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The three first of these Points are pretty obvious, so that I need spend no Time in insistirig on them.
ist. By the Spirit here is undoubtedly meant that Holy Spirit which our Lord" promised he would send upon his Disciples, after he was ascended into Heaven ; and which accordingly came upon them on the Day of Pentecost, and which from thence forward was to continue with the Church to the End of the World. This Spirit is here in the Text called the Spirit it self, to Tepresent Him as a Person, because in the Verse before the Apostle had used this Word
Spirit in another Sense, viz. for a State and
the Spirit of Bondage again to fear, but ye
But, 2dly, What is meant by being the Children of God? To this I answer, that to be a Child of God, in the Scripture-Phrase, is to be an Heir of Immortality; or to be an In
heritor of the Kingdom of Heaven: That is to say, either in actual Poffefsion of it, or in Right and Title to it. Thus our Saviour tells us, that they which mall be Luke 20. accounted worthy to obtain that future World 35, 36. and the Resurrection from the Dead, can die no more; for they are equal to the Angels, and are the Children of God, being the Children of the Resurrection. And thus our Saviour himself was stiled God's Son, as upon other accounts, so also upon this, that God begot him from the Dead, and exalted Pfal. 2. 7 him to an immortal glorious Life in Heaven. Thou art my Son (saith God) this Day have I hegotten thee. Which Passage the Apostle applies to our Saviour's Resurrection. And it Acts 13. is with this respect that St. John speaks— 33. Beloved, now are we the Sons of God, but it 1 John 3. doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that when He mall appear we shall be like him; for we shall sèe Him as He is. So that to be a Son or a Child of God, and to have a Right and Title to eternal Life, is the very fame Thing. As also sufficiently appears from the next Words that follow after my Text, if we be Children, then are Rom. 8. we Heirs; Heirs of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
But, 3dly, What is meant by this Exprefsion of the Spirit's bearing witness with our Spirit ? Is it meant that the Holy Spirit
doth, by his fecret Inspirations, his inward
4th Inquiry ; which I shall dwell longer ápon.-And here it is fit we should take notice, that there is a twofold Witness or Testimony of the Spirit to our being the Children of God: The one, General and Publick, refpecting the whole Church, or the whole Body of those who profess the Christian Faith, in opposition to all Unbelievers ; the other, Particular and Private, and only refpecting single Persons. Both these ways, I say, doth the Spirit witness with our Spirit that we are the Children of
God. And to both these ways, it is probable, the Apostle had Respect in this Text.
I. I begin with the publick Witness, First of all, I say, the Spirit gave an undeniable Proof to Christians, that they were the Children of God, by the publick Teftimony he gave to the Truth of the Promises of the Gospel ; in descending upon the Apostles on the Day of Pentecoft, and inabling them to speak all Languages, to cure all Diseases, to cast out Devils, to raise the Dead, to foretell Things to come, and to work all sorts of Miracles, for the Confirmation of the Christian Faith : And, which ought to be particularly taken notice of, when he gave them a Power likewise to transfer these Gifts and Powers upon others, even as many as they should lay their Hands upon; so that not only the Apostles, but a great Number of other Believers, in all Places, were able to work Miracles, for the Attestation of the Truth of Christ's Doctrine.
Here now was as plain a Testimony of the Holy Spirit to the Minds of all Christians, that they were the Children of God, that they had the true Religion among them, that they, in opposition both to Jews and Pagans, were God's peculiar People, and that he would at the last Day, when this World should have an End, own them
as such, and reward them with everlasting
But it will be said, how doth this Witness of the Spirit concern us who live at this Day, and see none of those extraordinary miraculous Effects of the Holy Ghost? How is this a Testimony to our Spirits, that we are the Children of God? I answer, it is the same Witness and Tefti, mony of the Holy Spirit with our Spirits, that it was when St. Paul wrote this Epistle. We do not, indeed, see now those visible Effects and Operations of the Holy Spirit, for the convincing us of the Truth of Christ's Promises, that were then to be seen; but the Reason is, because there is no need of it: for if that was a good Witness to the