ページの画像
PDF
ePub

from sin, and from obligation to punishment for it, sin is not thereby taken out of them. They are, indeed, so freed from it, that God sees no iniquity in them to condemn them for it; he sees all the sins of his people in the article of providence, and chastizes for them; but in the article of justification he sees none in them; they are acquitted, discharged, and justified from all; yet sin dwells in them, as it did in the apostle Paul, who, undoubtedly, was a justified person; yea, There is not a just man upon earth; one that is truly righteous, in an evangelical sense, that doth good and sinneth not, Eccles. vii. 20. -- 8. Through justification by the righteousness of Christ, neither the law is made void and of none effect, nor is the performance of good works discouraged, The Law is not made void; Do we make void the law through faith? that is, through the doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ; God forbid! yea, we establish the law; by presenting to it a righteousness every way commensurate to its demands, by which it is magnified and made honourable: nor does this doctrine discourage duty, but animates to it; and is to be constantly preached for this end, That they which have believed in God, might be careful to maingood works, Tit. iii. 7, 8.

OF ADOPTION. Some think that adoption is a part and branch of justification, and included in it; since that part of justification which lies in the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, intitles to eternal life, hence called, the justification of life, as adoption does ; so that the children of God may be said to have a two-fold title to eternal life; the one by the free grace of God making them sons, which en. tiles them to it; the other by justification in a legal way, and confirms the former, and opens a way for it; or that it may appear to be founded on justice, as well as grace: the learned Dr. Ameso seems to have a respect to both these. And such that are justified by the grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ, are heirs of it, as adopted ones be; If children, then heirs, Rom. 8. 18. Tit. iii. 7. Rom. viii. 17. . Some consider adoption as the effect of justification; and Junius calls it, via adoptionis, the way to adoption : it is certain, they have a close connection with each other, and agree in their author, causes, and objects ; the white stone of absolution, or justification, and the new name of adoption, go together in the gift of Christ to the overcomer, Rev. ii. 17. Though I am of opinion they are distinct blessings of grace, and so to be considered : adoption is a distinct thing from either justification or pardon. A subject may be acquit. ted by his sovereign from charges laid against him; and a criminal, convicted and condemned, may be pardoned, yet he does not become his son; if adopted,

• Hinc omnes fideles duplici quasi titulo vitam æternam expectant, titulo nempe redemptionis quem habent ex justificatione, and titulo quasi filiationis, quem habent cx adoptionc, Amcs. Medulla, Theol. I. 1. c. 28. s. 7

and taken into his family, it must be by a distinct and fresh act of royal favour.

I have treated already, Vol. 1. B. II. page 294. of adoption as an immanent act of the divine will, which was in God from eternity; hence the clect of God were not only predestinated to the adoption of children, to the blessing itself, openly and actually to enjoy it in time, and to the inheritance adopted to; but this blessing itself was provided and bestowed in the everlasting covenant of grace, in which the elect of God had not only the promise of this relation, but were in it given to Christ under this relation and character, Eph. i. 5. 2 Cor. vi. 18. hence they are spoken of as the children of God and Christ, previous to the incarnation of Christ, and to his sufferings and death ; as well as to the mission of the Spirit into their hearts, as the Spirit of regeneration and adoption, Juhn xi. 52. Gal. iv. 6. I shall therefore now consider it as openly bestowed upon believing in Christ, and as manifested, applied, and evidenced by the Spirit of God.

I. Shall consider, in what sense believers are the sons of God; which is by adoption, and the nature of that: they are not the sons of God in so high a sense as Christ is, who is God's own Son, his proper Son, his only begotten Son; which cannot be said either of angels or men; for as to which of the angels, so to which of the sons of men said God at any time, Thou art iny son, this day have I begotten thee? Nor in the sense that their fellow-creatures are, whether angels or men, who are the sons of God by creation, as the former, so the latter; for they are all his offspring: nor in the sense that magistrates be, who are so by office, and, on that account, called the children of the most high, being his representatives: nor as professors of religion, who are called the sons of God, in distinction from the children of men; but by adoption; hence we read of the adoption of children, these are predestinated unto, and which they receive, through redemption by Christ, and of which the Spirit of God is the witness; hence called the Spirit of adoption: and even the inheritance to which they are entitled, bears the name of adoption, Eph. i. 5. Gal. iv. 5. There is a civil and a religious adoption. A civil adoption, and which obtained among all nations; among the Egyptians, so Moses was adepted by Pharaoh's daughter; and among the Hebrews, so Esther by Mordecai; and it obtainted much among the Romans, to whichi, as used by them, the allusion is in the New Testament, in a religious sense; it is sometimes used of the whole people of the Jews, to whom belonged the adoption, Rom. ix. 4. and at other times, of some special and particular persons, both among Jews and Gentiles; for of the former, all were not the children of God; and of the latter, if they were believers in Christ, they were Abraham's spiritual seed, and heirs according to the promise, Gal. iii. 26-29. Between civil and spiritual adoption, in soine things there is an agreement, and in some things a difference.

1. In some things ihey agree. - 1. In the name and thing, vlog 010. a put: ting among the children; so spiritual adoption is called, Jer. jii. 19. or puting, or taking, one for a son, who was not so by nature and birth; which is the case of adoption by special grace; it is of such who are, by nature, children of wrath, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; and taking these from the family of the world, to which they originally belonged into the family of God, and houshold of faith, Eph. ii. 3, 12, 19. — 2. As civil adoption is of one to an inheritance, who has no legal right to it; so is special and spiritual adoption. None, in a civil sense, are adoption, but to an inheritance of which they are made heins; and so such who are adopted in a spiritual sense, are adopted to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and eternal; and as the one are adopted to an inheritance they had no natural right unto, nor any legal claim upon; so the other are such who have sinned, and come short of the cternal inheritance, and can make no legal pretension to it by works of the law, Rom. iv. 14. - 3. Civil adoption is the voluntary act of the adopter. Among the Romans, when a man adopted one for his son, they both appeared before a proper magistrate, and the adopter declared his will and pleasure to adopt the person presented, he consented to it. Special and spiritual adoption, is an act of the sovereign goodwill and pleasure of God, who has predestinated his to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will; it is a pure act of his grace to make them his sons and heirs, and to give them the kingdom, the inheritance, even eternal life, which is the free gift of God, through Christ, kom. vi. 23. - 4. In civil adoption, the adopted took and bore the name of the adopter: so the adopted sons of God have a new name, which the mouth of the Lord their God names, a new, famous, and excellent name, which no man knoweth, saving he that receives it; a name better than that of sons and daughters of the greatest earthly potentate; a name by which they are called the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty, Isai. Ivi. 5. 1 John iii. 1, -- 5. Such who are adopted in a civil sense, are taken into the family of the adopter, and make a part of it; and stand in the relation, not of servants, but sons: so those who are adopted of God, are taken into that family, which is named of him in heaven and in earth, and are of his houshold; in which they are as servants, nor merely as friends, but as the children of God, and houshold of faith, Eph. iii. 15, 19. John xv. 15, 16. – 6. Persons adopted in a civil sense, as they are considered as children, they are provided for as such; provișion is made for their education, their food, their clothing, their protection, and attendance, and for an inheritance and portion for them: all the children of God, his adopted ones, they are taught of God, by his Spirit, his ministers, his word, and ordinances; they are trained up in the school of the church, and under the ministry of the word, and are instructed by the preaching of the gospel, and by precepts, promises, and providences; as for food, they are continually supplied with what is suitable for them, the sincere milk of the word for babes, and meat for strong men; they are fed with hidden manna, with marrow and fatness,

-7.

with the finest of the wheat, with the richiest dainties of the gospel-feast: as for their clothing, it is change of raiment, clothing of wrought gold, raiment of needle-work, a robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation; fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints: for their protection, they have angels to wait upon them and guard them, who encamp about them, to preserve them from their enemies, and have the care and charge of them, to kecp them in their ways; yea, they are kept by the Lord himself, as the apple of his eye, being his dear sons and pleasant children: and the inheritance he has prepared for them, of which they are heirs, is among the saints in light; is incorruptible, undefiled, never fading, and eternal, and is even a kingdom and glory

Such as are adopted by men, come under the power, and are at the command of the adopter, and are under obligation to perform all the duties of a son to a parent; as to honour, reverence, and obey, and be subject to his will in all things. All which are due from the adopted sons of God, to him, their heavenly Father; honoui is what God claims as his due from his children; A son honaureth his father - If I then be a father, where is mine honour' Mal. i. 6. obedience to all his commands, highly becomes, and is obligatory on them; they ought to be obedient children, and imitate God in all his imitable perfections, particularly in holiness, benevolence, kindness and goodness, and even should be subject to his corrections and chastizements, which are not merely for his pleasure, but for their profit and good, Heb. xii. 9, 10.

11. In some things civil and spiritual adoption differ. - 1. Civil adoption could not be done without the consent of the adopted, his will was necessary to it. Among the Romans the adopter, and the person to be adopted, came before a proper magistrate, and in his presence the adopter asked the person to be adopted, whether he was willing to be his son; and he answered, I ain willing; and so the thing was agreed and finished. But in spiritual adoption, though the believer, when he comes to be acquainted with the privilege of adoption he is favoured with, and is highly delighted and pleased with it, and admires and adores the grace that has brought him into the relation; yet his will and consent were not necessary to the constitution of the act of adoption; it may be said of that as of every other blessing of grace, that it is not of him that willeth; such

grace

of God that he did not wait for the will of the creature to complete this act, but previous to it put him among the children; and such is his sovereign power, that he had an uncontroulable right to take whom he would, and make his sons and daughters; and such the influence and efficacy of his grace, as to make them willing in the day of his power to acknowledge the relation with the greatest wonder and thankfulness, and to behave according 2. Civil adoption was allowed of, and provided for the relief and comfort of such who had no children, and to supply chat defect in nature; but in spiritual adoption this reason does not appear; God did not adopt any of the sons of men for want of a son and heir; he had one, and in a higher class of sonship than creatures can be; inore excellent and divine, and suitable to the divine

nature;

was the

to it.

his

own proper son, begotten of him, was as one brought up with him, and his daily delight; the dear son of his love, in whom he was well-pleased; and who always did the things that were pleasing to him; and who inherited all his per-. fections and glory. — 3. In civil adoption there are generally some causes and reasons in the adopted, which influence and move the adopter to take the step he does. There are two instances of adoption in scripture, the one of Moses, the other of Esther; in both there were some things that wrought upon the adopters to do what they did. Moses was a goodly child, exceeding fair, and lovely to look upon, which, with other things, moved the daughter of Pharaoh to take him up out of the water, to take care of him, and adopt him for her son; Esther was also a fair and beautiful maid, and besides was related to Mordecai, which were the reasons why he took her to be his daughter: but in divine adoption, there is nothing in the adopted that could move the adopter to bestow such a favour; no worth nor worthiness, no love nor loveliness, nothing attracting in them; children of wrath by nature, as others; transgressors from the womb, and rebels against God. There were so many objections to their adoption, and so many arguments against it, and none for it in themselves, that the Lord is represented as making a difficulty of it, and saying, How shali I put them among the children? Jer. ii. 19. such blackmoors and Ethiopians as these are? so abominable and so disobedient, enemies in their minds by wicked works, hateful and hating one another? - 4. In civil adoption, the adopter, though he takes one into his family, and makes him his son and heir, and gives him the name and title of a son, and a right to an inheritance designed for him; he cannor give him the nature of a son, nor qualifications fitting him for the use and enjoyment of the estate he is adopted to; he cannot give him a suitable disposition and temper of mind, nor communicate goodness, wisdom and prudence for the management of it; he may turn out a fool, or a prodigal: but the divine adopter makes his sons partakers of the divine nature, and makes them meet for the inheritance with the saints in light. - 5. Persons adopted in a civil sense cannot enjoy the inheritance whilst the adoptive father is living, not till after his death: but in spiritual adoption the adopted enjoy the inheritance, though their father is the everlasting and everliving God; and Christ, the first born, lives for ever, with whom they are joint-heirs. – 6. In sorne cases civil adoption might be made null and void; as among the Romans, when against the right of the pontifex, and without the decree of the college; but spiritual adoption is never made void on any account.

There is a difference also between adoption and regeneration, though divines usually confound these two together. They both have the same author; the sarne God and Father adopts and regenerates; they flow from the same love and grace; and the same persons that are adopted are regenerated; and they are adopted and begotten again unto the same inheritance: but adoption is before regeneration; the one is an act of God's will in eternity, the other is an act and

VOL. U.

« 前へ次へ »