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they imitate. And the praise of men, their highest end.
Of the world. They are not born from above. They wallow in the wickedness of the world,—choose it for their portion,-its pleasures are their highest felicity,—and their chief study is to fulfil the lusts and desires thereof.
Of the devil.— They bear his'image, being thoroughly qualified with the wickedness he introduced into the world, -resemble him in malice and subtilty,—and cheerfully imitate, serve, and obey him as a son his father.-Our Lord says of them, “ Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,”
Of darkness and disobedience. Their minds are in ignorance of the truth. Their works are the shameful works of darkness. Their hearts are enmity, and their actions a scene of rebellion and treachery against God,
Of wrath and the curse.-By nature they are heirs of wrath, and by their wicked deeds they merit the vengeance of God. They are a curse upon earth, and accursed for ever in the world to come.
Of Belial. Of perdition.-Without law, useless, unprofitable,-abandoned to crimes,-lost to every sense of real good,-run headlong to destruction, and are for ever lost.
The scripture character of saints as sons and children of GoD.-As they are the early objects of his love,-chosen and predestinated in Christ Jesus, his well-beloved Son, to the adoption of sons, and to be fellow-beirs with him of the same inherit
ance.--" Having* predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself. Andt if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”
As they are converted by the power
of the truth,—begotten again,-made sons of God, real members of his spiritual family,—have the image of their heavenly Father drawn upon them, through the energy of the Spirit,—and entitled to innumerable privileges.-“ Asf many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God. Yes have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Beloved, now are ye the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what ye shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
Children of light.-Begotten of God the fountain of light,-possessed of a true and distinct knowledge of God their Father, by the pure light of his word,- walk in the light of his countenance, the path that shines more and more unto the perfect day,-shine as children of the light, and the light of their good works shines before men, till they are made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Of wisdom. --That is of Christ, who is the wisdom of God made known to men. His seed they are, who travailed for them in bloody agonies unto death,-bequeaths to them the fruits of his purchase,--and in consuminate wisdom guides them to glory, where he shall with delight see them as his seed, the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.
* Eph. i. 5.
Joho i, 12.
Of the promise. By which they are quickened, gathered, comforted, strengthened, restored, and infallibly secured of the enjoyment of God their Father for ever.
Of the resurrection.-By the truth of Christ's resurrection they are begotten again, and confirmed in the faith and hope of their own glorious resurrection, to enter upon the full possession of their inheritance as sons of GOD.--" Blessed* be God, who according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The saints are also called sons and children of the free woman,—of Zion, of Jerusalem,-of the kingdom, &c. pointing out the freedom, honor, peace, safety, glory, &c. of the church of Christ, in which they are born, nourished, instructed, and prepared for the kingdom of their Father, which was prepared for them before the foundation of the world.
I now come to mention some general ideas of sonship applied to Jesus Christ; one is, that of his being BEGOTTEN.—“ Thouf art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Thef Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”
Another general idea included in his sonship, is his being called a child, and said to be born.
* 1 Pet. i. 3.
+ Psa. ii. 7. John i. 14. see also John i. 18. and iii. 16, 18. 1 John iv. 9.
* Unto* us a child is born. Thatt holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.”
He is called the first-born.—The first-born among the ancient Jews had a primogenial right to particular privileges in the family. So Christ is called the first-born, not only with respect to priority, or being before all others that are called sons of God, this he also is, “ the first-born of every creature:” but he is called so with respect to excellency and dignity. “ If will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” A right of inheritance, priesthood, and government over his brethren.“ GODş hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things. Jesus Christ,|| the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence."
The first-born of old, in whose stead God made choice of the Levites, had not only a double portion of inheritance, power and pre-eminence above their brethren, but were particularly loved and honored of their fathers, had respect and submission from their brethren, and ministered in holy things for the family. So Jesus Christ, the firstborn of God, had the spirit without measure given him,—was declared to be the peculiar favorite of God,—had the government of all things committed to him,-angels and men commanded to worship him,-and constituted the great high priest over the
• Isa. ix, 6. † Luke i. 35. See also Acts iv. 27, 30. Matt. ii. 2. John xviii, 37. Psa. Ixxxix, 27.
§ Heb.i.1, 2.
Col. i. 18,
house of God, by no less solemnity, than the oath of God consecrated for evermore.
Submission, obedience, and resignation to the will of the father, is one idea inseparable from the character of a dutiful son. In this respect, the Son of God was the most perfect pattern.“ Jesus* saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. It seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent me. Thought he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. Of Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. I come to do thy will, O God.”
In honoring and glorifying his Father, he has given us the most finished example.-" 19 honor my Father,—I seek not mine own glory. I** have glorified thee on earth; I have finished the work thou gavest me to do."
He manifests and makes known his Father's name, glory, and love, to his younger brethren.
Itt have manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me. I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them."
Among many other general ideas of sonship, applied to Christ in scripture, I shall only mention other two. The word BEN, which in the old testament language signifies a son, comes from a word that signifies to build up, and the Greek word
John iv. 34.
1 Heb. v.8. Matt. xxvi. 39. || Heb. x. 7.
John viii. 49, 50, ** Ibid. xvii. 4.
xvii. 6, 8, 26.