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God thought fit to oblige men to observe S E R M. those first and more imperfect rudiments, '. which were instituted in the fewifo law; But when the time was come that the Messiah should appear, God did by him abolish That institution of religion, (at least as to the Necessity of its being embraced by the Gentiles) and redeemed or freed men from the servile obedience thereof; requiring from them thenceforward, only That free, That manly and rational obedience, which is the duty and privilege not of Servants but of Sons; That we might receive the Adoption of Sons.
In the Words we may observe, if, The Character of the person sent into the World; God sent forth his Son. zdly, His Condition and Manner of Conversation among men; he was made of a woman, made under the law. idly, The Design of this his coming; it was To redeem those that were under'the law, that we might receive the adoption of Sons. And ^thly, The particular Time of his appearing; When the fulness of time was come.
Vol. V. E if, Here
S E R M. ijl, HeR E is the Character of the perHl' son sent into the World j Go*/ sent forth
^S*^his Son. The Phrase, is of the same import, with those other expressions we meet with in Scripture; God so loved the world, 1' that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him Jhould not perijh, but have everlasting life, Job., iii. 16. and, God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these lafi days spoken unto us by his Son, Heb. i. I. The Meaning is: God having of old established several Forms of Religion among men, by divers ways of revelation, by discovering himself to the Patriarchs, by the delivering of the law to Moses, and by the preaching of the prophets j and all these Methods having proved severally ineffectual to make men truly virtuous, to recover God's Creation from the Corruption and Bondage of Sin, and much more insufficient to afford any effectual means ©f redeeming them from the Guilt thereof; he did at last in mercy and compassion to mankind vouchsafe to afford them one more clear and perfect revelation of
his Will, by the preaching of a personSerm. os far greater excellence and authority than *"' jiny before; even by his own Son. This^^^s^ expression therefore of God's sending forth his Son, implies plainly these two things j firs, that the person here declared to be sent forth into the World, was in a singular and peculiar manner the Son of God; and zdly, that he was with God»v before he was sent into the World, ijl, The person here declared to be sent into the World, was in a peculiar manner the Son of God. Many Senses there are in which a person may be said to be the Son of God; and in great variety of signification does the Scripture itself make use of this expression. The Angels are styled the Sons of God, Job xxxviii. 7. and Adam is said to be the Son of God, Luk. iii. 38. because immediately created by him": They who are sanctified by the Spirit of God, are called the Sons of God, Rom. viii. 14. because they live in obedience to his government, and so are Members of his Family or Household j They who shall be thought worthy to obtain that life which is to come, are called the Sons of God, Luk. Vol. V. E 2 xx. 36.
Se Rm.xx. 36. because they are as it were anew created of God, being the Children of
^^^"^the resurrection to eternal Happiness: They who are appointed to any high Office by the special and immediate Will of God, are also called Gods, or the Sons of God, because they act in' his stead, or as his Vicegerents; and in this Sense our Saviour himself uses the phrase in his Reply to the Jews, John x. 34. Is it not written in your law, I said ye are Gods? If he called them Gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanSlified and sent into the world, thou blaspheme/1, because I said I am the Son of God? These therefore and some other Senses there are, in which the Scripture gives men that great title of being the Sons of God. And the reason why any person is so called, is generally expressly added, or at least plainly included in the words; as in the instance of Adam; of those who (hall be raised from the Dead; and of Princes, or sanctified Men and Prophets being stiled the Sons of God. But when the title is given to our
Blessed Saviour, 'tis given him either ab- S E R M. solutely and by way of eminence, or with "'. some high and particular Note of distinction. 'Tis sometimes given him absolutely and by way of eminence; as in the Text he is called The Son of God; and then 'tis plain from the manner of the expression, that 'tis to be understood in a high and peculiar Sense: For when a title which may be given men upon different respects, and frequently is so in very different significations, according to the occasion upon which it is conferred, and with manifest reference to that occasion; when I fay such a title is given to any particular person absolutely and by way of eminence, 'tis manifest it is then to be understood in the highest and most excellent Sense, In other passages of Scripture, this title is given him with some high and particular Note of distinction, as only begotten, beloved, God's dear Son, his awn Son, and the like: Rom.viii. 3, What, the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending bis own Son in the likeness of sinful jlesh% and for Sin, i. e. as the Words may more E $ properly