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chuse to quit our Lives, than to depart
3. We are always to remember, that
any Faith that may be called another Faith Jude v. 3. from that which is Scriptural, and was once delivered to the Saints ; then we can no
longer warrant that the Spirit of God shall bear Witness with our Spirits that we are the Children of God.
4. But lastly, tho' it be here said of all Christians in general, that the Spirit bears Witness to them that they are the Children of God, yet it is to be remember'd that no Benefit will hereby accrue to any particular Person that professeth Christianity, if he does got lead his Life according to the Precepts
of it. And therefore it mightily concerns us all, to adorn our Profession by a holy Life: To take Care left that a Promise Heb. 4. 1. being made unto us of entring into God's Res, we should fall short thereof, through a careless, sensual ungodly Life. It is true that all Men are by Baptism made the Children of God, and Heirs of everlasting Life: But yet, no Man shall actually inherit that everlasting Life, but he, who through the Rom. 8. Spirit mortifies the Deeds of the Body, and lives righteously, soberly and godly in this Tit. 2. 12. World. If it be said, how can this be, that any of those to whom the Spirit witnesseth that they are the Children of God, should prove the Children of the Devil? The AnTwer is easy ; that whatever they may prove in the Event, yet by their Christianity they are the Children of God, and have a Right and Title to the Inheritance of Christians : But if they depart from the Rules of their Religion, they forfeit that Right, and they
cancel that Title by their Wickedness and Folly. They are just in the Case of disobedient, incorrigible Children, who were born Heirs to a good Estate ; but through their manifold Miscarriages and Undutifulness have so provoked their Parent, that he at last thinks fit to disinherit them, and cut them off from that which Nature and his fatherly Kindness first designed them to.
Thus far I have pursued the first Notion I gave of the Witness of the Spirit, that which is general and publick, and concerns the whole Body of Christians; and it is in this Sense that some of the most learned Expositors do understand this Text. But
for all that, upon a more strict Consideration of the Apostle's Design in this Chapter, and of what goes before, and what follows after my Text; I am very inclinable to think that St. Paul in these Words does more principally intend (or at least that he hath a particular Respect unto) that latter Notion I
of the Witness of the Spirit : I mean, that private Testimony which the Holy Spirit of God gives to the Minds of particular Christians, that they are in the Favour of God, and shall be rewarded with our Lord Jesus at the last Day. He doth not exclude the publick miraculous Testimony which the Holy Spirit in those Days gave to the Christian Cause; but he seems to take in also another Testimony of the Spirit, by which every Christian then
might, and all Christians, to the End of the World, may conclude that they in particular were, and are the Elect of God, and shall certainly one Day be glorified with our Lord Jesus Christ. This is that which I called the private Witness of the Spirit, and which only concerns particular Persons; and of this I come now to treat in the second Place.
II. Is it be ask'd, what this private Witness of the Spirit is, to the Minds of particular Persons, that they are the Children of God, or wherein it doth confift, I answer very briefly, as far as we can gather from the Apostle's Discourse, both in this place, and in others of his Epistles, it consists in this, viz. In the Holy Ghoft's dwelling in the Hearts of particular Christians, and enabling them to mortify their Lusts, and to lead an holy Life, in all Sobriery, Righteousness and Godliness. Now this Indwelling of the Spirit, and these Fruits thereof, where-ever they are found, are to those that have them a Seal of the Spirit of God upon their Souls, whereby they are Eph.4.30, sealed to the Day of Redemption, as the Apoftle expresses it. They are an Earnest, of 2 Cor. 1. a Pledge of their future Happiness, as the
2 Cor.5.5 same Apostle in other Places calls them. Ephef. 1. Lastly, they are a Testimony or Evidence 13, 14. to their Spirits, that they are the true Sons of God, and shall be glorified with Jesus
Christ in another World; which is the
Now, that this is the true Meaning of the Spirit's witnessing with our Spirit that we are the Children of God, fo far as that Witness concerns particular Persons, will appear evidently from what goes before in this Chapter. The main Design that the Apostle is pursuing, is, to encourage and animate the Christians of his Time, against the Sufferings and Persecutions they were likely to meet with in this World, upony account of their Religion ; and this he doth chiefly from the Consideration of the great Rewards that were laid up for them in the
other World. And to this purpose he tells Rom. 8. them in the tenth Verse, if Christ be in
you, the Body is indeed dead, because of Sin; but the Spirit is Life, because of Righteousnefs: That is, Your Body is indeed obnoxious to all sorts of outward Calamities, and even to Death itself, which is entailed upon the Sons of Adum, upon Account of Sin : But yet the Spirit of Christ, which he hath given to dwell in you, will procure you a glorious Life in another World, upon Account of that inward fpiritual Righteousness which he worketh in you. This is the sense of that Verle. But because what he here faith, is very shortly expressed, and so might be obscure, he explains himself sufficiently in the next Verse. If, says he, the Spirit of him that raised