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unto them; and by remaining in his saints for ever, he will, at the resurrection morn, and throughout eternity, fill them with all the fulness of God. O that we may learn to love, worship, and glorify the Holy Spirit, for his work, gifts, and grace; and be led to view with increasing joy the Almighty Jesus, who continues to bestow his blessed Spirit on us. Amen.



ROMANS, Chap. viii. Ver. 15.

For ye have not received the Spirit of Bondage again to fear; but ye bave received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.


'HIS chapter affords strong consolation, and con

tains a great variety of cordials, for the strengthening and encouraging the people of God, in running the heavenly race which is marked out and set before them in the word of God. The apostle is here writing to such as had been brought, by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, to know and believe on the Lord Jesus; and who, through the fellowship and communion they had with him, were brought to set their affections on high and heavenly things. He observes to them the dreadful effects which proceed from being carnally minded, and the blessings which proceed from being spiritually minded. At the 8th verse he faith, So then they that are in the flesh (that is, in a natural, carnal, unregenerate state) cannot please God: and adds in the next verse, But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit; they having passed in regeneration, from a

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state of death to a state of spiritual life. This was their case, and it appeared to be so, inasmuch as, or because, the Spirit of God dwelt in them The if immediately following is not to be considered as an if of doubting; for a man either has, or has not the Spirit of Christ. If he has not, he cannot be in any other state than that of

unregeneracy; and dying in that state, he cannot see the kingdom of God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be (or, inasmuch as, or because) that the Spirit of God, or the Spirit of Christ, dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, be is none of his. Then the apostle proceeds to speak of the blessed effects of Christ's dwelling by his Spirit in his people. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; be that raised up Chrif from the dead, swall also quicken your morial bodies by bis Spirit that dwelleth in you. Then he goes on to inform such, of the obligations they were under to walk becoming their high rank and dignity. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye fall die. Believers, when they give way to their carnal frames, and indulge their carnal defires, they die to spiritual joys and comforts, a death being thereby brought upon their graces. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye sball live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the fons of God. For


have not received the Spie rit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adɔption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.

Some very

There is a diversity of judgments amongst the people of God, respecting the meaning of the words which I have now read unto you for my text. great and worthy persons have thought, that the Holy Spirit is spoken of in the words as the Spirit of bondage, as well as the Spirit of adoption; and be. cause in his first work upon the soul, which consists of convincing of fin, shewing the nature of it, and setting before the convinced finner the wrath of God due unto it; rattling the keys of hell and damnation about the ears of sinners, and shutting them up in unbelief, by shewing and proving to them, that they are in this state by nature, through their fall from God; that hence the Holy Spirit may be considered as, and styled, the Spirit of bondage; especially as this precedes his most blessed work of acting the part of a comforter, and performing the office of the Spirit of adoption. To which others reply, that though souls under the, convincing and enlightening efficacy and energy of the Holy Spirit, are filled with terrors, dread, and confternation, and are brought thereby under a spirit of bondage: yet that these effects do not prove the Holy Spirit to be the author of their terrors; nor does the title of the Spirit of bondage belong to him, it being quite opposite and contrary to his blessed office, work, and title, who is the Comforter. And which "they argue to be given him, as expressive of what he is to the people of God.

I thought it meet and right to take notice of this, feeing there is express mention made in my text of the Spirit of bondage, and the Spirit of adoption, and

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that it is implied, that those persons who were now fa. voured with the Spirit of adoption, had prior to this received the Spirit of bondage, which inclined and subjected them to fear. My own thoughts are, that the genuine meaning of the words may be known by the following considerations. This church at Rome confifted, in a great measure, of believing Jews; who during the former dispensation were under a spirit of bondage, because their legal facrifices could never take away fin; and the commands and precepts of the ceremonial law being so many, various, and burdensome, they were kept in perpetual bondage : under that dispensation they were more inclinable to a legal {pirit, than believers are under the gospel; who are favoured with a clearer, fuller, and more glorious diso covery and revelation of our Lord Jesus Chrift, in all the ends and designs of his wonderful death.

In attempting to open and explain the passage before us, in a dependance upon our Lord Jesus Chrift for his undion, blessing, and presence, I will endea. vour to divide our text into the following beads:

First, there is express mention made, of a Spirit of bondage and of a Spirit of adoption.

Secondly, the effects of these are to be considered. The Spirit of bondage inclines to fear, the Spirit of adoption to liberty. By the one we are subjected to fear; by the other we are brought into liberty, being enabled to cry Abba, Father : and then,

Thirdly, it deserves notice, that both the Spirit of bondage, and the Spirit of adoption, are faid to be received.

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