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TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
No pleasure can be innocent which hinders us from minding our salvation.
We need but taste any pleasure but a very little while, to become a slave to it.
The only way to overcome our corrupt affections, is absolutely to deny their cravings.
We have reason to suspect every doctrine which would teach us to avoid sin without suffering, since the Holy Spirit speaks so much of self-denial, of the difficulty of working out our own salvation.
Self-denial is absolutely necessary to prepare us to receive the grace of God; it was therefore necessary that John the Baptist should prepare the way, by preaching repentance and selfdenial. Men need not be at pains to go to hell ; if they will not deny themselves, if they make no resistance, they will go there of course. It will be great presumption to go to the utmost bounds of what is allowed, because the bounds which separate what is allowed and forbidden are not often perceived. One does not begin to fall, when the fall becomes sensible.
Diversions are too apt to make us lose the remembrance of the dangers that encompass us, which is the ready way to ruin, fear being as necessary as any other grace.
Where there is a real abhorrence of evil, there will be a proportionable care to avoid it. “They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.” This is the only true test of being truly Christians. Aflictions may make men esteem us less; but Gon loves us the more for them, if we bear them with resignation ; which if we do, it is a certain sign of His grace and care of us.
The yoke of Christ is not only safer, but even easier, than that liberty we are naturally fond of. It makes the practice of virtue pleasant; frees us from the violence of corruption, from being ruined by false pleasures. Crosses make death less frightful. And indeed, he that will not obey Jesus Christ must obey his own passions, the world, its customs, humours, which are the worst of tyrants, and downright slavery. Every day deny yourselves some satisfaction ; your eyes, objects of mere curiosity; your tongue, every thing that may feed vanity, or vent
enmity; the palate, dainties ; the ears, flattery, and whatever corrupts the heart; the body, ease and luxury; bearing all the inconveniences of life, (for the love of God,) cold, hunger, restless nights, ill health, unwelcome news, the faults of servants, contempt, ingratitude of friends, malice of enemies, calumnies, our own failings, lowness of spirits, the struggle in overcoming our corruptions ; bearing all these with patience and resignation to the will of God. Do all this as unto God, with the greatest privacy.
ways are indifferent to one who has heaven in his eye, as a traveller does not choose the pleasantest, but the shortest and safest way to his journey's end ; and that is, if we were to choose for ourselves, the way of the cross, which Jesus Christ made choice of, and sanctified it to all his followers. . . . . It being much more easy to prevent than to mortify a lust, a prudent Christian will set a guard upon his senses. One unguarded look betrayed David. Job made a covenant with his eyes. Evil communications corrupt good manners. Sensuality unfits us for the joys of heaven. If that concupiscence which opposes virtue be lessened, a less degree of grace will secure innocence.
. Self-denial has respect to the good estate of the soul, as it hinders her from being carried away to the lower pleasures of sense, that she may relish heavenly pleasures.
Matth. viii. 20. “The Son of Man has not where to lay his head."
This should fill us with confusion, whenever we are over-much concerned for the conveniences of life.
Our affections being very strongly inclined to sensible good, for the sake of which we are often tempted to evil, and fall into great disorders, we should resolve to sacrifice our will to reason, and reason to the word of God.
God does not require it of us, that we should not feel any uneasiness under the cross, but that we should strive to overcome it by His grace.
Virtues of a Holy Life. Fervency in devotion; frequency in prayer; aspiring after the love of God continually; striving to get above the world and the body; loving silence and solitude, as far as one's condition will
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.
permit; humble and affable to all ; patient in suffering affronts and contradictions; glad of occasions of doing good even to enemies; doing the will of God, and promoting His honour to the utmost of one's power ; resolving never to offend Him willingly, for any temporal pleasure, profit, or loss. These are virtues highly pleasing to God. There is no pleasure comparable to the not being captivated to any external thing whatever.
Self-denial does not consist in fastings and other mortifications only, but in an indifference for the world, its profits, pleasures, honours, and its other idols.
It is a part of special prudence, never to do any thing because one has an inclination to it; but because it is one's duty, or it is reasonable ; for he who follows his inclination because he wills, in one thing, will do it in another.
He that will not command his thoughts and his will, will soon lose the command of his actions.
Always suspect yourself, when your inclinations are strong and importunate. It is necessary that we deny ourselves in little and indifferent things, when reason and conscience, which is the voice of God, suggests it to us, as ever we hope to get the rule over our own will. Say not, it is a trifle, and not fit to make a sacrifice of to God. He that will not sacrifice a little affection, will hardly offer a greater. It is not the thing, but the reason and manner of doing it, viz. for God's sake, and that I may accustom myself to obey His voice, that God regards, and rewards with greater degrees of grace. (Life of Mr. Bonnell, p. 122.)
Rom. xv. 3. “ Even Jesus Christ pleased not Himself;" as appears in the meanness of His birth, relations, form of a servant, the company He kept, His life, death, &c. The greater your self-denial, the firmer your faith, and more acceptable to God. The sincere devotion of the rich, the alms of the poor, the humility of the great, the faith of such whose condition is desperate, the contemning the world when one can command it at pleasure, continuing instant in prayer even when we want the consolation we expected : these, and such like instances of self-denial, God will greatly reward. They who imagine, that self-denial intrenches upon our liberty, do not know that it
is this only that can make us free indeed, giving us the victory over ourselves, setting us free from the bondage of our corruption enabling us to bear afflictions, (which will come one time or other) to foresee them without amazement, enlightening the mind, sanctifying the will, and making us to slight those baubles, which others so eagerly contend for.
Mortification consists in such a sparing use of the creatures, as may deaden our love for them, and make us even indifferent in the enjoyment of them. This lessens the weight of concupiscence, which carries us to evil, and so makes the grace of God more effectual to turn the balance of the will. (Norris's Christian Prudence, p. 300.)
It is the greatest mercy that God does not consult our inclinations, in laying upon us the cross, which is the only way to happiness. Jesus Christ crucified would have few imitators, if God did not lay it upon us, by the hands of men, and by His providence.
Matt. xxvii. 43. “ Let him deliver him now, if he will have him."
Carnal man cannot comprehend that God loves those whom He permits to suffer ; but faith teaches us, that the cross is the gift of His love, the foundation of our hope, the mark of His children, and the title of an inheritance in heaven. But unless God sanctify it by His Spirit, it becomes an insupportable burden, a subject of murmuring, and an occasion of sin.
( To be continued.) OXFORD, The Feast of St. Andrew.
These Tracts are continued in Numbers, and sold at the price of 2d. for each sheet, or 7s. for 50 copies.
LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. G. F. & J. RIVINGTON,
GILBERT & RIVINGTON, Printers, St. John's Square, London.
The following Works, all in single volumes, or pamphlets, and recently published, will be found more or less to uphold or elucidate the general doctrines inculcated in these Tracts :—
Bp. Taylor on Repentance, by Hale.-Rivingtons.
Vincentii Lirinensis Commonitorium, with translation.-Parker, Oxford.
Pusey on Cathedrals and Clerical Education.-Roake & Varty.
Pusey on Baptism (published separately).-Rivingtons.
Bp. Andrews' Devotions. Latin and Greek.-Pickering.
Herbert's Poems and Country Pastor.
Evans's Scripture Biography-Rivingtons.
Le Bas' Life of Archbishop Laud.-Rivingtons.
Jones (of Nayland) on the Church.
Bp. Bethell on Baptismal Regeneration.-Rivingtons.
Bp. Beveridge's Sermons on the Ministry and Ordinances.Parker, Oxford.
Bp. Jolly on the Eucharist.
Fulford's Sermons on the Ministry, &c.-Rivingtons.