Monday, November 19, 2007

The nail and the scepter

Man seeks to win his glory by the slaughter of others — Christ by the slaughter of himself: men seek to get crowns of gold — he sought a crown of thorns: men think that glory lies in being exalted over others — Christ thought that his glory did lie in becoming “a worm and no man,” a scoff and reproach amongst all that beheld him. He stooped when he conquered; and he counted that the glory lay as much in the stooping as in the conquest. Christ was glorified on the cross, we say, first, because love is always glorious. If I might prefer any glory, I should ask to be beloved by men.

Surely, the greatest glory that a man can have among his fellows is not that of mere admiration, when they stare at him as he passes through the street, and throng the avenues to behold him as he rides in his triumph; the greatest fame, the greatest glory of a patriot is the love of his country — to feel that young men and maidens, old men and sires, are prepared to fall at his feet in love, to give up all they have to serve him who has served them. Now, Christ won more love by the cross than he did ever win elsewhere.

O Lord Jesus, thou wouldst never have been so much loved, if thou hadst sat in heaven for ever, as thou art now loved since thou hast stooped to death. Not cherubim and seraphim, and angels clad in light, ever could have loved with hearts so warm as thy redeemed above, or even thy redeemed below. Thou didst win love more abundantly by the nail than by thy scepter. Thine open side brought thee no emptiness of love, for thy people love thee with all their hearts. Christ won glory by his cross. He was never so lifted up as when he was cast down; and the Christian will bear witness, that though he loves his Master anywhere, yet nothing moves his heart to rapture and vehemence of love, like the story of the crucifixion and the agonies of Calvary.

From a sermon entitled "Christ Lifted Up," delivered July 5, 1857.

Flickr photo by rachel_thecat; some rights reserved.

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