The monster of sinful self-seeking, anatomizd together with a description of the heavenly and blessed selfe-seeking : in a sermon preached at Pauls the 10. of December, 1654
Calamy, Edmund, 1600-1666.

The third question is, How is it possible that there should be so many men who professe themselves to be Christans and (in words at least) profess love to Christ and his interest, and yet notwithstanding should seek their owne interest before, and more than the interest of Christ?

Answ. This Soule-destroying and Church destroying selfe-seeking proceedeth from six sinfull and cursed roots.

1. From want of true and unfeigned love to Jesus Christ, and his interest. Love is a most powerfull affection, the Master∣wheel that carrieth the whole Soul after it. Amor meus pondus me, saith Aug. o feror quoun{que} feror. As the primū mobile in the heavens carrieth all the other Spheres about with it, so Love carrieth the whole man with it. Love is as strong as death, many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floud drown it. If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be con∣temned,Page  16 Cant. 8. 6, 7. If we did love the Lord Jesus and his Gospel, in good earnest, we would rather part with Liber∣ty, Estate, Life, and all our own things, than lose the things of Christ as the blessed Martyrs did. But because there are few men that love Jesus Christ in sincerity, hence it is that most men seek their owne things, and not the things of Christ.

2 This proceedeth from that cursed selfe-love, which is in all men by nature. Of this you shall read, 2 Tim 3. 2, 3, 4, 5. where selfe-love is placed in the fore-front as the cause and rot of all the other sins there named. Selfe-love is like a great tree, and eighteen sins as eighteen branches sprouting out from this root, because men are lovers of themselves, therefore they are covetous, proud, unthankfull, unholy, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, &c. From this sinfull self-love proceeds this sinfull self-seeking. As the love of Christ is the root of Christ-seeking, so the love of our selves is the root of sinfull self seeking.

3. From that immoderate and inordinate worldly love which is in all men by Nature: for (as a Martyr well said at the stake) if we should unrip and anatomize a wicked man, we should finde nothing in him but self-love, and worldly love: by Na∣ture we love the Creature me than the Creator, pleasures more than God, and the praise of Men, more than the praise of God. By nature we love our own gain, and our own safety, and ease, more than the things of Christ; and therefore it is that we seek our own things, and not the things of Christ.

4. From that hypocrisie, insincerity, and rottennesse of heart which is in all men by nature, hence it is that men pretend Jesus Christ, but intend their own private interest, because of the hypocrisie and falsenesse of their hearts. Thus the Pharisees, who were Hypocrites, under pretence made long prayers that they might devour widdows houses, Mat. 23. 14. Thus Herod pretends to worship Christ, when his intendment was to worry him, Mat 2. 8. Thus Jesebel proclaimeth a Fast, and pretends Religion, but intends onely to put Naboth to death, and to get his Vineyard. Thus Absolem covers over his Rebellion with the faire cloak of Religion, 2 Sam. 15. 7. There are two things that are in all men by nature:

1. To make a shew of Religion.

Page  17 2. To cover over all manner of wickedness under the shew of Religion; Ungodlinesse is so odious, that if it should ap∣peare in its own colours, all men would abhorre it; and therefore as the Devill never sheweth himself but under some handsome form, sometimes under Samuels mantle, sometimes transformed into an Angel of light; so doth sin and iniquity alwaies appeare under the form of godlinesse. The Apostle tells 2 Tim. 3. 5. that in the last times there should be men, who should be lovers of themselves, treacherous, heady, high-minded, without naturall affection, &c. having a form of godlinesse; which last words are to be understood 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as re∣lating to all the former sins. They should be Covenant-brea∣kers, having a form of godlinesse, covetous, false accusrs, bla∣sphemous self-lovers, having a form of godlinesse. They should (through the Hypocisie that is in them) cover all their sins under the vizard of a form of godlinesse.

5. This sinfull self-seeking ariseth from that spirituall igno∣rance and blindnesse which is in all men by nature. There is no wicked man rightly understands what it is to seek himself: for he thinks, that if he seeks to satisfie his corrupt self, he seeks himself; if he seeks the good of his body with the neglect of his soule, he seeks himself. He thinks that if he seeks his own ease, gain, safety, and preferment, without looking after the things of Christ, that he seeks himself. Thus did the rich Fool, Luke 12. who built his barnes bigger, and said, soule take thy ease, &c. he supposed that he sought his own happinesse in so doing: and so did the rich Glutton, when he cloathed himselfe in purple, and fared deliciously ever day, &c. But now did a wicked man convincingly understand, that this self-seeking is self-hating, and self-destroying: That the rich Glutton by pampering his body, damned his soule: that the rich Fool, by laying up goods for a few yeares, lost his soule to all eternity: That he that denieth himself most, seeks himself most, He that serves God best, seeks himself most: He that seeks the glory of God before his owne glory, and the good of Church and State more than his own good, seeks himself most: that he that loseth his life for Christ, shall finde a better life in Christ. Did he (I say) convincingly believe this, he would not sinfully seek himself: Page  18 Therefore this sinfull self-seeking proceedeth from that spiri∣tuall ignorance and blindnesse that is in all by Na∣ture.

6. Lastly, it springs from that spirituall self-deceit and soul∣delusion that is in all men by nature: Every man by nature, is (Narcissus like) in love with himself, blinde in his own cause, and apt to think that he seeks the things of Christ, when he doth not, and that he doth not seek his own things in oppositi∣on to, competition with, or comparison of the things of Christ; even as the Philosopher, who could not be perswaded, but that snow was black, or the mad Athenan, hat all the ships that came to Athens were his. So there are multitudes of Christians, who fancy to themselves, that they do seek the things of Christ, when it is apparent to others that they doe not: and by this self-deceit couzen themselves into Hell. Thus you see the cursed roots from whence this sinfull self-seeking proceeds.