But I said
Within himself, in the thoughts of his heart, when he took up a resolution concerning their conversion, open adoption, and return to their own land, as a symbol of the eternal inheritance: how shall I put thee among the children?
among the children of God, who are so by special adopting grace, which is a high and honourable privilege, greater than to be the sons and daughters of the greatest potentate on earth; who as they are high birth, being born of God, so they are brought up, and fed, and clothed as the children of the King of kings; they have great nearness to and freedom with God their Father; they are heirs with God and joint heirs with Christ, and shall ever remain in this relation. There is a secret and an open putting of the sons of men among the children of God. The secret putting of them among the children is by God the Father, when he predestinated them unto the adoption of children by Christ; when he promised in covenant he would be their Father, and they should be his sons and daughters; and as an act of his own will, secretly, in his own breast, adopted them into his family, his will to adopt being the adoption of them; hence they are called the children of God, previous to their redemption and sanctification, ( Hebrews 2:13 Hebrews 2:14 ) ( John 11:52 ) ( Galatians 4:6 ) . Moreover, our Lord Jesus Christ was concerned in this affair by espousing these persons to himself in covenant, whereby his Father became their Father, and his God their God; and by assuming their nature, whereby they became his brethren, and so the children of God; and by redeeming them, whereby way is made for their actual reception of the adoption of children; when they are openly put among them in the effectual calling, in which the Holy Spirit is concerned, who regenerates them, works faith in them, and witnesses their adoption to them, from whence he is called the Spirit of adoption; regeneration and faith are the evidences of adoption, ( John 1:12 John 1:13 ) ( Galatians 3:26 ) and the Spirit the witness, ( Romans 8:15 Romans 8:16 ) . Now, as all things were seen in one view by the Lord from eternity, as well when he secretly as openly puts them among the children, it may well be thought there were difficulties, at least seeming ones, in the way of it; or, however, such as make it wonderful and marvellous that any of the sons of Adam should be put among the children of God; seeing they that are, sinned in Adam as the rest, fell with him in his transgression into a state of condemnation and death; are corrupt in their first birth, defiled in soul and body, and cast out like the wretched infant, to the loathing of their persons; are as the children of the Ethiopians, black with original and actual sins; are children of disobedience, traitors and rebels against God, and children of wrath, even as others. And though these words may have a principal respect to the Jews, who dealt treacherously with God, in departing from his pure worship, rejecting the Messiah, and continuing in their obstinacy and infidelity, having a "loammi" upon them, and notwithstanding shall be called the children of the living God, ( Hosea 1:9 Hosea 1:10 ) , yet may be applied to any of the sons and daughters of men, whether Jews or Gentiles, that are put among the children of God. And give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of the
the allusion, doubtless, is to the land of Israel, which was a goodly and desirable land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and was the heritage or inheritance of the children of Israel, but not of the hosts of nations; wherefore heaven and eternal happiness is ultimately meant, the better country Christian pilgrims are seeking after, and the desired haven Christian sailors make unto: this is a "pleasant land"; pleasantly situated on high, where are great plenty of provisions, solid substance, enduring riches, the greatest liberty and choices, privileges, and the best of inhabitants and company, Father, Son, and Spirit, angels and glorified saints: this is a goodly heritage
or "inheritance"; not only a house not made with hands, a city that has foundations, but a kingdom and glory, an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, which fades not away, reserved in the heavens: and it may be said to be of the hosts of nations;
for, though it is but one inheritance, vast numbers will share in it, and possess it; even an innumerable company of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues, which are chosen, redeemed, and called out of them: and this is in, the "gift" of God; he regenerates to a lively hope of it, makes meet for it, and of his own good pleasure bestows it; and marvellous it is that he should give it to the persons before described; the putting of them among the children of God, and giving them such an inheritance, are entirely owing to his sovereign grace and goodness, which only can answer the question put, concerning these things. And I said, thou shalt call me my father;
not merely saying these words, but expressing them with affection and faith, under the witnessings of the Spirit of God; and declaring the relation by deeds, by honouring and obeying him, and being a follower of him in his ways and worship: and shalt not turn away from me; either from calling him Father, through the prevalence of unbelief; or from his service and worship, through the power of corruptions, backsliding and revolting from him, with which they are often charged in this chapter; so the Targum,
``shalt not turn from my worship.''