« VorigeDoorgaan »
gives this account of his illumination, “God, who com
manded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in sour hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glosy of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In an epistle to another church, the same holy writer says, “By revelation “God made known unto him the mystery, which in other "ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is “now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the “Spirit, That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of "the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by "the gospel.” Before the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the cross of Christ shined in his heart, this learned man never considered it as an object of glorying. Instead of reckoning it the object of his glorying, he thought it was not an object of toleration; and, in the madness of his zeal to extinguish the brightness of its rising, compelled many who gloried in it to blaspheme. But no sooner were the eyes of his understanding enlightened by the revelation of its glory, than his principles and conduct changed; and of this also he gives an account: “What "things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ; "yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the ex“cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Though there were several circumstances extraordinary in his illumination and conversion, the same light shines, and the same power exerts itself, in the hearts of all them who believe. No man can behold the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, nor perceive the necessity, and becomingness, and glory of his cross, till the eyes of his understanding be enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. The natural man receiveth not the things "of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, "neither can he know them, because they are spiritually "discerned.
Secondly, Glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ imports an esteem of this great object. Glorying is one of the strongest and highest professions of esteem and veneration for the objects in which men glory. The veneration of the apostle for the cross of Christ may be estimated by the value of those things which he sacrificed to its honor. For Christ he counted the gains of a Pharisee loss and dung, and renounced every other thing which stood in competition with the glory of his cross. When
Christians turn their thoughts toward this great object, considerations of esteem and veneration rush into their minds, and give them the highest complacency. They consider it as an effect of the love of God toward them in the state of sin and misery, as the price paid for their redemption, as the sacrifice offered for their reconciliation, as the satisfaction made for their sins, as the victory obtained over their enemies, as the triumph celebrated when these were broken and scattered, and as the exhibition of all that is awfuland lovely in the face of God. These considerations of the cross of Christ interest their affections, and raise it in their esteem to the highest degree of importance. On a subject of such importance, applications may be made any where with propriety. I wish every hearer to ask himself, Whether the cross of Christ be the object of his veneration and esteem. It is not doubted but that you all do esteem it in words and professions. Your association to the Testimony which you profess to hold, and your assembling together in this place, as a body distinct from the established church, are proofs of veneration for this object. More however is required; and the question is still proper, Do you esteem the cross of Christ in deed and in truth? If you do, reading, and hearing, and meditating concerning its importance and glory will be very pleasant; and glorying in it will not be confined to one day in seven. If you do, Jesus, who was crucified, will be very precious, and, in your estimation fairer than the sons of men, and higher than the angels of God. And if you do, his law will be regarded, and lis commandments observed. Christians who glory in his cross, glory in his law, love it above gold, and delight in it after the inward man.
Thirdly, Glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ imports persuasion and assurance of interest in this glorious object. Interest cannot be separated from glorying. Men never glory in objects in which they have no interest. We admire the qualities of a good man, and honour him with our commendations; but we do not glory in him unJess he be considered as a brother, or a relation. We admire the beauty and elegance of a great city, but we do not glory in it till it be considered as the place of our birth, the place of our residence, the place where we have property; or till some circumstance of relation or interest be added to its greatness. On all occasions Paul is forward
in professing his interest in the cross of Christ: “Crucified “with Christ;” “dead with him;" “fellowship of his suffer“ings;" "planted together in the likeness of his death;" "conformable to his death;" are modes of expression which appear in the writings of this great man. What doth he mean by them? Doubtless the nearest interest in his sufferings and death. Before he was made a partaker of Christ, he never thought of glorying in his cross; but after this, he seldom mentions it without acknowledging his interest, and professing his esteem. And if we be not apprehended of Christ Jesus, entered into the fellowship of his sufferings, and planted in the likeness of his death, our glorying in his cross is yet to begin. Let every hearer ask his conscience in the sight of God, Am I indeed apprehended of Christ Jesus? When, and where, and by what means were ye apprehended? or, if these circumstances be not remembered, are ye indeed apprehended, and interested in his righteousness, death, and love? If apprehended and interested indeed, glorying in bis cross is begun, and glorying in it will never end. How do they speak in heaven what you who are glorying in the cross say on earth! “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive "power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
In the SECOND place, We shall set before you some of those considerations of glorying in the cross which are common to Christians, apprehended of Christ Jesus, and interested in his righteousness, death, and love. Aniong them, glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is. considered as an expression of gratitude for his love, a profession of dependence on his death, an acknowledge. ment of blessings procured by his blood, an appearance for his name and honour before men, and a renunciation of every sentiment, and every thing dishonourable to his cross.
Among Christians apprehended of Christ Jesus, and interested in his righteousness, glorying in his cross is considered,
First, As an expression of gratitude for his love. The cross of Christ is a demonstration of the exceeding greatness of his love. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, abecause he laid down his life for us.” “Greater love Whath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for «his friends.” But in the cross of Christ, love greater than this is perceived: God laid his life down for men, and for men who were sinners, and enemies, and rebels; and glorying in it is a proper expression of our gratitude for this great and unequalled love. The death and the love of Christ ate frequently set forth in the same text. “Christ loved me and gave himself for me.” “Christ lo«ved us, and gave himself for us. “Christ loved the “church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify "and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”His death cannot be separated from his love, nor his love from his death; and, in our exercise, glorying in the one is gratitude for both. Impressions of the cross of Christ, considered as the demonstration of his love, raised in the Apostle that cheerfulness of spirit which tribulation could not depress, and adorned his conversation with that obedience which the law of gratitude requires. “The love “of Christ constraineth us, because we thus julge, that if (one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for "all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto "themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose Wagain." Under the same impressions, Christians will endeavor to rejoice alway in the cross and love of Christ, and to express to him who loved them, and gave
himself for them, their gratitude, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of their life.
Secondly, As a profession of dependence on his death: Among Christians apprehended of Christ Jesus, this consideration of glorying is universally interesting. His cross, in the particular, general, and comprehensive sense of the term, is the foundation of their justification, and of their rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. Upon this rock confidence of acceptance before God is built, whatever diversity or confusion of language there may be among the builders. In order to confirm this, and to open the eyes of men, a prophet represents the Lord our Righteousness under the metaphor of a Stone laid for a foundation; and an apostle says, “Other foundation can no man lay than "that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” Building on this foundation, and depending on its strength and firmness, raises and emboldens believers to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; and hence justification and glorying are united both in the promises of God and in their exer
cise according to these promises. "In the Lord shall all “the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” “It is “God who justifieth, who is he that condemneth? it is "Christ who died, yea rather who is risen again; who shall "ay any thing to the charge of God's elect? who shall se<parate us from the love of Christ?” This union of justification and glorying in their exercise, is not dissolvable by any tribulations which they suffer in life. Depending on the cross of Christ for justification and acceptance before God, they take up their own cross with joy, and glory in tribulation for his sake. Depending on his cross, and glorying in it, they go down into their grave, and fear no evil, and will retain the same bold and honourable sentiments
“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them "white in the blood of the lamb. Therefore are they be“fore the throne of God, and serve him day and night in “his temple."
Thirdly, As an acknowledgment of blessing procured by his blood. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in these considerations of it which we have exhibited, isa tree of life, and bears all manner of precious fruits. Looking up to it, and glorying in it, the Apostle expresses his gratitude in these devout and sublime words: “Blessed be the God "and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places, in “Christ." Particularly, deliverance from the curse. “Christ háth redeemed us from the curse of the law, besing made a curse for us.”-Forgiveness of sins. "In “whom we have redemption through his blood, even the "forgiveness of sins.” Compared with this blessing, the kingdoms and glory of the world are less than nothing, to a guilty soul.- Reconciliation. “You who were some“time alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked “works; yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his “flesh, through death, to present you holy and unblamea“ble, and unreprovable in his sight.”-Holiness. “Christ Sloved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might ssanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, and present it to himself a glorious church, not ha“ving spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it
should be holy and without blemish.”- Victory over death. “Christ took part of flesh and blood, that through