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"which are freely given to us of God. Which things also "we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, "but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiri"tual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth "not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolish"ness to him; neither can he know them, because they are "spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judgeth all "things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who "hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct "him, but we have the mind of Christ.'
Fourthly, The necessity of trying the doctrine of teachers is obvious. "As the mouth tasteth meat, the ear trieth "words." When you enter the place of hearing, it is your duty to hear and to try the words of speakers. Trying these is necessary. Good speakers do not always speak the words of the Lord Jesus. By good words and fair speeches, simple hearers have been deceived. If the dignity of human nature be sounded in the ears of sinners, instead of the corruption of human nature; if the works of the law be substituted for the righteousness which is of God by faith; if the refinements of Paganism, and the great swelling words of philosophy, be set in the place which revelation assigns to the obedience and death of Christ, it is time to stop your ears, and to flee. This is the voice of strangers, and not of the Good Shepherd; and against this, in the folds of Galatia, the apostle of the cross raises his voice in the high-toned language of anathemas: "I marvel "that ye are so soon removed from him that called you in"to the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not "another; but there be some that trouble you, and would "pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel "from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. "As we said before, so say I now again; if any man preach "any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, "let him be accursed." Accursed be all those refinements which set themselves in opposition to the cross of ChristAccursed be all those refinements which are ashamed of the cross of Christ-Accursed be all those refinements which disguise the cross of Christ-Accursed be all those refinements which fill the room of the cross of ChristAnd, once more, Accursed be all those refinements which are not subservient to the honor of the cross of Christ.
Unto these observations, we shall add one exhortation to righteous, and another to wicked men. Righteous men are those for whom the Lord Jesus Christ was made sin, and who, in him, are made the righteousness of God by faith. The exhortation to you is, "Rejoice in the Lord, ye "righteous, and shout for joy, all ye who are upright in "heart." Remember, brethren, the word of the prophet: "In the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall all the seed of "Israel be justified, and shall glory." Here is both a description of your state, and a direction to your conduct. The exercise of Paul, which you have heard illustrated, is exemplary, and the imitation is duty. He gloried in the cross of Christ, and protested he would glory in nothing else. Though some considerations of glorying are peculiar to him as an apostle, others are common to him with Christians, and his exercise is a pattern to all who have obtained like precious faith with him, through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. In all circumstances, therefore, and on every occasion, glory in the cross of Christ.
Particularly, Amidst your manifold infirmities. Though crucified in weakness, Christ is the glory of your strength. Anointed with the Holy Ghost, and clothed with strength, he is furnished to give power to the faint, and to increase their strength who have no might.-Amidst your various errors and failings. The righteousness which Christ finished on the cross, stated by imputation to your account, covers every imperfection, and secures from wrath and condemnation. Deficient in yourselves, "ye are complete "in him, who is the head of all principality and power."Under the pressure of tribulation. Christ is the Captain of salvation, and, perfecting himself through sufferings, has consecrated suffering in the way to glory, and made it beneficial and honorable. "If we suffer, we shall also reign "with him;" and the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which he will quickly bestow: "For our light affliction, which is but for "a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and cter"nal weight of glory."-Under the anxieties and perplexities of temptation. In the wilderness and upon the cross, Christ himself suffered being tempted, and hath ability and inclination to succour them who are tempted.--And when death appears in his most terrifying forms, glory in.
the cross of Christ. Beholding the face of this enemy, which cuts off the spirit of princes, and terrifies the kings of the earth, the apostle of the cross says, boldly and triumphantly, "O death where is thy sting? O grave, where "is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength "of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth us "the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Under the character of wicked men are comprehended all unbelievers, who, in principle or in practice, are enemies of the cross of Christ; and the exhortation to them is, Glory, and glory in nothing else save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ye have heard that it is the honor of believers to glory in this object; and what is the honor of believers is the duty of unbelievers. The cross of Christ is a sanctuary, and the only sanctuary which promises and affords safety to the guilty. None who ever fled into it perished; and all must perish who refuse the benefit of it. Great is your danger, Ó unbelievers! Your state, notwithstanding, is not desperate. As a bird out of the snare of the fowler, you may yet escape, and be delivered. Look unto Jesus, who suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. His cross, which hitherto has ap peared in your eyes useless and unamiable, is in reality the tree of life, and all its fruits are excellent and comely. May the Holy Spirit impress upon your heart a sense of his great love in dying on it! This will win your affections; and, which the terror of damnation never will effect, this will incline your hearts to loath your iniquities, and to delight in his law after the inward man. However you appear in your own sight, in the sight of God you are guilty; and at the day of judgment your own works will be like straw, and hay, and stubble, before devouring fire. Imitate the holy writer in our text. Are you blameless in your external deportment? so was he. Are you exemplary in several points? so was he. Yet all his own righteousness he renounced for the excellency of that which Christ finished on the cross. When every other garment is eaten by the worm, the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ shall shine in the perfection of beauty; when every other gloryis vanished away like smoke, the glory of his cross shall beam forth from generation to generation; and when every other glorying is turned into shame, this will be the joy and rejoicing of eternity. Amen.
THE EFFICACY OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST UPON THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE WORLD UNTO BELIEVERS.
GALATIANS vi. 14.
By whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
THE cross of Christ is an object which adorns the records of time, enlivens the history of the world, diffuses light and joy through the nations, and spreads beauty and dignity over the face of Revelation itself. Every truth in the doctrine of godliness points toward the cross, and derives from it value and efficacy. Every promise and threatening is connected with the cross, shewing the felicity of believers who have fled into this sanctuary, or the misery of unbelievers by whom it is despised and rejected. Here the most stupendous operations of providence meet together, some going before, and preparing the world for the exhibition of the cross, and others following after, and proclaiming its glory to the ends of the earth.
Glorying in the cross of Christ, which is the privilege and honour of saints, is the duty and interest of sinners. To destroy the prejudices of the world against it, and persuade men to glory in it, is a principal design of the scriptures. After the destruction of his prejudices, the illumination of his mind, and the refinement of his taste, Paul determined to glory in nothing else. In the churches of Galatia, where enemies of the cross were appearing, and deceitful friends were multiplying, he avows this determination, with great boldness and firmness: "But God forbid that I should glo"ry save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
A suspicion prevails, that the principles of the cross have not a favorable influence upon the practice of righteousness, and, in many declamations concerning morality, these principles do not appear. It is proper, therefore,
to bring this suspicion to a trial, at the bar of scripture, in order to discover whether there exists in any of these principles an immoral tendency. Before his death upon the cross, our Saviour laid down a rule of judgment, according to which the trial ought to proceed: "By their fruits ye "shall know them." This rule is equally applicable to the characters and principles of teachers, to their integrity before God in their offices, and the soundness of their doctrine, as to its effects upon the conduct of those by whom it is, or ought to be, received.
The moral influence of the cross of Christ is exemplified in the doctrine and conduct of the apostle Paul. Under inspiration he invented and consecrated the term, and, instead of being afraid or ashamed to use it, protested solemnly that he would glory, and glory in nothing save what it signified. In the doctrine of this preacher of the cross, the warmest regard to the duties of morality every where appears; and in his conduct, delineated by himself, we behold not looseness in manners, but precision in holiness; and instead of attachment to the world, devotedness to heaven, transcending the moral refinements and attainments of natural men. "By whom," says he in our text, referring to the agent, our Lord Jesus Christ, or "by "which," referring to the mean, his cross, "the world is "crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
In these words a mutual crucifixion is affirmed-the world is crucified unto Paul, and Paulis crucified unto the world; and each crucifixion is asserted to be an effect of the cross of Christ. We shall consider each crucifixion in the order of the text. In considering the first, we shall explain, The term 'world;' the crucifixion of the world; and, the virtue of the cross of Christ in the crucifixion of the world. While these uncommon and interesting particulars are explaining, we desire every hearer to give attention, and make application. Paul was a Christian as well as an apostle, and, under both considerations, a subject of the influence of the cross. Though we are not apostles, yet if we be indeed and in truth Christians, the cross of Christ will have exerted, in some degree, with respect to us, the same crucifying virtue upon the world.
The sense of the term 'world,' is to be explained in the FIRST place. Under this term is included every thing sen