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We have seen that the doctrine of the Cross is a mystery, vast, unfathomable, and hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.
If it has been outwardly revealed to the world, to every nation under Heaven, so also are its peculiar mysteries, its secret stores of wisdom and knowledge revealed to the faithful alone ; to them only it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven. It is true they are not yet admitted to the knowledge of those peculiar circumstances which properly constitute a mys. tery, but yet having cordially “received Christ Jesus the Lord, and walking in Him, and being rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, and complete in Him, they walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." · The very term hid, in the text, implies that there are certain truths contained in the doctrines of the Gospel, which to the world are .enveloped in impenetrable mystery, but by the wise, by the sincere and humble enquirer, may be brought to light, and are brought to light, and turned to abundant advantage. “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her, as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” But because all do not seek nor appreciate, and therefore not discover these hid treasures, I shall state a few of the reasons which operate so unfavourably upon the reception of the doctrines of the Gospel.
The first is pride. They are hid to the proud. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” There is not a more dangerous enemy, a more impenetrable barrier opposed to the doctrines of the cross, than pride. In every age of the Church there have been men of perverse minds, who obey not the truth. They are proud of their outward privileges, as were the Jews in our Saviour's and the Apostles' time, who boasted that they had Abraham for their father, and still superstitiously adhered to a mouldering law. Whereas, says the Apostle, «by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” And “Christ is the end of the law to every one that believeth.” With others the plea is, “ We have one Father, even God:” not considering that “he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father;" that “noman cometh to the Father but by the Son," and that “Christ and the Father are one." Others are wise beyond what is written. Mystery is with them synonymous with absurdity; and because the doctrine of Christ crucified is, as they surmise, unworthy of the majesty of God or the dignity of man; it is rejected and sacriâced to their own notions of wisdom. So did they of old time. “We preach Christ crucified,” says the Apostle to the Corinthians) “unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness: But unto them which are called, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Others are proud of their own stores of wisdom and knowledge. And indeed it must be confessed, that knowledge is pleasant to the soul, and a thing to be desired to make one wise. But revelation is one thing, and human knowledge, science, and wisdom, another. Their provinces are distinct. Could human knowledge ever have discovered the doctrine of Christ crucified ? Was human wisdom alone sufficient to guide man to the knowledge of the true God?. Hear St. Paul,—“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” i. e. : hath he not confounded and shamed its boasted powers by the simple revelation of his will in Christ Jesus, so far beyond human thought to conceive, or wisdom to comprehend ? “For after that,” he adds, “in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew
not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
Human knowledge and learning, coming after, and not running before revelation, are of admirable use, and will never be discarded nor undervalued but by weak and foolish persons : nor be made the one thing needful, the all in all, but by the proud and ignorant. In Christ alone are hid the true treasures of wisdom and knowledge; such as appertain to mankind primarily and chiefly to know, whatever be their knowledge or ignorance of things pertaining to this life.
The last reason I shall assign why Christ and his doctrine may be said to be hid, is, that men do not live up to the spirit and precepts of the Gospel. “If our Gospel be hid,” says the Apostle, “it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” “If any man,” said our Lord to the wicked and unbelieving Jews, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” And again, to the believing Jews, “ If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and
the truth shall make you free.” These are most important texts, inasmuch as they plainly prove that they who do not live agreeably to the precepts of the Gospel, shall not know, at least to any beneficial purpose, the truth thereof. They shall stumble in the day, the light that is in them being darkness. From such are hid the plainest truths of religion, and much more the secret treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Whatever men of perverse minds may choose to object against the truth of Christianity, whatever plea they may urge ; be assured this truth lies at the bottom of all their specious pleas, objections, and fine-drawn subtleties, namely, they wish Christianity to be false, and therefore they would wish to believe it such. It contradicts their vices, condemns their lives. It is against them, and therefore they are against it. On the contrary, let such persons be prevailed upon to make the experiment proposed by our blessed Lord. Let a man endeavour sincerely, and with God's grace, to do his will :' let him take for granted that the Gospel is true (and there are many other things in nature and philosophy which he is obliged to, and does take for granted ; and why not the purest, the most exalted, the most consolatory doctrines of the Gospel ?) let him I say, take for granted its truth; or if he cannot