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"Who is the earnest of our inheritance until (or, for) the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory". - Ver. 14.

IN the first place, For the reference of these words to the former; 'who is the earnest.' It referreth not unto Christ, 'in whom you are sealed,' as Faber Stapulensis would have it; but they refer to the Spirit of promise mentioned immediately before. And to put us out of doubt in it, in 2 Cor. v. 5, it is called the 'earnest of the Spirit' Christ is called nowhere an earnest.
Then, secondly, For the scope of his words.
The verse I have read to you is the conclusion of all about the benefits bestowed upon us, and of the Apostle's application of these benefits both to Jew and Gentile. He had enumerated all sorts of benefits, - election, predestination, our redemption by Christ, our vocation, and faith, and sealing. In enumerating of all these benefits, his scope is to mention the special glory that all the three Persons have, and are to have, from us in the work of our salvation. And so his scope is here to shew how great a gift of the Holy Ghost is added unto all that Christ hath done for us, and unto all the Father hath done for us, of which he had spoken in the former verses. As he had set out the Father's work in election in the 4th, 5th, and 6th verses, Jesus Christ's work in redemption in the 7th and the 10th verse, so here his scope is to set forth the great benefit we have by the Holy Ghost: the greatness of that gift, 'We are sealed by him, who is,' saith he, 'the earnest of our inheritance.' It is the conclusion of all, and so comprehendeth all that either the Spirit is to us, or works in us. It expresseth the greatness of the gift of the Holy Ghost to us, and the use that that gift is to us.
So you have the reference of the words; you have the coherence and scope of the words. Now for the division of the words. You have three things contained in this verse eminently.
I. The first is, That the Holy Ghost is an earnest.
II. The second, Of what he is an earnest? of an inheritance. Until when? 'Until the redemption of the possession' of that inheritance.
in. And then, thirdly, The end of all; 'to the praise of his glory?
I. I must first begin to explain the Holy Ghost's being an earnest. And, first, I shall explain the phrase unto you, what that importeth in itself. And, secondly, how it is to be understood that the Holy Ghost is an earnest.
And, first, for the phrase earnest, what is meant by that? It's a word which the Greeks had from the Jews; and although it is not only used in the New Testament by the Holy Ghost, but by profane writers also, yet the Greeks had it from the Tyrian merchants, and so used it in their bargahis as an earnest of the whole sum in bargaining. They used it likewise for any other kind of earnest whatsoever.
The Hebrew word is of a larger signification; it takes in a pledge or pawn, as you call it. You know in your English phrase a pawn is one thing, an earnest is another. Now the word that the Jews used, from whence this is fetched, signifieth a pledge, a pawn, as well as an earnest. As Gen. xxxvin. 17, there Tamar doth require of Judah a pledge that he would give her what he promised her. But the Grecians use it especially for an earnest.It is put for a pledge, but also for an earnest.
Now you will ask, how these two, a pawn and a pledge, do differ from an earnest? I will shew you, first, what is common to them both, which will help to open the thing; secondly, wherein they dijier.
In common, the nature and use of a pledge and an earnest is this, both are to give assurance, to give security. If a man borroweth money of one, oftentimes they leave a pawn; that pawn giveth assurance, giveth security for the payment of so much money. On the other side, if a man goes to bargain with one, the buyer giveth an earnest to the seller, and that also doth bind the bargain. They are both for security, they are both for assurance, that is the scope of both.
How do they differ then?
A pawn is properly for money borrowed, or promised to be paid, and must always be worth as much as the money that it is engaged for; who will take a pawn else? But an earnest is not so; an earnest is but a part in hand. You shall have a bargain that is worth a thousand pound; and the earnest it may be is but sixpence, or a shilling, or a piece. It is but part of the payment.
In the second place, a pawn or a pledge may be something of another kind from money. One may pawn his jewels, his clothe; for money; but an earnest always is a piece of money, for money to be paid. It is a thing of the same kind.
Then, thirdly, a pawn is restored again when the money is paid; but an earnest is never restored, for it is part in hand; a man keepeth it for ever by him.
So that now, by this, you will come to understand what is meant by an earnest. It is; first, a part in hand, part of payment, it is not the whole. It is, secondly, something of the same kind; it is part of the same we shall one day receive. And, thirdly, it is never restored again as a pawn is. I shall have use of these, as you shall find, in opening how the Spirit is an earnest.
The second thing for opening the phrase is this: I have shewed you how a pawn and an earnest differ; now let us see what reference this phrase hath, in the place it cometh in, both to what is before and what is after.
An earnest is of use in two cases, and they are both here glanced at.
An earnest is of use in case of buying and selling, when the bnyer hath not money ready, or the seller hath not his commodity ready, then you give money as an earnest of the bargain.
Secondly, an earnest doth not hold only in buying and selling; but it holdeth in conveying of inheritances. This is the latitude of the Greek phrase. You shall see it amongst ourselves, as I take it, at this day. When an inheritance is conveyed to another man, there is first a writing drawn, with hands unto it. Answerably, there is now for the inheritance of heaven sanctification and faith wrought in the heart, which are the finger of the Holy Ghost; they are his work. There is, secondly, the seal, which is after you have believed and have been sanctified. And, thirdly, in conveying inheritances, if I be not mistaken, they use to carry a man unto the ground. If you sell land or convey an inheritance, if you will give possession, what do you? You carry him unto the ground, and there you give him a turf of earth, something that grows upon the ground, - not money, but something of the same kind with the inheritance he is to possess, - and that bindeth the party, as lawyers know; and it is said to give possession, to give the buyer a further degree of right.
Now see how aptly the Holy Ghost followeth this similitude here in these words. He aimeth at both, he glanceth at both. First, at that way of bargaining; and that is evident by two expressions, the 'redemption which is by price,' and the 'purchased possession.' Yet he chiefly aimeth at conveying an inheritance, for so the words are expressed; it is the earnest, saith he, of our inheritance; and the word possession, that relateth to inheritances: 'The earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.' He glanceth, you see, at both, and takes in both.
And, first to speak a little to that of bargaining. It is true, my brethren, that heaven is a free gift, and there is no buying and selling between us and God about it in a proper sense. Yet let me tell you of this first, that Jesus Christ bought it, it is his purchased possession for us. Now as we sinned, Jesus Christ paid the debt, and he purchased the possession, and we have the earnest of the bargain.
And it was exceeding proper it should be so. Why? Because we are Christ's, we are one with him. It is my purchased possession, saith Christ; give them the earnest of it for whom I purchased it, and it is all one as if you give it me. So now, though in a contrary way to bargaining, - for there the buyer useth to give the earnest of the money, not the seller of the commodity; but here God doth accept of Christ's money, and giveth us an earnest, part of the commodity in hand ; - yet if you will take it in respect of bargaining, it is an earnest between us and God; the Scripture is not abhorrent from that metaphor. You shall find in Matt. xin. 44, 45, the kingdom of heaven, saith Christ, is like to treasure hid in a field, which a merchant man espieth, selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field. It is not a proper buying indeed; but it is a buying what in him lieth, it is a parting with all he hath; God can have no more. He giveth up all his lusts, all the interest he hath in this world, and all the comforts of it, he giveth up himself; it is a buying without money, as the phrase is, Isa. lv. 1.
Now then, when we have given up ourselves thus to God; sold ourselves to him to work righteousness, as Ahab sold himself to work wickedness, then doth God come; there is an earnest for you, saith he; he giveth us an earnest of the commodity which we give up ourselves for. That is the first use of it, it is in respect of bargaining; how it is in respect of inheritances I shall shew afterward.
Observe now how properly and pertinently the Holy Ghost followeth these two similitudes or metaphors of sealing and earnest; he placeth his words most fitly. When he speaks of heaven as a thing promised, then he mentioneth the seal of the Spirit; 'Ye were sealed,' saith he, 'with the Spirit of promise.' When he speaks of heaven as a thing to be possessed and enjoyed, he useth the metaphor of an earnest, or part in hand, that doth give a kind of possession beforehand. - So much now for opening tbe phrase, and the correspondency that one phrase hath to another, which giveth much light to the whole.
The second thing, as I told you, to be done is this, to shew how the Holy Ghost is an earnest.
The great question I had with myself a long while was this, Whether the Holy Ghost is said there to be an earnest only in respect of working assurance of salvation in the hearts of men; so as the meaning should be, that whereas before the Apostle had expressed the work of assurance by sealing, now he doth do it by a new metaphor of being an earnest, importing only the same thing: so as this similitude should be limited to the same thing only that sealing is, namely, to work assurance. But when I had fully considered it, the upshot of my thoughts is this : - It is true, indeed, he mentioneth this of the Spirit being an earnest in a special manner, in respect of assuring us of salvation; for the scope of an earnest is to assure as well as a seal; yet so as it is not to be limited only to the work of assurance, though he hath that especially in his eye; but it is spoken in a large and more general sense, as when I shewed the scope of the words I mentioned; he speaks of the Spirit in respect of all he is to us, and all the work in us. In a word, he is not only an earnest in respect of working an assurance in our hearts, - though so and more particularly, - but he is an earnest in his person given unto us, in his graces wrought in us. An earnest takes in all these. It is a general proposition, brought in indeed upon an occasion of the mention of the Holy Ghost as a sealer in the words before; and it doth second that phrase, and doth more peculiarly suit and comply with it, for an earnest is ordained to assure, yet it is taken in a larger sense. Therefore, now I am to do two things in opening how the Holy Ghost is an earnest.
I am first to shew in general, how the Spirit and all his workings are all the earnest of our inheritance.
Yet, secondly, that there is a work of assurance, in which he is more particularly an earnest.
The scope of an earnest is both to assure the thing, and it is to assure the party to whom the earnest is given. Now in the general sense, take the gift of the Spirit, the graces of the Spirit, they all assure the thing; but then the work of assurance which the Holy Ghost works, that assureth the person. He is an earnest in both.
The metaphor of a seal only respecteth the work of assurance, as I shewed when I handled it; but the similitude of an earnest doth import assuring the thing. It is an earnest of heaven, to make that sure in itself; and it is an earnest of heaven to us, to make us sure of it too. Now therefore I shall speak of these two things.
First, in general to shew you that the Holy Ghost and all his graces are an earnest of our inheritance, that makes sure the thing to us.
And, first, the Holy Ghost himself, abstractedly taken from all our graces, being given to us, is the greatest earnest of heaven to take it sure of all other. My brethren, the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest earnest of heaven that ever was or could be. You must know that in the Greek; there is a varying from grammatical rules in relation to what he had spoken of; for he had spoken of the Spirit, in the neuter gender; but yet he saith 'who is,' it is not 'which is.' I know the observation, and I took it as an excellent one, which Beza makes out of it, that to shew, saith he, that the Holy Ghost is a person, though be in the neuter gender,.yet he speaks of him in the masculine, as of a person, as elsewhere in John xvi. 13, 'When he shall come,' speaking of the Spirit of truth; he speaks of him as of a Person, 'when he,' saith he. Which should teach us to speak reverently of the Holy Ghost ; - it is a good observation, that we should not say of him, it, as is the usual manner amongst us to say, Lord, give us thy Spirit, that it may work this or that. No, that HE may work this or that; he is a person. The original word varieth, as they that know it know well; he doth not say, that or which, but who or he; we should speak still of the Holy Ghost, not it as of a thing, but as of a person. I thought, I say, it was a good observation, that which is gathered from it; but, my brethren, it is not all the meaning of it, when he saith, he, or who, (speaking of his person,) is an earnest. His meaning is, that the gift of the person of the Holy Ghost, taken severed from all his works in us, his person given to us to dwell in us for ever, as he is, this is the greatest earnest that God could bestow upon us, of our inheritance to come. And that is the first thing wherein the Holy Ghost is an earnest; he is an earnest in the gift of his person.
You shall find, 2 Cor. v. 5, the Apostle speaks there of the person of the Holy Ghost, as an earnest given to us distinct from his graces and works in us. Mark the phrase, 'He that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing,' namely for heaven, which he speaks of ver. 4, 'is God.' Here is you see the work of God upon us; he hath wrought, he hath fashioned graces in our hearts. Are not they the great earnest l No, not comparatively, for it followeth, 'who also hath given unto us the earnest of his Spirit.' You shall find in another place, as I shall shew anon, when he speaks of working assurance, he calleth it the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts; but here is the person of the Spirit mentioned distinct from his works; 'who hath also given us the earnest of his Spirit.'
The giving of the Holy Ghost is the greatest earnest of heaven to come, and that considered as distinct from his graces wrought in us. I will make this plain to you in a word or two.
He is the greatest earnest of heaven. Why? Because he is more than heaven. And in this, if you will, he is a pledge rather than an earnest; the signification will come in, for it will bear both. It is a rule in the civil law, a pawn must always be worth more than the money it is pawned for. My brethren, the Holy Ghost is more than heaven, let me tell you so. The Apostle argueth in ibm. vin. 32, If he have given us his Son, how shall he not with him give us all things also? I will argue likewise, Hath he given the person of his Spirit to you to dwell - not personally, take heed of that - but to dwell in your persons for ever ; why, will he not give heaven and all things else, which are less than his Spirit? The gift of the Holy Ghost is the foundation of all grace and glory.
And more, my brethren; we have two of the greatest pawns of our going to heaven that ever was. First, we have the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven with our nature, to shew that man's nature shall come there; there is a pawn in heaven for it. He sendeth down the Holy Ghost into our hearts, the third Person, to shew we shall come thither likewise ; for this Spirit will fetch us up. If he be given to your persons once, as I shall shew you by and by, he will never rest till he hath brought you thither. So he is called an earnest, because he is the great gift, and will draw on the less.
And, secondly, if he be given you simply, his person to your persons, why then he is engaged to bring you to heaven. You think, if you get grace in your hearts, there is an earnest of heaven. Why, grace in itself might be lost, if it were not for the Holy Ghost that dwelleth in your hearts; that is the fountain of it; the stream may he cut off but if the stream have a fountain that continually bubbleth up, the stream will never be dried up, the perpetuity of the stream dependeth upon the fountain. Now, who is the fountain of all grace? It is the Holy Ghost, the gift of the Holy Ghost. John vii. 38, 'He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' Here is a fountain, you see, whence shall flow rivers of living water. Who is this fountain ? Read on, Thus he spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.'
It is the same Spirit, my brethren, that works grace and works glory. In ibm. vin. 23, we are said to have received the 'first-fruits of the Spirit.' Why is grace there called the first-fruits of the Spirit, but because if you have the Spirit you shall have glory? The same Spirit that works grace works glory, as the same ground that beareth the first-fruits beareth the crop.
Learn, therefore, to value and prize this great gift of the Holy Ghost. If he dwell in you, and hath begun to work grace in your hearts, which is an argument his person is given to your persons for ever, he will never leave you. The Spirit doth not dwell in us as he did in Adam, so long as we shall be holy; but he dwelleth in us to work holiness, he cometh down to us therefore when we are unholy.
I will name but one place; it is ibm. vin. 11: 'If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you;' what then? 'He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' My brethren, doth the Spirit dwell in you now? When you are laid in the grave, that Spirit dwelleth in you as he did in the body of Christ; I do not say in the same high manner. The Spirit of God did dwell in the body of Christ in the grave, and raised it up, he never left him; though his body was a dead carcass without a soul, yet that body was hypostatically united to the Godhead, therefore it is called Holy One : 'My Holy One shall not see corruption.' Now, the comparison is, If we have the Spirit of Christ, and if he dwell in us, the same Spirit shall never leave our bodies till he hath raised us up also. Nay, while thy body is dead and rotten in the grave, the Holy Ghost dwelleth in it. So that now the gift of the Holy Ghost is the greatest earnest of heaven that could be. That is the first.
As the Spirit is an earnest of heaven, so the graces of the Spirit are to assure the thing still, for that is one use of an earnest. My brethren, grace is part of heaven, as I have oft expressed it; it is that to heaven which colours are to varnish, that is grace to glory. 'He that believeth hath eternal life.' Love, you know, is said to remain, 1 Cor. xin.; and grace is called the first-fruits of the Spirit, Rom. vin. 23. - And so now his general you see how the Holy Ghost is said to be the earnest of our inheritance in a more large sense than the work of assurance; he is an earnest both in the gift of his person, and likewise in his graces.
What graces? you will say.
Why, in faith and love. You would look for me glorious thing now; faith and love are the graces that God works by the person of the Holy Ghost given unto thee. The Apostle instanceth in these two in the next verse to the text : 'For this cause,' saith he, 'I have given thanks for your faith in Christ, and love to all the saints.' Hath the Holy Ghost wrought these in thy heart? These are an earnest that the person of the Holy Ghost is given unto thee; and the person of the Holy Ghost being given unto thee, is an earnest that that inheritance that God hath appointed for his children shall be thine. That Spirit dwelling in thee that dwelt in Christ, shall raise up thy mortal body as it raised up Christ's. Now, my brethren, I must come to the second place, and shew you how, though, in general in a more large sense, the Holy Ghost is said to be the earnest of our inheritance; yet in a more proper sense it is spoken in respect of the work of assurance which the Holy Ghost works in us. That is the peculiar, special thing that the Holy Ghost hath in his eye; and why? Because he coupleth it with sealing. Saith he, 'He hath sealed us by his Spirit, who is the earnest,' namely as a sealer, as one that giveth assurance; we have assurance in us of our redemption, &e. Compare but Eph. iv. 30 with this verse; there you read, 'We are sealed to the day of redemption;' that is, God hath wrought assurance in us that we shall be redeemed, and he hath sealed us up to the day of redemption. Here it is, 'Who is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption,' die. So that both import the work of assurance.
The end or an earnest is to work assurance in the party that it is given unto, as well as a seal. You shall find in 2 Cor. i. 21, 22, speaking of establishing us in Christ, - it is a place I have often quoted, - of his working assurance in our hearts of being in Christ, he calleth it in the next verse sealing us, and giving us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. He mentioneth them both, and putteth them both together, as being that whereby the Holy Ghost doth establish us. And in that he addeth, 'He hath given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts,' for that is the phrase there - the place in 2 Cor. v. 5 I quoted even now mentioneth only giving of the Spirit; but in that place of 2 Cor. i. 22 be is said to give the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, - what is the meaning of that? It importeth a work upon the heart, to assure and establish the heart; that it is not only an earnest from God to the person to make the thing sure to him, but it is an earnest wrought in the heart of the man to whom the thing is given in a specinl manner. And that that is the meaning of it, read the next verse in that 2 Cor. v. 6, 'Therefore,' saith he, (because we have this earnest,) 'we are always confident.'
Now, my brethren, the great business is this, seeing the earnest of the Spirit is put for giving assurance, and the sealing of the Spirit is put for the giving assurance too, how to distinguish these two; or rather, what is it that the one similitude holdeth forth more eminently, and what doth the other mainly import? I had thought sometime that the earnest of the Spirit had been some further thing than the sealing of the Spirit; but certainly it importeth the same thing, only, as the manner of Scripture simiitudes is, wherein one simile falleth short the other helpeth it out. So they both imply the work of assurance. He hath sealed us by the Spirit, who is an earnest - that is, as a sealer he is an earnest; yet sealing implieth one thing in assurance, the earnest of the Spirit implieth another.
You will ask me, how we shall distinguish these two?
I shall do it briefly, as God hath given me light. You know the soul of man hath two great faculties that are wrought upon; he hath an understanding, he hath a will and affections. Now, as we believe with the whole heart, so we are assured with the whole heart too. There is a work both upon the understanding and upon the will; by the one a man knoweth his estate in grace, his understanding is fully convinced of it; the will and affections do taste the sweetness of it beforehand. You shall find, Rom. v. 5, speaking of assurance, which he calleth hope, as he doth elsewhere, he saith, 'Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts;' not only into one faculty, but into all faculties, both into the understanding and will.
Now then, if you will know what sealing holdeth forth more especially, it is the work upon the understanding. The seal, though it assureth, yet it is not part of the inheritance; but the earnest so assureth as it giveth you part of the inheritance; it works that joy in the heart which the saints shall have in heaven. You have both these mentioned in assurance in some places of Scripture. The work of assurance upon the understanding, (that is properly sealing,) Col. ii. 2, it is called 'the full assurance of understanding.' So, Heb. x. 22, it is called the 'full assurance of faith.' It is an overpowering light, whereby a man's understanding is fully convinced that he is God's, and that God is his; as God kuoweth who are his, he knoweth himself to be God's. That is sealing properly or more eminently. Now what is earnest? It is a giving you part in hand, part of that joy and comfort, that taste of heaven. When he thus sealeth he accompanieth it with a taste, with 'joy unspeakable and glorious.' It is a part taken up beforehand, as heirs take up money upon their lands beforehand. It is not a bare conviction that a man shall go to heaven; but God telleth him in part what heaven is, and lets the soul feel it. There is nothing sweeter than the love of God, and the tasting of that sweetness is the earnest of the inheritance.
I shall give you scripture that holds forth both these. Look into Ps. iv.; there first you have the work upon the understanding of a man, ver. 6, 'Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us;' then followeth the work upon the will, ver 7, 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart,' saith he, 'more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.' In Col. ii. 2, you have two things mentioned: you have first 'that their hearts may be comforted' - there is the earnest of the Spirit; then you have, 'unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding ' - there is the seal of the Spirit. The Spirit, John xiv., as promised by Christ, is called both a Comforter and the Spirit of truth; the one for working upon the will, putting comfort there; the other for working upon the understanding, convincing that. 1 Thess. i. 5, 6, compared, there is receiving the word 'in much assurance ' - that is the work upon the understanding; and there is with 'joy in the Holy Ghost ' - that is the work upon the will and affections. Here is sealing, here is earnest.
You shall find in 1 Pet. i. 8, 9, he had said that 'believing, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory; ' - therefore this is no less than heaven, part of heaven. When Paul was in heaven, what did he hear? Things unspeakable; so is this joy, and it is called glorious because it is a part of heaven ; - here now is the earnest of the Spirit. Yea, if you observe the phrase that followeth in the 9th verse, ' Receiving,' saith he, 'the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.' I find that the best expositors interpret this receiving of salvation not to be meant of heaven, for then he would have said, you shall receive salvation; but to be meant of assurance, which is the end of faith, it is the reward of faith. When a man hath been long tried, (the trial of your faith, which he speaks of, ver. 7,) in the end he cometh to be assured, he receiveth the end of his faith, which is the assurance of the salvation of his soul. Why is it called salvation? It is heaven, my brethren; that is the reason of it. So now you see what is meant by the earnest of the Spirit, both in respect of assurance and abo in respect of assuring the thing, and the work of assurance.
I shall now come to some observations. The first observation is this
Obs. 1. - There is no falling from grace. Why? Because the gift of the Holy Ghost, and his graces, and the work of assurance, are an earnest. Pledges indeed are restored again; if he were only a pledge or a pawn it were something, but he is said to be an earnest. Now, what saith Christ, John xiv. 16 ? 'I will give you the Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;' never to be returned again, as you know an earnest is not.
The truth is this : if men to whom he giveth the Spirit should not be saved, God must lose his earnest, he must lose his Spirit. As he would not lose the deaths of his Son, that he should die in vain; so he will not lose his Spirit, whom he giveth as an earnest unto believers. Luke x. 42, saith Christ to Mary, 'Thou hast chosen the better part, which shall never be taken from thee.'
Obs. 2. - Secondly, As joy in the Holy Ghost and assurance is an earnest, it is part of payment. You know in an earnest, if you have part in hand, you have the less when you come to receive the full sum. I will not say that it is so here, that those that have most comfort here shall have less in heaven; but this I will say, if they do not improve this earnest, if they do not put thus talent out to use, they shall have less, let me tell them so. I may say in this case, just as Christ said to Thomas, John xx. 29, 'Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.' Thou hast seen Christ, thou hast an earnest of heaven, thou hast some sight, some taste; it is well thou art obedient; but let me tell thee that they that are obedient as thou art, and yet have not this earnest, there is more behind. Therefore, poor soul, comfort thyself; lsast thou not had this earnest penny, and yet thou hast been obedient to God? There is the more behind.
OBS. 3 - You that have the earnest of the Spirit, prize it. You use to lay up your earnest money, by which you may sue for the bargain, safely and carefully, you prize it more than all your other money, as you do your bonds more than all your other papers in your study besides, because you have that to sue for your debt. Value, therefore, the Holy Ghsost's graces, especially the earnest of him whereby he works assurance. - So much now for this, that he is said to be the earnest of our inheritance,
II. Now, to come to the second thing mentioned, of what he is said to be the earnest, and until when. He is said to be ' the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.' I put both these together, of what the Spirit is an earnest, and until when, as under a second head.
First, Of what? Of an inheritance. What is the inheritance? Will you know what it is, my brethren? Look Roms. vin. 17, we are said there to be heirs of God. It is a mighty speech; I do not know how to speak more of your inheritance. 'Heirs of God,' saith he, 'and co-heirs with Christ;' that is, God himself is your inheritance. Why, how do you prove that this is the meaning of it? Because you are co-heirs with Christ. Now, who is Jesus Christ's inheritance? Who makes Christ happy? God. Ps. xvi. 5 ; it is a psalm of Christ plainly : 'The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup;' and so he concludeth, 'At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.' Now, my brethren, if God be the inheritance, you see a just reason wlsy that the person of the Holy Ghost should be the earnest, that he that is God should be the earnest of the inmhscritance, which is God too.
I will give you one scripture more; it is Rev. xxi. 7, 'He that overcometh shall imsherit all things, and I will be his God.' God and all things are a man's inheritance, whereof the Holy Ghost is the earnest.
He is the earnest 'until the redemption of the purchased possession.' The word our translators do rightly interpret it; they read it until, for so, Eph. iv. 30, 'Ye are sealed,' saith he, 'unto the day;' until the day, until then; for that indeed is the proper scope of an earnest when the full payment and possession is deferred, to assure in the meantime, to assure until then; therefore, Rom. vin. 23, we are said to wait for the redemption of the body, having received the first-fruits of the Spirit.
The second thing to be explained is redemption. What is meant here by redemption?
That is easy. It is not the redemption by Christ's blood; there needeth no earnest until that, for that is past, that is done already. That you read of ver. 7, 'In whom we have redemption through his blood,' that is not actual redemption, it is the paying of the price once for all; but the redemption here is actual and complete full redemption; as Luke xxi. 28, 'When your redemption draweth nigh, lift up your heads.
There is a twofold redemption. The one is a redemption by price, the paying of the price. In Heb. ix. 12, it is said that Jesus Christ, before he went to heaven, obtained redemption for us. And there is a redemption of application of that price unto us, which is the redemption meant here; as Ephs. iv. 30, they were sealed unto the day of redemption; it is to come.
And let me say this to you, the reason why Musculus would have this word possession added to redemption is, saith he, to distinguish it from that redemption of Christ's by price, that was the redemption of paying the price; but this is whereby we are put into the possession of it. It is the account that he doth give of the phrase.
Or if you will, I will distinguish it thus to you, that I may magnify the Holy Ghost unto you. There is a redemption by Jesus Christ's paying the price, and there is a redeeming us by the Spirit, applying that price; therefore he is said to be the earnest of our inheritance for the redemption - that is, to work redemption; so some interpret he is the cause of redemption, he is on purpose to work it, not as an idle earnest that lieth by us, but as a hostage; being a person that works the redemption of the party, he is a hostage for us. Therefore if you read Rom. vin. 9, 10, 23, you shall find that the redemption of our bodies, and the raising up of our bodies, is ascribed unto the Spirit of God. So now you easily understand what is meant by redemption.
But then why should the Holy Ghost put in this word possession, and 'purchased possession,' as the word indeed signifieth? Certainly he is not redundant, it is not an overplus. Eph. iv. 30, where he speaks of the same thing, he saith merely this, they were 'sealed to the day of redemption;' but here it is 'until the redemption of the possession.' There is a mystery in it.
First, Beza makes it a mere inversion, a speaking backward; or, as I may express it in English, instead of saying possession of redemption, he saith redemption of possession; and it is, as scholars know, a frequent thing in Scripture to use such inversions of speech; as 'the law of righteousness,' for 'the righteousness of the law,' or the righteous law; a man of blessedness, for a blessed man; Lev. v., there 'the silver of the shekel' is put for a 'shekel of silver,' die.
And there is this to confirm Beza's interpretation, that in 1 Thess. v. 9, where he useth this phrase, we are, saith he, ordained for the possession, or obtaining salvation. It is the same word used here. So that the possession of salvation in that of the Thessalonians is all one with the possession of redemption here, redemption being ordinarily called salvation. Therefore, as I said before, Musculus saith it is put it by way of distinction, that whereas in the 11th verse he said we had obtained an inheritance, here in the 14th verse he saith the Spirit is an earnest of the possession of that redemption, or of that inheritance. - That is the first interpretation.
But, my brethren, because that this may seem to be a harsh phrase, we will see if there be anything that expositors give that will run more smoothly and currently. I find that there are two interpretations that are given of it yet more.
It is called, in the first place, 'the redemption of the purchased possession,' by purchased possession meaning the people of God; so that the meaning is this, that the Holy Ghost is the earnest of our inheritance till all God's people, his purchased possession and inheritance, be all redeemed, and then we shall receive the full inheritance together with them all. And this, the truth is, most interpreters run upon, and Calvin himself; and he giveth this good gloss upon it too: 'You should not,' saith he, 'think much to stay a while, and only to be content with an earnest, for you stay but till God hath gathered in all his people whom he hath purchased; when he hath once perfectly redeemed them all, you yourselves shall be estated in the inheritance.' The Spirit is an earnest of the inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.
To give you some scripture to confirm this interpretation. First, in 1 Peter ii. 9, there he calleth the people of God - he useth the very same phrase that is used here 'a peculiar people,' or a purchased possession to God, so you may read it. He doth allude unto that in Exod. xix. 5, whence he takes the word, where they are said to be 'a holy people, a peculiar treasure,' or an inheritance unto God. And so now, as he calleth heaven our inheritance in the former words, so he calleth us that are redeemed God's inheritance his these words.
I shall name no more places, but that Deut. xxxii 9, 'The Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.' And then, whereas it is said they are a purchased inheritance; my brethren, it is well added, for the people of God are so; they are not only God's inheritance by choice, but they are his by purchase. The word is to get a thing by labour, by cost, and by conquest, and so it is more. They are not only his inheritance, but they are his purchased possession, his purchased inheritance. Look into Acts xx. 28; saith he, 'The church whom he hath purchased with the blood of God.' The word used for purchased there, is the same word that is used here. This is the glory of the people of God, that they are God's purchased ones; not only his inheritance, but his purchased inheritance.
A second interpretation is this. By 'purchased possession' here is meant heaven itself. The same thing which he had spoken of before, calling it thsere an inheritance, here he calleth it a purchased possession. For this there is as express a scripture as for the former : Heb. x. 39, 'We are not of those that draw back to perdition, but of them that believe,' 'unto their salvation;' it is the same word that is here; we translate it 'unto the salvation of their souls,' which salvation is purchased by the blood of Christ. So that now his scope is, to note out the glory of heaven to consist in two things. First, in a perfect redemption, freeing us from all sin and misery; and, secondly, in a glorious possession, purchased by the blood of Christ. Now, saith he, ' He is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of our purchased possession.'
But only the phrase, you will say, is harsh to interpret it of heaven; for how, you will say, is there a redemption ? for heaven is not said to be redeemed; it is bought indeed, but how is it said to be redeemed?
I answer two things. In the first place, it is said to be the redemption of this possession in respect of the persons to be redeemed and possessed of it. That is sometimes attributed to heaven which is not meant of it, but of the persons that shall come thither. As, for example, it is called an inheritance immortal and undefiled. Why? Because we shall be undefiled when we come thither. I go,' saith Christ, 'to prepare a place for you.' It was prepared from the beginning of the world; he saith so, because they were to be prepared. So, because we are to be redeemed and to be possessed of it, therefore it is called 'the redemption of the possession; ' that is, by which, when we are redeemed, we shall be possessed of it.
And, my brethren, it is not an improper phrase to say, 'the redemption of this possession,' of heaven. 'Why? Because there lieth a great many clogs in our way to it which must be removed : there lies sin and Satan, in whose hands we are, and death; and all these we must be redeemed from, all these must be removed before we have clear and quiet possession; therefore it is said, the Spirit is a seal until the redemption of the purchased possession. As a man that hath all estate, and right to it good enough, but he is troubled with suits in law that keep him from the possession of it; it may be called the redemption of his possession, when all is paid, and all suits are at an end. If you ask me which of these two the Holy Ghost means? Clearly and plainly, my brethroms, he meaneth both, and it is the greatest elegancy in the writings of the Holy Ghost that he should intend both; as you shall see by and by.
For, first, if you take this purchased possession to be meant of heaven itself, that inheritance he speaks of, which the Spirit is the earnest of, it is the most elegant expression that could be. Why? For whereas you have not the actual possession of heaven until you are redeemed from sin and misery; and an earnest doth use to give interest in a possession beforehand, it giveth a right unto the hand, you may clams the hand by it. Hence he fitly saith he is the earnest of our inheritance aforehand, before we come to possess it, and being redeemed to possess it.
Then, again, if you take it for the church and people of God, for God's inheritance, it is as elegant every way and as proper. For, first, the Apostle's meaning is this, 'Ye have the earnest of the Spirit,' saith be, 'until the redemption.' Do you think much to stay for it? you do but stay till the redemption of all God's people; it is a common case, and God himself stayeth for them; they are his peculiar, they are his treasure, thsey are his purchased ones; he stayeth till they be redeemed : therefore, saith he, you may well stay. They are his redeemed people, his people purchased by the blood of Christ; but thsough purchased by the blood of Christ, yet they are 'sold under sin,' as the Apostle saith; they are promised, the word is and therefore they are detained from him by sin, and death, and Satan. Now therefore is to us the promise giveth them an earnest until the redemption of this possession, until he hath redeemed unto himself, and vindicated by his Spirit his people unto himself.
My brethren, whereas God is to stay for his own inheritance, what doths he do to make sure of the commodity? He giveth an earnest. It is an elegant expression, and infinitely comfortable to us. As the Holy Ghost is as earnest to us of our inheritance, he is an earnest to God of his inheritance too. The Apostle hath both in his eye, for our hearts are slippery commodities. God hath bought us by the blood of Christ, we would give him the slip ; therefore, to make sure of us, he giveth us his Spirit, to be an earnest of our redemption too, to redeem us, and to bring us to heaven at last. And the word ' purchased possession,' signifies a guard, those that are guarded and defended; it signifies them. He giveth us the Holy Ghost to guard us to heaven : an earnest, not to lie still, but as a hostage to accompany us thither. God is loath to lose you, as you are loath to lose him, therefore he giveth you his Spirit as an earnest; therefore nothing can be more to the comfort of God's saints. Thus vast and various is the Holy Ghost in his writing, and in his aims in both these expressions. Wo are God's inheritance ; he is our inheritance: the Holy Ghost is an earnest to us; he is an earnest to God, 'until the redemption of the purchased possession.
Now you have the meaning of the words, I will give you an observation or two from them.
Obs. - First, see the love of God.
1. That God should not only bestow his inheritance upon us, but bestow himself upon us, for himself is this inheritance ; and not only make us heirs of his, but make us his own inheritance too, for so the word possession will bear it; that that God, who is blessed for ever, should call his people his inheritance, which he liveth upon as it were, - for you know that a man's inheritance is that he liveth upon, - call them his purchased possession : here we have. .
2. That he should purchase thus inheritance by the blood of Chsrist, and so dear for it. Thsoy are not only his inheritance, but his purchased inheritance too; he did it to show his love the more.
3. When he had bought us by Christ, be sheweth yet a further love; for though we were bought, and the price was paid, we still lie in sins, and therefore he sendeth his Spirit into our hearts to rescue us thence, to subdue us, to redeem us ; until the redemption of the purchased possession be giveth the Spirit as an earnest.
4. He doth this to make sure work, that he might not lose us.
5. He giveth us this Spirit as an earnest to assure us in the meantime, to comfort us. He doth not only reserve heaven for us, (as it is 1 Pet. i. 4,) but he is careful to give us the Comforter while we are here, beforehand. You see the love of God.
Obs. - In the second place, do but observe, from what hath been opened, some arguments of the greatness of the glory of heaven.
1. Heaven is an inheritance given, and God's inheritance. Great men give inheritances answerable to their greatness; what inheritance then will God give? Himself, my brethren, as you heard before : 'heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ.' You cannot be more happy than God can make you, or than Jesus Christ is, and you are co-heirs with him.
2. How great will that inheritance be, when 'joy in the Holy Ghost' is but the earnest? The earnest, you know, is but a sixpence, it may be, to a thousand pounds. Then, as a father well saith, how great is the possession, when the earnest is thus great? Take joy in the Holy Ghost, it filleth your hearts fuller of joy than all the good things in the world will do. So David telleth you, more than corn, and wine, and oil. Are you in distress ? It carrieth you above all those distresses : ''We rejoice in tribulation,' saith the Apostle; they made nothing of tribulation. Nay, rejoice when you fall into divers of them. This the Holy Ghost doth. If the earnest do this, shall a little piece of it do this, what will the Possession itself be? If you mark it, the great inheritance is to come.
3. It is called the purchased possession, if you interpret it of heaven. Purchased by what? By the blood of Christ. What think you will the purchase of Christ's blood come to? Do but think. A king's ransom is used to express a great sum ; what will the ransom by the blood that was made a ransom, - so the text saith, 1 This. ii. 6, - what will the ransome by the blood of God come to? When Jesus Christ laid down his blood, saith he, Let my heirs take out all that blood of mine in glory and grace. What will that glory come to, think you?
4. It is both a redemption and a possession. Two things in hell make men miserable, and divines know not which is the greater. The one is that they have lost heaven and happiness, and that wringeth thom; the other is the feeling of the wrath of God. The glory of heaven answerably, which makes us happy, consisteth of two things: a redemption from misery, and the possession of happiness.
in. There is yet one thing more in the text, which I must speak something unto ere I conclude; they are the last words in the 14th verse, Unto the praise of his glory. It is a thing mentioned as the end of all. It is mentioned in the 6th verse as the end of election; 'to the praise of the glory of his grace.' It is mentioned in the 12th verse, in his application to the Jews; 'that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.' It is mentioned here again in the 14th verse, when he maketh application of all unto the Gentiles; 'in whom ye also trusted, die, unto the praise of his glory.'
You shall find that, in all the enumerations of the benefits of God towards us, these two things come in again and again, 'in Christ,' and 'to the praise of his glory.' That 'in Christ' cometh in nine times; 'to the praise of his glory' cometh in thrice. There is a trinity of glory unto God, as there are Three Persons whom he had distinctly mentioned as the authors of our salvation; both God the Father, and God the Son, 'in whom we have redemption through his blood,' at the 7th verse; and God the Holy Ghost, 'by whom ye are sealed,' 'who is the earnest of our inheritance,' ver. 13.
To the praise of his glory. It referreth first to the persons; when he had spoken of the salvation of the Jews, ver. 11, 12, there he mentioneth their salvation to be 'to the praise of his ghory.' When he speaks it again to the Gentiles, there he sounds it out again, 'to the praise of his glory.'
That the Gentiles should be added to the Church, therein was God exceedingly glorified. So it is said in the Acts, when they saw that God had given repentance to the Gentiles, thus they glorified God. And though in making application both to the Jew and Gentile, he reckoneth apart something of the one and something of the other, that are in common to be applied to both; yet in his application he distinctly mentioneth, 'to the praise of his glory.' So in the conclusion of his application to the Jew, in the 12th verse, 'to the praise of his glory.' So in the conclusion of his application to the Gentile, in the 14th verse.
As it referreth thus to the persons, that God should have glory for converting the Gentiles, turning them ; so likewise it referreths to the special benefits he had mentioned. He had mentioned their believing, he had mentioned their being sealed up, and having the Holy Ghost as an earnest of their inheritance : 'to the praise of his glory,' saith be.
Every new benefit should have 'to the praise of his glory' added to it in our hearts. Dost thou believe? Live to the praise of his glory. Hast thou assurance added to thy faith, and a being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise? There is a further expectation that thou shouldest be to the praise of his glory; for God hath in that, if thou wast sealed, glorified thee, for to that it hath reference. He that is sealed up to the day of salvation, and hath 'joy unspeakable and glorious,' that hath his heart filled with it, hath not only the Spirit of grace, but, as the Apostle saith, I Peter iv. 14, he hath the Spirit of glory resting on him. He hath the beginnings of glory in his heart, therefore it is expected that he should live much more to God's glory. It is the expression of Peter, in that 1 Peter i. 9, as by the coherence appeareth, and as I have shewed ahready, that those which are filled with 'joy unspeakable and glorious,' which are the words just before, do receive the end of their faith; tbey do receive it at present, they have part of their wages; they are partly in heaven, especially at the time when they have it. Therefore if God glorify them, it is expected much more of such that they should live to his glory. And self-love in these is secured, it is provided for, which useth to bustle in those which want assurance; but God hath quieted and secured that principle in thee, that now thou must lay out all for God's glory.
Or else, in the last place, 'unto the praise of his glory' may have relation - and so Piscator carries it, and there is none of these references but it is to be taken in - to the 'redemption of the purchased possession.' There is a purchased possession to the praise of his glory; God hath appointed us and sealed us up unto it.
My brethren, why hath God appointed an inheritance, a heaven to his children? It is to the praise of his glory. God will be glorified in nothing more than in the greatness of that glory which he bestoweth upon his children at last. How great therefore shall their glory be, when the utmost glory of God, the utmost praise of his glory, of his manifestative glory, - for that is meant by the praise of his glory; glory is his essential glory, the praise of it is the manifestation of his glory, - when this must arise out of his glorified creatures? We shall by this see how glorious a God he is, by seeing how glorious and happy he can make creatures to be. In 2 Thess. ii. 14, he saith there, that we are 'ordained unto the obtaining,' 'of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.' The words may be read, either to the obtaining glory in Christ, or else to the obtaining the same glory Jesus Christ hath; and either of both argue this glory to be infinitely glorious. 2 Thess. i. 10, ''When he shall come,' saith he, 'to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe,' This same purchased possession is to the praise of his glory. Then will Jesus Christ be manifested how glorious he is; but where and how? In those that believe; in sbewing how glorious he can make them to be.
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