Of the several Kinds of Freedome which the Scripture speaketh of.
TO enter into the depths of this Doctrine, Consider, What kinds of free∣dome the Scripture speaketh of, and which is applicable to our purpose. The Schooles have vast disputes about liberty and free-will, What it is, whe∣ther a compounded faculty or a simple one; and whether a faculty, or ha∣bit, or act; especially they digladiate about the definition of free-will, what it is; but if any thing shall be thought necessary to be said in this point, it may be pertinently brought in, when we shall answer such Objections as the Patrons of nature do use to bring in the behalf of Free-will: only it is good to know, that in the Scripture we find a civil liberty and a spiritual liberty spoken of, a civil liberty; Thus bond and free are often opposed, Ephes. 6. 8. Col. 3. 11. 1 Cor. 7. 22. But this is not to the Text, nor to our purpose; Therefore the Scripture speaketh much of a spiritual freedome, and that is,
First, In the translating of us out from the dominion of sinne and Satan, into a gracious state of holiness; and this is called by Divines, Libertas gratia, or (as Austin) libertas à peccato. The freedome of grace of which those Texts speak that we mentioned before.
Secondly, There is the Evangelical and Christian liberty, whereby we are freed from many things of the law, not only the curse of the moral law and the spirit of bondage, which did accompany the legal administration thereof, but also from the obligation unto, and exercise of the ceremanial; This Evan∣gelical liberty is often commended in the Scripture, as the glorious priviledge of the Christian Church, which the legal Church wanted; of this legal servi∣tude, and Evangelical freedome the Apostle, Gal. 4, doth largely, and most di∣vinely treat, This Christian liberty also from Jewish rites, The Apostle, Gal. 5. 1. ••horteth us to stand fast in, as being purchased for us by the death of Christ, as a glorious priveledge; only the Apostle Peter, 1 Pet. 2. 16, giveth good advice, That we turn not our liberty into licentiousness; It is true, the Apostle doth once use the word [free] abusively and improperly, Rom. 6. 20, where the servants of sinne are said to be free from righteousness, or to righteous∣ness, now this is improperly called a freedome; for as the service of God is the truest freedome, so freedome from holiness is the greatest slavery. Al∣though Austin doth from this Text make a division of liberty into two kinds, which he maketh perpetual use of, Libertas à peccate, and Libertas a justitiâ; The godly man hath the former liberty, the sinner hath the latter, but this latter is improperly called liberty.
Lastly, There is a spiritual freedome mentioned by the Scripture, as the utli∣mte and complete perfection of all, when the soul shall be freed not only from the dominion of sinne, but the presence of it, all the reliques and remainders of it, and the body shall be freed from death, pain, and all corroptibility, Rom. 8. 2. This is called, the glorious liberty of the sons of God; and for this every godly man is to groan and mourn, even as the woman in travel to be delive∣red; This is called by Divines libertas gloriae, and libertas à miserià. But we are to speak of the liberty of grace; and herein we are not to admire the Free∣will of man, but the free grace of God: man hath no free-will to do that which is spiritual and holy; Free-will is an Idol which the corrupt heart of man is apt to advance; he is unwilling to be brought out of himself, to be behold∣ing to the grace of Christ only; therefore Austin observed well, That this truth is to be found out by prayer and supplication, sooner then by disputati∣on; Did men commune with their own hearts; did they observe the Abyss and Page 307 depth of all evil that is in their corrupt will, how intangled and in slaved to the creature, they would quickly fall from disputation to humiliation, and turne arguments into prayers.