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from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for them, we may pass on to the confequences of our Lord's being thus brought under the law, and its curse, which, he says, was to redeem or buy up those who were in bondage to it. Only it may be worth observing, how the Apostie rises in his views : he lays before them, and brings on the light in which he wanted they should see it, by degrees, “ like the morning light, which shines more "and more unto the perfect day,” Prov. iv. 18.: and it is indeed the path of the righteous. He begins with what might seem a remote prospect, viz. the promise and blessing of Abraham; he proceeds to their deliverance from the curse of the law, by Jesus Christ the feed to whom the promise was made; and here he carries it up to a deliverance from the law itself, as being of no more use to the Jews themselves, now that the end of it was attained. It was a comfortable view he gave both of Jews and Gentiles, as heirs of the promise; but now he carries it up to the fulfilment, they were children and heirs of God in Christ. Thus we find, that the Son of God
when he came into the world to redeem those who were under the law, the gracious defign was not purely to free them from the bondage they were held under by it: Had they been left there, it is. hard to say what their condition would have been. The buying them up from under the law was by no means designed to leave them to the dreadful confequences of a lawless liberty, which might have had worse consequences, if possible, than that bondage from which they were freed: it was, that they might be put into a state where their conduct was to be directed by another sort of law, which this same Apostle calls the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jefus : it was, that they might receive what could not be received by the law of Moses, that they might receive the adoption of fons.
He must be a very superficial reader who can pass this without observing the strength of the Apostle's expression, that all that is left to us for obtaining this sonship, is, to receive it as God gives it in his Son, as a free gift of sovereign grace. The voice of the gofpel, as our Lord himself preached it, is, “ All things are ready, Vol. III.
s come to the marriage,” Matth, xxii. 4.; or, as the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed long before,“ buy wine and milk without mo“ ney, and without price,” Isaiah ly. Nothing but come, and take what God has kindly prepared at such an immense expence, as the life and blood of his own beloved Son. And ftrange, very strange it is, (our Lord himself marvelled at it), that perishing finners will not come to him that they may have life; that they
may have it too in such an endearing way, · by receiving the adoption of fons.
Adoption is a term very well known among men. It is taking a stranger into one's family, and instating him in all the relations, rights, and privileges of a fon born of one's own body. It never was, nor can be, disputed, that this is an act of mere grace and favour, whatever the merits and worth of the adopted perfon might be; and they may be such as may bring greater honour to the adopter than him who is adopted. But this is far from being the case of those who are made fons and children of God. So far from having any thing amiable about them, that of all the creatures of God, devils only ex
cepted, they are the basest and vilest, the most foolish and the most wretched, and the only creatures funk into such perverfe-. , ness, as to be enemies to that God untò whom they owe every thing. Surely if, there is any mercy shown to such, it must.' be pure sovereign grace; and such love as is no where to be found but in him who is love, and can pitch his love on what object he pleases.
Whatever the circumstances of the adopter may be, it is the highest evidence any man can give of love to the person whom he thus brings into his family; but the higher the rank and dignity of the adopter, and the larger the inheritance, so much greater is the advan- .. tage the stranger makes by being thus connected with the family. This sets the adoption, and fonship which the Apostle here speaks of, in a light greatly above human conception in our present state. Were it no more than the love which God. has shown in this astonishing favour, though we were to make no more by it, the privilege is inestimable: And the Apostle John refers us to this very thing, to take the measure both of the truth and I N na
reality, the intenseness and perfection of the love of God: John iii. 1. “ Behold, “ what manner of love the Father hath be“ stowed upon us, that we should be call“ed the children of God:” and surely that is the highest honour, the most supereminent dignity a creature can possibly be invested with; and in comparison of which the highest dignities and honours on earth are mere baubles, such trifles as are not worthy to be named along with this.
But the God of truth does not put off those whom he allows the title of fons to, with bare names and titular honours, Whomfoever he honours with the title of fons, he makes really fuch. Men can give strangers all the rights and privileges, but cannot give them the hearts and spirits of children: whereas the Apostle assures us, verf. 6. that whoever have received this adoption, have at the fame time the Spirit of bis Son, his own well-beloved Son, fent into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Abba, every one knows, is the same with that which signifies father in Greek. That there must be some reason for the Apostle's ufing that Hebrew word, when describing the adopted fon's address to his heavenly