Selection 1: What is it to deny self?
Selection 2: Essential Christian Graces: Godly Sorrow
"It is a word of Instruction; Here we see why wicked men's hearts
are so opposite to the Word of God, and are so troubled at it. It is because
the God of heaven by the Word would pluck away these dunghill-gods; hence
comes an uproar in the town and family, here is the reason, he would take
away their gods, Judges 18:24; Jeremiah 2:11, Hath any nation changed their
gods, etc. They will not change their gods, but maintain them still; and
can you blame them that they maintain their gods? So now when the God of
heaven comes by his Word, and plucks at God-covetousness, and God-pride,
and God-lusts, Oh Laban's gods are going, he must needs pursue them. So
Demetrius his God-covetousness was going, as well as Diana, therefore he
stood stoutly for it. Great was his covetousness, the text says, Great was
the profit that came to him by Diana, the profit was that that stuck in
his stomach, and therefore he stood for Diana. And this is the reason why
drunkards rail at the ministers, Oh the cup is plucking from their nose,
they would have their god Bacchus still, and therefore they are up in arms
to maintain it. If an English man should go to the French king, and pluck
off the crown from his head, do you think there would not be an uproar?
So when the King and God-self is uncrowned, Oh what an uproar is there to
maintain the godhead of corruption! Hence the power of the Word is very
troublesome to them; Oh they cry out they are undone. In Judges 18:24, Micah
thought, God could not but bless him when he had a Levite in his house;
but when the Danites carry away his priest and his gods too, he follows
them, and cries out very much, and they ask him why he did so; saith he,
You have taken away my gods, and ask you me what I ail? They were his gods,
and he was the god-maker: so it is in the world, when the God-sin, and the
God-self is packing away from them, then they play Micah, cry after their
gods, and they must by force be carried away, or else they will not be suffered.
It grieves the drunkard to part with his god; this is the reason why they
cry out so; Oh these base courses are their gods and you take them away;
that is the reason of all their stir."
First mark. Godly sorrow is known by the companions of it, or as I may
call them, the effects of it, 2 Corinthians 7:11. 1. Carefulness, that is,
an earnest bethinking ourselves, joined with diligence in the means whereby
we may avoid the sin we mourn for. 2. Clearing of ourselves which is an
endeavor to approve ourselves in the dislike of that we mourn for by the
contrary deed done, Acts 16:33; Luke 19:8, Behold, the half of my goods
I give to the poor. 3. Indignation, whereby a man is even angry with himself,
loathes himself, is even weary of himself, Ezekiel 36. 4. Fear, which is
an awful regard, whereby we are afraid both of the sin, and of all the occasions
of it, with respect to God's displeasure, Proverbs 28:14, Blessed is the
man that feareth always. 5. A vehement desire, whereby we are so affected,
that we do not more strongly long for anything, than to be preserved from
that evil, by which we have fallen, and also to do the contrary good, Psalm
119:20, My heart breaketh for the fervant desires that it hath to thy commandments.
6. Zeal, when upon the consideration how we have dishonored God by our sin,
we are so much the more desirous of his glory by all well doing; this is
apparent by Paul, who was so much the more zealous in the propagation of
the gospel, as he had been serious in persecuting us. 7. Revenge, when a
man shows his displeasure against sin, by punishing the instruments and
occasions of it, Acts 19:19, they that used curious arts brought their books
and burned them before all men. So we read of Cranmer, that thrust that
hand first into the fire, which had subscribed the Popish articles.
So that godly sorrow may be discerned by this train of graces wherewith it is accompanied, that worldly sorrow wants, at least in the truth of them, though it may have some shadows of them.
Use. That we do not content ourselves to have sorrow for sin, but labor to find out, whether it be a godly sorrow or not. By these marks we may grow to some resolution to discover to ourselves, that we be not mistaken in some legal affrightments or worldly griefs instead of godly sorrow; which is a special part of repentance. Look what is that which sets our sorrow on work, whether it be the terrible nature of God's judgements, or the experience of his fatherly mercies. Consider of what continuance our sorrow is, whether of a fleeing nature, or more permanent, such as dwells with us, and does not only lodge with us for a night. Look whether it be indifferently, as well for sins secret as open, what you find to be your best cordials to comfort you, whether God's Word, or natural means. But of all, advisedly consider whether your sorrow be attended with the forenamed carefulness, clearing of yourself, indignation, fear, vehement desires, zeal, revenge accordingly you may be comforted in your mourning, or discouraged in respect of your estate.
The Christian's Two Chief Lessons is available from International Outreach, Inc.