(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)—Philip. 3:18, 19.
My soul! hast thou not felt somewhat of the affliction of the apostle, in beholding how the great mass of carnal men live, and, for the most part, die? Nay, who can look on, and view it without tears? the apostle hath enclosed the view within parentheses, and it were to be wished that it was nowhere to be found but in parentheses. But, alas! the truth is too striking, too palpable, and meets the contemplative mind at too many entrances and passages through the world, not to show that it is far more general than is imagined. By our apostasy from God, man, that was originally exalted above the whole creation, is sunk below the whole: for no creature of God, among the brutes that perish, ever arrived to such a proficiency in sensuality as to glory in that which constitutes our disgrace and shame! Brutes may riot in gorging their corrupt passions: but it is the human brute alone that glories in the reflection! Hence, of all the creatures of God, none, by nature, can be more remote from God, devils excepted, than fallen man! None in whose mind Satan could find a seat to rule and reign, but man! And while, by nature, thus exposed to perish, for any act of our own by which we could do aught to prevent it; yea, without even a desire to prevent it, or a knowledge of the awful depths of sin into which we are fallen, in order to send forth a cry for recovery: while thus living, and thus dying, at an everlasting distance from God, at once the scorn of angels, and the willing slaves of the devil. As in the delirium of a fever, so in the madness of the mind, the poor creature that is under the dominion of it, is unconscious of the whole, and glories in that which is his shame, and which melts every heart into pity, but the heart of fiends and the powers of darkness! My soul! hast thou duly considered these things! Dost thou behold, as Paul did, many around thee that thus walk? Dost thou remember when thou didst so walk; Dost thou call to mind “the wormwood and the gall?” And canst thou ever overlook, or forget, who it was that brought thee out? Canst thou cease to remember when and where the Lord Jesus passed by, and took thee up in his arms, when thou wast loathsome in thy person to every eye but his; and when he, like the divine Samaritan to the wounded traveller, brought thee to the inn of his Church, when thou wast left more than half dead by the enemy of souls? Oh! precious, precious Lord Jesus! the more I contemplate thy glorious person, and thy gracious mercy to our poor fallen nature, the more unceasingly lovely dost thou appear. Thine was indeed, and is, “a love that passeth knowledge!” Oh! for grace to reverence these bodies of ours, which thou hast redeemed; that while the carnal glory in their shame, all thy redeemed may cry out, with the holy indignation of the apostle, and say, as he did, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14.)