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his glory with exceeding joy. Is the Christian work discouraging, for men do not respond and evil seems to grow more rapidly than good ? The seeining discouragement is not unforeseen: “These things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come ye niay remember them, how that I told you.” Of course there will be difficulty, evil will not die without a fight. Sin, entrenched through millenniums, fortified in men's pleasures and prejudices, will not capitulate at the first parley. It is war to the death. But the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds. And men will not respond to the evangel at our first cry to them. Their ears are dull, their eyes are holden by the things of earth, their hearts are set upon their own delights. We must win them. Lovingly, patiently, continuously must we win them to the truth; and they will come at last. There can be no doubt that they will come at last. Jesus was sure of that: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. And we must be sure, for if we have faith we shall say unto the mountains of difficulty, “Be ye removed,”. and they shall vanish before us.
The church must come back ever to the Upper Room for comfort. And from Jesus will come no easy comfort. He recognizes all the hardness of Christian life and testimony. Indeed he promises the hardness as inevitable. But it is the call of heroism, for the hardness leads to victory. The cross is certain, but no less certain is the crown.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."
Friday—Tbe Meaning of the Cross
“And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him.”
The whole week might appropriately be called the Week of the cross: for the crucifixion is the goal toward which all the events, beginning on Sunday morning, move. In a profounder sense, the cross may be called the moral and spiritual climax of the world's life. The crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary is the interpretative key of God and of human life.
Jesus himself looked upon his death as the chief method of pleasing God and saving men. His ethical teaching centers upon self-sacrifice: "He that loseth his life shall find it,” “Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be the servant of all.” All the aćts of his life form the picture of a man who lived to serve. Self does not find expression in his whole career.
Jesus himself relied upon his death as the means of salvation. It is noticeable that while, as a preacher, he made use of the truth, calling upon men to follow him personally, yet, especially toward the end, his mind was occupied with the cross. "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples that he would go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and be killed." From that time forth he is frequently dropping remarks, that the only way by which he could save men, was for him to die. He must be “lifted up." Jesus himself regarded the cross as the climax of his life.
The disciples also came to look upon the cross as the heart of their gospel. The fact that the cross at first was to them a stumbling block only confirms this statement. The crucifixion was to them the crushing of their hopes. When he predicted his death, “they understood none of these things.” After he was gone, and they recalled his words and saw him through the eyes of the spirit, the crucifixion assumed a supreme place in their thoughts. The cross revealed his glory. When they came to tell the story—the gospel-of his life, the sufferings of the last four days—his passionoccupy a fourth of the narrative. When Peter preached the first sermon on the day of Pentecost, the crucifixion was the climax of his message: “Therefore, let all know that God hath made Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ.” The climax of the sermon of the first martyr-Stephen—was the crucifixion.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I determined not to know anything among you saye Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Paul's life is a living epistle of that avowal. When John came to write the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the central figure in heaven and on earth is the Lamb that was slain. When John in his old age wrote the last word of the apostles of Jesus, he described him as “the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” It is very evident that the immediate disciples of Jesus regarded the crucifixion as pre-eminently revealing his power and glory.
The church of the centuries has never departed long from the cross as the supreme fact of Christianity. Every aspect of the life of he church reveals this. The architecture of the church has been patterned after the cross. Even the doors of Christian dwellings have the cross worked in the panels. The cross is the one conspicuous symbol lifted up on the towers and spires of Christendom. The cross is carried at the head of processionals. The cross was the standard borne by the armies of the Crusaders. It is conspicuous in the art of the christian Church. The same is true of the hymnology of the church; the cross is the greatest theme. In the Greek and Roman communions, worship gathers around the “mass” as a centre. The mass is the “sacrifice in the sacrament of the Eucharist." It is the celebration of the crucifixion. In the Protestant churches there are two "Sacraments”—baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is the burial of self. The Lord's Supper is the celebration of the crucifixion of Jesus, and the showing of it forth until he comes.
The doctrines of the church reveal the crucifixion as the supreme fact. The theology of the church has been Christocentric, and the crucifixion has been regarded as the great fact in Christ's life. Many of the great controversies have raged around the atonement. The leading question has been the relation of the cross to salvation. The cross has furnished the supreme topic in preaching. There is nothing like it to remove prejudice, to break up hearts of stone, to reconcile enemies, to inspire heroism, to console sinful hearts, to cast out devils. The story of the cross is the story that has transformed the world.
The church of the centuries also bears witness that sacrifice is the only source of highest character. The church, in spite of all its weaknesses and errors, has testified that only those who have suffered and died for mankind—the missionary and the martyr-are worthy to wear
These have been canonized as "saints." The heart of the church has been true to the ideal of its Lord that only the man who serves is chief. The church throughout the ages bears witness, that the cross is the supreme expression of the power and glory of God, that the crucifixion is the heart of Christian theology and life.
May we ask now what it is that gives the cross its supreme place? It would be enough to say that it is the key to the interpretation of the world—that the universe is fashioned after the pattern of the cross; to say that he who kneels at the cross will understand life, its meaning and its duties. Let us state plainly however what vital truth the cross reveals to an ordinary man. He need be no student of history, no reader of the poets, no philosopher of life;-just an ordinary man who wishes to know the truth by which to live, and the faith by which to die.
First of all the cross reveals—God: a knowledge of him that was not reached by human wisdom.
It is strange; yet it is so! One looking upon Calvary gains a knowledge of God, that is a marvel to the philosopher. He sees that “God is love."
Other men had risen to the thought of a God of power. But God as love had not been realized. Calvary is an expression of God. The ordinary man, in sorrow, in suffering, in sin, looking upon the cross is not permitted to forget that God is love. If one kneels at the cross, enters into the sufferings of Jesus, sees that it is done in obedience to love for men, out of the spirit of sacrifice and service, it will be impossible for him to get away from the thought that God is love. Calvary is the expression in time of an eternal fact: a fact that wise men were feeling after and common men in dumb hunger were perishing without; the fact that is made plain in the cross, that God is love.
Further, the cross reveals the Ideal or Perfect Man.. There have been plenty of men whom the world has called heroes. There have been men of war, men of money, men of intellect. They have had their followers. No one imagines that Hercules will ever again be the hero of mankind; unless mankind reverts