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The Offense of the Cross

The Offense of the Cross

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.

1 COR. i. 22, 23.

" For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom :
but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block
and to the Greeks foolishness ."
BY RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.

1 COR. i. 22, 23.

" For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom :
but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block
and to the Greeks foolishness ."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 19, 2013
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02/20/2014

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THE OFFESE OF THE CROSSBY RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.1 COR. i. 22, 23." For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom :but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness ."THE Apostle Paul s "becoming all things to allmen," did not at all consist in the accommodationof his doctrine, in any respect, or in any degree, tothe pride and corruption of mankind in general,or to the worldly desires and hopes of the Jew, orthe presumptuous and fanciful philosophy of theGreek. We have had occasion, in a former discourse, to remark, that he knew nothing of suchtrimming. He declared the same truth to Jew andGentile, to " Barbarian, Scythian, bond and free."He would not alter, or abate, one iota of its pure,and humbling, and authoritative dictates. If theJews rejected his message, if the Greeks scornedit, he had fulfilled his trust, and delivered his ownsoul. He dared not admit of any terms of accommodation, of any Jesuitical measures of compromise The preaching of " Christ crucified " is thesame thing with what is termed in the precedingverses, the " preaching of the cross ;" and wehave seen, that, so far from keeping the cross out56 SERMO III.of view, throwing it into the shade, giving it a remote and perspective diminution in the back groundof his picture, he placed it in the nearest and mostprominent point of light ; he insisted upon it, andpressed it on the attention of all, giving them every
 
where to understand that the exhibition and recommendation of it were the very life and soul of hiscommission, that he was " determined, not toknow any thing among them, save Jesus Christ andhim crucified ;" convinced, that if the cross were leftout of his testimony, nothing would remain interesting to sinners, or worthy of their attention. Witha melting eye, and an aching and indignant heart,he would have written "!CHABOD " on every systemof doctrine from which it was excluded, or in whichit had "not the first place. Instead of concealing,or slurring over what he knew to be offensive, heencountered, for the cross, all the malignity of theJew, and all the mockery of the Greek : " For theJews require a sign, and the Greeks seek afterwisdom ; but we preach Christ crucified, to theJews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness."" The Jews require a sign." They did so duringthe life of Jesus, with the most unreasonable pertinacity, in the midst of signs without number.The sign which they temptingly required, is generally, and perhaps justly, considered to have been,not merely a miracle in general, but a sign of aparticular description, the expectation of which,by a false interpretation of a passage in the prophecies of Daniel, had been associated with theTHE OFFECE OF THE CROSS. 57coming of the Christ. It is conceived to have beenwhat they, on different occasions, called a "sign
 
from heaven ;" because they looked for some public glorious advent of the Messiah, the " Son of man," "in the clouds of heaven," to enter on histriumphant reign. After his ascension, they persisted, it should seem, in objecting against his claims,on the ground of the absence of this required sign,and in urging its necessity to their establishment.But it was not, in reality, the want of this or of any sign, that prevented them from owning theclaims of Jesus of azareth. o evidence couldbe more complete, than that by which those claimswere substantiated. The whole of their conductaffords the strongest grounds for believing, that if it had been possible for him (which it was not),consistently with the tenor of prophecy, and thenature and ends of his mission, to give them thesign they so pertinaciously demanded ; had helived subsequently the same life that he did, exhibited the same example, taught the same doctrines,denounced the same threatenings, endured the samesufferings, and died the same death, that sign wouldhave been quite as unsatisfactory and unavailing asthe rest. We have cause to think so, not only inthe capricious and obstinate disregard of the miracles actually wrought, each of which was of itself sufficient for reasonable conviction ; but also, intheir infatuated readiness, after his time, to lend anear to the pretensions and promises of every one,who, under the title of Messiah, offered himself astheir leader to conquest and to worldly glory.58 SERMO III.While the Jews " required a sign," the Greeks" sought after wisdom." It is to a church, consisting chiefly of converted Greeks, that the Apostlewrites. Their countrymen were the polite scholars

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