament, as considered simply, either in the whole or its parts; but if the benefits bequeathed are compared together, then one bears to the other the relation, as it were, of a condition."
XXXV. In the same books therefore, in which the testament is contained, God commanded, that whoever would take cornfort from the promised inheritance, should, 1st. Love, search into, meditate upon, and keep in his
and keep in his heart the writings exhibiting the testament, as no contemptible part of his inheritance, Deut. xxxii. 4; nay, esteem them beyond his necessary food, Job xxiii. 12. Deut. vi. 6. 2dly. Highly value, as it deserves, the promised inheritance. (1.) That be hunger and thirst after it, and be satisfied with nothing short of it, Mat. v. 6. (2) Reckon all
' other things, in comparison thereof, as loss and dung. Phil. . 8. Most readily part with every thing, in order to procure this pearl of inestimable value, Mat
. xjö. 46. (8.) Glorify God for the greatness of his love, Ps. xxxi. 19. (4.) Diligently keep what he has received, Rev, ü. 25., and mi, 11. Sly. So walk, as becometh his condition, and the expectation of so great an inheriiance, 1 Thess. i. 12 1 John ü. 3. Athly. Be ready to impart to his brethren, wbat he has received from his Father, both in temporals and spirituals, Rom. xi. 13. 1 Thess. ii. 8. And endeavour, that others also may be brought to enter on
the same inheritance with himself, Acts xxvi. 29. For none suffers any loss for the numbers that partake with him: that he has rather an additional pleasure, his joy being greatly heightened from the abundance of love,
Of the Spirit of Adoption. 1. Having thus explained the nature of Adoption, as far as our desiga required, we are now carefully to enquire, what "the Spirit of Adoption is ! and this is. " the Holy Spirit, oper
ating those things in the elect, which are suitable to, and be coming the sons of God, who love God, and are beloved by him.
Faith, repentance, and the like, are blessings promised in this lestament, and the practice or exercise of these makes way for the possession of the eternal king
II. This Spirit differs from the spirit of bondage in this, that the spirit of bondage represents God as an austere master, and a tremendous judge ; hence it is, that they, who are actuated by this spirit, in so far as they act thereby, perform the commands of their master from dread and terror. But the Spirit of adoption discovers God to the belicving soul, as a kind and indulgent Father; and by giving him assurance of the love of God, and sweetly cherishing the hope of the future inheritance, makes him, with alacrity and generous emotions of a filial rever: ence, willingly obey God, as an affectionate parent.
III. Moreover, seeing all believers were sons of God in every period of time, we may with propriety assert, that the Spirit of adoption was granted to them all in their measure and degree. For certainly what Paul says, Gal. iv. 6. “ because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts," and Rom. viii. 9. “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” is true of all periods. All who are regenerated, are born of the Spirit, John iï. 5, 6, 8. From the Spirit proceedeth faith, Gal. v. 22. by which they obtained a right to become the sons of God. And if they had any degree of love, righteousness, peace, holiness and the like, without which true faith cannot subsist, they could have them from no other but the Spirit. And as the Spirit they had, was doubtless, such as became their state; and they themselves were the adopted sons of God; why then should we not call it the Spirit of adoption ?
IV. We more than once read in the Old Testament of that Spirit, as bestowed on believers at that time : such was that generous spirit in Caleb, which made him follow God fully, Numb. xiv. 24. Such that, concerning whom Nehemiah said, ch. ix. 20. “thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them;" which we are to understand of the elect among the Israelites, in that perverse generation. Such was that, which David prayed might be given him, Psal. cxliii. 10. “ thy Spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness," and Psal. li. 10, 11, 12. “ renew a right Spirit within me; take not thy Holy Spirit from me; uphold me with thy free Spirit.” In short, as God said to Israel of old, surely they are my people, children that will not lie;" so also “ he put his holy Spirit within them," Isa. lxiii. 8, 11.
V. Moreover, the operations of this Spirit may be considered either absolutely in themselves, or in relation to the distinct economies of the several periods. What the Spirit of adoption operates indiscriminately in the sons of God, are principally these things. As God has, ever since the very first sin of our