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bold, the Fear of the Lord, that is Free-SERM. dom ; and to depart from Evil, is True I. Liberty.
THE True Liberty of a Rational and Moral Agent, consists in his being able to follow right Reason only, without Hindrance or Restraint. It consists in a clear unbiassed Judgment, and in a Power of acting conformably thereunto. Man therefore is then Free, when his Reason is not awed by base Fears, nor bribed by foolish and fantastick Hopes; when it is not tumultuously hurried away by Lufts and Passions, nor cheated and deluded by false Appearances of present Good; but confiders impartially, and judges' wifely, and acts effe&tually and with Resolution. This is the Liberty of a rational Agent; the Freedom of a Man, of a Christian, of an Angel. Not that in this present frail state. we can ever actually arrive at such a perfect Freedom ; but that by studying and practising the Truth, the Truth of Nature and the Truth of Religion, we may and ought continually more and more to affert and improve our Freedom, till at length we arrive at the glorious Liberty of the children of God. VOL. III,
S.BR M. But here the profane Libertine will
I ask, as before ; Is it not a greater Liberty, m for him to follow absolutely his own Plea
sure, then to be under the direction of
This Argument may further be illuf-Serm. trated in the following manner. God 1. Himself is a Being, as of all other Per
m u fections, so particularly of the most perfect and complete Liberty. Now His Liberty consists in this, that being infi· nitely Knowing and infinitely Powerful, ?tis impossible he should ever be influenced by any Violence, or by any Deceit; but his Will is always directed by absolute Right and Reason only : And This is what we vulgarly call, his being Neceffarily Just and Good. Not that Justice and Goodness are Necessary in him by a physical, natural and immediate Necessity, exclusive of Will and Choice, in the fame Sense as his Omnipresence or Eternity is Necessary; (For then it would be no more proper to return him Thanks for the Exercise of his Justice and Goodness, than for being Eternal or Omnipresent ; Which is manifestly absurd.) But the meaning of his being Necessarily Just and Good, is This only ; that the Liberty by which he always chooses what is eternally and absolutely right and good, can never possibly be infringed, no not in the least degree, by any Error or Passion, by any Violence or by C 2
Ser m.any Deceit. The Liberty of Man, there-
fame things; in his being free from all
will continue in his Word, then they mall Joh. viii. know the Truth, and the Truth Mall make
them free. And it sufficiently makes good the general Doctrine I at first drew from the Words ; namely, that the Religious Restraints laid upon men by the Gospel, are really and truly the greatest Liberty ;
and the Service of God, the most ferfeet S er m. Freedom.
I. THERE are some other Senses in Scrip-m e ture, of the Words Liberty and Bondage ; which for the fuller understanding of the Text, in which they are all directly or indirectly comprehended, deserve briefly to be mentioned in this place.
And ift, CHRISTIAN Liberty, in many places of Scripture, and principally in St Paul's epistles, signifies deliverance from the Obligation of the Ceremonial law ; from that Yoke, which neither cur Acts xv. Fathers, nor we, as it is elfewhere expref-10. fed, were able to bear. Of This it is that he speaks, when he tells us that we have Rom. viii. not received the Spirit of Bondage again, 15. but the Spirit of Adoption ; that, when we were children, we were in bondage under the Elements of the World, Gal. iv. 3. that the Lord is That Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty: 2 Cor. iii. 17. The expression is difficult, and has been much misunderstood: But the meaning is, that the Gospel is the Spirit and End of the Law; and where the Spirit, or thing signified is fulfilled, there the type, or bare letter, is superseded;
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