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who is God of gods, King of kings, and Lord of lords.
It is this most perfect pattern of self-denial we must follow, if ever we will come to glory: to do which, let us confider self-denial in its true distinction and extent.
0. VI. There is a lawful and unlawful felf: and both must be denied for the sake of him, that in fubmiffion to the will of God counted nothing dear, that he might fave us. And though the world be scarcely in any part of it at that pass, as yet to need that lesson of the denial of lawful self, that every day most greedily facrifices to the pleasure of unlawful self; yet to take the whole thing before me, and for that it may possibly meet with some that are so far advanced in this spiritual war. fare, as to receive some service from it, I shall at least touch upon it.
§. VII. The lawful self, which we are to deny, is that conveniency, ease, enjoyment, and plenty, which in themselves are so far from being evil, that they are the bounty and blessings of God to us: as husband, wife, child, house, land, reputation, liberty, and life itself: these are God's favours, which we may enjoy with lawful pleasure, and justly improve as our honest interest. But when God requires them, at what time foever the lender calls for them, or is pleased to try our affections by our parting with them: 1 say, when they are brought in competition with him, they must not be preferred, they must be denied. Christ himself descended from the glory of his Father, and willingly made himself of no reputation among men, that he might make us of some with God; and from the quality of thinking it no robbery to be equal with God, he humbled himself to the poor form of a servant; yea,
the ignominious death of the crofs, that he might deliver us an example of pure humility, and entire submission to the will of our heavenly Father.
8. VIII. It is the doctrine he teaches us in these words : He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me, is not worthy of me.° · Again, Whosoever he be of you, that forsaketh uot all that he hath, cannot be my disciple. And he plainly told the
rich man, that if he would have eternal life, he should fell all and follow him : a doctrine fad to him, as it is to those, that, like him, for all their high pretences to religion, in truth love their poffeffions more than Christ. This doctrine of self-denial is the condition to eternal happiness : He that will come after me, let him. deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Let him do as I do: as if he had said, He must do as I do, or he cannot be as I am, the Son of God.
§. IX. This made those honest fishermen quit their lawful trades, and follow him, when he called them to it; and others that waited for. the confolation of Israel, to offer up their. estates, reputations, liberties, and also lives, to the displeasure and fury of their kindred, and Phil. ii 5, 6, 7,
d Luke xiv. 33. * Mat. xvi. 24.
• Mat, X. 37. • Mark X. 21, 22.
the government they lived under, for the fpiritual advantage that accrued to them, by their faithful adherence to his holy doctrine. True, many would have excused their following him in the parable of the feast : Some had bought land, some had married wives, and others had bought yokes of oxen, and could not come;" that is, an immoderate love of the world hin, dered them : their lawful enjoyments, from servants became their idols ; they worshipped them more than God, and would not quit them to come to God. But this is recorded to their reproach: and we may herein see the power of self upon the worldly man, and the danger that comes to him by the abuse of lawful things. What, thy wife dearer to thee than thy Saviour! And thy land and oxen preferred before thy soul's 'salvation ! O beware, that thy com. forts prove not snares first, and then curses : to over-rate them, is to provoke him that gave them to take them away again : Come, and follow him that giveth life eternal to the soul.
§. X. Woe to them that have their hearts in their earthly possessions! For when they are gone, their heaven is gone with them. It is too much the sin of the greatest part of the world, that they stick in the comforts of it. And it is lamentable to behold, how their af. fections are bemired, and entangled with their conveniencies and accommodations in it. The true self-denying man is a pilgrim ; but the selfish man is an inhabitant of the world: the one uses it, as men do ships, to transport themfelves, or tackle, in a journey, that is, to get home; the other looks no further, whatever he prates, than to be fixed in fulness and ease here, and likes it so well, that if he could, he would not exchange. However, he will not trouble himself to think of the other world, till he is sure he must live no longer in this : but then, alas! it will prove too late; not to Abraham, but to Dives he must go; the story is as true as fad.
$. XI. But on the other hand, it is not for nought, that the disciples of Jesus deny themselves; and indeed, Christ himself had the eternal joy in his eye: For the joy that was set be. fore him, says the author to the Hebrews, he endured the cross;" that is, he denied himself, and bore the reproaches and death of the wicked: and defpifed the shame, to wit, the dishonour and derifion of the world. It made him not afraid nor shrink, he contemned it; and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. And to their encouragement, and great consolation, when Peter asked him, What they should have that had forsaken all to follow him?' He answered them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall fit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall fit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; i that were then in an apostacy from the life and power of godliness. This was the lot of his disciples : the more immediate companions of his tribulations, and first messengers of his king
Heb. xii. 2. i Mat. xix. 27, 28, 29.
dom. But the next that follows is to all: And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's fake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. It was this recompence of reward, this eternal crown of righteousness, that in every age has raised, in the souls of the just, an holy neglect, yea, contempt of the world. To this is owing the constancy of the martyrs, as to their blood, the triumph of the Truth.
§. XII. Nor is this a new doctrine; it is as old as Abraham. In several most remarkable instances, his life was made up of self-denial. First, in quitting his own land, where we may well suppose him fettled in the midst of plenty, at least fufficiency: and why? Because God called him, Indeed this thould be reason enough, but such is the world's degeneracy, that in fact it is not: and the same act, upon the fame inducement in any now, though praised in Abraham, would be derided. So apt are people not to understand what they coinmend; nay, to despise those actions, when they meet them in the people of their own times, which they pretend to adınire in their ancestors.
$. XIII. But he obeyed: the consequence was, that God gave him a mighty land. This was the first reward of his obedience. The next was, a son in his old age; and which greatened the blessing, after it had been, in nature, past the time of his wife's bearing of