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Self Denial.

Self Denial.

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Published by glennpease

REV. E. A. STAFFORD, D.D., LL.D.



" If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take
up his cross and follow Me." MATT. xvi. 24.

REV. E. A. STAFFORD, D.D., LL.D.



" If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take
up his cross and follow Me." MATT. xvi. 24.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 01, 2013
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05/20/2014

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SELF-DEIAL.REV. E. A. STAFFORD, D.D., LL.D." If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and takeup his cross and follow Me." MATT. xvi. 24.f  the life of Jesus the dark shadow of the closingtragedy fell all along His path. When H^spoke these words the cross was not far away.Already His mind was being penetrated with itsgloom, as one shivers in anticipation of the chilling-air of the evening. But that was His cross. InHis thought, however, Himself and His followerswere never widely separated. And nearness tothat darkest passage in His own life awakenedHis tenderest sympathies for His people in view of what they must likewise suffer. They were destinedto share His glory, but they should reach it throughthe dark passage-way of tears and sufferings ; andnot until they could in some measure enter into thefellowship of His deep unspoken anguish of spiritbecause of sin, and the burden it had laid uponHis own soul. They must bear a cross as wellas He.It is our privilege to follow them as well as Himalong the tear-dewed path marked with drops of blood through which they reached the gates of glory.230 SELF-DEIAL.Paul lets us know the deep secrets of his own life.Beaten with stripes, stoned, in prisons, in dangers
 
by land and sea, the alienation of best friends,the misjudgment of the truest motives, all the wayhis day of life a day of storm, until the night fallsand he is hurried headless out into the silence ! Andmuch the same was the experience of the other apostlesand of men and women little less worthy, joininghands down the Christian ages, until even at ourfeet fall the shadows of the last of the martyrs forthe cross. To maintain a Christian professionhas been in the past to be exposed to danger, to loss,to reproach, and even to death. Christ said, "In theworld ye shall have tribulation." Then He added :" Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Itis our happiness to live in a time when that language has a new meaning. He has held the handsof His people through ages of storm, until now overthe world, as over the Sea of Galilee, His voice isheard, " Peace be still," and the winds and the wavesof violence obey His power. His spirit has so farprevailed among men that His people scarcely knowany more what violent persecutions for His namemean.But because of this great privilege of hearing Hisname and allying with His cause in peace, there is agreat mistake into which people are constantlyfalling, that is, the mistake of supposing His teaching so liberal that it will lay no restraints uponhuman nature. Because men do not tear andSELF-DEIAL. 231destroy each other on account of the religious faith,many seem to think that the great laws that governhuman nature now run exactly parallel with thegreat principles that pervade the teaching of Christ s
 
gospel, instead of meeting like two violent currentsin opposite directions and cutting through each other,as they always have done, and as, in fact, they doyet. As the result of this error, you find churchesto-day whose standard of morality and religiousdevelopment will lead them to admit everybody tofellowship who is good enough to escape thehands of the police, and who judge of development in Christian grace by the readiness with whicha person adapts himself to the rules of politenessrecognized in an ever-changing society. It is theeffort of the world to declare that human nature isgood without the Spirit of God, that it needs noregeneration, that man is saved by external surfaceculture. The fact is the world is so far affected bythe spirit of Christ that it wants to be religious,but is not enough affected by it to be willing to paythe price of any very great sacrifice for religion. Sucha temper of mind can only be satisfied by saying thathuman nature needs no watching, no restraining.But on the very lowest ground we can take, eitherthere must be some self-denial a cross in someform, or no religion. The lowest ground we cantake is that the Christian religion is simply oneamong a number of means of cultivating humannature. On this ground we need never mention232 SELF-DEIAL.atonement, regeneration, repentance, restitution,future punishment, nor anything that is humblingto the human heart, and that is calculated to remindman of his sins. He may hold his head aloft in apride that even Lucifer could not surpass. Hisreligion ranks with the high school, the Lyceum

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