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impresions 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 shewş 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 inortify all worldly affection, which takes its rise from pride and self-sufficiency? It is, if I may speak so, 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 afert their title to it as their property. The fanie inward disposition may be discovered by their carriage in the opposite state.. When their schemes, are broken, and their hopes blalted, by repeated disappointments, or when their pofleffions are taken from them by unexpected strokes, they relift and rebel with impatience and indignation, as if fome person had done them wrong.
But when men are fensible that they deserve nothing at the hand of Gorl, this mortifies their earthly desires, and puts their complaints to filence. See how Job expresses himself after all his calamities, as sensible that he had lost nothing of his own, chap. i. 21. “ Naked came I out of “ my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; 1 the Lord gaye, and the Lord hath taken away ; blelled “ be the name of the Lord.” Let me speak of this, iny 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 niercies; will he not keep his possessions 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 de. mands of created mercies, but where we fee, that not on. ly 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 witnefling, in the execution of others, what was the sen. tence of the law upon himself; will he, at this infant, think you, be impatient or thankful ? Will he be jealous of the honor or respect paid to him ? will he quarrel about the dignity or convenience of the place afligned to him ? No furely. Lost in the confideration of the fate he has escaped, and the favor he has received, he will pay little regard to matters of small comparative importance. Just fo the Christian, placed by faith at the foot of the cross, deeply inoved by a discovery of the wrath of God, which he had deserved to suffer to eternity, 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 reverfing all worldly maxims, and shewing of how light estimation worldly greatness is in the fight of God. So long as world. ly maxims prevail, and worldly greatness is in high esteem, the cross of Christ is a despised object. But fo foon as this object acquires bulk and value in the believ, er's eye, by being taken for what it really is, the world is Glisgraced in its turn. It pleased God, in his infinite wilcom, for the salvation of funers, to send his own Son ina to the world, in the human nature: and as it was in ita felf a deep step of humiliation, for the Son of God to be found in fashion as a man; fo, even in this assumed nature, he was attended with every cireumstance of meana nels and baseness. No retinue of illustrious ministers to ferve him; no fplendid or elegant apartment to receive him; but born of a mean woman, brought forth in a stable, and laid in a manger. Memorable and instructive history indeed! which shall never be forgotten where the gospel is preached, to the end of time.
Remember, my beloved hearers, though divine sweetness and benignity adorned his carriage, though divine
power and energy attended his miniftrations ; yet pover: ty, slander, and contempt were his continual portion; so that he could say, in the language of the prophet, “ Re“ proach hath broken my heart:" and again, “ The foxes. * have holes, and the birds of the air have nefis; but the " Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Some of the ancients have represented the Saviour as of extraordinary beauty of countenance and comeliness of form, founded perhaps on a literal interpretation of that expression in the Psalmist, Psal. xlv. 2. “Thou art fairer than the chil. $6 dren of men; grace is poured into thy lips; therefore
God hath blessed thee forever.” Without being politive, I shall only fay, that this does not correspond much with the other circumstances of his incarnation. And indeed some have supposed directly the contrary, founding their opinion upon the language of the prophet Isaiah, chap. lii. 14. " As many were astonied at thee; (his visage was fo * marred more than any man, and his form more than the “ fons of men) ;' as also, chap. liii. 2. “ For he shall grow « up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a « dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness: and when " we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should deti fire him.” Whatever be in this, it is beyond all ques: tion, that the whole course of his life, and particularly the remarkable conclusion of it, was one continued tract of suffering and mortification.
Does not this, Christians, bring a reproach upon world. ly greatness, and stain the pride of all human glory? Does it not show how little it is esteemed of God, and how little it is an evidence of his acceptance or approbation? What an influence must this have upon the believer to crucify the world ? How must it endear to him a mean and despi. fed, and reconcile him to a suffering state? With what propriety does the Christian, when he is baptized in the name of Christ, renounce the world, its pomps, and its pleasures ? Does not a single reflection on the despised flate of our Redeemer, in the days of his flesh, make you patient under contempt, and extinguish the desire of applause ? Have you any remaining uneasiness at seeing others getting before you in the career of ambition, over
topping you with titles, eclipsing you with fplendor? Do you not now see the propriety of the account given of the carriage of the apostles, when the world and they were at variance, Acts v. 41. “ And they departed from the pre“ fence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted “ worthy to suffer shame for his name. Whether do you now envy the conqueror or the sufferer, the prince or the martyr ? Whereever there is a real Christian raised to opulence by the will of God, or surrounded with ensigns of dignity and honor, will not this confideration fill hin with deep humility and self-denial, and a holy jealousy. left he should abuse his influence, or misapply his talents ? The highest honor of real ability is usefulness, the brightest ornament of worldly greatness is self-abasement. All this shews, in the clearest manner, how the cross of Christ cru. cifies the world, by reversing every worldly maxim, and giving a new turn to the principles of honor and of shame. This leads me to observe,
4. In the last place, That the crofs of Christ crucifies the world, by putting a quite different object of defire and affection in its roon. Our limited powers can attend but to few things at once; and therefore, when any one acquires an interest in our affections, it must comparative. ly weaken or destroy the interest of others, especially those of an opposite or independent kind. Make a new bed to a river, and turn its stream in that direction, and it will immediately dry up its former channel. Now, the cross of Christ presents to us an object of infinite importance, peace and reconciliation with God here, and everlasting happiness in his presence hereafter. Can any worldly ob ject be laid in the balance with these? What esteem or attention can it merit in comparison with these ?
Whether we consider the end or the means of salvation, the cross of Christ tends to supplant the world, by improv. ing our views of and increasing our affection to both. It fhews the infinite importance of eternity and its confes quences : and what more proper to deliver us from an undue attachment to the things of time ? Eternity, by iis greatness, makes time itself to shrink into a point, and an. nihilates all those little temporary distinctions on which
worldly affection entirely depends. What doth it signify to him that views eternity aright, whether he be for a few years in health or sickness, riches or poverty, on a throne or in a cottage ? How immenfe, according to human mea. fure, appears the difference between the possessions of some persons in the world and others ! But of all the generations before us, who have now fallen asleep, how equal is the condition in this respect! The monarch and the slave, when laid in the clust, fill nearly the same space.
If we consider the means of religion, the cross of Christ applied by a convinced finner, opens to him such a profpect of the infinite unmerited love of God, and of this astonishing expression of it, the death of his Son, as at once captivates the heart, and, if I may speak fo, occupies so much room there, as leaves but little for any other object. How soon did it open the heart of the publican Zaccheus, and expel the spirit of covetousness and extortion! Luke xix. 8. ~ And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord, “ Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor : “ and if I have taken any thing from any man by false ac" cusation, I restore him fourfold." In how strong a man. ner does the apostle Paul express his comparative efteen of the cross of Christ! Phil. iii. 7, 8. “ But what things “ were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, i doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excel“ lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for 66 whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count “ thein but dung that I may win Christ.” This is the very fame disposition with that which he expresies in the text; and it differs no otherwise from that of every Chrila tian, than that it is probable he had a particular view to hịs calling as a miniller and an apostle. Captivated with à sense of his Recleemer's love, filled with a view of the glory of his cross, and devoted to his service in the ministry of the gospel, he renounces all worldly prospects, and fets at defiance every thing that miglit distract his atiention, or divide his care : “God forbid that I should glory 46 five in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the " world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.” VOL. I.