A most Godly SERMON: Preached at St. Albons in Woodstreet on Sunday last, being the 10. of October, 1641. Shewing the necessity of Selfe-denyall and Humiliation, by Prayer and Fasting before the Lord; in regard of the pre­sent Plague we now lye under. Which God, in his good time, remove from amongst us.

By that faithfull Minister, and Witnesse of Iesus Christ, M. Henry Burton.


LONDON, Printed by B. Alsop, MDCXLI.

A GODLY SERMON, Luke 9.23. Let him deny himselfe.’


THE first Lesson is the A. B. C. that CHRIST teacheth us in his Schoole, is this, For a man to deny himselfe, and so is it also the highest taske that is set to any.

These words were spoken to them all, a great many professed Christ, and thronged upon him. Therfore Christ taught them a lesson, that most of them never thought of. If any one will follow me, let him deny himselfe. The Condition is, let him deny himselfe, the terms are selfe-denyall.

Selfe-deniall consisteth,

  • 1. In denying our selves in all good things.
  • 2. In all evill Things.

1. In all good things, Selfe-denyall ought to be in all good things. 1. Internall. 2. Externall. Internall as the understanding, will, and affection. So in morall Habits, as Temperance, Fortitude, Wisedome, &c. 3. In labour of know­ledge, even of such as are gotten by study. 2. Selfe-denyall ought to be in Externall good things.

[Page]1. In matters of duty. 2. In Objects.

1. Jn matters of duty, that is toward God, where is dis­covered a main duty between true exercise of Piety, and Counterfeit, Those are true, which are set down in Scri­pture, and none else; for God will be served of himselfe, he commandeth not as man prescript. 2 Here appears the vainnesse of that duty which is prescribed of men.

Those of men may be knowne like trees by their fruits.

That of humane invention, set upon the Conscience, those who maintain it, cannot but confesse the superstition which they maintaine.

The next thing, is the duty we owe to our Neighbor, as of charity, of equity, of mercy: when we have done all that is commanded, we must confesse we are unprofitable Ser­vants. Here is selfe-denyall▪ yet there may be duties of Piety, where there is a want hereof, as 1. Cor. 13.3. There may bee seeming charity, yet fals. There may be a giving up of the body to be burned, yet want of charity; because not proceeding from Faith. Even in these workes a Christian must deny himselfe.

Vse 1. To condemn all Popish Charity, and many which they call good works, instead of denying themselvs in those works, they deny Christ; for in those works, they say they deserve the Kingdome of Heaven. For there is salvation in none other but in Christ Iesus onely.

Vse 2. To condemn another sort of carnall profane men that build their salvation on common duties, works of mo­rality; who say that they doe all men right (though per­haps they are compelled so to doe) this overthrowes the Do­ctrine of Christ, this is not to deny themselves, but to deny Christ.

Vse 3. To put a difference between true charity and false, some men are naturally given to be upright, to doe Justice, to deale upright. This is not to deny ones selfe, to build in these; for this is not of Grace: for workes of Grace humble a man. This may be a tryall of our grace; if they be of grace, thou wilt deny thy selfe in them. In the next place, we are to consider of certaine objects, of a threefold relati­on.

[Page]1. A Naturall. 2. A Civill. 3. A sensitive Relation.

Doct. 2.

ANd first a Naturall Relation, as to Father, Mo­ther, wife, Children, kindred, &c. we must de­ny our selves in all relation, where th [...]y stand in opposition unto Christ, for proofe hereof. Luke 14.26. If father, mother, wife, children, &c. call us to stand in opposition to Christ, In that respe [...]t we must hate them. Mat. 10.35. No marvell then if the world cry out of Christ, and call him a seditious Person. For a man to hate his Parents, as he is a Father; but to deny obodience to his father, so farre as he is hin­der'd from comming to Christ. A noteable Example is in Deutr. 13.6. The Sonne must not conceale the Father, if he seeke to bring him to Idolatry. We must not acknowledge Father and Mother in bidding us to do that which Christ forbiddeth. Mat. 23.9. So there is a noteable Psalm. Deutr. 33.9. This denyall brought a blessing upon them, and it is a Type of the Gospell. For every true Beleever is a Priest, and must not in that respect looke upon outward Relation, in competition with Christ: but deny our selves in those things, which otherwise we are bound to love by the Law of Nature. Trample upon thy Father, cast off thy wife and children, saith a Father, if they seeke to draw thee from Christ.

Vse. To condemne the Papist who hang all their Faith and Religion on their Ancestors; because they liv'd and dy'd in this Religion: this is to set up the Parents against Christ.

Vse 2. To reprove too many Papists in this Land, that doe propagate their Children▪ and Childrens Children in that Religion. Many amongst us, that send their Children to Monasteries in Rome, to make them bondslaves in darknesse for ever. God be thanked we have good Lawes, & I hope we shall have them increased by the happy Parliament; but happy were it, if there were good Magistrates to put those Lawes in practice.

Vse 3. For Parents that professe Religion. When the spi­rit of Christ toucheth the heart, then they see the true way whose heart is so touched.

[Page]Yet how many Parents cannot endure that their children doe outstrip their Parents in purity, even for this they ab­horre their own children, and sometime dispossesse them; and cannot endure them: this is lamentable: Kings in their own Thrones, are not above Christ, much lesse Parents in their Families. If God come into their Families, into the hearts of their children; shall Parents lift their hands up against Christ to abhorre and hate their own children, be­cause of this? The body is received from the Parents, but the soule from God; Parents may instruct their children, but not to keepe them from Christ.

Vse 4. For Children that have received a greater mea­sure of light from Christ, then the Parents they must be modest and humble, & beare their reproches patiently for Christ: but if the Parents will keep them from Christ, we must hate & deny our Parents: but in the mean time to be patient to convince them, and (if possible) to perswade them 5. To perswade these children, that they follow this light, and not let their Parents, nor any friend in the world draw them from Christ.

The 2. Relation is civill,

Doct. A Christian must deny himself in all civill Rela­tion, if Princes or States make Lawes against the Law of Christ, against his Religion, & his pure Ordinances, threat­ning punishment to those that will not observe them.

Herein a true Christian must deny himselfe, both in matter of terrour, and in matter of favour. 1. In matter of terrour, whatsoever is threatned against a man, Mat. 10.28. a Christian may say, I am lower then all the terrours of the world can hurt me. We should deny our selves with Paul, and be reday, not onely to be bound, but to dye for Christ. Theodorus (an Heathen man) was told, that he should rot above ground, I care not (saith he) it is all one to me, to rot above, or under ground. Thus a Christian should resolve against all feares, and terrour whatsoever, for Christ. So for matter of favour, as Polyc Carpus had great promotion promised in the time of persecution, an­swered, [Page] I have served Christ, saith he, fourty and he hath alwayes bin a good Master to me, and I will not deny him now, this is selfe-denyall. How many have bin overcome with these things for want of selfe-deniall. Those that are compelled to Popery and Popish wayes, are not Christs followers, but the followers of Antichrist.

Obj. Some may say, what need we to have such a Do­ctrine, as this of selfe-denyall, in respect of civill Relati­on to be taught as now?

Ans. God be thanked, it is true, the storme is over of this oppressing: yet this Doctrine may be very usefull for this very season, we are in the expectation of a true Refor­mation, and in the very Reformation, selfe-denyall is to be used. 2. If some by Reformation be reformed, and not others, will they be quiet? No, the nearer we come to Christ, the more we must looke for persecution, 2 Tim. 3.12. Let us not looke for a true powerfull Reformation of Re­ligion without persecution. 3. The next thing is the con­sideration of such things as are.

Doct. 3.

THe sensitive part of man, which hath 3 Heads, Pleasure, Profit, Honour, these 3 must be deny'd; they were in great esteeme amongst the Heathen, these 3 were all represented to Eve, in the forbidden fruit, Gen. 3.6. and it tooke such an impression then, that every mothers child of us, have the print of it remaining upon us. I heard a story of a fish in Garn [...]sie, when I was there, by some of the best there, that there is a fish in those sands, that be­ing stuck by the Fisher-man, her young, if she hath any in her belly, are all wounded in the very same place. This is a direct Emblem of Man-kind, 1 Iohn 2.16. and with these 3 weapons the Divell assailed Christ, tempting him, Luke. 4. beginning, these are often in Scripture together, Phil. 3.

Do [...]. 4.

A Christian must deny himselfe in pleasure and de­light, even the delights of meate and drink, and lawfull recreation, which are in themselves lawfull meat & drink in a continuall moderation, keeping himselfe from excesse, and sometime in a totall abstinence for a time.

[Page]1. To avoid excesse at all times, Luke 21.14. Many Rea­sons there are, why we should deny our selves in the im­moderate use of the Creature. 1. It is an Enemy to the soule, a Enemy to all Christian duties, 1. Pet. 2.11.

2. They doe hinder us in the Christian race. 1. Cor. 9.2▪ When a soule is over-charged, he is more fit to lye downe then to run. 3. It brings many evils upon a state, Luke 20. Swilling in drink brought a deluge. So in Lots time▪ So­dome and Gomorrah did eat and drink, and swill, till fire came downe from Heaven, and burnt them all to Ashes, Psal. 76. 4. It brings a man in the way to hell. Luke 16. Dives there, he was so full that he forgot poore Lazarus, and now he must pinch for it in Hell-flames, burning in torments for ever. A Christian may have great occasion of mirth: but then we must have most care of all. As the wise man saith, when thou commest to a full Table, if thou hast an appetite, put a knife to thy throat. This duty is requisite for all true Christians.

1. Sometime we should wholly abstain from the Crea­ture: as for the removeall of some calamity we ly under, or to prevent a calamity comming upon us, or to procure a blessing to be fitter for some good duties Examples wee have many. 2 Sam. 12. and Ionah 3. Ezra 8. so 1 Cor. 7. Fa­sting keepes the spirit of Prayer awake.

Vse. Here is an heavy charge that lyeth upon many Pro­fessors, it is to be wished, that the whole Kingdome were not to be blamed in this, like the Children of Israel. Isay. 22.3. cramming themselves with a desperate saying, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we must dye. Is this a time of ea­ting and drinking. &c. when the Plague is so hot amongst us? Is this a time to be so desperate? It is true, perhaps to­morrow we shall dye, but is this a time to drink and swill, and feast: no it is rather a time to deny our selves; for wee may be shut up in our houses before tomorrow night, and perhaps dye tomorrow, and be swept away with the Plague: is this a time to gorge our selves with eating and drinking?

[Page]what issue may we expect from hence: we had indeed a day of Thanksgiving, but we had need, that the next day should have bin a day of Humiliation; for then was the Plague amongst us.

Indeed, when the motion of humiliation was made, one in the City (& that of great note too) made answer, that Winter was comming on, and then the Plague would be stayed.

Object. We have had many dayes of Humiliation, both publick, and private.

Answ. Those that doe so, doe well, Ezek. 9.4. If they doe it in sincerity. Many that doe it in their private Fami­lies shall have a blessing on them. But let not this content us, that others doe it; but let us all, each in our Families, humble our selves by Fasting and Prayer, every Parish, and every Family. I hope this is not against the Law, I am sure it is not against Gods Law, to have such meetings.

The Lord stirre up the hearts of all those whom it doth concerne to call for Fasting and Prayer, in these evill times.


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