“What Means Yon Cross?” An Introduction to Horatius Bonar’s Sermon, “The Surety’s Cross”

In “The Surety’s Cross,” Horatius Bonar, a 19th Century Scottish preacher and hymn writer, preaches on the Cross of Christ. The sermon, preached in 1867, is based on Galatians 6:14. In the verse, the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writes:

“But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world was crucified to me, and I to the world.”

As Bonar begins his message, he writes that, “The death of the cross has always been, above every other, reckoned the death of shame.” He says that the LORD as allowed this conception of the Cross to …

” … root itself universally, in order that there might be provided a place of shame, lower than all others, for the great substitute who, in the fullness of time was to take the sinner’s place, and be himself the great outcast from man and God, despised and rejected, deemed unworthy even to die within the gates of the holy city.”

Despite the fact that the Cross is, to men, a place of  “curse and shame,”  it is the “strength and honor and life and blessing” of God. Paul will say elsewhere that the “word of the Cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18)

Of the Cross, Bonar says that the secret of its power …

” … lies in the amount of divine truth which it embodies. It is the summary of all the Bible; the epitome of Revelation. It is pre-eminently the voice of God; and as such, conveying the power as well as uttering his wisdom. ‘The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.'”

In the body of the sermon, Bonar looks at the Cross as “the divine proclamation and interpretation of the things of God; the key to his character, his word, his ways, his purposes; the clue to the intricacies of the world’s and the Church’s history.”

Horatius Bonar will tell us that the Cross is the Interpreter of Man, God, Law, Sin, Gospel, and Service.  Oh, the wonder of the Cross!

Over the course of the next several posts, I will share quotes from each of the “heads,” or major points, of Bonar’s sermon. I will also include personal thoughts and comments on each “head.”

It is my desire, that as we give prayerful consideration to the Lord’s use of the Cross as the Interpreter of man and all things spiritual, that will we be drawn closer in faith to the Christ of the Cross.


You can read “The Surety’s Cross” in its entirety here.

I would note that I have been reading and posting on Robert Traill’s thirteen-sermon series, “The Throne of Grace”. I am interrupting that series of posts with this short series on Bonar’s, “The Surety’s Cross”. I will resume the Traill series shortly.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Scottish Preachers, Sermons

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2 Comments on ““What Means Yon Cross?” An Introduction to Horatius Bonar’s Sermon, “The Surety’s Cross””

  1. Roger Thoman Says:

    Love the focus on the cross, Scott. REALLY good stuff!

  2. tangiblethoughts Says:

    Thank you, Roger. I always enjoy receiving and reading your blog posts. Have a blessed Christmas holiday.

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