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and for all actual Sins committed after, we are secur'd of a Pardon upon sincere and hearty Repentance. This is a Privilege that belongs to all within the Covenant, of which they that are out of the Church have no share. St. 'Paul plainly specisies this as a Privilege of the adopted Sons and Children of God, telling us, that such have, by Redemption in Christ, the Forgiveness of Sins, according to the Riches of his Grace, Eph. 1. 3, 4, 7. and the Nicene Creed teaches us to believe one Baptism sor the Remission of Sins. Again,
2dly, By this new Relation of Son-ship, we are secur'd from the Rigour of the sirst Covenant; tor that exacted a perfect and unsinning Obedience, and pronoune'd a Curse on every one that continu'd not in all things that are written in the Book of the Law, to do them: whereas our indulgent Father who considers our Insirmities, accepts our good Will where our Endeavours are not wanting, and will not withdraw his Kindness and Affection for any involuntary Miscarriages. Like as a Father pitieth his own Children (faith Hj!v fDavid) even so the Lord pitieth them that scar him, Psal. 105. 13. The Prophet Malachi brings in God Almighty declaring, that he will remember them in the day that he maketh np his Jewels, and will spare them as a Manspareth his own Son that ferveth him, Mai. 3. 17. which is a Mercy extended only to his own Children.
^dly, As we are the Children of God, we are intitled to his peculiar Care and Protection; for if earthly Parents know how to give good Gifts to their Children, how much more will our heavenly Father give [ood 'Things to them that ask them? Mat. 7. 11.
God Almighty indeed exerciseth a general Providence over all his Creatures, whereby, like the supreme Lord of the Universe, he makes Provision for the whole Family of Heaven and Earth: but he hath a more especial Care of the Houshold of Faith, and bears a more tender regard to his own Children. He that toucheth these, toucheth the Apple of his Eye: And, Who shall harm you ('faith the Apostle,) if ye are Followers of that which is good? 1 Pet. 3. 13. 'The Lions may lack and suffer hunger, but they that fear the Lord, shall want nothing that is good, Psal. 34. 10. He may indeed sind it necessary sometimes to correct his own Children, as a Father chastenethaSon whom heloveth; but this is always for their good, to prevent their Wan
drings, and make them more sensible of their Duty and Dependence on him.
In a Word, God is pleas'd so to order matters for them, that all things shall work together for good to them that love him, who are the Called according to his purpose, Rom. 8. 28. He takes this Course only to quicken their Grace, and to sit them for Glory; which is an Instance of the tender Love and Care he bears towards them as his own Children. •;
4.thly, As we are the Children of God, we may have the freer access to him, and come with greater boldness to the Throne of Grace, for help in time of need. A Child, you know, may go freely to his Father for the supply of his Wants, and may ask with Considence what is neceflary and convenient for him. In like manner we may address with boldness to our heavenly Father in all our Exigences, who is still ready to hear and help us when we call upon him ; being adopted into his Family, we are part of his Care, and may freely acquaint him with all our Necessities. The Jews address'd to God rather as Servants than Sons, and accordingly worship'd him in a servile manner; if they had offended, they were to bring their Sacrisice to the Priest, who was to offer it for them, whilst they stood at a distance: But we have a new and living way consecrated for us through the Stood of Jesus, by which we may enter freely into the ho/y 'Place; and having such a H/gb'Priest over the House of God, we may henceforward draw near with a true Heart, in full assurance of Faith, having our Hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience, Heb. 10. 19, 20, ific. Hence the Apostle declares, 7"bat we have not receiv'd the Spirit of "Bondage again to fear, but we have receiv'd the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father; Rom. 8. 15. meaning, that being no longer Servants, but Children, we may have free access; and if we come with the Duty of Sons, we cannot miss of the Bowels ofa Father. And is not this a high and inestimable Privilege, to have the liberty of approaching the Divine Majesty upon all Occasions, and to have our Requests so easily heard and answer'd in the Court of Heaven?
Certainly, this cannot but be thought so, by a,ll that are sensible of their Wants, and their own Inability to supply them.
Lastly, As the Children of God, we are intitled to a glorious Inheritance in Heaven. The Inheritance of the
Father, Father, we know, is by Birth entail'd upon the Son: And if Children, saith the Apostle, then Heirs. But this must be discours'd of under the next Head, wherein we are said to be Inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven: and therefore must be refer'd thither.
These are some of the many invaluable Benesits and Privileges that appertain to us as the Children of God: All which are promis'd and consign'd over to us in our Baptism, which is one of the Seals of the New Covenant, and that sacred Right by which we are inflated in the Privileges of the Gofpel, and the Liberties of the Sons of God.
From this Discourse then, we may learn, First, To admire and adore the insinite Goodness of God in admitting us thus into his Family, and receiving us into so near and dear a Relation to himself St. John, like one astonifli'd at the thoughts of it, cries out, j&cbold! What manner of Love is this, that the Father hath bestow'd upon us, that we jhould be call'd the Sons of God! 1 John 3. 1. And St. 'Paul, like one in a rapture breaks forth, 0 the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of this Love of God that haffeth Knowledge! Eph. 3. 18. Where the Apostle found himself at a loss, and was wholly swallow'd up in Amazement and Admiration. Indeed, that we who were not only Aliens but Enemies, should receive the Adoption of Sons; and from Out casts and Rebels be taken into his Bofom, and made the Darling* of his Care and Affections; is a Mercy too big for Words, and 'tis to be express'd only with Extafy and Wonder,
Moreover, we learn hence, what insinite reason we have to praise God for such a signal Instance of his Goodness, in taking us for his Children, and reckoning us in the Number of his Sons. What can we do less than upon all Occasions, magnify and extoi such his insinite Condescension and Kindness; and likewise, with all possible Thanksulness, acknowledge our unspeakable Privilege and Dignity therein? This St. Paul teaches all Christians to do, Eph. r. 3, 5. Blejsedbetbe God and Father os our Lord jsesus Christ, who hath blejsedus with all spiritual 'Blessings in heavenly Places in Christ Jesus; having predestinated us in him to the Adoption of Children.
Lastly, This vast Privilege of being made the Sons and Children of God, should teach us to live worthy of, and finable to, so high and noble a Relation,
The sirst and great Duty of a Child, is to love his Parents with a silial Affection: We have had Fathers in the Flejb saith the Apostle, and we loved them, and gave them reverence. This then, in the highest degree, is to be given to our Heavenly Father, loving him with all our Heart with all our Soul, &c,'
Again, A Son honoureth his Father, and a Servant his As after: If I then be a Father, where is my Honour? If & Master, where is my Fear ? faith the Lord of Hefts i Mai. i. 6. This Relation then must engage us to study and live to his Honour; and whether we eat or drink, to do all to the f raise and glory of God, i Cor. 10. 31. This is no more than he expects, and challenges from us.
Moreover, Children, you know, are to obey their Parents, to hearken to their Counsel, and kindly to receive their Admonitions and Corrections, and to amend upon them. This Obedience is in the highest measure ro be paid to our Father in Heaven; for his Commandments are never grievous, and his Corrections are always for our good.
Lastly, Children are wont to trust and rely upon their Parents, to depend upon their Care and Provision fir them this we should do in a more eminent manner upon our heavenly Father, casting our Care upon him who careth for us, and relying upon his Providence without Anxiety and Distrust. This Lesson our Saviour teaches, Matth. g. where he wills us, not to be follicitous about Food and Raiment, because our heavenly Father knows that we have need of these things; and if we seek sirst his Kingdom and the Righteousness thereof, he will not suster us to want them,, for they shall be added unto us: Ver. the last.
In a word, as we are the Children of God, we' are to pray to him for all that we lack, and praise him for all that we receive; and in so doing, we shall be heard and accepted in both.
Rom. viii. 17.
If Children, then Heirs; Heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Chris.
IDiscours'd the last time concerning the second Privilege promis'd and convey'd in Baptism, viz. our Adoption; in these words, Wherein I was made a Child of God. Which I told you was a Privilege, which we have not by our natural Birth; for we are born the Children of Wrath and Disobedience, a degenerate Race* a Seed of Evil-doer^, and the corrupt Offspring of Flesh and Blood: but by the Water of Baptism, this Guilt and Pollution is wash'd off, and we are so purify'd, as to become the Sons and Children of God: Of which before. I come now to the
'third and last Privilege mention'd in our Catechism, andcontain'd in thofe words ; Wherein I was made an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. This our Apostle here makes to be a Consequent of the former: For if Children, then Heirs; Heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ. From which, therefore, I shall discourse to you concerning the last and great Privilege: To which end I must enquire,
I. What we are to understand here by the Kingdom of' Heaven.
II. What it is to be an Inheritor of this Kingdom of Heaven.
III. How this Privilege is promis'd and convey'd in Baptism.
I. The Kingdom of Heaven is variously understood in the New Testament ; but 'tis chiefly us'd to signify, either the Kingdom of Grace here in this Life, or the Kingdom of Glory in the World to come.