“In God’s service is a perfect and glorious liberty. We are never free till we become the servants of God; we are never out from under the yoke of bondage till we take Christ’s yoke upon us.
There is as much difference—yea, more—between a man that ties himself strictly to the laws of God, uses the utmost caution lest he should transgress in any point, and a man that gives himself the liberty to go just as his lusts and the devil drive him, or rather, gives his lusts and the devil liberty to drive him where they will, as there is between a bird at liberty in the open air and shut up in a cage.
When a man first gets into Christ he comes out, as it were, of a stinking, dark dungeon into liberty, and although he loved his dungeon while he was in it because he knew not there was any better place in the world, yet when once he has had experience of perfect liberty he would not return again into it for all the world.”
–Jonathan Edwards “Christian Liberty: A Sermon on James 1:25,” in Sermons and Discourses 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10, Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale, 1992), 623. Edwards was 18 years old when he preached this sermon. It may be read here in its entirety.