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' And I, if I ie lifted up from the earth, will draw all men imto me.' John, sdi, 32.
There prevailed in the heathen world a theory, or rather a fable, that the god of the universe, whom they called Jupiter, had a golden chain, which he could at any time let down and draw the world and all its inhabitants to himself. Oowper gives this translation to that passage in the Iliad which refers to this theory, in which Homer represents Jupiter as speaking : " But if I, willmg to exert my power, The earth itself, itself the sea and you, Will lift with ease together, and will wind The chain around the spiry summit sharp Of the Olympian, that all things upheaved ShaU hang in the mid heaven." By this chain they intended to teach the connection between the Creator and the creature — the connection between heaven and earth — sometimes termed the chain of causes and effects. We shall undertake to show to-day that this idea, which obtained in the darkened mind of the heathen, was not meaningless. In exhibiting the doctrines of the text, we shall undertake to show that Christ, lifted upon the Cross, is the great golden chain which draws the human race to Himself, and, through Himself, binds them to Grod the Father ; that its golden links have entwined the heart of every man born into the world ; that Christ lifted up is, so to speak, the
great magnet in the spiritual universe ; touching by its influence, and turning the spirit of every man to Grod, the Creator and source of all things. To avoid mistake, it is proper for us first to define what is meant by drawing all men unto Him. I am aware that this declaration of the Saviour is
288 SERMO S. used in support of the doctrine of universal, unconditional salvation ; but if it is made valuable in support of this theory, it seems to me that its advocates must put a strained construction upon the term draw. We understand that a man may be drawn to Christ, and not irresistibly drawn ; that this drawing may be so resisted that there are those who will not come unto Him that they may have life, for there are some who do always resist the Holy Ghost. It is not my purpose, however, to make an argument upon this point ; but simply to_ define that the term draw means to influence all men by His word and spirit ; and where the word has not gone, by His spirit alone, so that all who yield to this influence secure to themselves salvation. We now start out in our undertaking with this proposition, that Christ, lifted up upon the Cross, has been, and is, and will be, the great attraction of all men. In this undertaking, we select, as the place for our investigation, the Cross ; as it was set up, not at the beginning, nor at the ending, but rather in the middle ; so that, as far as position is concerned, our standpoint will be central. Standing under the shadow of the Cross, we have only to look backward into the past, and forward into the future, to see that Christ crucified " is
the desire of all nations." It is important to the maintenance of this proposition that the doctrine
THE DRAWI G OP CHRIST. 289 of the universality of the Holy Spirit's operation and influence be established, to show that He performs His office independent of the preached or written word. The particular and peculiar relation which each person in the Trinity sustains to the plan of redemption is clearly defined in the Scriptures. The Father projected the plan, the Son executed it, and it is the peculiar office of the Holy Ghost to develop it upon us^ — to apply it. Without this the whole plan would do no good. The first argument, therefore, which I now offer to show the universality of the Holy Spirit's influence, is drawn from the universality of the plan. All men are affected by the fall — all men are relieved by the crucifixion ; the free gifthas come upon all men to justification ; where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. We infer from this that the remedy is commensurate with the evil sustained ; that those who were affected by the fall of Adam, without a knowledge of Adam, might be, and are, relieved by the death of Christ, without a knowledge of Christ. Yery well ; as the Holy Spirit is the great developer — applyer of the plan — and without Him there is no development or application, we conclude that He operates upon the hearts of all affected by the fall ; and as all our race are affected by it, then He operates upon all our race, though ignorant of the incarnation of God. The
290 SERMO S.
point I wish to make is this, that every human soul born into the world is drawn to him, not irresistibly, but, if yielded to, savingly. Just so far as they, without their own agency or knowledge, are affected by Adam's fall, they are relieved just to the same extent by Christ's obedience and death, and if they use the best light they have and the best means within their reach, they may ultimately be saved. Grod does not require an impossibility of any man, and to require more of them would be to require an impossibility of them ; and this idea of companionship, of union between man and Grod, so universal, is but the drawing of Christ by his Spirit. ' Again, all nations have inculcated the idea of sacrifice. The great idea of pouring out blood — of offering it in their worship— has been upon the mind and heart of all nations. "When flocks have been offered, the choicest have been taken ; when human sacrifices, the same rule was observed. In the Moloch worship of the Phoenicians the choicest children of the noblest houses were thrown into the glowing arms of the idol. Among other worshippers the king was often sacrificed for the sins of the people. "Whence this idea of human sacrifice ? Caesar observed of the human sacrifices of the G-auls, that they were deeply persuaded that only the life of man was a fit redemption for man. Does there not seem to
THE DRAWma OF CHRIST. 291 be in this the idea inculcated by the Apostles that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin? Again, in G-reek tragedy there is a striking fact unfolded. We see a curse cling to a family from generation to generation, until, finally, it was
poured upon the least guilty. Again, what meant that favorite saying of Socrates that he exercised still the craft of his mother — his mission on earth was the helping of souls to a birth by a helping to a birth the conceptions which were struggling there. Does this not significantly point to that saying, " Ye must be born again 1" What meant that motto written over their temples, "Know thyself?" What did they design by knowing one's self, but to restrain and correct what was wrong ? Was not this a preparation afar off for a higher motto, "Repent ye?" for out of selfknowledge nothing but self-loathing could grow. Standing by the Cross and looking back upon the past, we have seen that its attractive power was felt by all who preceded it. Prom that point we turn to the future, and we see the same attractive influence leading back the desires, and aspirations, and hopes of all who have succeeded it. Facts similar to those noticed as exhibited in heathen worlds prior to the crucifixion are now, and have been since that period, exhibited in the history of all heathen nations, and if we had time we could particularize — ^we could array the facts.
292 SERMO S. The spirit of God is upon the nations, drawing their hearts and preparing them for an acceptance of Christ. Though the spirit of God, as we have shown, operated upon and moved the hearts of all men to Christ, before the general outpouring of the spirit, yet since that time of which Christ spoke when he said, " It shall come to pass in the last day, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh," the influences of the spirit have been greater, and clearer, and more intense than before. All men
are drawn unto him, especially when the Gospel is preached. We see that there is a mysterious secret influence upon every man's heart, which turns it to Christ lifted up, and to those who yield to this drawing there is an especial spiritual presentation of Christ lifted upon the Cross. Though the Cross itself has been taken down and worms have eaten it, though the grave in which He lay has been filled with earth and sand by the rains of heaven, yet, coming to Him for salvation, the Holy Spirit presents Him still on Calvary's summit to the spiritual eye. We see Him bend in the mid-heaven and hear Him cry. It is interesting to stand by the Cross and witness its influence, its drawing, even in the light which we now possess ; but, ah ! my friends, how grand and enrapturing would be the contemplation if the curtain which obscures our vision was rent asunder, if the veil was torn off our mind
THE DRAWI G OP CHRIST. 293 and we could see it as it is. We should see, as He hangs upon the Cross, that there is a significance in the very outstretching of His arms. With one hand we should see Him, though pierced and bleeding, grasping the nations before the flood, and with the other taking hold of the nations of the nineteenth century, and drawing them in His dying embrace ; He holds them on His beating, throbbing, breaking heart, and cries, " Father, forgive them." We should see in the light of the diverging rays emanating from the Cross, one part falling back over the past and the other part ovpr the future ; we should see the touched heart of the human race turned and pointing to the pierced side and streaming blood as the
centre of its hopes — as the needle pointing to the pole. Looking back over the past, we should see the eye of the old patriarch, straining through the tube which the prophets presented to him, fired with faith and kindled with hope as he catches a glimpse of the dying Saviour. Then, turning to the future, we should see the heart of the modern saint, glowing with an assurance of faith as the words which dropped from His dying lips fall upon his ear. Standing under the Cross, we should see the incense from off the altar of the heathen worship of antiquity, meeting, and mingling, and rising together with the voice of prayer and praise and thanksgiving which come from
294 SERMO S. the Gospel sanctuaries of modern times. We should see that here the groans, and sighs, and wails of earth meet and are soothed and hushed. We should hear amidst the pattering of His blood, melody as sweet and as soft as angels' music, as through this medium flows the Father's promises and assurances that man, if he will believe, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. We should then begin to have some conception of the extent of His meaning when He says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." But if we stopped here we should not know all He means by drawing men to Him. If we would know fully its import we should take a higher position, ascend with our ascended Lord, stand by His side as He intercedes, and see Him draw all men to Him. He draws them fr om a fiery hell that skirts our world. Some resist, others yield ; He draws them — they come
to Calvary, fall under the shadow of His Cross, drop down in death and sleep on His arm, and when the last saved sinner shall fall to sleep on His arm He will raise that arm and fold them to His bosom in Heaven.
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