Page images

and allow themselves to think, that sorrows and crosses. To this end, to possess the Gospel and faith, con- he employs evil tongues, bad and sists only in words, and a man's faithless men, and, where these are knowing how to prate. And so soon not enough, devils, in order that our as they once belong to the Gospel, own will may be subdued with all they are the only masters of the its sinful affections, and the will of science : no one knows so well as God may be done, that grace may ibey to rule and chide all the world, establish' its kingdom, and the love and none are so evangelical as them- and fear of God alone remain in the selves. But we may see that all this heart. is the mere shell of religion from this, that they take no care to live For I could wish that myself were according to what they say, and to

accursed from Cl.r st for my breshow their love so that oihers may

ihrn.-Rom. ix. 3. see that they really possess the Go- This noble language implies an spel and are in earnest about it. But ardent hunger and an insatiable they seem to go no further than this, thirst, which do not leave a man that they hold, that a man can ob- satisfied though many thousands may tain the pardon of sin, and be saved believe. Such a thirst labours and only through faith, and that he can- rests not, but leads us to say with not obtain these blessings by works. David, I believe, and therefore do I Aod upon this they go on rotten and speak. Ale who feeds such a thirst Uosound, and will do no works at all, for the salvation of bis brethren has but pass every thing under the name à certain evidence of a well-grounded of faith, and are in fact worse cha- faith : but then nothing is noire sure racters than before, and live, so that than that he must expect the gall the world may justly blame them, to and the vinegar ; that is, calomny, say nothing of their professing to disgrace, and persecution on account belong to God.

of this holy and impatient ardour.

It cannot be otherwise. Where Hallowed be thy Name ; thy kindom Christ is, there must be Judas, Pilate, come ; thy will be done on earth, as

Herod, Caiaphas, Annas; there must it is in headen.--Malt. vi. 9, 10.

be the Cross, or it is not the true When God hears us in these three Christ. first petitions, he sanctifies his Name in us; he sets up in as his kingdomí, and implants in us that grace which

No. LXI., begins to make us truly pious. This grace of God in the heart imme

Gal. vi. 14..-But God forbid that diately endeavours to do the will I should glory, save in the Cross of God; but it finds an obstinate and of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom refractory Adam, against which it the world is crucificd unto me, and cries mightily to God, and says,

I unto the world. Thy will be done! for grace feels On looking back to the period itself sorely burdened with an evil in which the first disciples of Batare. When God hears this cry, Christ went forth on their sacred he comes quickly to the aid of the mission, we cannot, in the present grace he loves, and advances the day, form any idea of the astonishkingdom which he has begun in the ment their conduct must have exsoul. He enters with earnestness cited. The unthinkig, and those and might into the battle against the who judged from first impressions, Old Adaro. He puts upon him every would alonce conclude, that the men kind of unhappiness; lie breaks oftail were beside theinseives; and even his supports; he annoys and vexes the philosophers woulu be confound. and besets him on every side; that ed by the strangeness of what they is, he inflicts on him aumberless


For observe the facis of the


case :—While the rest of the world behalf. So far are they from being are content to maintain ancient ashamed of this disgraceful event, it forms, and the worship of their is the main subject of their preachcountry's gods, a few obscure persons ing, and the source of their greatest rise up in one of the provinces of the glory. That a few ignorant enthuRoman empire, and avow them- siasis should be so infatuated, is inselves the teachers of a new reli- deed not improbable: but, that a gion. They undertake to instruct man like Paul of Tarsus, so power. and to reform the world. And from ful, so learned, so eloquent, should what school, the philosopher would rejoice in the public execution of ask, are these claims derived ? Where his Master, and triumph in the cross is the sage whose hand has at length of the Teacher whose name he bears, drawn aside the mysterious cover- and whose religion he labours 10 ing which has concealed, for so promote, is a mystery which it is many ages, the unknown God? The impossible to explain. preachers of the Gospel had no name Whatever may be the difficulty to boast of which the world would of the case, judging by the ordinary reverence. Their Teacher was a man motives and feelings of men, it is of Nazareth, of low birth, and of plain from the words of the text humble occupation, who had never that the Apostle Paul did consider been seen or heard of in the seats ihe sufferings of Christ as a ground of the learned. And what was the of glorying. He opposes his own doctrine they proclaimed? That views in this respect, to those of the this man of Nazareth was himself false teachers who drew away the to be worshipped; that he was no Galatians from the simplicity of the other than the Lord of heaven and Gospel. They were men of a sordid earth, the Creator, the Preserver, and selfish character. They mixed the Saviour of the world! And this the ceremonies of the law with the doctrine they maintained at all ba- doctrines of Christ, that they might zards, with a consistency which avoid persecution. They were desirsbewed their full persuasion of its ous to make a fair shew in the flesh, truth, and with an ardour which in order to maintain their reputation raised them above persecution, and with the Jews; and to induce the seemed to make them even prodigal Gentiles to submit to the rites of the of life. Now, although the philo- law that they might boast of their sopher who attended to these things, converts. This conduct the Apostle might be ready to admit, that in the viewed with indignation, and he exzeal and constancy of these Christian claims, in the warmth of his feelings, teachers, there was something which “God forbid that I should” boast might lead him to think well of their or glory, save in the Cross of our cause ; yet, would he not be apt to Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the say, “How strange are their notions! world is crucified. unto me and I To tell us, that a man born in Judea, unto the world.” and who, for thirty years, lived in the In our further reflections on this house of a carpenter, and wrought subject, we may turn our attention, at his trade, was that great Being 1. To the object in which St. Paul by whom all things consist! Can gloried : it was the Cross of Christ. such delusion prevail! For, grant. There are many things in which a ing that the gods have sometimes Christian might be allowed to glory, come down in the likeness of men, as a follower of Jesus. He might will it be believed, that God can be exult in his wisdom : “never man subjected, like a malefactor, 10 vio- spake like this man." He might relence and death! The fact of Christ's joice in his power: even devils were sufferings, his followers pretend not subject to bim. He might tell of to deny : nay, they are loud in de- the honours he received, wbile on claring it as an argument in their earth: angels came down to wel. come his appearance, or to support we might take up the language of him in his troubless and a voice the Prophet, and say, " Let not the from Heaven declared him to be the wise man glory in his wisdom,”beloved Son of the Most High. He how poor and emply is human might also glory in the honours that knowledge !" but let him that awaited bis Master in another world, glorieth glory in this, that he unwhere “God hath highly exalted him, derstandeth and knoweth me, saith and given him a name which is above the Lord.” Let him glory in that every name; that at the name of Cross which brings before him such Jesus

every knee should bow, and treasures of wisdom, such depths of that every tongue should confess knowledge; of wisdom, which lays that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the open the conduct of the Almighty glory of God the Father.” But here in bis dealings with his creatures; of we find the Apostle passing over knowledge, which has to do not with these and such like grounds of exul- matter, but with spirit ; with the tation, and fixing his attention on the mind of God and the soul of man ; Cross of Christ; and in what sense with whatever is most glorious and did he glory in the Cross ? He might exalted, with that which is eternal, bare gloried in it as a source of immortal, invisibie. knowledge.

What knowledge is There can be no doubt that the there which is more worthy of our Apostle rejoiced in these views ; but pursuit, or more interesting to us, the chief subject of his glorying was than that which relates to God and the salvation of the Cross the reto ourselves; and yet what know. demption of the world by the blood ledge is there which the experience of Jesus. He gloried in Christ of all ages has shewn to be so diffi- crucified, and first as he died to recult for the unassisted powers of deem us from sin. He may

be man lo attain ? Now, is there any considered as saying, " The false station from wbich we may so teachers make a boast of what thev clearly contemplate the Divine na- do; I have nothing of which I can Lure, and the character of man, as boast but the death of my Lord and from the top of Calvary? If we Saviour. They make a merit of plant ourselves by the Cross of the their labours and success : I too have Redeemer, we bebold in all their lus- laboured, and have not laboured in Lre the power and the wisdom of vain; but to merit I have no claimi. God. If we turn to the years that are I have nothing to plead but that gone by, what do we see? In the Jesus died for me. I am ignorant, darkness of his first communications guilty, and unholy : but by this st to man, in the law and ordinances crifice he is made unto me of God which he gave to his people, we be- wisdom and righteousness, sanctifihold the Almighty, while the incense cation and redemption. To the Jews ascends and the victim bleeds, ex- it is a stumbliog block: for they tending his hand and pointing the regard as accursed every one that worshippers to the distant Cross. If haogeth on a tree, and they believe we would contemplate the Father, that Messiah can never die. To the in an eminent degree as glorious in Greeks it is foolishness: What is to justice and fearful in holiness, we be expected, they cry, from a man must lurn our eyes to that hallowed that was crucified? But to me and ground which was moistened with to all that believe, He is the power the blood of bis Son. It is here also of God unto salvation; and in this I that we behold Jesus displaying his will glory.” unsearchable riches. It is here that There is yet another view in we perceive the condition and the which the Apostle might triumph value of the soul; the degradation in the Cross of Christ. He would of our nature, and the exceeding sin- esteein it as the source of every fulness of sin. Even in this view, blessing. It is the foundation of our hope, that He, who loved us unto leading argument in all his Epistles. death, will never forsake those that “ We preach Christ crucified,” said trust in his, but will impart from the Apostle. And again : “), his fulness whatever they need :- brethren, when I came unto you; support under temptation, for he came not with excellency of speech bath heen tempted : strength under or of wisdom, declaring unto you suffering, for he also hath suffered : the testimony of God. For I deo comfort in sorrow, for he felt the termined not to know any thing want of it, and received it from among you, save Jesus Christ and above. How then ought we to re- him crncified.” He came to preach joice in that Cross which has deli- the crucifision of Christ, as if this vered us from our spiritual enemies, were the only subject with which from the yoke of sin, from the ty: he was acquainted. Many doce ranny of Satan, from present mi- trines,we know, were to be explained, sery, and from eternal death! It is and many precepts to be delivered in looking to the Cross of Christ that and enforced; but they are all we feel an assured confidence in the connected with that great sacrifice. Divine favour: it is thus that all He did not shun to declare the whole things are ours, for we are Christ's, counsel of God; but it is virtually and Christ is God's.

comprised in the Cross of Christ. Nor would the Apostle rejoice And whatever may be the judgment merely in the blessings, however ex. of others, he steadily pursued his tensive, which the early Christians way, glorying in this Cross, and enjoyed. The fountain then opened willing therefore to be accounted for sin is a fountain which can never even a fool for Christ's sake. fail. The glory which then issued 2. We shall see a further proof from the Cross pours also its streams of the Apostle's attachment to this of brightness through every suce object, if we look at his sufferings. ceeding period. The clouds of ig. How great were his trials, and how norance and vice which have been great also was his constancy! “I gathering for ages roll away before think," saith he," that God hath set it. The eyes of them that sit in forth us the apostles last, as it were darkness will be turned to this light ; appointed to death; for we are made and nations yet unborn will ex- a spectacle unto the world, and to perience the virtue of the Saviour's angels, and to men. Even unto this death. Well

, then, might the Apo- present hour we both hunger and stle exclaim, “ God forbid that I thirst, and are naked and are bufa sbould glory, save in the Cross of feted, and have no certain dwelling our Lord Jesus Christ !” In what- place. We are made as the filth erer view he could be hold it, it pre- of the earth, and are the offscouring sented such a depth of wisdom, such of all things unto this day." Who an extent of mercy, such a fulness but men that gloried in the Cross of of hope; it shewed so many of the Christ would have been content to attributes of God, and displayed 90 endure all this; and would bare much of his glory in the face of stedfastly resisted even unto blood ? Jesus Christ, ibat all other subjects. They suttered, and they' were paof boasting must appear mean and tient in suffering. They were trou wortbless when compared with this. bled on every side, and they re

H. Such was the object in which joiced in tribulation. They were the Apostle gloried. Let us next at- led forth, like men appointed to detend to the manner in which he struction, a public spectacle; but sheted his attachment to this object. none of these things moved them.

1. He she wed it first by bis con- “ What things were gain to me, stantly dwellmg upon it.

saith the Aposile, " these I counted ever in his mind. It was the chief loss for Chiist. Yea, doubtless, and subject of his preaching, and the I couut all things bul loss for the ex

It was

cellency of the knowledge of Christ the contrast! How sickly are its Jesus my Lord, for whom I have bopes, how fading its promises ! suffered the loss of all things, and There is sadness in its mirth; there do count them but dung thai I may is distortion in its beauty; its al win Christ."

lurements are vain, and vain are its It is plain from what has been pleasures. There was a time when said, that the effects of the Cross of they appeared delightful; but their Christ on the mind of St. Paul were appearance is now changed, and great and important. He nei her the heart tựrns from them with embraced the views por was g sled aversion. by the maxims of the world. By But the Apostle goes farther. faith in a crucified Saviour he had He is not contented with stating been weaned from its temptations, that the world is thus crucified to and had been led to regard them in him; but he alfirms, that he also the spirit of his Lord. This effect is crucified to the world : that is, he is pointedly mentioned in the text. views it with the feelings of a man “ God forbid that I should glory, who is himself sustering the agonies sase in the Cross of our Lord Jesus of the cross. Take the case of a Christ; by whom” (or by which, malefactor enduring this kind of that is, by which cross) " the world punishment. Conceive him placed is crucified unto me and I unto the on a beight which should command world." The idea seems to be a view of the noblest and most suggested by the mention of the magnificent objects; imagine, if Cross of Christ; and the meaning of that were possible, all the king, the words," the world is crucified doms of the earth, and the glories unto me,” is, that he was thus of them to pass before the dying brought to look upon the world man; how little would he think, with as little impression from its how little would he even perceive, charms, as a man would feel from of their grandeur! These prospects looking upon the agonized counte. would light up no pleasure in hiç nance of one who was crucified. fading eye, nor excitę any joy in To see therefore the force of the bis sinking heart. The breath of passage, let us imagine ourselves to life may be continued, but he lives be standing by a malefactor who is no longer for scenes like these, expiring on the cross. We look He takes no potice of their beauties: around us, and see many objects he is crucified to the world. Thus wbich are pleasant and engaging: also it is with the disciple of Jesus, but if we turn to the countenance They that are Christ's have cruof the sufferer, there we see no ex- cified ihe flesha with the affections pression wbich can impart pleasure and lusts.” He who glories in the to us, or induce us to survey it more Cross of Christ has no longer any nearly. Thus it is in the crucifixion desire or inclination for his former of the world. While the disciple pursuits. In this sense the Apostle of Jesus contemplates those treasures iells the Roman believers, tbać their of wisdom and holiness and love old man was crucified with Christ; which are revealed to us in the meaning, that their sinful disposideath of Christ, he contemplates a lions were brought into subjection, subject which is filled to call forth into such subjection that they might all bis affections, and to fill uim with be considered as tixed to their Sar delight. He seems to tread on the viour's Cross. But this very cruciborders of a world where every fixion implies a newness of life: this heart is the babitation of joy, and death unto sin is a new birth unto where the presence of God gives the righteousness; a life of faith and vodoubted assurance of pleasures for hope and love; a life of uņion with evermore. But if he cast his eyes the Son of God, and of acceptance on the world below, how greai is with the l'ather. To this effect the

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »