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God, and would not quit them, to come to God. But this is recorded to their reproach: and we may herein fee the power of felf upon the worldly man, and the danger that comes to him by the abuse of lawful things. What, thy wife dearer to thee than thy Saviour! and thy land and oxen preferred before thy foul's falvation! O beware, that thy comforts prove not fnares first, and then curfes; to over-rate them, is to provoke him that gave them to take them away again: come and follow him that giveth life eternal to the foul.

§. X. Wo to them that have their hearts in their earthly poffeffions! for when they are gone, their heaven is gone with them. It is too much the fin of the best part of the world, that they stick in the comforts of it and it is lamentable to behold how their affections are bemired, and entangled with their conveniencies and accommodations in it. The true felf-denying man is a pilgrim; but the selfish man is an inhabitant of the world: the one uses it, as men do fhips, to transport themselves or tackle in a journey, that is, to get home; the other looks no farther, whatever he prates, than to be fixed in fulness and ease here, and likes it fo well, that if he could, he would not exchange. However, he will not trouble himself to think of the other world, till he is fure he must live no longer in this: but then, alas! it will prove too late; not to Abraham, but to Dives, he must go; the story is as true as fad.

§. XI. But on the other hand, it is not for nought, that the difciples of Jefus deny themselves; and indeed, Chrift himself had the eternal joy in his eye: for the joy that was fet before him (fays the author to the Hebrews) he endured the crofs; that is, he denied himfelf, and bore the reproaches and death of the wicked and despised the shame, to wit, the dishonour and derifion of the world. It made him not afraid nor shrink, he contemned it: and is fet down on the right hand of the throne of God". And to their encouragement, and great confolation, when Peter asked him,

* Heb. xii. 2.

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what they should have that had forfaken all to follow him? he answered them, Verily I say unto you, that ⚫ ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man fhall fit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall set upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Ifrael,' that where then in apoftacy from the life and power of godlinefs. This was the lot of his difciples; the more immediate companions of his tribulations, and first meffengers of his kingdom. But the next that follows is to all: And every one that hath forfaken houses, or brethren, or fifters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my 'name's fake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall

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inherit everlasting life.' It was this recompence of reward, this eternal crown of righteousness, that in every age has raised, in the fouls of the juft, an holy neglect, yea, contempt of the world. To this is owing the conftancy of the martyrs, as to their blood the triumph of the truth.

§. XII. Nor is this a new doctrine; it is as old as Abraham. In feveral most remarkable instances, his life was made up of self-denial. First, in quitting his own land, where we may well fuppofe him fettled in the midst of plenty, at leaft fufficiency: and why? Because God called him. Indeed this fhould be reafon enough; but fuch is the world's degeneracy, that in fact it is not and the fame act, upon the fame inducement, in any now, though praised in Abraham, would be derided. So apt are people not to understand what they commend; nay, to defpife thofe actions, when they meet them in the people of their own times, which they pretend to admire in their ancestors.

§. XIII. But he obeyed: the confequence was, that God gave him a mighty land. This was the first reward of his obedience. The next was, à son in his old age; and which greatened the bleffing, after it had been in nature, paft the time of his wife's bearing of children. Yet God called for his darling, their only

• Mat. xix. 27, 28, 29.

› Gen. xii, 1 Gen. xviii.

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child, the joy of their age, the fon of a miracle, and he upon whom the fulfilling of the promife made to Abraham did depend. For this fon, I fay, God called: a mighty trial, that which, one would have thought, might very well have overturned his faith, and ftumbled his integrity; at least have put him upon this difpute in himself: this command is unreasonable and cruel; it is the tempter's, it cannot be God's. For, is it to be thought that God gave me a fon to make a sacrifice of him? That the father should be butcher of his only child? Again, that he fhould require me to offer up the fon of his own promife, by whom his covenant is to be performed? this is incredible. I fay, thus Abraham might naturally enough have argued, to withstand the voice of God, and indulge his great affections to his beloved Ifaac. But good old Abraham, that knew the voice that had promifed him a fon, had not forgot to know it, when it required him back again': he disputes not, though it looked ftrange, and perhaps with fome furprize and horror, as a man. He had learned to believe, that God that gave him a child by a miracle, could work another to preferve or reftore him. His affections could not balance his duty, much lefs overcome his faith; for he received him in a way that would let him doubt of nothing that God had promifed of him.

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To the voice of this Almightinefs he bows, builds an altar, binds his only fon upon it, kindles the fire, and ftretches forth his hand to take the knife: but the angel stopped the ftroke. Hold, Abraham, thy integrity is proved.' What followed? A ram ferved, and Ifaac was his again. This fhews how little ferves, where all is refigned, and how mean a facrifice contents the Almighty, where the heart is approved. So that it is not the facrifice that recommends the heart, but the heart that gives the facrifice acceptance.

God often touches our best comforts, and calls for that which we most love, and are leaft willing to part

• Gen. xxi.

with. Not that he always takes it utterly away, but to prove the foul's integrity, to caution us from exceffes, and that we may remember God, the author of those bleffings we poffefs, and live lofe to them. I fpeak my experience: the way to keep our enjoyments, is to refign them; and though that be hard, it is fweet to fee them returned, as Ifaac was to his father Abraham, with more love and bleffing than before. O ftupid world! O worldly christians! Not only strangers, but enemies to this excellent faith! and whilft fo, the reward of it you can never know.

§. XIV. But Job preffed hard upon Abraham: his felf-denial alfo was very fignal. For when the messengers of his afflictions came thick upon him, one doleful story after another, till he was left as naked as when he was born; the first thing he did, he fell to the ground, and worshipped that power, and kiffed that hand that ftripped him: fo far from murmuring, that he concludes his loffes of estate and children with these words: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and

naked fhall I return: the Lord gave, and the Lord ⚫ hath taken away, bleffed be the name of the Lord'." O the deep faith, patience, and contentment of this excellent man! one would have thought, this repeated news of ruin had been enough to have overset his confidence in God: but it did not; that stayed him. But indeed he tells us why: his Redeemer lived; I know (fays he) that my Redeemer lives.' And it appeared he did; for he had redeemed him from the world: his heart was not in his worldly comforts; his hope lived above the joys of time, and troubles of mortality; not tempted by the one, nor fhaken by the other; but firmly believed, that when after his skin worms should

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have confumed his body, yet with his eyes he should fee God.' Thus was the heart of Job both fubmitted to, and comforted in, the will of God.

§. XV. Mofes is the next great example in facred story for remarkable self-denial, before the times of

• Job i. 21.

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* Job xix. 25, 26. C 4

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Christ's appearance in the flesh. He had been faved, when an infant, by an extraordinary Providence, and it seems, by what followed, for an extraordinary fervice: Pharoah's daughter (whofe compaffion was the means of his prefervation when the king decreed the flaughter of the Hebrew males) took him for her fon, and gave him the education of her father's court". His own graceful prefence and extraordinary abilities, joined with her love to him and intereft in her father to promote him, must have rendered him, if not capable of fucceffion, at least of being chief minifter of affairs under that wealthy and powerful prince. For Egypt was then what Athens and Rome were after, the most famous for learning, arts, and glory.

§. XVI. But Mofes, ordained for other work, and guided by a better ftar, an higher principle, no fooner came to years of discretion, than the impiety of Egypt, and the oppreffions of his brethren there, grew a burthen too heavy for him to bear. Aud though fo wise and good a man could not want thofe generous and grateful refentments, that became the kindness of the king's daughter to him; yet he had alfo feen that

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God that was invifible", and did not dare to live in the ease and plenty of Pharoah's houfe, whilft his poor brethren were required to make brick without straw*.' Thus the fear of the Almighty taking deep hold of his heart, he nobly refused to be called the fon of Pharaoh's daughter, and chofe rather a life of affliction with the most defpifed and oppreffed Ifraelites, and to be the companion of their temptations and jeopardies, ⚫ than to enjoy the pleasures of fin for a season;' esteeming the reproaches of Chrift (which he fuffered for making that unworldly choice) greater riches than all the treasures of that kingdom.

§. XVII. Nor was he fo foolish as they thought him; he had reafon on his fide: for it is faid, He had an eye to the recompence of reward:' he did but refufe a leffer benefit for a greater. In this his wisdom tran

■ Exod. ii. I—} } !

w Heb. xi. 24, 27.

Exod. v. 7, 16. fcended

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