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measure reflected upon myself. Again, I may speak of the riches and magnificence of some great city ; but I am then only said to glory in it, if I add any circumstance of relation; as that it is the place of my nativity, or the place of my residence, or the place in which I have property and interest. When therefore the apostle says, “ God “ forbid that I should glory, fave in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, it certainly implies a humble persuasion of his own interest in it, and his happiness to flow from it. This indeed naturally arises from a real and spiritual difcovery of its proper glory. None can see the transcen- . dent beauty of this object, till they have seen their own guilt and misery in the sight of a holy God.
And no sooner do they discover the excellence of this atonement, its perfect sufficiency for all, and the unrestrained offer to all, than they fly to it as their security, and rest on it as the ground of their hope. The word here translated glorying, signifies at the same time, exulting, or rejoicing ; and therefore to glory in the cross, is the iame thing as to rejoice in the Saviour. The truth is, it is but seldom that this apostle mentions the death of Christ without some appropriating expression : Phil. iji. 8. “ Yea doubtless, and “ I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the “ knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have “ suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but “ dung, that I may win Christ;" Gal. ii. 20. “ I am cru“cified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but “ Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in “ the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved
me and gave himself for me.”
3. To complete the idea of the apostle's glorying in the cross, it implies such a sense of its comparative worth, as prompts him to a public and open profession of esteem, with a sovereign contempt of the judgment or conduct of others, who set themselves in opposition to it. Glorying always fignifies the declaration of our mind to others; and is not ill illustrated by that expression of the apostle Paul in writing to the Romans, chapter i. 16. “ For I am not “ ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of “ God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, to the
“ Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The opposition between the sentiments of others, and his own, he often mentions; as i Cor. i. 18. “For the preaching of the “ cross is to them that perish, foolishness : but unto us “, which are saved, it is the power of God.” And verse 23.
“ But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but “ unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, “ Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”. When he glories in the cross, therefore, it implies an open and resolute adherence to this despised cause. This meaning is particularly carried in the word cross. It had been less wonder, if he had said, he gloried in his Saviour's divine power exerted before his crucifixion, or that the gloried in his triumphant resurrection, and exaltation to the right hand of God after it; but, instead of this, he says he gloried in his cross, in his very abasement, in what was molt vile and contemptible:
A late very eminent writer and champion for the cross, in a sermon on the same subject, makes a remark to the following purpose : “* That through the veneration of “ many ages, and the difuse of that punishment among “ us in the execution of malefactors, the word cross does “ not carry so base an idea to our minds; but that in the “ear of a Galatian, it sounded as if the apostle had said, he
gloried in a gallows, a gibbet or a halter.” And in a note upon this passage of the sermon, when published, he expresses himself thus: “ Some persons, I am informed, “ were disgusted at these words, halter, gallows, gibbet, they are so horridly contemptible : to whom I would
reply, That the cross, in point of ignominy, implied all " this; and in point of torture, much more.
Unless the English reader forms to himself some such image as this, “ he will never be able to apprehend the scandalous na“ ture and shocking circumftances of his divine master's " death. The words, I must confess, were diversified, and " the sentiment reiterated, on purpose to effect the mind " with this astonishing truth. Neither can I prevail with
* Mr. Hervey.
Phil. iii. 7.
“ myself to expunge the expressions, unless I could sub“ stitute others of a more ignominious and execrable im
port in their room. Only I would beg the serious reader “ to spend a moment in the following reflection. Is it so, " that a polite and delicate ear can hardly endure fo much “ as the sound of the words? How amazing then was the “ condescension, how charming and adorable the goodness “ of God's illustrious Son, to bear all that is signified by “ these intolerably vile terms, bear it willingly, bear it “ cheerfully, for us men, and our salvation !”
Before concluding this head, it will be proper to observe, in what it was the apostle did not glory. There is plainly a tacit opposition in the form of his expression, to some things in which others were apt to glory, and he as hearti. ly despised: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the “crols of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He says in general,
“ But what things were gain to me, those I "counted lofs for Christ.” We find elsewhere, in his writings, express mention of those particulars which he renounced as any subject of boasting. 1. His learning as a scholar; 2. His privileges as a Jew; 3. Even his zeal and activity as a minister of Christ. Let us consider each of these by itself.
1. He would not glory in his learning as a scholar. The apostle Paul had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and seems to have been well accomplished in eve. ry branch of human science. Yet he speaks of it with great neglect, or rather with a noble disdain, when compared with the doctrine of the cross : 1 Cor. i. 17. “ For
Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel : “ not with wisdom of words, left the crofs of Christ should “ be made of none effect,” And again, verse 19, 20. “For “it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wife, and " will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wife where is the scribe? where is the
disputer of this world ? hath not God made foolish the “ wisdom of this world ?” It may perhaps be asked, What is the meaning of this renunciation of human learning and wisdom? Is there any real opposition between learning and the cross? Would not the legitimate use of human
wisdom lead us to embrace it? To this I answer, that it seems 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 consequence of this, a liedfast adherence to the doctrine of the cross, though those who were wife in their own conceit might be tempted to despise it, and to despise him for its fake. This great scholar, then, was not unwilling to suffer the derision and contempt of other scholars for his glorying in the cross.
(2) It implies such a superlative admiration of this glo. rious and interesting object, that all the knowledge he posfessed, and the honor he could otherwise acquire, seemed to him unworthy of regard : his attention was wholly fixed
upon, and his affections wholly engrossed by, his Redeemer's cross.
(3) It implied, that though he certainly ought, and cer. tainly did use the noble parts and accomplishments of which he was possessed, with zeal in his matter's cause : yet he did it with that humility and self-denial, with that noble contempt of vain embellishments, which showed he was not building a monument to himself, but seeking the honor of his Saviour. The doctrine of the cross should be treated in a manner fome how correspondent to it; not with a learned and oftentatious felf-sufficiency, but with a meek and truly evangelical self-denial.
Mistake me not, my brethren: I am not speaking against learning in itself; it is a precious gift of God, and may be happily improved in the service of the gospel; but I will venture to say, in the spirit of the apostle Paul's writings in general, and of this passage in particular, Accursed be all that learning which sets itself in opposition to the cross of Christ! Accursed be all that learning which disguises or is ashamed of the cross of Christ! Accursed be all that learning which fills the room that is due to the cross of Christ! And once more, Accursed be all that learning which is not made subservient to the honor and glory of the cross of Chrift!
Well then, the learned and eloquent apostle renounced the wisdom 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 sit down at Christ's table, and to find acceptance with him, than to possess beauty, wisdom, learning, riches, and honors in the highest possible perfection; and
grant that every one in this assembly may be able to say, in fincerity, that, in what things he thinks he excels, these he is willing to “count loss for “ Christ!”
2. The apostle 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 also have con“ fidence in the flesh. If any other man think that he " hath whereof he night trust in the flesh, I more : Cir“cumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the “ tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as
touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecu“ ting the church ; touching the righteousness which is in “the law, blameless.” Toward the latter end of the Jewith commonwealth, there was a very prevailing and gross mistake 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 reason to be fenfible, that much of the same disposition is ready to adhere to men in every age. But one great design of the gospel is, to level the pride of man, to throw down all diftinction in point of merit before God, and to show, that the power of the Redeemer is equally necessary to, and equally sufficient for, all without exception : Rom. iii. 22. “ Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Je“ sus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for " there is no difference.” Rom. x. 12, " For there is no “ difference between the Jew and the Greek : for the same “ Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him.” Col. ii. 11. “ Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circum“cision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor “ free; but Christ is all, and in all.”
3. The apostle did not glory in his personal character, not even in his zeal and activity as a minister of Chrift. This appears through the whole of his writings, where