« VorigeDoorgaan »
measure, see the glory of divine grace, though you are not able to measure its dimensions ? There is no subject so obfcure and unintelligible to those who are strangers to the power of religion, as the mystery of redeeining love; no fubject so odious and distasteful to those whose minds are formed upon the maxims of the world, as the doctrine of falvation by grace. Christ upon a cross, Christ upon a throne, Christ the believer's rock and refuge, the source of his strength, and the source of his comfort, they are neither able to relish nor comprehend. All the warm expressions of gratitude and attachment, which are unspeakably sweet and ravishing to a serious soul, appear to them in the light of enthusiasm and visionary folly. But as many as it hath pleased God to bless with an inward and personal conviction of their loft state by nature, will see the greatest beauty in this plan of salvation, and will rather rejoice, than shrink, at sharing with their Redeemer himself the contempt of the world. They will say, with the apostle Paul, Gai. vi. 14. “God forbid that I should glory, fave in the cross of “ our Lord Jesus Christ.” There is a beautiful opposition ftated by the same apostle, between a believer's under. standing the love of Christ, and yet being unable to search it to the bottom, in the following passage, Eph. iii. 17, 18, 19. “ That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ; that “ ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to “comprehend with all faints, what is the breadth, and " length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of “ Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled bo with all the fulness of God."
4. In the last place, From what has been said, learn what is your moft proper employment at the Lord's table. Adore and contemplate the riches of redeeming grace, that great theme which “ the angels desire to look into.” Think, with humble amazement, on the boundless mer. cy of God, which reached even to you, and with the highest thankfulness on the honor to which you are admitted, of receiving the sensible pledges of his love. Dwell on this impenetrable mystery of “ Immanuel God with us“ God manifested in the flesh.” Think on this awful proof of divine justice and holiness, the wrath of God pour. ed out upon his own Son. Think on the perfection of that atonement which is made for the fins of the world. Rejoice in the fulness of that Saviour who is now made “ head over all things to the church ;” and draw, by faith, from his fulness, every necessary supply to yourselves : and as you are now to commemorate his death, with a view to his second coming, think on that “ day of salva“ tion,” when he shall come “ to be glorified in his faints, " and admired in all them that believe ;” when you thall enter in triumph into the holiest of all, where no doubt the mystery of redemption shall be more fully discovered ; when faints and angels shall jointly fing that new song, Rev. v. 12. “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to re“ceive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and “ honor, and glory, and blessing ;” when the whole plan of divine grace shall be completed and closed, and the mediatorial kingdom itself brought to a period; for " then “ cometh the end, when he fall have delivered up the “ kingdom to God, even the Father ;” when confirmed angels, and redeemed finners, when the whole host of
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
NAY brethren, we are this day met to keep up the
I remembrance of our Redeemer's sufferings and death in our room. We are to commemorate an event the most important, the most interesting, and the most astonishing, that creation ever beheld. We are to contemplate a subject the most wonderful and mysterious that ever was offered to the mind of man. The incarnation of the Son of God, the King of kings found in the form of a servant, and the Prince of life expiring on an accursed tree. What is this but the union of things the most opposite and seemingly inconsistent that can possibly be conceived ? the union of the most distant extremes of strength and weakness, glory and baseness, honor and shame? · In a sort of correspondence and analogy to this great subject itself, nothing can be more opposite than the sen. timents formed by believers and unbelievers with regard to it. To the one it hath a dignity and majesty unspeakably amiable; to the other, it hath a meanness and baseness that is shameful and contemptible. The Apostle Paul often takes notice of this, that it was “ to the Jews a « stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; and he often discovers his own inviolable attachment to his Saviour, by an open profession of esteem for those circumstances in his character and appearance which a blinded world were most apt to treat with derision and scorn. This is particularly the case in the text, “ But God for« bid that I should glory, fave in the cross of our Lord « Jesus Christ.”
By the cross of Christ, in the New Testament, we are sometimes to understand the sufferings of believers for Christ's sake; but more commonly, and I think, evidentJy in this place, it signifies his humiliation in general, and particularly his crucifixion, to which circumstance our attention is directed, because it was the most base and ignominious of the whole. In this the apostle says he would glory : nay, he expresses his abhorrence at the thought of glorying in any thing else : “ God forbid that I should
glory fave in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Nothing can be more suited to the employment of this day, and nothing more proper to distinguish between the friends and the enemies of Christ, than this, when carefully at. tended to; for the one will undoubtedly glory and the other will as certainly be ashamed of his cross.
In discoursing further on this subject, what I propose, through divine aflistance, is,
I. To explain the import of the apostle's glorying only in the Saviour's cross.
II. To shew what good reason every real Christian hath to glory in it. And,
III. To make some practical application of the subject.
I. In the first place, then, let us explain the import of the apostle's glorying only in the Saviour's cross. What is this object in which the apostle says he would glory? Very wonderful indeed. It is, that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary, was subjected to a long life of sorrow, reproach, and contempt : That towards the close of it, he was arrested, accused, condemned as a malefactor; and after innumerable and unspeakable indignities, was at last nailed to a cross, an engine of torture of the most cruel and painful kind, and so shameful, that it was a manner of punishment appropriated to the most detested criminals of the basest rank. What is there here to glory in? and what does the apostle mean by this ex preilion ? It means,
I. That he had a high esteem of it, as an event of the greatest moment, and an object worthy of the highest regard. We do not glory in common things, but in things of peculiar dignity and worth. It was not then in his view merely what it seemed. He did not consider it, surely, as the execution of a criminal; but said, with the centurion on Mount Calvary, Truly “ this was a righteous man;" Truly this was “ the Son of God.” He considered it as the effect of the infinite love of God, who sent his only begotten Son to die for our sins. He considered it as an infinite price paid for the pardon of our offences, as the only way of deliverance from guilt, as the sure and cer. tain pledge of peace to an awakened conscience. In this view, how does it rise in his esteem? While others are disposed to scorn, pitying their madness, he is constrained to worship and adore. Think of it, Christians, how dif. ferent were the sentiments of his insulting enemies and his mourning disciples, when he hung upon the cross. The one consider him as a guilty sufferer, the other as a loving Saviour. The hearts of the one were boiling with hatred, or filled with contempt; the hearts of the other were swallowed up in adıniration, or melted with love,
2. The apostle's glorying in the cross, implied his ha. ving a strong, though humble considence of his own relation to and interest in it, I think it is impossible to sepa. rate this from our idea of the apostle's meaning. We do not glory or boast of any thing in which we have no con. cern. A man of great genius, or uncommon worth, I may admire and honor, merely for the eminent qualities of which he is possessed, and I may do him all justice by commendation ; but I am never disposed to glory in hin, nor have I any title to do it unless he is somehow related to me: but if I add, that he is my child, or he is my bro. ther, I may be truly said to glory in him, or to boast of him, because the honor that is given to him, is, in some VOL. I.
may admire and felled, and I maydoled to glory in hir