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himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” John v. 30, “I can of mine own self do nothing-I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." The original word is very forcible, “ Let him deny away himself,” like those that desert a party, to have no more to do with them, and content that all the world know it. They must deny themselves as the Jews denied Christ, Acts iii. 14," But ye denied the holy One, and the just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you." And how that was ye see, John xix. 15, “ But they (the Jews] cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him-we have no king but Cæsar.” Away with self, crucify it: we have no king but Christ. They must deny themselves, as they must deny ungodliness, Tit. ii. 12, denying its cravings, starving it, till it dwindle away into nothing. (2.) Taking up the cross daily, and following him with it on our back, “ Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily;" otherwise he will not come in at my back to the crown; for so I go to it with the cross on my back, and that daily. The cross is any trouble or adversity which the Lord lays upon his followers.

Now, these thiugs are necessary in this case, absolutely necessary; otherwise we do not follow Christ in the way to the kingdom, but self in the way to destruction: and so we cannot come in at his back to the kingdom, and there is no other way to get into it. They are universally necessary : “ If any man will come after me, let him deny bimself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Be who they will, ever so delicate or dainty; they must lay their fair necks under this yoke, or perish.

3. The parties to whom this intimation is made : " He said to them all.Peter gave the occasion for this, by his rashness in advising or wishing Christ might spare himself as to the cross : for which he got a particular rebuke. But Mark tells us, that thereupon he called together the people, and his disciples also, chap. viii. 34. And here he said to them all, “ If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” The matter nearly concerning them all, as well as Peter, the intimation was made to all accordingly.

DOCTRINE. Whosoever will follow Christ in the way to the crown, and come in at his back to the kingdom of heaven, must of necessity deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Christ with it on his back.

Three things fall here to be considered. I. One's coming after Christ, which is the case put; II. One's denying himself; and, III. One's taking up his cross, and following Christ; which are the two things necessary in that case.

I. First, We are to consider the coming after Christ, which is the thing some do aim at, and all should. For clearing of that, consider,

1. Christ in the world was in the way to his kingdom, the kingdom of heaven: Luke xix. 12. “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom.” As he was God everywhere present, he was there even when on earth, John iii. 13. “ the Son of man which is in heaven :" but as he was man, he was but in his way to it. That was the joy set before him, which he had in view all along while he travelled through our wildernessworld.

2. Accordingly he was in the world, not as a native thereof, but as a stranger travelling through it, with his face always away-ward from it, home to his Father's house. Therefore, though he was sometime courted to set up for himself in it, he would not hearken to the solicitations to stay, and take his kingdom here. The Jews would have forced their kingdom on him, John vi. 15; but he fled from it, departing into a mountain, where he was nearer heaven, out of the din of the world. Satan offered him all the kingdoms of the world, Matth. iv. 8, 9. but he rejected his proposal with indignation.

3. Our Lord Jesus made his way to his kingdom through many bitter storms blowing on his face in the world, and is now entered into it: Heb. xii. 2—“who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” His life here was a life of sorrows; but now he has reached the fulness of joy. Death wrought on him all along to the grave; now it has no more dominion over him.

4. There is no coming into that kingdom, for a sinner, but at his back, in fellowship with him: John xiv. 6. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." If we pretend to come into it otherwise, justice will cast the door on our face, and tumble us down into the pit. He is the captain of our salvation, that is on the head of the whole company of the saved : he is the door of the sheep, and there is no entering but through him. So, “ If any man will come after me,” is in effect, If any man will enter into the kingdom of heaven.

5. Lastly, There is no coming in at his back into the kingdom, without following him in the way: Psal. cxxv. 5. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.” John xv. 6. “ If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” He is the author as well as the finisher of our faith; the chief guide in the way, as well as the giver of the prize at the end of the race. Certainly the merit of Christ is effectual on none anto salvation but those whom it conforms to his example. If we have any saving part in his death, we will be conformed to him in his life. Wherefore, since Christ went to his kingdom, denying himself, and taking up his cross, we must lay our account to go and do likewise, if we mind to be there.

II. Secondly, Let us then consider briefly, one's denying himself to come after Christ. And,

1. It implies two things. It implies,

1st, That Christ and self are contraries, leading contrary ways: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.Self is Christ's great rival in the world ; and no man can serve the two masters: he must either deny himself, and go after Christ; or he will deny Christ, and go after self. There is no compromising the matter betwixt the two: for Christ is the leader of God's upsetting; self of the devil's, when man fell off from God. Hence it implies,

2dly, That the self to be denied is our corrupt self, the old man, the unrenewed part; for that only is contrary to Christ. And, indeed it is not possible there can be any true self-denial but in sound believers, regenerate persons; in whom there is a renewed part, which is that which denies, and an unrenewed, which is that which is denied.

2. Wherein it consists. It consists in a holy refusal to please ourselves, that we may please God in Christ: for it is a denying of ourselves in competition: and God is the competitor, whom the selfdenying Christian prefers to himself, after Christ's example, Rom. xv. 3. “For even Christ pleased not himself," &c. And it is God in Christ for whom a sinner denies himself, as saith the text: for au absolute God out of Christ being a consuming fire, with which we can have no comfortable communion, the sight of him frights away the sinner, and causeth self to gather together all its strength in its own defence against him; whereas the view of God in Christ draws the sinner to lie down at his feet in hope. Hence, in self-denial there is,

1st, Faith and hope, as the necessary springs thereof: Phil. i. 29. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ,—to believe on him.” Rom. xii. 12. “Rejoicing in hope.” Cut off these, and you cut off self-denial : for the heart of man will never quit hugging

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one's dear self, till it get a God to rest in; nor let go its gripes of what it has, till it have hope of better.

Adly, A practical setting up of God as our chief end; and a bringing down ourselves to lie at his feet: Psal. lxxiii. 25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." This is true conversion, whereby a man is bronght back to his primitive situation, out of which he was turned by sin, setting self on the throne as his chief end, and laying the honour of God at its feet. The which unnatural situation all natural men are in; their whole life being one uninterrupted course of practical blasphemy, making themselves their chief end, and God the means.

3dly, An unlimited resignation of ourselves anto God in Christ: 2 Cor. viii. 5.—"first gave their ownselves to the Lord.” Faith taking hold of God as our God, according to the measure of faith, the whole man is swallowed up in him; God is all, and we become nothing in our own eyes: the whole soul, the whole man, the whole lot, is resigned to him.

4thly, A refusing to please ourselves in any thing in competition with God; but denying the cravings of self, as they are contrary to what God craves of us : Tit. ii. 12.-"denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts." And herein lies the exercise of self-denial, which there will always be occasion for while we are here. We may take it up in two generals.

1. Denying our self-wit, which is ready to crave of us a quite other belief and judgment than God demands of us by his word and works : Prov. iii. 5. “ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” If we will come after Christ, we must in this case shut our own eyes, or refuse to believe our own eyes. So did Abraham, Rom. iv. 17, 18."who against hope believed in hope,” &c. There are two cases particularly wherein this self-wit is to be denied.

(1.) In the case of truths revealed in the word, be they never so mysterious : 2 Cor. x. 5. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” The want of this is causing many unhumbled men to make shipwreck of the faith at this day, to sap the foundations of Christianity in gratification of their self-wit. But the grace of God will make the greatest wits and profoundest scholars receive revealed truths like a child, if ever it touch their hearts : Luke xviii. 17. “Verily, I say anto you, Whosoever shall not receieve the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no vise enter therein."

(2.) In the case of wants, crooks, and hardships that we find in our lot. God in his providence says, that trial, cross, &c. is best for you : self-wit says, it is very bad; and thinks it sees well how that work of God might be mended, and made far better. And thus many walk in a course of contradiction to the judgment of God declared in his works of Providence. Holding fast by self-wit, they will not quit their opinion of the matter to him. That is walking after self-wit.

2. Denying our self-will, which is ready to thwart with the will of God. Therefore we are taught to pray, (Matth. vi. 10.) “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” If we come after Christ, we must take God's will for our will, saying with him, (Matth. xxvi. 39.)—“Not as I will but as thou wilt.” There are two cases wherein we are particularly to deny our self-will.

(1.) In the case of duty, that we may comply with the will of God's command, however cross it may lie to our inclination : Rom. vii. 22, 23, “For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” God's will must be a sufficient reason for our practice, and we must put the knife to the throat of all our contrary inclinations, Tit. ii. 12, “ denying ungodliness and worldly lusts."

(2.) In the case of our lot, that we may comply with the will of God's providence, Acts xxi. 14, saying, “ The will of the Lord be done.” He that made us must be allowed to manage our lot and condition ; we calmly and contentedly submi:ting our will to his, readily embracing what he carves for us. There is reason for it, Job xxxiv. 33, “Should it be according to thy mind ? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose."

And this denying our self-wit and self-will must extend to three kinds of things.

1. To our civil comforts; such as, our outward peace, worldly substance, liberty, and credit, and the like : all which must be laid at the Lord's feet, to do with them as he will, take them from us, or continue them with us, if so be we will come after Christ: Luke xiv. 26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

2. To our natural enjoyments, as health, ease, relations, even life; all which also must be laid at the Lord's feet, to be disposed of as he will, not as we will, Luke xiv. 26, forecited.

3. To things of religion ; not trusting in our own management for them, but depending wholly on the Lord, Psal. cxxvii. 1, “ Ex

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