PHIL. 1. 27.
IN the sixt place, Would you know what Conversation becomes the Gospel? Consi∣der what it is that the Gospel holds out to you, It holds forth Gods infinit hatred of sin more than any other thing whatsoever.
1. A man may come to know the evil of sin partly by Reason, he may understand that sin it is against a right rule, yea, by the light of reason he may con∣ceive it is but reasonable for a rational creature to live by rule, and to transgress against the rule of justice and equity is evil.
2. A man may come to know the evil of sin by Gods Com∣mand: the Law of God forbids sin, and therefore it is evil, cer∣tainly to transgress the Law of God, to go against the Will of God must needs be a great transgression.
3. A man may come to know the evil of sin by the Dreadful Threatnings that are added to the Law, Cursed is he that abideth not in every thing that is written in the Book of the Law to do it. This discovers a dreadful evil in sin: when a soul comes to have a real sight of the dreadful threats that are in the Law, it doth ex∣ceedingly terrifie conscience and raise up that sleepy Lyon out of his den.
4. A man may come to know the evil of sin by some dread∣ful Page 81 judgments that God hath executed upon sinners here in this world, and by the terrors of conscience that there are upon the wicked, as on Cain, Saul, and Judas &c. men many times here for their sins, by the wrath of God that is reveal'd from Heaven against sin in the execution of it, but take all those together, yea, did we see the woful execution of the wrath of God in Hell its self, did the Lord open unto us a door into the cham∣bers of death to discover the torments that are there, and to hear all the shreeks and cries of the damned in everlasting bur∣nings; yet all this, the threats of the Law, the terrors of it, the agonies of Conscience, the torments of the damned in Hell, (I say) put all together, and they would not so much, nor so cleerly discover Gods infinit hatred of sin, as what we find in the Gospel; the red Glasse of the blood of Jesus Christ, that was shed for sin, doth discover more of Gods hatred against it, than all the torments of Hell can do, or all the threats of the Law can do; God doth in inflicting his wrath upon his Son for mans sin, thus preach unto the world? Wel, I see that you cannot be brought to understand how I hate sin with a perfect hatred, but I'le have one way of argument to convince you, that it is impossible you should stand against, I will therefore send my Son to take your nature upon him, and to stand char∣ged with your debt, and you shall see how I'le deal with him, who is your Surety, I'le not spare him, I'le powr out the vials of my wrath upon him to the last drop, I'le make him a curse for sin, though he be infinitly blessed, and equal with my self, yet I'le make him cry out in the anguish and trouble of his soul, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? He shal tread the winepress of my wrath, I'le make the burden of sin heavy to Him, that shall make Him fall groveling upon His face, and sweat great clodders of blood in a winter season, that shall run down from His body upon the cold ground, I'le do this to that end that all the world (to whom the preaching of the Gospel shall come) may see how infinitely I hate sin: This is one of Gods ends; though it's true, that the principal end of the death of Christ it was, to satisfie Divine Justice: But there is another end that God aims at in the death of his Son, To declare to all the world, to men and Angels how infinitly the Lord doth a∣bominate Page 82 all sin: Now this is held forth in the Gospel more than in all the execution of the Law; if the Law were executed to the full upon all the world, it would not hold forth Gods hatred of sin so much as this doth.
Do you beleeve this Gospel? Hath God let you live under this Gospel, that you hear it it your ears? And do you profess that the Lord hath enlightened you by his holy Spirit, to un∣derstand the certainty and reality of this? Oh then, let your Conversation be as becomes this Evangelical truth.
Quest. What Conversation doth become this?
Answ. Hence then, your own reason cannot but make a consequence from this that the Gospel holds forth. Hence then, Cast away al sin as an abominable thing from you; What have I to do any more with Idols? Hence then, Call no sin little which so much provokes the Lord. Indeed if you were only acted by the light of reason, reason perhaps will tell you that such things are but little and smal, and you need make no such great matter about them. But now, Art not thou a Christian? A follower of Christ? A friend to the Gospel? For shame call no sin little; for in the Gospel you see the infinit hatred of God against all sin, yea, there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction whatsoever (that's a point that hath been long since opened to you at large, and this will shew it cleerly, there is more evil in any sin than in the greatest affliction, by the dealing of God the Father with his Son) and therefore if you will be willing to live as becomes the Gospel of Christ, ra∣ther be willing to bear any affliction in the world than wilful∣ly to commit the least sin: Are these two in the ballance? Here is a great and a sore cross, you think, how shall I endure that? On the other side, Here's a sin to be committed; if I venture up∣on this sin, it may be I shall be delivered from this affliction? Now would this become the Gospel of Christ, for one that pro∣fesses that he doth beleeve that God the Father dealt thus with His Son, that had sin but by imputation upon Him, that He let out the vials of His wrath upon Him, and made Him a curse for sin; and if Christ had but undertaken for to have satisfied for one sin, though the least sin, He must have died for it, For the wages of sin, is death! of sin indefinitly, it's death: And do I Page 83 beleeve this, and yet shall I rather chuse the commission of a sin than the bearing of any affliction? Oh this is infinitly unbesee∣ming the Gospel of Jesus Christ: do I beleeve this, and is it re∣al unto my soul? Oh let me then manifest in my whol course and life that I tremble at the very thought of a sin, at the appea∣rance of evil, and am as much afraid of the least spark of lusts as of the fire of Hell: let me discover the temptation to sin, that I may endeavour to avoid all temptations to sin, because God hath given such a testimony from Heaven against sin, Oh it is a loud testimony indeed that God hath given from heaven against sin in the death of his Son, Oh then let my Conversation be such as I may make it appear that I am afraid of the beginnings of sin, of the first whispering and motions to sin, Oh set me not stand dandling of sin in my thoughts, and roul it as a sweet morsel under my tongue, let me not entertain it in my affecti∣ons in the least degree, as to love it, to approve it, to delight in it, but as soon as ever it enters into thy heart cast it out present∣ly, let it not lodge within thy doors one moment, raise up all the power of thy soul against it, follow it with Hue and Cry, till thou hast overtaken it, and then do justice and judgment upon it, what though it may be a Delilah, yet cut it off; Oh let me take heed of lying in any sin, have I bin overtaken in my sin? Oh let me be willing rather to shame and condemn my self, to deny any thing in the world rather than to continue in that sin, the Lord forbid that if I have been once drawn to any sin, that I should think to cover it by another sin, by adding one sin to another, to think to shift for my credit or esteem by adding more sin to that already committed, Oh no, the Lord in his mercie hath made known unto me in the Gospel of Christ what sin means, the evil of sin, and therefore I have learned ra∣ther to endure any thing than to multiply iniquity; Indeed before I came to understand Jesus Christ, I thought sin was an evil thing, and I abstain'd from gross sins by that dim light of Nature that is within me; but since I came to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the great mystery of godliness in his Son, & the dealings of the Father with his Son, the Lord knows now I abhor a sin in secret (though I were sure no body in the world should ever know it) more than I do abhor Hell its self; Page 84 I such a Conversation as would manifest such a work of God upon the heart as this is would become the Gospel of Christ in∣deed. Whereas otherwise brethren, if any of you that do profess the Gospel of Christ shall make sin but as a slight thing, and shall be ready to entertain sin in thy bosom, know that by this means, you do no other but trample under foot the Blood of Jesus Christ as a cōmon thing, as a thing that had no worth at all in it. This doth despight to the Gospel of Christ, you do dishonor Jesus Christ, and you do put him to open shame whose Name you have taken upon you by your profession: I'le give you a Scripture now for this in Heb. 6. 4. &c. He speaks of some, that were once enlightned, and had tasted of the Heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy Ghost, and tasted of the good word of God (that's the Gospel) and the powers of the world to come: if they should fall away, it were impossible to renew them to repentance. Mark the reason: Seeing they crucifie to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame: Such as fall off after the profession of the Gospel into sinful waies, they are said here to crucifie the Son of God afresh, and to put him to open shame. This is far from walking as becomes the Gospel. And so you have another text in Heb. 10. 29. &c. (he speaks of those that had fallen off from their profession into sinful waies) Of how much s•rer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy of, who hath troden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the Covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despight unto the Spirit of Grace? See how the holy Ghost speaks of such as fall from their profession into sinful waies again. And there's a great deal of reason for it, for 'tis not so much for those that never made profession of the Gospel, to fall to sin, not such a horrid thing for them; but for those that have made profession of the Gospel, that they hold forth thus much; this is the language of their actions (though they dare not say so) Lord I acknowledge that I have seen the fruit of thy hatred of sin in the death of thy Son, that thou didst so hate sin, that thou madest thy Son to be a curse for sin; but yet for all this, such is the strength of my lusts, I must have my lusts, though it be so vile in thine eyes as the blood of thy Son went for it, yet I must have it rather than deny my lusts; Oh Page 85 what a dreadful thing is this? how provoking must it needs be to the holy God? Oh happy had it been for such men and wo∣men that they had never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But of the evil of walking unbeseeming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we shall speak to after, when we come to the application; That's then the sixt particular of what the Gospel holds forth The infinite hatred of God against sin.
Now the seventh thing that is held forth in the Gospel that cals for a Conversation beseeming, is this, The great price of souls. There's nothing in the world that ever God did, that doth dis∣cover the worth of mans immortal soul so as the Gospel of Jesus Christ doth, there God manifests to all the world what a price he puts upon mans soul, the Lord saw that men by sin had un∣done themselves and that those souls that he made were like to perish to all eternity, yea, were under the sentence of eter∣nal death, and must certainly perish eternally, if so be that some way were not found out by an infinit wisdom for to ran∣some them; now saith the Lord, rather than I will have all souls perish; (it's true, the love that I have unto my Justice is such, as for many souls I'le let them go, and they shall perish; but yet that I might shew that I have an high esteem of the souls of the children of men, for the ransoming of that number that I have appointed from all eternity to save,) I'le send my Son, and he shall die for the saving of souls, that souls may not pe∣rish: If the Lord should have said concerning any one soul, I do so highly prize this soul, and account the worth of it to be such, as rather than it shall perish I'le disolve heaven and earth, heaven and earth shall perish rather than this soul shall perish, you will say, this had been a great testimony of Gods esteem of a soul: But know that the Gospel holds forth a higher esteem of a soul than this comes to, when God shal say, Rather than this, and the other soul shall perish, I'le send my Son to be made a Curse; This the Gospel holds forth; this is infinitly a higher price that God puts upon a soul: You know therfore what the Apostle saith in 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (saith he) with corruptible things; as silver, and gold: Then in the 19. verse, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish, or without spot: 'Tis not silver and gold: Page 86 or any corruptible thing that can redeem you, but the preci∣ous blood of Jesus Christ, Oh that blood, that's more preci∣ous than the world, even all the world must let the redemption of a soul alone for ever, all the Angels in Heaven if they would have joyned together to have redeem'd a soul, and would have ventured themselves to have been destroyed for ever that they might have redeem'd a soul, it would not have been, they must all let the redemption of a soul alone for ever; the matter then of the redemption of a soul is more than we are aware of, and we could never have come to have known this but by the Gos∣pel of Jesus Christ: The full price of a soul is writ down by the finger of Gods Spirit in the Gospel of Christ, which is only this, The Blood of the Son of God, the Blood of the Son of God.
Well then, let our Conversation be as becomes this that is held forth in this Gospel, that's thus, Manifesting in your Con∣versation that you set a high price upon your souls: do not venture your souls upon nothing; Oh how unbeseeming is this, that when God shall set such a price upon a soul, as to give for the redemption of it more than ten thousand thousand worlds are worth, yet that a man or woman that professes themselves to be Christians shall venture the loss of their souls for the get∣ting of sixpence or twelvepence, hazard those immortal Jewels for one or two minutes of sensual pleasure, to satisfie the lusts of the flesh; what is it else, when such will lye or cosen for a little while for thick clay? For the Lords sake, do not lay down thy everlasting soul at stake for a little gain, some for a little credit; art thou a Christian? didst ever reade the Gospel, man or woman didst thou ever hear of Christ? and dost thou know what the death of Christ meant? and wherefore Christ came into the world? must Heaven and earth be mov'd to provide a way to ransom souls? and dost thou set them at so low a rate? Oh how unbeseeming is this to the Gospel?
And others pawn away their souls, when God manifests what a price he sets upon them, yet will pawn their souls to the very Devil.
Quest. You will say, Is any man so wicked as to pawn away his soul to the Devil?
Ans. Yes, When any man will venture upon sin, but upon Page 87 this condition, I will repent before I die; that is, as if I should say thus, Here I give my soul to pawn, if I do repent, then I'l have it again, if I do not repent before I die, then it's gone for ever. As when you give a pawn, you give it upon these terms, Wel, I give you this, and if I bring you by such a time so much money, then I'le have it again, and if not, then 'tis gone. So do men and women, they say thus, Here Devil, thou shalt have the possession of my soul all this while so long as I am in a way of sin, if I do repent, then I must have it again, but if I do not re∣pent before I die, then thou shalt have it for ever. Now dost thou know the price of a soul? Oh! is this to shew the high price of a soul, that wil pawn your souls thus? And mark to whom you pawn it, you pawn it to the Devil, he hath it all this time, it's in his custody: al the while that any one sins upon hope of re∣pentance, (I say) til they repent the Devil hath their souls in his possession, in his hands: as when you pawn a piece of houshold∣stuff, til the time that you bring the money, so long the man you pawn it to hath the possession of it. And thus do people; you put your souls into the Devils hands, and upon such a condi∣tion that you are not able to perform; that is, if you repent, you will have it again, if not, he must have it for ever: Oh friends, you little know what repentance means! What is it to repent? it requires a mighty work of God, the same power of God that made the world is required to break the heart of a sinner, so that you put it to pawn upon that that is impossible for you your selves to perform by all the power that you have: Now if a man put a thing to pawn for that which is impossible for him to redeem, it may be, if he should have a great many friends that will do some great matter for him, then he may redeem it, but it is beyond his power; you will say, there is a great deal of danger then that that pawn shall never be redee∣med. So know, when you pawn your souls, you put it into the hands of Satan, and lock it up in the powers of darknesse, and pawn it for that that you have no power to bring: Do you prize the Gospel? and know what a price God hath set upon souls? O then take heed and set a greater prise upon your souls than to pawn them away for every trifle, a thing of naught.
And then, If this be held forth in the Gospel, O then do not Page 88 pollute and defile you souls with sin as you do from time to time. God hath a high esteem of them, have you a high esteem of them likewise. Do not make your souls drudges and scuullions to your bodies, only to make use of your souls to provide for the satisfying of the lusts of the flesh, as many men and women have no other use of their precious immortal souls all their lives, but only their souls are imployed to be slaves for the lusts of their flesh: Oh! are these the souls that must cost the blood of Christ, that God hath put such a price upon? surely you do not know the Gospel nor Jesus Christ. If I should tel you what Phylosophers say of the soul, of mens immortal eternal souls (though this be now doubted, yet it was plentifully known a∣mong the Heathens) these would be but dry things to you in comparison of this, to tell you that Jesus Christ hath died to re∣deem souls, theres more in this than in al the arguments that pos∣sibly can be brought to shew the excellency of the soul of man.
Oh then, likewise let your Conversation be as becomes this of the Gospel, in your care of the souls of those that are committed to your care and charge. Do you profess the Gospel? then you pro∣fess withal that God so esteemed of a soul, that he gave the life and blood of his Son to ransom a soul; Oh then, really demonstrate that you do highly esteem of the souls of your children, and ser∣vants, by walking convincingly before them, that you may do all the good you can to them, by instructing of them, by praying for them, and with them; and so before all your friends and ac∣quaintance, let such kind of meditations work thus in you as these, Oh Lord, since I came to know the Gospel, I have learn'd what a high price thou hast put upon souls, Lord, this shall make me for evermore to value souls at a higher rate than here∣tofore I have done. Oh it were an excellent point to urge upon Ministers, who are charged with many souls, Oh let them so watch over them, pray for them, and preach to them all the Counsels of God, both in season and out of season, that in the great Day of Christ, they may be cleer of the blood of all men, as Paul was. And that's the seventh thing that the Gospel holds forth unto us, The preciousness of souls; and let your Conver∣sations be as becomes this great point of the Gospel.
Page 89 But then Eighthly, which is as principal a one almost as any and neerly concerns us, and that's this: The Gospel discovers unto us, the great honor that God hath put upon humane Nature above the Angels. This could never have been known but by the Go∣spel, this is as proper a thing to the Gospel as any I have spoken of: And one special design that God had in the Gospel, was, To reveal those thoughts and counsels that he had from al eter∣nity, to put mighty and great Excellencies upon our humane Nature in these two particulars.
First, In the Personal Ʋnion of Mans Nature to the second Person in Trinity; That's the first, and great way of honor that God hath crowned human Nature with. Hence the Apostle in 1 Tim. 1. 6. Without controversie, great is the mysterie of godliness. What is it? God was manifested in the flesh. God manifested in the flesh! that's a great mystery of godliness. Now it could not be such a mystery, if God had only taken an humane shape upon Him, (for so it was in the time of the Law) Jesus Christ often took humane shape; as when He strove with Jacob, it was Je∣sus Christ, as might easily appear. But great is the mysterie of godliness, without controversie it's great. God manifested in the flesh: that is, God taking flesh of man into a personal uni∣on, which is more fully exprest in John, 1. 4. The Word was made flesh. This was a strange speech, but proper to the Go∣spel. An Heathen would have thought this a strange speech, and especially if he knew, that by the Word was meant, He that was true and eternal God. And then, in Heb. 2. 16. it is said, That Christ did not take the Nature of Angels upon him; but the seed of Abraham. So that it appears by the personal union of our Natures to the Son of God, God hath advanced human Nature above Angels, above all creatures. Truly my Brethren, in Christs taking our Nature upon Him, which the Gospel holds forth to us, me thinks we may see God (as it were) resol∣ving to do a work from Himself, to the uttermost, to manifest the uttermost of his glory in a work out of Himself, the work of God within Himself, it is, His eternal generation, and the possession of the holy Ghost: but now God would work out of Himself, and work out of Himself to the uttermost extent; I'le make a world (saith God,) Heavens and Earth by my Word. Page 90 But this is not such a glorious work as I am able to do: I could make ten thousand worlds, and when I have made them I could make as many more, and more glorious: But I would do some work wherein I might manifest even the uttermost of my glory: What work is that? that is, The work that God pitcht upon, He would do one work from without to manifest the uttermost of his glory, and the Lord rather pitches upon this, To take the nature of Man into a personal union with His Son, that's the uttermost: And it is impossible that Men or An∣gels, if they were left to all eternity to imagin, could think of a work that it were possible for God to express more of His power, wisdom, and glory in: but we know but little of it now, but we shall know more in Heaven. Now, Oh how hath God honored humane Nature in this! That when He would do a work to the utmost of His Excellency, that He would pitch upon Mans Nature, to take it into Personal Union with Himself; here's the mystery of the Gospel: now this is indeed the marrow of the mysterie of the Gospel, The Word made flesh: the second Person in Trinity taking Mans Nature upon Him; This is the mystery of the Gospel that Angels and Saints ad∣mire at, and shall be taken up to all eternity in admiring and praising and magnifying God for. That's the first way of Gods honoring Mans Nature. And then, there is a second thing which the Gospel reveals, and that's this, In putting honor not only upon the Nature of Man, as having soul and body, but put∣ting a mighty honor upon the very Body of Man, the meanest and the very lowest part of Man, the very shel, outside, rine and case of Man: that you have in 1 Cor. 6. 19. What, know ye not that your bodie is the temple of the holy Ghost, which is in you? Your body is the Temple of the holy Ghost. You have no such thing revealed in the old Testament, this comes by the light of the Gospel, that the Lord hath made the bodies of the Saints to be Temples to the holy Ghost, that the holy Ghost dwels in their very Bodies as in a Temple; as the King in his Pallace, so the ho∣ly Ghost in His Temple: Now these two are great things revealed in the Gospel, and had we but a cleer understanding of these two things, Oh! it would mightily elevate our spirits. And Conversations sutable to these two particulars surely must Page 91 needs be a high raised Conversation. As now for instance,
3. In the personal union of our natures with the second Person in Trinity: Oh how should this raise up our hearts and we should manifest the elevation of our spirits in our Conversation, so as it becomes those that may expect great things from God, surely that God that hath honoured our natures so, as to be personally united to his Son, he doth intend great things to some of the children of men, as now, Suppose you that are the poorest and meanest here in this Congregation, you had a Sister that were married to the greatest Emperor in the world, yea, to one that were Emperor of all the whol Earth; now you would think to live another kind of life than you did before, were it besee∣ming such a man to live now upon scraping of Chanels, or wiping of horse heels, (or any mean imployment,) when his Sister is married to the only Monarch of all the whol earth, sure∣ly he may think now, I must live at a higher rate, for I may ex∣pect something by this: So should every one of the children of men think thus, indeed I have liv'd in a mean base way, the humane nature of mine hath been basely subject to filthy lusts, all my daies, I have been a bondslave to sin and Satan, but when I come to hear of the Gospel, I hear that the second Person in Trinity, God blessed for ever, equal with the Father, that is the Heir of all things, that he hath not married my humane na∣ture, but hath taken it into a personal union with himself, and is become my kinsman, my neer kinsman, hath taken this into the neerest union as is possible for a creature to be taken into with God: Oh let us be raised then in our thoughts, to think, surely God intends higher things for some of the children of men, than to eat and drink, and satisfie the flesh, and be brutish here in the world, there are higher things that God will do for mankind, and why not for me? I am not excluded no more than others? It was a speech I remember of Seneca, (though a Heathen) I am greater (saith he) and I am born to greater things than to be a slave to my body: A Heathen could say so: Oh but when we hear of humane nature so advanced and enthroned in Christ, we should think with our selves, that any one that hath humanity in them is born to higher things, than to make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof: Page 92 What wilt thou be a slave to the Devil now? Thou hearest how God hath dignified the nature of man into so neer a union with himself, Oh doth not this mysterie of the Gospel call to all the children of men? Oh all you children of men! Behold what God hath done for man kind! surely the thoughts of God for man-kind are great and glorious, there be higher things you may attain unto, and will you yet perish, and chuse your por∣tion here in this world, and be groveling on the ground, as if there were no higher thoughts that God had for your good, than meerly to live as brute beasts, to eat and drink, and then rise up to play? Oh if God hath advanced mans nature so, do not despise it in the meanest of the children of men, the lowest servant, or poorest boy that lies begging at your door for a piece of bread, (for it is of the same kind that is united in a personal union with the second Person in Trinity, of the same nature which this poor boy that lies begging at your door for broken bread and meat) therefore honor humane nature in every one, and do not vilifie it in thy self; those men that live under the Gospel and vilifie humane nature, they put a dishonour upon Jesus Christ. And even reverence thy self in private when thou art alone, (I say) reverence thy self, do not abuse thy body, it is the Temple of the holy Ghost. Oh remember this all you that are professors of Religion, that these bodies of yours, this flesh of yours (if you be godly and walk answerable to your profession) I say this flesh of yours it is the very Temple of the holy Ghost, do not abuse it; it's the Apostles argument, There∣fore fly fornication, and be not joyned to whores; for your bodies are the temples of the holy Ghost: Oh it makes the sin of uncleanness to one that professes the Gospel of Christ a cursed sin, the sin of unclea∣ness in a professor of the Gospel, it's a thousand thousand times more abominable than the sin of uncleanness in another: why? Because they know how God hath advanced humane nature in∣to a personal union with himself, and how their bodies are the Temples of the holy Ghost. What shal I make the Temple of God a ••y for the unclean spirit, a cage of unclean birds? God for∣bid. There hath been a great deal of do about stony Churches and Temples, and you should have a great many base whore∣masters plead for the Whore of Rome (the Mistris of all fornica∣tions) Page 93 in bowing, and cringing with Cap, and knee as soon as they set their foot in some of our meeting places; and in the mean time abuse the Saints which are the Temples of the holy Ghost, and abuse their own bodies, and yet they profess them∣selves Christians; Oh now, either deny thy Christianity, or do not abuse thy body to any filthy lust, for it is the Temple of the holy Ghost. This the Gospel holds forth. And let thy Conversation be now as becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ; not abusing thy body so; For we see that the Gospel cals for bodily cleanness, as well as spiritual cleanness, and truly I do not know stronger arguments to godliness than these that we have menti∣oned here in the Gospel: We have gone through three, Gods infinit hatred of sin. The price of souls. And the honor that the Gospel shews that God hath put upon humane nature. Con∣versations but becoming these three, would be other manner of Conversations than you have. I shall only speak of a fourth, and that's this.
4. The Gospel holds forth the greatest example of self-denial that ever was in the world, & by all waies that ever God hath made known his mind, he never hath revealed his will in an example of self-denial so as he hath done in the Gospel, and that is in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ: God evidenceth there such a work of self-denial, as never was: and 'tis impossible to appre∣hend a greater example of self-denial than that is; though Christ thought it no robbery to be equal with God; reade but the second of the Philippians, vers. 7, 8. and there you may see what Christ was, and yet how he emptied himself, how he denied himself in his honor, how vile he was made in the world, though he was the brightness of his fathers glory, yet he was made of no reputation; how he denied himself in riches, Christ that was the Heir of all things, though he were rich, yet he was made poor for us; how he denied him∣self in his pleasures, he was the delight of the Father from all eternity, and yet he was made a man of sorrows; he denied himself in his life, for he was the Lord of life, and yet he subjected himself to death, to a cursed death for us: Oh the example of Christ in self-denial is the greatest that ever was: and this seems to be one great end of the humiliation of Jesus Page 94 Christ to hold forth a preaching pattern of self-denial to the world: And there's a great deal more power in the pattern and example of self-denial, then in the commands of self-de∣nial, I only present this to shew you that it is the most unbesee∣ming the Gospel for any one that professes the Gospel to be sel∣vish, altogether scraping for themselves; and whatsoever service they are put upon, except self may have an oare in it, they have no mind to it; Oh 'tis becoming the Gospel of Jesus Christ for men and women to be emprtied of themselves, no matter what becomes of our selves, but be willing to give up our selves for publick good, to venture your estates, and lives, and all your comforts, yea to be swallowed up in the glory of God, to be nothing, that Christ may be all. In the Gospel of Christ, we find that Christ he was swallowed up with the glory of his Father; and he came not to do his own will, but the will of his father that sent him; and though he was one that had in∣finitely more excellency than all men and Angels in Heaven and Earth, yet he was content for the honor of his Father to be made as a worm and no man, to be trampled under foot, to endure the greatest extremities of all sorts; this holds out an example to us, that while we live in this world we should be taken off from our selves: Oh this self-love sticks much in the hearts of men and women: now upon the example of Christs self-denial, we are required to deny our selves, and it is the proper lesson of the Gospel, He that will follow me, let him deny himself, you never read of such a precept in all the old Testa∣ment; (though no question the people of God did deny them∣selves then,) but in expresse terms so fully you have not such a thing there: and there's no such rules among the Hea∣thens for a man to deny himself, Let him deny himself; those that know the Original, know that the word is, not only to Deny, but there is that joyned to it that doth encrease the signi∣fication, let them deny themselves, throughly, there is a Prepo∣sition put to the word, to shew that those that will come to Christ must deny themselves, and that throughly, it is a proper lesson of the Gospel, and the first lesson. Oh when our Lord and Master hath thus denied himself, and emptied himself for good to us, what is beseeming this Gospel, but that all that are pro∣fessors Page 95 of it should deny themselves? It is very unbeseeming the glorious Gospel, for a Christian to be selvish, to have his self-ends, and self-waies, and interests in every thing, as generally almost al men in the world they are acted by self, some self-ends, or self-excellency carries them on in their actions, or else they have no heart to do any thing; this is unbecoming the Gospel. But now I say, one that would live as becomes the Gospel, must be wholly emptied of himself, whatsoever parts, estate, credit, or honor he hath in the world, must be melted into the glory of God; Jesus Christ for the glory of His Father, was content in∣finitly to deny Himself more than we can; For what have we to deny our selves of? Do you or I live as becomes the Gospel? when (I say) all that we apprehend to have any excellency in, we have it all swallowed up in the glory of God, when we can dedicate and consecrate our lives, honors, liberties, estates, com∣forts, and all to the glory of God, and be as nothing to our selves, and let God be all in all to us, Ministers may bring many reasons why we should deny our selves, but all these rea∣sons comes to nothing, till the soul comes to behold the cleer light of the Gospel, and there beholds the Son of God by faith, how he did empty Himself; nay then, saith a beleeving soul, if the Son of God did deny Himself, was emptied thus for me, Oh then let me be wholly taken off from my self, and venture wholly upon God, I must not live in my self, nor live for my self, nor live to my self; but wholly live in God, and for God, and to God, and upon God: Oh this is that which becomes the Gospel of Jesus Christ.