« AnteriorContinua »
"bare our sins in his own body on the tree." "And having "spoiled principalities and powers he made a shew of "them openly, triumphing over them in it." "Forasmuch "then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he "also himself likewise took part of the same; that through "death he might destroy him who had the power of death, "and deliver them who through fear of death were all "their lifetime subject to bondage." "Without contro
versy great is the mystery of godliness, God was mani"fest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, "preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, "received up into glory." In these texts you behold the light of the knowledge of the glory of the cross of Christ, and the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in his face. Compared with the face of Christ on the cross, the face of nature, though glorious in itself, is but a splendid gloom. We behold in it the glory of the Creator and Preserver, of the Sovereign and the Judge, without being able to discern his intentions and inclinations toward sinners, enemies and rebels. But in the face of Christ on the cross, we behold glory which cannot be seen in the face of heaven and earth. In his face, swelled with strokes, defiled with spittle, dyed with blood, and clouded with the shadow and horror of death, we behold God making peace through the blood of his cross, and reconciling all things unto himself, discovering good will toward men, and proclaiming pardon to rebels, and enemies, and sinners. On the mountain where Christ was transfigured, his face was as the sun. Upon Calvary, where he was crucified, "his visage was so marred more than any man, "and his form more than the sons of men, that many were "astonished" at his appearance. Yet this was the more glorious transformation of the two. Were the glory of the creation collected together into one luminous and stupendous mass, it would be darkness compared with this seemingly dark but truly resplendant object, toward which we exhort every hearer to turn the eyes of his understanding.
Seek interest in this glorious Person, who bare our sins in his own body on the tree, and bears the names of Lord Jesus Christ. The wisdom which makes the foolish wise is in him, the righteousness which justifies the ungodly is in him, the power which sanctifies the unholy is in him,
the redemption which delivers from death and hell is in him. "Of God he is made unto us wisdom, and righte"ousness, and sanctification, and redemption;" and all who are found in him are complete. Observe the anxiety concerning interest in Christ Jesus our Lord discovered by Saul of Tarsus, the gains which he renounced for his sake, the losses which he sustained, and the principles concerning him which he received by revelation. "What "things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; "yea, doubtless; and I count all things but loss for the ex"cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for "whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count "them but dung, that I may win Christ; and be found in "him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the "law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the "righteousness which is of God by faith. That I may "know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the "fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable "unto his death." Consider these uncommon forms of speech; "Know Christ;" "Win Christ;" "Found in "Christ!" What do they mean? Doubtless the nearest connexion, the nearest interest, the closest union, the highest professions of veneration and esteem, and the firmest persuasion, that, on casting up accounts, the balance was found to be still upon his side. With the citizen of TarBus, thou hast equal need of reconciliation to God by the death of his Son, O hearer! and equal reason to reckon the report of it "a faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta❝tion." Though neither blasphemer nor persecutor, thou art a sinner, an enemy, a rebel against the law and will of God, "in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy "ways." What thou needest is to be found in Christ, and in none else. Lift up thine eyes to his cross, and behold the pleasantest sight to a guilty and awakened sinner, "blood shed for many, for the remission of sins." "This "blood cleanseth from all sin," and "speaketh better things "than that of Abel." In the guilty ear, the voice of it is the sweetest melody in the world, and louder than the thunder on Sinai. To objects in distress, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son speaks the best and most seasonable things, deliverance and salvation; pleading before God in heaven for salvation to men upon earth, and beseeching men upon earth to be reconciled to God in heaven. Be
lieve, O sinner, the testimony given in scripture to this precious blood! According to this testimony, the whole world have access to the benefit of that which was shed for many. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his "only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him "should not perish, but have everlasting life." Would you have a comprehensive view of the efficacy and benefit of the cross and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? Recollect the spiritual and eternal blessings bestowed on sinners before and since he was crucified. Add to these the spiritual and eternal blessings which shall continue to be bestowed every day until the consummation. Think next of all that has been, and shall be, bestowed in heaven before he appear the second time; and after that, of the glory of the days of eternity, the fulness of joy in the presence of God, and the pleasures, at his right hand-These, all these flow from the cross and blood of Christ. Surely thou must be a foolish and thoughtless, a perverse and wicked creature, who refusest and despisest such riches! Think what thou dost, and what, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up unto thyself,-"even wrath "against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous "judgment of God." Hearken to the voice of the Son of God: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy "laden, and I will give you rest." Till you be married to him, and interested in him, you cannot find rest unto your souls; and nothing is separating you from him but the perverseness and obstinacy of your wills. Are not his own words true? "I am come that they might have life, "and that they might have it more abundantly:" "And ye "will not come to me that ye might have life." But though ye should never come, Christ shall be glorious in the eyes of his Father, and his cross shall be honored throughout all generations. "The Lord shall send the rod of his "strength out of Zion, and his people shall be willing in "the day of his power. No man can come unto me, ex"cept the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. All that "the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that "cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." Amen..
GLORYING IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST EXPLAINED
GALATIANS vi. 14.
But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
THE Cross of Christ is a dark and melancholy object to natural men; and glorying in it is an elevation of mind which appears to them irrational and extravagant, Till the eyes of the understanding be enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the glory of this object is never beheld, and glorying in it is never begun. Before the eyes of the citizen of Tarsus were enlightened, the cross of Christ was the object of his detestation; and many who gloried in it fell victims to his blind and intolerant zeal. After the light of the knowledge of the glory of the cross of Christ broke in upon his mind, his sentiments concerning it changed; but the principles of the world continuing as they were before, wherever he preached the cross, infidels traduced him as a fool, or a madman; and nominal and temporizing believers insulted him, as a false and presumptuous apostle.
Glorying in the Cross of Christ is a bold expression inlanguage, which is not used by any holy writer except the apostle Paul. Though the spirit of wisdom and revelation suggested it, and though it expressed the common. faith of Christians, some were surprised at the use of this new phrase, and especially when the use of it irritated the world, and exposed the church to the fury of the Jews, and to the derision of the Greeks. Accordingly, in the churches of Galatia, as many as wished to avoid persecution, and, by submitting to circumcision, to compound for their peace, gave up this bold expression, and the truth which it affirmed; supposing that the ends of Christianity.might be
obtained without it, by glorying in the birth of Christ, or in his resurrection, or in his ascension, or in his intercession, or in the honor and glory which crowned him in heaven, at the right hand of God.
By the power of discerning spirits, perceiving the falsehood of these cool and designing men, and by the word of wisdom, discerning the tendency of their refinements in Christianity, the apostle breaks forth, toward the end of his Epistle, in this bold and lively manner: "But God for"bid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Je"sus Christ." In the preceding discourse, there is an endeavor to exhibit the meaning of the expression Cross of Christ; and to display the glory of his cross. Our design in this discourse is, to illustrate the exercise of glorying in the cross of Christ; and in order to do it more distinctly and extensively, we shall show what is imported in glorying-Mention the considerations of glorying, common to Christians and peculiar to Paul; and then-Illustrate the bold and lively manner in which he professed to glory.
In the FIRST place, we shall show what is imported in glorying. Glorying imports knowledge of the excellency of the object in which men glory; superlative esteem of that object; and persuasion and assurance of their interest in it. Attend, O hearer, unto the application and illustration of these comprehensive particulars, and by them try thine experience in Christianity!
First, Glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ imports knowledge of the excellency of this glorious and blessed object. However excellent the cross of Christ be in itself, sinners never glory in it until its excellency be revealed and understood. Paul hath not concealed the way in which he received his knowledge of its excellency, and his manner of stating it to the churches deserves to be observed. In the beginning of his Epistle to the Galatians, he says, "I neither received it of man, neither was I taught "it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ: For ye have "heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews reli"gion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church "of God and wasted it.-But when it pleased God, who "separated me from the womb, and called me by his "grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach "him among the Heathen."-To the Corinthians, he