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SERM. ciple, shewing such incapacity to learn those needful XXVI. lessons of humility and patience dictated by him; Matt.xi. 29. declaring such an indisposition to transcribe those ὑπογραμμὸν copies of submission to Divine will, self-denial and 1 Pet. ii. 21, self-resignation, so fairly set him by the instruction 1 Pet. iv. 1. and example of Christ: Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves 1 Pet. ii. 21. likewise with the same mind; and; Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps, saith St. Peter.
12. The willing susception and the cheerful sustenance of the cross is indeed the express condition, and the proper character of our Christianity; in signification whereof it hath been from immemorial time a constant usage to mark those who enter into To go it with the figure of the cross. The cross, as the inTo draugo strument by which our peace with God was wrought,
A post. Const. viii. 12.
as the stage whereon our Lord did act the last part of his miraculous obedience, consummating our redemption; as the field wherein the Captain of our salvation did achieve his noble victory, and erect his glorious trophies over all the enemies thereof, was well assumed to be the badge of our profession, the ensign of our spiritual warfare, the pledge of our constant adherence to our crucified Saviour; in relation to whom our chief hope is grounded, our 'Eony great joy and sole glory doth consist; for, God forVOITO AUX-bid, saith St. Paul, that I should glory, save in the
Gal. vi. 14 cross of Christ.
1 Cor. i. 23.
Naz. Or. 38. ad fin.
Let it be to the Jews a scandal, or offensive to their fancy, prepossessed with expectations of a Messias flourishing in secular pomp and prosperity; let it be folly to the Greeks, or seem absurd to men imbued (puffed up, corrupted) with fleshly notions and
Cels. lib. ii.
maxims of worldly craft, disposing men to value no- SERM. thing which is not grateful to present sense or fancy; XXVI. that God should put his own most beloved Son into so very sad and despicable a condition; that salvation from death and misery should be procured by so miserable a death; that eternal joy, glory, and hap- Orig. in piness should issue from these fountains of extreme p. 79. sorrow and shame; that a person in external semblance devoted to so opprobrious and slavish usage should be the Lord and Redeemer of mankind, the King and Judge of all the world; let this doctrine, I say, be scandalous and distasteful to some persons tainted with prejudice; let it appear strange and incredible to others blinded with self-conceit; let all the proud, all the profane, all the inconsiderate part of mankind slight and reject it; yet to us it must appear grateful and joyous; to us it is moròs λóyos, a 1 Tim.i.15. faithful (and credible) proposition, worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world thus to save sinners: to us, who discern by a clearer light, and are endued with a purer sense, kindled by the divine Spirit, from whence, with comfortable satisfaction of mind, we may apprehend and taste that God could not in a higher measure, or a fitter manner, illustrate his glorious attributes of goodness and justice, his infinite grace and mercy toward his poor creatures, his holy displeasure against wickedness, his impartial severity in punishing iniquity and impiety, or in vindicating his own honour and authority, than by thus ordering his Son to suffer for us; that also true virtue and goodness could not otherwise be taught, be exemplified, be commended Grot. de and impressed with greater advantage.
2 Tim. ii.
Ver. iv. 12.
SERM. We might allege the suffrages of eminent philosoXXVI. phers, persons esteemed most wise by improvement of natural light, who have declared, that perfection of virtue can hardly be produced or expressed otherwise than by undergoing most sharp afflictions and tortures; and that God therefore, as a wise Father, is wont with them to exercise those whom he best loveth we might also produce instances of divers persons, even among Pagans, most famous and honourable in the judgment of all posterity for their singular virtue and wisdom, who were tried in this furnace, and thereby shone most brightly; their suffering, by the iniquity and ingratitude, by the envy and malignity of their times, in their reputation, liberty, and life; their undergoing foul slanders, infamous punishments, and ignominious deaths, more than any other practices of their life, recommending them to the regard and admiration of future ages; although none of them, as our Lord, did suffer of choice, or upon design to advance the interests of goodness, but upon constraint, and irresistible force put on them; none of them did suffer in a manner so signal, with circumstances so rare, and with events so wonderful; yet suffering as they did was their
a Plat. de Rep. ii. p. 594.
Magnum exemplum, nisi mala fortuna non invenit. Sen. de Prov. iii. Plut. de Stoic. contr. p. 1931.
b Socrates, Phocion, Thraceas, Aristides, &c. Vid. Ælian. Var. xi. 9. 2. 43.
Cicuta Socratem magnum fecit, &c. Sen. Ep. 13, et 67, et 104. (Sen. Ep. 81. Ep. 113.)
Rutilii innocentia ac virtus lateret, nisi accepisset injuriam ; dum violatur effulsit. Sen. Ep. 79.
chief glory; whence it seemeth, that even according SERM. to the sincerest dictates of common wisdom this dispensation was not so unaccountable; nor ought the Greeks, in consistency with themselves, and in respect to their own admired philosophy, to have deemed our doctrine of the cross foolish, or unrea
To conclude; since thereby a charity and humanity so unparalleled, (far transcending theirs who have been celebrated for devoting their lives out of love to their country, or kindness to their friends,) a meekness so incomparable, a resolution so invincible, a patience so heroical, were manifested for the instruction and direction of men; since never were the vices and the vanities of the world (so prejudicial to the welfare of mankind) so remarkably disparaged; since never any suffering could pretend to so worthy and beneficial effects, the expiation of the whole world's sin, and reconciliation of mankind to God, such as no performance beside, nor any other sacrifice did ever aim to procure; since, in fine, no virtue had ever so glorious rewards, as sovereign dignity to him that exercised it, and eternal happiness to those who imitate it; since, I say, there be such excellent uses and fruits of the cross borne by our blessed Saviour, we can have no reason to be offended at it, or ashamed of it; but with all reason heartily we should approve and humbly adore, as well the deep wisdom of God, as all other his glorious attributes, illustriously displayed therein: to whom therefore, as is most due, let us devoutly render all thanks, all praise, and glory.
And, Unto him that loved us, and washed us Rev. i. 5, 6. from our sins in his blood, and hath made us kings