But 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.
“NO CROSS, NO CROWN”
|“THE purple grape must be crushed
To make the sweet, red wine,
And furnace fires must fiercely burn
The drossy gold to refine;
The wheel must cruelly grind,
Else where the jewel’s light?
And the steel submit to the polishing,
Or how would the sword grow bright?
|“How then, my soul, wilt thou
The Spirit’s fruits possess,
Except thou lovingly yield thyself
To the Hand that wounds to bless?
Then patiently let the fire
Consume all earthly dross—
Thou canst not hope to wear the Crown,
If thou refuse the Cross!”
The Watch Tower, September 1, 1914
“Let Him Take Up His Cross and Follow Me”
Jesus, bearing his cross, headed the procession, accompanied by four Roman soldiers; following came the two thieves with their crosses and four soldiers guarding each, the whole under the charge of a Centurion. Our Redeemer, less coarse by nature, less animal, more intelligent than the thieves, was probably less able naturally than they to carry the heavy timber of the cross—besides, he had been under a nervous strain and without food for about twelve hours. Evidently he was scarcely able to carry his load, and the Centurion compelled Simon of Cyrene, a countryman, to bear the cross after Jesus. Whether this means that he walked behind Jesus in the procession, carrying the cross, or that he carried the hinder part of the cross with Jesus, is uncertain; but in any event he had a most glorious opportunity, even though it was compulsory.
Many of the Lord’s dear people, reading the account, have wished that they could have had a share in the carrying of that cross. Where were Peter, James and John and the others? Alas, they allowed fear to hinder them, to deprive them of a most glorious service. While thinking of this it is well to remember that our Lord has graciously provided that all of his followers may share in the carrying of his cross. The offence of the cross, the weight of the cross, has not ceased; the cross of Christ is still in the world; the privilege is still with us to bear it with him, following after him. Although the apostles lost the privilege of bearing the literal cross for Jesus, they gloriously recovered from their fear, and we have the record of their noble service, bearing the cross of Christ for all the years of their lives after wards.
Let us love much, and let us show our love by our zeal in cross-bearing; and if at any time that zeal grows cold, let us remember the axiom, “No cross, no crown;” let us remember the Apostle’s words, “If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him; if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.” Yet neither the fear of death nor the appreciation of the crown must be the controlling motive. The main spring of our devotion to the Lord must be an appreciation of what he has done for us, our love to him, and our desire to do what would please him, and thus show a responsive love. Let us remember that while the Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church, was glorified long ago, there are still about us in the world those whom he recognizes as his brethren, as “members of his body,” and that whatsoever we do to one of the least of these, whatever assistance we render to these in the bearing of their crosses, is so much that he will appreciate as manifesting our love for him, as so much that is done unto him.
Zion’s Watch Tower, May 15, 1905
“NO CROSS, NO CROWN”
Oh blessed crown of glory!
“The crown is yours, beloved,
“What is the cross?” I questioned.
The world will look upon you
And all the powers of evil
They’ll try to overwhelm you
The flesh will strive to win you,
And then I answered, “Master,
And deem it highest honour
And when the cross grows heavy,
The Watch Tower, July 1, 1911