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flight in the country, fo long as he hath the ear and favour of his prince.
Infer. 4. Never let believers fear the want of any good thing neceffary for them in this world. The favour of God is the fountais of all bleffings, provifions, protections, even of all that you need. He hath promifed that he will withhold no goed thing from them that walk uprightly, Pfal. lxxxiv. 11. He that is bountiful to his enemies will not withhold what is good from his friends. The favour of God will not only fupply your needs, but protect your perfons, Pfal. v. 12. "Thou wilt bless "the righteous, with favour wilt thou compafs him as with a "fhield."
Infer. 5. Hence alfo it follows, that the fins of believers are very piercing things to the heart of God. The unkindness of those whom he hath received into his very bofom, upon whom he hath fet his (pecial favour and delight, who are more obliged to him than all the people of the earth befide, O this wounds the very heart of God. What a melting expoftulation was that which the Lord used with David, 2 Sam. xii. 7, 8. “I anointed thee 66 king over Ifrael, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul, "and I gave thee thy master's houfe, and thy master's wives "into thy bofom, and gave thee the house of Ifrael and Judah, "and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given .. unto thee fuch and fuch things: wherefore hast thou despifed the commandment of the Lord?" But reader, if thou be a reconciled perfon, a favourite with God, and haft grieved him by any eminent tranfgreffion, how should it melt thy heart to hear the Lord thus expoftulating with thee: I delivered thee out of the hand of Satan; I gave thee into the bofom of Chrift; I have pardoned unto thee millions of fins; I have befstowed upon thee the riches of mercy; my favour hath made thee great; and, as if all this were too little, I have prepared heaven for thee: for which of all these favours doft thou thûs requite me?
Infer. 6. How precious fhould Jefus Chrift be to believers, by whofe blood they are ingratiated with God, and by whose intercef fion they are, and fhall for ever be continued in his favour? When the apoftle mentions the believers tranflation, from the fad ftate of nature to the bleffed privileged ftate of grace, fee what a title he bestows upon Jefus Chrift, the purchafer of that privilege, calling him the dear Son, Col. i. 13. Not only dear to God, but exceeding dear to believers alfo. Chrift is the favourite in heaven, to him you owe all the preferment there: Take away Christ, and you have no ground on which to stand one Ccc
minute in the favour of God. O then let Jesus Christ, the foun tain of your honour, be alfo the object of your love and praise.
Infer. 7. Eftimate by this, the ftate and condition of a deferted faint, upon whom the favour of God is eclifped. If the favour of God be better than life, the hiding of it from a gracious foul must be more bitter than death: Deferted faints have reafon to take the first place among all the mourners in the world: The darkness before converfion had, indeed, more danger, but this hath more of trouble. Darkness after light is difmal darkness. Since therefore the cafe is fo fad, let your preventing care be the more; grieve not the good Spirit of God, you prepare but for your own grief in fo doing.
Infer. 8. Lastly, Let this perfuade all men to accept Jefus Chrift, as ever they expect to be accepted with the Lord themselves. It is a fearful cafe, for a man's perfon, and duties to be rejected of God; to cry and not be heard: And much more terrible to be denied audience in the great and terrible day. Yet, as fure as the fcriptures are the fealed and faithful fayings of God, this is no more than what every Chriftless perfon must expect in that day, Mat. vii. 22. Luke xiii. 26. trace the hiftory of all times, even as high as Abel, and you shall find that none but ‡ believers did ever find acceptance with God; all experience confirms this great truth, that they that are in the flefb cannot please God. Reader, if this be thy condition, let me beg thee to ponder the mifery of it in a few fad thoughts.
Confider how fad it is to be rejected of God, and forfaken by all creatures at once; what a day of ftraits thy dying day is like to be, when heaven and earth fhall caft thee out together. Be affured whatever thy vain hopes for the prefent quiet thee withal, this must be thy cafe, the door of mercy will be shut against thee, no man cometh to the Father but by Chrift. Sad was the cafe of Saul, when he told Samuel, "the Philiftines "make war against me, and God is departed from me,'' 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. The faints will have boldnefs in the day of, judg ment, 1 John iv. 17. But thou wilt be a confounded Man; there is yet, bleffed be the God of mercy, a capacity and oppor tunity of reconciliation, 2 Cor. v. 19. Ifa. xxvii. 5. But this can be of no long continuance. O therefore, by all the regard and love you have for the everlasting welfare of your own fouls, come to Chrift; embrace Chrift in the offers of the gofpel, that you may be made accepted in the beloved.
If any one defires to know the will of God, let him be a friend of God. Aug.
The Liberty of Believers, opened and stated.
JOHN viii. 36. If the Son therefore fhall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
ROM the 30th verfe of this chapter unto my text, you have an account of the different effects which the words of Chrift had upon the hearts of his hearers: Some believed, ver. 30. thefe he encourageth to continue in his word, ver. 31. giving them this encouragement, ver. 32. "Ye fhall know the truth, "and the truth fhall make you free." Hereat the unbelieving Jews take offence, and commence a quarrel with him, ver. 33. "We be Abraham's feed, and were never in bondage to any We are of no flavish extraction; the blood of Abraham runs in our veins. This fcornful boast of the proud Jews, Chrift confutes, ver. 34. where he distinguisheth on a twofold bondage; one to men, another to fin; one civil, another fpiritual: Whofoever committeth fin is the fervant of fin, then tells them, ver. 36. "The fervant abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son "abideth for ever." Wherein he intimateth two great truths, viz. That the fervants, and flaves of fin may, for a time, enjoy the external privileges of the house, or church of God; but it would not be long before the master of the house will turn them out of door: But if they were once the adopted children of God, then they should abide in the house for ever. And this privilege is only to be had by their believing in, and union with the natural Son of God, Jefus Chrift: Which brings us fairly to the text; "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye fhall be free indeed." In which words we have two parts; 1. A fupppofition. 2. A conceffion.
First, A fuppofition," If the Son therefore fhall make you "6 free," 9. d. The womb of nature caft you forth into the world in a fate of bondage; in that state you have lived all your days; fervants to fin; flaves to your lufts; yet freedom is to be obtained: And this freedom is the prerogative belonging to the Son of God to bestow: " If the Son fhall make you free."
Secondly, Chrift's conceffion upon this fuppofition, "Then "fhall ye be free indeed," (i. e.) you (hall have a real freedom, an excellent, and everlasting freedom: No conceit only, as that
which you now boaft of is: If ever therefore you will be free men indeed, believe in me. Hence note,
Doct. That intereft in Chrift fets the foul at liberty from all
that bondage whereinto it was fubjected in its natural fate. Believers are the children of the new covenant, the Denizons of Jerufalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of them all, Gal. iv. 26. The glorious liberty, viz. that which is fpiritual and eternal, is the liberty of the children of God, Rom. viii. 21. Chrift and none but Chrift delivers his people out of the hand of their enemies, Luke i. 74.
In the doctrinal part of this point, I must shew you,
First, What believers are not freed from by Jefus Chrift in this world.
Secondly, What that bondage is from which every believer is freed by Christ.
Thirdly, What kind of freedom that is which commences upon believing.
Fourthly, Open the excellency of this state of spiritual freedom.
First, What those things are from which believers are not made free in this world: We must not think that our fpiritual liberty by Chrift, prefently brings us into an abfolute liberty, in all refpects, For,
First, Chrift, doth not free blievers from obedience to the moral law: It is true we are no more under it as a covenant for our juftification; but we are, and must still be under it, as a rule for our direction. The matter of the moral law is unchangeable, as the nature of good and evil is, and cannot be abolished except that distinction could be destroyed, Mat. v. 17, 18. The precepts of the law are still urged under the gospel to enforce duties upon us, Eph. vi. 12. It is therefore a vain diftinction, invented by Libertines, to fay it binds us as creatures, not as Christians; or that it binds the unregenerate part, but not the regenerate; but this is a fure truth, that they who are freed from its penalties, are ftill under its precepts. Though believers are no inore under its curfe, yet they are ftill under its conduct: The law fends us to Chrift to be justified, and Christ fends us to the law to be regulated. Let the heart of every Christian join therefore with David's in that holy wifh, Pfal. cxix. 4, 5
Thou haft commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently; " that my heart were directed to keep thy ftatutes." It is excellent when Chriftians begin to obey the law from life, which others obey for life; because they are juftified, not that they may be justified. It is alfo excellent when duties are done in
the strength, and for the honour of Chrift, which is evangelical'; and not in our own strength, and for our own ends, which is fervile, and legal obedience: Had Chrift freed us from obedience, fuch a liberty had been to our lofs.
Secondly, Chrift hath not freed believers, in this world, from the temptations and affaults of Satan: even those that are freed from his dominion, are not free from his moleftation. It is faid indeed, Rom. xvi. 20. “ God shall shortly bruise Satan under your feet:" But mean time he hath power to bruise, and buffet us by his injections, 2 Cor. xii. 7. He now bruifeth Chrift's heel, Gen. iii. 15 (i. e.) bruifeth him in his tempted, and afflicted members: Though he cannot kill them, yet he can, and doth afflict and fright them, by shooting his fiery darts of temptation among them, Eph. vi. 16. It is true, when the faints are got fafe into heaven, they are out of gunshot; there is perfect freedom from all temptation. A believer may then fay, O thou enemy, temptations are come to a perpetual end. I am now arrived there, where none of thy fiery darts can reach me: But this freedom is not yet.
Thirdly, Chrift hath not yet freed believers, in this world, from the motions of indwelling Sin: Thefe are continually acting, and infefting the holieft of men, Rom. vii. 21, 23, 24. Corruptions, like Canaanites, are ftill left in the land to be thorns in your eyes, and goads in your fides. Those that boast most of freedom from the motions of fin, have most cause to fufpect themselves ftill under the dominion of fin. All Christ's freemen are troubled with the fame complaint: who among them. complains not as the apoftle did, Rom. vii. 24. "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this "death?"
Fourthly, Jefus Chrift doth not free believers in this world. from inward troubles, and exercifes of foul, upon the account of fin. God may let loose Satan, and confcience too, in the way of terrible accufations, which may greatly distress the soul of a believer, and woefully eclipfe the light of God's countenance, and break the peace of their fouls. Job, Heman, and David were all made free by Christ, yet each of them hath left upon record his bitter complaint upon this account, Job. vii. 19, 20. Pfal. lxxxviii. 14, 15, 16. Pfal. xxxviii. unto ver. 11.
Fifthly, Chrift hath not freed believers, in this world, from the rods of affliction. God in giving us our liberty, doth not abridge his own liberty, Pfal. Ixxxix. 32. All the children of God are made free, yet what fon is there whom the father chastneth not? Heb, xii. 8. Exemption from affliction is fo far from