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But the most express and remarkable text to this purpose, is, Luke xx. :36. where good men after the resurrection, are for this reason said to be the children of God, because they are the children of the refurrection. But they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage, neither can they dy any more; for they are equal to the Angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the refurrection. For this reason they are said to be the children of God, because they are raised by him to a new life; and to be made partakers of that which is promised to them, and reserved for them. For all that are raised by the power of God out of the dust of the earth, are not therefore the children of God; but only they that have part in the blessed resurrection to eternal life, and do inherit the kingdom prepared for them. Not those who are raised to a perpetual death, and the resurrection of condemnation. These are not the children of God; but the children of wrath, and the children of perdition.
But the resurrection of the jult, is the full and final declaration, that we are the children of God: not only because we are restored to a new life, but becaufe at the refurrection, we are admitted to the full possession of that blessed inheritance which is purchased for us, and promised to us.
And the Spirit of God which is conferred upon believers in their regeneration, and afterwards dwells and resides in them, is the pledge and earnest of our final adoption, by our resurrection to eternal lite; and upon
this account and no other, is said to be the eara nest of our future inheritance, and the seal and confirmation of it, Eph. i. 13. In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession ; that is, the Holy Spirit of God, which Christians were made partakers of, upon their fincere belief of the Chriftian religion, is the seal and earnelt of our resurrection to eternal life; as the Apostle plainly tells us, in that remarkable text, Rom. viii. in. If the Spirit of him
that raised up Fesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
I have been the longer upon this, because it serves fully to explain to us those obscure phrases of the real and earnest and first fruits of the Spirit, which many have mistaken to import some particular and spiritual revelation or impression upon the minds of good men, assuring them of their falvation. Whereas the Apostle intended no more by them, but that the Spirit of God which dwells in believers, enabling them to mortify the deeds of the flesh, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, is a pledge and earneit to us of a bleffed resurrection to eternal life by the power of the Spirit of God which now dwells in us, and is the same Spirit which raised up Jesus from the dead. And inz this chapter the Spirit of God is said, ver. 16. to bear witness to our spirits, that is, to assure our minds, that we are the children of God, that is, that we are his children now, and consequently beirs of a glori. ous resurrection to eternal life: for so it follows in the next words, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we fuffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. And this being glorified together with Christ at the resurrection, he calls, ver. 19. the manifestation of the fons of God. Thus you fee how in conformity to the 'Son of God, our elder brother, we are said to be the Sons of God, because we are now regenerated, and shall at the last day be raised up to eternal life, by the power of the Spirit of God. I proceed to the
Second thing I propounded to fpeak to, for the clearing of these words, namely, in what sease Chrift is said to be declared or demonstrated ta be the som of God, by his resurrection from the dead. By which the Apostle means these two things :
1. That by his resurrection from the dead he was approved by God to be the true Messias, and vindi. cated to the world from all suspicion of being a deceiver and impostor. And consequently, in the
2. Place, That hereby God gave testimony to the truth and divinity of his doctrine.
1. By his resurrection from the dead, he was approved by God to be the true Messias, foretold by the Prophets, and expected at that time by the Jews, and fufficiently vindicated to the world to be no deceiver and impostor.
And for our fuller understanding of this, we are to consider these two things :
(1.) What the apprehensions and expe&ations of the Jews were concerning the Messias. "And,
(2.) What the many crimes were which they laid to our Saviour's charge, and for which they condemnod him.
(1.) What the apprehensions and expectations of the Jews were concerning the Messias. And it is very plain from the evangelical history, that they generally apprehended these two things of him; That the Messias was to be the son of God, and the King of Israel; and therefore that our Saviour, by affirming himself to be the Messias,did call himself the Son of God, and the King of Israel. John i. 41. Andrew tells his brother Simon, we have found the Meffias. V. 45. Philip tells Nathanael, We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the Prophets did write; that is, the Messias, ver. 49. Nathanael, upon discourse with our Saviour, being convinced that he was the Messias, owns him in thefe terms, Rabbi, thou art the Son af God, thou art the King of Israel. John vi. 69. Peter declares his belief that he was the Christ, or the Messias, in these words, We believe and are sure that thou art the Son of the living God. This appears likewise from the High-prielt's question to him, Matth. xxvi. 63. Art thou the Christ (that is, the Mellias) the son of the living God? or, as it is in St. Mark, the son of the blefed; compared with Pilate's question, Art thou the King of the Jews? And when he was upon the cross, fome reviled him under the notion of the Son of God, Matth xxvii. 40. If thou be the son of God, come down from the cross: others under the notion of the King of Israel, ver. 42. If he be the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross. From all which it is plain that the Jews expected and believed, that the true Mellias was to be the Son of God, and the King of
Israel ; and whoever was not so, was a deceiver and impostor. But our Saviour affirmed himself to be the true Messias, and the Son of God. Now God by raising him from the dead, did abundantly vindicate him to the world, from all suspicion of imposture ; and gave testimony to him, that he was all that he said of himself, viz. the true Messias, and the son
Which will further appear, if we consider (2dly,) What were the crimes which the Jews laid to our Sa. viour's charge, and for which they condemned him; and they were mainly these two, that by giving himself to be the Meflias, he made himself'King of ifrael, and the Son of God. Of the first of these they ac. cused him to Pilate, hoping by this accusation to make him guilty of sedition against the Roman government, for saying, that he was the King of Israel
. Of the other they accused him to the chief Priests, as being guilty of blasphemy, in that not being the Mef. fias, he called himself the Son of God. And upon this they laid the main stress, as being a thing that would condemn him by their law. They charged him with this in his lifetime, as appears by those words of our Saviour, John X. 36. Say ye of him whom the Father hath fanétified, and sent into the world, Thou blafphemeji, because I said I am the son of God? And when he was arraigned before the chief Priests, they accused him of this, and he owning this charge, that he called himself the Son of God, upon this they judged him guilty of death. Matth. xxvi. 65, 66. Then the High-priest rent his clothes, and said, he hath Spoken blasphemy ; what further need bave we of witnesses ? behold, now ye have heard his blajphemy. What think ye? They answered, he is guilty of death. And when Pilate told them, that he found no fault in him, they still instance in this as his crime, John xix. 7. We have a law, and by our law he ought to dy, because he hath made himself the Son of God.
Now this being the crime which was charged upon him, and for which he was crucified, and put to death ; God, by raising him from the dead, and taking him
up into heaven, gave testimony to him, that he was no impostor, and that he did not vainly arrogate to himself to be the Messias and the Son of God. God, by raising him from the dead by the power of the Holy Ghost, gave a mighty demonftration to him, that he was the Son of God. For which reason he is said by the Apostle, 1 Tim. iii. 16. to be justified by the Spirit. The Spirit gave testimony to him at his baptism, and by the mighty works that appeared in him in his lifetime ; but he was most eminently and remarkably justified by the Holy Ghost, by his resurrection from the dead ; God hereby bearing him witness, that he was unjuftly condemned, and that he assumed nothing to himself, but what of right did belong to him, when he said he was the Messias, and the Son of God. For how could a man that was condemned to dy for calling himself the Son of God, be more remarkably vindicated, and more clearly proved to be so, than by being raised from the dead, by the power of God
And, 2dly, God did consequently hereby give testimony to the truth and divinity of our Saviour's do&trine. Being proved by his resurrection to be the Son of God, this proved him to be a teacher sent by him, and what he declared to the world was the mind and will of God. For this none was more likely to know, and to report truly to mankind, than the Son of God, who came from the botom of the Father. And because the resurrection of Christ is so great a testimony to the truth of his doctrine, hence it is that St. Paul tells us, that the belief of this one article of Christ's resurrection is sufficient to a man's salvation, Rom. X. 9. If thou Malt confefs with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and malt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be faved. The reason is plain, because the resurrection of Christ confirmed the truth and divinity of his doetrine ; so that the belief of our Saviour's resurrecti. on does by necessary consequence infer the belief of his whole doctrine. That God raised him from the dead, after he was condemned and put to death for calling himself the Son of God, is a demonstration that he really was the Son of God; and if he was the Son of Ged,