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

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

. (page 7 of 45)
Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 7 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


to that. Why ? Because my Savior went to it. He often spoke of
that hour ; and there seemed to be something brooding upon his mind,
in reference to that awful hour, throughout his life. He spoke of it
to his disciples often. He spoke of it on the mount of transfiguration ;
there it is said," He spake of his decease which he should accomplish
at Jerusalem." Oh ! what an hour was that ! At that awful hour,
the whole universe bent an eager aspect towards him, angels gazed
upon him with breathless silence, devils leagued their forces to uphold
their empire. That was the most interesting hour the world ever
knew. If Christ had then quitted our cause, you and I had perished
for ever ; but, adored be our Savior ! He did not quit our cause. No,
he longed for the garments dyed in blood ; he said, " How am I
straitened, till that baptism be accomplished ; " he trod with un-
wavering step that path of difficulty ; he buffeted with that hour, and
at the close of it he shouted, with a voice that shook hell to its centre,
reverberated through the universe, and filled all heaven with gladness,
" It is finished." Oh! go, my fellow-sinner, go to the cross. Stand
by the cross. Here is the ransom-price for thy soul. Here is atone-
ment made for thy sins. Go to the cross, and cry, with the apostle,
" I am determined not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him
crucified."

Oh ! what is there so noble, so sublime, so majestic, as the crucifixion
of our Lord ? Oh ! be Christians, be Christians. Men may talk
about deeds of human enterprise and human chivaby ; they may speak
of the senate-house, where the passing of an act of Parliament has
decided the interests of millions in a single moment ; they may tell of
the battle-field, where hundreds have stood for hours up to the ancles
in human blood ; they may speak of the accession of a temporal prince,
or a temporal princess, where thousands have been fixed in immovable
gaze at the pomp of majesty. But we will go to the cross ; we will
stand by the cross ; we will gaze upon the Savior ; and we will cry,
" I determine not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him cru-
cified." Oh ! I wish this morning I might be the humble instrument,
in God's hand, of giving you, or getting you, more love to Christ. Oh !
go to the cross ; love your Savior, adore your Savior, admire your



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 67

Savior. I tell you, it -will afford the richest enjoyment. You will sing
with the poet —

" Sweet the momenta, rich in blesging,
Which before the cross I spend;
Life, aad health, and peace possessing.
From the sinner's dying Friend.
Here I '11 sit for ever viewing
Mercy's streams in streams of blood !
Precious drops, my soul bedewing,
Plead and claim my peace with God."

Oh go to the cross, then ; and say, with the apostle Paul, " I am
determined not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him cruci-
fied."

n. But we promised to bring forward, in the second place, some
REASONS to justify a determination so great, as that which is avowed
in the words of my text. The apostle said, " he was determined not
to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

I have already informed you of the occasion of these words, and
spoken to you of Paul going amidst the philosophers and sages of
Greece, and telling them the simple tale of Christ crucified, and how
they despised him. But Paul was far above being turned from his
work by them. And why ?

1. He knew that it did not want the power of human eloquence to
set forth this truth. No ; what would you say to me, if I were to
light a taper at mid-day to show you the meridian sun ? what would
you say to me, if I were to take you to a small pool, and say. Look
there, you see what the ocean is ? what would you say to me, if I
were to take you out to some of the richest scenery that this world
would afford, and, after I had shown it you, give you a piece of colored
glass, and say. Look at that scene, through this piece of colored glass ?
Why, you would say, let the sun shine in its own glory, let the
ocean flow in its own expanse, let nature be shown in her own
robes. And let the gospel be seen in its own power. Paul knew that
it did not need any power of human eloquence to set it forth. No ;
it was " the wisdom of God," and it needed the power of God, and
nothing else, to set it forth. And, therefore, he said, " I am deter-
mined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him
crucified."

2. There is another reason for bringing this forward — another rear
son to justify St. Paul, and to lead you to the foot of the cross ; and it
is this — the knowledge of Christ crucified is certain hnoivledge ; and
in this it is distinguished from all other kinds of knowledge. This
declaration would have applied in the days of the apostle ; for you
remember the mythology of the ancients ; you remember that Greece,



58 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

in the height of her intellectual power, had thirty thousand gods, and
they were conflicting in their temples day after day, where Paul was, as
to what was the right object of worship ; but Paul knew that Christ the
Savior was the right object of worship, and on account of the certainty
of this knowledge, he had a right to determine, and he did " determine
not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." And
there is a great deal of uncertainty in our day in all sciences. Take
the knowledge of anatomy, for instance ; a man may tell me how my
body is composed, my bones, and flesh, and blood, but he cannot tell
me how will acts upon motion — how it is that I can, when I like,
move my foot, or move my hand. Take astronomy ; a man may tell
me how far a planet is off, but he cannot tell me whether it is inhabited.
Take chemistry ; why, you may torture nature with your fires, but she
will not divulge her secrets. No ; it is still as then, that there is a
great deal of ignorance. Athens was in ignorance ; she had erected
an altar to " the unknown God," and it was only Paul that could stand
up and say, " Him declare I unto you." Paul had tried for himself,
he knew for himself, and therefore he had a right to exclaim, " I am
determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and
Him crucified."

I would stay a moment here, and I would have you try, each and all
for yourselves, the certainty of this knowledge. You may talk about
evidence of other sorts ; you may talk about historical evidence, and
you may talk about internal evidence ; but it is only experimental
evidence that can satisfy the mind. Now I will suppose a familiar
illustration, to make this clear to you all. Supposing that one of you
sent your servant to a shop for something ; say for a bottle of ink ;
well, the girl comes back, and you ask her what she has got; " Why ! "
she says, " I asked the shopman for ink, and he has given me ink, here
it is, here is the bottle " — that is historical evidence, the testimony of
others to a fact ; but you are not quite satisfied ; you open the bottle,
and you look at the ink, and find it is black, and it smells like ink —
that is internal evidence ; but still you are not satisfied ; you take your
pen and dip it into the bottle, and you write, and you know it is ink,
because you have written with it. Now suppose a neighbor should
come in, and should say, " The shopman has deceived you, or your
servant has deceived you — it is not ink." What would you do?
Would you send for the servant, and question her about what the shop-
man said to her ? No, you would say. It is ink ; I know it is because
I have tried it. And so a man may talk about the evidence arising
from Jesus Christ being a good man, and such a character as this
world never saw besides ; but Paul had rested upon the Savior ; he



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 69

knew for himself that he was a Savior, and, therefore, amidst the
philosophers of Greece and Rome he cried, " I determined not to know
any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

3. If you ask me for another reason, then I say, that the knowledge
of Christ crucified is suited to you as guilty sinners. Much of the
interest of any thing, you know, depends upon its suitability. Take
an illustration or two. Go to the man, who is living this day in the
midst of his family, in all the comforts of his home, and say to him,
You may enjoy the blessings of home ; why, the man sees that there
is nothing in that communication — nothing in that knowledge — that
is at all suited to him, for he was already enjoying the comforts of his
house ; but go to the soldier, who is wearied by a long and arduous
campaign, whose ears have been deafened many a time by the cannon
roar, who is sighing for the quiet shadow of the village trees, under
whose broad foliage he reclined and sung in days of youthful inno-
cence — tell him that peace is proclaimed, the warfare accomplished,
he may go home — why, he smiles, he dances for joy, he thanks you —
because there is something in your information suited to liis taste.
Go to the man who is walking through your streets, and say to him,
You may enjoy the comforts of freedom — the man returns you
no thanks ; there is nothing in that information suited to him ; but go
to the captive, whose clothes are wet with the damp of the dungeon,
and his cheek marked by the flow of his tears, and see how his eyes
sparkle with delight, when you tell him that the dungeon door is open,
and he may go free. And so it is with the sinner. If I come to you
and tell you of a Savior, and you are shut up in carnal security, fan-
cying yourselves good enough, and going to heaven, there is nothing
in the information suited to you ; and if you are trembling because of
your sins, then I bring you good news. I tell you this morning, Christ
was crucified for you and for me ; and therefore you ought to say and
avow, with the apostle, " I am determined not to know any thing, save
Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

4. There is another reason — it is extensive knowledge. He, who
knows Christ, knows almost every thing else besides. This knowledge
has not only light in itself, but it throws fight on all other things. He,
that knows Christ, knows the evil nature of sin in a better way than
any other man does. Where will you go, to show me the evil nature
of sin ? Why, perhaps, some of you would show me a poor drunkard,
that is to be found (and sorry am I to see that there are so many in this
large town) reefing through the streets, perhaps on the Sabbath-day,
with swofien eyes, an aching head, and (I fear) a troubled heart ; you
would say. Look at that man, his home has become a dungeon of



60 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

discontent, his wife sighs whenever she sees him, his children wear
patched and tattered clothes, and soon the devil Avill take him, we fear
— look at that man, and see the evil of sin ! I look at that man, but
I do not stop there. Where would others of you take me ? you would
take me to the murderer's cell, and say to me that he is going to ex-
piate his offence against his country's laws, and you would tell me to
look at him in liis extremity, and see the evil of sin ; I look at that
man, but I do not stop there. Where would you go ? Perhaps you
would take me to the mouth of hell ; you would blow aside its liquid
flames, and bid me listen to the groanings and bowlings of the damned
in the pit of despair, and you would say, There see the evil nature of
sin ; I would go with you, but I do not stay there. I go to Calvary ;
I gaze upon my Savior; I remember, that that is God and man
united, and hung upon the cross ; and I say, how great must be sin's
evil nature, since none but God incarnate could make atonement for
the sins of mankind.

He who knows Christ crucified, knows the goodness of God in its
richest form. Where will you go, to show me the most striking pic-
tures of the goodness of God ? Some of you, fathers, would take me,
perhaps, to your habitations, and point me to your children smiling
around you in health and happiness, and say. See there a proof of
the goodness of God ! I go with you to your habitations, but I do
not stop there. Where would you go for a proof of the goodness
of God ? Perhaps some of you would take me to the corn-fields, and
show me the gold ears waving in the breeze, and, as you pointed to
them, say, See, there is food for man and food for beast, there is a
proof of the goodness of God. I go with you to the corn-fields, but
I do not stop there. Perhaps some of you would take me to some
vale that was by, and show me a nest having in it a few little unfledged
birds, with nothing above it but the broad sky, and the open air about
it, and they are poor, weak, and helpless creatures, and must be starved
to death unless they have food in a few hours, and you would remind
me of God having sent forth his messengers to collect it for them, and
you would say. See, there is a proof of the goodness of God. I go
with you to that vale and that nest, but I do not stop there. I go to
Calvary, and I see there the greatest picture of God's love to man,
for I see Jesus hanging upon the cross. I see there the best proof of
God's love to man as a guilty sinner, and, with a sight of the cross, I cry,
" God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

He who knows Christ crucified, knows history in its best form, much
better than the mere historian, who is to be found with his midnight



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 61

lamp over musty volumes of ancient times. He looks at the call of
Abraham, and the passage of the IsraeUtes through the wilderness,
and he shows how God was preparing the way for the establishment
of Christianity in the world. He knows not only the history of the
past, but he can tell the history of the future. Why, philosophy
walks your churchyards, and asks, " If a man die, shall he li-^e
again ? " but there is no answer to the question. Reason has sent
out her sons, in all ages and in all directions, to look for the rays of
immortality, that are said to be darting across the path of man's ex-
istence ; but they return disheartened and unsuccessful. It is true,
that there were some few, of giant intellect, that expressed their
hopes of another state of existence, but what they spoke of at one
time, they doubted at another. Socrates and Plato at one time spoke
as from the brightness of heaven, and at another as from the dark-
ness of the tomb. It was all uncertainty ; there is a veil, and the
hand of philosophy can never draw it aside. But the gospel has
caused the light to shine upon that veil, and it has become transpa-
rent, and you may see, on the other side of that veil, the form of
departed friends ; you may see Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham,
you may see Dives in hell, lifting up his eyes, being in torments, and
hear him cry, " I am tormented in this flame." yes, while man
knows nothing of the future, and sees the earth heaved above its
proper level, and knows that the bodies of the dead are there con-
fined, yet cannot answer the question, " If a man die, shall he live
again ? " — the Christian can. He knows that Christ " shall change
our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body ; "
and if you ask. How can it be done ? — we take up the words of the
apostle, and say, " According to the mighty working, whereby he is
able even to subdue all things unto himself."

On account of its extent, then, take up the words of the text and
say, " I am determined not to know any thing save Jesus Christ, and
him crucified."

5. If I had time, I would go on to show that it is sanctified know-
ledge — it is purifying. It is not a knowledge that regards the outer
man, and says that if he will attend to this and that, to which he is
averse, and avoid this and that to which he is prone, he shall become
a well-behaved and orderly man in society. Alas ! for such know-
ledge. It is never said in my Bible, that a man has a head " of unbe-
lief in departing from the living God ; " but it is written in my Bible,
that man has an " evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living
God." This knowledge (I mean, experimental knowledge) passes
through every vein where sin has passed ; it neutralizes the stream as



62 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

it passes ; it goes down to the fountain, and it purifies the fountain.
It requires a man to " come out from the world, and be separate, and
touch not the unclean thing,"

Oh! then, look at the characteristics of this knowledge — the
knowledge of Christ crucified — and say if you will not go to the
cross this morning and cry with the apostle, " I am determined not
to know anything, save Jesus Christ and him crucified." Oh ! again
I say, I wish you would love your Savior. If you came to me, and
told me you were a Christian, I would ask you how much you loved
your Savior ; and, in proportion as you loved your Savior, I know the
Word of God would stand Tvdth me, when I declared that in that pro-
portion you were a Christian. I love to read the prophecies of this
book ; the prophets seem to have gone over the surface of creation,
and sought the most lovely images to set forth the Savior ; they call
him a " Sun," and they call him a " Shield," and a " Star," and a
" Tree ; " oh ! but—

" Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,
Nor heav'n his full resemblance bears ;
His beauties you can never trace,
Till you behold him face to face."

Oh ! love your Savior. Remember he loved you. Remember he
was not fastened to the cross by spikes or nails ; if Christ my Sa-
vior had never been fastened to the cross by any thing but spikes or
nails, he would never have been fastened to it at all. It was his
love that led him there ; it was his love that bound him there. Oh,
you are ready to cry this morning, let nature speak with her ten
thousand tongues :

" Oh ! for this love let rocks and bills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Savior's praises speak."

I wish I had this morning one moment of poetic inspiration to give
vent to the zeal, with which my bosom bums. I wish I had this morn-
ing a voice of thunder, that it might be borne across the breezes of
the mighty ocean ; I would cry to every sinner in this world to come
forth, and avow the determination of St. Paul, and say, " I am de-
termined not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him cruci-
fied." This shall be the theme of my discourse as long as God will
give me breath, while I stand in the midst of sinners. Woe be to the
minister, who weaves garlands of flowers to please his people ; the
Lord help us to preach Christ ; the Lord help us to cry to this wicked,
this apostate town, " I am determined not to know any thing among
you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified."

0,thou guilty sinner, I cannot leave thee. I again tell thee, the



KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED. 63

way is open to tlie cross. Go to the cross. Thou hast heard he is a
Savior ; he can save to the uttermost ; lay hold of that Sa\dor. What
is faith in Christ ? It is a reliance upon Christ, a firm reliance upon
your Savior. It is like a man ready to drown — throw him a shilling
rope and a thousand pounds bank note — which would he choose ? We
have heard of some who have preferred this world to Christ ; but
iSltow a drowning man a shilling rope and a thousand pounds ; will he
argue, " Oh ! I wonder if this rope be strong enough, I wonder if it
is twisted the right way ? " no, the man says, " I am drowning, and
unless I get get hold of the rope, I shall be lost." So it is with thee,
my poor fellow-sinner. I have not many moments to speak to thee,
and therefore I show thee a plain illustration ; I tell thee, thou must,
by the hand of faith, get hold of the Savior, and cling to the Savior,
and then, sure as God's Word, thy debt is paid, thy soul is saved and
thou art justified. I tell you, there is a way to the cross ; I tell you
there are blessuigs clustered in the cross ; I tell you there is a Savior
hanging on that cross ; and what is his language ? " Look unto
me " — " look unto me " — " look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye
ends of the earth." " Oh ! but," says the sinner, " you do not know
my case ; I was the child of pious parents ; when upon earth they
prayed with me, and laid their hands upon my head, and cried to God
to save me ; but their hoary heads are in the grave ; they are dead
and gone to God, and I am not saved ; do you think there is sal-
vation for me?" I tell you there is — there is mercy for you.
Jesus is " able to save to the uttermost." Christ crucified can bring
you into the peace and favor of God m. this world, and take you to
reign with God for ever.

NowI-vviUjust give you a specimen — a sample of God's ability
to save. You have looked at the cross, and you have looked at the
Savior ; now look at one side of the cross, and see what is there.
There is another beuag crucified with the Savior ; look at him, a poor
wretch, who is deemed unfit for this world, who has been taunting the
Savior, and saying to him, " K thou be the Christ, save thyself and
us." But see; Jesus has turned and looked upon him, and that
sight has broken his heart, and he has looked at Christ with the eye
of faith, and through the prickly thorns streaming with blood, and he
has said, " Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy king-
dom." Can he save him ? can he save him ? WiU he save him ?
will he save him ? Here is a poor wretch, perhaps, who never
prayed in his life before, and just as his tongue is cleaving to the
roof of his mouth in the agonies of dissolution, and his hfe-blood is
gargling from his hands and feet, he cries, " Lord, remember me."



64 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

"Will he save him ? What does he say ? He said nothing to the
nniltitudes that were shouting around the cross ; he said nothing to the
scofis of the scorner ; no, the scoffs of the scorner he noticed not, the
shouts of the multitude he regarded not. But here is a penitent whis-
pering in his ear the crj for mercy, and that he hears, and he says,
" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, this day shalt thou be with me in
paradise." And that day, before six o'clock at night, Christ took th»
spirit of the thief up to heaven ; and it is there this morning, as a sam-
ple of God's ability to save. Oh ! go to thy Savior, gaze upon thy
Savior. While you see him taking the spirit of the thief up to para-
dise with him, say, on account of his love, on account of his mercy, " I
am determined not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him cru-
cified."

The Lord add his blessing, and save you all — save you in this life
— save you in death, and save you for ever. For, blessed be God,
there is an eternal home with him ; and if you once put your feet with-
in the threshold of heaven's gate, you may go to its pearly battlements
and cry, " Farewell, tempting devil ! farewell, sin and sorrow, I am far
from the world, and far from your reach." Lord ! save us all for ever-
more in Christ.



SEEMON V.

Christ's church.

BY REV. T. RAFFLES, D. D., L. L. D.

" And I say unto tbee, That thou art Peter, and apon this rock I will build my Church ; and the gates
of hell shall not prevail against it." — Matthew xvi. 18.

Perhaps there is no passage of Holy Scripture that has furnished
more abundant materials for controversy than this. There are no less
than six modes, for instance, of interpreting the word " rock ; " and
each of these modes of interpretation can boast its great name, and
claim for its sanction some acknowledged masters in Israel ; whilst the
nature and constitution of the " Church," which our Lord declares he
" will build upon that rock," has been, from time immemorial, and is at
this present moment, matter of furious controversy and warm debate.
With this controversy, however, we purpose not to intermeddle ; we
have neither time nor inclination for this ; but we shall simply endeav-



Christ's church. 66

or, by Divine help, to give you a plain and practical, and, I trust, in-
telligent exposition of the passage.

With the occasion of it, you are, doubtless, perfectly familiar.
When our Lord " came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi," the sacred
historian tells us he began to inquire of his disciples what were the
opinions which men entertained and expressed concerning him. The
general impression is, that he went thither for the sake of retirement
and instructive conversation with his disciples ; but whatever might
have been his immediate motive, he certainly did most effectually



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 7 of 45)