Here is work for self-examination. Every exercise
of our minds should be tried by this standard.
Again; we must deny self in all our conduct.
And here we have the examples of many holy men, recorded
in Scripture, with a host of martyrs and missionaries,
but especially of our Lord himself, to show what influence
the true spirit of self-denial exerts upon the Christian
life. In the passage quoted above, our Lord expressly
declares that, in order to be his disciples, we must
him. And how can this be done,
but by imitating his example? He was willing
to make sacrifices
for the good of others.
He led a life of toil, hardship, and suffering, and
gave up his own life
, to save sinners.
His immediate disciples did the same. They submitted
to ignominy, reproach, suffering, and death itself,
for the sake of promoting the glory of God, in the
salvation of men. Cultivate, then, this spirit.
Prefer the glory of God to everything else. Prefer
the general good to your own private interest.
Be willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit
of others. Carry this principle out in all your
intercourse with others, and it will greatly increase
your usefulness. It will also really promote
your own interest and happiness. There is nothing
which renders a person so amiable and lovely, in the
sight of others, as disinterested benevolence.
Think no sacrifice too great to make, no hardship
too painful to endure, if you can be the means of
benefiting perishing souls. Remember, it was for
this that Jesus gave up his life; and he requires
you to be ready to give up everything you have, and
even life itself, if the same cause shall require
But let me caution you against placing self-denial
chiefly in outward things. We are not required
to relinquish any of the comforts and enjoyments of
this life, except when they come in competition with
our duty to God and our fellow-creatures. “Every
creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused,
if it be received with thanksgiving;” and godliness
has the promise of this life as well as of that which
is to come. The religion of some people seems
to consist chiefly in denying themselves of lawful
enjoyments; and you will find them very severe and
censorious towards others, for partaking freely and
thankfully of the bounties of God’s providence.
This, however, is but a species of self-righteous
mockery, characterized by Paul as a voluntary humility.
Instead of being self-denial, it is the gratification
of self in maintaining an appearance of external sanctity.
It may, however, be not only proper, but obligatory
upon us, to sacrifice these lawful enjoyments, when
we may thereby promote the interests of Christ’s
kingdom; which requires the exercise of a self-sacrificing
Public and Social Worship, and Sabbath Employments.
“Not forsaking the assembling
of ourselves together.”—HEB. 10:23.