GLORYI G I THE CROSS. BY REV. . V. REID, A. M.

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" But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."— Gal. vi, 14. There is an expression similar to this in the Epistle to the Phillipplans. The Apostle, writing to them on the same subject, closes one of his arguments with the declaration, " Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord." We are liable to mistake the sense of the Apostle in the use of these strong expressions, unless we use some care to ascertain his true meaning. ^Ve are not to understand him that, abstractly considered, he regarded everything as worthless ; by no means. His history and writings show that he placed a proper estimate upon the necessaries and conveniences of life ; that he valued highly his friendships ; that he prized learning and everything calculated to enhance our happiness here; but when any or all of these were compared with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, or contrasted with the benefits of the Cross of the Redeemer, they dwindled into insignificance. In meeting the obligations of this hour, we propose taking up the theme of the Apostle, and shall undertake to present the Cro.«.s of Christ, in its power and attractiveness and blessing, as the object above all others wliieli demands the highest place in the aflections of every man. In doing so we shall also endeavor to follow the spirit of the text, by contrasting the Cross with the objects connected with and limited to this life, which constitute the chief glory of a large majority of our race. Though iiappiness is the end proposed by each, no matter what may be the occupation or profession, or if none at all, yet it is a melancholy truth that the vast majority of mankind arc in the road that leads directly from its attainment. Deluded by sin, they are follow-

376 GLORYI G I THE CROSS. ing the dictates of their carnal appetites, and as they are cursed and thrown into confusien, it is easy to see that they are unsafe guides, and in the end will prove ruinous to their hopes, for under their in-

fluence they form attachments to things which soon perish and pass away. Thus the million bow at the shrine of wealth, glory in gain, thinking it will confer happiness. Money is the great Diana now. Money is the watch word by which the sentinels are passed to positions of honor, trust, and emolument. If there is ever a time when Mammon holds more undisputed sway than at another, that time is the present. Individuals of every class and grade and profession and sex, almost, are brought under its influence, so as to be swayed by it to a greater or less extent. The ruling sentiment of the age seems to be that money-getting should constitute the chief concern of life. What a strange infatuation ! An individual may bend all his energies in the pursuit of wealth, and at last become disappointed iu its acquisition. How blank and terribly embarrassing must his condition be, who, after consecrating his time and talent and physical energies at the shrine of Mammon, is despised and rejected by his God ! But allow that he is successful, how easily do riches " make themselves wings" and fly away! Grant even that he is not only successful, but retains his wealth, how poor, how wretchedly destitute I aye, we would repeat, if thereby we can make it more emphatic, how wretchedly destitute is he who comes down to the grave, at the close of his earthly career, possessed with no other treasure than his world's goods ! Out of all his vast possessions he can use only enough to buy a wooden box or metallic case ; then, dressed in his best suit of clothes, he is wrapped in a linen sheet and bid from the gaze of his fellows. This little even he cannot carry with him through the grave, for mingling with his dust, when his body is called away by the trump of God, it stays behind as fuel in the general conflagration of all things. Wealth is proper enough, sought and obtained and used properly, but should not hold the highest place in the afi'ections of any. Under the influence of the same appetites, another class glories in fame. Catching up the roll, and running over the names of renowned warriors and statesmen and philosophers and poets and orators and scholars, an intense desire prompts them to write theirs on the shining list. The aspirations of many do not rise perhaps so high as this, but the principle is the same in all : fame is their God. We have found

GLORYI G I THE CROSS. 377 some of this class, who did not enjoy more than a neighborhood notoriety, as devout worshippers at its shrine as was ever Wellington or apoleon. What is fame ? A bubble that glitters awhile in the sunlight, then bursts and is gone forever ! It dies away like the " voices of morning bells on the air." If we would know its worth, let us

turn the pages of the past. We read of one Ammon's son, who came forth in the majesty of his strength ; the smoke and dust roll into the heavens from the wheels of his triumphal car, as he sM^eeps the plains of Tyre and Gaza, Phoenicia and Egypt. We are awe-struck and amazed as we see him stopping at the temple of Jupiter Ammon, and, by a mysterious rite of his own invention, lay aside his humanity and assume divinity. On he shoots, like a thunderbolt, through Persia and India, successive victories marking his bloody way, until he stands upon the sea-shore, weeping for more worlds to conquer. And after all, the jretended god died drunk in Bahjton ! We read also of the Carthagenian general, and Roman usurper ; the one, after a splendid career, perishing by his own hand; the other, in the act of consummating his highest hoT[)e, falling by the hand of the assassin. Coming on down to later times, the ear is saluted with " Vivp. /' Empereur /" ot a breath stirs but is loaded with praise to the Corsican lieutenant. His sun scarcely clears the horizon ere it is blazing in its meridian ; all Europe is lighted up by the splendor of his genius, and the Anglo-Saxon holds his breath in terror as he sees the thrones of his neighbors, hallowed by the sacred memories of ages, crumbling to dust beneath the giant tread of the man of destiny. Yet, his sun went down as suddenly in cloud and darkness, as it had arisen in brilliancy and hope. He died in banishment and bonds, an out cast. In these examples is seen the worth of fame, when enjoyed in its greatest measure. They have a name renowned, but it is cursed by humanity. They are remembered, and are immortal ; so is the plague. Could we call their ghosts from the spirit-land, and take their testimony as to the value of fame, as they should stand before us wrapped in the vestments of the dark world they inhabit, with souls well Bcorohcd with unrjucnchable fires, we venture that testimony would be this : " All the glory of man is as the flower of gra.ss." Under the same influence another class glories in plcn'nire. A\'hat an ephemeral flower is worldly pleasure. Truly it is *' but for a season I" When passed it always leaves an " aching void" behind, and

378 GLORYI G I THE CROSS. often, even in its enjoyment, the cup of bliss is broken upon our lips, and by a single thought our pleasures die. These three — wealth, fame, pleasure — constitute, as some one has said, the world's trinity. These are the objects in which worldlyminded men glory. Your observation and experience will witness

whether we have correctly represented them ; if so, we would have you carry the estimation in which they are now held with you, whilst we hold up the Cross of Christ, and invite you to look upon it ; and we trust that when our reflections are ended, we shall all be prepared to join the Apostle in the prayer of the text. The first feature in the Cross — of course the doctrines of the Cross are meant ; the merit of the victim, and not the instrument itself — which we present, is its elevating influence upon individuals and nations. Man, since the fall, has had a downward tendency. The promptings of his fallen nature, as already intimated, lead him into inconceivable difficulty and trouble. Every step he takes increases the distance between himself and his God, and tends to consummate his humiliation and abasement. The Cross counteracts this influence. It calls to him ; tells him of his noble birth; points him to his high destiny ; exhorts hiui to retrace his steps. In a word, it elevates him morally, mentally, socially, and exalts him to a high and holy communion with his God. Turn to a page in your observation, and you see this truth illustrated Do you not remember to have seen a wayward son leaving his father's house, or the bosom of his own family ; frequenting the haunts of vice and dissipation ; descending step by step until he reached the lowest depths of poverty, shame and disgrace ? Just as, in his abandonment and wretchedness, he was chasing from his heart the last lingering symptom of good feeling — cursing away the influence of a pious mother's prayers, which tarried with him when all things else had well nigh departed — you saw some messenger of the Cross take him gently by the arm and whisper in his ear a word of hope and recovery. He told him there was yet a chance for him ; bade him rise, in the name of Jesus, and be a man. He started up, resolved to make one last effort to return ; he threw his eye, as directed, upon the Cross ; his strength increased. At last he reached forth his hand, trembling from debauch, and grasped it, and in a moment he stood erect; soundness was restored to him; a new song was put into his mouth — " even praise unto our God" —

GLORYI G I THE CROSS. 379 decent clothes were substituted for Lis tattered garments, and, a devout worshipper, he came to occupy a place in the sanctuary of God, and was introduced again into society, a worthy, respectable citizen. Though all this occurred years ago, yet, as you visit him in his comfortable, happy home, kneel with him at the sacramental table, and lift your voice with his in the song of praise, you now, more confi.

dently than then, expect to meet him in Heaven. This is but one instance of the thousands that are occurring all over Christendom, in which the power of the Cross transforms cruel tyrants into affectionate husbands, rebelliou? children into obedient sons, drunken sots into intelligent citizens, and fiends almost into pious saints. The elevating influence which the Cross exerts upon individuals, it also exerts upon communities and nations. "When the love of Christ constraineth not a people, corrupt passion becomes their guide in all things. Thus they become involved in the same evil consequences, find the same degradation to which the individual is reduced. The Gospel, from it? peculiar self-perpetuating principle, prompts its votaries to undertake in their behalf. Soon we see the missionary tearing himself — for he loves as we do — from the embrace of home and country, embarking upon the " dark blue sea," and under the protection of that God who put it into his heart to go, he sets his foot in safety upon heathen soil. lie erects the Cross, flings to the breeze his banner, stained all over with precious blood, then kindly approaches the deluded worshipper, ns he is bowed before his dumb idol, tells him of the one true and living God, whom alone he is to worship ; tells him that all his fellows are his brethren, descended from the same stock, subject to the same ills and sorrows, and heirs of the same promises and hopes ; tells him of man's fallen state, assures him of the remedy ; bids him look upon the Cross and rise to a higher life. The idolator's heart, touched by the holy spirit that *' lighteth every man that cometh into the world," turns to that Cross as the needle to the pole, and (luitting his senseless worship, he consecrates himself to the service of the most high God. One after another follows his example. A new and glorious era begins to dawn upon that peuple, as the " day-spring froni on high" throws his light across their spiritual sky. As they begiu the work of cultivating true morality and religi(*n, they commence remodelling their laws ; thoy begin in earnest the culture of the arts and sciences. The work of civilization goes on under the appliances of the Gospel, until

380 GLORYI G I THE CROSS. ia commerce, in science, in laws, the new-born nation takes her position side by side with the enlightened nations of the earth. One ray, emanating from tlie Cross, has kissed the black, hideous cheek of Africa, and has thrown a smile over the face of that dark benighted land. The little republic sitting upon the sea-shore, reflecting its borrowed light, heightens the hope inspired by the Prophet, that " Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto Grod," and that

tiie songs of Zion, with their accompaniments, the ploughman's merry laugh, and the rattle of the steam car, shall resound in the jungle, where now is only heard the yell of the savage, the hiss of the serpent, and the roar of the lion. If we would witness the most wonderful display of the elevating influence of the Cross, nationally, we have only to turn to our own liepublic. What has given us the proud and enviable elevation as a nation which we enjoy ? What constitutes us the free and happy people we are I The response comes from millions of happy lips, that it is the inculcation and practice of the great doctrines of Christianity — justice, equalily, and f7-aternity. The late distinguished Calhoun, in his " Disquisition on Government," teaches that men are influenced by only two principles in their actions — selfishness and benevolence, or self-interest and the interest they feel in others. That selfishness being much stronger than benevolence, the end of all proper legislation is to check the former and promote the latter. If benevolence was the stronger principle, then it would be necessary to reverse legislation, so as to promote selfishness and check benevolence. That government, therefore, he alleges, which produces by its legislative enactments an equilibrium between these two principles, compelling each of its subjects to act with as much regard for the interests of others as his own, is a perfect government. ow, in following the great statesman to his conclusion, and endeavoring as a nation to carry out the doctrine taught in all our legislation, where do we find ourelves standing? Upon the second great commandment of Christ, " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." This is the secret of our success in all our struggles to be free, and to rise to a commanding position as a people. This is the sap to the tree of liberty, which causes it to strike its roots deep into the soil, and throw out its great arms, covered with evidences of health and substantial growth. The doctrines of the Gospel have not only elevated us, but they preserve us in our elevation and progress. The corner-stone of our Republic

GLORYI Q I THE CROSS. 381 rests securely beneath the rago of party strifes and fanaticism, not because it was laid with pomp, or is guarded with bristling bayonets, but because it was laid with prayers and tears upon the Cross of Christ. But recently we have had an exemplification of our true preservative principle, ^\'heu, a few years ago, that dark cloud gathered in our political atmosphere, flinging its black shadows over the whole land, threatening in its fury, if ungirted, to tear in shreds our flag, and rend in fragmeuts our glorious Union, what was it but the honesty, the Christian integrity of the masses, the pure Gospel

temper and spirit of the convocations of the people, orth and South, that sounded the knell to demagogues and fanatics ? llemove from our nation the influence of the Cross, and there are now exciting causes abroad that would make our rivers run red with blood, and bleach our plains with the bones of our bravest and best citizens. The truth of the position we have assumed is more strikingly manifest by contrasting our condition with that of unfortunate, downtrodden France. God has blessed France with the elements of a great nation — she has the physical element ; she has the intellectual element ; she has bravery and courage enough for anything ; but she lacks the religious element ;. she is cursed with infidelity; and on thi.-s account her masses are ignorant and enslaved ; and as a general thing she has to keep them abroad, murdering her neighbors, to prevent them from butchering each other at home. Let a pure Christianity be given to the French, and they would soon break their chains and put themselves upon the platform upon which we now stand. AVe should glory tlierefore iu the Cross on account of its clevali.ig influence. Again : we should glory in the Cross, because it is lie m-niifiHlntion of a peculiar exercise of power by God in meeting; the w'nts of our spiritual nalurr. The apostle calls the crucifixion of Christ »* the ' power of God." It has been truly said — " Twas great to spt-ak the world from nought, 'Tuas grealur l>j redeem." It required an exercise of power altogether diiVcreiit, in lh • one case, from that exerted in the other. In the act of creation, God spread out the heavens as a curtuiu ; he digged out the pit of tho sea and filled it with waves ; ho piled mound upon mound, and rock upon rock, until the mountains pierced the clouds, — but all thia wui done by

882 GLORYI G I THE CROSS. the strength of his voice. " He spake and it was done, he commanded and it stood fast." When man even stood before him, fashioned from the clay, he simply breathed upon him, and he began to live ; but when by his disobedience he sunk down into spiritual death, God could not, without an infraction of his justice, breathe him again to life. Though God could ding from his fingers a blazing sun, and send him shining and sparkling on his path ; though he could by the strength of his voice crown the sky with shining worlds, and by a wave of his hand pencil their orbits through space ; yet it was not enough that

he sit upon his throne and point out the way of redemption. If there was a way, it was necessary that God himself come down and press the path with his own feet. This he did. Christ said, when upon earth, " He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Coming thus in person, when he had thoroughly explained, taught, and enforced his doctrines, he submitted to be lifted upon the cross. Then it was that he brought into exercise his omnipotence, in bearmg " our sins in his own body on the tree." When he cried, " My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me ? " such was the effort put forth by him, that the influence of the act was felt co-extensive with his very existence. God was touched, and through every avenue and vein and fibre of the universe, the power of the influence of this act went thrilling along ; for wherever God was, there the sensation was felt. o wonder the earth reeled and rocked and trembled, and the rocks were split ; no wonder the graves heaved forth their dead ; no wonder the sun covered his face in darkness. Here we witness an act performed by God which rises in grandeur and sublimity above all the displays of his power. There seems to be a significance in the very outstretching of his hands ; with one he holds up the principles of his governjuent — lifts them high above the touch of violence or injury ; with the other, though pierced and bleeding it is, he grasps the millions of the human race, and, holding them upon his throbbing heart, cries, « Father, forgive ! " And as the blood trickles down his side, we behold the sublimcst of all spectacles — " Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Ever since that time, God can " be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus •' There was at the same time a power exerted, the effects of which are not visible to the natural eye— a secret power springing from the Cross which sent itself back to the commencement of time, mysteri-

GLORYI G I THE CROSS. 383 Ously imparting virtue to all the altars of sacrifice which had been fired in hope of "the pi-oiuise," and also sending it^^elf forward to the latest period ; thus stretching itself across the generations of man, from the eternity of the past to the eternity of the future. The apostle calls it " The power of God unto salvation." It is in our atmosphere, it is in our sanctuaries, it is in our closets, it is in our " mouth and heart," and, upon confession of the crucified Saviour, it is developed upon us by the Holy Ghost, in raising our dead souls from the death of sin to a life of " righteousness, peace, and joy." Finally, we should glory in the C>oss, because it is our only hopo

in the hour of death. Disguise it as we may, there is a mj^sterious influence, beyond the power of our resistance, bearing us rapidly to another state of being. Our life is but " a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Our fathers, where are they ? They have fallen asleep upon our bosoms, and we have taken them in the arms of affection, and laid tlicni d .wn in their beds of dust, ^on our children will perform tlie same kind office for U3. "Like leaves on trees the race of man is found, ow green in youtli, now withering on the ground; Another race the following spring supplies, They fall successive, and successive rise: So generations in their course decay; So flourish these, when tliosc are passed away." When the time of our change shall come, then the Cross is our only hope ; for when the shadows rising from the grave are dimiuing our sight; when the silver cordis being loosed; when the turbid waters are rolling at our feet, — then it breaks " The shock blind nature cannot shUn, And lands thought smoothly on the fartlier shore." In that hour, the li;^ht of the Cross falling into the tomb, scattera its darkness and opens to the spiritual eye the path of triunipli, trod by the rising Saviour ; and clinging to his cross, and listening to his encouraging voice, wc foci that we have reached the perfection of Imman nature, in knowing death and not fearing it ; for passing his pate, in dofiant and triumphant tone wc can cry, " O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory ? What a grand thing it is, that when kind friendu, and our dearest ones, arc unable to administer relief or solace ; when the pride and pomp and pageant of earth

384 GLORYI G I THE CROSS. sicken, rather than soothe ; when the heart fails to propel the lifecurrent, and is becoming still and cold, — what a grand thing it is, that we can cast ourselves upon a great beating heart, whose mighty pulsations, in flowing out to the farthest limits of the universe, sending life and sustaining power to all things, just at that moment throb through our souls, thaw away the death-chill, and warm us into eternal life! God grant that we may all be prepared, now and ever, to join the

apostle in the sentiment of the text ; and may the time speedily come on, when every human lip, from a thorough conviction of its worth and excellence, shall repeat, " God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ ! "

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