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3dly. This relation is eternal.

Those, who are once redeemed, sustain this character for ever. The song, which ascribes blessing, and honour, and glory, to the Lamb who was slain, and who hath redeemed us to God by his blood, is begun in the present world, and continued throughout all its successive ages. But it does not terminate here. It is renewed in heaven; and will be continued throughout its everlasting duration. In that happy world, they will be joint heirs with Christ to the inheritance, which is undefiled, and fadeth not away. There they will behold his glory, even the glory which he had with the Father before ever the world was. Throughout their interminable existence they will ever sustain the peculiar character of Redeemed creatures; will be regarded by God, and the virtuous universe, as the trophies of Christ's Mediation, as monuments of forgiving and sanctifying Love. In this character they will regard themselves; and will feel its import with a gratitude, suited to the greatness of the blessings, which they have received.

It is this consideration, which stamps the peculiar value on the relation in question. All that is temporary and perishable is, in its nature, comparatively of little importance. Time, necessarily fading in itself, imparts its own character to every thing under its dominion. The remembrance, that an enjoyment will come to an end, embitters it, even while it is in possession; and after a period, which must soon arrive, it will be destroyed for ever. No possession therefore, ought ever to engage the ardent attachment of an immortal mind, unless made sure by the seal of eternity.

4thly. This relation will become more and more interesting for ever.

The mind, which is received into heaven through the mediation of the Redeemer, will more and more understand the nature of the blessings, to which it has been admitted. From the sufferings of those who are lost, it will learn the greatness of the evils from which itself has been delivered ; and, from their obstinate continuance in sin, the hopeless nature of its own former state, had it not been for the atonement of Christ, and the sanctifying agency of the Holy Spirit. In the happiness of heaven it will see, and feel, the vastness, and multitude, of the enjoyments to which it has been introduced; and in the perfection and loveliness of itself, and of all its companions, the transcendent excellence of that character, which was mercifully begun in it here, to be improved for ever. In proportion as its views of these subjects expand, it will discern, more and more clearly, the importance of those wonderful things, which have been done to deliver it from endless sin and misery, and to instate it in endless virtue and happiness. In this manner it will advance continually, together with all glorified saints, towards the comprehension of what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and heighth ; and will more and more know the lote of Christ which passeth knowledge. As the sense of these divine subjects increases

in the heart, its admiration, complacency, and gratitude, will rise continually higher; its beauty and amiableness daily increase ; and itself become daily a more delightful object of the divine approbation.

IV. The Consequences of Adoption are great and desirable.

I have observed above, that the relation, produced by this event, is real. Every real relation involves real rights and obligations; duties to be performed on our part; and on the part of God, blessings, to the communication which he has been pleased to oblige himself by his own gracious promises. The relation, introduced into existence by the act of Adoption between him and his redeemed children, involves in its consequences a long train of rights and obligations, duties and blessings. Of these a few only can be mentioned at the present time; and even these must be mentioned

; in a summary manner.

The consequences of Adoption respect either the present world, or the world to come.

In the present world, God
1st. Provides Sustenance for his children.

God provides for the wants of all creatures; not only for man. kind, but for animals. The young lions seek their meat from God; and he satisfieth the young ravens, when they cry. But the provision which he makes for the wants of his Children, is distinguished from that which he makes for others, by this important consideration: that it is exactly that which is best for them. In kind, in degree, in manner; it is just such as most promotes their real wel. fare. Were any difference to exist in their circumstances; had they more, or had they less; or were their supplies to be varied in any other manner; or were their situation, in this respect, to be at all different from what it actually is; their true interest would be less perfectly consulted. All things, in this respect, work together for the good of them that love God; and they that seek the Lord do not

want any good thing;

The provision made for them, differs also from that made for their fellow-men, in another important particular. They are assured by his promise, that this provision will always be made for them, while they live. They have, therefore, an indefeasible right to expect all the blessings of this nature, which they need; a right founded on the unchangeable covenant of grace; on the truth of God, which is as the great mountains, stedfast and immoveable; and on his promises, which endure for ever. Every one of them may, therefore, say with David, The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of

Finally, there is yet another difference between the provision, made for their wants, and that made for others; viz, that the good furnished to them is a series, not of enjoyments merely, but of blessings. As such, they are not only permitted, but required, to regard VOL. II.


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them. They may, therefore, without fear or danger, partake of them as such; and relish entirely whatever comfort they convey. They are sweetness without a sting; fragrance without a thorn, planted beneath to embitter the enjoyment. The pleasure, which they contain, is also enhanced unceasingly by the delightful emiotion of gratitude, with which they are always attended.

2dly. He protects them.

The exposure of mankind, from the cradle to the grave, to evil in an endless variety of forms, even when the danger is wholly unseen and unimagined, has ever been the favourite topic of the moralist, and a standing dictate of all human experience. Every day instructs us, that against this exposure no human foresight can effectually provide. Except the Lord keep the city, the most diligent watchman waketh in vain. But he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Of his children the Lord is the keeper. The Lord is their shade upon their right hand. The sun shall not smite them by day, nor the moon by night ; the Lord shall preserve them from all evil; he shall preserve their souls. The Lord shall preserve their going out, and their coming in, from this time forth and éven for evermore. Therefore, when they pass through the waters, he will be with them, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow them : when they walk through the fire, they shall not be burnt; neither shall the flame kindle upon them. In all the situations of life, his eye is upon them for good. They may fall, indeed, because it is necessary, because it is best, for them; yet they shall rise again, and shall not be utterly cast down. At the same time, means of defence will be provided for them, in seasons apparently hopeless, and in ways utterly unexpected. Enemies are restrained ; evils averted; dangers dissipated; friends raised up; the course of Providence changed; and thus, even when they are encompass. ed with the terrors of death, and the snares of hell, God is their fortress, their high tower, the Rock of their Salvation.

3dly. He Instructs them.

This work he accomplishes by his providence, by his word, by his ordinances, by his ministers. by the life and conversation of Christians, by the divine example of his Son, and by the peculiar communications of his Spirit. In all these ways, 'He furnishes them with whatever knowledge, and whatever useful impressions, they need to receive; and trains them up as children, in the effectual preparation for the perfect state of manhood, to which they will arrive in his heavenly kingdom.

This, however, is the peculiar office of the Spirit of truth. As he originally revealed the truth of God concerning our salvation; 80, throughout their earthly pilgrimage, he discloses to the children of God the divine import of his own instructions, and gives them eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand and obey, his own glorious precepts. He teaches them the true, Evangelical use of religious ordinances, of trials, of afflictions, and of blessings;

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dissolves their doubts; removes their perplexities; shows them the path of life; takes them by the hand, and guides them through the mazes of this earthly wilderness to the heavenly Canaan. All those, who are the Sons of God, are, as St. Paul teaches us, led by the Spirit of God. By him they are kept from all fatal ignorance, and from every ruinous error.

4thly. He corrects them.

Of this necessary and benevolent parental office St. Paul gives us a detailed account in the twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord lovelh he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he, whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits, and live? For they, verily, for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure ; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening seemeth for the present to be joyous, but grievous ; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby

In the account, here given by the Apostle, concerning the correction of such as are adopted, summary as it is, we have a complete view of all that is most interesting in this subject. We are taught particularly, that correction is a distinctive privilege of God's children; that those who are not corrected, are not his children; that we are always corrected with an intention to do us good, and not arbitrarily, nor wantonly; that for this reason, as well as on account of the prerogatives and perfections of God, we are bound to receive our corrections with reverence, submission, patience, and fortitude ; that the end for which we are corrected is, that we may be made partakers of his holiness, and live; and that, if we receive our corrections in this manner, they will yield us the peaceable fruits of righteousness, and thus terminate in our immortal life.

The corrections, which God administers to his children, are ad. ministered in the reproofs, alarms, and threatenings, of his word and ordinances, and the chastisement of his providence; and generally in all their distresses. By these they are checked in their downward progress of sense and sin; warned of approaching danger; quickened to more vigorous efforts in their duty; weaned from the world; and by degrees prepared for heaven.

5thly. In the future world, He provides for them a glorious Inheritance.

Affectionate parents, in the present world, not only prepare their children to live usefully, by giving them a proper education, but to live comfortably, by furnishing them, when it is in their power, with sufficient means of subsistence. God, in the same manner, takes a parental care of his own children, and provides the means of enabling them to live happily for ever. To this end, he

, renders them perfectly holy; and thus furnishes them with dispositions, in possession of which they can live happily; dispositions, which prepare them to be useful, amiable, honourable ; esteemed, and loved by all wise and good beings; particularly by himself; dispositions, which ensure them peace of mind, self-approbation, and the consciousness of being excellent and lovely. To a mind thus purified and exalted, he unites a body, spiritual, incorruptible, glorious, and immortal; the proper tenement of so noble an inhabitant. Thus formed, and perfected, he removes them to his heavenly kingdom, and there places them in circumstances, and amid companions, of such a nature, as to enable them to improve in knowledge, excellence, honour, and happiness, for ever.

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