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kingdom of God, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate," 1 Cor. vi. 9.

I used to wonder what could be the reason of so many divorces and elopements among our married nobility; but it is not to be so much wondered at, when we see so many act like the king of Babylon, dress the wife up for a show, and call for others to admire her, until her heart is imprisoned to one of her admirers; then she quits her husband, and sets her favourite to law with the injured man for a separate maintenance; and if she carries the suit, which is often the case, then she keeps her humble servant at the expense of her injured husband. One would think these were all Nicolaitains, and that they were determined to have all things common. However, God will certainly visit for these things, and his soul will be avenged on such a nation as this, Jer. v. 9.

Prodigalis acted not so; he endeavoured to lead his family in that way where he was the most likely to meet with the blessing of his God. He used the means appointed, did his duty in his station, and left the event to his God; nor did his family like him the worse for it; for they saw the hand of God so visibly with him, that they feared him as his servant, and revered him as a tender and gracious father.

Ahimaaz. The man that puts his trust in God, will surely be defended and honoured by him; for he is a wall of fire round about them that fear

him, and they will surely burn themselves that attempt to oppose him; and, as you justly observe, God will avenge the violation of his laws: matrimony is God's institution, himself is concerned in it, and he will punish the violators of it, as contemners of him. But do proceed with your account of Prodigalis; as for the base proceedings of the ungodly, they can afford us no entertainment, unless it be to set us to wondering at the discriminating grace of God, that has caused us to differ. I suppose that you look upon the glorious renewing of the poor prodigal to be his new birth, do you not?

Cushi. Certainly I do. After Prodigalis believed, he was sealed with that holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, Eph. i. 13, 14. And born of God he certainly was, for every faculty of his soul was renewed by the Holy Ghost, Tit. iii. 5; and " that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," as "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." He was enabled to believe in the Saviour to the salvation of his soul; and he is a child of God by his faith, Gal. iii. 26. His father received him graciously, and blessed him, which is a sufficient proof of his being predestinated to the adoption of sons, Eph. i. 5. Besides, God the Father called him his son when he said, "This my son was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found;" and, because he is a son, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into the heart, crying,

Abba, father; wherefore he is no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir; an heir of God through Christ, Gal. iv. 6, 7.

Ahimaaz. Pray, my brother, shew me some scriptural criterions of a child of God; and as you say a son is an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ, do explain them to me, for I have had many doubts, fears, and temptations about my interest in these things; though I believe, by the access that I find to God in prayer, and by the familiarity that I am indulged with, that the whole of them are in my heart.

Cushi. If I can be of any use to establish and settle thy judgment, I shall be very willing to serve thee, according to my abilities; for I know that a gifted man is as much accountable to God for the husbandry of his gift, as the wealthy man is for the husbandry of his wealth; both are stewards, and both are accountable to their master; for God is the God of providence as well as of grace; and the father of creation, as well as of regeneration.

When God brings a poor penitent sinner into his family, he makes him sensibly feel a reconciliation take place between God and him. His conscience, which before was the seat of strife, becomes the principality of divine peace. All the elect are pre-ordained to this peace and reconciliation, Isaiah xxvi. 12; hence they are called sons of peace, even before peace be revealed to them. "Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house; and if the son of peace be there,

your peace shall rest upon it; if not, it shall turn to you again." Secondly, such are enabled to call God father, with the testimony of the word, the Holy Ghost, and conscience on their side; "Thou shalt call me my father, and shalt not turn away from me," Jer. iii. 19. This they are enabled to do by the Spirit; "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, father; wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son." The poor prodigal claimed this privilege in the far country; "I will arise and go to my father;" and God owns him, "this is my son." Thirdly, Thirdly, their sonship is often made plain, and cleared up to them, by sharp trials and conspicuous deliverances, by severe chastisements and strong consolations. My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth; if ye be without chastisements, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"

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Fourthly, their sonship is made plain to them by the love of God that is shed abroad in their hearts; which encourages them to a holy freedom with God; finding at times their doubts and fears removed; insomuch that their faith seems settled. A sense of love casts out servile fear, and gives a man a holy boldness at a throne of grace; and faith works powerfully by love, for "every one that

loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Thus he may prove his spiritual birth, and his saving knowledge of God, by the love that he feels to him; and though at times the young Christian may find the love of God greatly abate, according to his feelings, so that he cannot rejoice as usual, yet even then it may be perceived; because nothing in this world will repair the loss to him, nothing will fill the vacancy; his heart is still breathing after God; and truth hath said, that where his heart is there is his treasure, Matt. vi. 21.

Fifthly, he finds a real love to God's family more than to all earthly friends and relatives, however near by blood. A divine tie is by far stronger than all the ties of nature; and when this is the case with a poor soul, it is a plain proof that his carnal enmity is slain, and that reconciliation has taken place by the Spirit. John brings it in as a proof of divine life; "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

Sixthly, his sonship appears by the reverence and respect that he has for the word and worship of God. God's house is his Bethel; the promises are sweet to him; blessed entertainment and sweet satisfaction he often finds in them; and as he finds life and comfort in the word, he may say, with the Psalmist, "This is my comfort in my affliction,

for thy word hath quickened me."

It is common

for an heir to love his inheritance; and so does the believer, who is an heir of promise, Heb. vi. 17.

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