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as those which Moses formerly presented in behalf of the children of Israel, to obtain a revocation of that awful doom; "I sware in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest," Ps. xcv. 11. But if, on the contrary, you are wise to admit the word of exhortation, we are warranted to hold up our wishes for your salvation, as so many promises sealed, with that seal of God which standeth sure, and immediately emanating from the mouth of that God, the Lord who changeth not.
I have embraced with avidity, my dearly beloved brethren, the opportunity of contributing to the present solemnity, to come to you at a juncture so desirable, and to bring to you the word of life, at a season when I am at liberty to unfold to you a heart which has ever been penetrated with a respectful tenderness for this city and for this church. Deign to accept my affectionate good wishes, with sentiments conformable to those which dictated them.
Venerable magistrates, to whose hands Providence has committed the reins of government, you are exalted to a station which our devotions contemplate with respect! But we are the ministers of a Master whose commands control the universe; and it is from the inexhaustible source of his greatness, of his riches, of his magnificence, that we draw the benedictions which we this day pronounce upon your august heads. May God vouchsafe to inspire you with that dignity of sentiment, that magnanimity, that noble ambition, which enable the sovereigns to whom he has entrusted the sword of his justice, to found on the basis of justice, all their designs, and all their decisions! May it please God to inspire you with that charity, that condescension, that affability, which sink the master in the father! May it please God to inspire you with that humility, that self-abasement, which engage Christian magistrates to deposit all their power at the feet of God, and to consider it as their highest glory to render unto him a faithful account of their administration! That account is a solemn one. You are, to a certain degree, responsible, not only for the temporal, but for the eternal happiness of this people. The eternal happiness of a nation frequently depends on the measures adopted by their governors, on the care which they employ to curb licentiousness, to suppress scandalous publications, to procure respect for the ordinances of religion, and to supply the church with enlightened, zealous, and faithful pastors. But magistrates who propose to themselves views of such extensive utility and importance, are warranted to expect from God, all the aid necessary to the accomplishment of them. And this aid, great God, we presume to implore in behalf of these illustrious personages! May our voice pierce the heavens, may our prayers be crowned with an answer of peace!
Pastors, my dear companions in the great plan of salvation, ye successors of apostolic men in the edifying of the body of Christ, and in the work of the ministry! God has set very narrow bounds to what is called in the language of the world, our advancement and our VOL. II.-28
fortune. The religion which we profess, permits us not to aspire after those proud titles, those posts of distinction, those splendid reti nues which confound the ministers of temporal princes with the ministers of that Jesus whose kingdom is not of this world. But whatever we lose with respect to those advantages which dazzle the senses, is amply compensated to us in real and solid blessings; at least, if we ourselves understand that religion which we make known to others, and if we have a due sense of that high vocation with which we are honoured of God. May that God, who has conferred this honour upon us, vouchsafe to endow us with that illumination, and with those virtues, without which it is impossible for us to discharge the duties of it in a becoming manner! May he vouchsafe to bestow upon us that courage, that intrepidity, which are necessary to our effectually resisting the enemies of our holy reformation; nay, those too, who, under the name of reformed, do their utmost to thwart and to undermine it! May he vouchsafe to support us amidst the incessant difficulties and oppositions which we have to encounter, through the course of our ministry, and to animate us by the idea of those supereminent degrees of glory, which await those, who, after having "turned many to righteousness, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever!"
Merchants, ye who are the support of this Republic, and who maintain in the midst of us prosperity and abundance, may God vouchsafe to continue this blessing upon your commerce! May God cause the winds and the waves, nature and the elements, to unite their influences in your favour! But above all, may God vouchsafe to teach you the great art of "placing your heart there where your treasure is; to make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness;" to sanctify your prosperity by your charities, especially on a day like this, on which every one ought to prescribe to himself the law of paying a homage of charity to God who is love, and whose love has spared us to behold the light of this day!
Fathers and mothers, with whom it is so delicious for me to blend myself, under an address so deeply interesting, may God enable us to view our children, not as beings limited to a present world, but as beings endowed with an immortal soul, and formed for eternity! May it please God to impress infinitely more upon our hearts the desire of one day beholding them among the blessed in the kingdom of heaven, than going on and prospering on the earth! May God grant us the possession of objects so endeared to the very close of life, objects so necessary to the enjoyment of life! May God vouchsafe, if he is pleased to take them away from us, to grant us that submission to his will, which enables us to support a calamity so severe!
My dearly beloved brethren, this reflection chokes my utterance. May God vouchsafe to hear all the wishes and prayers which my heart has conceived, and which my lips have uttered, and all those which I am constrained to suppress, and which are more in number than the tongue is able to declare! Amen.
the cross! It is impossible for us to call to remembrance the great day of thy exaltation, without fixing our eyes upon thee, with those blessed disciples of thine who were the wit
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the
THE solemnity which in a few days we are
The darkness which overspread the mystery of the cross, is passing away; the veils which concealed the glory of Jesus Christ, begin to withdraw; heaven, which seemed to have conspired with earth and with hell to depress and overwhelm him, declares aloud in his favour; his splendour bursts out of obscurity, and his glory from the very bosom of shame: because he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant; because he humbled himself; because he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth," Phil. ii. 9, 10.
What circumstances more proper could we have selected, Christians, to induce you to seek your glory in the cross of your Saviour, than those which display it, followed by so much pomp and magnificence? I am going to propose to you as a model the man who of all others best understood the mystery of the cross: for my part, says he in the words which I have read, "God forbid that 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." Let us meditate on this subject with all that application of thought which it so justly merits.
And thou great High Priest, "Minister of the true tabernacle! thou holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens," Heb. vii. 26; viii. 21, graciously look down on this people, now combating under the banners of
with the bodily organ, and with all the powers of thought, and without crying out, "Draw us, Lord, we will run after thee," Cant. i. 4. But in giving way to such desires, we misunderwith thee. Well, be it so! "Teach my hands stand the nature of our vocation. We must to war, and my fingers to fight," Ps. cxliv. 1. combat as thou hast done, in order to triumph Teach us to make thy cross a ladder, whereon to mount to thy throne. Amen.
were, a conclusion deduced from the chapters
ages of the church sufficiently ample to enable
of the apostle in the words of my text, and through the whole epistle from which they are taken.
But what is perhaps not so easily discoverable in it, but which ought to be very carefully observed, is, that as St. Paul was maintaining his thesis against opponents of different sorts, so he likewise supports it on different principles. Three descriptions of persons argued in favour of the Levitical observances. The first did so from a prejudice of birth and education. The second, from an excess of complaisance. The third from a criminal policy.
1. A part of the Jews, who had been converted to Christianity, could not help preserving a respect for the Levitical ceremonies, and wished to transmit the observance of them into the Christian church. These were the persons who acted from a prejudice of birth and education.
2. Some of them, more enlightened, out of complaisance to others, would have wished to retain the practice of those rites. In this class we find no less a person than St. Peter himself, as we learn from the second chapter of this epistle, the eleventh and following verses; and what is most to be regretted in the case, this apostle fell into such an excess of compliance, that he not only authorised by his example that respect which the Jews had for the Levitical institutions; but, being at Antioch when certain Jews were sent thither by St. James, he pretended to break off all intercourse with the Gentile converts to Christianity, because they had not submitted to the ordinance of circumcision; in this he acted from an excessive and timid complaisance. This weakness of St. Peter, to mention by the way, has been laid hold of by one of the most declared enemies of Christianity, I mean the philosopher Porphyry. The reproaches which he vents against the Christians, on this ground, appeared so galling to them, that they had recourse to a pious fraud to defend themselves. They alleged, nay, they perhaps seriously believed, that the person thus branded with timidity was not Peter the apostle, but one Cephas, who, as they are pleased to give out, was of the number of the seventy disciples of Jesus Christ, mentioned in the gospel. A most chimerical supposition! which has been latterly adopted by a celebrated Jesuit, and which has swelled the catalogue of his extravagances.
3. But if some from prejudice wished to transmit the Levitical ceremonies into Christianity, and others from an excess of complaisance, there was still a third description of persons who did so, out of a criminal policy. Such were the pagan converts. Respecting which it is necessary to remark, that the Jewish religion was tolerated by the Roman laws; whereas the religion of Jesus Christ was proscribed by them, and Christians were thereby exposed to the most violent persecution. This it was which induced the pagan converts to conform to the Levitical ceremonies, that they might pass for Jews under this veil of Judaism. A passage of St. Jerome to this purpose deserves to be here inserted. "CAIUS CESAR,"
* Father Hardouin, in his Dissertation on Gallatians ii. 10,
says he,* "AUGUSTUS and TIBERIUS enacted laws, by which the Jews dispersed over the Roman empire were authorised to practise the rites of their religion, and the ceremonial institutions transmitted to them from their fathers. All those who were circumcised, though they had embraced Christianity, were considered all over the pagan world as Jews; but all those who remained in a state of uncircumcision, while they professedly received the gospel, were equally persecuted by Jews and pagans. There were teachers among them, therefore, who, in order to screen themselves from these persecutions, submitted to be circumcised, and recommended circumcision to their disciples."
These are the words of St. Jerome, and they throw much light on what our apostle says in the twelfth verse of the chapter from which I have taken my text. "As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ." And as a relaxed morality has always the most numerous supporters, we see that in the church of Galatia, the teachers who made the greatest use of this artifice, not only attracted the greatest number of disciples, but likewise made that superiority a source of vain-glorious boasting, This is the sense of the words which immedi ately precede our text: "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they might glory in your flesh."
These were the three descriptions of opponents against whom Paul had to maintain the inutility of the observance of the Levitical ceremonial, and to assert the exclusive doctrine of the cross.
One of the principal causes of the obscurity of St. Paul's Epistle is this, that it is not always easy to distinguish the general arguments which that apostle advances in them, from certain reasonings of a different kind, which are conclusive only against some particular adversaries. Is it not evident, for example, that all the consequences which he deduces from the history of Hagar, whom he makes the emblem of the ancient dispensation; and from that of Sarah, whom he makes the emblem of the evangelical, could make an impression only on the minds of Jews, who were accustomed to allegory, and who particularly discovered it in the different condition of that wife, and of that handmaid of Abraham; as appears in many passages of Philo, which it would be improper at present to introduce?
Now, my brethren, it is impossible to have a clear conception of the Epistles of our apostle, without carefully distinguishing those different adversaries whom he had to combat, and the different arguments which he employs to confute them. Nay, this distinction is the very key which explains to us the different conduct observed by the apostles toward their proselytes. For they believed themselves obliged, with respect to those who had come over from Judaism, to tolerate that Levitical ceremonial to which they were attached by the prejudices of birth; whereas this connivance might have proved dangerous to others who conformed to
Hieron. tom. 9. in Galat. vi. 12.
THE TRUE GLORY OF THE CHRISTIAN.
the practice of it merely from the dastardly
But whatever difference there may be in the
But it is of importance to descend into a more particular detail. And, in order to throw more light on my subject, I propose, as far as the limits prescribed me permit, to attempt the three following things:
I. I shall examine wherein those sentiments of the Christian consist, which enable him to say that "the world is crucified unto him, and he unto the world."
II. I shall show that in such sentiments as these true glory consists.
III. I shall demonstrate that it is the cross of Christ, and the cross of Christ alone, which can inspire us with these sentiments; from which I shall deduce this farther consequence, that in the cross of Christ alone we can find a just ground of glorying. Vouchsafe us a few moments more of your attention to the elucidation of these interesting truths.
I. What is the disposition of mind denoted by these expressions, "the world is crucified unto me; I am crucified unto the world?" In order to have just ideas of this reciprocal crucifixion, we must comprehend, 1. The nature of it. 2. The degrees. 3. The bitterness.
1. The nature of it. "The world is crucified unto me; I am crucified unto the world:" this is a figurative mode of expression, importing a total rupture with the world. two different senses in which the term world Distinguish may be taken: the world of nature, and the world of cupidity. By the world of nature we understand that vast assemblage of beings which the almighty arm of Jehovah has formed, but these considered as they are in themselves.
By the world of cupidity we understand those self-same beings, considered so far as by our [SER. LXXIX. abuse of them, they seduce us from the obedience which we owe to the Creator. Of the every thing that he had made, and behold it natural world it is said, Gen. i. 31, "God saw was very good." And St. Paul says, 1 Tim. iv. 4, that" every creature of God is good... if it be received with thanksgiving." The Christian does not break with the world in this first sense of the word. On the contrary, he makes it the object of his frequent meditation; he discovers in it the perfections of the great Being who created it: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handy work," Ps. xix. 1. Nay more, he makes it the object of his hope: For the promise, I quote the words of St. Paul, in chap. iv. 13, of his Epistle to the Romans, "For the promise that he should be the heir of the world was made to Abraham: and all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world," 1 Cor. iii. 22.
our apostle speaks in the words which I am at-
dying than death in a milder form, Scripture,
ambiguity in these ideas of "deadness to the
THE TRUE GLORY OF THE CHRISTIAN.
world," of "crucifixion to the world," of "a | total rupture with the world." For this reason it is that we said, that in order to have just ideas of this disposition of mind, it is not sufficient to comprehend the nature of it, but that we should also understand the gradations of which it admits. If, in order worthily to sustain the Christian character, an absolute renunciation of the world, in the literal sense of the words, were indisputably necessary, where is the person, alas! who durst pretend to assume that name? Would it be a Noah? would it be an Abraham? would it be a Moses? would it be a David? would it be a Peter? would it be a Paul? would it be one of you, Christians of our own days, who seem to have carried piety to its highest degree of fervour, and "who shine as lights in the world, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation?" Phil. ii. 15.
Where, then, are those saints to be found, in whom an ill-smothered cupidity emits no sparks? That female is an example of what is called virtue, by way of eminence, in her sex; and which, according to the ideas of the age in which we live, seems to constitute the whole of virtue, as far as she is concerned; but, impregnable to all the assaults which can be made upon her chastity, she succumbs under the slightest temptation that attacks her on the side of avarice; and she loses all self-government, the moment you recommend to her, to take care that her charities be in something like proportion to her opulence.
That man is a pattern of reflective retirement, and modest silence: but, unshaken by the rudest attacks made upon his spirit of reserve, he yields to the slightest solicitations of pride, he decks himself out with the names and titles of his ancestors, he admires himself in the poorest effusions of his brain. How easy would it be to multiply examples of this sort!
my body, and bring it into subjection," 1 Cor.
But if it be impossible to say, taking the ex-
"He is crucified unto the world." He is
3. But the Holy Spirit, in representing to us our renunciation of the world, under the idea of a death, of a crucifixion, intended to mark not only the nature and the degrees of the disposition of mind which these expressions denote, but likewise to indicate the difficulty, the bitterness, of making such a sacrifice.
In very rare instances do men die without suffering. Death, in the gentlest form, is usually preceded by violent symptoms, which some have denominated the harbingers of death.These harbingers of death are mortal swoonings, feverish heats, paroxysms of pain, tortures insupportable. Crucifixion, especially, was the most cruel punishment which human justice, shall I call it? or human barbarity ever invented. The imagination recoils from the representation of a man nailed to a tree, suspended by the iron which pierces his hands and his feet, pressed downward with the weight of his own body, the blood of which is drained off drop by drop, till he expires merely from excess of anguish.
Is this frightful image overstrained, when employed to represent the pains which the Christian is called to endure, the conflicts which he has to maintain, the sacrifices which he is bound to make; agonies which he is under an indispensable necessity to undergo, before he possibly can attain that blessed state which our apostle had, through grace, arrived at, when he said, in the words of my text, "the world is crucified unto me, and I am crucified unto the world?"
Represent to yourselves a Christian, represent to yourselves a man as yet a novice in the school of Jesus Christ, called to combat, sometimes the propensities which he brought with him into the world; sometimes to eradicate a habit which has grown up in him, till it is become of custom and example; sometimes to mortify a second nature: sometimes to stem the torrent and subdue a headstrong passion, which en grosses him, transports him, drags him away captive; sometimes to bid an everlasting farewell to the place of his birth, to his kindred,