Imatges de pÓgina


2. That now is the time of liberty ; 2 Cor. vi. 2, “Behold now is the accepted time ! behold, now is the day of salvation !" Christ has paid a ransom for Satan's captives and the liberty is proclaimed in the gospel. Strike in with the season of grace, and come away with the deliverer upon the gracious proclamation. Hear what Christ is saying to you, Song ii. 10, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”



Isaiah lxi. 1,
To proclaim liberty to the captives.

Haying, in the preceding discourse, spoke to the first of the doctrines which we took from this part of the subject, wo go on to

DOCTRINE II. That Jesus Christ, with the express consent of his Father, has issued out his royal proclamation of liberty to Satan's captives. “He hath sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives."

In illustrating this doctrine, we shall,
I. Shew what this proclamation is.

II. Explain what liberty is proclaimed in the gospel to Satan's captives.

III. Mention some of the circumstances attending this proclamation. And then,

IV. Subjoin the improvement of the subject.

We are,

I. To show what this proclamation is. This royal proclamation issued out by Jesus Christ, is the gospel, the glad tidings of salvation. The gospel is the proclamation of the King of beavon to poor sinners, in which he proclaims liberty to all the captives of Satan, to whom it comes. The law lays the heavy yoke of the curse upon sinners, the gospel brings the offer of liberty. Here we observe,

1. That it is a jubilee-proclamation. You have the law of jubilee, which was every fiftieth year, when seven times soven were over; Lev. xxv. 10, “ And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man into his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." It was proclaimed by sound of trumpet, on the day of atonement, ver. 9, then all the poor slaves got their liberty, whether their masters were willing to part with them or not; and all those who had been obliged to mortgage or sell their lands returned to the possession of them again. And so it was a proclamation which made many a heart glad. Now, the gospel is such a proclamation, and the time of it is the year of jubilee. Jesus came, Isa. Ixi. 2, “ To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn;" compare 2 Cor. vi. 2, "Behold, now is the accepted time ! behold, now is the day of salvation !" O! good news, sinners, there was a day of atonement on the cross, and now the trumpet of the gospel soundeth, and there is a proclamation, bearing that Satan's captives may now have their liberty, though their master be not willing to part with them; that the mortgaged inheritance of heaven and God's favour, though forfeited, may be possessed; poor criminals and bankrupts may return to them again.

2. It is a conqueror's proclamation to captives. The king of Babylon took the Jews captive, and held them seventy years in captivity ; but God raised up Cyrus; Isa. xlv. 1–4, and he overturned the Babylonian empire; the destruction of that kingdom was the deliverance of the Jews, for he proclaimed liberty to them to return to their own land. This also was a type of the gospel-proclamation. Satan warred against mankind, he carried them all captive into his own kingdom ; and there was none to deliver out of his hand. But King Jesus had engaged him, routed all his forces, overturned his kingdom, and taken the kingdom to himself; Col. ii. 15, " And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." 1 John iii. 8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” And now being settled on his throne, his royal proclamation is issued out, that Satan's captives may again return into the kingdom of God.

We shall now,

II. Explain what liberty is proclaimed in the gospel to Satan's captives.

This is the great subject of the proclamation ; and that you may see the riches of this proclamation, know that Christ by the gospel proclaims to every poor sinner to whom it comes,

1. Liberty from the power and slavery of Satan; Acts xxvi. 18, “ He turns them from the power of Satan unto God.” Every one who is willing to quit their old master the devil, may come away without his leave. You are welcome to Jesus the conqueror, and the conquered tyrant shall not have power to keep you. Now,

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" the Spirit and the bride say Come ; and let him that heareth say, Come ; and let him that is atbirst come ; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely ;" Rev. xxii. 17. Ho is a strong one, but there is a stronger one than he, who will break his yoke from off your necks, make his iron fetters to give way, like ropes which are burnt with fire. And though, as long as you are here, he will be molesting you, yet he shall never, never gain his former power over you, and you shall at length be completely freed from the least molestation by him ; “ The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly ;" Rom. xvi. 20. He proclaims,

2. Liberty from the law as a covenant of works; Rom. vi. 14, “ You are not under the law, but under grace.” Satan's captives are under the law as a covenant of works, and it lays a heavy yoke upon them, namely, perfect obedience, under the pain of the carse : Gal. ii. 10, “ For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse, for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” This curse they carried away with them when they went into captivity, and it abides on them always, till they be loosed from it. Now, Christ proclaims liberty from this curse, offers to bring sinners from under the dominion of the law, to be under grace, where there is no more curse; Gal. iii. 13,“ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.” Here they are provided with a righteousness imputed to them, and not set to seek it by their own works! where, in case of sinning, the utmost penalty is fatherly chastisement; Psalm lxxxix. 30–33. Thus he offers to take off the law's yoke, to set you without the reach of its curse, and to lay on his own yoke, which is easy; Matth. xi. 29. Jesus proclaims,

3. Liberty from the dominion and bondage of sin; Rom. vi. 14, “ Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Satan's captives are all the drudges of sin. It does not only dwell in them, as it does in the best, but it reigns over them, fills their hearts and hands continually with its work, so that they can do nothing else but sin; Psalm xiv. 3,“ There is none that doeth good, no not one." It lays its commands on them, which are a law which they cannot dispute, but must obey ; it has its several lusts in the heart, which are chains to them as its captives, the handles by which it holds them, and drags them after it. Now, Christ proclaims liberty from this, and his Spirit effects it; Rom. viii. 2, “ The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, makes them free from the law of sin and death.” He will break sin's dominion, loose the chains of unmortified lusts, and set the prisoners free; John viii. 32, “ Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And though sin may dwell for a

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season, as an unolean, unwelcome guest, he will at length extirpate it wholly. He proclaims,

4. Liberty from the ruining influence of this present evil world; Gal. i. 4, “ Who gave himself for our ins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” This world has a raining influence on Satan's captives. The things of this world work their destruction, the smiles of it are killing; Prov. i. 32, " The prosperity of fools shall destroy them;" their blessings are turned to curses; the frowns of it are ensnaring and destructive. The god of this world mixes every cup with poison. The men of this world are ruining one another; and therefore it is said, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation ;" Acts ii. 40. There is a plague in Satan's family, and each member serves to infect another, to convey sin and death to his fellow. But Jesus proclaims liberty from this pest-house ; you may be drawn out of it, Jesis will pluck you as a brand out of the fire; why stay in it, while he proclaims liberty to you from it ? Jesus proclaims,

6. Liberty from the fear, the terror of death and hell ; Heb. ii. 15, “He delivers them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Satan's captives may for a time be secure, fearing nothing; but as soon as their conscience awakens, they will be filled with horror, as perceiving the approach of death and hell towards them; they can have no comfortable view of another life. Christ proclaims liberty from this ; if you will come to him, conscience shall be pacified with the sprinkling of his blood, ye shall be set beyond the possibility of perishing; he will be to you an almighty Saviour. He proclaims,

6. Liberty from the sting of death and the evil of afflictions. Though Christ, in his gracious proclamation, does not promise that such as obey his will in it shall never be afflicted; yet he promises that afflictions shall be so far from doing them burt, that they shall do them good ; Rom. viii. 28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose;" that though they die, death shall be to them unstinged ; John viii, 51, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."

So that they may meet it with that triumphant song; 1 Cor. xv. 55, “O death ! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?" It shall not be to them what it is to Satan's captives: the serpent's sting, with which it kills the serpent's seed, shall be taken away ere it comes near them. Jesus proclaims,

7. Liberty from the power of the grave; 1 Cor. xv. 55, quoted above. Ver. 57, " Thanks be to God, who giveth as the victory,

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through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Satan's captives are laid up in their graves as in prisons; and when they come out of them at the resurrection, death and the power of the grave will be still hanging about them; so that they shall but change one grave for a worse, namely, for the lake of fire. But Christ's ransomed ones, who come away on his proclamation of liberty, though they go to the grave, yet the power of it over them shall be broken, death shall have no more power over them for ever. He proclaims,

8. Liberty from condemnation ; Rom. viii. 1, " There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." All Satan's captives are condemned malefactors; John iii. 18,“ He that believeth not is condemned already.” And the sentence shall be solemnly pronounced against them at the great day; and so they shall be led away" into everlasting burnings, prepared for the devil and his angels ;” Matth. xxv. This is terrible; but Christ proclaims liberty from it. So soon as thou embracest the offered liberty, the guilt of eternal wrath shall be done away, thou shalt be beyond the reach of condemnation; your standing on the right hand is secured, and the sentence of solemn absolution shall follow. He proclaims,

9. Liberty of free access to God, with holy boldness; Rom. v. 1, 2, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Now, the captive exiles are banished from the presence of God; they can have no access to him, por communion with him. But our Lord, by his death, bas opened the two-leaved gates of his Father's house, and gives free liberty, by open proclamation, to Satan's captives, leaving their master to come in. They have access by one Spirit to the Father.-Jesus proclaims,

Lastly, Liberty, that is, freedom of spirit in the service of God; 2 Cor. iii. 17, “ Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." The Spirit of Christ is called a free spirit, because he makes free. Satan's captives may yield some obedience to God, but it is burdensome, because they act therein as slaves, from a slavish fear of hell and wrath. But Christ's freemen act from a nobler principle, love ; Rom. viii. 15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby ye 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." We now proceed,

III. To mention some of the circumstances attending this proolamation. Here we observe,

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