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canjahu i mviii'r it is founded upon a
fit the iCurts a!i wieds of the children of 2. Callis a placca Weiher they are in case 1, sich
in hrbea':', in acudunce or want, they 35i: Gji. I every as they have learned to be CE1, sivettar!.. wito God through Christ Jesus;
Weinhurent, tha: "what is best," because i: Hvid Liikeiling that is that in actie vicissitudes
teh: "heart stauduil fast, buieriis in the Lord.” II.1. Ascul.dcripcural lark vi those who are born of (d, i, Hope. Thus St. Peter',peakins to all the children of Cord who ietilen scattered abroad, saitha 6. Blessed be the Coud and father of our Lord Jous Christ, which, according io his abuvani mrey; hain besutten us again unto a lively hope.” Ill... 3.) l...a cuinn, a iniy or living bope, saith the posit; lit cause there is also a dead hope, as well aa dear faith; a bope which is not from Guld, but from ihe enemy of God and man ;-as evidently appears by its fruit;; for, as it is the vilspring of pride, su it is the parent of every evil word and work; whereas, every man that hath in him this living hope, is "holy as He ihai calieth him is holy: every lasin that can truly say to his brethren in Christ, “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and are shall see him is he is," "purifi tibimscil, even is lle is pure."
2. This lione,-(iermed in the epistic to the Hebrews, chap. X. 22, 77.04 DE 2 TASTEWS, and clsewhere, Tangodsgia mtidos, chap. vi. 1]; in onr translation, “the full assurance of faith, and the full insurance of hope,” expressions the best which our language coul abor, although far weaker than those in the original,)—as described in Scripture, implies, first, The Testimony of our own spirit or conscience, that we walk “in simpliciiy and yoully sinceriiy ;” but secondly, and chicfly, The testimony of the Spirit of God, “bearing witness withi, or to, “our spirit, that re are the children of God," "and if children, then heirs, beirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”
3. Let us well observe what is here taught us by God himself, touching this glorious privilege of his children. Who is it that is bere said to bear witness ? Not our spirit only, but aliother; even the Spirit of God: lle it is who“ beareth witness with our spirit.” What is it, he beareth vitness of? “That ile are the childreu of God," "ud if children then beira ; dicirs of Civil, the joini-cirs with Christ;” (Rom. viii. 16, 17 ;) “if so bc that we suffer with him," (if we deny ourselves, if we take up our cross daily, if we cheerfully endore persecution or reproach for his sake,) “that we may also be glorified together.” And in whom doth the Spirit of God bear this witness? In all who are the children of God. By this very argument does the Apostle prove, in the preceding verses, that they are so: “As many,” saith he, 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!" It follows, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Ch. viii. 14-16.)
4. The variation of the phrase in the 15th verse, is worthy our observation. “Ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” Ye, as many as are the sons of God, have, in virtue of your souship, received that self-same Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father : We, the apostles, prophets, teachers, (for so the word may not improperly be understood,) we, through whom you have believed, the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” As we and you have one Lord, so we have one Spirit: as we have one Faith, so we have one Hope also. We and you are scaled with one “Spirit of Promise,” the earnest of your and of our inheritance: the same Spirit bearing witness with your and with our spirit, “that we are the children of God.”
5. And thus is the Scripture fulfilled, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” For it is casy to believe, that though sorrow may precede this witness of God's Spirit with our spirit; (indeed must, in some degree, while we groan under fear, and a sense of the wrath of God abiding on us;) yet, as soon as any man fecleth it in himself, his “sorrow is turned into joy.” Whatsoever his pain may have been before; yet, as soon as that "hour is come, he remembereth the anguish no more, for joy” that he is born of God. It may be, many
you have now sorrow, because you are “ aliens from the commonwealth of Israel;” because you are conscious to yourselves that you have not this Spirit; that you are
“ without hope and without God in the world.” But when the Comforter is come, “then your heart shall rejoice;" yea, “your joy shall be full," and that joy no man taketh from you.” (John xvi. 22.) “Wejoy in God,” will ye say, “s through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement;
» « by whom we have access into this grace," this state of grace, of favour, or reconciliation with God, “wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. v. 2.) “Ye,” saith St. Peter, whom God hath “ begotten again unto a lively hope, are kept bythe power of God unto salvation : wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith may be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ: in whom, though now ve see him not, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Pet. i.5, &c.) Unspeakable indeed! It is not for the tongue of man to describe this joy in the Holy Ghost. It is “the hidden manna, which no man knoweth, save he that receivcth it." But this we know, it not only remains but overflows in the depth of affliction. “ Are the consolations of God small” with his children, when all earthly comforts fail ? Not so. But when sullering's most abound, the consolation of his Spirit doth much more abound; insomuch that the sons of God “ laugh at destruction when it cometh ;” at want, pain, hell, and the grave; as knowing Him who" hath the keys of death and hell," and will shortly “cast them into the bottomless pit;” as hearing even now the great voice out of heaven, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, ipd be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, peither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. xxi. 3, 4.)
III. 1. A Third scriptural Mark of those who are born of God, and the greatest of all, is Love; eveli the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto them.” (Rom. v. 5.) “ Because they are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of bis Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father!” (Gal. iv. 6.) By this Spirit, continually looking up to God as their reconciled and loving Father, they cry to him for their daily bread, for all things needful, whether for their souls or bodies. They continually pour out their hearts before him, knowing “ they have the petitions which they ask of him.” (1 John v. 15.) Their delight is in him. He is the joy of their heart; their “shield," and their “exceeding great reward." The desire of their soul is toward him; it is their “ meat and drink to do his will ;” and they are “ satisfied as with marrow and fatness, while their mouth praiseth him with joyful lips.” (Psalm lxiii. 5.)
2. And, in this sense also, “Every one who loveth Him that begat, loveth him that is begotten of him.” (1 John v. 1.) His spirit rejoiceth in God his Saviour. He sloveth the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” He is so “joined unto the Lord,” as to be one spirit. His soul hangeth upon Him, and chooseth Him as altogether lovely, “the chiefest among ten thousand.” He knoweth, he feeleth what that means, “My Beloved is mine, and I am his.” « Thou art fairer than the children of men; full of grace are thy lips, because God hath anointed thee for ever!” (Psalm xlv. 2.)
3. The necessary fruit of this Love of God, is the Love of our Neighbour ; of every soul which God hath made; not excepting our enemies; not excepting those who are now “despitefully using and persecuting us;”-a love, whereby we love every man as ourselves; as we love our own souls. Nay, our Lord has expressed it still more strongly, teaching us to “ love one another even as He hath loved us.” Accordingly, the commandment written in the hearts of all those that love God, is no other than this, “ As I have loved you, so love ye one another.” Now," herein perceive we the love of God, in that he laid down his life for us.” (1 John iii. 16.) “We ought” then, as the Apostle justly infers, “to lay down our lives for the brethren." If we feel ourselves ready to do this, then do we truly love our neighbour. Then“ we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we thus love the brethren." (Ver. 14.) “ Hereby know we”, that we are born of God, that we “ dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his sloving] Spirit.” (Ch. iv. 13.) For “ love is of God; and every one that thus loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 John iv. 7.)
4. But some may possibly ask, Does not the Apostle say, “ This is the love of God, that we kcep his commandments ? (1 John v. 3.) Yea, and this is the love of our neighbour also, in the same sense as it is the love of God. But what would you infer from hence ? That the keeping the outward commandments, is all that is implied in loving God with all your heart, with all your mind, and soul, and strength, and in loving your neighbour as yourself? That the love of God is not an affection of the soul, but merely an outuur service And that the lore of our neighbour is liol il disposition of heart, but barely a course of outward works? To mention so wild av interpretation of the Apostle's words, is sufliciently to confute it. The plain indisputable meaning of that text is, This is the sign or proof of the love of God, of our keeping the first and great commandment, to keep all the rest of his commandments. For true love, if it be once shed abroad in our beart, will constrain us so to do; since, whosoever loves God with all his heart, cannot bui scrre bim with all his strength.
5. A second fruit theu of the Love of God, (so far as it can be distinguished from it,) is universal Obedience to him we love, and conformity to his will; obedience to all the commands of God, internal and external; obedience of the heart and of the lile; in every temper, iind in all manner of conversation. And one of the tempers most obviously implied herein is, the being “ zealous of cood works;" the hungering and thirsting to do good, in every possible kind, unito all men; the rejoicing to “spend and be spent for them,” for cvery child of mau; not looking for any recompense in this world, but only in the resurrection of the just.
IV. 1. Thus have I plainly laid down those Marhs of the New Biruli, which I find laid down in Scripture. Thus dot God himself answer that weighty question, What is it to be born of God ? Such, if the appeal be made to the Oracles of God, is “crery one that is born of the Spirit.” This it in, in the judgment of the Spirit of God, to be at son or il child of God. it is, so to believe in God, through Christ, as “not to commit sin," and to enjoy at all times, and in all places, that “peace of God which passeth all understanding.” It is, so to hope in God through the Son of his Love', ils to have not only the “testimony of a good conscience,'' but also the Spirit of God
bearing witness with your spirits, that ye are the children of God;" whence cannot but sprins, the rejoicing crermore in Him, through whom ye “hare received the atonement.” It is so to love God, who bath thus loved you, as you never did love
any creature: so that ye arc constrained to love all men as yourselves; with a love not only ever burning in your bearts, but flaning out in all your actions and conversation, and making your whole life one“ Jabour of love," one continued obedience to those commands, “Be ve merciful, as God is merciful;” “Be ye holy, as I the Lord am holy;" “ Be ye perfect, as your father which is in heaven is perfect."