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nature of it, 2. The use of it. The nature of sealing consists in the imparting of the image or character of the seal to the thing sealed: this is to seal a thing; to stamp the character of the seal on it. In this sense the effectual communication of the image of God unto us, should be our sealing. The Spirit on believers really communicating the image of God in righteousness and true holiness unto the soul, sealeth us. To have this stamp of the Holy Ghost, so as to be an evidence unto the soul that it is accepted with God, is to be sealed by the Spirit; taking the metaphor from the nature of sealing. And in this sense is our Saviour said to be sealed of God, John vi. 27. even from that impression of the power, wisdom and majesty of God that he had upon him in the discharge of his office.
2. The end of sealing is twofold. 1. To confirm or ratify any grant or conveyance made in writing; in such cases men set their seals to make good and confirm their grants, and when this is done they are irrecoverable. Or to confirm the testimony that is given by any one of the truth of any thing. Such was the manner among the Jews: when any one had given true witness unto any thing or matter, and it was received by the judges; they instantly set their seals to it, to confirm it in judgment. Hence it is said, that he who receives the testimony of Christ, fets to his seal that God is true, John iii. 33. The promise is the great grant and conveyance of life and salvation in Christ to the fouls of believers. That we may have full assurance of the truth and irrecoverableness of the promise; God gives us the Spirit to satisfie our hearts
and thence is he said to seal us; by assuring
our hearts of those promises, and their stability. But though many expositors go this way, I do not fee how this can consist with the very meaning of the word: it is not said that the promise is sealed, but that we are sealed, and when we feal a deed or grant to any one, we do not say the man is sealed, but the deed or, grant.
2. To appropriate, distinguish or keep fafe this is the end of sealing; men set their seals on that, which they appropriate, and desire to keep safe for themselves: fo evidently in this sense, are the servants of God said to be sealed, Rev. vii
. 4. that is, marked with God's mark, as his peculiar ones, for this fealing answers to the setting of a mark, Ezek. ix. then are believers fealed when they are marked for God, to be heirs of the purchased inheritance, and to be preserved to the day of redemption. Now if this be the fealing intended, it denotes not an act of sense in the heart, but of security to the person; the Father gives the elect into the hands of Christ to be redeemed, having redeemed them in due time, they are called by the Spirit, and marked for God, and so give up themselves to the hands of the Father.
If you ask now which of these senses is chiefly intended in this expression of our being sealed by the Holy Ghost; I answer the first, not excluding the other; we are fealed to the day of redemption, when from the stamp, image, and character of the Spirit upon our fouls, we have a fresh sense of the love of God given to us with a comfortable persuasion of our acceptation with him. But of this whole matter I have treated at large elsewhere.
Thus then the Holy Ghost communicates unto us his own likeness, which is also the image of the K k
Father and the Son. We are changed into this image by the Lord the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 18. And herein he brings us into fellowship with himself. Our likeness to him, gives us boldness with him : his work we look for, his fruits we pray for; and when any effect of grace, any discovery of the image of Christ implanted in us, gives us a persuasion of our being separated and set apart for God, we have a communion with him therein.
6. He is an earnest unto us, 2 Cor. i. 22. He hath given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, chap. v. 5. who also hath given unto us the earnest of the the Spirit, as also Eph. i. 13, 14. re are Jealed with that holy Spirit of promisë, which is the earnest of our inheritance. In the two former places, we are said to have the earnest of the Spirit, in the latter the Spirit is faid to be our earnest, of the Spirit then in the first place is as we say Genitivus materie ; denbring not the cause but the thing itself; not the author of the earnest, but the matter of it. The Spirit is our earnest, as in the last place is expressed. The consideration of what is meant by the Spirit here, and what is meant by an earnest will give some inlight in to this privilege, which we receive by the Comforter.
1. What grace, what gift of the Spirit is intend'ed by this earnest? some have made enquiry, I suppose to no purpose. It is the Spirit himself personally considered, that is said to be this earnest, 2 Cor. i. 22. It is God hath given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts; an espression directly answering that of Gal. iv. 6. God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts : that is the person of the Spirit, for nothing else can be called the Spirit of his Son; and in Eph. i. 14. he hath gi
ven the Spirit, which is that earnest. The Spirit himself of promise is this earnest. In giving us this Spirit he gives us this earnest.
2. An earnest it is arrabon, neither the Greek, nor the Latin have any word to express directly what is here intended. The Latins have made words for it, from that expressed here in the Greeks, arrha and arrabo. The Greek word is but the Hebrew herabon which as some conceive came amongst them, by the Tyrian merchants being a word of trade; it is by fome rendered in Latin, pignus, a pledge, but this cannot be here intended. A pledge is that property which any one gives, or leaves in the custody of anocher to assure him that he will give him, or pay him some other thing, in the nature of that which we call a pawn. Now the thipg, that is here intended, is a part of that: which is to come, and but a part of it according to the trade use of the word, whence the metaphor is taken, it is excellently rendered in our language an earnest. An earnest is part of the price of any thing, or part of any gravit, given before hand to affure the person to whom it is given, that at the appointed season he shall receive the whole that is promised him.
That a thing be an earnest, it is required, 1. That it be part of the whole of the same kind and nature with it. As we do give fo much money in earnest to pay so much more. 2. That it be a confirmation of a promise and appointment; first the whole is promifed, then the earnest is given for the good and true performance of that promise.
Thus the Spirit is this earnest. God gives us the promise of eternal life. To confirm this to us, he Kk a
giveth us his Spirit, which is as the first part of the promifc, to secure us of the whole. Hence he is said to be the earnest of the inheritance that is promised, and purchased. And it may be considered how it may be faid to be an earnest on the part of God, who gives him, and on the part of believe ers who receive him.
1. He is an earnest on the part of God, in that God gives him as a choice part of the inheritance itself; and of the fame kiad with the whole, as an earnest ought to be. The full inheritance promised, is the fullness of the Spirit in the enjoyment of God. When that Spirit which is given us in this world shall have perfe&ly taken away all fin and forrow, and shall have made us able to enjoy the glory of God in his presence, that is the full inheritance promised. So that the Spirit given us for the fitting of us for enjoyment of God in some measure, whilst we are here, is the earnest of the whole.
2. God doth it to this purpose, to assure us and secure us of the inheritance; having given us so many fecurities without us, his word, promises, covenant, oath, the revelation and discovery of his faithfulness, and immutability in them all: he is pleased also graciously to give us one with in us, Isa. liv.13 that we may have all the fecurity we are capable of; what can more be done? he hath given us of the holy Spirit; in him the first fruits of glo ry, the utmost pledge of his love; the earnest of all.
2. On the part of believers, he is an earnest, in that he gives them an acquaintance with, 1. The love of God; their acceptation with him makes known to them their favour in his sight; that he is