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after all you do? By these and by similar questions you may decide your true condition. Happy are those of you who are warranted to say, “ Christ was made sin for us, and we have become the righteousness of God in him." Your iniquities are blotted out; you shall have a complete and final victory over all your spiritual foes, within you as well as without you; you

shall have the gracious presence of God with you while you pass through earth; you shall receive all necessary strength and grace to perform duties and to bear afflictions; you shall obtain a triumph over death, and an unutterable felicity beyond the grave. Let these blessings animate you to warmer gratitude ; bless God with ardour for Christ his unspeakable gift, and all the infinite mercies which he bears with him. In the midst of thy holy exultation, be humble ; thou hast nothing which thou hast not received; boasting is excluded; by the sublimest holiness display thy gratitude to such a Benefactor, and evidence that thou art indeed united to Christ. And you, my dear brethren, who are still in a state

a of condemnation, and uninterested in the righteousness of Immanuel, at last awake to a sense of

your guilt and danger; renounce the refuges of lies in which you have hitherto confided. However little the consideration may have hitherto affected you, you are a guilty sinner in the sight of God. As such, you stand condemned while in your natural state, by the dreadful sentence of the lawgiver. There is no other possible way to escape the execution of that sentence but by having an interest in the sacrifice of Christ, as a full atonement for your sins. His righteousness is freely offered to you; though you now may scorn it, a day is coming when you shall be sensible of your need of it. That same Saviour, who now stands among you with the arms of his mercy as widely stretched out as when upon the cross, making a full and free offer of his righteousness, and all the rich fruits of it, to every child of Adam that hears me; that same Saviour is constituted the Judge of quick and dead; he shall come with clouds, and thine eye shall see him; he shall then crush with his rod of iron all who on earth have rejected his offers. Will you then longer neglect him? The

? grave will shortly open for you, and no tenders of pardon are made there; but now there is hope; Jesus is again presented to you; if you reject him

; and perish, your blood must be upon your own heads; you must eternally curse yourselves for your obstinacy in unbelief. Oh! accept the gift of God; obey the call of the gospel; have mercy upon your own sonls !

SERMON CVIII.

ADOPTION.

GALATIANS iv. 5—7.

That we might receive the adoption of sons. And 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 ; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

On the last Lord's day we considered the important doctrine of justification, and showed that the sinner might be accepted as righteous before God, through the merits of Christ received by faith. The privilege of adoption is closely united with justification; no one is pardoned who is not received into the family of God. At the same time that the precious blood of Christ blots out our offences, it writes down our names as heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ.

Yet as there is a difference between pardoning a criminal, and receiving him to favour; between delivering him from merited death, and adopting him into the family of the sovereign; we may regard adoption as a distinct blessing from justification, though inseparable from it.

Without attending to the context, let us consider the three points which the apostle presents to us in the text.

I. An exalted privilege; the adoption of sons.

II. A blessed effect of this privilege; we become heirs of God.

III. The evidence of our adoption; the reception and indwelling of the Spirit of the Son, crying in our hearts, Abba, Father.

I. The relation of believers to the great and glorious God. They have received the adoption of

sons.

In one sense all men are the sons of God; for he is by creation the universal Parent; and the derivation of our life and all our powers from Him, renders us his offspring. Thus the prophet (Mal. ii. 10.) asks, “ Have we not all one Father? Hath not one, God created us?” But this is not the relation referred to in the text; indeed it is so far from being a distinguishing privilege, and an infallible security of our bliss, that devils, and the lost, who are groaning under the indignation of the God against whom they have rebelled, are thus related to him. Yes! there are those who are experiencing, and who ever will experience, the truth of that most awful denunciation, “ He that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will stiow them no favour."

God is also said to be the Father of those to whom he has been a benefactor, preserver, and supporter, in the course of his providence. “Is he not thy Father that bought thee?” that delivered thee from slavery, and crowned thee with mercies ? is the question of Moses to the Israelites. But this also does not constitute the relation to which the apostle

alludes; for many have thus been encompassed by the favours of God's providence, who have abused his mercies, and whose guilt and perdition will be aggravated by those kindnesses for which they have made so ungrateful a return.

The text speaks of those who are the sons of God, in a nobler, more spiritual, and peculiar sense; who are united to the Lord by a tenderer and more saered bond than that which connects the Father of Spirits with the whole human race, or that which unites the munificent Benefactor, who causes his sun to rise and the rain to descend on the evil and the good, with all the objects of his bounty.

There are two special senses in which believers are the sons of God: they are so,

1. By regeneration: they are born from above; - and a principle of spiritual life is implanted within them: they are so also,

2. By adoption.

These, though always communicated to the same persons, are yet distinct blessings: the one is a change of nature, the other is a change of relation; the one qualifies us for heaven, the other secures it to us; the one makes us like God, the other admits us to his family: it is the last of these invaluable blessings of which the apostle is speaking.

By adoption, we who were wandering about in this wilderness, desolate, ruined, perishing, without any covenant Father, are received into the family of God, and have a right to all the privileges, immunities, and blessings of his children.

It is an act of God; ascribed in the scriptures, like all the external acts of Jehovah, to all the persons of the blessed Trinity. Thus of the Father, Paul says, (Eph. i. 5.) “ He predestinated us unto

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