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(2.) The man Christ is the Elder Brother in the repaired family of heaven, Rom. viii. 29. the first of the human nature having interest in God as a Father, after the extinguish. ing of the first relation by creation. So that the elect drawing to him, as one betwixt whom and them there is a natural bond, of the same human nature, way is made for their adoption through him, in consistency with the honour of God.
(3.) By his obedience and satisfaction he purchased their adoption, with all other privileges to them, Gal. iv. 4, 5. And his natural bond with them gave him a direct interest to redeem them, as being their near Kinsman. So law and justice can have nothing to object against the adoption. Thus, by Jesus Christ, the glorious device of repairing the family of heaven in the way of Adoption is made practicable. But how shall it be executed ? Why,
6. Our Lord sends his messengers, ministers of the gospel, out into the world among those of Satan's family, to proclaim the offer of adoption unto them, that whosoever of them will leave their father's house and people, shall be adopted into the family of heaven. This is offered to them and it is pressed upon them by many arguments and intreaties to accept, and come away. By their mouths the Lord cries to them, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. · Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.' Psal. xlv. 10. Hearken, o daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear ; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. They expose the nakedness of their father's house to them. They tell them, that he is a cruel and deceitful father, John viii. 44. that he treats them as slaves, not as sons, 2 Tim. ii. ult. that the entertainment of his house is wretched and beggarly, that they have nothing to eat but dust with the serpent, or husks with the swine ; that their work is base, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind; the wages, death ; and that he has no inheritance to give them but what will make them eternally miserable. On the other hand, they conmend the family of heaven, the Father of the family, the entertainment, the work, wages, inheritance, &c. Hereupon the father of the family rages, and stirs ир
the children against them and their message.
raises the family against them, and all that take part with them, and they set upon them violently, and knock them down, and despitefully use them, by persecutions, &c. so that many have lost their lives in the cause, for presuming to disturb that family. When he cannot get that done, he teaches them to stop their ears, that, if they must speak, what they say shall not get access into their hearts, Psal. lviii. 4, 5. And thus the most part of the family get a deafness that abides with them, and grows more and more to their dying day, and they are never cured of it.
7. But unto the elect among them God sends his Spirit, which
opens their ears, awakens their conscience, and rouses them so, that they can no longer miss to hear, and understand too, what concerns themselves and both the families, Job xxxyi. 10. And then that makes deep impression on them, which the rest of the family do not at all regard; that makes them wake, while their brethren about them are fast asleep. They see the fire of heaven ready to fall upon the house, see through the murdering designs of their father; they see how they are entertained but with vain hopes, and deluded, in that upper house for a while, till he may get them conveyed into the lower house. And so they set off to come out from among them, and be separate, that they may be received into the family of heaven. But,
8. Then their natural father bestirs himself with all his might to stop their coming out from that family, and that separation. He will set their brethren on them, whereof some will try to mock them from it, others with serpentine wisdom gravely to advise them against the fancy; others, which is most dangerous, to entangle them in the work and entertainment of their father's house. Himself will attack them with flatteries, spread out his baits and allurements of temptation, promise them peace, allow them an indulgence, not to be so hard put to it in his work as before, change their work from the coarser to the finer, represent the family of heaven in base colours, that there is no liberty there, but they are pent up to intolerable strictness, &c. But if that will not do, he will fall on them with rage, and tell them, that there is no room now in the family of heaven for them, that they have been too long among them to come out and be separate now; that they are his, and he will not part with them, and therefore they may give it over. And thus, by Vol. II.
the flatteries or the rage, some are prevailed with to turn back again, and settle down again in their father's house, like Orphah returning to her gods, after she had set off from them, Ruth. i. 15. But,
9. The Spirit of Christ presses forward the elect, and determines them to seek to be received into the family of God, John vi. 45. He is to them a Spirit of light and faith; thereby they discover that there is some hope, concerning their case, that even they may be received into the family. So they are effectually determined to leave their father's house, not to stay there, come of them what will, to come to the Lord and sue for reception, not to depart, if they should die at his door.
10. Hereupon the soul comes away to Christ, the elder brother of the family, and of our nature; and joins himself to him by faith, and is received, John vi. 37. takes hold of the offer of the marriage-covenant, and consents to the spiritual marriage with him who is the Heir of all things, and the Son of God, and so becomes his by a marriage-tie, Cant. ii. 16. The soul drawn by the Spirit to him whose name is the Branch, is put into that branch, being cut off from the natural stock, and knits therewith by faith. Thus the soul is united to Christ, justified, and reconciled to God, and set beyond the reach of the curse.
11. Lastly, Upon this follows the adoption of the believer, who now has received and is ingrafted into Christ. John i. 12. Being brought out of the state of condemnation by justification, he is further dignified by a reception as a member into the family of heaven.
(1.) The Lord Jesus presents unto the Father, the Adopter and Judge, the party to be adopted into his family, Heb. ii. 13. as Joseph did Ephraim and Manasseh to Jacob. And he presents him for adoption, as one that, though by nature he be of a strange family, yet is now his own child by the spiritual birth, being born of his Spirit. As an elder brother, he presents the believer as his brother by common human nature; and as the head and husband, presents the soul as his spouse by marriage-covenant. He pleads his purchase of believers by the price of his blood, and their actual relation to him; and that therefore in fulfilment of his Father's decree, they be adopted by him, Eph. i. 5.
(2.) The natural father, the devil, upon the account of the purchase made of his child by Jesus Christ, and the child's lawful renouncing of his power and family, and coming unto Christ, is obliged to renounce and give up with him, as no member of his family any more, though sore against his will. If he appear in this judgment to defend his own interest, as Satan stood at Joshua's right hand to resist him, Zech. iii. 1. the Mediator stops his mouth, as ver. 2. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ?'
(3.) Lastly, The Father of our Lord Jesus, for the sake of his Son, receives the believer into the number of his children, saying in effect, As the man Christ and the angel Gabriel, ye are mine, and shall be mine; and as a Judge, he adjudges the believer to be his child, and the relation betwixt him and his natural father extinguished, Isa. xlix. 24, 25. as having purchased them with the blood of his dear Son : and farther gives them a right to the privileges of his sons.
Thus is the glorious benefit brought about, by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the elect soul adopted into the family of heaven. And this consists of two parts.
FIRST, The adopted are received into the number of the sons of God. God becomes a Father to them, and they his sons and daughters. His family consists of many children, each one for holiness and happiness illustrious; all resem. bling, what indeed they are, the children of a king. They are taken by adoption out of the black number of the devil's family, consisting of devils, damned spirits, and an unconverted world, bearing the devil's image. And they are taken into the blessed number of the sons of God, whereof his family consists. And who are they that make up that number?
1. Jesus Christ the Son of God by eternal generation, who has taken on our nature, and was declared the Son of God by his resurrection, Psal. ii. 7. He is one of the number they are received into, and therefore is not ashamed to call them brethren, Heb. ii. 7. And who can recount the dignity of being of that number, whereof he is one; he who is the brightness of his Father's glory, the luminary of heaven, Rev. xxi. 22. whose splendour is greater than sun and moon? He is the chief of that number, the eldest brother, not only in respect of men, but of angels. To him belongs the dominion, priesthood, the blessing, and the double portion. And it is fit, that while we reckon him one of the number, we
notice well his pré-eminence over all the rest, remembering the dignity of the eldest brother.
(1.) The dominion is his, the supremacy and royalty be. longs unto him, and our Father has solemnly invested him therewith, Psal. ii. 6. Though all his brethren are the chil. dren of the King, yet he alone is the heir of the crown. On this Lion of the tribe of Judah the kingdom is settled, and the sceptre is given him over all the glorious family of his brethren, who are in number as the sand of the sea, Col. i. 18. Him must all his brethren praise, to him must they bow down, Gen. xlix. 8. Heb. i. 6. The sceptre put into his hand shall never depart.
(2.) 'I he priesthood is his. In him the crown and the mitre both meet together, Zech. vi. 13. He shall sit and tule upon
his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne.' God hath given him an eternal and unchangeable priesthood, confirmed by an oath, Psal. cx. 4. He hath offered his sacrifice, and gone into the holy of holies in heaven with the blood of atonement. He hath redeemed men and confirmed angels, being made their head, Eph. i. 10. Whatever sacrifices we have to offer, God saith of Christ to us, as of Job to his friends, Go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall
pray for you; for him will I accept, chap. xlii. 8. For to him it belongs to offer for the family:
(3.) The blessing is his. Though all the children be bles- . sed, yet the eldest
brother had a peculiar blessing allotted to him above all the rest. Therefore said Isaac, “Thy brother hath taken away thy blessing,' Gen. xxvii. 35. So our Loid Christ hath received the peculiar blessing of his Father, Rom. ix. 5. He is the fountain and storehouse of blessing to all the family. Others receive the blessing in the capacity of a vessel to serve themselves, he in the capacity of a foun. tain, to shed abroad unto others. And they whom he blesses shall be blessed indeed.
(4.) Lastly, The double portion of our Father's goods is his, as that is understood, 2 Kings ii. 9. The greatest fulness that ever any had was never comparable to him, who is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, Psal. xlv
. 7. Whatever portion of the Spirit men or angels are partakers of, it is still by a certain measure ; but God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, John iii. 34. For the fulness