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unto the flesh, that we should live after the dictates of the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die : but if ye, through the 14 Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as
many as are led by the Spirit of God, resigning themselves to his 15 guidance, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the
spirit of bondage again unto fear, which ye felt under the Mosaic dispensation ; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, by
which we approach God as children, and unite to cry Abba Father, 16 For the Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we 17 are the children of God. And if we are his children, then we are
heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ : provided that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.
REFLECTIONS. Well may we rejoice in privileges like these ; well may we be astonished to think, that they should be bestowed on any of the children of men ! That any of them should be heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; the adopted children of an heavenly Father, and marked out by the communications of his Spirit for an inheritance which he hath prepared! That they should be fitted and enabled to approach him with that endearing compellation, Abba, Father, in their mouths! O that every one of us may know by experience, which alone can teach us, how sweet it is ! and if we would obtain and secure this witness, let us see to it, that we be obediently led by the Spirit of God; for that Spirit is not where he does not effectually govern ; and if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of Christ's disciples, nor is he entitled to any of the privileges of his people.—Let the matter therefore be seriously examined: and let it be determined by inquiry, whether we do on the whole walk after the flesh or the Spirit. Let us guard more and more against that carnal mind which is enmity against God, and cannot be subject to his law, nor leave room for us to please God, while it presides and governs in us. Let us often reflect upon that death which would be the consequence of our living after the flesh ; and never conceive of ourselves upon any occasion as persons, who in consequence of something that has already passed, have found out a way to break the connection here established, and in the nature of things essentially established, between a carnal mind and death. May our spirits be more and more enlivened by that vital union with a Redeemer which may give us a part in the merit of his righteousness, and in the life it has secured for all true believers ; and may the efficacy of his Spirit to raise our souls from a death of sin to a life of holiness, be in us a blessed earnest, that he will complete the work, and at length quicken our mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in us. When flesh and sense can administer a consclation like this, let us hcarken to them : in the inean time, let us always remember, how much we are debtors to the Spirit ; and let us endeavour to act according to these immense obligations.
The prospect of consummate glory which the gospel sets before us, for which the creation seems to wait : The consolations derived from the assistances of the Spirit in prayer. Ch. viii. 18—27.
18 A MIDST present sufferings, let us often contemplate these
(1 glorious prospects. I have been wont to compare them 10gether ; and I find upon computation, that the sufferings of the
present time are not worthy of any account, when set against that 19 glory, that shall be revealed to us. For the earnest expecta
tion of the creation is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God: 20 (for the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by 21 him (Adam) who subjected it by his transgression ;) in hope that
the creation shall in ages to come, be set free from the bondage of
corruption, and be brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of 22 God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth together,
and travaileth together in strong pangs until now, to bring on this 23 important birth. And not only so, but even we ourselves, who
have received the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our bodies 24 from the grave. For we are saved by hope : but hope which is
seen, that which relates to visible objects, is not hope. For what 25 a man seeth, how doth he yet hope for it? But since we hope for 26 what we see not, we patiently wait for it. And moreover, the
Spirit lendeth us his helping hand under our infirmities : for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought : but the Spirit
itself manageth affairs for us, guiding our minds 10 suitable peti27 tions, with unutterable groanings. But though we cannot speak
these desires, he who searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, for he manageth affairs for the saints according to the will of God, and therefore we cheerfully expect a suitable answer.
REFLECTIONS. For ever adored be the Divine Goodness, in sending down his Spirit on such sinful creatures, to help our infirmities ; to implant, and to excite graces in our hearts, to be a source of present delight and of eternal happiness. May we feel him helping our infirmities, and improving our joy in the Lord, to such a degree, that all our devotions may be animated sacrifices. Let not the want of expression in that case trouble us ; these unutterable groanings are sometimes the sweetest music in the ear of God. Well may such fervent groanings be excited, when we view that great and glorious Object which the gospel proposes to our hope. Let us encounter the sufferings of the present time, with a fortitude becoming those that see them so short and so far overbalanced by the immense and boundless prospects which lie beyond them; prospects of unclouded lustre and unmingled felicity.
When we consider the state of that part of the world in which Christianity is unknown, or of those among whom it is a mere empty form ; when we consider the vanity to which that part of God's creation is subject, let it move our compassion, and our prayers, that the state of glorious liberty into which God has already brought those who by faith in Christ are his children, may become more universally prevalent ; and the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the channel of the seas. O that divine and omnipotent grace may give a birth to that grand event, in the expectation of which nature seems in pangs ; such a birth, that nations might be born in a day ; and where the children are born, may it give a more abundant growth and more happy increase. We have received what the travailing creation has not, the first-fruits of the Spirit, and they must surely excite us to groan after the redemption of our bodies : yet still with humble submission to the will of God, waiting his wisely appointed hour for the dissolution, and for the restoration of them. That God, in whose hand these important events are, best knows how long to exercise our faith, whether in this mortal world, or in the intermediate state ; nor should any delay be esteemed long by those who have so cheerful an hope of enjoying God for ever.
The eternal, gracious plan which God has laid for our happiness, in purs
ance of wlach he hath already done such great things for his people, that they may be assured, no accusation or temptation shall prevail against them. Ch. viii. 28, &c.
28 A ND though our afflictions may be heavy, and continue long,
A we know that all things work together for good to them that 29 love God, and are called according to his purpose. For whom he
foreknew, he did also predestinate to be made conformable to the
image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many 30 brethren. And those whom he predestinated, he hath called; for
will call) by his word and Spirit ; and whom he hath called, he
hath justified ; and whom he hath justified, he hath also virtually 31 glorified. What shall we therefore say to these things? If God 32 be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own son,
but delivered him up to agony and death for us all, how shall he
not with him freely grant us all other things subservient to our truest 33 happiness? Who shall lodge any accusation against the elect of 34 God? Is it God ? he who justifieth? Who is he that condemneth?
Is it Christ? he who hath died? Yea rather, who is risen again!
who is now at the right hand of God, and is also making interces$5 sion for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall afflictions, or straits, or persecutions, or hunger, or naked36 ness, or peril, or sword ? (As it is written, “ For thy sake we are
killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep destined to 37 the slaughter.") Nevertheless, we do in all these things more 38 than conquer, through him who hath loved us. For I am pere suaded, that neither death, nor life, nor infernal angels, nor prin
cipalities, nor powers of any rank, nor things present, nor things 39 future, nor height of prosperity, nor depth of adversity, nor any
other creature in heaven, earth, or hell, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
REFLECTIONS. O blessed souls indeed, who having been in the eternal counsels of the divine love foreknown and predestinated, are, in consequence thereof, called and justified, as the earnest of being ere long glorified ! Who would not desire to see his own title to privileges so inestimable as these? And how shall we know that we have our part in them? How, but by securing an evidence, that we love God? Then may we be assured that all things shall work together for our good, and glory in it, that we are the elect of God; to whose charge therefore nothing shall be alleged, since God justifieth ; whom none shall condemn, since Christ died to expiate our sins, and is ascended into heaven continually to intercede for us. In cheerful dependance on his patronage and care, let us bid defiance to all our enemies, and be willing to submit to the greatest extremities, since they shall not be able to separate us from the love of Christ, even though for his sake we should be killed all the day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter-O blessed souls, whom neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor any other creature, shall be able to divide and cut off from the love of God! What then can harm us? what evil can we then suffer? what good can we want ? When God is for us, and when we are sensible of his love in giving us his Son, how can we allow ourselves to suspect his readiness with him to give us all things truly reasonable or desirable? All other blessings, when compared with these, will appear unworthy of a mention ; and we should have great reason to suspect, that they were not ours, if we did not find a heart superlatively to value them above every thing else.
Paul, with the tenderest affection for the Jews, treats of their rejection, and
shews that a part of the seed of Abraham, even of the frosterity of Isaacı had been actually rejected. Ch. ix. 1-13.
1 I EST any should suspect me of ill-will towards my countrymen
the Jews, from what I am now going to declare, I assure them of the contrary. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not; my conscience 2 also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great
grief and incessant anguish in my heart, when I think of what
hath happened, and will happen to them, in consequence of their ofa 3 position to the gospel. For I could wish that I myself were made
an anathema * after the example of Christ, for the sake of my
* Exposed like him to the execrations of an enraged people, and even to the accursed death of crucifixion.
4 brethren, and kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites,
whose the adoption is, being called the children of the most high ; and the glory, which in the Shechinah resided visibly among them,
and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of 3 God, and the promises respecting the Messiah : Whose are the
fathers of the world and the church ; and from whom, according
to the flesh, Christ himself descended, who is above all, God bles6 sed for ever. Amen.-Not that I would insinuate by any means,
that the word of God hath fallen to the ground. For all are not 7 Israel, who are of Israel: Neither because they are the seed of
Abraham, are they all children: but (as it is said, Gen. xxi. 12.) 8 “ In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” That is, not the children of
the flesh are the children of God, but the children of the promise 9 in one peculiar line, are accounted as the seed of Abraham. For
this is the word of the promise (Gen. xviii. 10.) “According to 10 this time I will come to thee, and Sarah shall have a son.” Nor
was this the only instance of the kind; but Rebecca, when she was Il with child by one man (our father Isaac ;) while the children were
not yet born, and had done neither good nor evil, that the pur
pose of God according to election might stand, not of works, 12 but of him, who calleth ; it was said to her, " that the elder 13 should serve the younger :" as it is written (Mal. i. 2, 3.) “I
have loved Jacob, and hatcd Esau ;" that is, I have greatly prefere red the former to the latter, bestowing many peculiar privileges on the posterity of Jacob, which I have denied to that of Esau.
REFLECTIONS. Let that affection which the apostle expresses for the Jews, his countrymen and brethren according to the flesh, and the tender and pathetic representation which he makes of the privileges which they once enjoyed, awaken in our hearts an earnest solicitude, that they may by divine grace be brought back; that they may again be adopted into the family from which they have been cut off ; again clothed with the glory which is departed from them; that, through him who was given for a covenant to the people, they may receive the law of life and grace, be formed to that spiritual service which it introduces, instead of their pompous ritual, and embrace the promises, on which the faith and hope of their illustrious fathers was fixed. Let it likewise teach us spiritual compassion for our kindred, who are strangers to Christ, and let us be willing to submit to the greatest difficulties, and think nothing too much to be done or borne for their recovery.
Let our souls pay an humble homage to him, who is, in such an incommunicable and sublime sense, the Son of God, as to be himself over all, God blessed for evermore. With prostrate reverence let us adore him, as our Lord, and our God, and repose that unbounded confidence in him which such an assemblage of divine perfections will warrant, putting our most hearty amen to every ascription of glory, to every anthem of praise, addressed to him. And since we sce that many of the children of Abraham, and of Isaac, failed of any share in the special promises of God, let us learn to depend on no