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blessing. The design, the act, the accomplishment, were altogether of JEHOVAH, who foreknew them, when to no creature they could possibly be known, and foreordained them to be saved by that immaculate Lamb, who, for their sakes, in the purpose and sight of God, was a Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. These are the brethren beloved, who know their election to be of God; and to these the gospel came not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.
This great truth the men of the earth cannot underderstand or commune with, and therefore seek and expect no interest in it. But it is the clear and sweet voice of that unerring wisdom, which is justified of all her children. The creation of the world itself is not more expressly revealed, than this adoption of the children of God from among the men of the world. The scorn of the multitude demonstrates that they have no apparent interest in the thing; and their having no interest proves, if there be such a matter as salvation, that the few, who find it, must have found it according to the choice or adoption, revealed in the scripture and enforced from heaven.
But wherefore wert thou chosen and adopted, O my soul; while many, to all appearance better, or at least not possibly worse by nature, than thou art, have been neglected or left? What reasons canst thou perceive in thyself, why the Lord should set his love upon thee, and not upon thy neighbour or thy friend, who perhaps have not erred and strayed farther or so far from him? Why was one blaspheming thief taken for an heir of salvation,
salvation, and his fellow, not worse than himself, left to perish in his sins? Why was the harlot Mary Magdalene, who was possessed completely by the devil, accepted to grace; while many of the chaste and sober matrons of Israel found no regard? Why were the learned, the devout, the scrupulous Pharisees sentenced to wrath; and the ignorant fishermen, the extorting publicans, the careless sinners, reclaimed and saved?—Lord, I can give no reason for all this conduct of thine, but what thou thyself hast been pleased to give: Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight! ALL must have perished, but for thy mercy: it is of thy free grace, and according to thy sovereign will alone, that ANY are plucked as brands from the burning. They must have been consumed with the rest, if thy power had not rescued them from the fire.
Keep me then, O my God, from nice inquisitions, or rather from presumptuous determinations, upon the motives and rules of thy conduct, which thou hast not revealed; but cause me meekly to submit to the conduct itself, which must be holy and good, because it is thine. O may I be thankful, with the generation of thy children, for finding the tokens of thy blessed adoption upon me. May I cherish them in my heart. May they be considered as my true riches and estate. May they lead my soul to humble and hearty adoration of thee, and to full resignation of all I am and have, to thy righteous and all-governing will. Let me wonder and admire, with tears of joy, and with the most glowing sensations of love, that thou shouldest condescend to save and to adopt me, a creature in myself altogether
vile and impure, helpless and forlorn. It was thy doing, and thine alone; and it is marvellous in my eyes. But that thou shouldest design for me, and by thy holy word assure me, that thou hast designed also, not merely a deliverance from sin and from hell, but a crown of glory, a kingdom prepared, a royal priesthood, an everlasting throne, and all these as my own unalienable inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading :Lord, what can I more say; or how shall I think of this without rapture and awe! Touch my heart as thou didst the heart of thy servant David, and cause me, like him, to sing with a melody beyond the reach of sounds; Blessed be thou, JEHOVAH, the ALEHIM of Israel, our Father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth, is thine: thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as HEAD above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all, and in thine hand is power and might, and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now, therefore, our GOD, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.*
1 Chron. xxix. 11-13.
As the title adopted shows the free grace of God in taking his people out of the mass of mankind; this name heirs expresses the right of his people, in consequence of that grace, to all the blessings of salvation, which compose their great inheritance.
This right is founded in the purchase of Christ, who is a person in JEHOVAH, and therefore able to pay down an infinite price for an endless glory to the Godhead ; and who is also perfect man, and therefore the proper head of his redeemed, in and through whom they may receive what he wrought out and obtained for his own human nature, and for them in union with it. The price was his blood and righteousness; and thus the one is called the blood of God, because of the union of the two natures in one person; and the other is named, the righteousness of Jehovah, and himself Jehovah their righteousness, because of its infinite perfection, and because of their eternal interest both in it and in him.
He bestows the inheritance upon them, who are given to him of the Father; and these he calls emphatically
It comes therefore to them as a matter of rightful purchase by their Redeemer of the Father, and as an estate of gracious gift from the Redeemer, in conjunction
with the will and influence of the Spirit and the Father, Thus, they are heirs of God, both by adoption and purchase; and joint-heirs with Christ, as to his humanity, of all, which that humanity can possibly possess in glory. Their title is strong and sure; and all the attributes of Jehovah are engaged, by covenant among the divine Persons themselves, and by their oath upon the divine record, to make it good to the believers in Jesus, who are therefore significantly styled, THE HEirs of
The inheritance cannot be lost; and the heirs of the inheritance are equally certain. They receive it, not merely because God is merciful, but because he is just and cannot deny himself. They are in Christ, and under the covenant of his peace, by whom and by which alone all the divine attributes can harmonize in the salvation of a sinner: out of Christ and this covenant, Jehovah, is a just God indeed; and, therefore, to every sinner, nothing but a consuming fire.
In this present life, these heirs of salvation are newborn, or regenerated with a new nature, from the Holy Spirit. When this great work takes place, the old Adam, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, begins to die in them; and they are renewed and quickened daily, with increase of life or growth in grace, for a more perfect consummation. They are here, as heirs in their minority, under tutelage and guardianship, until the time appointed to every one of them by the Father. They need discipline; and they have it. The correction improves them; which shows the wisdom and love that sent it, and also demonstrates, that they are, not bastards,