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trees,-or like trees—the trees of the forest of Lebanon. The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree. They are described as pilgrims, soldiers, runners, and wrestlers. They are likened to precious metals, to gold and silver-and precious stones-jewels. All these are either metaphors, similitudes, names, or titles to set forth some excellency or excellencies of the people of God. Believers are also likened to babes, to children, to young men, to fathers, to heirs, to kings and priests, and to sons ; as in the language of my text, “Sons or children of God.” Now, this will prepare the way for speaking upon the particular title or name which is in our text given to the children of God. They are called “Sons of God.” In the first verse of this chapter it is said—“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God.” You will perceive that this title is given out of love. The Father in love has bestowed this title upon us should be called," or bear the name- “Sons of God.” " Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.' The world knew not Jesus, neither would it receive Him. The world knows not the Sons of God, neither will it receive them. The Apostle continues his discourse in our text and says :"Beloved,” for they were the beloved of the Father, and they were the beloved of Jesus, and they were the beloved of the Spirit, and they were the beloved of one another.

Beloved, now are we the Sons of God.” Thus you see, then, that the title in my text—"Sons of God "_brings out the RELATIONSHIP that exists between Christians and their covenant God. I shall endeavour to point out to you the nature of this relationship, and how we become Sons of God, -and the honour that it is to bear this title.

It is a very important question, my brethren, for us to ask ourselves, how do we become the sons of God ? Now let us have as far as possible scriptural answers. I turn to St. Paul's first chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians, and I read there these words, in the fourth and fifth verses—“ According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him.” Just a word on this fourth verse in passing. We say that this is the doctrine of God's eternal election, or of God's sovereign choice. In other words, it is God giving His children a standing in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. This is the beginning of all that concerns the people of God for time and for eternity. The fifth verse determines their end—“In love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will." I beseech you to notice well this expression. It is God's sovereign predestination that settles the question of our adoption to sonship, and that too by means of Christ Jesus our Lord. All objections are met by these words that it is “according to the good pleasure of His will."

The sixth verse in this chapter connects God's choice with God's end in predestination. God has made His people accepted in the Beloved. They always were accepted in Christ, they now are, and for ever will be, to the praise of the glory of His Grace. When we speak of God's children being predestinated by Jesus Christ, and that this is a sovereign act on the part of our God, we turn to

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another chapter bearing on this point, the 8th of Romans ; and there it is said “ that we are predestinate to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son.” Now this image to which God's children are predestinate to be conformed is two-fold ; that which is inward and that which is outward. Christ formed in you in holiness and righteousness is predestinate inward conformity to the image of God's Son. Christ manifested by you in your life and conduct is outward conformity to His image. May we not say “ Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the Sons of God." Behold and admire His great love—“In love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ.”

The second point in connection with sonship is this : that those who are predestinated by God the Father unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ are in God's own good time redeemed with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. Hence this will bring out, as you will see, the relationship that exists between the elder brother and the brethren,between Jesus Christ the Son of God, and believers as the adopted children of God. Let us see how this stands in the 2nd chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, for there you read in the 9th versesee Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Now, this expression, “every man," is explained in the next verses as every son, every sanctified one, every brother, every child of God “for it became Him,” the Son, the sanctified one, the elder brother, “ for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one,” of one nature, of one family, of one Spirit, of one God and Father, “ for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.' He laid down His life for the brethren who are called the Sons of God. He says, “I will declare Thy Name into my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the Children which God hath given me.” He then enlarges upon this—" Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” The Son of God takes hold of the seed of Abraham, He becomes like His brethren that He may be their Redeemer, their merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, making reconciliation for the sins of the people, and thus He is a succourer of many—the brother born for adversity. This is the redeeming relationship which exists between Jesus and the children of God. To take another verse bearing upon this point. It is that out of the 4th chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, where we read in the 4th and 5th verses—“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law,"—that is,

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under the law of redemption, -" that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Now, here you have the whole subject brought out, in the way of redemption, so far as Christ is concerned with the children of Godwith the Sons of God—whom He brings to glory.

How clearly Caiaphas prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad (John xi. 51, 52).

We have now spoken to two points in connection with sonship; there is a third, and this is the revealing of sonship to our hearts by the Holy Ghost. So that whatever the Father has appointed us unto, and whatever the Son of God has done for us, as the children of God, these things the Holy Ghost will make known to us. All shall be unfolded to us by this infallible Guide, Witness, and Testifier. Hence, John says-“ Now are we the Sons of God.” Now notice, He does not come to make them the sons, but to shew them that they are the Sons of God, and because they are the Sons of God, because they are the redeemed Sons of God by the precious blood of Jesus Christ—“God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying Abba, Father.” Now the great work of the Spirit of God is to reveal this sonship, to reveal that we are the sons of God, or brethren of Christ Jesus” “ Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” It is written, “I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty.”. The only person that can reveal this relationship to a sinner's soul is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of the living God. Hence, you will perceive the excellency of the relationship contained in the words of our text : “ Beloved, now are we the sons of God.

I shall now proceed, in the second place, to consider the CHRISTIAN'S EVIDENCES. And here, I may observe, that the subject will require your undivided attention, that you may be able to keep up with the thread of it. I am about to speak of the Evidences of the sons, or of the children of God. Now, what are the Evidences to you and to me that we are the sons of God, or the children of God ? This is a most important question. What are the Evidences that we are the children of God ? Suppose you had to sit down and write out the Evidences which you really possess in your own souls as to your being the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. What would they be ? I say this, because it is not every operation of the Spirit upon the heart of man, it is not every elevation of the mind, it is not every flash of light into the understanding, that is to be taken as an evidence of sonship. It is not every manifestation of religious zeal, nor excited earnestness after religion, that is to be regarded as a proof that a person is a son of God. Now, I shall try to show you this first, before I speak of the real evidences of Christians. I turn to the book of Exodus and there read of some who were instructed and enlightened by the Spirit of God, and yet I see no evidence that they were the children of God. In the 35th chapter, and from the 30th to the 35th verse, you will find the following :-And Moses said unto the children of Israel, see, the Lord



hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah ; and He hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; and to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. Them hath He filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of them that devise cunning work.” Do you see any evidence in this scripture that these two men, or those connected with them—though they had the operation of the Spirit of God upon them and in themdo you see any evidence that they were the children of God, the sons of God? Not a word! And, therefore, it is not every operation of the Spirit upon a man that proves him to be a son of God, or a child of God. Again, take another example, look into the Book of Numbers, and you will find there the case of Balaam. In the 24th chapter and the 17th verse, he says—“I shall see Him, but not now : I shall behold Him, but not nigh : there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” Now, this was a very beautiful prophecy, and Balaam delivered it by the Spirit of God; but there is no record that the Day-Star had ever risen in his heart, there is no proof, no sign, no evidence, that Balaam was a child of God, though he spoke was moved by the Holy Ghost.” And the New Testament history goes to confirm what I have said. We find Balaam in the black list as given both by Peter and Jude. Take another example, that is, the case of Saul. We find him prophesying. In the 10th chapter of the 1st Book of Samuel we read of Saul, that the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them" (the prophets). But because God gave Saul another heart and the spirit of prophecy, it does not follow that he was a child of God. The Spirit may come upon a man, and this man may be found among the prophets, prophesying, performing miracles, preaching the Gospel, it may be, but these all put together are no certain proof or evidence that he who does them is spiritually born of God. If we pass on to the New Testament, we have Judas among the Apostles, and, for aught we know, he preached the Gospel, and in the name of the Lord did many wonderful works, but these were no evidences of his being a child of God. And, therefore, we conclude from this kind of argument that it is not every operation of the Spirit of God upon the heart of man that is to be regarded as a real evidence or proof of a child of God. If this, then, be the case, it behoves us to consider and examine the Word of God, and see what the real evidences are, which prove to us beyond a doubt that we are indeed “ the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.” Now, the Evidences which I shall name are three. The first is this, the indwelling of the Spirit of God in the hearts of the children of God. He dwells and abides in them


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as a never-failing spring of life and action. What I mean by this evidence may be gathered from our Lord's words, “ the Holy Spirit, the Comforter shall come unto you, and shall dwell in you, and abide in you.” And the Apostle Paul says—“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Now, when the Spirit of God dwells in a man, He takes up his residence and abides in him, and thus He becomes a never-failing spring of life and influence within. Take one or two scriptures to confirm this view. In the 4th chapter of the Gospel of St. John we find that our Lord, when conversing with the woman of Samaria, said, in the 14th verse,

16 Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.This is the Spirit of our God dwelling in a man as a spring of life and of influence! Read again in the 7th chapter of John's Gospel what our Lord says in the 37th and 38th verses—“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst,”—Oh for a thirst that is created by God the Holy Ghost !—“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Now this I understand to be the Spirit of God dwelling in a man as a never-failing spring and well of life—“springing up into everlasting life.”

The Psalmist felt this when he wrote the 45th Psalm. He says—“My heart is inditing a good matter;” but in the margin it reads “ boileth, or bubbleth up." What boileth or bubbleth up within him ? Why, it was a spring of living water. It was the Spirit of our God working and mightily influencing the Psalmist in his thoughts, in his feelings, in his affections, in his words and actions. And this is what I understand as one of the infallible evidences in the child of God that he is one of the sons of God. Now

my first evidence. And the second is this: the witness within that we are the children of God. Now, let us just see what a witness is, and what the office of a witness. You know the passage that I refer to. It is that in the 8th of Romans and the 16th verse,

“The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit," or in other words,—the Holy Ghost gives His evidence or testimony in our hearts and in our spirits “ that we are the children of God.” Let us notice the work of a witness. Our Lord gives it very beautifully in the 5th chapter of John. He there says that the witness that he had was greater than that of John. They had sent to John and he bear witness of Christ, but Jesus says in the 32nd verse :-" There is another that beareth witness of Me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true.” Well, what did John bear witness to ? Was it not to this fact, that “ This is the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “ Ye sent unto John,”—Christ says,“ to know the truth :-I am that Truth”; and this was his testimony. But," He

says, “I receive not testimony from man : but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light : and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But, I have a greater witness than that of John;"_and what is that greater witness?

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