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they are good, as Prayer, Humility, and Charity are good.
WHEN we shall be removed to a State that is free from Sin, Self-denial and Mortification will then be no Part of our Duty; but so long as this State of Sin lasts, so long does the Necessity and Reason of Self-denial and Mortification last; they are as necessary, as Prayers and Devotion, and are as truly essential Parts of Holiness, as Chastity and Humility
For Repentance and Sorrow for Sin is as necessary to a being in a State of Sin, as necessary on its own Account, and from the Nature of the Thing, as the Love of God is necessary from a Being that receives all his Happiness from God.
For to express our Indignation, and inflict Punishment on that which displeales God, is as reasonable in it self, and as much an Act of Holiness, as to love and cherish that which God loves. So that all our Self-denials as Punishments of Sin, as Expressions of Sorrow for Guilt, and as Preventions of Temptation, may be considered as so many Instances of our Love of Purity.
WHILST therefore we continue in a State of Corruption, it is as necessary that we continue in a State of Repentance, Selfdenial, and Sorrow, as it is neceifary to
continue our Defires and Endeavours after Purity.
If we can find a Time when we have no Sin to lament, no Occasion for the Severities of Repentance, it may be granted, that that would be a Time for the abstaining from Self-denial, and voluntary Sufferings.
BUT if human Life knows of no such Season, if we can never look at our selves, but under the Weight of Sin, it is a Demonstration that Indignation at our selves, and a voluntary Suffering for Sin, is the necessary constant State of Christians.
INDEED if it be allowed that Repentance and Sorrow for Sin is necessary, and that it ought to be the constant Habit of a Christian's Mind, till this Life be at an End, we need no stronger Proof of the constant Necessity of Self-denial and More tification.
FOR what Reason can there be for Sorrow and Grief for Sin, which is not the same Reason for Self-denial, and the daily Cross? Is not Grief and Sorrow for Sin, a Suffering and Punishment for Sin? Or can we grieve and afflict ourselves for our Sins, unless we express that Grief by a hearty Indignation, and real Self-denial
If therefore we consider the Reason and Fitness of Repentance, we see the Reason
and Fitness of Self-denial, and voluntary Sufferings, and consequently we must acknowledge, that these Self-denials are not less neceflary, nor less recommended to us, than Repentance and Sorrow for Sin.
For since they are of the same Nature, and for the same End, and also ellential to true Repentance, it follows, that all Christians are obliged to be as constant in their Self-denials, and Mortifications, as they are to be constant in their Repentance.
BECAUSE such voluntary Sufferings have the same essential Relation to Holiness, that Charity and the Love of God have.
For though Charity and the Love of God will never cease, but this Self-denial will have an End, yet is this Self-denial during this State of Sin, as essential to the Holiness of Persons in such a State, as any other Virtue.
I being the fame Degree of inward Purity, and as right a Spirit and Temper to mourn and afflict our selves for our Sins, as to love that which God loves, or be thankful for his Mercies.
Now if a Person was to give himself up to Sorrow in a State of Happiness
, or to Unthankfulness, though in the Midst of Mercies, he would act just as unreasonably,
just as contrary to the Nature of Things, as he that gives himself up to Pleasures and Indulgences in a State of Corruption and Sin.
Let it therefore be carefully observed, that Self-denial and Mortification, are only other Words for Repentance and Sorrow for Sin, and he that can distinguish them from one another, may distinguish Grief from Sorrow.
He therefore that can doubt, whether Christians are called to a daily Practice of Self-denial, seems to know as little of true Religion, as if he doubted whether they were called to a daily Repentance. For when we may live in a State contrary to Repentance, then, and then only, may we live in a State contrary to Self-denial.
LET a Christian ever cease from Selfdenial, let him ever forbear the Mortification of his Appetites, and at that Time he ceases to consider himself as a Sinner, and behaves himself as though he were then free from the Guilt and Danger of Sin.
But as he never is in this State of Freedom, so if he acts as if he was fo, he acts as falsely, as if he took himself to be an Angel.
THERE is therefore as much Reason that the daily Cross, or Self-denial, should be imposed upon Christians, as a daily
Prayer, or Repentance; and there is the same Impiety, the same false Judgment in refusing a daily Self-denial, as in refusing or cealing from a daily Devotion and Sorrow for Sin.
For a Man may as well imagine that he prays or gives Thanks to God, when he only repeats the Words of a Prayer or Thanksgiving, as that he repents for his Sins, unless his Repentance be a real Punishment, a true State of Mortification.
We may now observe, that this Doctrine of Self-suffering is founded upon the most important fundamental Articles of our Religion.
If we consider our Redeniption as an Attonement made by Suffering, does not this fhew us the Neceility of seeking Pardon by a Fellowship in the Sufferings of Christ?
NEED we any other Argument, that there is no State so suitable to a Sinner as that of Suffering, when God has appointed Sufferings as the Attonement for Sin?
If we consider that we are devoted to Death, and under a Necellity of falling into Dust, as a Sacrifice for Sin, does not this teach us the Necessity of making our Life conformable to the Intention of such a Death