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vellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints! Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name! for thou only art holy, Rev. xv. 3, 4.
This Being, so worthy to be praised, and praised in a manner 'so worthy of him, he it is who has been preparing acclamations for the conquerors of the world. Yes, Christian combatant! after thou hast been treated as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things, 1 Cor. iv. 13. after thou shalt have mortified, subjected, crucified this flesh; after thou shalt have borne this cross, which was once to the Jews 'à stumbling block; and to the Greeks foolishness ; and which is still to this day, foolishness and a stumbling block to those who ought to consider it as their highest glory to bear it;
thou shalt be called forth in the presence of men and of angels; the great God shall distinguish thee amidst the innumerable company of the saints; he shall address thee in these words: Well done, good and faithful servant, Matt. xxv. 21. He will fulfil the promise which he this day is making to all who 'combat under the banner of the cross: To him that'overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my
1 tlirone, Rev. iii. 21.
Ah! glory of the hero of this world, profane panegyrics, inscriptions conceived in high swelling words of vanity, superb trophies, 'diadems, fitter to serve as an amusement to children, than to engage the attention of reasonable men ! what have yeonce to be compared with the acclamations, and with the crowns prepared for the Christian hero? I sacrifice, my brethren, to the standard prescribed to the duration of these exercises, the delicious meditations which this branch of my subject so copiously supplies; and all I farther request of you,
, is a moment's attention, while I endeavor to make
you sensible, that it is in the cross of Jesus Christ alone, we find every thing necessary to inspire these noble dispositions, in order to deduce this consequence, that in the cross of Jesus Christ alone the Christian must look for true glory; and in order to justify this sentiment of our apostle, God forbid ihat I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world ! Under what aspect can you contemplate the cross of Christ, that does not dispose you to break off entirely with the world?
III. If we consider that cross in respect of its harmony with the whole contradiction which Jesus Christ endured upon earth, it has a powerful tendency to awaken in us the dispositions which St. Paul expresses, so as to say with him, the world is crucified unto me, and I am crucified unto the world. Our great Master finishes upon a cross, a life passed in contempt, in indigence, in mortification of the senses, in hunger, in thirst, in weariness, in separation from the world : would it be becoming in a Christian to lull himself to sleep in the arms of indigence, to addict himself to the pleasures of sense, to suffer himself to be enchanted by the charms of voluptuousness, to breathe after nothing but ease, but convenience, but repose, but abundance? If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me, before it haled you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord, Jo. xv. 18, 20.
If we consider the cross of Christ, in relation to the sacrifice which is there offered up to divine justice, it has a powerful tendency to produce in us the dispositions expressed by St. Paul, so as to be able to say with him, The world is crucified unto
me, and I am crucified unto the world. That worldly life, those dissipations, those accumulated rebellions against the commands of heaven ; that cupidity which engrosses us, and constitutes all our delight, in what is all this to terminate ? Observe the tempests which it gathers around the head of those who give themselves up to criminal indulgence. Jesus Christ was perfectly exempt from sin, but he took ours upon himself, he bear them in his own body on the tree, i Pet. ii. 24: and it was for this end that he underwent, on that accursed tree, all those torments, which his divinity and his innocence enabled him to support, without sinking under the load. Behold in this, O sinner, the fearful doom which awaits thee. Yes, unless thou art crucified with Christ by faith, thou shalt be by the justice of God. And then all the fury of that justice shall be levelled at thy head, as it was at his. Then thou shalt be exposed, on a dying bed, to the dreadful conflicts which he endured in Gethsemane. Thou shalt shudder at the idea of that punishment which an avenging deity is preparing for thee. Thou shalt sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, when the eye is directed to the tribunal of justice, whither thou art going to be dragged. Nay more, thou shalt then be condemned to compensate, by the duration of thy punishment, what the weakness of thy nature renders thee incapable of supporting in respect of weight. Ages accumulated upon ages shall set no bounds to thy torments. Thou shalt be accursed of God through eternity, as Jesus Christ was in time: and that cross which thou refusedst to bear for a time, thou must bear for ever and ever.
If we consider the cross of Jesus Christ, with relation to the atrocious guilt of those who despise a sacrifice of such high value, we shall feel a powerful
tendency to adopt the dispositions of St. Paul, and to say with him, the world is crucified unto me, and I am crucified unto the world. The image which I would here trace for your inspection is still that of St. Paul. This apostle depicts to us the love of the world, as a contempt of the cross of Christ, and as a renewal of the punishment which he suffered. The idea of what such a crime deserves, absorbs and confounds his spirit; he cannot find colors strong enough to paint it, and he satisfies himself with asking, after he had mentioned the punishment inflicted on those who had violated the law of Moses : Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and who hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace? Heb. x. 29.
Here, sinner, here read thy sentence ! The voice of the blood of the Son of God will cry, from earth to heaven, for vengeance against thee. God will, one, day, call thee to give an account of the blood of a Son so dear to him. He will say to thee as St. Peter did to those who shed it ; Thou hast denied the Holy One and the just .... and killed the Prince of Life, Acts iii. 14, 15. He will pursue thee with all his plagues, as if thou hadst imbrued thy hands in that blood, and as he has pursued those who were actually guilty of that crime.
But let us press motives more gentle, and more congenial to the dignity of the redeemed of the Lord. If we consider the cross of Christ, in relation to the proofs which he there displays to us of his love, is it possible we should find any thing too painful in the sacrifices which he demands of us? Is it possible for us to do too much for that Jesus who has done so much for us? When the heart
feels a disposition to revolt against the morality of the gospel : when you are tempted to say, This is a hard saying ; who can hear it; Jo. vi. 60 : When the gate of heaven seems too strait for you ; when the flesh would exaggerate the difficulties of working out your salvation ; when it seems as if we were tearing the heart from your bosom, in charging you to curb the impetuosity, of your temperament, to resist the torrent of irregular desire, to give a portion of your goods to the poor, to sacrifice a Dalilah or a Drusilla : follow your Saviour to Calvary ; behold him passing the brook Kidron, ascending the fatal Mount on which his sacrifice was to be accomplished; behold that concourse of woes which constrain him to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? Matt. xxvii. 46.
If ye can hold out against objects like these !
If we consider the cross of Jesus Christ, relatively to the proofs, which it supplies in support of the doctrine of him who there finished his life, it will be a powerful inducement to adopt the sentiments of St. Paul. It is natural, I allow, for reasonable beings, of whom sacrifices are exacted, so costly as those which Christianity prescribes, to expect full assurance of the truth of that religion. It is impossible to employ too much precaution, when the point in question is whether or not we are to surrender victims so beloved. The slightest doubt on this head is of essential importance. But is this article susceptible of the slightest doubt? Jesus Chirst sealed with his blood the doctrine which he taught; he was not only the hero of the religion which we preach, but likewise the martyr of it.
If we consider the cross of Christ, relatively to the aid necessary to form us to the sentiments expressed by St. Paul, it still powerfully presses to adopt them. It assures, on the part of God, every