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ing; the eternal Son of God, the great Imma. nuel, covered with Mame, dragged to an unrighteous tribunal, not to abide the decrees of justice, but to bear the effects of blinded rage ! See him, o shocking light ! blindfolded, buffetcd, and spit upon, severely scourged, crowned with thorns, arrayed in purple, adored in derifion! See bim nailed to the cross! O sameful, o tormenting, O most accursed manner of death! Is it possible to conceive the grace of this amazing humiliation, this infinite condescen. fion? I would even call it incredible conde. scension, but that happily it carries upon it this great truth, That God's ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. Apply it therefore, O sinner and see how it magnifies the love of God. Was all this abasement, all this shame, all this suffering for me and Shall I not glory in the cross ? Shall I even glory in any thing but the cross ? As it magnifies the divine power, as it magnifies the divine mere cy, so it magnifies the sinner. Is it any less to our honour than to his same? We can never appear so valuable as when our salvation is purchased 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 sanctification. 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 salvation. And indeed to every believer the cross, considered only as the truth, and as operating by faith ion 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 fet in so strong a light the obligation of God's most holy law? Does any thing set in so strong a light the infinite evil of fin ? the infinite holiness of God ? the infinite danger of sin? 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, sum, and perfection of sanctification ? Is it not the love of God? And how shall this be produced ? how stall it be preserved and improved, in so effectual a manner, as by believing views of the cross of Christ, the most tender and costly expression of his love to us? 1 John iv. 119. « We love him; because he first loved us.” How does this fill the Christian with indignation a. gainst sin, which he must consider as “ crucifying " him to himself afresh !” dr. How does it endear to him his Saviour's commands ! how does it inspire him with zeal in doing his will, and fortitude in suffering for his caufe ! Will any thing so effectually determine us to love our fellow.creatures, as his command and ex.
ample? Will any thing so effe Etually persuade us to discharge the most important duties to o. thers, I mean, seeking their eternal welfare, as the value of a precious soul estimated by the cross ? Will any thing so effectually dispose 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 tross? Is it pollible that his own words, in that awful season, can ever be forgotten, “ Fa.' " ther, forgive them; for they know not what " they do?” I cannot at present enlarge fure ther on these views; but well might the apostle, and well may every Christian, glory in his Master's cross, for the unspeakable benefit he receives from it : For, i Cor. i. 30. “ of hiin " are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made es unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and fancti« fication, 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 go. spel, 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 ió the councils of peace, early intimated in the first promise, gradually unfolded in after ages, and completely manifested in the fullness of time.
The Saviour was the subject of the ancient pro. mises, the hope of the ancient patriarchs, the VOL.I.
substance of the New-Testament dispensation, and the burden of the everlasting gospel. He faith of himself, Rev. i. 8. “ I am Alpha and O. “ mega, the beginning and the ending, saith the " Lord, which is, and which was, and which is " to come, the Almighty." On his glorious character, and precious blood, the inspired apo. Iles delighted to dwell. Did they then mistake their message ? did they mislead their hearers ? No; it was, and it shall ever remain an uno changeable truth, what the apostle declares, I Cor. iii. 11. “ 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 derives 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 lose view of it. Let us despise the ignorant reproaches of those who Nander it as unfavourable to moral virtue. I dare not say indeed, that it is very favourable to an ostentatious parade of human merit; but I am sure it is the only way of producing self-denied obedience to the will of God.
2. From what bath been said, you may fee 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 sense of their own unworthiness, of the evil of sin, or the necessity of an atonenient. Such may sometimes retain the name of Chriliars, and contend that they ought to retain it, while they oppose, with the utmost virulence and ma. lice, 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 shall 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 go. verned in temper and practice by a spirit directly opposite to that of the cross. The fame and reproach which the cross implied are not fuffi. ciently attended to, nor the humility and self-de. nial necessary to all those who would be the fole lowers of a crucified master. Are there not many who will have no religion but what wil be pliable, and accommodate itself to the maxims of the world ? Loaded with prudence, they are unwilling to break measures, either with the good or the bad. Dazzled wiih human pomp, they despise every thing in religion, but what, ei. ther in substance 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 confession 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