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\ I confess I said thus, O king; and had said more, if more wine had been given me.” Treason is but a tavern dialect. Anything passes well under the Rose. It is not the man, but the liquor; not the liquor, but the excess, that is guilty of this liberty.

There is an audacious and factious liberty of this loose film; which not only ill-tutored scholars take to themselves under the name of libertas prophetandi, pestering, both presses and pulpits with their bold and brainsick fancies; but unlettered tradesmen, and tattling gossips too: with whom, deep questions of divinity, and censures of their teachers, are grown into common table-talk; and peremptory decisions of theological problems is as ordinary almost, as backbiting their neighbours. • There is a profane liberty of atheous swaggerers, which say, Disrumpamus vincula ; let us break their bonds. Not religion only, but even reason and humanity seem fetters to these spirits; who, like the demoniac in the Gospel, having broken all their chains, find no freedom, but among the noisome graves of hateful corruptions.

There is a disloyal liberty of those rebellious spirits, which deupise government, and hold it a servitude, to live within the range of wholesome laws. There is no freedom with these unquiet dispositions, but in the bold censures of authority, in the seditious calumniations of superiors, and in their own Utopical prescriptions. Every thing is good to these men, save the present ; and nothing, save their own. Though all these are not so much liberties, as licentiousness.

Besides these, there are civil liberties of persons, towns, incorporations, countries, kings, kingdoms, Good reason these should be mutually stood upon. Religion was never an enemy to the due orders and rights of policy. God's book is the true Magna Charta, that enacts both king and people their own. He, that hath set bounds to the wide ocean, hath stinted the freest liberty

But these liberties are not for the pulpit. It is the CHRISTIAN LIBERTY, wherewith we have to do: that alone hath scope enough, both for our present speech and perpetual maintenance.

This Christian Liberty stands, either in Immunity from evil, or Enlargement to good.

The Immunity is from that, which is evil in itself; or that, which is evil to us. In itself: Sin; Satan. Sin, whether in the fault, or in the punishment; the punishment, whether inward, or outward : inward, the slavery of an accusing conscience; outward, the wrath of God, death, damnation. Evil to us : whether burdensome traditions, or the law; the law, whether moral, or ceremonial; moral, whether the obligations, or the curse.

Enlargement to good: whether in respect of the creature, which is our free use of it; or whether in respect to God, in our voluntary service of him, in our free access to him : access, whether to his throne of grace, or our throne of glory.

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I have laid before you a compendious tablet of our Christian Liberty : less than which, is bondage; more than which, is looseness.

Such abundant scope there is in this allowed freedom, that what heart soever would yet rove further, makes itself unworthy of pity in loosing itself. Do we think the angels are pent up in their hea. vens, or can wish to walk beyond those glorious bounds? Can they hold it a restraint, that they can but will good ; like to our liquorous first parents, that longed to know evil?

Oh the sweet and happy liberty of the sons of God! All the world, besides them, are very slaves; and lie obnoxious to the bolts, fetters, scourges of a spiritual cruelty.

It is hard to beat this into a carnal heart. No small part of our servitude lies in the captivation of our understanding; such, as that we cannot see ourselves captive. This is a strange difference of misprision: the Christian is free, and cannot think himself so ; the Worldling thinks himself free, and is not so.

What talk we to these jovialists? It is liberty, with them, for a man to speak what he thinks, to take what he likes, to do what he lists; without restriction, without controulment.

ye this freedom, that a man must speak and live by rule; to have a guard upon his lips and his eyes; no passage for a vain word or look, much less for a lewd ; to have his best pleasures stinted, his worse abandoned ; to be tasked with an unpleasing good, and chid when he fails. Tush, tell not me. To let the heart loose to an unlimited jollity, to revel heartily, to feast without fear, to drink with. out measure, to swear without check, to admit of no bound of luxury but our own strength, to shut out all thoughts of scrupulous austerity, to entertain no guest of inward motion but what may sooth up our lawlessness; this iş liberty : who does less is a slave to his own severe thoughts,”

Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou savourest not the things of God. If this be freedom, to have our full scope of wickedness, O happy devils; O miserable saints of God! Those, though fettered up in chains of everlasting darkness, can do no other byt sin : these, in all the elbow-room of the empyreal heaven, cannot do one evil act : yea, the God of Saints and Angels, the Author of all Liberty, should be least free; who, out of the blessed necessity of his most pure nature, is not capable of the least possibility of evil. Learn,'o Vain Men, that there is nothing but impotence, nothing but gieves and manacles in the freest sins. Some captive may have a longer chain than his fellows; yea, some offender may have the liberty of the Tower; yet, he is a prisoner still. Some gaol may be wider than some palace: what of that? If hell were more spacious than the seat of the blessed, this doth not make it no place of torment. Go whither thou wilt, thou Resolved Sinner, thou carriest thy chain with thee: it shall stick as close to thee as thy soul; neither can it ever be shaken off, till thou have put off thyself by a spiritual regeneration; then only thou art free.

It is a divine word, that in our Liturgy, “Whose service is perfect freedom.” St. Paul saith as much; Rom. vi. 18, 20. Being freed from sin, ye are made, servi justitia, the servants of righteousness. What is liberty, but freedom from bondage? and, behold, our freedom from the bondage of sin ties us to a sure liberty, that is our free obedience to God. Both the Orator and the Philosopher define liberty, by Potestas vivendi ut velis; but, withal, you know he adds, quis vivit ut vult, misi qui recta sequitur ? See how free the good man is : he doth what he will; for he wills what God wills, and what God would have him will : in whatever he doth therefore, he is a free man. Neither hath any man free-will to good, but he. Be ambitious of this happy condition, O all ye Noble and Generous Spirits; and do not think ye live, till ye

have attained to this true liberty; The liberty, wherewith Christ hath made us free.

II. So from the Liberty, we descend to the Prerogative: CHRIST'S LIBERATION.

Here is the glorious prerogative of the Son of God, to be the Deliverer or Redeemer of his people. They could not free themselves. The angels of heaven might pity, could not redeem them: yea, alas, who could, or who did redeem those of their rank; which, of lightsome celestial spirits, are become foul devils ? Only Christ could free us, whose ransom was infinite: only Christ did free us, whose love is infinite.

And how hath he wrought our liberty? By force, by purchase. By Force, in that he hath conquered him, whose captives we were; by Purchase, in that he hath paid the full price of our ransom, to that supreme hand whereto we were forfeited.

I have heard lawyers say, there are in civil corporations three ways of freedom; by birth, by service, by redemption : by Birth, as St. Paul was free of Rome; by Service, as apprentices upon expiration of their years; by Redemption, as the centurion, with a great sum purchased I this freedom. Two of these are barred from all utter possibility, in our spiritual freedom: for, by Birth, we are the sons of wrath; by Service, we are naturally the vassals of Satan: it is only the precious Redemption of the Son of God, that hath freed us.

Whereas freedom then hath respect to bondage, there are seven Egyptian Masters, from whose slavery Christ hath freed us. Sin, an accusing Conscience, danger of God's Wrath, tyranny of Satan, the curse of the Law, Mosaical Ceremonies, human Ordinances: see our servitude to, and our freedom from, all these, by the powerful Liberation of Christ.

1. It was a true word of that Pythagorean, Quot vitia, tot domini: SIN is a hard master. A master? yea, a tyrant: let not sin reign in your mortal bodies ; Rom. vi. 12. and so the sinner is not only Servus corruptilie, a drudge of corruptions ; 2 Pet. ii. 19: but a very slave, sold under sin ; Rom. vii. 14. So necessitated to evil by his own inward corruption, that he cannot but grind in this mill; he cannot but row in this galley : for, as posse peccare is the condition of the greatest saint upon earth, and non posse peccare VOL. V.

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is the condition of the least saint above; so, non posse non peccare is the condition of the least sinful unregenerate as the prisoner may shift his feet, but not his fetters; or, as the snail cannot but leave a slime track behind it, which way soever it goes. Here is our bondage: where is our liberty ? Vbi Spiritus Domini, ibi libertas ; Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty ; 2 Cor. iii. 17. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank my God, through Jesus Christ. So then Christ hath freed us from the bondage of Sin.

2. An ACCUSING CONSCIENCE is a true task-master of Egypt. It will be sure to whip us, for what we have done, for what we have not done. Horror of sin, like a sleeping mastiff, lies at our door; Gen. iv. 7: when it awakes, it will fly on our throat. No closer doth the shadow follow the body, than the revenge of self-accusation follows sin. Walk eastward in the morning, the shadow starts behind thee : soon after, it is upon thy left side: at noon, it is under thy feet; lie down, it coucheth under thee: towards even, it leaps before thee. Thou canst not be rid of it, while thou hast a body, and the sun light. No more can thy soul quit the conscience of evil. This is to thee instead of a hell of fiends, that shall ever be shaking firebrands at thee; ever torturing thee with affrights of more pains, than thy nature can comprehend : Sara conturbata conscientia ; Wisd. xvii

. 11. If thou look to the punishment of loss, it shall say, as Lysimachus did, “ How much felicity have I lost, for how little pleasure !" If to the punishment of sense, it shall say to thee, as the Tyrant dreamed his heart said to him out of the boiling cauldron, érá con 76TW aitia; “ I am the cause of all this misery.” Here is our bondage: where is the liberty ? Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience; Heb. x. 22. Sprinkled, with what ? Even with the blood of Jesus ; verse 19. This, this only is it, that can free us. It is with the unquiet heart, as with the troubled sea of Tiberias : the winds rise, the waters swell, the billows roar, the ship is tossed, heaven and earth threat to meet; Christ doth but speak the word, all is calm. So Christ hath freed us, secondly, from the bondage of an Accusing Conscience.

3. The conscience is but God's bailiff. It is the displeasure of the Lord of Heaven and Earth, that is the utmost of all terribles. The fear of GOD'S WRATH is that strong wind, that stirs these billows from the bottom. Set aside the danger of divine displeasure, and the clamours of conscience were harmless. This alone makes a hell in the bosom. The aversion of God's face, is confusion : the least bending of his brow, is perdition, Psalm ii. 12: but his totus estus, his whole fury, as Psalm lxxviii. 38, is the utter absorption of the creature : Ercandescentia ejus funditur sicut ignis ; His wrath is poured out like fire, the rocks are rent before it ; Nahum j. 6: whence there is nothing, but, Dolepà fudoxy, a fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries; Heb. s. 27. Here is the bondage : where is the liberty? Being justified by faith, we have peace wih God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then Christ hath freed us, thirdly, from the bondage of the Wrath of God.

4. As every wicked man is a tyrant, according to the Philosopher's position; and every tyrant is a devil among men: so, THE 'Devil is the arch-tyrant of the creatures. He makes all his subjects errand vassals; yea, chained slaves : 2 Tim. ii. 26: That they may recover themselves from the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will : lo, here is will, snares, captivity, perfect tyranny. Nahash, the Ammonite, was a notable tyrant: he would have the right eyes of the Israelites put out, as an eminent mark of servitude. So doth this Infernal Nahash blind the right eye of our understanding ; yea, with the spiteful Philistine, he puts out both the eyes of our apprehension and judgment; that he may gyre us about in the mill of unprofitable wickedness, and cruelly insult upon our remediless misery. And, when he hath done, the fairest end is death; yea, death without end. Oh, the impotency of earthly tyranny to this! The greatest blood-suckers could but kill; and livor post fata, as the old word is : but here is a hornicida ab initio ; and à fine, too; ever killing with an ever-living death, for a perpetual fruition of our torment. Here is the bondage : where is the liberty ? Christ hath spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them, openly triumphing over them in the same cross ; Col. ii. 15. By his death he destroyed him that hath the power of death, the Devil; Heb. ii. 14. So then Christ hath freed us, fourthly, from the bondage of Satan's Tyranny.

5. At the best, THE LAW is but a hard master, impossible to please; adúverov TOŨ vóus saith St. Paul: but, at the worst, a cruel one. The very courtesy of the Law was jugum, an unsupportable yoke ; but the spite of the Law is xatápa, a curse.

Cursed is every one, that continues not in all that is written in the book of the law to do it ; Gal. iii. 10. Do you not remember an unmerciful steward in the Gospel, that catcheth his bankrupt fellow by the throat, and says, Pay me that thou owest me? so doth the Law to us : we should pay, and cannot; and, because we cannot pay,

forfeit ourselves; so as every mother's son is the child of death. Here is our bondage : where is our liberty ? Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us. O blessed redemption, that frees us from the curse! ( Blessed Redeemer, that would become a curse for us, that the curse of the Law might not light upon us ! So Christ hath freed us, fifthly, from the bondage of the Law.

6. Moses was a meek man, but a severe master. His face did not more shine in God's aspect upon him, than it lowered in his aspect to men. His ceremonies were bard impositions : many,

for number; costly, for charge; painful, for execution. He, that led Israel out of one bondage, carried them into another; from the bondage of Egypt, to the bondage of Sinai. This held till the vail of the Temple rent; yea, till the vail of that better Temple, his Sacred Body, his very heart-strings, did crack asunder, with a consummatum est. And now, TÉKOS vóue Xposòs, Christ is the end of

we

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