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divine displeasure by his disobedience, and exposed himself and his posterity to known and unknown evils. . . In this state of ruin, God again looked down upon man, and looked down in mercy as well as judgment. In the sentence pronounced upon the tempter was conveyed an intimation of favour to the human race, through the seed of the woman; by which seed we are authorized, from subsequent revelations, to understand Jesus the Son of God. What would have been the future destiny of man, or whether he would have been brought into existence at all, had not a gracious provision been made for his recovery upon the foresight of his lapse; as it hath not, that I know of been expressly revealed, it would seem to me presumption in any man to determine. God himself only can tell what it would have become him to do in a conjuncture which never existed, and which was never intended to exist. What concerns us to be acquainted with,
longer stand before God upon the ground of creation but of redemption; that all the help and hope of which we participate, is derived to us only through a Mediator; and that as we improve or neglect our advantages, we shall be dealt with in the final judgment.
If, therefore, every good which now is derived to man is in virtue of the mediation of Christ, then moral liberty, which is a principal one, must flow to us in this channel. In vain would you expect to find it in the Stoa, or the Lyceum, in the groves of the Academy, or the gardens of Epicurus; or in any of our modern and improved schools of deism and legislative philosophy. The gospel contains the only scheme, and is the only proclamation of true liberty that the world was ever acquainted with; a liberty from guilt and tyrannic passions; a liberty to obey the laws of piety, and the dictates of uncorrupted nature; a liberty fceyond all others to be welcomed with cordial gratulations. , When the Greeks were restored to the enjoyment of their ancient Flaminius, their acclamations, as Plutarch tells us, were heard out at sea, and the birds, which were passing at the time, stunned with the noise, dropped down in the midst of the assembly, who unanimously hailed Flaminius as the saviour and defender of Greece. Yet how trivial was this proclamation of the proconsul, compared with that made by the Saviour of the world, when, in the synagogue of Nazareth, he stood up and read from the prophet Isaias, The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord*. Were these tidings universally published, and duly credited, the whole world could not fail to unite in acclamations of gladness.
As nothing so much dignifies our nature as moral liberty, we might chiefly expect to find it among those, who, by their rank in society, are taught to aspire after whatever is laudable and excellent. Yet such an expectation is not justified by fact; neither the abodes of splendor nor of greatness, neither courts nor senates, have hitherto been the favourite haunts of that freedom, which implies an exemption from the power of sensuality, avarice, and ambition.
It is however the glory of Christianity, that it can liberate the mind in all exterior circumstances; in the highest elevation of power and fortune, and in the lowest condition of bondage. Daniel displayed this nobility of spirit amidst all the fascination of worldly greatness, when seated next the imperial throne; he displayed too the same spirit in a den of lions. Paul and Silas, when thrust into prison at Philippi, and fastened in the stocks, by singing praises to God at midnight, showed that no shackles could bind the inner man*. And how superior to king Agrippa does the former appear, when, pleading his cause before him, he uttered this fervent wish: / would to God,
that not only thou, but all who hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, ercept these bonds* ! And at this day, among those highly-injured Africans, whose civil emancipation has of late been so nobly attempted, some, we have reason to believe, by the spread of the gospel among them, are emancipated from the thraldom of sin, and made denizons of heaven. Whether this be always the case with their oppressors, or even with their advocates, is a point which may deserve their most serious consideration. Certainly, whoever has a heart to tyrannize over the meanest of his fellow. creatures, must forfeit every claim to the dignity of moral freedom. Nor has a patriot much to boast of his superior character, if, while he promises liberty to others, he himself is a slave of depravity; such a patriot, preaching political freedom in chains of moral bondage, is just the reverse of Paul the apostle. It is only in the kingdom of God that a spirit of liberty is universal, and runs through