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and walk in the liberty of men whose ransom is discharged.
If any would drive us back to a spirit of bondage, again to fear, alleging it as high presumption, that we who were born bondmen and slaves, should dare to affect a state of liberty; we do not deny. our former servitude; nay, we own at once that we were slaves by nature, and of most servile and inglorious minds, alienated from true glory, content with vile bondage, and unprovided with means to purchase a release. A Redeemer, however, came, and with a divine generosity, bought us with his blood. Hence are we free; nay, he bids us urge his redemption work as a ground on which to ask release from the power of Satan, freedom from the condemnation of the law, discharge from the guilt of sin, and transference from its unhallowed dominion unto the kingdom of our God, where grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. Every sinner on earth is allowed, and even commanded, to plead the fact of Christ's redemption-price for all that we have expressed, with an assurance that it shall be available to all who will make use of it in the Gospel order; and as for his people, they are made willing in the day of his
power. He sends his servants to preach deliverance to the captive, and the opening of the prison doors to them that are bound. They come forth at his call, exchange the sordid habits of a slave, the meanness of prison fare, and the unseemliness of prison clothing, for manners, food, and raiment, befitting the sons and daughters of a king. He makes his ransomed, kings and priests unto God, and they shall reign in glory with their Lord.
Such is the doctrine of redemption, which comprehends in it a ransom-price to entitle us to freedom, and all the grace which belongs to our actual deliverance from guilt, depravity, and suffering. It is a work of purchase, and a work of power, extricating us from the deepest ruin, giving us liberty, riches, and glory; and all this through the astonishing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us !
Such is the doctrine set forth in the text, which illustrates the Father's love in not sparing his own Son, but making him a sacrifice for us; and which displays the Saviour's generosity in a manner above all praise. And having thus adverted to the doctrine, we now turn to the duty laid before us in the text; for which we have
surely discovered a most prevailing motive. But, perhaps, some suppose, that we have left no place for duty on our part, seeing we have exhibited a full and absolute redemption, in virtue of the price paid for it by Jesus Christ, independently of human endeavours. Now, we retract nothing we have stated as to the completeness of the Saviour's work, and must for ever exclude duties from the office of redeeming us, for they want worth to effect so great a thing; and previous to our redemption, all that we do, by the very condition of our moral nature, is done to another master, and not to God; and will he accept of such doings as meritorious?
We abhor the position, that duties constitute an availing price to ransom souls; for nothing—nothing, save the blood of Jesus Christ, constitutes a propitiation for sin; and we do hold, that the shedding of that precious blood is sufficient, and doth suffice for the obtaining for us eternal redemption. But though duties do not redeem us, on the redeemed are no duties obligatory ? And because we are bought with a price, shall it be said, that, therefore, we ought not to glorify God? Away with a conclusion drawn by none but those who turn the grace of God into licentious
ness. Nay, the Apostle overlooking other grounds, rests the obligation of duty on the privilege and certainty of our redemption; and if we had not been bought with a price, he could not have said with such force, and emphasis, and power of conviction, “ therefore glorify God in your body and spirit which are His.” That word, “therefore,” connects the duty with the privilege, and shows that there is betwixt them an indissoluble relation ; and it is only when we can address men as bought with a price, that we feel able to advocate the claims of duty with arguments unanswerably conclusive, adapted alike to persuade the understanding, and to interest and engage the affections of the heart.
1. Then, if we are bought with a price, it is a most reasonable thing that we should glorify our benefactor. To illustrate this, let us suppose a case of redemption from slavery among men.
A whole family has been seized and carried into captivity by a barbarous oppressor, who lords it over them without mercy, who loads them with chains, and intends to confine them in durance till death; and, in the meantime, deludes them with false hopes and deceitful promises, the failure of which
preys upon their spirits, and makes their lives the more grievous. The prince whose subjects they were, hears of their wretched state, and desires to recover them, though they had formerly rebelled against his equitable reign. Passing by that offence, however, he proposes to restore them: but all other terms are rejected, unless his only son and heir is delivered up in their room, and shall suffer death, as their ransom. To this costly sacrifice both father and son consent, and he gives up his dear son to die for them: on which terms they are set free. And now, that they breathe the air of liberty, and have returned to the peaceful dominions of their generous king, what shall they say, or what do to him who spared not his only son, but delivered him up for them all with boundless grace ? Shall they cherish their ancient disaffection? shall they make it their business to traduce his character, and disobey his laws, resisting his authority, and striving to diminish the glory of his reign ? Would such conduct be reasonable ? No! reason
No! reason would dissuade and reprobate such doings, as most unnatural and most unworthy. Reason avers, that they should serve their royal benefactor, who ransomed them at such a