Too legibly are the characters written on the fallen heart and a fallen world -- "All seek their own!" Selfishness is the great law of our degenerated nature. When the love of God was dethroned from the soul, self vaulted into the vacant seat, and there, in some one of its Proteus shapes, continues to reign.
Jesus stands out for our imitation a grand solitary exception in the midst of a world of selfishness. His entire life was one abnegation of self; a beautiful living embodiment of that charity which "seeketh not her own." He who for others turned water into wine, and provided a miraculous supply for the fainting thousands in the wilderness, exerted no such miraculous power for His own necessities. During His forty days' temptation, no table did He spread for Himself, no booth did He rear for his unpillowed head. Twice do we read of Him shedding tears -- on neither occasion were they for Himself. The approach of His cross and passion, instead of absorbing Him in His own approaching suffering, seemed only to elicit new and more gracious promises to His people. When His enemies came to apprehend Him, His only stipulation was for His disciples' release -- "Let these go their way." In the very act of departure, with all the boundless glories of eternity in sight, they were still all His care.
Ah, how different is the spirit of the world! With how many is day after day only a new oblation to that idol which never darkened with its shadow His Holy heart; pampering their own wishes; "envying and grieving at the good of a neighbor;" unable to brook the praise of a rival; establishing their own reputation on the ruins of another; thus engendering jealousy, discontent, peevishness, and every kindred unholy passion.
"But ye have not so learned Christ!" Reader! have you been sitting at the feet of Him who "pleased not Himself"? Are you "dying daily;" -- dying to self as well as to sin? Are you animated with this as the high end and aim of existence -- to lay out your time, and talents, and opportunities, for God's glory, and the good of your fellow-men; not seeking your own interests, but rather ceding these, if, by doing so, another will be made happier, and your Saviour honored? You may not have it in your power to manifest this "mind of Jesus" on a great scale, by enduring great sacrifices; nor is this required. His denial of self had about it no repulsive austerity; but you can evince its holy influence and sway by innumerable little offices of kindness and good-will; taking a generous interest in the welfare and pursuits of others, or engaging and cooperating in schemes for the mitigation of human misery.
Avoid ostentation -- another repulsive form of self. Be willing to be in the shade; sound no trumpet before you. The evangelist Matthew made a great feast, which was graced by the presence of Jesus; in his Gospel he says not one word about it!
Seek to live more constantly and habitually under the constraining influence of the love of Jesus. Selfishness withers and dies beneath Calvary.
Ah, believer! if Christ had "pleased Himself," where wouldst thou have been this day?
"ARM YOURSELVES LIKEWISE WITH THE SAME MIND."