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when he sets Jannes and Jambres to withstand the miracles of Moses, and the disciples of Moses to confront Paul; when he enforces the law of God in order to frustrate his grace; when he speaks great swelling words of vanity, to allure through the lust of the flesh; and promises liberty, in order to lead sinners into the bonds of corruption; when he preaches Christ out of envy, to add afflictions to an apostle's bonds; when he enforces enlargement of heart, to expel the offence of the cross; when he creeps into houses with the shew of truth, to lead captive silly women, in the bonds of iniquity-all these branches of Satan's policy and priestcraft are not so well understood by every believer as I could wish they were.
And, as for the spirit of the law, its influence and effects, the bondage that it genders, the wrath that it works, the cold chill that it communicates, the barrenness that attends it, the motions of sin by it, the legal strivings of a believer under it, and the miserable success that attends his labour; all this -is less understood in our day than the policy of Satan. I have treated lately a little upon
this subject, having experienced much of it myself; and in so doing have greatly displeased some who never were pleased with any thing but themselves.
And, that I may separate the vile from the precious, and shew the difference between a believer in bondage and an infidel in freedom; the shame, nakedness, and emptiness, of the hypocrite; that every tried saint
may up himself against him; and that I may yet starve the goats, and feed the sheep; plague the fool, and profit the wise; that carnal critics may display their wisdom in writing against it, and I have an opportunity of exposing their foolishness for attempting it; are the only reasons of its appearing in print.
I have interwoven this Discourse with part of another preached at Providence Chapel on Sunday morning, September 14; hoping God will bless both the warp and woof, while I remain, in the bonds of the gospel, ever thine,
Paddington, Sept. 15, 1794.
THE CHILD OF LIBERTY, &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.”
When the apostle came first into the regions of Galatia, he and his message were most cordially received. His personal deformity, which he calls the temptation in his flesh, they despised not, but received him as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. The weight and power of the message counterbalanced all the unsightliness of the messenger. The joyful tidings that he brought so excited their gratitude, that they would have pulled out their own eyes, and given them to Paul. But love soonest hot is soonest cold.
Paul withdraws from these regions, to lengthen the cords of Zion, and to spread the curtains of her habitation a little further; with an intent, in due time, to return and strengthen her stakes, which he had left in Galatia. But, as the enemy often sows tares while men sleep, so he often attempts the debauch of a wife when the good man is not at home. Paul, the servant of Christ, withdraws; and Satan, transformed in his ministers, succeeds him. Righteousness and perfection by the law are enforced by these seedsmen of Satan, and cordially received by the simple in Galatia. Their hearts at this time were warmed with the love of God, and warm to God; and whatever God requires they were willing to perform; then they must be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses. This was produced, and proved from holy writ; and to this they gave heed: and, as they advanced nothing but what was in the Bible, they took it for granted it must be right; and it was no more than reasonable that, as God was so good to them, they should do all they could to please him, and make him all the amends, and give him all the satisfaction, they could for his numerous favours to them; and, seeing the doctrine was scriptural, and enforced by Israelites, if not priests, who were warm zealous men, they were all zealously affected to them, and their necks were soon inclined to bow to the legal yoke.
These men were ministers of Satan. Satan had before tried to blind the eyes of these Galatians, as he does all others, that the light of the gospel should not shine unto them; but all in vain, for the light of the gospel had shined into the hearts of these Galatians. Hence it was needful that Satan should adopt another method, more likely to succeed, being less suspected; and that was by bringing them under the old vail of the law, under which the gospel is hid. Satan's gloomy shade had not been sufficient to keep the rays of the gospel out, therefore by these priests of his he would lead them to the blackness of Sinai again, and to the frowns of God in a broken law; where the light of his countenance is hid, where God in the face of Jesus never shines, and where he would appear in thick darkness to them. Paul hears of this, and opposes them; charges these ministers with witchcraft, and the Galatians with foolishness for adhering to them; telling them that they were not well affected; that these men would exclude them from Christ, that they might affect them. However their zeal is fired for works, and for perfecting the good work begun. Paul tells them that nothing but fleshly perfection is to be had in the law; and that, if they went to the law for perfection, they must go there for righteousness also, for Christ will be all in all, or nothing at all; that if they were circumcised, Christ should profit them nothing, for he will communicate no grace by the law.
However, the law doth not exclude boasting, nor humble the proud heart. The legal leaven had begun to ferment; they were puffed up, and not to be taught by such as Paul, whom they viewed as their enemy for attempting to hinder this good work. Paul tells them that, if he was their enemy, it was for telling the truth; and passes a double curse upon that man, or angel, that should preach