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fully appear, by comparing of that, and in the ivth chapter of the Revelation together, at your leisure. But where can a man see the glory of God but in the gospel? The gospel is called, the glorious gospel: there the glory of God is to be
With open face there, as in a glass, we behold the glory of the Lord.
II. The more I see Christ as an eminent, transcendent example of humility and self-denial, the more I learn to deny myself, even in spiritual things. Now the gospel holds forth Christ as the most eminent example of humility and selfdenial ; such an example as the sun never saw before, from first to last. At the first; “ He thought it no robbery (says the apostle) to be equal with God: and yet he humbled himself, and took upon him the form of a servant,” Phil. ii. 6, 7. And at the last; says he unto his Father, “Yet not my will, but thy will be done,” Luke xxii. 42. And if ye look into the xiiith chapter of John, ye shall find there, that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, takes a towel and water, and falls down at the feet of his disciples, and washes their feet: verse the 4th, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself; and after he had poured water into a basin, he began to wash his disciples' feet, and to wipe them with a towel. When the pharisee saw the woman coming unto Christ, and wash his feet, and wipe them with the hair of her head; he wondered, and said, Surely, if this had been a prophet, he would not have suffered a sinner to come so near to him.” Did the pharisee wonder at this condescension, that Christ should humble himself so far as to suffer a poor woman to come so near him, as to wash his feet with her tears? Oh! what condescension is here, for ever to be wondered at, that the Lord Christ himself should down upon his knees, and wash the disciples' feet; that the great God of heaven and earth, the second Person, incarnate, should now come, fall down at the feet of sinners, Judas among them too, and wash his disciples' feet! When all power in heaven and earth was in his hands, that with those hands he should wash the feet of sinners!
But stay a little, it may be all power in heaven and earth was not then given into his hands. Yes, read for that purpose the 3rd verse, that goes before this story: “ Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and
that he was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments."
But though all power in heaven and earth was given into his hands, it may be he did not know it. Yes, says the text, “ Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself: after that, he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet.” Oh, what self-denial is here! Was there ever such self-denial as here? And this, this does the gospel hold forth unto ye, and only to be learned in the gospel.
III. The more I see myself a debtor unto Jesus Christ, for all my gifts and for all my graces; the more humble I shall be, and the more I shall deny myself in spiritual things. Ye know how it is with a man that owes for his clothes : possibly a man may wear brave and fine clothes; but he owes for them at such a shop. While he is abroad, he swaggers, and is proud of his clothes; but when he comes into the shop where he owes for them, and looks upon the book, and what he hath to pay, he strikes sail then, and is more modest, ashamed, and blushes. The gospel is the great shop from whence we have all our gifts, and all our graces: and when I come into the gospel, there I see how infinitely I am a debtor to free grace for all I have: and though I may be proud in spirit at another time, yet if I come into the gospel, and see what an infinite debtor to free grace I am, for all that ever I wear upon the back of my soul, then I think, Oh! what cause have I to be humble ! Shall I be proud ? Shall not I deny myself in spiritual things? I say, the gospel is the shop of all our gifts and all our graces.
IV. The saving, justifying faith, is an emptying grace : it brings Christ into the soul; and when Christ comes into the soul, all other things must out. As when a king or prince comes into a house, the master of the house goes out of his own lodging, and all must out, to make room for the prince: so when Christ comes into one's soul, then all goes out, all other things go out. It is in our believing on Jesus Christ, as on our believing on God the
Father. “Ye believe in God (says Christ) believe also in me,” John xiv. 1. Look how ye believe in God the Father,
ye believe in me. Now, as when a man does beliere in God the Father for provision, for outward provision; as seeing an all-sufficiency in God to provide ; then he sees an insufficiency in all the creatures to help, and never before. So, when a man comes to believe in Christ, when he sees that all-sufficiency that is in Christ to redeem and satisfy for him ; then he sees an insufficiency in all his own duties and righteousness, and never till then. The truth is, a man cannot come to Christ, unless he do forsake all. As ye cannot come to this side of the water or river, unless you come from that side of the river. Now faith, it is nothing else but a coming to Jesus Christ : and therefore, wherever there is a true, saving, justifying faith, a man does deny himself in spiritual things : he cannot write an I upon his own performance, upon his own duties.
If so, if all these things be true: how hard a thing is it, for a man to believe; how few are there in the world that do believe indeed! True, saving, justifying faith, it makes a man abundant in the work of the Lord; it makes a man live a spiritual life: but then it takes away that I from him, he cannot write an I upon what he does, as formerly he hath done. It makes a man live a spiritual life : but it makes him also to deny that spiritual life.
There are four streams, that this spiritual life is divided into : the stream of performance, the stream of obedience, the stream of our sufferings, the stream of enjoyment. True saving faith and the gospel, makes a man to deny himself in all these.
As for our performance and obedience; ye know what the apostle says concerning himself, Thus and thus I was, and thus and thus I have lived: but now I count all things as dung and dross in regard of Christ.
As for our sufferings : I have read of some martyrs in the primitive times; that being in prison and ready to suffer; divers came to comfort them, and called them, Blessed martyrs, No, say they, we are not worthy of the name of martyrs : by no means, they would not bear it, that they should call them martyrs : they denied themselves in their sufferings.
As for our enjoyment: ye know what the apostle says,
I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is best of all. Nevertheless, for your sakes,” (says he) &c. Phil. i. 23. I am in a strait. And in another place, knew a man (says he) that was taken up into the third heaven, whether in the body, or out of the body I cannot say,” 2 Cor. xii. 2. That was himself, but he would not own himself in it. And in another place he says, " That he could wish himself accursed for his brethren according to the flesh, that they might receive the gospel,” Rom. ix. 3. Oh, what a self-denying frame of heart is here! But where is this self-denying frame of heart now to be found amongst us : how does this I, this same self, creep into all our speeches, and into all our doings? If it please the Lord to use a minister in his service : what a I-ing is there! I converted such a man, and I comforted such a man; and it was my ministry that did it: oh, what self is here! what a Iing is here. So, if it please God to use a physician, for the curing of the outward man; it was my prescription, and it was my receipt, and I did it. And if a christian do but pray, or perform any duty; thus and thus I said, and these words I spake ! did not I tell ye so? I told ye what would come to pass : oh, what a l-ing there is among people? how does self, this I and self creep into all our speeches, and into all our doings! But is this our faith, and is this the fruit of our faith? Every true believer, that seeks justification by faith alone, is an humble self-denying person; that denies himself in spiritual things. Then, how few are there that have true saving faith! Certainly, this saving, justifying faith, is another manner of thing than the world takes it to be.
But will some say, Upon this account, we hope we have all faith : for we can all say concerning our duties, and our performances, that they are nothing; my prayer is nothing, and my hearing is nothing, but Christ is all in all; yea, and we can say severally, all of us, as Paul does here, “ I live, yet not I:” and therefore we all now hope, that we have faith indeed, for we are able thus to deny ourselves in spiritual things. I wish it were so : that all were indeed able to deny them
selves in spiritual things. But give me leave a little, to speak something to ye by way of convincement.
Are there not some here, that cannot deny themselves in outward things ? Some here, that cannot deny themselves in their appetite, their eating and their drinking for Jesus Christ? Some here that cannot deny themselves of their wicked company? Some here that cannot deny themselves of a frothy, vain jest or jeer at the people of God for Christ's sake? Are there not some here that cannot deny themselves in clothes, in their words, in an oath, for Christ? Are there not some here, that cannot deny themselves in their passions for Christ? froward, and they live frowardly in their families ? Our Saviour says, 6 Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly," Matt. xi. 29. Meekness and humility go together : frowardness and pride therefore go together. Now, when you cannot deny yourselves in your passions, in your clothes, in your company, in a foolish word for Christ: dost thou think, that thou canst deny thyself, or dost deny thyself in thy duties, or in thy righteousness, or in thy spiritual things for Christ? Be not deceived.
Again. Are there not some here, that do seek themselves in spiritual things ? Self-seeking, and self-advancing, as I have said, do differ, but the one is a sign of the other. A man can never deny himself, that seeks himself. I say, he cannot deny himself in spiritual things, that seeks himself in spiritual things. Now I pray consider it: when ye meet with any spiritual loss, whose account and head do ye set it down upon? Ye know how it is in trade, and merchandizing: some men trade for themselves; and some trade for others : if I trade for myself; when I meet with a loss, I set it down upon mine own account, and upon mine own head. If I trade for another; when I meet with a loss, I set it down upon his account, and upon his head. Now when you meet with spiritual losses; whose account do you set down your spiritual losses upon, upon whose head? Are there not many here, that set down their spiritual losses upon their own account? Indeed I have lost such an opportunity, and I have sinned so, and therefore shame will come unto me, vexation and trouble. What a dishonour is this unto Jesus Christ! Some indeed, when they meet with a spiritual loss, they set it down upon Christ's account; and they break