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be exercised just as truly upon a throne surrounded with the paraphernalia of royalty as in a cottage of logs, or as in rags, and in caves and dens of the earth. The king upon his throne may live and reign to please himself. He may surround himself with all that can minister to his pleasure, his ambition, his pride, his lusts, and his power. He may live to and for himself. Self-pleasing, self-gratification, self-aggrandizement may be the end for which he lives. This is selfishness. But he may also live and reign for God and for his people. He may be just as really self-denying on his throne and surrounded by the trappings of state and of royalty as in any other station of life. That is, he may be as really devoted to God, and render this as a service to God as well as any thing else. To be sure his temptation is great; but nevertheless he may in fact be perfectly self-denying in all this. He may not do what he does for his own sake, nor be what he is, nor possess what he possesses for his own sake, but accommodating his state and equipage to his relations, he may be as truly self-denying as others in the humble walks of life. This is not an impossible, though in all probability a rare case. A man may as truly be rich for God as poor for him if his relations and circumstances make it essential to his highest usefulness that he should possess a large capital. He, to be sure, is in the way of great temptation, but if this is plainly his duty and submitted to for God and the world, he may have grace to be entirely self-denying in these circumstances, and all the more commendable for standing fast under these circumstances. So a poor man may be poor from principle or from necessity. He may be submissive and happy in his poverty. He may deny himself even the comforts of life and do all this to promote the good of being, or he may do it to promote his own interest temporal or eternal, to secure a reputation for piety, to appease a morbid conscience, to appease his fears or to secure the favor of God. In all things he may be selfish. He may be happy in this because it may be real self-denial; or he may be murmuring at his poverty, may complain and be envious at others who are not poor. He may be censorious and think every body proud and selfish who dresses better or possesses a better house or equipage than he does. He may set up views as a standard and denounce as proud and selfish all who do not square their lives by his rule. This is selfishness and these manifestations demonstrate the fact. A man may forego the use of a coat, or a cloak, or a horse, or a carriage, And all or any and every comfort and convenience of life.
this may proceed from either a benevolent or a selfish state of mind. If it be benevolence and true self-denial, it will be cheerfully and happily submitted to without murmuring and repining, without censoriousness and without envy towards others, without insisting that others shall do and be just what and as he is. He will allow the judge his ermine, the king his robes of state, and the merchant his capital, and the husbandman his fields and his flocks, and will see the reasonableness and propriety of all this.
But if it be selfishness and the spirit of self-gratification instead of self-denial, he will be ascetic, caustic, sour, ill-natured, unhappy, severe, censorious, envious and disposed to complain of and pick at the extravagance and self-indulgence of others.
The true saint, in whatever relation of life, is truly self-denying. Whether on a throne or on the dunghill, he neither lives, nor moves, nor breathes, nor eats, nor drinks, nor has his being for himself. Self is dethroned. God is enthroned in his heart. He lives to please God and not to please himself. And whether he wears the crown and the purple, the ermine of the judge or the gown of the counsellor, whether he cultivates the field or occupies the pulpit, whether he is engaged in merchandizę, or whether he opens the ditch or plies a handicraft, whether in affluence or poverty, it matters not how circumstanced or how employed, as certainly as he is a true saint, just so certainly he does not live to or for himself. Of this he is as conscious as he is of living at all. He be mistaken by others, and selfish ones may suppose may him to be actuated by selfishness as they are; but in this they are deceived. The true saint will be sure to be found selfdenying when observed and judged by the law of love. Love would readily perceive that those things which a censorious and selfish spirit ascribe to selfishness are to be accounted for in another way; that they are really consistent with and indeed instances of self-denial. The spirit of self-pleasing and of accommodating ourselves to our circumstances and relations for benevolent reasons, may by a candid mind be generally readily distinguished from each other. The selfish will naturally confound them and stumble at them simply because they have only the experience of selfishness and judge others by themselves. A truly self-denying mind will naturally also judge others by itself in such a sense as to take it for granted that others are self-denying unless the manifest indications strongly urge to an opposite opinion.
A man of truth is not wont to suspect others of lying with
out strong evidence of the fact, and then although he may be sure that he tells a falsehood, the man of truth is ready rather to ascribe the falsehood to mistake than to call it a lie. So the truly benevolent man is not wont to suspect others of selfishness without strong evidence. Nor will the truly selfdenying man readily suspect his brother of selfishness even in things that prima facie have that appearance. He will rather naturally infer that his health or circumstances or something consistent with self-denial accounts for what he does.
Especially does the true saint deny his appetites and passions. His artificial appetites he denies absolutely whenever his attention is called to the fact and the nature of the indulgence. The christian is such just because he has become the master of his appetites and passions, has denied them and consecrated himself to God. The sinner is a sinner just because his appetites and passions and the impulses of his desires are his masters and he bows down to them and serves them. They are his masters instead of his servants as they are made to be. He is consecrated to them and not to God. But the saint has ceased to live to gratify his lusts. Has he been a drunkard, a rake, a tobacco user; has he been in self-indulgent habits of any kind: he is reformed; old things are past away and behold all things are become new. Has he still any habit the character of which he has either mistaken or not considered; such as smoking, chewing or snuffing tobacco, using injurious stimulants of any kind, high and unwholesome living, extravagant dressing, or equipage, retiring late at night and rising late in the morning, eating too much, or between meals, or in short, has there been any form of self-indulgence about him whatever:-only let his attention be called to it, he will listen with candor, be convinced by reasonable evidence and renounce his evil habits without conferring with flesh and blood. All this is implied in regeneration and must follow from its very nature. This also the bible everywhere affirms to be true of the saints. "They have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." It should be forever remembered that a self-indulgent christian is a contradiction. Self-indulgence and christianity are terms of opposition. The states of mind designated by these two words are opposite states of mind. This is precisely the difference between a saint and a sinner, that the saint is self-denying and the sinner self-indulgent. The saint is the lord and master of all his appetites and passions. He rules them and not they him. Whether he eats or drinks or whatever he does, he does all
for God and not to gratify himself. The sinner is the slave of his appetites and passions. It is not in his heart to deny them. Some appetite or propensity always rules over him. He complains that he can not abandon certain indulgences. He is in bondage to his own lusts and led captive by them. Seest thou then a self-indulgent professor of religion? If he be really so, imagine not that you have found a christian but know assuredly that you behold a hypocrite; for this is as certain as that he is alive. The true saint does not complain that he can not give up any self-indulgent habit whatever. He can and must and does if he be truly regenerate, give up and forsake every species of mere self-indulgence. Grace has obtained for him a victory and instead of his complaining that he can not conquer his propensities, he knows that he is more than a conqueror through our Lord Jesus Christ.
16. The sinner does not deny himself. He may not gratify all his desires because the desires are often contradictory, and he must deny one for the sake of indulging another. Avarice may be so strong as to forbid his indulging in extravagance in eating, drinking, dressing or equipage. His love of reputation may be so strong as to prevent his engaging in any thing disgraceful and so on. But self-indulgence is his law notwithstanding. The fear of hell or his desire to be saved may forbid his outward indulgence in any known sin. But still he lives and moves and has his being only for the sake of indulging himself. He may be a miser, and starve and freeze himself and deny himself the necessaries of life, yet self-indul-' gence is his law. One propensity may lord it over and starve the rest; but it is only self-indulgence after all. The nun may take the vail; the monk may retire to the cloister; the miser take his rags; the harlot seek the brothel; the debauchee his indulgences; the king his throne; the priest his desk, all for the same ultimate reason, to wit, to gratify self, to indulge each one his reigning lust. But in every possible case every sinner, whatever may be his station, his habits or pursuits, is self-indulgent and only self-indulgent and that continually. Some lusts he may and must control as they may be inconsistent with others. But others he knows and it will be seen that he does not control. He is a slave. He bows down to his lusts and serves them. He is enslaved by his propensities so that he can not overcome them. This demonstrates that he is a sinner and unregenerate whatever his station and professions may be. One who can not conquer himself and his lusts; this is the definition of an unregenerate sinner. He is
one over whom some form of desire or lust or appetite or passion has dominion. He can not, or rather will not overcome it. This one is just as certainly in sin as that sin is sin. Do you hear that professor of religion? He says he knows that he ought to give up such a lust or habit, but he can not give it up. Why, in thus saying, he gives higher evidence of being an unregenerate sinner or a loathsome backslider than if he should take his oath of it. O that it were known and constantly borne in mind what regeneration is. How many thousands of deceived professors would it undeceive! A selfindulgent regenerate soul is a perfect contradiction, as much so as to speak of a disinterestedly benevolent selfishness, or of a self-indulgent self-denial, or an unregenerate regeneration, a sinful holiness or a holy sinfulness. These things are eternal and necessary opposites. They never do or can by any possibility be reconciled or dwell together in the same heart. With the sinner or selfish professor, self-denial is a theory, an opinion, an article of faith. But he knows if he will but admit the conviction, that he does not live for God; that he does not eat and drink and dress and sleep and wake and do whatever he does for God. He knows he ought to do so and hopes he does in some measure, but he knows all the while that the preponderance of his life is self-indulgent. When this is so, nothing but infatuation can cause him to cling to his delusion.
17. The truly regenerate soul overcomes sin.
Let the Bible be heard upon this subject. "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."-1 John 2: 3, 4. "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins: and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he can not sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth