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S E R M ON
The world crucified by the cross of Christ.
GALATIANS vi. 14. laft clause.
By whom the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world,
which was, To show the influence of the cross of Christ in crucifying the world. This, my brethren, deserves your most serious attention, as pointing you to the great and vital prin. ciple of the Christian's fanctification, the true and only fource of spiritual comfort and peace. The cross of Christ is always considered in the apostolic writings as an object of the highest Jignity and merit; and the believer is there taught to speak of it in expressions of the warmest attachment and regard. Witness the words of the text itself, in the preceding clause: “ God for“ bid that I should glory fave in the cross of our " Lord Jesus Christ.” We may perhaps be easi. ly induced, in a time of external quietness and peace, to adopt this sentiment as an opinion, or to use it as a form; but happy, and only happy, those in whom it dwells as an ever-pre
fent truth, and operates as a daily governing principle!
Taking the subject in great latitude, I might observe, that the cross of Christ being the price paid for the blessings of salvation in general, e. very illuminating discovery in the mind, and every gracious affection in the heart, which are the work of the divine Spirit, may be justly ascribed to it. But I propose, at this time, to consider it singly as an object of faith, and to Thew how the firm persuasion and frequent recollection of this great truth tends to crucify the world to us, and us to the world; the rather, that we find elsewhere our victory over the world ascribed to faith, and this faith particularly terminating on the Son of God: 1 Jobn v. 4. 5. " For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh " the world : and this is the victory that over“ cometh the world, even our faith. Who is " he that overcometh the world, but he that “ believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” For the further illustration of this subject, then, let us observe,
1. That the cross of Christ crucifies the world, as it gives us an immediate and striking view of the mortality of our nature, as well as the original and general cause of this mortality. The va. nity of created things is in nothing more manifeft, than in their precarious nature, particularly our own tendency to the dust, by which all earthly relations shall be speedily and entirely diffolved. In this view, indeed, you may fay, that the death of any other person, sickness, and
all its attending symptoms, or a funeral, with its mournful solemnities, tends to crucify the worlá: and most certainly they do. But there is some. thing still more in the crofs of Christ. There we see, not only the death of our nature, but the death of the Son of God in our room. There we are carried back to a view of the great caufe of the universal reign of the king of terrors, Sin, sin first brought death into the world; and this made it necessary that Christ “ should tafte “of death for every man," that we might be restored to spiritual life. Mortality, therefore, is written in the most legible characters on the cross of Cbrift. Nay, the curse of creation itself is written upon the cross of Christ. We cannot look upon it, therefore, in a serious manner, without being deeply affected with the doom which we our felves have still to undergo : “ Dust “ thou art, and to dust thou fhalt return." It is impossible to avoid knowing that we must die but those only discover the moment of this truth, who fee its procuring cause. Those only have just and abiding impressions of the speedy approach of natural death, who are filled with concern for their own deliverance from the power of the second death.
2. The cross of Christ crucifies the world to a believer, as it shews him how little he deserves at the hand of God. Believers on the cross of Christ see him standing in their room, and bearing the wrath of an offended God, which was their due. When this is not only professed with
the mouth, but received into the heart, it gives a deep conviction of the evil of sin, and lays the finner proftrate in humility and self-abasement. Must not this greatly weaken and mortify all worldly affection, which takes its rise from pride and self-sufficiency? It is, if I may speak fo, a fort of claim and demand upon Providence, as if something were due to us. Worldly persons, in prosperity, not only cleave to the world as their portion, but may be said to assert their title to it as their property. The same inward disposition may be discovered by their carriage in the opposite state. When their schemes are brokeri, and their hopes blasted, by repeated disappointments, or when their possessions are taken from them by unexpected strokes, they resist and rebel with impatience and indignation, as if fome
per• fon had done them wrong.
But when men are sensible that they deserve nothing at the hand of God, this mortifies their earthly desires, and puts their complaints to sis lence. See how Job expresses himself after all his calamities, as sensible that he had lost no. thing of his own, chap. i. 21. “ Naked came I e out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I
return thither : the Lord gave, and the Lord “ hath taken away; blessed be the name of the « Lord.” Let me speak of this, my brethren, as a gracious disposition, which, alas! is too often but weak, yet surely hath place in the heart of every child of God. Let me suppose him convinced, that he is unworthy of the least of all God's mercies; will be not keep his poi. VOL. I.
festions the more loosely, and will he not quit his hold the more easily ?
But where shall we learn real self-abasement so well as from the cross? where shall we learn how little. we deserve that is good, so well as in that place which shews we have indeed deserved every thing that is evil? where shall we learn to make moderate demands of created mercies, but where we see, that not only the creature, but life itself, was forfeited by our guilt? Let me suppose a condemned criminal carried, with many others, to a scaffold, there receiving a pardon, and witnesling, in the execution of others, what was the sentence of the law upon himself; will he, at this instant, think you, be impatient or thankful? Will he be jealous of the honour or respect paid to him ? will he quarrel about the dignity or convenience of the place assigned to him? No furely. Loft in the consideration of the fate he has escaped, and the favour he has received, he will pay little regard to matters of Imall comparative importance. Just so the Christian, placed by faith at the foot of the cross, deeply moved by a discovery of the wrath of God, which he had deserved to suffer to eterni. ty, and taking an immediate view of what his Redeemer suffered to deliver him from it, will be little thoughtful of the world, or any of its enjoyments.
3. The cross of Christ crucifies the world, by reversing all worldly maxims, and shewing of how light estimation worldly greatness is in the sight