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Concerning True Liberty (1679)
And now, friends, you who are called into this glorious liberty of the sons of God, stand fast in it. And as the apostle saith, "Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty, only use is not for an occasion to the flesh; but in love serve one another." Gal. v. 13.
"As free, not using you liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God." 1 Pet. ii.
For there were some, who while they promised themselves liberty, they themselves were servants of corruption. Such were like the dog and the sow, biting, rending, and vomiting, and wallowing in the mire; and as bad as the synagogue of the libertines that turned against Stephen. 2 Pet 11. and Acts vi. 9.
And therefore the apostle was careful of the churches'' liberty in Christ, when he said, "But take heed, lest this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to them that are weak," etc. 1 Cor. viii.
For the apostle was so careful and tender, that he would not have his true liberty judged of another man's conscience, etc. as you may see more at large in Cor x.
And the apostle said, "False brethren come unawares privily, to spy out their liberty, which they had in Christ Jesus, that they might bring them into bondage; to whom we gave place by subjection, no ot for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you," to wit, the Galatians. Gal. ii. 4.
And therefore he exhorts them to stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ Jesus hath made them free, etc. which is the duty of all true christians now, to stand fast in that glorious liberty, which Christ the heavenly and spiritual man, the second Adam, makes them free in; and in this they will have salt in themselves, to discern between the true liberty and freedom and the false, and know how to use their holy and spiritual liberty and freedom in Christ Jesus, to the praise and glory of God.
So, friends, the Lord God almighty preserve you all, in the heavenly order of Christ Jesus, in his holy seed, life, and sprit, that all may live and walk in it, to the praise, and glory, and honour of God and Christ. Amen.
The 3d of the 9th month, 1679