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and, like Abraham, "to go out, not knowing whither he went;" sometimes, with that same patriarch, to immolate an only son; to tear himself, on a dying bed, from friends, from a spouse, from a child, whom he loves as his own soul; and all this without murmuring or complaining: and all this, because it is the will of God; and all this, with that submission which was expressed by Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of the Christian's faith, his Redeemer and his pattern: "Not what I will, but what thou wilt," Matt. xxvi. 39.
O cross of my Saviour, how heavily dost thou press, when laid upon a man who has not yet carried love to thee to that height which renders all things easy to him who loves! O path of virtue, which appearest so smooth to them who walk in thee, how rugged is the road which leads unto thee! O yoke of Jesus Christ, so easy! burden so light to him who has been accustomed to bear thee; how difficult, how oppressive to those who are but beginning to try their strength! You see it, accordingly, my brethren! you see it on the page of inspiration, to renounce the world of cupidity, is to present the body in sacrifice; “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice," Rom. xii. 1; it is to cut off a right hand," it is to "pluck out a right eye," Matt. v. 29, 30; it is for a man to "deny himself," it is to "take up the cross:" for "if any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me," Matt. xvi. 24; it is, in a word, to be "crucified with Jesus Christ;" for "I am crucified with Christ," Gal. ii. 20; and, in the words of the text, "The world is crucified unto me, and I am crucified unto the world." My God, how much it costs to be a Christian!
the Redeemer offered up of his own life, is alone capable of satisfying divine justice, and of reconciling guilty man to God.
We then entered into a more particular detail on the subject, by proposing,
I. To examine wherein that disposition of the Christian consists, by which he is enabled, with St. Paul, to say, "the world is crucified unto me, and I am crucified unto the world." II. To show, that in such dispositions as these, true glory consists.
III. To demonstrate that it is the cross of Christ, and the cross of Christ only, which can inspire us with these sentiments; as a foundation for this farther conclusion, that in the cross of Christ alone we can find a just ground of glorying.
The first of these three proposals we have endeavoured to execute, by considering, 1. The nature of this reciprocal crucifixion: 2. The gradations of which it admits: 3. The difficulty, the bitterness, of making a sacrifice so very painful. We now proceed to what was next proposed, namely,
II. To show, that in such dispositions as are expressed by our apostle, true glory consists.
In order to elucidate and confirm this position, I mean to institute a comparison between the hero of this world, and the Christian hero, in the view of making it evidently apparent, that this last has infinitely the superiority over the other. From what sources does the hero of this world pretend to derive his glory?
The hero of this world sometimes derives his glory, from the greatness of the master to whom his services are devoted. He congratulates himself on contributing to the glory of those men who are so highly exalted above the rest of mankind, on being the support of their throne, and the guardian of their crown. The Master, to whose service the Christian has devoted himself, is the King of kings: he it is, in whose presence all the potentates of the
THE TRUE GLORY OF THE CHRIS-earth "are as a drop of a bucket, and are
TIAN. PART II.
GALATIANS vi. 14.,
But 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.
counted as the small dust of the balance," Isa. xl. 15. He it is, by whose supreme authority "kings reign, and princes decree justice," Prov. viii. 15. It is true that the greatness of this adorable Being raises him far aboye all our services. It is true that his throne is established for ever, and that the united force of all created things would in vain attempt to shake it. But if the Christian can contribute nothing to the glory of so great a master, he publishes it abroad, he confounds those who presume to invade it, he makes it to be known over the whole earth.
HAVING presented you with a general view of the apostle's reasoning in this epistle; having considered it as an answer to three different classes of opponents, whom St. Paul had to combat; namely, those who maintained The hero of this world sometimes derives the observance of the Levitical institutions, to his glory from the hatred with which he is anithe disparagement of the gospel, 1. From the mated, against the enemy with whom he is prejudice of birth and education: 2. From an making war. What enemy more hateful can excess of complaisance: 3. From criminal po- a man engage, than the world? It is the world licy: we proceeded to show, that whatever dif- which degrades us from our natural greatness; ference of motive and opinion might prevail which effaces from the soul of man, those traits among these three descriptions of adversaries which the finger of Deity himself has impresswhom our apostle had to encounter, and how-ed upon it; which destroys our pretensions to ever different the strain of reasoning which he a blessed immortality. employs, according as the character of each demanded, he supports, in opposition to them all, this principle, on which the whole of Christianity rests, namely, that the sacrifice which
The hero of this world sometimes derives his glory from the dignity of the persons who have preceded him in the same honourable career. It is considered in the world, as glo
THE TRUE GLORY OF THE CHRISTIAN.
rious, to succeed those illustrious men who have filled the universe with the sound of their name, who have made terror to stalk before them, and who signalized themselves by exploits more than human. The Christian has been preceded in his career by patriarchs, by prophets, by apostles, by martyrs, by those multitudes of the redeemed, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, Rev. v. 9. Those holy men have been called to wage war with sin, as we are to subdue our passions; to form in their inner man, as we are, piety, charity, patience, the habit and the practice of every virtue. The Christian has been preceded in his career, by Jesus Christ himself, the author and the finisher of the faith. "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race which is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame," Heb. on xii. 1, 2. The hero of this world sometimes derives his glory from the brilliancy of his achievements. But who has greater exploits to glory in than the Christian can display? To shake off the yoke of prejudice, to despise the maxims of men, to resist flesh and blood, to subdue passion, to brave death, to suffer martyrdom, to remain unmoved amidst the convulsions of dissolving nature, and, in the very wreck of a labouring universe, to be able to apply those exceeding great and precious promises, which God has spoken by the mouth of the prophet, Isa. liv. 10. "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed: but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." These, these are the achievements of the Christian.
to their view; employing eternity in celebrating their excellency, and crying aloud day and night: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is full of his glory," Isa. vi. 3. "Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God, for ever and ever! Amen," Rev. vii. 12. "Great and marvellous 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 This Being, so worthy to be praised, and name? for thou only art holy," Rev. xv. 3, 4. 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, a 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 eye of 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 cross: "to him that overcometh, will I grant to all who combat under the banner of the Ah! glory of the hero of this world, profane to sit with me in my throne," Rev. iii. 21. 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 ye once to be compared with ted for the Christian hero? I sacrifice, my the acclamations, and with the crowns preparbrethren, 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 endeavour 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 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!" 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 becom
ing in a Christian to lull himself to sleep in
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 unto 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 less 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?" John 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 Delilah 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 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 bare them in his own body on the tree," 1 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 to 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 forces are exacted, so costly as those which Chrisa 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 colours 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 hath counted
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 sacrifi
tianity 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 Christ 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 us to adopt them. It assures, on the part of God, of every support we can need, in maintaining the conflicts to which we are called. It lays the foundation of this reasoning, the justest, the most conclusive, which intelligence ever formed: "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not
ON THE FEAR OF DEATH.
his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. viii. 31, 32.
And, to conclude this discourse by representing the same images which we traced in the beginning of it, if we consider the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, relatively to the glory which followed, it still presses us to adopt the sentiments of St. Paul in the text. The idea of that glory carried Jesus Christ through all that was most painful in his sacrifice. On the eve of consummating it, he thus addresses his heavenly Father: "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Father, gloFather, the hour is rify thy name.... come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may I have glorified thee on glorify thee. the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do: and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was," John xii. 23. 28; xvii. 1. 4, 5. This expectation was not disappointed. The conflict was long, it was severe, but it came to a period; but heavenly messengers descended to receive him as he issued from the tomb; but a cloud came to raise him from the earth; but the gates of heaven opened, with the acclamations of the church triumphant, celebrating his victories, and hailing his exaltation in these strains: "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in," Ps. xxiv. 7.
Christians! let our eyes settle on this object. To suffer with Jesus Christ, is to have full assurance of reigning with him. We do not mean to conceal from you the pains which await you in the career prescribed to the followers of the Redeemer. It is a hard thing to renounce all that flatters, all that pleases, all that charms. It is hard to be told incessantly of difficulties to be surmounted, of enemies to be encountered, of a cross to be borne, of crucifixion to be endured. It is hard for a man to mortify himself, while all around him are rejoicing; while they are refining on pleasure; while they are employing their utmost ingenuity to procure new amusements; while they are distilling their brain to diversify their delights; while they are spending life in sports, in feasting, in gayety, in spectacle on spectacle. The conflict is long, it is violent, I acknowledge it; but it draws to a period; but your cross shall be followed by the same triumph which that of your Saviour was: "Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son:" but you, in expiring on your cross; you shall with holy joy and confidence commend your soul to God, as he commended his, and, closing "Father! into thy your eyes in death, say, hands I commend my spirit," Luke xxiii. 46; but the angels shall descend to receive that departing spirit, to convey it to the bosom of your God; and after having rejoiced in your conversion, they shall rejoice together in your beatitude, as they rejoiced in his; but in the great day of the restitution of all things, you shall ascend on the clouds of heaven, as Jesus Christ did; you shall be exalted, like him, far above all heavens; and you shall assume, together with him, a seat on the throne of the majesty of God.
Thus it is that the cross of Christ forms us to the sentiments of our apostle; thus it is that we are enabled to say, "The world is crucified unto us, and we are crucified unto the world:" thus it is that the cross conducts us to the true glory. O glorious cross! thou shalt ever be the object of my study, and of my meditation! I will propose to myself to know nothing, save Jesus Christ and him crucified! "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!" May God grant us this grace! Amen.
flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.
To know what death is, without being terriattainable by the human mind; it is the highfied at it, is the highest degree of perfection est point of felicity which a man can reach, while in this valley of tears. I say, to know death without fearing it; and it is in the union of these two things we are to look for that effort of genius so worthy of emulation, and that perfection of felicity so much calculated to kindle ardent desire. For to brave death without knowing what it is; to shut our eyes against all that is hideous in its aspect, in order to combat it with success, this is so far from indicating a superior excellency of disposition, that it must be considered rather as a mental derangement; so far from being the height of felicity, it is the extreme of misery.
We have seen philosophers shaking off (if after all they did so in reality, and if that intrepid outside did not conceal a trembling heart,) we have seen philosophers shaking off the fear of death; but they did not know it. They viewed it only under borrowed aspects. They figured it to themselves, as either reducing the nature of man to a state of annihilation, or as summoning him before chimerical tribunals, or as followed by a certain imaginary felicity.
We have seen heroes, as the world calls them, pretending to brave the terrors of death; but they did not know it: they represented it to themselves as crowned with laurels, as decorated with trophies, as figuring on the page of the historian."
We have seen, and still see every day, libertines pretending to brave the terrors of death, but they know it not. Their indolence is the cause of that assumed firmness; and they are incapable of enjoying tranquillity, but by banishing the idea of a period, the horror of which guise this formidable object; to view it in its they are unable to overcome. But not to dis
true light; to fix the eye steadily on every fea- | ever, cannot be called in question; this great ture; to have a perception of all its terrors; in enemy of our salvation unquestionably exera word, to know what death is, without being cises a sort of empire over the universe. terrified at it, to repeat it once more, is the Though the Scriptures speak sparingly of the highest degree of perfection attainable by the nature and functions of this malignant spirit, human mind; it is the highest point of felicity they say enough of them to convey a striking which a man can reach while in this valley of idea of his power, and to render it formidable to us. The Scripture tells us, I. That he tempts men to sin; witness the wiles which he practised on our first parents; witness that which St. Paul says of him in chap. ii. of the Epistle to the Ephesians," the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience;" witness the name of Tempter given to him in the gospel history, Matt. iv. 3. The Scripture informs us, II. That be accuses men before God of those very crimes which he solicited them to commit; witness the prophet Zechariah, who was "showed Joshua the high-priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him;" or, as it might have been rendered, to be his adversary or accuser: witness the descriptive appellation of calumniator or accuser given him by St. John in the Apocalypse. The Scripture tells us, III. That he sometimes torments men; witness the history of Job; witness what St. Paul says of his "delivering up unto Satan" the incestuous person at Corinth. This power of delivering up to Satan, to mention it by the way, was a part of the miraculous gifts conferred on the apostle; gifts transmitted to the immediately succeeding ages of the church, at least if Pauliness is to be credited on this subject, who relates that an abandoned wretch was, by St. Ambrosius, delivered up to Satan, who tore him in pieces. Finally, IV. We find the devil designated in Scripture, "the god of the world," 2 Cor. iv. 4, and "the prince of the power of the air," Eph. ii. 2. You likewise see him represented as acting on the waters of the sea, as raising tempests, and as smiting the children of men with various kinds of plagues.
Sovereign wisdom, my brethren, forms his children to true heroism. That wisdom effects, what neither philosophers by their false maxims, nor the heroes of the world by their affected intrepidity, nor the libertine by his insensibility and indolence; that wisdom effects what all the powers in the universe could not have produced, and alone bestows on the Christian the privilege of knowing death without fearing it. All this is contained in the words which I have read as the subject of the present discourse: "through fear of death, men were all their life-time subject to bondage:" there is the power of death; there his empire; there his triumph. Jesus Christ, "through his death, has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivers them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage:" Behold death vanquished! there are his spoils; there is the triumph over him: salutary ideas! which will present themselves in succession to our thoughts in the sequel of this exercise. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil: and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage."
With respect to the first words, "forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, I shall only remark, that by the children referred to, we are to understand men in general, and believers in particular: and by that flesh and blood we are not to understand corruption, as in some other passages of Scripture, but human nature; so that when it is said, "as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, Jesus Christ likewise took part of the same,' the meaning is, he assumed a body such as ours is.
Having made these few short remarks on the first words, we shall confine ourselves to the two ideas which have been indicated, and shall employ what remains of our time, in proving this fundamental truth, that Jesus Christ, "by his death, has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, in order that he might deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage."
The terrors of death are expressed in terms powerfully energetical, in this text. It represents to us a mighty tyrant causing death to march at his command, and subjecting the whole universe to his dominion. This tyrant is the devil. He is the personage here decribed, and who, "through the fear of death, subjects men to bondage."
You stand aghast, no doubt, on beholding the whole human race reduced to subjection under a master so detestable. The fact, how
But if the devil be represented as exercising an influence over the ills of human life, he is still more especially represented as exerting his power over our death, the last and the most formidable of all our woes. The Jews were impressed with ideas of this kind. Nay, they did not satisfy themselves with general notions on this subject. They entered into the detail (for, my brethren, it has been an infirmity incident to man in every age, to assert confidently on subjects the most mysterious and concealed,) they said that the devil, to whom they gave the name of Samuel,† had the empire of death:" that his power extended so far as to prevent the resurrection of the wicked. St. Paul, in the words of our text, adopts their mode of expression, as his custom is, without propagating their error: he describes the evil spirit as the person who possesses the empire of death, and who, "through the fear of death, subjects men all their life-time to bondage."
But Christians, be not dismayed at beholding this fearful image. "Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel," Numb. xxiii. 23.
*Paulin. de Vit. Ambros.