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in this Epistle means generally the cere-Serm. monial law, or that part of the Mosaick *". institution which is opposed to the Chri- °'*^ stian religion, and superseded by it; and because 'tis most probable he must in this place concerning our Saviour's submitting to that law, which in the words immediately following 'tis said the design of his coming into the World was to redeem men from; therefore 'tfs more reasonable to conclude, that, by his being made under the law, the Apostle intends in this place, that our Saviour was born in the nation and under the religion of the yews, that he was circumcised according to the commandment of Moses; that he submitted to and performed the whole ceremonial law, (fulfilling even in that sense all righteousness;) fthat having perfectly obeyed the law in his Life, he might for ever abolish that part of it at his Death, and free his followers from the Servitude thereof.
^dly, Here is the End and Dejign of his coming thus into the World, set forth in the last part of the words; To redeem them that were under the law, that we Sekm. might receive the adoption of Sons. The IN- same phrase the Apostle again makes use t/"v",'vJ of in the Epistle to the Romans, ch. viii. ver. 15. Te have not received the Spirit of Bondage again to fear, hut ye have received the Spirit ofadoption, whereby we cry Abbay Father; i. e. Go J deals not with Us as a Master with his Servants, but as a Father with his Sons, requiring of us not any hard and burdensome service, but only a rational and sincere obedience. Our Lord came to redeem them that were under the law, i. e. to abrogate the burdensome ceremonies of the Jewijh institution; That we might receive the adoption of Sons; i. e. that he might establish with men a New Covenant, which should be most easy to Observe, and most sufficient to justify those that should observe it. Most easy to observe, is this Covenant of the Gospel; because its precepts are not positive an4 carnal Ordinances, but the great duties of the moral and eternal law of God, which are absolutely and in their own nature most acceptable to God, and most perfective of men; and 'tis most sufficient to justify those who shall live according to it,
because because their works shall not be judgedSerm. with strictness and rigour, but through "*. the intercession of Christ, their sincerity shall be accepted instead of perfect obedience: In the former respect (its being easy to observe;) the Christian institution is called the Law of liberty, Jam. i. 25; and the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, Rom. viii. 21; and Gal. iv. 7. Wherefore thou art no mor* a servant, but a Son. In the latter respect, namely, in respect of its sufficiency to justify those that shall live suitably to it, the Christian institution is called the righteousness of Gody Rom. iii. 20, 21. By the deeds of the law there Jhall no fe/h be justified. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the, righteousness of God, which is by Faith in Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe j And, by it all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses, Acts xiii. 39. There being several great Crimes, for which po regular Expiation was allowed under the law; from which Curse, men
S E R M. are now by true Repentance and AmendI**. ment, delivered under the Gospel: Which
^~V*N" is therefore stiled the Righteousness of God to men. This is the adoption, whereby we become Sons of God, and Heirs of Salvation: This is the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free: We are not obliged to any impossible performances, nor to any grievous and burdensome rites; but if we sincerely repent, and return to the obedience of God's Commands, according to the gracious Terms and Conditions of the Gospel; we shall, through the intercession of Christ, be accepted by our heavenly Father. But then we must always remember that without this obedience we shall still be rejected, notwithstanding what our Saviour has done for us j nay we shall be condemned with so much a severer sentence, as he has afforded us greater means and opportunities of Salvation. Christ has given us the adoption and the liberty of Sons; but if we abuse that liberty to rebel against God and disobey his Commandments, living vitioufly and profanely in this present World; it had been better for us not to have known the
way of truth, than ajter we have known Serm. it, to turn from the holy commandment Undelivered unto us. Our Saviour has pur-<-/"^>1^ chased redemption for us upon the gracious terms of Faith and Obedience; but without this Obedience, we can have no benefit, even of 'That most perfect redemption. Christ has suffered for us, that we might receive the adoption of Sons; but if we continue not to live virtuously as becomes the children of God, it will nothing profit us to have received this adoption. They only who are led by the Spirit of God, are the Sons of God, Rom. viii. 14. Wherefore if we resist and grieve that good Spirit by any vitious practices, we have no part in him, neither will God receive us either as his Sons or his Servants. Whosoever is bom of God, faith St John, doth not commit Sin, for his seed remaineth in him,'and he cannot Jin because he is born of God: In this the children of God are manifejl and the children of the devil: Whosoever doth not righteousness, is not of God, neither he thai loveth not his brother, 1 John iii. 9. Again, ver. 2. Beloved, now are we the Sons