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Father, those who are acquainted with the usage of words among the Hebrews give us a good one. Abbi, my father, was a title of respect and honour; and commonly ufed in addressing such as were thought worthy of such reverence. But Abba was never made use of, unless to, or fpeaking of, one's natural father. And thus the Apostle tells us, that they who are adopted, and have the Spirit of the Son given them, address their great creator as their own father. And there is this special reafon for it, that though adoption is a mere act of grace, it never goes alone; for all who share in the privilege are really and truly born of God. Thus our Lord told Nicodemus, “ that they are. “ born of the Spirit,” John iii. Thus the Evangelist John i. 13. “that they are born, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, “nor of the will of man, but of God.” And to mention no more, the Apostle Peter fays expressly, “they are made partakers of “ the divine nature,” 2 Peter i. 4.
Thus the Apostle has carried every believer in Christ as high as a creature can poffibly go. They are all the children of God; and we need no more but a view
of the provision made for the children of the family. And this the Apostle gives us, verf. 7. they are no more servants but children; and if children, then heirs of God. The Apostle makes the same conclusion, Rom. viii. 17. And it must be so: for we shall see by and by, that the inheritance is of such a nature that it cannot admit of a partition; so that all the chil-" dren are joint heirs of the whole, one as well as another.
They are heirs of God. How can this be? say the wise men of the world. God cannot die, and how then can he have heirs? Not as men have, that we may be very fure of: but even in this view, if we remember what was said upon a teftament, and how the conveyance of the inheritance is made by Jesus Christ, the original and natural heir, Heb. i. 2. this can be no objection, as it imports no more but the way the great proprietor of all has chosen and appointed.
But when the Apostle tells us, that all the children are heirs of God, it will be found, that he intends to direct us to the inheritance itself, wherein it lies, and whence the heirs are supplied with the
fuftenance, and all the comforts of life, so as neither the ,one nor the other shall ever fail. · The whole creation cannot furnish out such a provision: nor is it any where to be found, but in the fullness and all-sufficiency of the eternal creator. Could we know how unembodied fpirits live, we would see the thing. They cannot live on gross material food as we do: and yet they are no more self-sufficient, or capable of having life in themselves, than we are; and there is nothing beyond the creature to live on, but the same power of God which gave being. Thus they may, with great propriety, be said to live on God; with greatly more propriety then we can be said to live on our daily food. And thus we find the end of all that Christ did and suffered, was to bring his people to God; and when that was done, the work was finished.
But the way that pure spirits live, we can form no direct notion of; nor shall we ever be able to do it, until we are fitted for seeing face to face, and knowing even as we are known. And yet right Christians, the sons and children of God, live on him as really, though not so fen
libly, as they do. The Psalmist under stood it right, Psal. xvi. 5." Jehovah is the s portion of mine inheritance, and of my “ cup." And thus we find all the Old as well as New Testament believers lived; as much in dependence and confidence on God, as the men of the world do on senfible supports. It is true,. they walk by faith, not by sight: but when we consider the foundation which faith stands on, the one is as real and as sure as the other. Our Lord gives us a fine image of it in his easy familiar way, which falls every day under our observation. It is that of little children, who neither can nor care to do any thing for themselves; yet live quite easy, by a perfect confidence of faith in their parents; and never fail of competent provision, so far as their fathers abilities go.
But at the same time that we are never to lose fight of the free fovereign grace of God, and his astonishing love and kindness to man, we must be very careful to keep Jesus Christ as constantly in view; as without him, neither the one nor the other can be seen in their full strength and endearing beauty. The Apostle will not
fuffer us to forget him : for when 'he has carried the Christian as high as a creature can be carried, to be a child, an heir of the inheritance, an heir of God, who is the very substance of the spiritual world, he tells us, it is through Jesus Christ. By him all the bars that stood between God and, us were removed; by him a fure foundation was laid for our faith and hope in God; and by him a new and living way was opened into the holiest; a way that infallibly leads to a throne of grace. In him all the fullness of grace fufficient for the very worst of finners in the most desperate-like cafe that a creature can poffibly be in, dwells; and through this fame. Jefus all Christians “ have access to the “ Father by one Spirit ;' the Spirit of the Son, given to all the children of God.