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Following Not Self but Christ

I cannot separate Christ from sufferings, Christ will separate me from my sins; if I seek him, I must let them go; if I profess Christ, providence will one time or other bring me to this dilemma, either Christ or earthly comforts must go. It is necessary therefore that I now propound to myself what providence may, one time or other, propound to me; he hath set down his terms, Mat. 16:24. ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ This self-denial deserves serious consideration; for Christ extends it to natural self, righteous self, and civil self; and requires that I give up my life, my liberty, my estate, my relations, and my own righteousness, as hard to be parted with as any of the former. I must take up my cross, that is, the sufferings and troubles God shall appoint for me, and which I cannot avoid or escape without sin; and I must follow Christ, follow him whither soever he goes.

John Flavel, Works 4:144.