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Question. I am glad you have thus far granted my request; but you told me that there was another part of Godís worship; pray repeat that again? Answer. It is self-denial. Question. Now I remember it well. Pray how do you prove that selfdenial is called a part of Godís worship? Answer. It is said of Abraham, that when he went to offer up his son Isaac upon the altar for a burnt-offering, which was to him a very great part of self-denial, that he counted that act of his, worshiping God. Question. Will you be pleased to read the text? Answer. Yes. ďAnd Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship,Ē etc. This now was when he was going to slay his son Isaac. Genesis 22:5. Question. What is self-denial? Answer. It is for a man to forsake his all for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Meaning, that we prefer Christ above all things this world affords, or the heart can wish for. Which the Christian may with good reason do, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead; he has unsearchable riches of wisdom and knowledge to bestow, all-sufficient grace and strength, to enable us to do and suffer his will, and everlasting glory in heaven. ó W.M. Question. Will you prove this by a scripture or two? Answer. Yes. ďWhosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.Ē Luke 14:33. Question. Indeed this is a full place. Can you give me one more? Answer. Yes. ďWhat things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,Ē etc. Philippians 3:7,8. Question. These two are indeed a sufficient answer to my question. But pray will you now give me some particular instances of the self-denial of them that have heretofore been the followers of Christ? Answer. Yes. Abel denied himself, to the losing of his blood. Abraham denied himself, to the losing of his country and his fatherís house. Moses denied himself of a crown and a kingdom, and of ease and tranquillity.
Joseph denied himself of fleshly lusts. Genesis 4:8; 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:24-27; Genesis 39:7,8,9. Question. But these men each of them denied themselves but of some things; did they? Answer. You see Abel lost all, his blood and all; Abraham left his country, to the hazard of his life; so did Moses, in leaving the crown and kingdom, and Joseph in denying his mistress. Genesis 12:13; Hebrews 11:27; Genesis 39:10-15. Question. Will you discourse a little particularly of self-denial? Answer. With all my heart. Question. First then, pray in what spirit must this self-denial be performed? Answer. It must be done in the spirit of faith, of love, and of a sound mind; otherwise, ďif a man should sell all that he hath and give to the poor, and his body to be burnt besides, it would profit him nothing.Ē <461301> Corinthians 13:1, 2, 3. Question. Who are like to miscarry here? Answer. They whose ends in self-denial are not according to the proposals of the gospel. Question. Who are they? Answer. They that suffer through strife and vain-glory; or thus, they who seek in their sufferings the praise of men more than the glory of Christ, and profit of their neighbor. Question. Who else are like to miscarry here? Answer. They that have designs, like Ziba, to ingratiate themselves by their pretended self-denial into the affections of the godly, and to enrich themselves by this means. 2 Samuel 16:1-4. Question. Are there any other like to miscarry here? Answer. Yes; they that by denying themselves think with the Pharisee, to make themselves stand more righteous in Godís eyes than others. Luke 18:11,12. Question. Who else are in danger of miscarrying here? Answer. They who have fainted in their works; they whose self-denial hath at last been overcome by self-love. Galatians 3:4; 6:9. Question. Shall I propound a few more questions? Answer. If you please. Question. What then if a man promiseth to deny himself hereafter and not now, is not this one step to this kind of worship? Answer. No, by no means. For the reason why this man refuseth to deny himself now, is because his heart at present sticks closer to his lusts and the world, than to God and Christ. Question. Can you give me a scripture instance to make this out? Answer. Yes. Esau never intended for ever to part with the blessing; he intended to have it hereafter. But God counted his not choosing it at present, a despising of it, and a preferring of his lusts before it: and therefore when he would, God would not, but rejected both him and his tears. Genesis 25:30-34; Hebrews 12:14-16. Question. How and if a man shall say thus, ĎI am willing to deny myself in many things,í though he cannot deny himself in all, is not this one step in this part of the worship of God? Answer. No, in no wise; for this man doth just like Saul, he will slay a part, and will keep a part alive. The kingdom must be taken from him also.
I Samuel 15:23. Question. How if a man be willing to lose all but his life? Answer. ďHe that will save his life shall lose it, but he that will lose his life for my sake, (saith Christ,) shall save it unto life eternal.Ē Matthew 16:25; John 12:25. Question. How if a man has been willing to lose all that he hath, but is not now; will not God accept of his willingness in time past, though he be otherwise now?
Answer. No; for the true disciple must deny himself daily, take up his cross daily, and go after Jesus Christ. Luke 9:23. Question. But how if a man carrieth it well outwardly, so that he doth not dishonor the gospel before men, may not this be counted self-denial? Answer. No, if he be not right at heart. For though man looketh on the outward appearance, God looketh at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7. Question. But if I be afraid my heart may deceive me in this great work, if hard things come upon me hereafter, is there no way to find out whether it will deceive me then or no? Answer. I will give you a few answers to this question, and will show you first whose heart is like to deceive him in this work. Question. Will you befriend me so much? Answer. Yes. 1. He that makes not daily conscience of self-denial, is very unlike to abide a disciple for time to come, if difficult. Judas did not deny himself daily, and therefore fell when the temptation came. John 12:6. Question. Will you give me another sign? Answer. Yes; he that indulgeth any one secret lust under a profession, is not like to deny himself in all things for Christ. Question. Who are they that indulge their lusts? Answer. They that make provision for them, either in apparel, or diet, or otherwise. Romans 13:12-14; Isaiah 3:6-21; Amos 6:3-6. Question. Who else do so? Answer. They that excuse their sins, and keep them disguised, that they may not be reprehended, as Saul did. 1 Samuel 15:18-22. Question. Who else are they that indulge their lusts? Answer. They that heap up to themselves such teachers as favor their lusts. 2 Timothy 4:3,4; Isaiah 30:10. Question. Who else do indulge their sins? Answer. They that choose rather to walk by the imperfect lives of professors, than by the holy word of God; or thus, they that make the miscarriages of some good men an encouragement unto themselves to forbear to be exact in self-denial; these ďeat up the sins of Godís people, as men eat bread.Ē Hosea 4:7-9. Question. Will you now show me who are like to do this part of Godís worship acceptably? Answer. Yes; he whose heart is set against sin as sin, is like to deny himself acceptably. Romans 7:13,14. Question. Who else? Answer. He that hath the sense and savor of forgiveness of sins upon his heart. 2 Corinthians 5:14. Question. Who else is like to deny himself well? Answer. He that hath his affections set upon things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1-5. Question. Who else is like to deny himself well for Christ? Answer. He that seeth a greater treasure in self-denial than in self-seeking. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Hebrews 11:24-26. Question. Are there no other signs of one that is like to do this part of Godís worship acceptably? Answer. Yes; he that takes up his cross daily, and makes Christís doctrine his example. Luke 6:47,48; John 12:25,26. Question. But how do you discover a man to be such a one? Answer. He keepeth his heart with all diligence; he had rather die than sin; ill carriages of professors break his heart; nothing is so dear to him as the glory of Christ. Proverbs 4:23; Numbers 11:15; Philippians 3:18; Acts 20:24. Question. Pray can you give me some motive to self-denial? Answer. Yes; the Lord Jesus denied himself for thee. What sayest thou to that? Question. Wherein did Christ deny himself for me? Answer. He left his heaven for thee; he denied for thy sake to have so much of this world as hath a fox or a bird, and he spilt his most precious blood for thee. John 6:38; Luke 9:58; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Revelation 1:5. Question. Can you give me another motive to self-denial? Answer. Yes. ďWhat shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Ē Mark 8:36. Question. But why doth God require self-denial of them that will be saved? Answer. God doth not require self-denial as the means to obtain salvation, but hath laid it down as a proof of the truth of a manís affections to God and Christ. Question. How is self-denial a proof of the truth of a manís affections to God? Answer. In that for the sake of his service he leaveth all his enjoyments in this world. Thus he proved Abrahamís affections; thus he proved Peterís affections; and thus he proved their affections that you read of in the gospel. Genesis 22:12; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 9:57-63. Question. What reason else can you produce why God requireth selfdenial? Answer. Self-denial is one of the distinguishing characters by which true Christians are manifested from the reigned ones. For those that are feigned flatter God with their mouth, but their hearts seek themselves; but the sincere, for the love that he hath to Christ, forsaketh all that he hath for his sake. <19C803> Psalm 128:36,37; Ezekiel 33:31,32. Question. Is there yet another reason why God requireth self-denial of them that profess his name? Answer. Yes; because by self-denial the power and goodness of the truths of God are made manifest to the incredulous world. For they cannot see but by the self-denial of Godís people, that there is such power, glory, goodness, and desirableness in Godís truth as indeed there is. Daniel 3:16,28; Philippians 1:12,13. Question. Have you another reason why God requireth self-denial? Answer. Yes; because self-denial prepareth a man, though not for the pardon of his sin, yet for that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, that is laid up only for them that deny all that they have for the Lord Jesus, for his name and cause in this world. 2 Corinthians 4:8,9,10,17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5,6. Question. Before you conclude, will you give me a few instances of the severity of Godís hand upon some professors that have not denied themselves when called thereto by Him? Answer. Yes, willingly. Lotís wife, for but looking behind her towards Sodom, when God called her from it, was stricken from heaven, and turned into a pillar of salt. Therefore remember Lotís wife. * Genesis 19:17,26; Luke 17:31,32. * Unbelief, disobedience, worldly-mindedness, contempt of Godís threatenings, and lingerings after the forbidden society of lewd and wicked persons, prove the destruction of many precious souls. Considering therefore our own weakness and depravity, we should be ever attentive to the good word of infallible truth, believe it, and intreat the Lord to make us happy partakers of all its great and precious promises. ó W. M. Question. Can you give me another instance? Answer. Yes. Esau, for not denying himself of one morsel of meat, was denied a share in the blessing, and could never obtain it after, though he sought it carefully with tears. Genesis 25:32-34; Hebrews 12:15,16. Question. Have you at hand another instance? Answer. Yes. Judas, for not denying himself, lost Christ, his soul, and heaven; and is continued the great object of Godís wrath among all damned souls. John 12:5,6; Luke 22:3-6; Matthew 26:14-16; Acts 1:25. Question. Will you give me one more instance, and so conclude? Answer. Yes. Ananias, and Sapphira his wife, did, for the want of selfdenial, pull upon themselves such wrath of God, that he slew them, while they stood in the midst before the Apostles. Acts 5:1-15.