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THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
Isa. Ixi. 1.-To proclaim liberty to the captives..
AVING, in the preceding discourse, spoke
to the first of the doctrines which we took from this
part of the subject, we go on to
Doct. II. That Jesus Christ, with the express
consent of his father, has ifsued 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 attenda. ing this proclamation. And then,
IV. Subjoin the improvement of the subject.
I. To shew what this proclamation is. This royal proclamation issued out by Jesus Christ, is the gospel, the glad tidings of falvation. The gospel is the proclamation of the King of heaven to poor finners, 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 seven were over : Lev. xxv. 10. " And ye lhall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you;
ye shall return every man into his poffeffion, 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 flaves 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 poffeffion of them again. And so it was a proclamation which made inany a heart glad. Now, the gospel is such a proclamation, and the time of it is a 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, finners, 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, tho' 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. I.--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 has 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 lhew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." 1 John, ii. 8. “ For this purpose the Son of Cod was manifeited, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” And now being settled on his throne, his royal proclamation is ifsued 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 finner to whom it comes,
Liberty from the power and flavery 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, “ the Spirit and the bride say unto you, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst come ; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17. He 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,
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 curse, Gal. iii. 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 finners from under the dominion of the law, to be under grace, where there is no more curfe: Gal. iii. 13. « Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.” Here they are provided with a righteoufness imputed to them, and not set to seek it by their own works; where,
in case of sinning, the utmost penalty is fatherly chastisement, Pfal. Ixxxix. 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 fin : Rom. vi. 14. “ Sin shall not have dominion over you." Satan's captives are all the drudges of fin. 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: Psal. 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 fin and death.” He will break fn's dominion, loose the chains of unmortified lufts, 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 season, as an unclean, 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 lins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” This world has a ruining 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