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of the bond-woman? The answer is at hand in the word of God. Appearances are nothing. Where there is not the work of regeneration there can be no evidence of any child of promise. We read in the Scriptures of truth of some "who were once enlightened, and had tasted of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and had tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.". (Heb. vi. 4, 5.) But in these there is not one feature of the child of the freewoman. They are said to "have been once enlightened." Yes! enlightened in head knowledge, like men studying some art or science; so an head knowledge of divine things, but no heart influence. They are said also to have "tasted of the heavenly gift." Yes, like children tasting medicine, and so nauseate it as to spit it out. And "partakers of the Holy Ghost." Here seems somewhat more plausible; but in reality not so. Partakers of the Holy Ghost, not in grace, not in the new birth, not in any saving knowledge, but simply partakers in the ordinary means of grace, as Chorazin and Bethsaida were of old. (Matt. xi. 21.) And the taste they are said to have had of " the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come "— both these are no more than mere outward privileges, which belong alike to the children of the bondwoman, and of the free. All are without a single mark of grace to denote the spot of God's children. Nothing short of regeneration proves the children of promise. Hence therefore the conclusion from the whole is, that there is a total dissimilarity in their origin, connections, manner of life, and both in their state and prospects of the life that now is, and that which is to come, between "the children of the bond woman, and the children of the free."
In conclusion, therefore, it becomes an important question to each and every one present; to which
family do I belong? All present must be classed under one family or the other: for there is no middle state. There is nothing neutral in this warfare. The Lord Jesus himself saith: "He that is not with me is against me." (Matt. xii. 30.) And as there is no proof of belonging to the children of the free-woman but by regeneration, or being born again, let nothing satisfy your mind but this infallible evidence. Trainment, education, attendance on the several means of grace, very profitable as they are rendered through divine teaching to the children of promise, yet are they in themselves nothing to mark the bond children from the free. Let a wolf be taken while a cub from its mother's den, and fed and trained up with lambs, yet is it a wolf still; and in the after stages of life will shew its original relationship to the wolf by its wolfish nature. Such are all the children of the bond woman: educate them, train them, bring them under the continual means of grace, catechise them, make them read the Scriptures, hear sermons, cram them with all the trammels of religion until that (they are full to the mouth in creeds and prayerbooks, yet without a change of heart, without a new nature, there will be no removal from the old stock. The Ishmaels can never become Isaacs, no more than the Isaacs can become Ishmaels: as is the root, so are the branches; that solemn Scripture decides it, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God." (Rom. ix. 8.)
What shall I add, except a prayer to God, that while, ere long, an everlasting separation must take place between the different seeds of the children of promise and the children of bondage; and the word of God shall separate between the precious and the vile, and cast out the bond woman and her son; we may find grace to bless the Lord for his unspeakable mercy, and say with Paul, "so then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free" Amen.
THE FEELING OF OUR INFIRMITIES.
BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON, PREACHED THE FIRST
LORD'S DAY MORNING AFTER EASTER, THE 10th APRIL, 1825,
IN THE CHURCH OF CHARLES, PLYMOUTH.
PROSECUTING the same divine subject, which, under the Lord, first gave being to The Village Sermon Society, and which interests the spiritual faculties of the Lord's regenerated ones, with increasing earnestness, as we increase in the knowledge of the Lord himself; the sermon on which the new born cottager is here invited to meditate, is what in its operation meets him continually more or less in his daily walk of life, namely, the person of our most glorious Christ; and the grace of Christ, as revealed in the thousand, and ten thousand instances, by which the Lord manifests his unceasing attention and watchfulness over his people, and the sympathy of his heart, in making every case of their's his own. These are among the most endeared and endearing thoughts which ought to occupy our constant meditation. And the awakened mind of the Lord's family, when brought by sovereign leadings into an holy familiarity with these things, will derive therefrom a sanctity to render the objects of time and sense daily less attracting. "Having (as the apostle describes it) our conversation in heaven," from communion with the Lord of heaven, and his gracious revealings of himself to our hearts; we shall as Paul did, "be looking for the Saviour;" that when a life of faith shall be swallowed up in open vision, him, whom we have long known by the visits of his love, and the sympathy with which he hath entered into all the feelings of our infirmities, we shall see as he is, and know even as we are known." Let us enter on the perusal of it with prayer.
Will it please our gracious Lord God, by the manifestation of his divine presence, and the communication of his divine influences to the souls of his redeemed now before him, to testify what the prophet was directed to declare should be the name of the spiritual city from that day of the gospel: "The Lord is there." We hope and trust that the desire of our souls is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. And if the lighting down of thy glorious arm is felt in our little assembly, in the grace of our