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"ftitute others of a more ignominious and execrable import in their room. Only I would beg the serious reader "to spend a moment in the following reflection. Is it fo, "that a polite and delicate ear can hardly endure fo much "as the found of the words? How amazing then was the "condefcenfion, how charming and adorable the goodnefs "of God's illuftrious Son, to bear all that is fignified by "these intolerably vile terms, bear it willingly, bear it
chearfully, for us men, and our falvation !"
Before concluding this head, it will be proper to obferve, in what it was the apoftle did not glory. There is plainly a tacit oppofition in the form of his expreffion, to fome things in which others were apt to glory, and he as heartily defpifed: "God forbid that I fhould glory fave in the crofs of our Lord Jefus Chrift." He fays in general, Phil. iii. 7. "But what things were gain to me, thofe I "counted lofs for Chrift." We find elfewhere, in his writings, exprefs mention of thofe particulars which he renounced as any fubject of boafting. 1. His learning as a fcholar; 2. His privileges as a Jew; 3. Even his zeal and activity as a minifter of Chrift. Let us confider each of these by itself.
1. He would not glory in his learning as a fcholar. The apostle Paul had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and feems to have been well accomplished in every branch of human fcience. Yet he fpeaks of it with great neglect, or rather with a noble difdain, when compared with the doctrine of the crofs: 1 Cor. 1. 17. "For "Chrift fent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel : "not with wifdom of words, left the cross of Chrift should "be made of none effect," And again, ver. 19, 20. "For "it is written, I will deftroy the wifdom of the wife, and "will bring to nothing the underflanding of the prudent. "Where is the wife? where is the fcribe? where is the "difputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the "wisdom of this world?" It may perhaps be afked, What is the meaning of this renunciation of human learning and wifdom? Is there any real oppofition between learning and the cross? Would not the legitimate ufe of human
wifdom lead us to embrace it? To this I anfwer, that it feems to imply these three things.
(1) An admiration of the divine glory in that which had not on it any of the marks of human wisdom in con fequence of this, a ftedfaft adherence to the doctrine of the crofs, though those who were wife in their own conceit might be tempted to despise it, and to defpife him for its fake. This great fcholar, then, was not unwilling to fuffer the derifion and contempt of other scholars for his glorying in the crofs.
(2) It implies fuch a fuperlative admiration of this glo rious and interefting object, that all the knowledge he poffeffed, and the honor he could otherwife acquire, feemed to him unworthy of regard: his attention was wholly fixed upon, and his affections wholly engroffed by, his Redeemer's cross.
(3) It implied, that though he certainly ought, and certainly did ufe the noble parts and accomplishments of which he was poffeffed, with zeal in his master's cause; yet he did it with that humility and felf-denial, with that noble contempt of vain embellishments, which fhowed he was not building a monument to himself, but feeking the honor of his Saviour. The doctrine of the cross fhould be treated in a manner fome how correfpondent to it; not with a learned and oftentatious felf-fufficiency, but with a meek and truly evangelical felf-denial,
Miftake me not, my brethren: I am not fpeaking against learning in itself; it is a precious gift of God, and may be happily improved in the fervice of the gofpel; but I will venture to fay, in the fpirit of the apostle Paul's writings in general, and of this paffage in particular, Accurfed be all that learning which fets itself in opposition to the cross of Chrift! Accurfed be all that learning which diguises or is afhamed of the cross of Chrift! Accurfed be all that learning which fills the room that is due to the cross of Chrift! And once more, Accurfed be all that learning which is not made fubfervient to the honor and glory of the crafs of Chrift!
Well then, the learned and eloquent apoftle renounced the wifdom of words; and how do we apply this in gene
ral? By a small comparative esteem of all natural advan. tages; and by thinking it, in the heart, a greater honor and a higher privilege to fit down at Chrift's table, and to find acceptance with him, than to poffefs beauty, wif dom, learning, riches, and honors in the highest poffible perfection: and may God grant, that every one in this affembly may be able to fay, in fincerity, that, in what things he thinks he excels, these he is willing to "count ❝lofs for Chrift!"
2. The apoftle would not glory in his privileges as a Jew. This we find him affirming in many places of his writings: Phil. iii. 4. "Though I might alfo have con"fidence in the flesh. If any other man think that he "hath where of he might truft in the flefh, I more: Circum. "cifed the eighth day, of the stock of Ifrael, of the tribe of Ben"jamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a "Pharifee; concerning zeal, perfecuting the church; touch"ing the righteoufnefs which is in the law, blameless." Toward the latter end of the Jewish commonwealth, there was a very prevailing and grofs miftake among them, to look upon their external privileges as entitling them to the favor of God, and making a difference between them and others. We have reafon to be fenfible, that much of the fame difpofition is really to adhere to men in every age. But one great defign of the gospel is, to level the pride of man, to throw down all diftinction in point of merit before God, and to fhow, that the power of the Redeemer is equally neceffary to, and equally fufficient for, all without exception: Rom. iii. 22. Even the righ"teoufnefs of God which is by faith of Jefus Chrift unto "all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no dif"ference." Rom. x. 12. "For there is no difference be"tween the Jew and the Greek: for the fame Lord over "all, is rich unto all that call upon him." Col. iii. 11. "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcifion nor "uncircumcifion, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:
but Chrift is all, and in all."
3. The apoftle did not glory in his perfonal character, not even in his zeal and activity as a minifter of Chrift, This appears through the whole of his writings, where he is at particular pains to deftroy every foundation of
boafting or glorying in ourselves: Rom. iii. 24.-28. Being juftified freely by his grace, through the redemp"tion that is in Jefus Chrift: whom God hath set forth
to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare "his righteoufnefs for the remiffion of fins that are past, "through the forbearance of God; to declare, I fay, at this "time his righteoufnefs: that he might be juft, and the juftifier of him which believeth in Jefus. Where is boafting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? "Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude, "that a man is juftified by faith, without the deeds of "the law." Nay, we find that all his public services he confiders as quite unfit fubjects for boafting, even when he is obliged to mention them for his own vindication: 1 Cor. XV. 9, 10. "For I am the leaft of the apostles, that am "not meet to be called an apoflle, because I perfecuted the "church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I "am and his grace which was bestowed upon me, was "not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they "all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with
I am perfuaded that thofe who, from really Christian principles, ferve God in their generation with the greatest zeal, will be most ready to renounce all plea of merit upon that account. Ihave read with pleafure the following account of the temper expreffed by John Knox, that eminent inftrument in the reformation, when he was drawing near to his diffolution. Some perfon prefent mentioned to him, what comfort he might now have in his extraordinary labor and great usefulness in the church: to whom he answered," Forbear to puff up the flesh with vanity, "to which it is of itfelf fufficiently prone. The port I "would be in at, is that of the free grace of God, through "the merits of my bleffed Saviour." The truth is, thefe are but the fentiments which fhall not only go with us to death, but continue with us to eternity. A deep fense of redeeming love, and grateful celebration of the Redeemer's glory, is not only the language of the church on earth, but the delightful worship of the church triumphant in heaven: Rev. v. 11, 12, 13. "And I beheld, and I heard
the voice of many angels round about the throne, and "the beafts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thoufand, and thousands of thou fands; faying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb "that was flain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honor, and glory, and bleffing. And ་ every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, "and under the earth, and fuch as are in the fea, and all that are in them, heard I, faying, Bleffing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that fitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
II. We proceed now to the second general head of difcourfe, viz. To confider what reafon every real Chriftian hath to glory in the cross. This indeed opens to us a fubject of the most amazing compass and extent. Though there is nothing here but what is vile and contemptible to an unbelieving worldly mind; by the eye of faith, every thing that is wonderful, amiable, and valuable, is discovered in the highest perfection. I cannot particularly enumerate every fubject of glorying in the cross; and therefore fhall juft point out to you the three following fubjects of meditation, which though they often run into. one another, may be confidered in diftinct and feparate lights. 1. The glory of divine perfection fhines in the brightest manner. 2. The riches of divine grace are manifefted in it to the most aftonishing degree. 3. The fanétifying efficacy of it is fo transcendently fuperior to that of any other mean, as fhows it to have been the appointment of infinite wisdom.
I. The glory of divine perfection fhines in it in the brighteft manner, Would we directly contemplate the glory of the invisible God, as it fhines in his works and ways? let us look upon the crofs. It hath been fomefines, and very jufily, faid of the works of God, that they have ufually in them fomething much more wonderful and excellent than appears at first view. It hath also been further obferved, that, in this refpect, there is a complete contraft and oppofition between the works of the Creator and thofe of the creature. Every thing that flows from