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wants; who, like ourselves, was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; who, by consequence, will be more apt to sympathize with his fellow-sufferers, and to send relief to those sorrows of which he himself bore a part !
GALATIANS vi. 14.
God forbid that I should glory, fave in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Chrift.
(Preached at the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.]
“MY ways are not as your ways, and :“ my thoughts are not as your thoughts,” said the
Lord to the Old Testament church. And never, surely, did the Eternal Wisdom so disappoint the expectations and blast the hopes of men, as by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Had men been consulted concerning the state in which it was most proper for the Messiah to appear, they would have introduced him into the world with all the circumstances of external pomp and fplendour ; they would have put into his hand the sceptre of dominion over the nations, and subjected to his kingdom all the people of the earth, from the rising to the setting of the sun. A Messiah, whose glory should not strike the senses, whose kingdom was not to be of this world, who was to be made perfect through sufferings, who was to triumph by humiliation, who was to become victori. ous by a shameful death, and in whose humiliation, and sufferings, and cross, the world was to glory; that was an idea which never presented itself to their minds, and which, if it had presented itself, would have been immediately rejected, as having no form nor comeliness, for which it could have been desired : yet, such was the method contrived by Infinite Wifdom to accomplish the redemption of the world. One great end of all the divine dispensations, has been to humble and confound the pride of man. It was pride that at first introduced moral evil into the world. It was pride that tempted the angels to rebel against their Maker, that brought them down from the mansions of light, to the abodes of darkness and despair. It was pride that tempted our first parents to disobey the divine commandment. The language of their apostasy was, “ I will afcend into " the heavens, I will rise above the height of the “ clouds, I will exalt my throne above the stars of “ God, I will be like the Most High.” Pride, although not made for man in his best estate, háth not forsaken him in his worst. Even the fall did not efface the strong impression from his mind. As if he had continued the same noble being he came from the hands of his Creator ; as if he had been still the happy lord of the inferior world, he retained the consciousness of his original excellence, when that excellence was no more; he surrendered himself to delusions which flattered his vain mind; he tried new paths to elevation and worldly greatness; he even appropriated to himself the attributes of the divinity, and, possessed with the madness of ambition, arrogated to himself those honors which are due to God only. Hence the world deified mortal men, worshipped as its creators those to whom it had lately given birth, and adored as immortal and divine the human creatures whose death it had beheld. • As man fell by pride, it was the appointment of Heaven that he should rise by humility. This doc- .. trine was early delivered to the world. God testifie ed by his prophets, that he knew the proud afar off ; that the proud in heart was an abomination to him, but that he would hear the cry of the humble; that though he dwelt in the high and holy place, he would dwell also with that man who was of a hum. ble and contrite fpirit. But more than instructions were requisite to reform the sentiments, and change the spirit, of a world which had been so much intoxicated with dreams of earthly greatness, and so long enchanted with spectacles of human glory. Accor. dingly it pleased God, in the fulness of time, to send forth his own Son into the world, in fashion as a man, in the form of a servant, to become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, and hath appointed all Christians to glory in his cross, nay, to glory in nothing else. " God forbid that I should “ glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jefus Christ."
These words might give occasion to many useful discourses. All that I intend at present is, to show you by what means we are to glory in the cross of Christ.
In the first place, then, We are to glory in the cross of Christ, by frequently meditating upon the circumstances of his death and passion.
The human actions and events in which we glory, become often the objects of contemplation ; they prefent themselves spontaneously to the mind, and be. come the favourite ideas of the soul. We turn them on all sides, we view them in every light, we delight in them, we dwell upon them, we make them our meditation day and night. Surely, then, it becomes us to revolve often in our mind this great mystery of
godliness, God manifested in the flesh, and dying on a cross for the salvation of the world. The angels in heaven, as we are told in Scripture, desired with earnest eyes to look into the sufferings of Jesus ; much more should we make the sufferings of Jesus the object of our meditation, for he took not on him the nature of angels, but of the feed of Abraham.
Call up to thy mind, then, O Christian! the doleful circumstances of thy Saviour's passion, the fad variety of sorrows which he suffered, the torment of body and agony of mind which he underwent, the cruel, the ignominious, and accursed death which he endured. Make these things present to thy mind, till the blended emotions of contrition and sorrow, of awe and wonder, of joy and pleasure, of gratitude and love, take possession of thy heart. “ Can you not “ watch with me one hour?” said our Lord to his disciples, when he entered into his agony. “ Can “ you not watch with me one hour ?" saith our Lord to his disciples in every age, when they are about to renew the memorials of his death and passion. Agree. ably to his dying charge, accompany thy Redeemer, O Christian! in the last scene of his sufferings. Look to him with such a lively sense and feeling of his forrows, till, like Paul, thou art crucified with Christ.. While all nature is thrown into disorder, while the rocks are rent, and the dead arise, wilt thou continue. unmoved? Wilt thou continue harder than the rocks, and more insensible than the ashes of the dead ? No; while thou thus musest, holy affections will be kindled, and the heavenly fire will burn; from the altar which was erected on the hill of Cal. vary, a living ember will touch thy lips, and purify thy heart,