William Gadsby, Perfect Law Of Liberty (Complete)

Observe, our text does not say, “This man shall be blessed for his deed,” but “in his deed.” God hath ordained both the end and the means, and what God has joined together let no man put asunder. To slight the means of grace, and pay but little attention to our deportment among men, is a sad evidence that we are not looking into the perfect law of liberty; and to expect God to bless us for our well-doing, is equally as absurd and dishonourable. The blessing of God is connected with the obedience of faith.

But, with what shall “this man” be blessed? He shall be blessed with peace of conscience: “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them” (Ps 119:165); or, as it might be rendered, “they shall have no stumbling-block.” Christ, to them, is not a stone of stumbling, nor rock of offence, but he is in reality their peace, for he is the Prince of Peace, and of his peace there shall be no end. The law of liberty is called the gospel of peace (Rom 10:15; Eph 6:15); and just in proportion as the Holy Ghost leads the mind into the gospel, so will our peace abound; for out of Christ there is no peace to a poor sinner. But a substantial peace is a part of the legacy which Christ bequeathed to his saints: it is a peace which passeth all understanding, and is a blessing which the…

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This man is said to be, “not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word.”‘ In speaking on this part of the subject, I shall consider the doing of the word in a twofold sense; viz., internally and visibly.

1st. Internally; which may be comprised in the work of faith, patience of hope, and labour of love.

Faith is that grace of the Spirit by which the sinner believes in, looks unto, and rests upon Christ and his finished work for life and salvation. It is the business of faith against hope to believe in hope; that is, to rest upon the promise of God, in spite of all opposition. Though there be nothing in nature and reason but what militates against the accomplishment of the promise given, yet it is the work of faith to believe that faithful is he who hath promised, who also will do it; for faith has nothing to do with wit and carnal reason: it is a grace which soars above and beyond them, and fetches blessings from a source which is quite beyond their reach and comprehension: it is in its very nature to work through clouds and darkness of every description, and never stop short of the fountain of light: for it enters into the very heart of Christ. “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Unbelief and carnal reason are sure to stand opposed to faith, and use all their efforts to bring the Christian into darkness and bondage; to accomplish which, they endeavour to hide Christ from his eyes, shut up the fountain of life, and bar up the gate to endless rest; but faith’s work is to maintain the fight against them, by keeping Christ in view, as the…

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On this head I shall be very brief. The apostle Paul seems to have the same things in view, when he says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” (Col 2:6) If ye received him as the Lord your righteousness and strength, your God, your life, your light, your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, portion, and your all in all, walk in him as such. If ye have looked unto him and have been lightened, and your faces were not ashamed, continue to look unto him; he is still the same, and ye as much need him now as ever; for without him ye can do nothing. All your fruit is in him; and except ye abide in him by faith and love, ye cannot bring forth fruit. If the gospel ever appeared glorious, (and I am sure it has done to all who have looked into it,) it is glorious still, and will bear…

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We live in a day when speculative and superficial religion abounds to a great degree. It would be considered an insult to call any one an irreligious man. Almost all hands are engaged in holding up what they call religion; but among the vast crowds that are engaged in this work, it is to be feared the number is but small who are able to give an answer to any one that should ask them of the reason of their hope, or, in other words, who have looked into the perfect law of liberty. I have often observed, that even ministers, whose abilities are far from being contemptible as men, and who are considered preachers of the first rank, are fully satisfied with looking round the gospel rather than into it. You may hear them preach, and not be able to say they have uttered falsehoods, but, at the same time, the truths they have delivered have been in such a superficial way, as to be calculated to lead the mind to suppose they are but mere circumstantial matters, and of no importance whatever. In fact, you may find the sublimest doctrines of the gospel treated with contempt even by men who profess to believe them, not only from the…

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1st. I shall endeavour to show that this law contains a perfection of doctrines. Do we look around us, and behold a world rolling in sin and ungodliness? do we look within and find ourselves a mass of rebellion and wretchedness? and are we led to inquire if there be any possibility of such wretches escaping hell and obtaining heaven? This precious law informs us that it is not only possible, but that it is as certain as that God is God, that a people shall show forth God’s praises in eternal glory. Nor are we left at a mere conjecture how this shall be brought about: for “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by grace are ye saved” (Eph 2:4-5); “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 Jn 4:10) From hence we learn that God hath, in love to his people, sent his Son to make satisfaction for their sins. Nor is the love of God, which provided so suitable a Saviour, of an uncertain or changeable nature; for “I loved thee with an everlasting love,” is the language of Jehovah to his chosen. (Jer 31:3) The love of God to his people is immutable—from everlasting to everlasting; a fathomless depth! an infinite height! an immeasurable length! and a boundless breadth! without the least possibility of a change (Eph 3:18-19); for God resteth in his love. (Zeph 3:17) And, in everlasting love he hath chosen his people in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy (not because they were holy, but that they should be holy) and without blame before him in love; having predestinated them unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, (not for anything he foresaw they would do, but) according to the good pleasure of his will. (Eph 1:4-5)

This law also informs us of the great end that Jehovah had in view in predestinating a people to himself, viz., his own glory: for it is “to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph 1:6) Jehovah cannot, in his very nature, lose sight of his own glory; for, whether he saves or damns transgressors, he, in some way or other, glorifieth himself in so doing: but in the salvation of his people, he doth not merely glorify himself, but every perfection of his nature harmoniously blazes forth in all the…

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In showing why this law is called the law of liberty, I remark, that liberty stands directly opposed to bondage, and that the gospel is a free proclamation of liberty, complete liberty, to poor, captive, insolvent debtors. By the gospel, poor sinners are made free, in spite of all opposition that can be raised against their freedom, by either sin, law, death, or hell; for the truth shall make them free. Such is the glory and importance of the liberty of the gospel, that, to be made a partaker of it, and to be employed in the important work of proclaiming or preaching it to others who are in distress, is the highest favour that can be conferred upon mortals. This divine employ has been considered a work of the greatest moment, by both the old and new testament saints; as it is written, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” (Is 52:7; Rom 10:15) In fact, such is the importance of the work of proclaiming this liberty, that the author of it himself rejoiced in proclaiming it: “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, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Is 61:1; Lk 4:18-19) The very heart of Christ was in this work, and it was delightful to him to do this part of the Father’s will, as well as it was to complete that salvation by which we are made free. Hear, beloved, with what endearing language this precious Christ addresses poor, sin-burdened, insolvent sinners, who have nothing but guilt and bondage to boast of at best: “Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and…

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“But 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.”—James 1:25

In showing what law is intended in the text, I shall say that it appears to me to be the glorious Gospel of God our Saviour, which comprehends all the glorious doctrines and promises of love, grace, and mercy; with all the truths connected with, and discovered in, the complete salvation of helpless sinners. A gospel replete with blessings unspeakable and full of glory! and of which Christ is the sum and substance; for without, or separate from, Christ there is no gospel.

But in speaking upon this part of the subject, as God shall enable me, I shall endeavour to show that the Holy Ghost has been pleased to set forth this law by a diversity of terms, all of which are suited to its nature and design. And,

1st, It is called the law that goeth forth from Zion: as it is written, “‘And many people shall go and say. Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Is 2:3; Mic 4:2) By Zion, I understand the church of God, of which Christ is the Head, Lord, and Law-giver; though by nature, separate from Christ, she is nothing better than a sepulchre (as the term Zion signifies,) which contains nothing but…

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“But 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.”—James 1:25

This chapter abounds with wholesome instruction; and whoever reads it, under the teachings of its Divine Author, will have great reason to bless God for its seasonable contents. But my intention, at present, is not to enlarge upon the chapter, but to make a few remarks upon the verse before us as a text; in doing which I will, as far as the Holy Ghost shall be pleased to assist,

First,—Endeavour to show what law is not here intended.

Secondly,—What law is intended.

Thirdly,—Why this law is called a law of liberty.

Fourthly,—Why it is called a perfect law of liberty.

Fifthly,—What is intended by looking into it.

Sixthly,—Make a few remarks upon continuing therein.

Seventhly,—Speak a little upon the work that is done.

Eighthly and lastly,—Show that this man shall be blessed in his deed.

And may the Holy Spirit preserve me from error and guide me into truth, and cause the truth to refresh your souls, that, as the saints of the Most High, we may each be abundantly benefitted, and learn to glorify our Divine Master in all things, and live to him who loved us, and gave himself for us. May the Lord grant it, for the Redeemer’s sake. Amen.


In doing this. I shall endeavour to make it appear that it is not the law of works, commonly called the moral law. Do not start, brethren, at the expression “commonly called the moral law,” for the term moral is not to be found anywhere in the Word of God—at least, I have never seen it there. It is a vague expression, and men of wit can turn it almost which way they please, and make what use of it they think well. They can with one stroke kill it, and in great triumph declare it is dead, and with another they can raise it to life again, only in a different form. In fact, so dexterous are some in this art, that they have justly merited the name of “Moral-Law Transmogrifiers;” but be they as dexterous as they may, it is a mischievous invention, and has been the means of leading many a dear child of God into a sad labyrinth, causing them to heap reproach upon the servants of Christ. For instance, we are frequently told that the moral law is a…

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31 Mar 2022, by

The following treatise is the substance of eleven sermons preached at the Baptist Chapel, St. George’s-Road, Manchester.

If the author know his own heart, his design in publishing this tract is not to gratify the curious, to amuse the carnal mind, to bolster up the self-righteous in a false hope, nor yet to encourage an Antinomian presumption. He hopes that he has not so learned Christ as to be pleased with anything so opposite to the honour of the dear Redeemer. His design is, to glorify God in the real comfort and edification of his blood-bought family, and to clear the blessed gospel of those blasphemous aspersions which men have cast upon it. How far this end may be answered, he must leave to the righteous judgment of his Divine Master, and to the household of faith.

It is an awful fact, that we live in a day when the best name which the truth, as it is in Jesus, can obtain among the bulk of the professing world, is that of “Antinomianism;” and whoever dare be bold to declare, in the language of Scripture, that the believer is “dead to the law by the body of Christ,” is sure to be…

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