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this he condemned him; but God having condemn them : “whom he justified, them he publicly justified his saints, he will never I also glorified."


John i. 12. To them he gave power to become the sons of God. Having spoken of the great points of faith | females as well as males, 2 Cor. vi. 18, “I and justification, the next is adoption. will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my

1. The qualification of the persons: was sons and daughters.” I have read that in many as received him.” Receiving is put some countries, females are excluded from for believing, as is clear by the last words, the supreme dignity,as by the Salique law "to them that believe in his name."

in France no woman can inherit a crown: but 2. The specification of the privileges : if we speak of spiritual privileges, females are "to them he gave power to become the sons as capable as males. Every gracious soul, of of God.” The Greek word for power, exusia, whatever sex, lays claim to adoption, and signifies dignity and prerogative; he digni- hath an interest in God as a father ; " ye fied them to become the sons of God. shall be my sons and daughters, saith the

Our sonship differs from Christ's sonship; Lord Almighty.” Christ was the Son of God by eternal gene

Position 3. Adoption is an act of pure ration,-a Son before time,-but our sonship grace, Eph. i. 5, “Having predestinated us is, 1. By creation, Acts xvii. 28, “We are unto the adoption of children, according to his offspring.” This is no privilege; men the good pleasure of his will.” Adoption is may have God for their Father by creation, a mercy spun out of the bowels of free grace; yet have the devil for their father.-2. Our all by nature are strangers, therefore have no sonship is by adoption; so in the text, “He right to sonship, only God is pleased to adopt gave them power to become the sons of one, and not another, to make one a vessel God.” Adoption is twofold.

of glory, another a vessel of wrath. The 1. External and federal: so those who live adopted heir may cry out, “ Lord, how is it, in a visible church, and make a profession of that thou wilt show thyself to me, and not God, are sons, Matt. viii. 12, « The children unto the world ?" of the kingdom shall be cast out.”

Quest. What this filiation or adoption is? 2. Real and gracious: so they are sons, Ans. Adoption is the taking a stranger into who are God's favourites, and are heirs of the relation of a son and heir: so Moses was glory. Before I proceed to the questions, I the adopted son of king Pharaoh's daughter, shall lay down three positions.

Exod. ii. 10; and Esther was the adopted Position 1. Adoption takes in all nations : child of her uncle Mordecai, Esth. ii. 7. Thus at first adoption was confined to the people God adopts us into the family of heaven; and of the Jews, they only were grafted into the God, in adopting us, doth two things : true olive, and were dignified with glorious

1. He ennobles us with his name: he who privileges, Rom. ix. 4, “Who are Israelites, is adopted, bears his name who adopts him, to whom pertaineth the adoption and the Rev. iii. 12, “I will write on him the name glory.” But now, in the time of the gospel, of my

God." the charter is enlarged, and the believing

2. God consecrates us with his Spirit; Gentiles are within the line of communica- whom he adopts, he anoints; whom he makes tion and have a right to the privileges of adop- sons, he makes saints. When a man adopts tion as well as the Jews, Acts x. 35, “In every another for his son and heir, he may put his nation he that feareth God, and worketh name upon him, but he cannot put his disporighteousness, is accepted with him.”

sition into him; if he be of a morose rugged Position 2. Adoption takes in both sexes, I nature, he cannot alter it, but whom God

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adopts he sanctifies; he doth not only give coat of arms displayed: but what is hothem a new name but a new nature, 2 Pet. i. nour without inheritance? God adopts all 4. God turns the wolf into a lamb; he makes his sons to an inheritance, Luke xii. 32, the heart humble and gracious; he works - It is your Father's good pleasure to give such a change as if another soul did dwell in you the kingdom.” It is no disparagement the same body.

to be the sons of God. To reproach the Quest. From what state doth God take saints, is as if Shimei had reproached David us when he adopts us?

when he was going to be made king; adoptAns. From a state of sin and misery. Ition ends in coronation. The kingdom God King Pharaoh's daughter took Moses out of gives his adopted sons and heirs, excels all the ark of bulrushes in the water, and adopt- earthly monarchies. ed him for her son. God did not take us out 1. In riches, Rev. xxi. 21. The gates are of the water, but out of our blood, and adopt. of pearl, and the streets of pure gold, and as ed us, Ezek. xvi. God adopted us from slave- it were transparent glass. ry; it is a mercy to redeem a slave, but it is 2. In tranquillity. It is peaceable; the more to adopt him.

white lily of peace is the best flower in a Quest. To what God adopts us? prince's crown,-Pax una triumphis innu

Ans. He adopts us to a state of excellen- meris melior. No divisions at home, or incy. It were much for God to take a clod of vasions abroad; no more the noise of the drum dust and make it a star; it is more for God or cannon, but the voice of harpers harping, to take a piece of clay and sin and adopt it the hieroglyphic of peace, Rev. xiv. 2. for his heir.

3. In stability. Other kingdoms are cor1st. God adopts us to a state of liberty. ruptible ; though they have heads of gold, Adoption is a state of freedom ; a slave being yet feet of clay; but this kingdom, into adopted, is made a free man, Gal. iv. 7, which the saints are adopted, runs parallel “ Thou art no more a servant, but a son." with eternity; it is “a kingdoin that cannot

Quest. How is an adopted son free? be moved," Heb. xii. 28. The heirs of hea

Ans. 1. Not to do what he lists: he is free ven reign for ever and ever, Rev. xxii. 5. from the dominion of sin, the tyranny of Sa Quest. What is the organical or instru. tan, the curse of the law.

mental cause of adoption? A. 2. He is free in the manner of worship; Ans. Faith interests us in the privilege of he hath God's free Spirit, which makes adoption, Gal. iii. 26, “Ye are all the chilhim free and cheerful in the service of God; dren of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Behe is “joyful in the house of prayer,” fore faith be wrought, we are spiritually ille. Isa. lvi. 7.

gitimate, we have no relation to God as a 2d. God adopts us to a state of dignity. father; an unbeliever may call God judge, God makes us heirs of promise ; God in- but not father; faith is the filiating grace, it stalls us into honour, Isa. xliii. 4, “Since confers upon us the title of sonship, and thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast gives us right to inherit, been honourable.” The adopted are God's Quest. Why is faith the instrument of treasure, Exod. xix. 5; his jewels, Mal. adoption more than any other grace? iii. 17; his first-born, Heb. xii. 23; they Ans. 1. Faith is a quickening grace, it is have angels for their life-guard, Heb. i. 14; the vital artery of the soul, Heb. ii. 4, “The they are of the blood royal of heaven, just shall live by his faith." Life makes us 1 John iii. 9. The scripture hath set forth capable of adoption, dead children are never their spiritual heraldry; they have their adopted. escutcheon or coat-armour ; sometimes they A. 2. Faith makes us Christ's brethren, give the lion for their courage, Prov. xxviii. and so God comes to be our father. 1; sometimes the dove for their meekness, Use lst. Branch 1. See the amazing Cant. ii. 14; sometimes the eagle for their love of God in making us his sons. Plato sublimeness, Isa. xl. 31. Thus you see their gave God thanks that he had made him a

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man, and not only a man but a philosopher : I should be at all this expense to bring this but it is infinitely more that he should invest work about. us with the prerogative of sons. It is love in 4. That God should adopt his enemies; if God to feed us, but inore to adopt us, 1 John a man adopts another for his heir, he will not ii. 1, “Behold what manner of love the Fa- adopt his mortal enemy, but that God should ther hath bestowed upon us, that we should adopt us, when we were not only strangers, be called the sons of God!" It is an ecce ad- but enemies,-here is the wonder of love; mirantis,--a behold of wonder. The wonder for God to have pardoned his enemies, had of God's love in adopting us, will appear the been much, but to adopt them for his heirs, more if we consider these six things. this sets the angels in heaven a wondering,

1. That God should adopt us when he had 5. That God should take great numbers out a Son of his own. Men adopt because they of the devil's family, and adopt them into the want children, and desire to have some to family of heaven. Christ is said to bring many bear their name: but that God should adopt sons to glory, Heb. ii. 10. Men adopt usually us when he had a son of his own, the Lord but one heir, but God is resolved to increase Jesus,-here is the wonder of love. Christ his family, he brings many sons to glory. is called “God's dear Son,” Col. i. 13; a God's adopting millions, is the wonder of Son more worthy than the angels, Heb. i. 4, love. Had but one been adopted, all of us " Being made so much better than the an. might have despaired; but he brings many gels.” Now, when God had a Son of his sons to glory, this opens a door of hope to us. own,such a Son,-here is the wonder of

6. That God should confer so great hoGod's love in adopting us.

We needed a nour upon us in adopting us. David thought Father, but he did not need sons.

it no sınall honour that he should be a king's 2. Consider what we were before God did son-in-law, 1 Sam. xviii. 18. But what ho. adopt us; we were very deformed; a man nour to be the sons of the high God! And will scarce adopt him for his heir that is the more honour God hath put upon us in crooked and ill-favoured, but that hath some adopting us, the more he hath magnified his beauty. Mordecai adopted Esther, because love towards us. What honour that God she was fair. But we were in our blood, hath made us so near in alliance to him,and then God adopted us, Ezek, xvi. 6, sons of God the Father,-members of God When I saw thee polluted in thy blood, it the Son,—temples of God the Holy Ghost ! was the time of love.” God did not adopt That he hath made us as the angels, Matt. us when we were bespangled with the jewels xxii. 30; nay, in some sense, superior to the of holiness, and had the angels' glory upon angels; all this proclaims the wonder of us; but when we were black as Ethiopians, God's love in adopting us. diseased as lepers, then it was the time of Branch 2. See the sad condition of such love.

as live and die in unbelief. They are not 3. That God should be at so great expense the sons of God: “To as many as received in adopting us : when men adopt, they have him, he gave power to become the sons of only some deed sealed, and the thing is God, even to them that believe in his name.” effected; but when God adopts, it puts him No faith, no sonship; unbelievers have no to a far greater expense, it sets his wisdom sign of sonship, they know not God; all a-work to find out a way to adopt us ; it was God's children know their Father, but the no easy thing to make the heirs of wrath, I wicked do not know him, Jer. ix. 3. “

"They heirs of the promise. And when God had proceed from evil to evil, and know not me, found out a way to adopt, it was no easy saith the Lord.” Unbelievers are " dead in way; our adoption was purchased at a dear trespasses,” Eph. ii. 1. God hath no dead rate; when God was about to make us sons children ; and not being children, they have and heirs, he could not seal the deed but by no right to inherit. the blood of his own Son. Here is the won

Use 2d. Of trial. Try whether we are der of God's love in adopting vs, that he adopted. All the world is divided into these

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two ranks, either the sons of God, or the like obedience is that which is consonant to
heirs of hell : John i. 12, “To them he gave our Father's revealed will.
power to become the sons of God." Let us 2. It must be done from a right principle,
put ourselves on a trial. It is no sign we are i.e. the noble principle of faith, Rom. xvi. 26,
adopted suns, because we are sons of godly • The obedience of faith.' Quicquid decorum
parents.' The Jews boasted that they were est ex fide proficiscitur, Aug. A crab-tree
of Abraham's seed, John viii. 33, they thought may bear fruit fair to the eye, but it is sour
they must needs be good, because they came because it doth not come from a good root.
of such a holy line. But adoption doth not A moral person may give God outward obe-
come by blood; we see many godly parents dience, and to the eyes of others it seems
have wicked sons; Abraham had an Ishmael, glorious, but his obedience is sour because it
-Isaac an Esau. The corn that is sown pure comes not from that sweet and pleasant root
yet brings forth grain with a husk; he who of faith. A child of God gives him the obe-
himself is holy, yet the child that springsdience of faith, and that meliorates and
from his loins is unholy. So that, as Hierom, sweetens his services, and makes them come
non nascimur filii,--we are not God's sons off with a better relish, Heb. xi. 4, “By faith
as we are born of godly parents, but by adop- Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacri.
tion and grace. Well, then, let us try if we fice than Cain.”
are the adopted sons and daughters of God. 3. It must be done to a right end : Finis

1st. First sign of adoption, obedience. A specificat actionem,—the end of obedience is son obeys his Father, Jer. xxxv. 5, “ I set be- glorifying God. That which hath spoiled fore the sons of the house of the Rechabites, many glorious services, is, when the end hath pots full of wine, and cups, and said unto been wrong, Matt. vi. 2, “ When thou dost them, drink ye wine. But they said, we thine alms, do not sound a trumpet, as the will drink no wine: for Jonadab, the son of hypocrites do, that they may have glory of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, ye men.” Good works should shine, but not shall drink no wine.” So, when God saith, blaze. “If I give my body to be burnt, and “drink not in sin's enchanted cup;" an have not charity, it profits me nothing," 1 Cor. adopted child saith, “my heavenly Father xiii. 3. The same I may say of a sincere aim; hath commanded me, I dare not drink.” A if I obey never so much, and have not a singracious soul doth not only believe God's cere aim, it profits me nothing. True obepromise, but obey his command. And true dience looks at God in all, Phil. i. 20, “Christ childlike obedience must be regular, which shall be magnified.” Though a child of God implies three things :

shoots short, yet he takes a right aim. 1. It must be done by a right rule. Obe True childlike obedience is uniform. A dience must have the word for its rule, child of God makes conscience of one comLydius lapis, Isa. viii. 20, “ To the law and mand as well as another. Quicquid propter to the testimony." If our obedience be not Deum fit, æqualiter fit. All God's commands according to the word, it is offering up strange have the same stamp of divine authority upon fire; it is will-worship, and God will say, who them; and if I obey one precept because my hath required this at your hand? The apostle heavenly Father commands me, then by the condemns worshipping of angels which had a same rule I must obey all; as the blood runs show of humility, Col. ii. 18. The Jews might through all the veins of the body, and the sun say that they were loath to be so bold as to go in the firmament runs through all the signs of to God in their own persons; they would be the zodiac, so true childlike obedience runs more humble, and prostrate themselves before through the first and second table, Ps. cxix. the angels, desiring them to be their media-6, “When I have respect unto all thy tors to God. Here was a show of humility in commandments.” To obey God in some their angel-worship; but it was abominable, things of religion, and not in others, shows because they had no word of God to warrant an unsound heart ; like Esau, who obeyed it: it was not obedience, but idolatry. Child- his father in bringing him venison, but not

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in a greater matter, viz. the choice of his duct of God's Spirit, Rom. viii. 14, “As wife. Childlike obedience moves towards many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the every command of God, as the needle points sons of God.” It is not enough that the child that way which the loadstone draws. If have life, but it must be led every step by the God call to duties which are cross to flesh nurse: so the adopted child must not only and blood, if we are children, we obey our be born of God, but have the manuduction of Father.

the Spirit to lead him in a course of holiness, Quest. But who can obey God in all Hos. xi. 3, “I taught Ephraim also to go, things ?

taking them by their arms." As Israel was Ans. An adopted heir of heaven, though led by the pillar of fire, so God's children are he cannot obey every precept perfectly, yet led by the conduct of his Spirit; the adopted he doth evangelically: 1. He approves of ones need God's Spirit to lead them, they are every command, Rom. vii. 16, “I consent apt to go wrong. The fleshly part inclines to the law, that it is good.”—2. A child of to sin; the understanding and conscience are God delights in every command, Ps. cxix. 97, to guide the will, but the will is imperious "O how love I thy law!"-3. His desire is and rebels; therefore God's children need the to obey every command, Ps, cxix. 5, “0 Spirit to check corruption, and lead them in that my ways were directed to keep thy the right way. As wicked men are led by statutes !"-4. Wherein he comes short, he the evil spirit; the spirit of Satan led Herod looks up to Christ's blood to make supply for to incest, Ahab to murder, Judas to treason : his defects. This is evangelical obedience; so the good Spirit leads God's children into which, though it be not to satisfaction, it is virtuous actions. to acceptation.

Obj. But enthusiasts pretend to be led by True childlike obedience is constant, Ps. the Spirit, when it is an ignis fatuus,-a decvi. 3. Blessed is he that doth righteous- lusion. ness at all times. Childlike obedience is not A. The Spirit's conduct is agreeable to like a high colour in a fit which is soon the word; enthusiasts leave the word, “The over; but like a right sanguine complexion, word is truth,” John xvi. 13; and, “The it abides ; it is like the fire on the altar, Spirit guides into all truth,” John xvi. 13. which was kept always burning, Lev. vi. 13. The word's teaching and the Spirit's leading

Second sign of adoption, to love to be in agree together. our Father's

presence. The child who Fourth sign, if we are adopted, we have loves his father, is never so well as when an entire love to all God's children, Pet. he is near his father. Are we children? i. 17, Love the brotherhood.” We bear we love the presence of God in his ordi- affection to God's children, though they have nances. In prayer we speak to God, in the some infirmities, there are the spots of God's preaching of his word he speaks to us; children, Deut. xxxii. 5. But we must love and how doth every child of God delight the beautiful face of holiness, though it hath to hear his Father's voice! Ps. lxiii. 1, 2, a scar in it. If we are adopted, we love the “My soul thirsteth for thee, to see thy good we see in God's children, we admire power and glory so as I have seen thee in their graces, we pass by their imprudencies; the sanctuary.” Such as disregard ordi- if we cannot love them because they have nances, are not God's children, because some failings, how do we think God can love they care not to be in God's presence: us? Can we plead exemption ? By these Gen. iv. 16, “Cain went out from the pre- signs we know our adoption. sence of the Lord.” Not that he could go Quest. What are the benefits which acout of God's sight, but the meaning is, crue to God's children? “Cain went out from the church and people Ans. They have great immunities. Kings' of God, where the Lord gave visible tokens children have great privileges and freedoms; of his presence."

they do not pay custom, Matt. xviii. 6. God's Third sign of adoption, to have the con- children are privileged persons, they are pri

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