G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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OjluU not yourselves into a deceitful slumber ; cry not " peace, peace,"
when there is no peace ! Your spirits, even now, are standing upon
the verge ; if you look not to Christ, and believe not upon him, you
will sink into the lowest hell !

My brethren, in the name of Christ, I ask those who constitute this
congregation, in advancing towards the close of the subject — whether
they refuse to be called by the name and to wear the character of
Christians ? You have heard what a Christian is — will you be a
Christian, or will you not ? Will you receive the truth as it is in Je-
sus ? Will you rest upon the great Redeemer, who is able to save un-
to the uttermost all that come unto God by him ? My hearers, will
you render and avow your allegiance, that the name of Christ shall be
your badge — that his example shall be your model — that his com-
mandments shall be your rule — and that his heaven shall be your
goal ; or will you refuse ? My hearers, the moment is now arrived,
when immortal spirits are challenged as to their choice with regard to
their eternal welfare. You, perhaps, may dream but little of it ; but
the place where we are gathered is filled with immortal spirits, who are
waiting anxiously for your decision. There are angels bending from
their seats, and resting on their harps, watching you with intense solic-
itude, till they hear the command of God, that there may be joy amongst
them over sinners who are brought to repentance. There are demons
rising from the abyss, fluttering to preserve the captives whom they
fear may be disenthralled, maddened if you escape, rejoicing if the arch-
fiend make the triumph, if you become tenfold more the children of
hell than before. The two orders of invisible beings are amongst us,
and what shall be the result of to-night ? Will you give joy to angels
or joy to demons ? Will you kindle rapture in heaven, or will you kin-
dle rapture in hell ? Will you burst the bands that surround you asun-
der, and rise, and stand emancipated in the liberty wherewith Christ



48 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

makes his people free ; or will you clank your chains around you like
maddened captives, and make yourselves more the children of corrup-
tion than ever ? My hearers, in the name of God, who is greater than
angels and fiends, I demand your decision, and I demand your decision
for Christ ! By His agony and bloody sweat ; by his cross and pas-
sion ; by his precious death and burial ; by his glorious resurrection
and ascension ; by his reign at the right hand of the Father, and by
his coming as the Judge of quick and dead, I demand of every one that
this night he will enrol his name as a Christian ! Refuse it if you dare,
and answer for it before the tribunal of God ! For myself, I take the
vow once more, and I trust I shall be followed, even by thousands, who
are in the presence of God, " I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ;
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
" I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ, and
him crucified." " Whether I live, I will live unto the Lord ; or wheth-
er I die, I will die unto the Lord ; whether I live, therefore, or die, I
am the Lord's. For, to this end, Christ both died and rose, and re-
vived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living."

Come, ye sons and daughters of men, let us thus sustain the Christ-
ian's character, then shall we enjoy the Christian's privileges ; and, as we
possess the Christian's privileges, we shall rise to the Christian's heav-
en ! Shall we meet there ? The day will declare it ! Sinners, your
blood be upon your own heads ! Amen.



SERMON IV.

THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED.
BY REV. F. J. JOB80N.
" I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

1 CORIRTHIAKS, li. 2.

Man, by his intellectual constitution, is capable of acquiring and
possessing knowledge ; and in this he stands distinguished from all oth-
er beings in the visible universe. The earth on which you tread, cov-
ered as it is with beauty and bloom, knows not of its own existence ; it
is totally unconscious of itself. The sun, that shines so gloriously,
knows not of his own splendor ; he is totally unconscious of the light
and life he throws on all around. The air, that sustains all animal and



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 49

vegetable life, knows not of its sustaining and refreshing qualities.
Birds, that wing their adventurous way through the air ; beasts, that
stalk upon the surface of the earth ; fishes, that pass down to depths
unfathomed — are totally incapable of contemplating the scenes by
which they are surrounded. But man, the last and brightest fruit of
eternal wisdom — man, the last production of Jehovah in his six days'
labor, can contemplate the glorious scenes by which he is surrounded.
The brute creation seem to think of nothing but what is urged upon
them by present inclinations ; the past is a blank to them, the future
all in darkness. But man can review the past, contemplate the present,
and look onward to the future. Nay, you know not where to put a
limit to the powers of the mind of man. You may stride over the sur-
face of this earth, and speak with certainty of its dimensions ; you may
measure the distance of the most far-out planet, and, after you have
ascertained its distance, you may mark out its surface, and place a
boundary line beyond it ; but where will you put a limit to the powers
of the mind of man ? It is ever moving onwards. It goes on link by
link in the chain of understanding ; and you know not where to find
an end of that chain, but at the footsteps of the Eternal Throne.

But not only is there a power in the mind of man to acquire and re-
tain knowledge, but there is a love for knowledge, implanted by the
Divine hand within his breast for important purposes. The mind of
man has as great a dislike to ignorance as the eye has to darkness, or
the limbs to confinement. It loves to look out on the broad light of
truth ; it loves to range in the freedom of its faculties.

But various are the opinions of men, as to what constitutes the most
valuable kind of knowledge. One man says, that the knowledge of
languages is the most valuable of all knowledge, and he sets himself
down to study the speech of various nations ; and thus he seeks repu-
tation among men. Another man says, that the expression of senti-
ment in poetic numbers is the most exalted employment of the mind ;
and he, as a poet, seeks reputation among his fellow beings. Another
man says, that to understand well the connection between cause and
effect, or to be a natural philosopher, and be able to place every creat-
ed object in its proper situation — from the gigantic elephant that stalks
the surface of the earth, down to the smallest insect that dances in the
sun-beam — is to be a wise man ; and, as a natural philosopher, he seeks
reputation among his fellow-creatures. Another, perhaps, takes off the
crust of the earth, on which you tread, and looks down into it to see how
it is built and composed ; and, as a geologist, he seeks reputation among
men. Another, makes the earth, on which you walk, an observatory, and
gazes at the stars ; and by his progress in what is called the celestial sci-
4



60 THE ENGLISH PTJLPIT.

ence, he seeks reputation in the world. My friends, such knowledge may
be valuable, but it is not the most valuable ; such knowledge may be
important, but it is not the most important. Man is a guilty sinner ;
and in this world his time should be occupied in seeking reconciliation
with his God. By Christ crucified a way is opened, whereby guilty
man may be reconciled to God. Then, I say, that man is the wise
man, who goes to the cross of Christ to study there the great science
of human redemption. Let a man be what he may — astronomer, ge-
ologist, poet, natural philosopher, or whatever else, he must yield the
palm to the Christian student, who goes to the cross of Christ to study
there the great science of human salvation. Do you wonder, then, to
hear the apostle Paul — the noble, talented, learned Paul — avow a
determination so great, as that which is expressed in the words of the
text ? Do you wonder to hear him say, amidst the philosophers and
sages of Greece, " I am determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ and him crucified." Noble Paul ! valiant Paul !
He had a right to say so ; he knew that Christ crucified was everything
to him as a guilty sinner. You cannot be surprised to hear him say,
" I am determined not to know any thing save Jesus Christ, and him
crucified."

The persons, to whom St. Paul first avowed his determination, were
persons that were given to the study of science, as it was taught by
their philosophers, who were well skilled in all the tricks of human ora-
tory. Paul went among them, and he declared simply and plainly the
death of Christ, and the way of salvation for guilty man by the death
of Christ ; and they frowned upon Paul ; they looked upon it as bad
taste in Paul, to go among the i^hilosophers of Greece, and speak of
the death of Christ as the way of deliverance for guilty beings. But
Paul challenged them to point to effects produced by their preaching,
so great as those which had been produced by the simple story of the
cross. " Where," says he, " is the wise ? where is the scribe ? where
is the disputer of this world ? hath not God made foolish the wisdom
of this world ? " And then he goes on to show how the efiects, which
had been produced among the Corinthians, had been caused — that it
was not done by any tricks of human oratory, or by the gaudy addresses
of an eloquent man. No ; he reminds them of the plain and simple
way in which he went amongst them, and proclaimed the cross of Je-
sus Christ ; he says, " And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came
not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the tes-
timony of God ; for I determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

First, then, we shall notice the grand subject, which so exclusively



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 51

engaged the apostle's attention — Jesus Christ, the Savior of man ; in
the second place, we shall bring forward reasons to justify a determina-
tion so great, as that which the apostle avows in my text, so that he
would " know nothing among them, save Jesus Christ, and him cruci-
fied."

I. First, then, we are to notice the grand subject, which so ex-
clusively engaged the apostle's attention.

It was as much as if he had said, " I am determined to think of
nothing for myself, I am determined to teach nothing to you, but Je-
sus Christ, and him crucified ; this shall be the point, the centre, to
which all the lines of my ministry shall be drawn — Jesus Christ, and
him crucified."

I suppose, my friends, it is not necessary for me to take up the time
this morning, in explaining to you the meaning of these words. You
are all aware, that the word Jesus signifies a Savior. The first who
bore that name, was the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim — the suc-
cessor of Moses ; for Joshua, by proper interpretation, is the same
name as Jesus, and that name was given unto Joshua as a proof that
God would fulfil his promise unto his people ; that he would raise up
a leader, who should direct them through the wilderness, and bring
them safely into a land " flowing with milk and with honey." And
you know, that the name given to the Savior — that of Jesus — was
not given to him merely as a proper name, a name by which he might
be distinguished among the sons of men — not given to him, as the
name of John was given at his circumcision. No ; for when the angel
appeared unto Joseph, and gave the name o^ Jesus, he gave along with
it the etymology or meaning of the name ; he said, " Thou shalt call
his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." The
word Jesus, then, signifies a Savior.

"We now come to that title which is generally annexed to that of Je-
sus — that of Christ J which signifies the anointed. Under the old dis-
pensation, kings and priests were anointed — set apart for their ofiice.
You remember, that David was anointed to be king by Samuel, and
Aaron and his sons were anointed to the priesthood. Oil was poured
upon their heads. Nor was this a mere formal or unmeaning ceremo-
ny ; but, connected with it, was the bestowment of fit qualifications for
their office. Until David had been anointed by Samuel, he was a raw
shepherd, quite unfit to reign over Israel ; but when Samuel had anoint-
ed him, the Spirit of God came upon him, and prepared him for the
office. Now Christ was anointed. I do not mean that it was mere
oil — a mere drug pressed out of vegetable matter — that was poured



52 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

upon him. No ; it was the unction of the Holy One. You remember,
that at his baptism the Holy Ghost descended upon him, and a voice
from heaven was heard, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased ; " and then he went into the temple, and he cried, " The Spirit
of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the
gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to
preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the bhnd,
to set at liberty them that are bruised."

But, my friends, it is not upon the name of Jesus that we rest our
hopes for salvation, nor is it upon the anointing of the Savior that we
rest our hopes for salvation ; no, it was not the anointing of Christ nor
the name of Christ upon which the apostle Paul determined to dwell —
but Jesus Christ crucified. And that is every thing to you and to me,
as guilty sinners. That is the foundation of all your hopes ; that is
the ground of all your expectations ; that is the key-stone of the whole
arch of Christianity. If you take that away, there is nothing for us
to hope for, nothing left on which we can ground our expectations of
eternal salvation. Jesus Christ crucified is every thing to you and to
me.

Let us attend to this mighty subject — this subject, which, on ac-
count of its magnificence, has been justly called " the wisdom of God "
— this subject, which, on account of its grandeur, excites the admira-
tion of the loftiest intelligences. You never find, in this book, that an-
gels are walking the surface of this earth to inquire into the connec-
tion between cause and efiect in its transactions ; but you cb find them
Christian students — the angels are represented by Peter as desiring
to fathom the mysteries of redemption. This is the subject which will
engage our attention throughout all eternity, if you and I shall get to
heaven, and furnish us with songs long as eternity shall endure.

Let us, then, look at Jesus Christ crucified — Jesus Christ your
Savior — Jesus Christ my Savior — Jesus Christ crucified for the sins
of the whole world — not Jesus Christ, a good man going up and down
this world, performing his heavenly Master's will — not Jesus Christ,
a great prophet commissioned by God to convey some important infor-
mation to the inhabitants of this world. No ; to view him as a good
man, his greatest enemies are willing — to view him as a great prophet,
his greatest enemies are willing. My friends, there is a system in our
day, which seeks to pluck the crown of underived glory from the head
of the Savior, to wrest the sceptre from his hand, to take the robe of
royalty from his shoulders, and to reduce him to the level of a man.
There are some who bow to Christ as a good man and a great prophet,
but who scorn to look upon him as the co-equal Son of God. No won-



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 53

der that the doctrine should be attacked, and maUciously attacked ;
but that men, who pretend to bow to the authority of this book, should
deny it — is indeed inconsistent ; and we do not believe the atheist is
a more inconsistent man, than men who pretend to revere the author-
ity of the Bible, and deny the Divinity of Christ.

We will just look at this point ; for you know that the Divinity of
Jesus Christ is every thing to you and to me. I will just refer you to
two or three arguments founded on the word of God.

I will first refer you to an interesting conversation, that took place
between Jesus Christ and the Jews, in the days of his flesh. They
said, " Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham ? "
Jesus said unto them, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham
was, I am " — thus claiming for himself that name, which signifies un-
derived or unborrowed existence — that name, by which Jehovah re-
vealed himself when he sent Moses forth with a message to the chil-
dren of Israel, for he said, " I am hath sent thee unto them ; " this
name Christ claimed himself. I next refer you to the prayer of Christ
— that prayer, which he ofiered unto the Father before he ascended
up on high ; " Father," says he, " glorify thou me with thine own self,
with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Now
what mortal is there that dare stand up and pray in this way ? What
man is there in this assembly — good man or good woman, as he or she
may be — that dare stand up, and say, " Father, glorify thou me with
thine own selfj with the glory which I had with thee before the world
was ? "

Not only are the names of God ascribed to Christ, but the work of
God, you will find in this book, is ascribed to Christ. Perhaps you
will remember the fine annunciation with which the apostle John opens
his gospel. He says, " In the beginning was the word, and the word
was with God, and the word was God ; the same was in the beginning
with God ; all things were made by him, and without him was not any
thing made that was made." So that whatever the Divine Father and
the Divine Spirit have been engaged in, the Divine Son has also been
engaged in. The Divine Father and the Divine Spirit were employed
in bringing into existence this world of ours, and all the glorious worlds
that roll around us throughout all space ; but whatever the Divine Father
and the Divine Spirit have been employed in, the Divine Son has also
been employed in. The Divine Father and the Divine Spirit have
been engaged, throughout eternity, in bringing into existence beings of
intelhgence and beings of responsibility ; but whatever the Divine Fa-
ther and the Divine Spirit have been engaged in, the Divine Son has
been engaged in also. "By him were all things created, that are in



54 THE ENGLISH. PULPIT.

heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be
thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers ; and he was before
all things, and bj him all things consist."

You remember, too, that when Christ was upon the earth. He re-
ceived worship. In that hour when the doubts of Thomas were dis-
persed, he addressed the Savior — "My Lord," said he, " and my
God ; " and Christ did not reprove him for that conduct. And you
will find, that many times the Savior took worship to himself. Now
the loftiest created intelligence is not allowed to take worship. You
remember that, when John would have fallen down to worship before
the feet of an angel, he said, " See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-
servant ; worship God." But Christ received worship, why ? He
was God, and he knew that it was his right.

If you search the Old Testament Scriptures, you will find proofs of
the Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Isaiah calls him,
" The mighty God, the everlasting Father; " or, as it might be read,
" the Father of eternity." Jeremiah calls him " the Lord " (or, as
it might be read, " Jehovah ") " our righteousness."

You remember, too, the attitude in which Christ stood, and the tone
of voice with which he spoke, when he performed miracles. When
Christ performed miracles, he did not act as Moses or Elijah did when
they performed miracles, who prayed that God would help them and
be with them, before they wrought the miracle. No ; he spoke with
the voice of one having authority ; he spoke, and the winds ceased,
and the waves were still, hushed as a child in its cradle by its mother ;
it was the God of nature that spoke, and therefore all was quiet. But
there is one part of our Lord's conduct, which, to my mind, proves
more than volumes in regard to his Divinity ; and that is his conduct
to his disciples, when he gave them their commission before he
ascended up on high. " He breathed on them, and said unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Now I ask, what man could breathe
the Holy Ghost, the essence of God ? what human being could breathe
the Holy Ghost ?

Here, then, the foundation is good, Christ is God : and if he be
God, then I can rest upon him, because I know he made atonement
for the sins of the world. But if you take away the Divinity of the
Lord Jesus Christ, there is nothing left for me to rest upon. Why,
suppose I were to take the best man in all this book, and set him be-
fore you, and dress him up in all his virtues, and say, " By this man
is preached unto you salvation ; " which of you could rest your salva-
tion upon him ? No ; Milton, in his beautiful book, over which we
hang with delight, hour after hour, represents God as looking round



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 55

among the angels of heaven, and asking which of them would go and
deliver man. That may do for Milton, it may do for poetry ; but it
will not do for our soul's foundation. The brightest archangel that
burns before the eternal throne, would not have done to make atone-
ment for the sins of man. Infinite justice must be satisfied ; an
infinite nature must efiect that work ; in the whole round of beings,
there is but one that is infinite ; and unless Christ had undertaken our
cause, you and I must have been lost for ever. But, blessed be his
name ! He undertook our cause ; he came down into this world, and
suffered, and bled for you and for me. With the might of his Divinity,
he entered our humanity; and, by the one ofiering of himself, he
made a full, perfect, and sufficient atonement for the sins of the world.
Human nature was necessary, in order to make that atoning sacrifice ;
and I know it is a mystery, how God and man could be united in one
nature ; but why should I reject a truth that is revealed, because it is
a mystery ? I cannot comprehend myself; I know that I can turn to
the right, or turn to the left, or stretch out my arm, by the mere exer-
tion of my will — but I cannot understand it. And if I cannot under-
stand myself, why should I reject this doctrine because I cannot
comprehend it. My friends, there are heights in religion, as there are
mountains in nature, whjch the foot of man never trod ; and if the
eagle, in his magnificent flight, shall bring down from those mountains
the leaves of a tree which I have never seen, shall I doubt the exist-
ence of the tree, merely because I have not ascended to the spot where
it grows ? And since I cannot comprehend how God and man can be
united in one nature, I will throw myself before the feet of Christ, and
I will worship him, and cry to every sinner that shall come within the
sound of my voice, " Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the
sin of the world." Christ has undertaken your cause and my cause.
He suffered in our stead.

I have not time this morning to dwell upon the sufferings of the
Savior. And if I had, I would not dwell upon his corporeal suffer-
ings ; I would not speak of those things which are being dwelt upon
for hours, and set forth as if they were the most important ; I would
not speak of the insults in the judgment hall ; I would not speak of
him hurried through the streets, and of the people proclaiming all the
way that they had found out the cheat and the hypocrite, and that his
own confession convicted him of blasphemy, and condemned him to
die ; I would not speak of their plaiting a crown of thorns, and put-
ting it round his head, and with their fists striking the sharp edges
into his temples ; I would not tell how with their whips they smote
his back, till it became one bloody wound ; I would not speak of his



56 THE ENaLISH PULPIT.

being nailed to the cross, his body pulled to its full length and breadth,
and pierced by the nails that fastened it ; I would not speak of the
multitude that wagged their heads in scorn, and said, " He saved
others, himself he cannot save." No, if 'I had time to dwell, I
would dwell upon the weight of Divine wrath, that descended upon him
and crushed him, in the hour of the world's atonement. I would go



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 6 of 45)