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doctrine of the cross is "to them that perish, foolishness," "yet to them that are “called,” that is, to all who are sincerely disposed to embrace the offers of divine mercy made to them in the Gospel, it is, as the text affirms it to be," CHRIST THE POWER 66 OF GOD, AND THE WISDOM OF GOD." To enter into the proof of this at large would require a volume. But the slightest and most superficial view of the subject will be sufficient to show, what great, and important, and seemingly opposite ends were answered by the death of Christ upon
By this extraordinary event, the power of death itself, and the dominion of Satan, "the prince of this world," were, as the Scriptures inform us, at once destroyed *. It gave occasion to that most astonishing miracle, the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. It was a seal and confirmation of the new covenant of mercy between God and man, as covenants used anciently to be confirmed by sacrifices. It was a completion of the ancient prophecies concerning our Saviour, and reconciled that apparent contradiction
diction between the description of his temporal sufferings and his spiritual glories, which so much perplexed and confounded the Jews. It taught mankind that hardest of all lessons (a lesson which is, God knows, but too necessary for every human being in his passage through the world) to bear the cruelest indignities, the heaviest afflictions, and the acutest sufferings, with composure, patience, meekness, and resignation to the will of Heaven. It effected, what of all other things seemed the most difficult, the salvation of repenting sinners, without either punishing them, or weakening the authority of God's moral government; and, while it afforded assurance of pardon for past offences, gave no encouragement to future transgressions. And what completes the whole is, that this doctrine of the cross, which by the proud reasoners of that age was called foolishness, did notwithstanding make its way in the world with incredible rapidity, and produced such a reformation in the hearts and lives of men, as all the eloquence and subtilty of the greatest philosophers could never accomplish. When we reflect on these things, we must surely allow
allow, that although there may be many things in the doctrine of redemption to us inexplicable, yet it appears plainly, even from our imperfect conceptions of it, to have been a most eminent proof both of the wisdom and the power of God.
The more we examine into it, the more we shall be convinced of this great truth. But as there is now no time for any further enquiries of this nature, I shall dismiss the subject with this one observation—That there is so far from being any thing in the doctrine of the cross that ought to shock our understandings, or stagger our faith, that, on the contrary, it affords us the strongest evidences of the truth of our Saviour's pretensions. He well knew that the Jews expected in their Messiah a splendid victorious deliverer, and that the heathens loved to be amused with philosophical disputes and oratorical harangues. Had he therefore been an impostor, he would most certainly have accommodated his appearance and his doctrines to these expectations. But by teaching, living, suffering, and dying, in direct contradiction to these deeprooted prepossessions, he plainly showed
that he depended not on the favour of man, but on the force of truth, and the power of God only, for the success of his mission. In the same manner, after his ascension, when the Apostles found that the doctrine of Christ crucified gave the utmost offence to their hearers, was to the "Jews a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness;" had they acted on the principles of mere worldly policy, they would quickly have changed their tone, would have dissembled, or softened, or concealed this obnoxious article. They would have made use of art and management, similar, perhaps, to that which the Jesuits in China are said to have adopted. It is a charge brought against those missionaries by some writers, and believed by others of considerable authority, that finding the people of that country exceedingly scandalized at the doctrine of a crucified Redeemer, they thought it prudent to deny that Christ was ever crucified. They affirmed, that it was nothing more than a calumny invented by the Jews, to throw a disgrace on Christianity. And what did they gain by this ingenious piece of craft? Did they secure a better reception
for the Gospel, and establish themselves more firmly in the good opinion of mankind? Alas! Christianity no longer exists in China, and they themselves no longer exist as a society. Such are the effects of worldly policy, and worldly wisdom. And had the apostles acted on the same principles, they would have met with the same success. But they pursued the maxims of "that wisdom which is from above." Undismayed by the offence taken at the doctrine of the cross, they continued to preach Christ crucified. They disdained all the little temporizing arts of accommodation, all unworthy compliances with the prejudices of mankind. They loudly declared to the whole world, that they believed the doctrine of the cross to be a divine truth, and that they thought it their bounden duty to persist in preaching it, without fear, without disguise, and without reserve. They were persuaded that God would some way or other take care to prosper his own work and that, notwithstanding all opposition to the contrary," their labours should not be in vain in the Lord." The event showed that their reasoning was just, and that they judged