« PreviousContinue »
SERM. The Lord is that Spirit ; and where the
Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.
places, where he advises Christians to beGal. ii. 4.
ware of false brethren that would spie out
intangled again with the yoke of bondage ; Gal. v. 13. not to use Liberty for an occafion to the
Flesh; to take heed left by any means this 1 Cor. viii. Liberty of theirs, became a stumbling-block ge to them that are weak : And accordingly
concerning himself he declares in this re-
2dly, In other places of Scripture, the
Pr. liii. 5.
Tiverance from the Bondage of that Fear, SERM.
BUT further ; even with regard to
3dly, The Liberty of a Christian, may also sometimes very properly signify, his Deliverance from the "Slavery of endless Superftition. Of the Prophets of Baal 'tis
SER M. recorded; 1 Kings xviii. 28. that they cried I.
aloud, and cut themselves with knives and lancets, till the Blood gushed out upon them : And of some other Idolaters ; that they caused their own Children, to pass through the Fire to Moloch. Those among the Heathen, who were less Cruel ; yet were in perpetual Fear, of Dreams and Omen's and vain Presages; and in continual Bondage to tedious and useless Observations. The Corrupters of Christianity, have after the fame Example, introduced an intolerable Burden of Pilgrimages and Abstinencies and voluntarily Humilities which Who has required at their Hands? All which things when a reasonable man seriously considers, he may very properly ask himself that Question, which Naaman's servant put to his Master, 2 Kings v. 13. If God kad bidden thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then, when be faith unto thee, Wash and be clean ; when he only faith unto thee, Repent and amend.
BUT 4thly and lastly, That which it chiefly and above all signifies in Scripture-phrase, is (what I have applied it to in the foregoing discourse) Free
dom from the Slavery of Sin, So the Serm, Apostle expressly, Rom. vi. 18. Being
I. then made Free from Sin, ye became the Servants of Righteousness. Rom. viii. 2. The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jefus, bas made me free from the law of Sin and Death; and ver. 21. delivered from the bondage of Corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Where this Liberty is improved to any confiderable degree, the person is said to be dead to Sin; in opposition to those who on the contrary, for want of any improvement at all, are represented as dead in Sin. Rom. vi. 7. He that is dead, (or, as it is explained by an easier Phrase in the verse before, he in whom the body of Sin is destroyed,) is free from Sin; and 1 Pet. iv. 1. He that has suffered in the Flesk, (viz. he that has conquer'd his corrupt affections ;) has ceased from Sin.
That the Words, suffered in the Flesh, must in this place be understood thus, not literally but figuratively, appears evidently from the following Words, V. 2.
That be no longer Nould live the rest of his Time in the Flesh, to the Lufts of Men, but to the Will of God. The highest improvement
SER M.and perfection of this Liberty in the pres I.
sent Life, is, when a man not only obeys the Commands of God, but does it habitually with ease and pleasure; when the Commandments of God seem not grievous to him, but the yoke of Christ easy, and his burden light; when he can delight to know the Ways of God, and call his Saba baths a delight, Il. lviii. 2, 13; when he can say with yob, ch. xxii. ver. 26, that he has his delight in the Almighty ; with
the Pfalmist, Pf. i. 2. that bis delight is Pl. cxix. in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law 14, 16, 24. doth he exercise himself day and night; and 77. 174. with our Saviour himself, yob. iv. 34. My
meat is to do the Will of him that fent me, and to finish his Work. When This is the Case, which is the highest pitch of ChriStian Perfection upon Earth ;
Earth ; then
it be said of such a Person, that he continueth in the perfe&t Law of Liberty, Jam. i. 25; ii.
he the Pfalmist, Pf. cxvi. 16. O Lord, I am thy servant and the son of thine handmaid, tbou haft broken my Bonds in sunder ; And I will walk at Liberty, for I seek thy commandments, Pf. cxix. 45. Then is fulfilled That Prophecy, Il. lxi. 1. applied by our
cry out with