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I. Whow God has admitted into a state of peace and friend-
ship with himself, he has also adopted for his sons; that they
may enjoy the benefits both of 5. and glory, not only by
the favour of friendship, but by a right of inheritance.
There is no friendship more familiar than that between a father
and his children. Or rather that natural affection between
these exceeds in familiarity and sweetness, every thing that can
be signified by the name of friendship. There is not any one
word, any one similitude, borrowed from human affairs, that
can sufficiently express, or represent this most happy band of
love; which can ly be explained by a great number of
metaphors heaped o: To express tranquillity of consci-
ence, the scripture calls it peace: to shew us the pleasantness of
familiarity, it calls it friendship; and when it illustrates a right
to the inheritance, it speaks of adoption; which is to be the
subject of this chapter.
II. We assert that believers are the sons of God. The apos-
tle John proclaims it, saying, “behold what manner of love the
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons
of God: beloved, now are we the sons of God,” 1 John iii.
1, 2, This is God's covenant with them: “and I will be a
Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith
the Lord Almighty,” 2 Cor. vi. 18.
III. But they are not so, only on this account, that God, as
creator, gave then, being and life, Mal. ii. 10. and as preserver,
supports and provides them with all necessaries, Acts xvii.25, 28.
IV. Neither are they called the sons of God, on account of
any eaternal prerogative only ; whether political, as magis-
trates are called the children of the Most H3. Psal. lxxxii. 6.
or ecclesiastical, in respect of an external federal communion;
according to which some are called the sons of God, Gen. vi. 7.
and the children of the kingdom, Mat. viii. 12. ; in this sense
also the Lord commanded Pharaoh to be told concerning Israel,
Israel is my son, even my first born, Exod. iv. 22. For this
regarded that national covenant which God entered into with the
children of Israel, according to which he preserved them above
all other nations, and heaped many blessings, upon them, both
of a corporal and spiritual kind, which he did not vouchsafe to
other people, Deut. vii. 6. He called them his sons, because
he managed their concerns with as much solicitous care as any

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father could possibly do those of his own children, Deut. xxxii.
10, 11.3 Nay, he called them his first born, not only because he
loved them far better than other people, beyond the measure
of common providence, shewing his word unto Jacob, his statutes
and his judgments unto I. Psal exlvii. 19. as the firstborn
had a double portion in the paternalinheritance, Deut. xxi. 17.;
but also because he had apointed them to have a kind of domi-
mion over other people, let people serve thee, and nations bow
down to thee, be Lord over thy brethren, &c.; Gen. xxvii. 29.
Though these words were indeed spoken to Jacob, yet they
were to be chiefly verified in his posterity: of which we have
illustrious evidences in David's time, 2 Sam. viii. of

W. But however excellent these things were, yet they are

very far below that dignity for which believers are called the
sons of God: for most of those, who were called by the name
of Israel and the first born, were such, with whom, was not
well pleased, and never were oted to the inheritance of the
land of Canaan, much less the heavenly inheritance, but were
overthrown in the wilderness, 1 Cor. x. 5, ...That § f.
to whom Moses said, “is not Jehovah thy Father, ha not
magnified [established] thee?” are in the same breath called a

foolish #. and unwise, Deut. xxxii. 6. Nay, they are of
ild

“the children of the kingdom, who shall be cast out into utter
. Mat. viii. 12. For that national o: without
anything else, did not bestow saving grace, nor a right to pos-
sess the heavenly inheritance. ...o. *** o

WI. The elect and believers are therefore in a far more emir
ment sense, the sons igf God: wherein John, observed a love
never enough to be commended, 1 John iii. 1. Angels indeed,
have the #: appellation of sons of God, Job xxxviii. 7.
with which the Lord honours them, not only because he formed
them, but also because he imprinted upon them the image and
resemblance of his own:holiness, Job iv. 18. and because, as
children of the family, they familiarly converse with God in his
house, which is heaven, Job i. 6.: infine, because something of
the dignity and authority of God is vouchased unto them, as we
have just said that magistrates are also called the children of the

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compared with Heb. i. 6. *** * * *** * o ---
VII. In almost the same sense, Adam seems also to be called
the son of God, Luke iii. 38. for seeing that name which has

the article re set before it, denotes r in all the foregoing
verses, as the Syriac in place of rs always puts la: no reason
can be assigned why here, altering phrase, we

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*-* 444 OF ADOPTION. [Book III. translate with Beza, who was of God; in which he has followed the Syriac, who translated it who is of God. For no doubt can be made, that Adam may be fitly called the son of God, the reasons of which Philo elegantly explains in the passage adduced by the illustrious Grotius on Luke iii. 38.; in the manner Josephus has also written, that men were born of God himself; namely, 1. God created Adam. 2. In his owh

image. 3. Eminently loved him. 4. Gave him dominion over
the creatures. For these reasons he is deservedly called the son
of God, though God had not yet declared him heir of his pecu-
liar blessings. Nor does he seem without reason, to mention
Adam as the son of God. For, this tends, as Grotius has
learnedly observed, to raise our mind, by this scale, to the belief
of the birth of Christ. For he, who from the earth, without a
father, could produce man, was able in like manner to make
Christ to be born of a virgin without a father.
VIII. But Adam did not long maintain that dignity, on ac-
count of which he was called the son of Gnd; for neglecti
holiness, and losing that excellency in which he was created, ...;
suffering himself to be overcome by the devil, he became the
servant of Satan by whom he was foiled, 2 Pet. ii. 19.; and at the
same time, a child of wrath, Eph. ii. 3, together with all his
terity. But what the elect have lost in Adam, they recover
in Christ; namely, the same, nay a far more excellent degree,
or rank among the children. For let the disparity between Christ
and believers be ever so great, yet he is not ashamed to call
them brethren, Heb. ii. 11.
IX. But the elect obtain this degree of children of God seve-
ral ways. First, They become the sons of God by a new and
iritual generation, descending from above: John speaks of this
i. i. 12, 18. “But as many as received him, to them gave
he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe
on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of
the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This illustrious *
passage, which is variously explained by interpreters, requires
some particular consideration.
X. The apostle describes this generation, or birth, whereby
the elect become the sons of God, both negatively and positive-
Iy: he denies it to be of blood, that is, natural or ordinary, like
#i, whereby the children come to be partakers of flesh and
blood, Heb. ii. 14. and which is judged to be of blood: neither
is it of the will of the flesh, that is, from any carnal desire of
having children by any means; hence it is, that one, by giving
too much indulgence to the corrupt reasoning of the flesh,
makes use of means for that end, which God never prescribed:

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char. x.] OF ADol"Tion. 445

something like this we may observe in Sarah, when from a de-
sire of having children she gave Hagar to Abraham; nor infine
is it of the will of man, who, for certain reasons of his own,
loves one above others, and so o: him to the principal
part of the inheritance; just as this was the will of Isaac with
respect to Esau. Nothing human can £o to this spiri-.
tual *... is only of o wno. ted it from eter-
nity, actually regenerates at the appointed time, so
#. To †† are thus born o he ** to
become the sons of Godo Rés; a here denotes right and power,
Rev. xxii. 14. that they may have oright to the tree of lift.
But it may seem strange, how who areb o:
have a . to become the sons of God; seeing, by their very
nativity from God, they are already become his children. To
remove this difficulty, three things chiefly have been observed by
very learned men: 1st. As yungdai, to become, is the secoud Aor-
ist, it may fitly be taken for the preterperfect; to this effect,
he gave them that power, that right, that dignity, that the
might become the sons of God, and enjoy the privileges whi
are suitable to that condition. 2dly. Tirtoa rotorov denotes in
. phrase, to be such a one, or to behave, as becomes
such a one. Thus it is used, Mat. v. 45. orwg yarnçës was re oralee;
was, that ye may be the children of your Father, that you
may behave yourselves, as becomes the children of God, see
1 #. ii. 7, 10. , 8dly. It might also be referred to that per-
fect filial state, which shall be conjoined with the redemptios:
of our body, and which the apostle, Rom. viii. 23. enjoins
us to wait for: and so the meaning may be, that God has
granted those who are born of him, a o: to the heavenly in-
heritance, and that unparalleled honour, by which, both in soul
and body, they shall rejoice, as children of the family, in the
. Father: in such a manner, that it l not be
in the power of any creature to strip, diminish, or cut them of
from that dignity. The reader may choose which expositions
he has a mind. We are not a little pleased with the last; but
wherein this new birth consists, we have explained at large,
Chap. VI. of this book. - *; or
XII. And this is the first foundation of that glorious state.
Secondly, Webecome the children of God by marriage with the
Lord Jesus; for when we become his spouse, then we pass with
him into his Father's family, and the Father calls us by the en-
dearing name of daughter, Psal. xlv. 10.; and the Lord Jesus
calls her also his sister, whom he names his spouse, Cantic. v. 1,
2. God had provided by his law, that if “a man betroth his
maid-servant unto his son, he shall deal with her after themaumet

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346 bF ADOPTION. [Book 111.

of daughters,” Exod. xxi. 9.: in the same manner, he is pleased
to deal with elect souls. By nature, they were as maid-servants
to sin and Satan; lay exposed in the open field, and were a loth-
ing to all. However, he graciously offers them a marriage with
his only begotten Son: they, by faith accept the proposal, almost
in the same manner that Abigail did, when she was invited to
marry David, 1 Sam, xxv. 41. And thus, by the same act, by
which they become “ o: of Christ, they also become the
daughters of the living God,” 2 Cor. vi. 18.

XIII. Thirdly, o adoption, which is “an economical act of
God, whereby they who are regenerated after his image, and be-
trothed by faith to his only begotten Son, are received into his
family, and obtain the right and privileges of children, and the in-
heritance itself, by an immutable testament. They are of the
household of God,” Eph. ii. 19.; if children then heirs, Rom.
viii. 17. ; for the communication of the image of God alone does
not give a right to the heavenly inheritance. This appears with
respect to Adam in his state of innocence, who, indeed, was in
the way of acquiring a right; but had not yet obtained it. The
alone foundation of that right is the perfect and constant obedi-
ence, either of man himself, or of his Surety. Christ therefore
having appeared for us, fulfilled all righteousness, and was ap-
pointed heir of all things, Heb. i. 2, . The elect being regener-
ated receive, and claim to themselves, by faith, Christ and all his
benefits, even his perfect righteousness: and being thus adopted
by the Father, and become the brethren of Christ, they are heirs
of God, and joint heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17. And in
this sense principally we think John speaks, “to them which
are born of God, he gave power to become the sons of God,”
as explained above, § XI.

XIV. For the better understanding what has been said, we are now to observe, that the Spirit of God, in order to explain these mysteries, uses metaphors, borrowed from human things. But these metaphors are to be so adjusted, as one may not destroy but rather supply the defects of the other. It would seem, in other respects absurd, that the soul, which is born of God, should be adopted for a daughter, and joined in marriage to the only begotten Son of God. Yet the scripture has wisely ordered matters, when it declares all these things concerning believers. In order to express the original of spiritual life, and of the image of God in man, it says, that he was born of God: to set forth our most delightful union with Christ, which is full of mutual affection, it calls it marriage; and to shew the ground and firmness of our inheritance, it declares that we are adopted in Christ.

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