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Some are positive dignities. As, 1. Free access to the throne of grace, that we may come to God in prayer, as to a Father; Gal. iv.6. Rom. viii. 15. 2. We have an interest in God's particular and special providence; 2 Cor. vi. 8, &c. 3. We by our adoption have a free and sanctified use of all God's creatures restored, the right unto which we forfeited in Adam; for no man hath any spiritual right to any thing, or a sanctified use of God's creatures, until he be in covenant with God in Cbrist, and made a son and heir with him; and then all things are his; I Cor. iii. 21. Rom. viii. 32. 4. From adoption flows all Christian joy; wbich is called the joy in the Holy Ghost; Rom. xiv. 17. unspeakable and glorious; 1 Pet. i. 8, 9. Rom. v. 2. For the Spirit of adoption is, 1. A witness; Rom. viii. 16. 2. A seal; Eph. iv. 30. 3. The pledge and earnest of our inheritance; Eph. i. 14. settling a holy security in the soul, whereby it rejoiceth, even in affliction, in bope of glory.
Archbp. Usher's Body of Divinity-1650. Beloved, it is another thing than the world imagines it to be (i. e. adoption). He that hath this Spirit, is mighty in prayer; he is able to wrestle with God, as Jacob did, by the Spirit of adoption; he has power with God; he is able to prevail with the Lord; and why? because he can speak to bim as to a father; he cancontinue in prayer, and watch thereunto with all perseverance;" he can speak to him, as one that he is well acquainted with; he can not only speak remissly, but be can cry, Abba, Father; that shows fervency in his prayer : there is no man in the world that is able to do it besides,
Preston's Sermons-1621. That believers are the children of God, the scriptures expressly declare. They may be so called, as they are begotten and born from above; as they stand in a marriage-relation to Christ; and as they are adopted into the heavenly family. These different ways in which the scripture speaks of their filial relation to God, are intended to aid our feeble conceptions, when we think upon the grand, inetfable blessing; one mode of expression supplying in some degree the ideas that are wanting in another. To express the origin of spiritual life, and the restoration of the divine image, we are said to be born of God. To set forth, in the liveliest manuer, our most intimate and
delightful union with the Son of the Highest, we are said to be mar. ried to Christ. That we might never forget the misery, of our natural condition, as a state of alienation from God, and at the same time to intimate to us our title to the heavenly patrimony, we are said to be adopted by him. The condition, therefore, of all be lievers is most noble and excellent. Their high birth, their divine husband, and everlasting inheritance, loudly proclaim it.
The beloved A postle was so amazed at the love of God, mania fested in the privilege of adoption, that he could not forbear crying out with astonishment and rapture, “ Behold wbat manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we sbould be called the sons of God!” Here grace reigns. The vessels of mercy were predestinated to the enjoyment of this happiness before the world began. The great Lord of all chose them for himself, chose then for bis children, that they might be heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. This be did, not because of any wortbiness in them, but of bis own sovereign will. As it is written: “Having predestinated, us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glow rious grace.” Eph. i. 5, 6. According to the good pleasure of his will: this is the eternal source of the heavenly blessing. By Jesus Christ: this is the way of its communication to the sinner. To the praise of his glorious grace: this is the end of bestowing it.
The persons adopted are sinners of Adam's race: such, who, COB sidered in their natural state, are estranged from God, and guilty before him, under the sentence of death, and obnoxious to ruin. Their translation, therefore, out of this deplorable condition into a state and relation so glorious, is an instance of reigning, triumphant, boundless grace. That the children of wrath should become the inheritors of glory, and the slaves of the devil be acknowledged as the sons of Jehovah; that the enemies of God should ever be adopted into his family, and have an indefeasible right to all the privileges of his children, is astonishing to the last degree. Our character and state, by nature, are the most indigent, wretohed, and abominable; such as render us fit far nothing, after this life, but to dwell, with accursed fiends and damned spirits in the abodes
of darkness and despair. But, by the privilege of adoption, we rightfully bear a character, and are brought into such a state, as to render us fit to associate with saints in light, with angels in glory, What but grace, omnipotent, reigning grace, could be sufficient to effect so noble, so astonishing, so divine a change? Booth,
He that is a son, must be also an heir, for by his birth he is worthy to be an heir. There is no work of merit that bringeth to him the inberitance, but bis birth only; and so in obtaining the inheritance, he is a mere patient, and not an agent: that is to say, not to beget, not to labour, not to care, but to be born, is that which makes him an heir. So we obtain eternal gifts, namely, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, the glory of the resurrection, and everlasting life, pot as agents, but as patients; that is, not by doing, but by receiving. Nothing here cometh between, but faith alone apprebend. eth the promise offered. Like as, therefore, a son in the politic and household government, is made an heir by his birth only; so, here, faith only maketh us sons of God, born of the word, which is the womb of God, wherein we are conceived, carried, born, and nou. rished up. By this birth, then, we are made new creatures, formed by faith in the word; we are made Christians, children and heirs of God, through Jesus Christ. Now, being heirs, we are delivered from death, sin, and the devil, and we have righteousness and eternal life.
But this far surpasseth all man's capacity, that be calleth us heirs -not of some rich and mighty prince-not of the emperor-not of the world—but of God, the Almighty Creator of all things. This our inheritance, then, (as Paul saith in another place) is inestimable, And if a man could comprebend the great excellency of this matter, that he is the son and heir of God, and with a constant faith believe the same, this man would esteem all the power and riches of all the kingdoms of the world but as filthy dung, in comparison of bis eternal inheritance. He would abbor whatsoever is bigh and glorious in the world; yea, the greater the pomp and glory of the world is, the more would he bate it. To conclude: whatsoever the world most highly esteemeth and magnifieth, that should be, in
his eyes, most vile and abominable. For what is all the world, with all its power, riches, and glory, in comparison of God, wiose son and heir he is ? Furtherniore, he would beartily desire, with Paul, (Phil i. 23.) to be loosed and to be with Cbrist; and nothing could be more welcome unto bim than speedy death, which he would embrace as a most joyful peace, knowing that it should be the end of all his iniseries, and that through it he should attain to his everlasting inberitance. Yea, a man that could perfectly believe this, should not long remain alive, but should be swallowed up jucontinent with excessive joy. Martin Luther on the Galatians.
This forms a most interesting word in scripture, in the use that is made of it in allusion to the state of adoption and grace, into wbich true believers are received, by their union with Cbrist. They are said to be predestinated to the adoption of children, Eph. i. 5. Avd the purpose for wbich Christ is said to be made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, was, that they might receive the adoption of sons. Gal. iv. 4, 5.
• The word adoption is borrowed from a custom well known among · the Romans, under whose government Judea became a province,
who adopted the children of strangers, and acknowledged them for their own, when they themselves were childless. But though the term is applied to believers, from being openly adopted and ackvowledged in the family of Christ, yet, strictly and properly speaking, this is not done, because they were not of the family of Christ before; for in faet they always were: but it is done in a way of pube licly confessing and acknowledging it. They Holy Ghost by the Apostle is express to this purpose, when he saith, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, whereby ye cry, Abba, Father! Gal. iv, 6. And all the Scriptures are express to confirm this most unquestionable truth ; Isa. xliv. 3. lix. 21. Ezek, xxxvii. 5-14. Zech. xiv. It is most blessed, when we consider the privileges of adoption, and know in ourselves that we are made, through grace, the happy partakers of it. By adopdion, the children of God in Christ are brought out of the spirit of bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. They are
translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's
This security arises from the nature and antiquity of adoption, as an act of the Divine Mind, which is distinct from the reception of the spirit of adoption into a sinner's heart. The whole family of God were adopted in Christ, when he was chosen as their covenant head; and then God the Father considered them his own children, registered their games on high as such, and prepared a kingdom for them before the foundation of the world.
Hence their reception of the spirit of adoption is said to be owing to this eternal relation: “ Because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,” Gal. iv. 6.
The spirit of adoption is the witness, not the cause of our being the children of God; and surely, my dear Abiah, you will derive unspeakable comfort from this view of the subject, if you feel but one spark of filial affection to God glowing in your soul; and connect with it the sweet thought that it is your Father's love shed abroad into your heart by the Holy Ghost: you will then come to the delightful conclusion, that the Father has from all eternity adopted you into his family, and has, in the fulness of time, made it known to you, by causing you to receive the adoption of sons.