The Wonderful Cross

bonar_h.jpgHoratius Bonar, “the prince of Scot­tish hymn write­rs,” grad­u­ated from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh and was or­dained in 1838.  He was one of 450 ministers who walked out of a general assembly meeting of the Church of Scotland in 1843 (“The Great Disruption of 1843”) and joined the Free Church of Scot­land.  These men were not unlike the separatists of the early 20th century in their detachment from mainline denomination.  Of course, Bonar is best known for his more than 600 hymns, like “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.”  Read his words below and prepare to again be overwhelmed by the wonder of the cross:

“The secret of a believer’s holy walk is his continual recurrence to the blood of the Surety, and his daily [communion] with a crucified and risen Lord. All divine life, and all precious fruits of it, pardon, peace, and holiness, spring from the cross. All fancied sanctification which does not arise wholly from the blood of the cross is nothing better than Pharisaism. If we would be holy, we must get to the cross, and dwell there; else, notwithstanding all our labor, diligence, fasting, praying and good works, we shall be yet void of real sanctification, destitute of those humble, gracious tempers which accompany a clear view of the cross. False ideas of holiness are common, not only among those who profess false religions, but among those who profess the true. The love of God to us, and our love to Him, work together for producing holiness. Terror accomplishes no real obedience. Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness. No gloomy uncertainty as to god’s favor can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will. But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all its branches. Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.”

Immediately, the words to another, more recent song came to mind:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless
Your name

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

HT: Josh Harris


One response to this post.

  1. Amen. This runs contrary to much preaching today. Just as we received salvation by faith in what Christ did for us on the cross, so it is the same way for us to grow in Christ. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Col. 2:6).


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