We make an idol of our own wills
As man naturally disowns the rule God sets him, and owns any other rule than that of God’s prescribing, so man does this in order to the setting himself up as his own rule, as though our own wills, and not God’s, were the true square and measure of goodness.
As much as self is exalted, God is deposed.
No prince but would look upon his authority as invaded, his royalty derided, if a subject should resolve to be a law to himself in opposition to his known will.
True piety is to utterly humble ourselves, deny ourselves, and cleave solely to the service of God.
The more we esteem our own wills, the more we endeavour to annihilate the will of God; account nothing of him, the more we account of ourselves; and endeavour to render ourselves his superiors by exalting our own wills.
To make ourselves our own rule, and the object of our chiefest love, is atheism.
If self-denial be the greatest part of godliness, the great letter in the alphabet of religion, self-love is the great letter in the alphabet of practical atheism.
Self is the great antichrist and antigod in the world, that ‘sets up itself above all that is called God’ (2 Tim 3:2)
Self-love is the captain of that black band. It sits in the temple of God, and would be adored as God. Self-love begins, but denying the power of godliness, which is the same with denying the ruling power of God, ends the list. It is so far from bending to the righteous will of the Creator, that it would have the eternal will of God stoop to the humour and unrighteous will of a creature.
This is the ground of the contention between the flesh and the Spirit in the heart of a renewed man.
Flesh wars for the godhead of self, and Spirit fights for the Godhead of God. The one would settle the throne of the Creator, and the other maintain a law of covetousness, ambition, envy, lust, in the stead of God.
Adapted from The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, 1:211.