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Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done."

CHAPTER XX.

OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY, AND LIBERTY OF

CONSCIENCE.

The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the sting

"Ezek xxxvi. 27. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Heb. viii. 10. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. Jer. xxxi. 33.

* Tit. ii. 14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Gal. iii. 13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us : for it is written, Cursed, &c.

« Gal. i. 4. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. Acts xxvi. 18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may

of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation;y as also in their free access to God,' and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love, and a willing mind. a

willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law;b but under the New Testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of

receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Rom. vi, 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you : for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

y Psa, cxix. 71. It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes. 1 Cor. xv. 56, 57. The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. viii. 1.

Rom. v. 2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.

a Rom. viii. 14, 15. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 1 John iv. 18.—There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

b Gal. iii. 9, 14. So then they, which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. - That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

c Gal. v. 1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Acts xv. 10. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon

grace," and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of."

II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which any thing contrary to his word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true

are in

the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? Gal. iv. 1, 2, 3, 6.

a Heb. iv. 14, 16. Seeing then that we have a great high-priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. -Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. x. 19, 20. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

e John vii. 38, 39. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 2 Cor. iii. 13, 17, 18.

! Rom. xiv. 4. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth ; yea, he shall be holden up; for God is able to make him stand.

5 Acts iv. 19. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. Acts v. 29. Then Peter and the other apostles answered, and said, We ought to obey God, rather than men. 1 Cor. vii. 23. Matt. xxiii. 8, 9, 10. 2 Cor. i. 24. Matt. xv. 9.

liberty of conscience ; 5 and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.i

III. They who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, do practise any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

b Col. ii. 20, 22, 23. Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances ;-(which all are to perish with the using,) after the commandments and doctrines of men ? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; but not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. Gal. i. 10. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Gal. ii. 4. And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage. See. Gal. v. 1.

i Isa. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Acts xvii. 11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Johniv. 22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. See also Hos. v. 11, with Rev. xiii. 12, 16, 17.

Gal. v. 13. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 1 Pet. ii. 16.

IV. And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or to the power of godliness ; or such erroneous opinions or practices, as, either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established

As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of mali. ciousness, but as the servants of God. Luke i. 74, 75. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 2 Pet. ii. 19. John viii. 34.

* 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, 16. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, aud for the praise of them that do well.--As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy and not with grief : for that is unprofitable for you. See also Rom. xiii. 1 to the 8th

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