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it magnifies the divine mercy, so it magnifies the finner. Is it any less to our honor than to his shame? We can never appear so valuable as when our salvation is purchafed by our Saviour's dying groans.
3. In the last place, The real Christian has reason to glory in the cross, for its efficacy as a principle of fanctification. This is plainly implied in the clause immediately following the text: for “ by it the world is crucified “ unto me, and I unto the world.” The apostle certainly has this also in view, when he celebrates the doctrine of the cross as the wisdom and the power of God unto falvation. And indeed to every believer the cross, considered only as the truth, and as operating by faith on the understanding and heart, is such an argument to duty, as there is not another in the whole compass of human knowledge that may once be compared to it. Does any thing set in fo strong a light the obligation of God's most holy law? Does any thing let in so strong a light the infinite evil of fin? the infinite holiness of God? the infinite dan. ger of fin?
Must not the reflection of every believer be, “ Who can stand before this Holy Lord God? If such
things be done in the green tree, what shall be done in “ the dry ?"
But what is the great source, evidence, fum, and per. fection of fanctification ? Is it not the love of God? And how shall this be produced ? how shall it be preserved and improved, in so effectual a manner, as by believing views of the cross of Christ, the most tender and coftly expression of his love to us? 1 John iv. 19. “ We love him ; be. "cause he first loved us." How does this fill the Christian with indignation against fin, which he must consider as “ crucifying him to himself afresh !" &c. How does it endear to him his Saviour's commands ! how does it inspire him with zeal in doing his will, and fortitude in sufsering for his cause! Will any thing so effectually deter. mine us to love our fellow.creatures, as his command and example? Will any thing so effectually persuade us to difcharge the most important duties to others, I mean, seeking their eternal welfare, as the value of a precious foul estimated by the cross? Will any thing fo effectually disa pose us to the most difficult duties to others, I mean meekness, patience and forgiveness, as the great debt cancelled to us by his sufferings on the cross ? Is it possible that his own words, in that awful season, can ever be forgotten,
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do ?” I cannot at present enlarge further on these views ; but well might the apostle, and well may every Christian, glory in his Master's cross, for the unspeakable benefit he re. ceives from it: For, 1 Cor. 1: 30, “Of him are ye in Chrift
Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righte" ousness, and fanctification, and redemption.”
I proceed now to make some practical application of what hath been said. And,
1. From what hath been said, you may learn what is the great and leading doctrine of the gospel, the sum and substance of the truth as it is in Jesus, viz. the doctrine of the cross, or Christ suffering the wrath of God, to redeem us from hell. This was the great design formed in the councils of peace, early intimated in the first promise, gradually unfolded in after ages, and completely manifested in the fulness of time. The Saviour was the fubject of the ancient promises, the hope of the ancient patriarchs, the substance of the New Testament dispensation, and the burden of the everlasting gospel. He faith of himself, Rev. i. 8, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and " the ending, faith the Lord, which is, and which was, “and which is to come, the Almighty.” On his glorious character, and precious blood, the inspired apostles delighted to dwell. Did they then mistake their message ? did they mislead their hearers ? No; it was, and it shall ever remain an unchangeable truth, what the apostle declares, 1 Cor. iii. II. “ For other foundation can no man lay, " than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
On this foundation, every thing that is agreeable to the will of God, in doctrine or practice, must be built. Every other part of the word of God derives light and beauty from the cross ; every other part of the word of God de. rives force and meaning from the cross; every other part of the word of God derives life and efficacy from the cross. Let us therefore remember its influence and value, and never lo'e view of it. Let us despise the ignorant reproaches of those who flander it as unfavorable to moral virtue. I dare not say indeed, that it is very favorable to an osientatious parade of human merit ; but I am sure it is the only way of producing felf-denied obedience to the will of God.
2. From what hath been said, you may see the guilt and danger of the enemies of the cross, and at the same time may learn who they are who deserve this character. They may be divided into two distinct classes: 1. Those who are enemies in principle to the cross, who have no fense of their own unworthiness, of the evil of fin, or the necessity of an atonement. Such may sometimes retain the name of Christians, and contend that they ought to retain it, while they oppose, with the utmost virulence and malice, its molt important and fundamental truth. I cannot think, without horror, on the guilt and ingratitude of all such persons, and the fearful punishment which they ihall meet with at last, when this despised Saviour" shall “ come in the clouds, and every eye shall see him.” 2. They are also enemies to this truth who are governed in temper and practice by a spirit directly opposite to that of the cross. The shame and reproach which the cross implied are not fufficiently attended to, nor the humility and felf-denial necessary to all those who would be the followers of a crucified master. Are there not many who will have no religion but what will be pliable, and accommo. date itlelf to the maxims of the world ? Loaded with prudence, they are unwilling to break measures, either with the good or the bad. Dazzled with human pomp, they despite every thing in religion, but what, either in subfiance or circumstances, is grateful to human pride. Fashionable practices, however dangerous or vicious, they have not courage to oppose. It were well, if they would consider the ancient form of confeflion at baptism.
Do you renounce the devil, and all his works? I do. Do you renounce the world, its pomps, its pleasures, and its vanities? I do. And this was not merely Heatheniflı klolatry, and ceremonies of false worship, but that indul
gence of vanity, and that gratification of appetite, in which worldly men, in every age, place their supreme delight.
3. What hath been said may serve for the support and confolation of real believers, under the trials to which they are exposed in the present fiate. It is melancholy to think, how frequently, and how easily, we are unhinged by distress; what discontent and impatience we are apt to discover under suffering. Alas! my brethren, are you not ashamed of impatience, when you consider the un. paralleled sufferings of your Redeemer in your room ? A believing view of the Saviour's cross, one would think, might stop every mouth, and compose every murmuring thought. Has he suffered so much for us? and shall we refuse to suffer from him, and for him ? His sufferings should make us patient, as they shew us the evil of sin, and what we have deserved. Did we really deserve avenging wrath ? and shall we dare to complain of fatherly correction? Did he suffer with patience who did no fin ? and shall we complain who are punished less than our ini. quities deferve? His sufferings should teach us patience, because they take away the bitterness and malignity of our sufferings, and turn them from a poison to a medicine : he hath exhausted, if I may speak so, the whole wrath of God, and left nothing for us but what is highly falutary. And as he hath changed the nature of all the sufferings of life, he hath taken away the sting of death, which is the end of all our fuffering. That blood which speaks peace to the wounded fpirit, should be a healing balm to the wounded body.
But of all the different kinds of suffering, if we pretend to glory in the cross, we ought to be least afraid of the reproach thrown upon us for adherence to our duty. To glory in the cross, is indeed to glory in shame. The form of expression used with regard to Peter and John, Acts v. 41, is very remarkable. They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. It would greatly tend to fortify us against this trial, if we would lay up in our hearts what hath been said on the doctrine of the cross. If it is imposible to avoid it, we must needs fit down com
posedly under it. And if our attachment to our great matter is what it ought to be, we will chearfully follow. him even without the camp, bearing his reproach.
4. In the last place, By what hath been said, you may try your title to fit down at the Lord's table, and learn your employment there. This ordinance is a sensible inemorial of our Redeemer's cross and passion. It was on the cross that his body was broken, and his blood shed, for you.
then to commemorate it? You cannot do so, either in an acceptable or profitable manner, unless you can join the apostle in glorying in it.' Have
Have you seen any thing of the excellence and amiableness of this despi. fed object ? Nothing so tasteless and insipid to the proud and self-righteous; nothing so delightful and refreshing to the broken in heart. Have you seen any thing of the glory of the true God, in the sufferings of Christ ? and can you say with the apostle Paul, Heb. ii. 10. “ It became “ him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all
things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the
Captain of their talvation perfect through sufferings.” Do you see the glory of infinite mercy in the cross? and are your hearts drawn with the cords of love to him who “ loved you, and gave himself for you?" Have you experienced the fanctifying influence of the cross ? are your corruptions weakened and mortified by looking upon it? Is it your unfeigned desire, that they may be finally destroyed by it?
To draw to a conclusion of the subject : I cannot point out your duty to you in a manner more suited to this day's employment, or more proper for your after security and comfort, than to turn the three reasons for glorying in the cross into the form of exhortations. I beseech you, my beloved hearers, contemplate the glory of God in the cross of Christ. See him, infinite in power, infinite in wisdom, infinite in holiness. You may see a faint emblem of his glory in the book of nature ; but you can only see his transcendent majesty in the book of God. And may “he “ who at first commanded the light to shine out of dark“ ness, shine in your hearts, to give you the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus