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two terms of effectual calling. (1.) The term from which finners are called by the gofpel; that is Satan's family, which they are born in, Pfal. xlv. 10. And it is made up of all the unconverted world, and fallen angels. These have a dreadful communion among themfelves under one head, the devil. That is the family of unbelievers, unrighteoufnefs, and Belial. And to come out of this the gospel calls you, ver. 17. Wherefore come out from among them, &c. (2.) The term to which; that is God's family, made up of faints, holy angels, and Christ as the elder brother having dominion over the family; he their head, and the head of Chrift God, I Cor. xi. 3. That is the family of believers, righteousness, and Chrift. And to this the gofpel calls you to come.
Thus the text propofes a great privilege of those that are effectually called, that is, adoption into the family of God. And here confider,
1. The family they are brought into; it is that of the Lord Almighty. No body needed to adopt, but he that had fomething to give. The family believers are taken into is a rich family, feeing the Head thereof is the Almighty, who because he is Almighty can, and becaufe he is a Father will, make his own perfectly. happy.
2. Upon whom this privilege is conferred; that is, those who come out of the world and the family of Satan, and answer the gofpel-call. (1.) They are aliens, they are by nature ftrangers to the family they are taken into; they are of an ill house, that is an enemy to the house of heaven. And whatever house men would pitch on, it would not readily be fuch an one: but free grace takes people from fuch a house. (2.) But they are feparatifts from it, they are fuch as are fick of their father's houfe, and people that are their own, and come off from it by faith to the Lord, upon the gospel-call. Like Ruth they leave their natural country and kindred, and come to incor-. porate with that other fociety.
3. The relation they are put into in God's family. It were much if they of the houfe of hell might be received into the house of heaven, in the quality of fojourners to lodge a while there; more if in quality of domestic fervants; and more if in quality of friends: but they are received in quality of children of the family. And as all relation is mutual, upon the one hand God becomes their Father. That is a kindly word, and that he is to them. On the other, they become fons and daughters. Obferve, how particular this promife is, exprefsly made to both fexes. Whatever privileges in external things men had of old, or yet have above women; yet in respect of fpiritual privileges in Christ they are alike. The one are fons, and the other daughters, both children equally dear to our heavenly Father.
4. Laftly, The confirmation of this privilege and the promise thereof, faith the Lord. If a man or angel had faid it, it could hardly have gained credit, that there should be fuch an adoption. But God himfelf fays it, and it is impious therefore to difbelieve it.
The fum of the words may be comprised in the following doctrine, viz.
DocT. As adoption into God's family is the peculiar privilege of those that are effectually called, fo whosoever will comply with the gospel-call, and come away, shall be adopted into God's family; God will be a Father to them, and they fhall be his fons and daughters. This doctrine has two branches,
I. Adoption into God's family is the peculiar privilege of thofe that are effectually called.
II. Whofoever will comply with the gospel-call, fhall be adopted into God's family; God will be their Father, and they shall be his fons and daughters.
I fhall profecute thefe two in order.
I. Adoption into God's family is the peculiar privilege of those that are effectually called. Adoption follows VOL. II. Ꮋ Ꮒ
our juftification; and is " an act of God's free grace, "whereby we are received into the number, and have "a right to all the privileges of the fons of God." Here I fhall endeavour to fhew, 1. What adoption in general is. 2. What are the parts of adoption, 3. The properties of this adoption. 4. Apply the fubject.
FIRST, I fhall fhew what adoption in the general is. That we may understand this, we must confider, in the first place, what adoption among men is; and that is twofold.
1. Proper adoption, much ufed among the ancient Romans and Greeks, was a legal act, imitating nature, introduced for the comfort of those who wanted chil dren, whereby one that was the natural child of another man became the fon of the adopter. It was a ju dicial action done in prefence of the magiftrate; among the Greeks by way of a teftament figned and fealed in his prefence; among the Romans, the adopter, the natural father, and the fon, appearing before the magiftrate, the adopter taking hold of the fon faid, "Iavouch this perfon to be my fon, and I have bought "him with this money." The natural father judici ally yielded up his right to the adopter. And the ma giftrate adjudged him to be the adopter's fon. The party being adopted was made free of the city, and not only taken into the adopter's family, but afcribed into the tribe or fraternity of the adopter. It had place among thofe that either had no children at all, by their death, or otherwife had no lawful children. But the law reftrained them that they might not ad dopt, but in a fuitablenefs to the quality of the adopt er; fo that a nobleman might not adopt a commoner, left the dignity of the adopter fhould be ftained by the meannefs of the adopted,
2. Metaphorical adoption, which is ingrafting. Thus the ftock adopts the branch that is cut off another tree, and put into another branch of it. For as
the adopter takes another man's child, and nourishes him as his own; fo the ingrafted branch is counted a mong the natural branches, and partakes with them of the fap of the ftock. Hence you may fee that
Divine adoption is an act of God, whereby he does judicially take (and constitute), thofe that are by nature strangers to him, and none of his family, members of his family, and his own children, giving them the privileges of his children, or of his houfe as children. And it is twofold.
1. External and federal, which is common to the members of the vifible church, which is a fociety ga thered out from the rest of the world, the visible family of God on earth, enjoying peculiar privileges, beyond the rest of the world. This adoption belonged to Ifrael of old, Rom. ix. 4. And God owned them as his fons in the midft of Egypt, Exod. iv. 22. 23. But now it is extended to us Gentiles, Gal. iii. 26. 27. This family has always, fince Cain was caft out, been a feparated family in the world, chofen out from among the reft; fo they are called the fons of God, Gen. vi. 2. And so it is ftill, and will be to the end.
This adoption, though it is really in itfelf a high dignity, fo that, in comparison of them, the rest of the world are but as dogs to children, Matth. xv. 26. yet it is not a faving relation to God. And it may be loft, as the Jews rejected did theirs. Nay one may retain it; and yet his natural relation to the devil remain, as to his internal state, so as he may be loft for ever notwithstanding of it, John viii. 44. But this is not the adoption we inquire into; but,
2. An internal and faving adoption, which is peculiar to believers, or thofe effectually called and converted, which make up the invisible church and family of God on earth, enjoying fpiritual privileges, beyond all others without or within the vilible church. Thefe are they that are chofen out from the unconverted world lying in wickedneís, according to the decree of election, and brought and ingrafted into Chrift, and made
real members of his body, John i. 12. 13. These God adopts, judicially avouches them to be his fons and daughters; and Satan their natural father is obliged to quit his right to them; and they thereby are and are accounted no more of his family, but children of God, and have a right to the faving special privileges of the children of his family, Gal. iv. 5. Eph. i. 5. Hence,
(1.) Adoption is not a real' change, of the finner's nature; but, as juftification, a relative change, of his ftate. By nature we are in a ftate of condemnation, but out of that we are brought in juftification; and out of the ftate of alienation from God, by adoption. So that we are no more aliens and foreigners to the family of heaven, but domeftics of it: no more children of Satan, but of God, Eph. ii. 19. Our names are inrolled among thofe of the family; and though a new nature accompanies it, yet adoption itself is a new name, not a new nature, Rev. ii. 17. though it is not an empty title, but has vaft privileges attending it.
(2). It is done in an inftant, not carried on by degrees. For it is not capable of degrees, and there is no intermediate ftate betwixt fonship to God and to Satan; but as foon as ever a perfon believes in Christ, he is juftified and adopted; as foon as the foul is married to Chrift, fhe becomes a daughter of the house of heaven, and her relation to that of hell is extinguifhed, John i. 12. It is true, there will be at the great day a folemn declaration of that adoption, and the adopted will then be perfectly past their minority, and enter to the full poffeflion of the inheritance in their whole man; in which sense the apoftle fays, We wait for the adoption, Rom. viii. 23. But now are we the fons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 2.
SECONDLY, I come to fhew what are the parts of adoption, Thefe are two. 1. The receiving the finner into the number of God's children. 2. Giving