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till he first bind the strong man. Which, as it fhews the contrariety that was between Beelzebub and the power by which he difpoffefsed him, so it teaches us to know, that the souls of the wicked are the devil's house, and that his goods, his evil works, can never be destroyed, till first he that wrought thein, and keeps the house, be bound. All which makes it easy to know, where the cross must be taken up, by which alone the strong man must be bound, his goods spoiled, and his temptations refifted, that is, within, in the heart of man.
$. V. But in the next place, how, and in what manner is the cross to be daily borne ?
The way, like the cross, is fpiritual : that is, an inward fubmiffion of the soul to the will of God, as it is manifested by the light of Christ in the consciences of men ; though it be contrary to their own inclinations. For example: when evil presents, that which shews the evil, does also tell them they should not yield to it; and if they close with its counsel, it gives them power to escape it. But they that look and gaze upon the temptation, at lait fall in with it, and are overcome by it; the consequence of which, is guilt and judgment. Therefore, as the cross of Christ is that spirit and
power in men, though not of men, but of God, which
crosseth and reproveth their fleshly lusts and affections ; fo the way of taking up the cross, is an entire refignation of soul to the discoveries and requirings of it: not to consult their worldly pleasure, or carnal ease,
* Matthew xii. 29.
or interest, for such are captivated in a moment, but continually to watch against the very appearances of evil, and by the obedience of faith, that is, of true love to, and confidence in God, cheerfully to offer up to the death of the cross, that evil part, that Judas in themselves, which, not enduring the heat of the fiege, and being impatient in the hour of temptation, would, by its near relation to the tempter, more easily betray their souls into his hands.
$. vi. Ó this shews to every one's experience, how hard it is to be a true disciple of Jesus! the way is narrow indeed, and the gate very strait, where not a word, no not a thought must flip the watch, or escape judgment: such circumspection, such caution, such patience, such constancy, such holy fear and trembling. This gives an easy interpretation to that hard saying, Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; those that are captivated with fleshly lusts and affections : for they cannot bear the cross; and they that cannot endure the cross, must never have the crown. To reign, it is necessary first to suffer.
e Mat. xxiv. 42. ch. xxv. 13. ch. xxvi. 38. 42. Phil. ii. 12.
1 Cor. xv. 50.
f. 1. What is the great work of the Cross? The
answer to this is of great moment. §. 2. The work of the Cross is felf-denial. $. 3. What : was the Cup and Cross of Chrif? g. 4. 11)
is our cup and cross? 5. 5. Our duty is to follow Christ as our captain. 5. 6. Of the diftinction upon self, a lawful and unlawful self. $. 7. What the lawful self is. . 8. That it is to be denied in some cases by Christ's doctrine and example. $. 9. By the apostle's pattern. §. 10. The danger of preferring lawful self above our duty to God. S. II. The reward of self-denial, an excitement to it. $. 12. This dčetrine as old as Abraham. f. 13. His obedience of faith memorable. ợ. 14. Job a great instance of self-denial, his contentment. $. 15. Mofes also a mighty example, his neglect of
16. His choice. D. 17, The reason of it, viz. the recompence of reward. g. 18. Isaiah no inconsiderable instance, who of a courtier became an holy prophet. f. 19. These instances concluded with that of holy Daniel, his patience and integrity, and the success they had upon the king. 8. 20. There might be many mentioned to confirm this blessed doctrine. f. 21. All must be left for Christ, as men would be saved. g. 22. The way of God is a way of faith and self-denial. 8. 23. An earnest jupplication and exhortation to all, to attend upon
these things. BUT fourthly, What is the great work and business of the cross respecting man?
Answ. §. I. This indeed is of that mighty moment to be truly, plainly, and thoroughly answered, that all that went before, seems only to serve for preface to it; and miscarrying in it, to be no less than a misguidance of the soul
about its way to blessedness. I shall therefore pursue the question, with God's help, and the best knowledge he hath given me, in the experience of several years discipleship.
II. The great work and business of the cross of Christ, in man, is felf-denial; a word, as of much depth in itself, so of fore contradiction to the world ; little understood, but less embraced by it: yet it must be borne for all that. The Son of God is gone before us, and by the bitter cup he drank, and baptism he fuffered, has left us an example, that we should follow his steps. Which made him put that hard question to the wife of Zebedee, and her two sons, upon her soliciting that one might fit at his right, and the other at his left hand, in his kingdom; Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with ? . It seems their faith was strong; they answered, We are able. Upon which he replied, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with : but their reward he left to his father.
$. III. What was his cup he drank, and baptism he suffered ? I answer, they were the denial and offering up of himself by the eternal spirit to the will of God, undergoing the tri. bulations of his life, and agonies of his death upon the cross, for man's falvation."
§. IV. What is our cup and cross that we should drink and suffer? They are the denial and offering up of ourselves, by the same spirit, to do or suffer the will of God for his service and glory: which is the true life and obedience of the cross of Jesus : narrow ftill, but before an unbeaten way.
For when there was none to help, not one to open the seals, to give knowledge, to direct the course of poor man's recovery, he came in the greatness of his love and strength ; and though clothed with the infirmities of a mortal man, being within fortified by the almightiness of an immortal God, he travelled through all the straits and difficulties of humanity; and first, of all others, trod the untrodden path to blessedness.
$. V. O come ! let us follow him, the most unwearied, the most victorious captain of our salvation : to whom all the great Alexanders and mighty Cæsars of the world, are less than the poorest foldier of their camps could be to them. True, they were all great princes of their kind, and conquerors too, but on very differing principles. For Christ made himself of no reputation to save mankind; but these plentifully ruined people, to augment theirs. They vanquished others, not themselves; Christ conquered felf, that ever vanquished them: of merit therefore the most excellent Prince and Conqueror. Besides, they advanced their empire by rapine and blood; but he by suffering and perfuafion : he, never by compulfion, they always by force, prevailed. Misery and slavery followed all their victories; his brought greater freedom and felicity to those he overcame. In all they did, they fought to please themselves ; in all he did, he aimed to please his Father,