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Verse 6. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Here we see plainly that the Holy Ghost cometh to the saints, not by works, but by faith alone. Sons believe, while servants only work; sons are free from the law, servants are held under the law ; as appears by those things that have been before spoken. But how comes it to pass that he saith, "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit," &c. seeing it is before said, that by the coming of the spirit we are changed from servants to sons: but here, as though we could he sons before the coming of the spirit, he saith, "because ye are sons," &c. To this question we must answer, that Paul speaks here in the same manner that he did before; that is, before the fulness of the time came, we were in bondage under the rudiments of the world: all that shall become sons, are counted in the place of sons with God: therefore ti£ saith rightly, "because ye are sons;" that is, because the state of sons is appointed to you from everlasting, "God hath sent, forth the spirit of his son ;" to wit, that he might finish it in you, and make you such as he hath long since of his goodness determined that he would make you.
Now if the Father give unto us his spirit, he will make us his true sons and heirs, that we may with confidence cry with Christ, Abba, Father ; being his brethren and fellow heirs. The apostle has well set forth the goodness of God which makes us partakers with Christ, and causes us to have all things common with him, so that we live and are led by the same spirit. These words of the apostle show that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Christ, as he calls him his spirit. God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son, that is, of Christ; for he is the spirit of God, and comes from God to us, and not ours; unless one will say after this manner, "my holy spirit," as we say, "my God," "my Lord," &c. Ashe is said to be the holy spirit of Christ, it proves him to be God of whom that spirit is sent, therefore it is counted his spirit.
Christians may perceive by this, whether they have in themselves the Holy Ghost: to wit, the spirit of sons; whether they hear his voice in their hearts: for Paul saith, he crieth in the hearts which he possesseth, Abba, Father; he saith also, Rom. viii. "We have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father." Thou hearest this voice when thou findest so much faith in thyself, that thou dost assuredly without doubting presume that not only thy sins are forgiven thee, but also that thou art the beloved son of God; which being certain of eternal salvation, durst both call him Father, and be delighted 'in him with a joyful and confident heart. To doubt these things, brings a reproach upon the death of Christ, as though he had not obtained all things for us.
It may be that thou shalt be so tempted, as to fear and doubt, and think plainly that God is not a favourable Father, but a wrathful revenger of sins; as it happened with Job and many other saints : but in such a conflict, this trust and confidence that thou art a son, ought to prevail and overcome. It is said, Rom. viii. "The spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and that he beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." How can it therefore be that our hearts should not hear this cry and testimony of the spirit 1 But if thou dost not feel this cry, take heed that thou be not slothful and secure ; pray constantly, for thou art in an evil state.
Cain saith, Gen. iv. "My punishment is greater
than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out
this day from the face of the earth; and from thy
face. shall I be hid; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me." This is a dreadful and terrible cry, which is heard from all Cain's progeny; all such as trust to themselves and their own works ; who put not their trust in the Son of God, neither consider that he was sent from the Father, made of a woman under the law; much less that all these things were done for their salvation. And while their ungodliness is not herewith content, they begin to persecute even the sons of God; and grow so crueli that after the example of their father Cain, they cannot rest until they slay their righteous brother Abel: wherefore the blood of Christ continually cries out against them nothing' but punishment and vengeance ; but for the heirs of salvation, it cries by the spirit of Christ for nothing but grace and reconciliation.
The apostle here uses a Syrian and Greek word; saying, Abba, Pater. This word Abba, in the Syrian tongue, signifies a father; by which name the chief of monasteries are still called; and by the same name, Heremites in time past, being holy men, called their presidents: at last, by use, it, was also made a Latin word. Therefore that which Paul saith, is as much as, Father, Father; or if thou hadst rather, "my Father."
Verse 7. "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." He saith, that after the coming of the spirit, after the knowledge of Christ, "thou art not a servant." A son is free and willing, a servant is compelled and unwilling: a son liveth and resteth in faith, a servant in works. Therefore it appears that we cannot obtain salvation of God by works; but before thou workest that which is acceptable to him, it is necessary that thou receive salvation; then good works will freely flow, to the honour of thy heavenly Father, and to the profit of thy neighbours; without any fear of punishment, or looking for reward.
If this inheritance of the Father be thine by faith, surely thou art rich in all things, before thou hast wrought any thing. It is said, 1 Peter i. Your salvation is prepared and reserved in heaven, to be showed in the last time; wherefore the works of a christian ought to have no regard to merit, which is the manner of servants, but only for the use and benefit of our neighbours, whereby we may truly live to the glory of God. Lest that any think that so great an inheritance cometh to us without cost, (although it be given to us without our cost or merit,) yet it cost Christ a dear price; who, that he might purchase it for us, was made under the law, and satisfied it for us, both by life and also by death.
Those benefits which from love we bestow upon our neighbour, come to him freely, without any charges or labour of his ; notwithstanding they cost us something; even as Christ hath bestowed those things which are his upon us. Thus hath Paul called back the Galatians from the teachers of works, which preached nothing but the law, perverting the gospel of Christ. Which things are very necessary to be marked of us also: for the pope, with his prelates and monks, hath for a long time intruded, urging his laws, which are foolish and pernicious, disagreeing in every respect with the word of God; seducing almost the whole world from the gospel of Christ, and plainly extinguishing the faith of sons; as the scripture hath in divers places manifestly prophesied of his kingdom. Wherefore let every one that desires salvation, diligently take heed of him and his followers, no otherwise than satan himself.
Luke X. From the 23d to the 37tA verse, inclusive.
23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things which ye see.
24 For I tell you, That many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind ; and thy neighbour as thyself.
26 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering, said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there carne down a certain priest that way; and whan he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to Aim, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought nira to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee..
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
I Hope that you rightly understand this gospel, it being preached every year; notwithstanding, occasion now offers, and we shall treat of it again. First,