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Gol, the more strictly we examine it, and the more perfectly we know it, the more we shall admire it; but every work of the creature, the more perfectly it is known, the more its inherent weakness always appears. This discovers itself, even in comparing the produce of the field with the effects of human art. Naturalists observe, that the finest and most admirable human manufactures, when Teen, as by a finer sense, with the assistance of a micrởi fcope, appears quite coarfe and irregular ; but that if you look at a pile of grass, or any thing natural, with the fame assistance, you will fee still more exquisite and delicate strokes of the almighty operator.
If this is the case even in the material productions of natural power, how much more must it be fo in the un: fearchable mysteries of God's fpiritual kingdom ? In none will it hold more than in this chief of the works of God, this gubrious though despised object; the cross of Christ. Here indeed the glory of God appears in all its luftre. It appears in so strong and so various lights, that the highest angels are employed, delighted, and lost in the conter: olation of it: i Pet. i. 12. “ Which things the angels defire to look into." Eph. iii. io. “ To the intent that
now. unto the principalities and powers in heavenly " places, might be known by the church the manifold " wisdom of God. O what a display of power in the union of God and man! What an almighty arm was required to make thefe things meet, which were infinitely distant! The Creator of the ends of the earth born of a womán! the Self-existent become a feeble infant! the Lord of glory covered with shame! The Judge of all condemned to fuffer! The Author of life giving up the ghost!
What unsearchable wisdom appears in finding a victim able to bear alınighty vengeance! in finding a way by which fin might be at once punished and pardoned, justice fully satisfied, even where mercy is extended! Little wonder indeed that the angels desire to look into this mystery. They had tasted the fruits of divine benignity in the happiness of innocent creatures; they had seen the glory of divine justice in the perdition of the rebel-angels
but the cross of Christ was the first thing that discovered to
2. The riches of divine grace are manifested in the cross of Christ to the most astonishing degree. It is not merely a wonderful work of God, which all his intelligent creatures may behold with admiration, but it is a design in which we ourselves have an immediate and an infinite concern: For, Ifa. liii. 5. “ He was wounded for our
transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the “ chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with “ his stripes we are healed.” O what an amazing display of unmerited love! Every divine perfection indeed appears in it very clearly, but chiefly love. The tender mercy of our God predominates, actuates, and reigns through the whole. Christ's undertaking, in general, is the fruit and evidence of the everlasting love of God: John iii. 16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave « his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, “ should not perith, but have everlasting life.” Salvation, in the whole of its purchase and effect, was the fruit and expression of the infinite love of Christ : Rev. i. 5,6. “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins “ in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests “ unto God, and his Father ; to him be glory and domi“ nion for ever and ever. Amen.” The believing soul
is never more at a loss than when attempting to confefs its obligations to redeeming love. The human mind never feels its weakness more than when it attempts to conceive, or to illustrate, this truly incomprehensible fubject
The grace of redemption may be confidered and illus: trated in a great variety of lights: From the greatness of the misery from which we are delivered; for "we are " saved from wrath through him :". From the greatness of the happiness to which we are entitled ; for we are made " heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ:" From the guilt and unworthiness of the objects of this love; for it
*6 when we were enemies” that “we were reconci. " led to God by the death of his Son.” But besides these considerations, there is more than enough of divine mercy to əxcite our wonder in the cross of Christ, the price paid for our redemption.
Great fufferings usually melt the heart to fympathy and tenderness, though we have no immediate concern in them at all : but how much more must every source of tendernefs be opened, when we consider the sufferer as an innocent person, and as suffering in our room! Remember the person, remember the nature, remember the greatniefs, remember the end, of his suffering ; the eternal Son of God, the great Immanuel, covered with shame, dragged to an unrighteous tribunal, not to abide the decrees of justice, but to bear the effects of blinded rage! See him,
shocking fight! blindfolded, buffeted, and spit upon, severely fcourged, crowned with thorns, arrayed in purple, adored in derision! See him nailed to the cross! O shameful, o tormenting, O most accursed manner of death! Is it possible to conceive the grace of this amazing humiliation, this infinite condescenfion? I would even call it incredible condescenfion, 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 there." fore, O finner! and fee how it magnifies the love of God. Was all this abasement, all this shame, all this fuffering for me? and shall I not glory in the cross ? Shall I even glory in any thing but the cross ? As it magnifies the di. VOL. I.
vine power, as it magnifies the divine mercy, so it magnifies the finner. Is it any less to our honor than to his fhame? We can never appear so valuable as when our falvation 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 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 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 sin ? the infinite holiness of God? the infinite dan.
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, sum, and perfection of sanctification ? 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 or Christ, the most tender and costly expreffion of his love to us? I 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 infpire him with zeal in doing his will, and fortitude in suffering for his cause ! Will any thing so effectually determine us to love our fellow creatures, as his command and example? Will any thing fo effectually persuade us to discharge the most important duties to others, I mean, feek. ing their eternal welfare, as the value of a precious soul estimated by the cross? Will any thing fo effectually dis
pose us to the most difficult duties to others, I mean meek, ness, 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 forgot.
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 receives from it: For, 1 Cor. i. 30. “Of him " are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us “ wisdom, and righteoufness, and fanctification, and re, “ demption.”
I proceed now to make fome 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 crofs, 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 fullness of time. The Saviour was the subject 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. 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 de. șiyes force and meaning from the cross; every other par