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And it is on account of each of these things, that we may be called the children of God.
XV. And this adoption is a most precious blessing of the covenant of grace. But it was very different, according to the different economies, or dispensations of that covenant. It is however, not to be doubted, that believers, at all times, were the children of God. Elihu, who was not of the people of Israel called God his Father, Job xxxiv. 86. To understand this is that diminutive sense, in which the heathen called Jupiter the father of gods and men, is not suitable to the illustrious faith and piety of a man who was commended by God himself. À celebrated expositor has said well on this place: “God is called Father, as Mal. i. 6. a. son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is mine honouri And 18a. Isiv. 8.' but now, O Lord, thou art our Father." By this appellation he sets forth the affection of God in this nei spect, namely, his paternal care; his own affection in requesting his brotherly love the end of the trial, and a filial reverence and confidence."
XVI. All we have thus far said of the grounds of this glorious state, is even applicable to the Old Testament believers. They had likewise a new life by regeneration, and were created again after the image of God: they were, in like manner, betrothed to Christ, Hos. ii. 19, 20. “ their maker was their husband," Isa. liv. 5. And ver. 1. the church of the Old Tesi tament is expressly said to be married: nor were they without their " adoption; who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption,” Rom. ix. 4. And to conclude, were héirs of all, Gal. iv. 1. heirs of the grace of God in this life, Psal. xvi. 5. and of the glory of God in the life eternal, Psal. xvü. 15.
XVII. Though the condition of believers under the Old Testament was very illustrious, if compared with that of unbelio vers, who continue children of wrath, and heirs of the treasures of divine indignation; yet all that splendor, comparatively speaking, was eclipsed to an almost incredible degree, before the august majesty of believers under the New Testament, as the light of the stars before that of the sun : as will appear by comparing them together. -XVIII. Believers under the Old Testament were indeed sons; but sons who were subject to their Father, and to the severity and discipline of tutors, who bound heavy burdens, and gries
In our version it is my desire is that Job may be tried: but our marginal read. ing is, my father, let Job be trieds for some observe, that the same Hebrew word signifies both my desire and my father.
vous to be born, and laid them on their shoulders; nevertheless, their Father said with respect to these tutors; "all whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do, Mat. xxij. 3, 4. Namely, as long as they commanded nothing that was contrary to, or inconsistent with the will of the Father. They were obliged to be subject to the weak and beggarly elements of the world, and like children, to be engaged all the day in the trifling ceremonies of the Mosaic institution, which were, in a manner, the play-things of the church. They were taught like infants, without being left to their own choice, not knowing how to conduct themselves, or what was fit for them, touch not, taste not, Col. ïi. 21.
XIX. Besides, they were not admitted to that familiarity with their Father, as to penetrate into the mysteries of his will. « The mighty God did then hide himself," Isa. xlv. 15. their tutors indeed, at times acquainted them with some things relating to God's purpose of grace, but that only rarely, and in mysterious expressions, and under enigmatical or parabolical representations. And though many prophets and righteous men desired to see and hear many things, yet they were not gratified, Mat. xüi, 17.
XX. None of them was allowed to approach the Holy of holies, which was, as it were, the secret place of their Father : nay, they had not access to the temple itself, which was the Father's house, but by means of the altar, sacrifces, and
priests, without which, if they took upon them to approach to God, instead of a blessing, which they sought after, they incurred their Father's displeasure. Neither was it lawful for them to omit the constant morning and evening sacrifice, Exod. xxvi. 28, 42.
XXI. Their inheritance was the land of Canaan, a pledge indeed of the heavenly inheritance, but somewhat obscure, and such, as they were commanded to be, in some measure, subjected to, and which the godly themselves, were sometimes obliged to be destitute of, when forced into banishment. However they were to have such a tender regard to this land, that when banished from their dear country, they were in their prayers to turn their faces thitherward, nor were they to pay their vows to heaven, without directing their eyes to that country, 1 Kings viii. 48. Dan. vi. 11. In all this, there was a notable subjection to this pledge.
XXII. The case of believers under the New Testament is quite different. For after our elder brother, having taken upon him human nature, had visited this lower world, and freely undergone a state of various servitude for us, he
brought us into true liberty, John viä: 86. removed the tutors, blotted out the hand-writing of ordinances, which was contrary to us, declared us to be dead with himself, set free from the elements of the world, so as they never after should have any dominion over us, Col. ii. 16, 20. He would no longer have us ubject to these minute observances, but called us to a ressonable service, Rom. xü. 1. and having broken and removed that troublesome yoke, which was laid on the jaws of the an: cients, Hos. xi. 4. laid his own upon us, which is easy and light, Mati xi. 80.
XXIII. He introduced us into the Father's secret counsels, and sucking the breasts of our mother, taught us the things he so much desired the spouse should be taught, Cant. vm. 2. declared to us what he had seen in the bosom of the Fathet," nay, and even the Father himself, John i. 18. and in himself presented the Father to our view, so that we have no longer any occasion to say, shero us the Father, John" xiy. 9. He brought along with him those times of which Jeremiah pro phesied, chap. xxxi. 34. He abundantly poured out upon us
the unction from the Holy One which teacheth all things, o 1 John äi. 20, 27. In a word, he does not now account us as servants ; “ for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; but he hath called us friends: for all things that he hath heard of his father, he hath made known unto us, John
XXIV. He hath also obtained for us a free access to the Father," having consecrated for us a new and living way, in which we may walk in full' assurance of faith,” Heb. x. 20, 22. By his death the vail of the inmost sanctuary was rent, and all believers are made a royal priesthood, 1 Pet. ü. 9. none is excluded the holy of holies; and though the Father still sits on a throne of majesty, yet it is at the same time a throne of grace, to which we are invited to approach with boldness, Heb. iv. 6. without sacrifice, without priests, trusting only on the alope offering of Jesus our High Priest, « whereby he hath forever perfected them that are sanctified," Heb. x. 14. and this is that better hope, by the which we draw nigh unto God," Heb. vii. 19.
XXV. Nor hath he burdened us with any sobjection to ta typical inheritance; but hath called as directly to an inherii tance of spiritual and heavenly good things, and to appointed unto usa kingdom, as his father hath appointed unto him." Luke xxi. 29. There is now no corner of the earth, which we should desire, as more holy and more acceptable to God, tham another; for, " the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof,
Psal. xxiv. 1. Nor does he disdain an altar in the midst of Egypt, Isa. xix. 19.. And thus" he hath made us partakers of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises,"
” Heb, viii. 6.
XXVI. On account of those excellent prerogatives, believers under the New Testament are eminently and emphatically called the sons of God, 1 John iji. 2. beloved, now are we the sons of God, namely, by a much better right and title than before. To this the apostle has undoubtedly an eye, Gal. iv. 4, 5, 6, 7. but when the fulness of the time wnus come ; namely, that appointed time, (till which the children were to be under tutors, ver. 2.) God sent forth his Son to redeem them that were under the law, setting them free from the infantile use of ceremonies, and that we might receive the adoption, not only that adoption whereby we are distinguished from the children of the devil and of wrath, but also that whereby we excel infants, not much differing from servants : “ wherefore thou art no more a servant, as formerly, but a son." That this is Paul's meaning, the whole connection of the discourse and the scope of the writer evince. For the whole tends to shew, that believers under the New Testament are set free from, nor ought they any longer to be oppressed with, the yoke of the old servitude, which the false judaizing teachers, with the utmost endeavours, struggled to lay on their necks.
XXVII. Certainly the condition of the sons of God is most excellent. If David put such a value on being called the son-in-law of such a king as Saul, 1 Sam. xviii. 23. how highly should we esteem it to be called the sons of the living God? Ist. How unparalleled is that royalty, by which we derive the origin of our pedigree, not from any earthly prince or monarch, but from the king of heaven ? Adly. What can be more glorious than that divine nature, we obtain by a new generation ? 2 Pet. i. 4. God himself glories in his sons, as his peculiar property: nay, calls them the first fruits of his increase, Jer. ii. 3. who may be to him in praise, and in name, and in honour, Deut. xxvi. 19. Almost as parents who glory before others in those of their children, who are remarkable for their beauty. 3dly. What even can be more desirable than that marriage-relation to the only begotten Son of God, than which though, itself can conceive nothing more honourable, more advantageous, and in a word, more glorious ? He is white and ruddy, the chiefest (standard-bearer) among ten thousand, Cant. v. 10. When David, though not yet come to the crown, sent his men to Abigail, to