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world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him;" 1 John ii. 15. Nay, that the neighbourhood, and all the country that know them should ring of the worldliness of some, that think themselves good Christians; and yet they will not see themselves. What a cheating, blinding thing is the world!
Well, sirs, if you will be Christians, count what it must cost you; and if you will be heirs of heaven, away with the world ; cast it out of your hearts: and if your hands must yet trade in it, yet trade not for it; use it for God, but enjoy it not for itself. Take yourselves as strangers here; and look on the world as a desolate wilderness, through which, in the communion of the militant saints, you may safely travel on to heaven; but do not make it your home, nor take it for the smallest part of your felicity. To be sanctified without mortification, is a palpable contradiction. Be at a point with all things below, if you will groundedly hope for the heavenly inheritance. But I shall purposely forbear to enlarge this any further, because I have preached and written a treatise on this subject, which I desire you to peruse.
Direct. VII. My next Direction is this : ‘If you would be truly converted, be sure that you make an absolute resignation of yourselves, and all that you have to God.'
This is the very form and life of sanctification. To be sanctified, is to be separated in heart, life, and profession, from all other masters and ends, to God. When the heart that was set upon the world and flesh, is separated from them, and inclined to God by the power of love, and devoted to him, to serve and please him; this is indeed a sanctified heart. And when the life that before was spent in the service of satan, the world, and the flesh, is now taken off them, and spent, as to the drift and course of it, in the service of God, for the pleasing and glorifying of him, from the impulse of love, this is indeed a holy life. And herein consisteth the very nature of our sanctity. And when a man doth but profess to renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh, and to give up his heart and life unto God, this is a profession of holiness. God is both on the title of creation preservation, and redemption, our absolute Lord or Owner, and we are not our own, but his; and therefore we must give to God the things that are God's, and glorify him in our souls and bodies, which are his; I Cor. vi. 19, 20. As we
are his own, so he will have his own, and be served by his
Do not imagine that you have any title to yourselves, or propriety in yourselves; but without any more ado, make a full, unreserved, absolute resignation of yourselves, of your understandings, and of your wills, of your bodies, and of your names, and of every pennyworth of your estates, to God, for whom and from whom you have them. Think not that you have power to dispose of yourselves, or of any thing that
you have. Ask not flesh and blood, what life you shall lead, or what mind or will, you shall be of? But ask God, to whom you do belong. Ask not your carnal selves, what you shall do with any of your estates, but ask God, and then ask conscience, Which is the way that God would have me use it in, that is, which way may I use it to be most serviceable to God? and that resolve upon. No service that you do to God will prove you sanctified, unless you have heartily and absolutely given up and devoted yourselves to him; and he that gives up himself, must needs give up all that he hath with himself. For he cannot keep it for himself (ultimately), when even himself is given up to God, Though you be not bound to give all that you have to the poor, nor all to the church, nor to deny your own bodies or families their due supplies, yet must it all be given up to God, even that which you make use of for yourselves and families : for as you are given up to God yourselves, so you must feed yourselves as his, and clothe yourselves and your families as his, to fit yourselves and them for his service, and not as your own, for the satisfying of your flesh. Thus it is that all comes to be
sanctified to them that are themselves first sanctified; because when you feed yourself, you do but feed a servant of God, that is consecrated to him, and separated from things common and unclean. And even as the tithes and offerings, that were given for the food and maintenance of the priests and Levites, were called the Lord's portion, and holy to the Lord, because they were their portion, that were separated to his altar; even so that which is necessary to fit you for God's service, while you use it to that very end, is sanctified in your sanctification, and is holy to God; for all his saints are a holy nation, a royal priesthood, to offer up acceptable sacrifice to him. And thus," whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, you must do all to the glory of God;" 1 Cor. x. 31. “For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, and therefore to him must be the glory for ever;" Rom. xi. 36. God who is the end of your hearts and lives must be the end of every action of them, unless you will step out of the way of order, and safety, and holiness. For every action that is not from God, and by God, and for God, is contrary to the nature of true sanctification. If then you would be Christians indeed be heartily willing that God should have his own. Understand what an excellent honour, and privilege, and happiness it is to you to be his. If his right to you will not move you let your own necessity and benefit at least move you to give up yourselves and all that you have to God. Bring your hearts to the bar, and plead the cause of God with them, and convince them of God's title to them, and how sinfully, they have robbed him of his own all this while. Have your days and hours, your wealth and interest, been used purposely for God as his own? O what abundance be there, that in word and confident profession, do give themselves. up, and all to God, and yet the use of themselves and all, do plainly shew that it is no such matter; but they dissembled with God, and yet never knew so much by themselves. How little do they use for God, when they have with seeming devotion resigned all to him? If a lord, or knight, or gentleman of £4,000 or £3,000 a year, or £400, or £300, were to shew the accounts of all his expenses, how much of all this should you find expended for God, when they have acknowledged that all is his ?. One would think by their lives, that they look to be saved by robbing God, and confessing the robbery, by saying that all is God's, while they allow him next to nothing
pure to the pure,
The devoted, resigned, sanctified soul hath the true principle of all obedience, and that which will do much to repel all temptations, and carry him through the greatest straits and trials. If I am not my own, I need not be over solicitous for myself, but may expect that he that owneth me should care for me: nor do I need to use any sinful shifts for my own preservation. If I have nothing of my own, what need I to sin for the saving of any thing? What need I to venture upon unwarrantable means, to preserve either credit, or goods, or life?
the It is self, and own, that are y roots of all sin, the heart of the old man, and the seed of hell: nothing else is pleaded against God and our salvation. If the flesh would have you abuse God's creatures, you must remember they are not your own. If the devil would entice you to sin against God, either for the getting or keeping of any creature, it would easily repel the temptation, were you but rightly sensible that nothing is your own : for God hath no need that you should sin to get riches or honours for him. If you are called to let go your houses, or lands, or friends, or lives, or to deliver up your bodies to the flames, did you but rightly take them as none of your own, how easy would it be! You can be content that another man give his goods, or life itself to God, whenever God requireth it; but your own, you cannot be content to part with, and that because it is your own. But if you had rightly resigned all to God, and took not yourselves or any thing for your own, but looked upon yourselves and all as God's, the greatest works of obedience or suffering, would be much more easy to you; and you would have little difficulty or hindrance in your way. Self-denial is but sanctification itself, denominated from the wrong end and principle, which we forsake. And where self is denied and dead, what is there left to draw us from God, or stand up against him, in any part of our lives? So much interest as self bath in you, so much the world and the devil have in you. And nothing is more proper to a miserable hypocrite, than deep reserves of life, or worldly things to themselves, while they seem to give up all to God.
O happy soul, that is wrought to this sincerity by the Spirit of grace, to say unfeignedly,' O Lord, 1 devote and resign inyself wholly unto thee; I am not my own, nor desire any further to be, than to be thine: I have nothing that is my own, nor desire to have any thing that shall not be thine.' Happy and truly wise is that man, that keeps as constant and faithful a reckoning, how he lays out himself and all that he hath for God, as a faithful steward doth of his receivings and layings out for his master's use. Every penny that is reserved from God, is the fuel of sin, and a sacrifice to the devil and the flesh; and if it be pardoned to the truly penitent, by the sacrifice of Christ, that is no thanks to us that would else have made it the fuel of hell. God is not so careless of us or his mercies, but that he keeps an exact account of all that we have from him, and will require an account of our improvement of all: not only requiring his own again, but his own with advantage; Matt. xxv. 27. Why else did he give us such leisure and ability to approve it? I can never forget what a sinful thought was once in my mind, which I will venture to confess, because it may possibly be the case of others, that so they may beware. Hearing of some that used to lay by the tenth part of their yearly comings in, for charitable uses, I purposed to do so too, and thought it a fair proportion : but since I have perceived what a vile and wicked thought that was, to offer to cut out a scantling for God, or give him a limited share of his own, or say that so much he shall have, and no more. Though we cannot say that God must have all in any one kind of service only; either only for the church, or only for the poor, or only for public uses ; yet must we resolve, that in one way or other he must have all ; and the particular portions to the poor, or church, or other uses, must be assigned by truly sanctified prudence, considering which way it may be most serviceable to God. I must relieve my own family, or kindred, if they want, but not because they are my own, but because God hath commanded me, and so hath made it a part of my obedience. But if I see where I may do more service to God by relieving a stranger, and that God doth more require it, I must yet prefer them before all the kindred that I have in the world. When the Christian pattern was set up by the primitive church, Acts ii. iv. they sold all, and laid down the whole price at the apostles' feet, which was not distributed to their natural kindred only, but to all the poor Christians that had no other relation to them, even as every one had need. And as it is the loving of our spiritual brethren in Christ, that is made the sign of our translation from death to life, so is it the relieving of Christ in these his members, that is, the relieving them, because they are his members, that is made the very matter of our cause in the last judgment, and the ground of the sentence of life or death ; Matt. xxv. I must provide for my own body, and you must provide for your children, but that is (as I said before) not as I am my own, nor as your children are your own; but as I am a servant of Christ, that must be supported in his service, or as yourselves and yours are put under your care and duty by God. So that I may give it to myself or others, when I can truly say, I do but use it principally for God, and think that