Page images

The Son of God has also a hand in this affair; for through his espousing their persons, they become the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty; and through his assumption of their nature, they become bis brethren ; and so to be in the relation of sons to God. Tbrough his redemption, they receive the adoption of children, and at his hands the privilege, the power itself, to become such. The Spirit of God not only regenerates them, which is an evidence of their sonship, but as a spirit of adoption manifests it to them, works faith in them to receive it, and frequently witnesses to the truth of it; all which show how any come, and are known to be the sons of God. This is a privilege that exceeds all others; it is more to be a son than a saint; angels are saints, but not sons; they are servants. It is more to be a child of God, than to be redeemed, pardoned, and justified; it is great grace to redeem from slavery, to pardon criminals, and justify the ungodly; but it is another and an higher act of grace to make them sons, and which makes them infinitely more honourable, than to be the sons and daughters of the greatest potentate upon earth ; yea, gives them an honour which Adam had not in innocence, nor the angels in heaven, who, though sons by creation, are not by adoption. The consequence, and so the evidence of it, follows: “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

Dr. Gill. At the final conquest of the disciples of our Lord over all their enemies, he will give to each of them a white stone of acquittal be fore an assembled world. It is the opinion of some expositors, that our Lord refers to absolution, which he grants his people, and which blessing they realize and enjoy in this life; and that the new name written in tbe stone refers to adoption. Pardon of sin and adoption into the family of God are blessings of inestimable value, and they are inseparably connected. They are blessings which done can properly estimate, but those to whom they are given. There is a reality in religion, which can be known only by those who enjoy its inestimable privileges. “ The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant.” The Holy Spirit bears testimony in the conscience of a regenerate man, that be is pardoned through the blood of Jesus, and adopted by grace

[merged small][ocr errors]

into the family of the Almighty: “ As many as are led by the
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God; for ye have not received
the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit
of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father; the Spirit itself bear-
eth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if
children, then beirs; heirs of God, and joint-beirs with Christ.”-
" Bebold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God! Therefore the world
knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we
the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but
we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we
shall see him as he is : and every man that hath this hope in him,
purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Hyatt's Sermons on the Apocalypse.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Oh! wondrous love! the great Jehovah deigns
To call a worm his child! Look up, my soul,
And claim this sweet relation to the Lord.
My Father! How it moves my heart to love!
And shall I come before him like a slave,
Or rude and thoughtless to his presence rush?
Forbid it, Lord! Let holy confidence,
Unfeigned love, a fix'd assurance too,
Unite with solemn awe and filial fear
In all my secret intercourse with thee.
Whence rise my fears ? why is my soul cast down?
The foes-the fiends the sins I often dread,
My father holds in chains, and will control,
I have his grace; I shall have glory too;
Because he is my

Father and


God !
And shall I now forget my heav'nly birth,
Degrade my family, my Father grieve,
By grov'ling in the vanities of time?
Forbid it, Lord! O teach me to aspire
In filial, holy intercourse with thee,
Receiving tokens of paternal love,
And in the spirit of adoption claim
My privilege, and “ Abba, Father," cry?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


share on


Own thou the kindred ;--tell me, I'm thy child :-
Bear witness that my soul is born of God,
And let me live beneath my Father's smile.
An heir of God, joint-heir with Christ, I sigh
For grace to live and act in character,
And my adoption every moment prove.


12th Link.

In the preceding article we have introduced the " new creature" under the appellation of " a son,” and considered the great and glorious privileges to which be becomes entitled, as a member of the divine family. Now, the custom of our country is, soon after the child is born, to christen it; that is, to give it a name. So will we: the child of God shall henceforth be called Christian. And this will lead us to the consideration of the doctrine of Conversion; for from the time we are received into the housebold of faith by adoption, we exhibit to the world a new character; conversion being a change from one state to another-from sin to grace-from rebellion to obedience. So that Christian now " walks in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, and adorns the doctrine of God his Saviour in all things." He separates himself from bis former companions in vice, and devotes himself to the service of God.

Thus we find it written :

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the uuclean thing; and I will receive you ; and will be a Father unto you; and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. vii, 17, 18.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses, 1 Tim. vi. 11, 12,

O what a blessed change does the converting grace of God make in the soul of a son or daughter of Adam! It is like the beauty and pleasure wbich the rising morning diffuses over the face of the tarih, after a night of storm and darkness; it is so much of heaven let into all the chambers of the soul. It is then only that we begin 10 know ourselves aright, and know God in bis most awful and most lovely manifestations. It is in this light we see the hateful evil of every sin, the beauty of holiness, the worth of the Gospel of Christ, and of his salvation. It is a light that carries divine beat and life with it; it renews all the powers of the spirit, and introduces boliness, hope, and joy, in the room of folly and guilt, sin, darkness, and sorrow.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The nature of conversion will be more fully illustrated by the following extracts:

Sometimes conversion is speedily and suddenly brought about, and the times and circumstances of the change may be easily as. certained. This was the case with the gaoler recorded in the bistory of the Acts of the Apostles. The same may be said of the apostle Paul; and there have been particular examples of it in every age. Sometimes, on the other hand, the reception of the truth, and renovation of the heart, go on by slow and insensible degrees; por is it easy to say by what means the change was begun, or at what time it was completed. This was perhaps the case with inost, if not all the disciples of our Lord, during his personal ministry.

Sometimes the change is very signal and sensible, the growth and improvement of the spiritual life speedy and remarkable, the greatest sinners becoming the most eminent saints, like the woman mentioned in the Gospel, to whom many sins were forgiven, and who loved ber Redeemer much. Sometimes, on the other hand, the change is very doubtful, and the progress of the believer hardly discernible. Some of this sort are reproved by the apostle Paul in the following words, which are but too applicable to many professing Christians of the present age: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have

[ocr errors]

need of milk, and not of strong meat.” Heb. v. 12. Sometimes the convert hath much peace and sensible comfort, rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory; and sometimes, on the other hand, be is distressed with doubts and fears, and made to walk in darkness. Once more, some sinners are brought in by deep and long humiliation, and are almost distracted wiih legal terrors, wbile others are powerfully, though sweetly, constrained by the cords of divine love. All these “ worketh the self-same Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as he will." I desire, that what has now been said may be still kept in mind; so that, if the evidences of a saving cbange can be produced, there need to be but little solicitude about the time or manner of its being wrought.


True conversion is the turning of the whole man to God; Acts xxvi, 18. it is nothing less than the total change of the inward temper and frame of the heart, and the external course of the life. Isa. lv. 8. It is not the cool confession, but the real forsaking of sin, in which we shall find mercy. Prov. xxvjü, 13. Thy heart and will, love and delight, must turn sin out, and take Christ in, or thou art no gospel-convert. A true convert loathes every sin, and bimself for sin ; Ezek. xxxvi. 31. but general confessions of sin are consistent with the full dominion of sin. Moreover, in all true conversion there is a positive turning unto God, a whole heart-choice of him, for your supreme and ultimate happiness and portion, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. and of the Lord Jesus Christ, as your Prince and Saviour, Acts v. 31. And answerably, it will devote your whole life to bis service and glory. Pbil. i. 21. And thus it brings forth the new map, and the whole frame of your life is marvellously changed and · altered, 2 Cor. v. 17. “ Old things are passed away, bebold all things are become new.”

It may be, you will think such a change as this impossible to be made upon you. And so it is indeed, notil the day of God's power come. Psal. cv. 3. What! to forsake with loathing your old companions and courses, wbich you have so long lived with and delighted in; and to embrace with higbest pleasure, strict godliness, which you bave so loathed and ridiculed! This would be a strange

« PreviousContinue »