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even to this day, have their remarkable and terrible accom plishment in that curse, which has pursued the Jews through seventeen hundred years. Lord, may it at length be averted, and even turned into a blessing! May they look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn, till all the obstinacy of their hearts be subdued till they bow down in glad submission to that King whom God has set on his holy hill, and thus are brought themselves to reign with him in everlasting honour and joy!
MARK XV. 16-23. LUKE JOHN XIX. 16—18. THEN the soldiers of the governor took Jesus, and led him away into the common hall, called Pretorium: and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlot robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! and they spit upon him, and smote him with their hands, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
MATT. XXVII. 27-34.
And the soldiers, after they had mocked him, took off the purple from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him out to crucify him.And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha. And as they led him away, they laid hold upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus; on him they laid the cross, and compelled him to bear it after Jesus.
And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for your
selves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall and they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he received it not: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. There they crucified him, and the two malefactors with him; one on the right hand, and the other on the left, and Jesus in the midst.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
Here let us pause a while, and make a few serious reflections on this amazing story, which the evangelists relate with so much simplicity. Behold the Son of God bearing his cross, fainting under the load of it, and at length extended upon it, and nailed to it. Him they took, and with wicked hands crucified and slew him. (Acts ii. 23.) Blessed Jesus, was it for this that thou didst honour our nature by a union to thine own, and come from thy throne of glory to visit these abodes of misery and guilt! Was it for this that so many gracious discourses were delivered, and so many works of love and power performed! for this, that thou mightest be treated as the worst of criminals, and suspended on a cross in the air, as if unworthy of a place on earth even to die upon! Amazing and lamentable sight! Justly, O sun, mightest thou blush to see it: justly, O earth, mightest thou tremble to support it!
Lord, like these pious women, who had the zeal and fortitude to attend thee, when thine own apostles forsook thee and fled, we would follow thee weeping: yet not for thee, but for ourselves: that our guilt had brought us under a condemnation, from which we could be redeemed by nothing less than the precious blood of the Son of God: that Lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter i. 19.) We should behold herein the goodness and the severity of God, (Rom. xi. 22,) for while
the riches of his goodness are displayed in his providing a ransom for the redemption of lost sinners, an awful proof is given of the severity of his justice, in his not sparing his own Son, nor exempting him from the sorrows and sufferings due to sin, when he came to put himself in the stead of sinners: and may we not in such a view tremble for fear of him, and be afraid of his judgments? (Psalm cxix. 120.) Who can support the weight of his indignation, especially when it shall come aggravated by the abuse of so much love? If these things be done in the green wood, what shall be done in the dry? And if such sufferings be inflicted, where there was not any personal guilt to kindle the flame, on one who only answered for the sins of others; what then will be the end of those who, by their own iniquities, are become as fuel prepared for the fire, and are as vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?
How shocking is it to behold the vile indignities that were put upon a suffering Jesus, and to reflect upon the cruel treatment that he met with from his insuiting enemies! Yet have not we been verily guilty concerning this matter? (Gen. xlii. 21.) Are we not chargeable with despising Christ? and have we not crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame? (Heb. vi. 6.) O may that apology be heard in our favour! Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do! For surely sinners do not know what they do, when they pierce Christ by their sins, and turn away their faces from him. But under all his sufferings, how amazing was his meekness! and how compassionate the concern which he expressed for his most cruel persecutors? May we learn patience, and love to our enemies, from so bright an example of it! May we, like him, bless them that curse us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us! (Matt. v. 44.) Instead of being ingenious to aggravate their faults, and to paint them in the most shocking colours, let us rather seek for the best excuses, which even the worst of causes will fairly bear; influenced by that charity which unconstrained believes no evil, and hopeth all things even against hope. (1 Cor. xiii. 5, 7.)
Gracious Saviour! thy dying prayer, and thy dying blood, were not like water spilt upon the ground; they came up in remembrance before God, when thy gospel began to be preached at Jerusalem and multitudes, who were now consenting to thy death, gladly received thy word, and were baptized, (Acts ii. 41,) and they are now in glory, celebrating that grace which has taken out the scarlet and crimson dye of their sins, and turned that blood which they so impiously shed into the balm of their wounds, and the life of their souls.
JOHN XIX. 19—22.
AND Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross; and the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
MATT. XXVII. 35-38. MARK XV. 24–28. JOHN XIX. 23, 24.
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without a seam, woven from the top throughout.They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be. And they cast lots: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did; and sitting down they watched him there. And it was the third hour and they crucified him. And they set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
MATT. XXVII. 39-44. MARK XV. 29-32. LUKE XXIII. 35.
And they that passed by reviled him, and railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou
that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself, if thou be the Son of God, and come down from the cross. And the people stood beholding. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him said among themselves with the Scribes and elders, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be Christ, the King of Israel, the chosen of God, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God: let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth, and reviled him. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself.
How great and glorious does the Lord Jesus Christ appear in the midst of all those dishonours which his enemies were now heaping upon him! While these rapacious soldiers were dividing the spoils, parting his raiment among them, and casting lots for his vesture, God was working in all to crown him with a glory which none could take from him, and to make the lustre of it so much the more conspicuous by that dark cloud which now surrounded him.
His enemies upbraided him as an abandoned miscreant, deserted both by God and man; but he (though able to have come down from the cross in a moment, or by one word from thence to have struck these insolent wretches dead on the place, and to have sent their guilty spirits to accompany the fiends under whose influence they were), yet patiently endured all, and was as a deaf man, who heard not their reproaches, and as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. (Psa. xxxviii. 13.)
LUKE XXIII. 38-43.
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not 'thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? and we indeed justly; for