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a State that requires Humiliation and Suffering; and they rebel against God, if they do not make their Lives conformable to that Mark of divine Displeasure, which Death signifies.
Thus as the Mortality of our Condition, is a certain Proof that our Life is in Disorder, and unacceptable to God, fo is it also a Proof, that we ought to refuse Pleasures and Satisfactions, which are the Pleasures of a State of Disorder, and stay for Joy and Delights till we are removed to such a State of Perfection, as God will delight to continue to all Eternity.
The Apostle tells us that Flesh and Blood cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, must we not therefore be very unreasonable, if we can cast about for Mirth in such a Condition, or give up our selves to the vain Pleasures and Indulgences of a Fiesh and Blood, which are too corrupt too unholy to enter into the Kingdom of God ?
This may suffice to shew us the Excellency and Reasonableness of our Saviour's Do&trine.
He said unto them all, if any Man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his Cross daily and follow me.
For whosoever will save his Life, shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his Life for my sake, the samne skall save it.
H ERE is a common Condition propos'd to all that would be Christ's Disciples, they are called to deny themselves, and take up their Cross daily. To fhew us that this belongs to all Christians, the Apostle faith, He said unto them all St. Mark hath it thus, And when he had called the People unto him, with his Disciples also, be said unto them.
The Church of Rome refuses to give the Cup in the Holy Sacrament to the Laity. We reckon it a very good Argument against that Custom, that our Saviour when he delivered the Cup, said unto them, Drink ye all of this.
Now if it be an Argument that all Christians are to receive the Cup, because in the Institution of the Sacrament it is said, Drink ye all of this, is it not as good an Argument that all Christians are here called to deny themselves, and take up their Cross daily, because it is delivered in the fame Manner, He said unto them all, and again, When he called the People unto him with his Disciples also, he said unto tbem?
To nie this place seems as general a Call to all Christians, as Drink ye all of this, is a general Command to all Christians.
LET any one try to evade the Obligation of this Text, and he will find, that he must use such Arguments, as will equally serve to get rid of any other part of Holy Scripture.
If this passage only called the first Disciples of Christ to an external State of Sufferings, and Persecutions from other People, it might with some Pretence be supposed only to relate to People, when they are in such a Sate of Persecution.
But as it calls them to deny themselves, to take up their Crofs daily, it is plain, that it calls them to a Suffering and Selfdenial, which they were to inflict upon then selves.
Now if they are called thus to deny themselves, and subject themselves to a voluntary Cross in order to be Christ's Disciples, it will be hard to fhew, that Self-denials are not as lasting Terms of Christianity, as Baptism and the Lord'sSupper.
WATER-BAPTISM is Necessary because our Saviour has Instituted it, and the Reason for continuing it, is the same as for observing it at first. But still, it is but an external Rite, or Sacrament, which in its
own Nature hath nothing relating to Holiness and Purification of the Soul, but has all its Excellency from the Institution of Christ.
This cannot be said of these Sort of Sufferings, for they have an internal and essential Relation to Holiness and Purification in the present State of Man.
I say in the present State of Man, because though these Self-denials or Mortifications, are proper only to Man whilst he is in this State of Corruption, yet they are as true Parts of Holiness, and as essential Virtues, as those which will last for ever.
CHARITY to the Poor is founded in the Necessities and Infirmities of this Life, yet is it as real a Degree of Holiness, and as much to be performed for its own Sake, as that Charity which will never have an End.
It is the same in these Self-denials, they only belong to a State of Sin, but whilft such a State continues, they are the indispensable Duty of Sinners, and as necessary and acceptable to God as relieving the Poor.
This must be allowed, or we must deny, that there was any real Attonement for Sin in the Sufferings and Death of Christ ; for if there was any real Attonement in the Sufferings of Christ, if his Sufferings rendered God propitious and re
conciled to Sinners, it is undeniable, that all who suffer with the same Spirit that Christ suffered, must in their Degree recommend themselves to the Favour of God, on the fame Account, and for the fame Reasons that the Sufferings of Christ procured Peace and Reconciliation.
If Christ the Lord of all, and Head of the Church, is still making Intercession for us at the Right Hand of God, does not this plainly teach us, that we cannot be accepted by God, unless we live in a State of Supplication and Prayer for our selves?
AND if he who had no Sin of his own, was obliged to such Sufferings to make himself be heard as an Advocate for Sin surely Sinners themselves cannot presume to fue for their own Pardon, without putting themselves in the like State of Humiliation and Suffering. For since the Attonement is made by Sufferings, this as truly recommends Sufferings to Sinners, as if it had been made by Prayer, that would have shewn the Way of Prayer to have been the Way of finding Pardon.
SELF-DENIAL therefore and Sufferings are Duties essential to the present State of Sin, and recommend us to God, as Holiness and Purity recommend us, by their own Nature and intrinsick Fitness, that is,