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In his expiatory sacrifice for sin the law was fulfilled, divine justice satisfied, the debt of transgression cancelled, the guilt of sin removed. And, having overcome Satan, the strong man armed, he spoiled him of all his goods, delivering the souls of his redeemed people, who had been led captive by the prince of darkness at his will. At that time they were the slaves of sin; but, as St. Paul reminded the believing Romans, "being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Rom. vi. 18). This involved the redemption of their souls out of the hand of the enemy, when Christ the Prince of life proclaimed by his own acts
came," testified the apostle to the Galatians, | to set his people free, in every way and by "we were kept under the law, shut up unto all means. the faith which should afterwards be revealed" (Gal. iii. 23). And this presents to our minds the idea that the law is a yoke, a state of bondage, a hard task-master, exacting the tale of bricks even where no straw is provided. So that the man, who is taught the knowledge of sin by the law, feels the power of its condemnatory sentence, and dreads the doom which awaits him in its decisive judgment. He is the prisoner shut up, in despair of hope or of reprieve. And yet the Lord Jehovah by his Spirit says, in the true language of sympathy, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people:" "I know their sorrows:" "I am come down to deliver them." And as a truth, corresponding with such words, can be read the nature of that Christian liberty which the gospel of peace with full authority declares.
How many and how varied were the forms of disease, of infirmity, of distress, which met the eye of the Good Samaritan! and these, when their deformities had vanished at his word, told of that freedom which in a spiritual sense all Christian people participate in, when the voice of the Lord Jehovah utters that thrilling sentence, "Son, be of good cheer: thy sins are forgiven thee." And the enjoyment of this state of forgiveness tranquillizes the soul, and fully explains the effect which Christian liberty produces. The prisoner of hope is then set free; the chain of his sins, with which he lay bound, is effectually knocked off; the prison-doors are thrown back upon their hinges; and free egress is given "to him who believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, and whose faith is counted for righteousness."
But I must not anticipate too soon the other part of our first division, namely, How this Christian liberty is procured. It is identified in this scripture in connexion with the work of Christ, thus: "Wherewith Christ hath made us free." O what a subject does this open! how wondrous in its arrangement! how complete in its operation! It was by his obedience unto death that this inestimable privilege was procured, when, under the truthful emblem of a lamb, and significantly called the Lamb of God, "he became sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Hence by his death we reap the benefit of pardon, and by his rising again the blessing of peace; the one resulting from the blood, the other from the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It was the one object of the coming of Christ, as "God manifest in the flesh,"
liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound "(Isai. lxi. 1). This was his first victory gained over sin and hell, and over Satan also. The mighty Deliverer extracted the sting from death, and rose, the conqueror over every enemy, from the grave. Then, as he ascended up on high, to quote the words of David, "He led captivity captive" (Ps. lxviii. 18). O! that we may share the spiritual blessings resulting from his victory, his triumph, his session at God's right hand. Those precious truths which the lips of Christ uttered shall abundantly be verified: "And ye shall know the truth; and the truth shall make you free." And again, "If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
Beloved, Christian liberty is at all times. distinguished from that false idea, that all believers may live, and act, and think as though no motive for obedience was thought of, as though the power of divine grace was never sought to, as though the word of God was no guide to the steps of the Christian. But, when the scriptures speak of Christian liberty, they tell of him who is the author and the giver of it, and who by his Spirit sanctifies the soul, thereby causing that it should continue to experience the lasting benefit of deliverance from sin, through the shedding of Christ's precious blood.
The Christian, brought up at the foot of the cross, and sitting like Mary at the feet of Jesus, delights to hear his word. He cannot indulge the lawless state, which the ungodly of the earth continue in, and of which they make their empty boast. He is "not without law to Christ." He reads in the moral law the heavenly spirit, which it breathes, as fulfilled in Christ, as the adopted rule of faith and practice. The nearer the believer lives to Jesus, the more free is his spirit from the besetting power of sin, from the ensnaring
evil of the world, from the subtle devices of Satan.
The apostle would have the Galatian churches enter into the subject of
II. Christian stedfastness, why so pointedly urged. The strength of Christian principles arises from union by faith to Christ. If this should be severed, after the significant description of the fruitless branch from the tree, the fall, the ruin, the desolation will indeed be great. And the soul of the believer becomes, when faith is weak, or made ship wreck of, an easy prey to the enemy of souls. Perseverance is indeed necessary in the ways of godliness; and Christian stedfastness, or continuance in well doing, is the unerring test of character. But we must fix our attention upon one point in particular, while contemplating this general truth. The connexion which exists between the first and second parts of our discourse claims for itself scriptural comparison and much prayerful thought. The words of an apostle are an evidence in themselves, wherefore he should so pointedly urge the due consideration of what he desired. He would have the churches of Galatia "stand fast in the liberty" of the gospel, as individual Christians, unmoved by hearsay evidence of any truth. It may well be styled by St. Paul to the Romans "the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. viii. 21,). True, it is but in part consummated. Sin is forgiven; but the body of this death remains, as the clog to the soul, the barrier of its spiritual peace. Let this be buried in the dust, and be raised incorruptible, and the soul be re-united, and then the liberty will beyond all comparison be glorious. And yet the Christian knows and feels the value of freedom from the curse of the law, deliverance from the power of sin, though not from the influence which the deceitful heart exercises over him, striving to take away, were it possible, every vestige of the new creation.
loved, the bible alone, apart from note or comment, is the high standard to which we appeal in all matters of faith and practice. See then that we stand fast in the liberty of the gospel, which it proclaims, and never loosen our hold of that protestant faith, which the period of the reformation, under God, restored to our church and nation.
The Christian's anchor hold is sure and stedfast. "It entereth into that within the vail, whither Christ the forerunner hath for us entered." But, while I would in the language of the apostle pointedly urge upon your attention the absolute necessity there is of standing by, as in defence of, the great and glorious doctrines of the cross, as our bulwark, our rock, our high tower, I cannot but remind you of another truth connected with this remark, that personal religion is, above all things, required to substantiate our individual claim to stedfastness in the faith of Christ. The spring of action must be from within, and the outer works will be regulated by it. We may not all be called to occupy the fore-front of the battle against the common enemy, sin; but, if we are Christians in heart and life, depend upon it, we have each our appointed post in the ranks of the church militant. Suffer then the word of exhortation, as given from the pen of an apostle to the Ephesian Christians in the sixth chapter of his epistle: "And put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." And perhaps nowhere may be found a more truthful comment upon the words, "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,' than in the following scripture, drawn from the same epistle and from the same chapter, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness."
We pass to our last division, namely
III. The word of caution, to remain free What is it to stand fast in the daily mainte- from their former state of bondage. He adnance and exercise of this Christian liberty pro- dressed them in the third chapter in a most cured through Christ? A prayerful spirit, in decided manner. His words are worthy of simple dependence upon divine teaching, will an apostle, who sought only their spiritual serve this important end. My brethren, the good, and freedom from the subtleness of great truth which dwelt in the apostle's mind false and unscriptural teaching: "O foolish at the time he penned the words, "stand fast Galatians! who hath bewitched you, that ye in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us should not obey the truth? before whose eyes free," is akin to the preservation of first prin- Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth ciples; by which I mean that we have to crucified among you." And, again: "Are cling to the pure doctrines of the gospel, un-ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are leavened by error. And to this the scriptural teaching of our church is the lesser guide.
O! the danger, the folly, the recklessness of casting overboard the only charter of the Christians' faith, the only lamp provided of God for divine guidance upon earth. Be
ye now made perfect by the flesh?" It was indeed an admirable caution, and one which could not but sink deep in their hearts: "Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Therein he alludes to the works of the law, and the danger they were in of forgetting
Brethren, the word of caution must be heeded, or spiritual danger will follow. And, if we turn away our ears from the truth, it hath turned us aside, and, having by decan only be supposed that a deceitful heart grees weakened, will on a sudden deprive us altogether of our stedfastness in Christ.
the truths he had taught them, only to em- | former has no desire to return to the yoke of
For what is the Christian's position under the new covenant of grace, of truth? He takes, in obedience to the word of Christ, his yoke upon him; and this he finds to be easy, whereby "every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." This is the yoke of true freedom, this the badge of our Christian service. And shall we not, my brethren, act at all times with becoming caution, lest by negligence or security we depart from Christ, from the simplicity of the faith of the gospel, and again be brought under the dominion of sin? Dread nothing so much as the sacrifice of Christian principles drawn from the word of God. Avoid the snares of any system which has not for its foundation and its centre" Christ and him crucified." Are any tempted to forsake the fountain of living waters? Let them reflect whither they are bending their steps, what unsatisfying pleasures are sought to, in exchange for unfading realities. The first step of entanglement has drawn the steps of the unthinking, but, above all, of the subtle reasoner, into the net of ceremonial observances singularly allied to the Jewish ritual; but of a pagan, more fully developed into a papal character. And their present state of bondage is aptly described as servitude to the law, from the pen of an apostle to these Galatian Christians: "Ye observe days and months and times and years: I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain" (Gal. iv. 10, 11). When the slave obtains his freedom either at a price or by discharge from service, he knows how to appreciate the blessing of liberty. And similar is the state of the true Christian. The
To conclude. The present scripture, though addressed by the apostle of the Gentiles to the churches of Christ scattered throughout Galatia, is nevertheless, as we have intimated, peculiarly applicable to the last days of the Christian church, fast approaching the time of the end. And the servants of the same heavenly Master now, as then, treat of the same truths, preach no other gospel than that which supplied the same message of peace to the early Christians; therefore it follows that our word to you must be, "not yea and nay," but in all points be, "yea and amen in Christ."
We have proceeded from one point to another in the several parts of the subject; and, while Christian liberty was touched upon, we told you plainly what it is, and how procured. Have we felt this privilege to be ours, as one of the lasting benefits of Christ's precious death? To be free from the condemnation and the curse of the law, and from all discharge on our part of the heavy debt of sin, is the evidence that by divine grace we are free-born, "and shall never come into condemnation." Brethren, consider the greatness of this mercy, and its peculiar adaptation to our spiritual wants.
The remembrance, moreover, of what the liberty of the gospel is, when sin is forgiven through the witness of the Holy Spirit, and the appropriation by faith of Christ's blood, to set the soul free, cannot but lead our minds to contemplate our next particular, Christian stedfastness, why SO pointedly urged. Perseverance in the path of truth is the effect of divine teaching and guidance. O to be earnest in prayer, that God would be pleased to keep us by his mighty power, through faith unto salvation, that from the beginning to the end of our Christian life we may be found "witnessing a good profession before many witnesses,' not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," but standing firmly in the faith and hope of Christ, wherein we have been taught from the early days of childhood. Cling to the established truths of scripture, and listen to their warning voice: "Behold,
I come quickly: hold that fast which thou | we big ones had to learn the little ones. But hast, that no man take thy crown." when father's work got slack, if she had no employment chairing, she'd say, 'Now I'll go and buy a bushel of apples;' and then she'd turn out, and get a penny that way. I suppose by sitting at the stall from nine in the morning till the shops shut up-say ten o'clock at night-I can earn about 1s. 6d. per day. It's all according to the apples-whether they are good or not-what we makes. If I'm unlucky, mother will say, Well, I'll go out to-morrow, and see what I can do;' and if I've done well, she'll say, 'Come, you're a good hand at it: you've done famous.' Yes, mother's very fair, that way. Ah, there's many a girl I know whose back has to suffer, if she don't sell her stock well; but, thank God, I never get more than a blowing up. My parents is very fair to me.
And, again, thoughtfully consider the word of caution, "be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Be unfettered by human opinion, guided by the word of scripture alone, and avoid any and every approach to the old state of nature, the yoke of sin, of Satan, of spiritual captivity, thereby showing the truth of St. James's words by your daily experience, that" whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed".
SIGHTS WHICH I HAVE SEEN.
BY MARY ROBERTS.
"I dare say there ain't ten out of a hundred girls, what's living with young men, what's been married church of England fashion. I know plenty myself; but I don't indeed think it right. And so it happens that if the lad has a few words with his companion, he says, 'O I ain't obligated HEAR also the following statement, made by a to keep her; and he'll turn her out; and then young woman about eighteen; and imagine her where's that poor girl to go to? Now there's a appearance when answering the inquiries that girl I knows, as came to me no later than this here were put, curtsying at every question, and seem-week, and she had a dreadful swoln face, and a ing greatly puzzled where to place her hands, at one time tucking them under her shawl, at another warming them by the fire, or measuring the length of her apron, and, when replying to a question, invariably addressing the fire-place. Her voice was husky from shouting apples; and, as regards her dress, she wore a plaid shawl tied over the breast; and her cotton velvet bonnet was crushed in with carrying her basket.
awful black eye; and I says, 'Who's done that?" And she says, says she, 'Why, Jack,' just in that way; and then she says, says she, 'I'm going to take a warrant out to-morrow.' Well, may hap she'll get the warrant, and he'll get it away that same day, and she never appears against him, for fear of getting another beating, and being turned adrift. Father and mother married, and lived comfortable. Mother learned to read, and taught "My mother," she said, "has been in the us, as I said afore. Now, if a young man marstreets, selling all her life-time. Her uncle learnt ries, he's obligated to keep his wife, if they quarher the markets, and she learnt me. When busi- rels or not; and he says to himself, says he, ness grew bad, she said to me, 'Now you'll take Well, I may as well live a happy life.' But, if on the stall; and I'll go and work out, chairing.' 'tis otherwise, and the man can turn a poor thing The way she learnt me the markets was to judge off as soon as he likes, he begins to have noises of the weight of the baskets of apples; and then, with her, and then gets quit of her altogether. said mother, said she, always bate 'em down, It would be a good thing if these sort of goings almost a half.' I always liked the street life very on could be stopped. "Tis half the parents' fault; well-that was, if I was a selling. I have mostly for if a girl can't get a living they turns her into kept a stall myself, but I've known girls as walks the street, and then what's to become of her? I'm about with apples, as have told me that the weight sure if some'ed could be done to get the young of the basket is such that the neck cricks, and, ones married, the poor girls would be much hapwhen the load is took off, its just as if you'd a pier, easier in their mind like, and the husbands stiff neck, and the head feels as light as a feather. as ought to be would respect 'em, and care about The girls begins working very early at our work:'em; and if they were married they'd get a nice the parents make them go out when almost babies. home about 'em; whereas, if they's only living There's a little girl-I'm sure she an't more than together, they takes a furnished room. I'm sure, half-past seven-that stands selling water-cresses, too, that it's a bad plan; for I've heard many a next my stall; and mother was saying, 'Only poor girl say, 'Ab, I wish I'd never seed Jack, or look there, how that little one has to get her Tom (whatever it is); I'm sure I'd never been living, afore she almost knows what a penn'orth half so bad, but for him." means.' There's six of us in family, and father and mother makes eight. Father used to do odd jobs with the gas-pipes in the streets, and when work was slack we had very hard times of it. Mother always liked being with us at home, and used to manage to keep us employed out of chief. She'd give us an old gown to make into pinafores for the children, and such like. She's been very good to us, has mother; and so's father. She always liked to hear us read to her whilst she was a washing, or such like; and then
Such is the simple testimony of a wellconducted young woman, whose parents had brought her up in habits of industry, who had been taught to read, and to know right from wrong. I earnestly recommend it to the conmis-sideration of my readers; of such especially as are desirous that the condition of the "London folk" should be effectually improved. My limits will not admit of specifying the coster-districts, as they are termed, where colonies of these extraordinary people congregate; but I refer my readers to
the 47th page of "London Labour and London Poor," part I., which is, indeed, the only number which I have yet seen. The entire metropolis is parcelled out almost as systematically as if for purposes of registration; and in these costerdistricts dwell thousands of immortal beings, on whom the light of Christianity has never dawned, whose children remain unbaptized, gathering their notions of right and wrong from what the police allows or forbids, and whose parents are too frequently unmarried.
Yet some there are, who, faintly it may be, and yet justly, comprehend the responsibilities implied in that one word "home," and who endeavour to act well, according to their knowledge, And of this we may be certain, that, when the dwelling, however poor, is embellished, though in the humblest manner, and the parents are anxious that their children should be taught to read, the master and mistress are uniformly married. Take for example the following instance as narrated by a visitor:
"The lane of houses down which I went was one of the humblest description: there was nothing to choose among the homes, if such they might be called, when the inhabitants mostly lived in the streets; and the one to which I was especially directed may serve as a sample of the
a neighbour who had rushed up to see the stranger. 'They says he has 'em on his table, but I never seed 'em they never gives us the pieces, no not even the heads,' and every one laughed to the uttermost. The old mother was in high spirits, her dark eyes sparkling as she spoke about her 'Steve'. The daughter in a little time lost her timidity, and began prattling about the news of the neighbourhood. On taking leave, the mother said that her silver-gilt Dutch clock, with its glass face and black-leaded weights, was the best one in London, and might be relied on with the greatest safety."
This aged woman, with the assistance of her boy and girls, contrived to live in the most praiseworthy and comfortable manner. Herself and family abstained from all kinds of beer and spirituous liquors: they drank merely tea and water, and presented a pleasing example of thriving and industrious costermongers.
The same locality afforded another type of struggling costermongers, in a family inhabiting a front kitchen. Their dwelling had little to commend it, and strange was the contrast which it presented to a cottage home among green fields and trees. But perchance the inmates had never shared a better; and thus far it was well for them. The father, a tall, square-built, good-looking man, with a fur cap upon his head, kindly bade the visitor welcome. His sojourn consisted of but one room, a front kitchen, containing himself and wife, with his mother-in-law and three children, in all five persons. A barrow, standing on the bars that crossed the front area, considerably obscured the light, which must at all times have been somewhat dim; and, whenever any one in passing cast a fleeting shadow across the room, a loud noise occasioned by the trampling of feet on the iron grating rendered it difficult to hear a word. The mother-in-law was reading aloud a three-penny paper to her son, who was lolling to rest himself on the bed, of which the curtains nearly filled the room; and small as was that room, it was cheer
"The doors stood open: there was no need of knocking, and I ascended a flight of dark stairs, that led to a landing-place, into which the light and air of heaven had never been admitted through an open window. The woman whom I came to visit lived, however, in a large airy room on the first floor, lighted (as the inmate told me, laughing at her own joke), by a clean window; and so in truth it was: the panes were clear from dust and cobwebs. The floor of the room was as white as if it had been newly planed: the coke fire was bright and warm, making the lid of the tin saucepan on it to rattle up and down, as the steam rushed out. The wall of the fire-place was ornamented up to the ceiling with little square pic-ing to see the attempts that had been made to rentures; and on the mantel-piece, between a row of bright tumblers and wine-glasses filled with odds and ends, stood glazed crockery-ware images of prince Albert and Mr. Jullien. On the walls, papered with hangings of four different patterns and colours, were hung several warm shawls; and in the band-box, which stood on the stained chest of drawers, you could tell that the Sunday bonnet was stowed safely away from the dust. A turn-up bedstead thrown back, and covered with a many-coloured patch-work quilt, stood opposite to a long dresser, with its mugs and cups dangling from the hooks, and clean blue plates and dishes ranged in order at the back. A few bushel baskets were piled up in one corner; but the apples smelt so, they were left in a lock-up stable at night. By the fire sat the woman's daughter, a meekfaced, pretty grey-eyed girl of sixteen, who was 'home nursing' for a cold. Steve (her boy) was out working. With his help, the woman said, she could live very comfortably, the Lord be praised.' And, when he got the barrow he was promised, she gave me to understand that their riches were to increase past reckoning. Her girl was to be off at work as soon as sprats came in. 'It's on Lord Mayor's day they comes in,' said
der the fire-side comfortable. The stone sides had been nicely whitened, and the mantel-picce decorated with its small tin trays, tumblers, and a piece of looking-glass. A cat with a kitten occupied the hearth-rug in front. "They keeps the varment away," said the old woman, stroking the puss, "and gives a look of home." A string stretching across the room from one wall to another upheld two shirts newly washed; and close beside the window were two stone barrels, for holding lemonade when the coster visited the fairs and races.
Presently the door opened, and a little girl came in. Her pinafore was perfectly clean: her face shone from the effects of a recent washing, and her tidy cotton-print gown had evidently been also put on clean that morning. She brought the news that "Janey was coming home from aunty's;" and instantly a pink cotton dress was hung up by the mother-in-law before the fire to air. Janey, as the father said, "was out at service, and came home once a week to see her parents, and take back a clean frock." Pleasing it was to notice the perfect neatness that pervaded not only the little girl and Janey's frock, but the room in which six persons dwelt and slept: a cel