« PreviousContinue »
of Satan's family, John viii. 44 ; and they are a miserable society. They are miserable now, and will be miserable for evermore ; for God has sworn that he will have war with them for ever. See the great stroke that will be the decisive one. Matth. xxv. 41. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' Every unconverted man and woman is a child of wrath; that is their heritage from the Lord, which will make judgment their food, and everlasting sorrow their bed. None of them have a garment to cover their nakedness, nor wherewith to pay their debt to divine justice, so wretchedly poor are they; and therefore Christ says, “ Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear,' Rev. iii. 18.
Mot. 2. Consider what a Father God will be to you, the best of fathers. No children are so happy as God's children
1. The most honourable Father ; he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. And there are none whose eyes God has opened, but they will value this adoption more than all the fading honours of a world, 1 John iii
. 1. Moses preferred it to being the son of Pharaoh's daughter, Heb. xi. 24, 25.
2. The most loving and compassionate Father. It goes beyond the love of fathers and mothers too to their sucking children, Isa. xlix. 15, 16. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.' " What father's love would have made him to do what he has done for his childrer, even when they were enemies ? John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
3. The most helpful Father, he is able to help in all cases that his children can be in. Are they pursued ? he has a refuge for them. Whatever they want, he can give them, for all is his. And if they be held at short commons at any time, it is because he sees it is best for them. When death comes, and neither father nor mother can help, he can ;'as
Psalm xlviii. ult. For this God is our God for ever and ever : he will be our guide even unto death.'
4. The richest Father, that has the best inheritance to give to his children, “an inheritance incorrupted and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,' 1 Pet i. 4. He has prepared for them a better country, a glorious city, a palace for their mansion-place; richest treasures of glory. And all these are such as shall never go from them, nor they from them.
5. The wisest Father, “God only wise.' He is one to whose disposal one may securely resign himself absolutely
. He cannot be mistaken in his measures for his children's welfare ; and he ever seeks it.
6. Lastly, His children have the best attendants, in their life, Heb. i. ult. · Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation?' and at their death, angels to convoy them to Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. Yea, himself is ever with them in life and in death, till he bring them where they shall be beyond hazard, Psal. xxiii. 4. · Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.'
Mot. 3. Consider the mighty price paid for the redemption of sinners, to make way for them into God's family, Gal. iv. 4, 5. . When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. There was no hope of this till the Son of God undertook the work of redemption. And by his precious blood he purchased it for us. O! trample not on the price and purchase of blood.
Mot. 4. Consider what a wonderful thing it is, that there is a possibility of it, that children of Satan may become the children of God. Whoso considers their own vileness and God's greatness, must cry out with wonder, “Is this the manner of men !"
Mot. ult. It is this day in your offer. The Lord says to you, even to all of you, as in the text, I will be a Father unto you, &c. And ye may have it, and have it sealed to you. But it will not always be so. The day of grace will come to an end.
Case 1. But will ever God set such a sinful and vile wretch as me among his children? Ans. Yes, if ye make not your
selves'more vile, by rejecting of Jesus Christ. I know noa thing can hinder you from adoption, but that, John iïi. 19. * And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.' The greatness of your sin will not do it, Isa. i. 18. Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' The multitude of them, Isa. lv. 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abun. dantly pardon. Your frequent backslidings, Jer. iii. 1, 4.
They say, if a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted ? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord. Wilt thou not from this time
cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth ?' Come to Christ, unite with him by faith, in the way of the covenant, and God will pardon and adopt you.
Case 2. But I fear I never will be able to carry as a child of God. Ans. Is it thy sincere purpose to labour to con. form thyself to the manners of God's house? then he bids thee welcome into his family. He can do for his children, what no other father can do, even transform them into his own image and likeness, and preserve them by his mighty power through faith unto salvation.
THE DIVINE CALL TO LEAVE THE DEVIL'S FAMILY, EXPLAINED
2 Cor. vi. 17, 18.-Wherefore come 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. HE sacred feast before us the Lord makes for his own
children in the lower house, and for them only. His This discourse was preached at Ettrick, June 8, 1718, immediately before the celebration of the Lord's Supper.
children that are above need it not. The children of the devil, which all in the state of nature are, will not get the welcome of the Master of the feast to it, for he has made it only for those of his own family. But there is another family that bears the greatest bulk in the world, and that is Satan's: and all the world belongs to one of the two. The apostle tells us there can be no communion or agreement betwixt these two families, ver. 14, 15, 16. But God making up his family of such as are brought out of Satan's, the gospel is sent into the world to invite sinners to desert their natural father's house, promising them thereupon a kindly reception into the family of God, both which we have in the text. Wherein is,
1. The gospel-call to sinners. And that is to come out from among them, &c. And here is,
(1.) The substance of the duty, Come out from among them. This black society, which ye are called to come out of, is that of unbelievers, unrighteousness, darkness, idolaters, headed by Belial, the devil; that is, in a word, the world lying in wickedness ; all the unconverted world, which the text and context represents as the devil's family, to whichthe family of God is opposed. To come out from among them, is to come out of your natural state, to renounce the devil, the world, and sin, and to come to Christ by faith. And that the text aims at no less than this, (tho’it is pertinently enough applied to renouncing external ‘visible church-communion with idolaters), I think it is evident from this, that adoption into God's family is proposed and promised on compliance with this call, ver. 18. And let men separate as they will, till they make this holy separation, that they can never have.
(2.) The manner of the duty. [1.] Ye must come away freely, and for altogether: Be'ye separate. A withdrawing for a time while the relation stands betwixt you and them, will not do; there must be a total separation, by going to the contrary side, and setting up in opposition to them: Be ye separate. Thus the apostle explains, Isa. lii. 11. whence this is taken. [2.] Ye must come away cleanly and honestly, ta: king up nothing of theirs to carry away with you, as Rachael did her father's images : Touch not the unclean thing. Thus God himself calls you away: Saith the Lord.
2. The gospel-offer and promise, on compliance with the call, I will receive you. I will take you in, viz. into my house and family; namely, as children by adoption, having left your natural Father, the devil. Compare ver. 18. which we explained before.
I observe from the words the following doctrine, viz. Doct. • The Lord calls to sinners to come freely and clean,
ly away out of the devil's family, promising thereupon to take them into his own family, as children of his house by adoption.'
Having at large explained the doctrine of the divine adoption from ver. 18. and appli d it in the way of trial, I have chosen further to pursue that design, in a way of exhortation, in the words of this text. To prepare which for application, I shall only,
I. Shew you a few things implied in this call.
1. Sinners naturally are of the devil's family, John viii. 44. Ye are in among them, else there were no need of coming out from among them. The family of Satan consists of devils, damned spirits of men, and all the unconverted world lying in wickedness ; in a word, of all those that are not of the family of God. All these are under one head, the prince of devils. And accordingly, when time is at an end, they shall all be housed under one dreadful roof for ever, Matth. XXV. 41. O! unconverted sinner, thou art a son of the house of hell, (what ever blood run in thy veins), a prisonhouse, a dark house, a dreadfully miserable house, Matth. xxiii. 15. Never was a child liker a father than thou art like the devil. He is a fallen creature, lying in wickedness; his nature is enmity against God and his holy law; so art thou and thine. And though thou put a fair face on it by a form of godliness, that will not make thee unlike him, who can transform himself into an angel of light. So thou art among them.
2. It is possible thou may get out froin among them. Sa. tan has a great family, one part whereof he has in the lower house, in hell; these are devils and damned spirits. If once hę get you down among them, ye cannot getout from among them again, but must abide among them for ever and ever. So this call has nothing ado with that part of the devil's family; they art past hope. But there is another part of it in bis upper house of this world, who as really belong to his