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opinions that are his own; he is too apt to be tempted unto uncharitableness against those that cross him in his interest or way: he is apt to be too negligent in the work of God, when any selfinterest doth stand against it; and too much to seek himself, his own esteem, or his own advantage, when he should devote himself to the good of souls, and give up himself to the work of God. Though he is not like the hypocrite that preferreth himself before the will of God and the common good, yet selfishness greatly stoppeth, interrupteth, and hindereth him in God's work: and any great danger, or loss, or shame, or other concernment of his own, doth seem a greater matter to him, and oftener turneth him out of the way, than it will a confirmed Christian. They were not all hypocrites that Paul speaketh of in that sad complaint, 'For I have no man like-minded (to Timothy) who will naturally care for your state, for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's ;' that is, they too much seek their own, and not entirely enough the things that are Christ's; which Timothy did naturally, as if he had been born to it, and grace had made the love of Christ, and the souls of men, and the good of others, as natural to him as the love of himself. Alas, how loudly do their own distempers and unhappy miscarriages, and the divisions and calamities of the Church, proclaim, that the weaker sort of Christians have yet too much selfishness, and that self-denial is lamentably imperfect in them.
3. But in the seeming Christian selfishness is still the predominant principle: he loveth God but for
himself, and he never had any higher end than self. All his religion, his opinions, his practice is animated by self-love and governed by it, even by the love of carnal self. Self-esteem, self-conceitedness, self-love, self-willedness, self-seeking, and self-saving are the constitution of his heart and life. He will be of that opinion, and way, and party in religion, which selfishness directeth him to choose : he will go no farther in religion than self-interest and safety will allow him to go. He can change his friend, and turn his love into hatred, and his praises into reproach, whenever self-interest shall require it. He can make himself believe, and labour to make others believe, that the wisest and holiest servants of God are erroneous, humorous, hypocrites, and unsufferable, if they do but stand cross to his opinions and interest. For he judgeth of them, and loveth or hateth them, principally as they conform to his will and interest, or as they are against it. As the godly measure all persons and things by the will and interest of God, so do all ungodly men esteem them as they stand in reference to themselves. When their factious interests required it, the Jews, and specially the Pharisees, could make themselves and others believe that the Son of God himself was a breaker of the law, and an enemy to Cæsar, and a blasphemer, and unworthy to live on the earth; and that Paul was a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among the people, and a ringleader of a sect, and a profaner of the temple. And which of the prophets and apostles did they not persecute? Because Christ's doctrine doth cross the interest of selfish men, therefore the world doth so generally rise up against it with indignation, even as a country will rise against an invading enemy; for he cometh to take away that which is dearest to them, as it is said of Luther, that he meddled with the pope's crown and the friars' bellies, and therefore no wonder if they swarmed all about his ears. Selfishness is so general and deeply-rooted, that (except with a few self-denying saints) self-love and self-interest ruleth the world: and if you would know how to please a graceless man, serve but his carnal interest, and you have done it. Be of his opinion, (or take on you to be so,) applaud him, admire him, flatter him, obey him, promote his preferment, honour and wealth, be against his enemies,-in a word, make him your God, and sell your soul to gain his favour, and so it is possible you may gain it.
XVI. 1. A Christian indeed hath so far mortified the flesh, and brought all his senses and appetite into subjection to sanctified reason, as that there is no great rebellion or perturbation in his mind; but a little matter,-a holy thought, or a word from God,—doth presently rebuke and quiet his inordinate desires. The flesh is as a wellbroken and well-ridden horse, that goeth on his journey obediently and quietly, and not with striving, and chafing, and vexatious resisting: though still flesh will be flesh, and will be weak, and will fight against the spirit, so that we cannot do all the good we would; yet, in the confirmed Christian it is so far tamed and subdued, that its rebellion is much
less, and its resistance weaker, and more easily overcome. It causeth not any notable unevenness in his obedience, nor blemishes in his life: it is no other than consisteth with a readiness to obey the will of God. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof: they run not as uncertainly; they fight not as one that beateth the air: but they keep under their bodies, and bring them into subjection, lest by any means they should be castaways. They put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.' As we see to a temperate man how sweet and easy temperance is, when, to a glutton or drunkard, or riotous liver, it is exceeding hard; so it is in all other points with a confirmed Christian. He hath so far crucified the flesh that it is as dead to its former lusts; and so far mastered it that it doth easily and quickly yield:
: and this maketh the life of such a Christian not only pure, but very easy to him in comparison of other men's. Nay, more than this, he can use his sense (as he can use the world, the objects of sense) in subserviency to faith and his salvation. His eye doth but open a window to his mind to hold and admire the Creator in his work; his taste of the sweetness of the creatures is but a means, by which the sweeter love of God doth pass directly to his heart; his sense of pleasure is but the passage of spiritual holy pleasure to his mind; his sense of bitterness and pain is but the messenger to tell his heart of the bitterness and vexatiousness of sin. As God, in the creation of us, made our senses but
as the inlet and passage for himself into our minds, (even as he made all the creatures to represent him to us by this passage,) so grace doth restore our very senses to this their holy original use; that the goodness of God, through the goodness of the creature, may pass to our hearts, and be the effect and end of all.
2. But for the weak Christian, though he have mortified the deeds of the body by the Spirit, and lives not after the flesh, but is freed from its captivity; yet hath he such remnants of concupiscence and sensuality as make it a far harder matter to him to live in temperance, and deny his appetite, and govern his senses, and restrain them from rebellion and excess.
He is like a weak man upon an illridden headstrong horse, who hath much ado to keep his saddle and keep his way. He is stronglier inclined to fleshly lusts, or excess in meat, or drink, or sleep, or sports, or some such fleshly pleasure, than the mortified temperate person is, and therefore is ofter guilty of some excess : so that his life is a very tiresome conflict, and very uneasy to himself; because the less the flesh is mortified, the more able it is to raise perturbations, and to put faith and reason to a continual fight. And most of the scandals and blemishes of his life arise from hence, even the successes of the flesh against the spirit; so that though he live not in any gross or wilful sins, yet, in lesser measures of excess he is too frequently overtaken. How few there be that, in meat and sleep, do not usually exceed their measure! And they are easily tempted to libertine opinions, which