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The world crucified by the crofs of Chrift.
GALATIANS VI. 14. laft claufe.
By whom the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.
I Now proceed to the Second thing proposed,
which was, To fhow the influence of the crofs of Chrift in crucifying the world. This, my brethren, deferves your most serious attention, as pointing you to the great and vital principle of the Chriftian's fanctification, the true and only fource of spiritual comfort and peace. The crofs of Chrift is always confidered in the apoftolic writings as an object of the highest dignity and merit; and the believer is there taught to Speak of it in expreffions of the warmest attachment and regard. Witness the words of the text itself, in the preceding claufe: "God for"bid that I should glory fave in the cross of our "Lord Jefus Chrift." We may perhaps be easi ly induced, in a time of external quietness and peace, to adopt this fentiment as an opinion, or to use it as a form; but happy, and only happy, those in whom it dwells as an ever-pre
fent truth, and operates as a daily governing principle !
Taking the subject in great latitude, I might obferve, that the cross of Chrift being the price paid for the bleffings of falvation in general, every illuminating discovery in the mind, and every gracious affection in the heart, which are the work of the divine Spirit, may be justly afcribed to it. But I propofe, at this time, to confider it fingly as an object of faith, and to fhew how the firm perfuafion and frequent recollection of this great truth tends to crucify the world to us, and us to the world; the rather, that we find elsewhere our victory over the world afcribed to faith, and this faith particularly terminating on the Son of God: 1 John v. 4. 5. "For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh "the world and this is the victory that over. "cometh the world, even our faith. Who is "he that overcometh the world, but he that "believeth that Jefus is the Son of God?" For the further illuftration of this fubject, then, let us obferve,
1. That the cross of Christ crucifies the world, as it gives us an immediate and striking view of the mortality of our nature, as well as the original and general caufe of this mortality. The vanity of created things is in nothing more manifeft, than in their precarious nature, particularly our own tendency to the duft, by which all earthly relations fhall be speedily and entirely diffolved. In this view, indeed, you may fay, that the death of any other perfon, sickness, and
all its attending symptoms, or a funeral, with its mournful folemnities, tends to crucify the worlć: and most certainly they do. But there is fomething ftill more in the crofs of Chrift. There we fee, not only the death of our nature, but the death of the Son of God in our room. There we are carried back to a view of the great caufe of the univerfal reign of the king of terrors. Sin, fin firft brought death into the world; and this made it neceffary that Chrift "fhould tafte "of death for every man," that we might be reftored to spiritual life. Mortality, therefore, is written in the most legible characters on the cross of Chrift. Nay, the curfe of creation itfelf is written upon the cross of Chrift. We cannot look upon it, therefore, in a serious manner, without being deeply affected with the doom which we ourselves have still to undergo: "Duft "thou art, and to duft thou fhalt return." It is impoffible to avoid knowing that we must die; but those only difcover the moment of this truth, who see its procuring caufe. Those only have juft and abiding impreffions of the speedy approach of natural death, who are filled with concern for their own deliverance from the power of the second death.
2. The cross of Christ crucifies the world to a believer, as it fhews him how little he deferves at the hand of God. Believers on the cross of Christ see him standing in their room, and bearing the wrath of an offended God, which was their due. When this is not only professed with
the mouth, but received into the heart, it gives a deep conviction of the evil of fin, and lays the finner proftrate in humility and felf-abafement. Muft not this greatly weaken and mortify all worldly affection, which takes its rife from pride and felf-fufficiency? It is, if I may fpeak fo, a fort of claim and demand upon Providence, as if something were due to us. Worldly persons, in profperity, not only cleave to the world as their portion, but may be faid to affert their title to it as their property. The fame inward difpofition may be difcovered by their carriage in the oppofite state. When their schemes are broken, and their hopes blafted, by repeated disappointments, or when their poffeffions are taken from them by unexpected strokes, they refift and rebel with impatience and indignation, as if fome perfon had done them wrong.
But when men are fenfible that they deferve nothing at the hand of God, this mortifies their earthly defires, and puts their complaints to filence. See how Job expreffes himself after all his calamities, as fenfible that he had loft nothing of his own, chap. i. 21. "Naked came I "out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I "return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord "hath taken away; bleffed be the name of the "Lord." Let me fpeak of this, my brethren, as a gracious difpofition, which, alas! is too often but weak, yet furely hath place in the heart of every child of God. Let me fuppofe him convinced, that he is unworthy of the leaft of all God's mercies; will he not keep his pofVOL. I. feffions
feffions the more loosely, and will he not quit his hold the more easily? But where fhall we
learn real felf-abafement fo well as from the crofs? where fhall we learn how little we deferve that is good, fo well as in that place which fhews we have indeed deferved every thing that is evil? where fhall we learn to make moderate demands of created mercies, but where we fee, that not only the creature, but life itself, was forfeited by our guilt? Let me fuppofe a condemned criminal carried, with many others, to a scaffold, there receiving a pardon, and witneffing, in the execution of others, what was the sentence of the law upon himself; will he, at this inftant, think you, be impatient or thankful? Will he be jealous of the honour or refpect paid to him? will he quarrel about the dignity or convenience of the place affigned to him? No furely. Loft in the confideration of the fate he has escaped, and the favour he has received, he will pay little regard to matters of Imall comparative importance. Just so the Chriftian, placed by faith at the foot of the cross, deeply moved by a difcovery of the wrath of God, which he had deferved to fuffer to eternity, and taking an immediate view of what his Redeemer fuffered to deliver him from it, will be little thoughtful of the world, or any of its enjoyments.
3. The cross of Chrift crucifies the world, by reverfing all worldly maxims, and fhewing of how light eftimation worldly greatness is in the fight