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have been so accurately fulfilled in him. Had he
VI. The last circumstantial proof which I shall produce of the truth of his pretensions, is to be gathered from what followed on his being removed from the cross. The bodies of criminals who suffer violent deaths become the property of the State, though from motives of compassion they are often
given over to their friends. It is particularly to be observed with respect to Jesus,
that Joseph, his
being present at
reputed father, is not named as
the tender and affectionate St. John.
Now, it should
seem, that there was no one of any condition to give him an interment suitable to his character. He came from Galilee, a remote province, and from Nazareth, a poor town of that region. His mother, probably now a widow, could scarcely take the charge of so expensive a duty. St. John had no particular right in him, even if he were capable of fulfilling the task, which was in the highest degree improbable. In this state of things, Joseph, a rich man of Arimathea, and one of the Sanhedrim, went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus, which Pilate, after some enquiry, ordered to be 'delivered to him. This being done, Nicodemus, another of the Sanhedrim, brought a costly preparation of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight, with which they together had the body anointed or embalmed, and then deposited it in a new tomb of Joseph's, wherein never man had been laid.
Now, this occurrence gave rise to the completion of another part of Isaiah's prophecy respecting the death of Christ. Having said that he made his grave with the wicked, he adds, "and with the rich in his death;" that is, having died in the company of the wicked, he was buried at the cost of -the wealthy, which accordingly took place, by the united sympathy of Joseph and Nicodemus. Had our Lord or his family been in opulent circumstances, this passage could not have been applied to him. But dying poor, and at a distance from
home, he owed the honours of his interment to the compassion of affluent strangers.
I pass by various incidents of less striking particularity, though furnishing further evidence of the truth of his character, such as the offering him vinegar and myrrh, mentioned by the Psalmist; the revilings of the Chief Priests, in the language of the same Prophet; the spitting in his face, alluded to by Isaiah; his suffering without the city gate, hinted at by St. Paul; with others of the like nature, and take my stand on those already mentioned as furnishing a chain of circumstantial evidence, so striking and particular, so obvious and important, as to bring conviction home to every candid and ingenuous mind. Is it possible that all these things which have been named, could have happened involuntarily to any one person, and yet that person to have been a deceiver, or an enthusiast? to have been any other than the man whom the Prophets had in view? They are all of them particulars in which the blessed Jesus had no voice,-in which he might be said to do nothing, but to be a merely passive instrument in the hands of others. There is not any one of the circumstances which he did or could control, nor which, strictly and properly, depended at all upon himself, yet every one of them bears testimony to his character, and proves him to have been the Messiah. To him, therefore, who died upon the cross for our redemption, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the only wise God,
let us yield all the honours of divinity, and all the praises of a grateful and devout obedience. For in the admirable language of our Liturgy, we may exclaim, "Thou only art holy; Thou only art the Lord; Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most High in the glory of God the Father."
Note from page 45.
I HAVE made the death of Jesus, and the day of the slaughter of the Paschal lamb coincident, for the following reasons; but whether this arrangement be adopted, or the more ordinary one, of regarding the two events as happening on different days, is immaterial, as the argument, in either case, remains the same.
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, John xii. 1: The next day he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, John xii. 12.
Two days before the feast of the Passover (and of Unleavened Bread, Mark xiv. 1), a meeting was held at the High Priest's palace to compass his death, Matt. xxvi. 2, 3: Judas attended this meeting, verse 15.
The first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread when they killed the Passover, Matt. xiv. 12: Jesus appoints the place where he will celebrate it, Mark xiv. 12: and at even he sat down with the twelve, and declared that one of them should betray him, Mark xiv. 17-20.
Now, before the feast, supper being ended, and the Devil having put it into the heart of Judas, &c. Jesus washed his disciples' feet, John xiii. 1, 2.
Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas into the judgment-hall,
but they themselves went not in that they might eat the Passover, John xviii. 28.
Then delivered he him to be crucified, John xix. 16: and it was the preparation of the Passover, John xix. 14.
The Jews, therefore, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Mark xv. 46.
Now the next day that followed the day of the preparation,they sealed the sepulchre, Matt. xxvii. 62.
On this passage of the history Archdeacon Croxall has the following remark in his Scripture Politics.
"The Passover was to be kept upon the 15th day of the first month (March) to last seven days, and, as all their feasts were, to begin the evening before. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of Unleavened Bread.' Lev. xxiii. 5.-Yet the Jews, in after times, made void or dispensed with this law by their traditions, so far as, by an order of Council, to forbid its being kept upon either Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, if it should happen to fall upon any of those days, and to appoint the observation of it the day following. At the time of our Lord's passion though, it fell upon the Friday, and he, who came to fulfil the Law kept it accordingly by eating the Paschal supper with his disciples on Thursday night, yet we find the Jews did not propose keeping it till Saturday. And according to their account, Friday being the eve or preparation of it, they would not go into the judgmenthall lest they should be defiled, so Pilate was obliged to go out to them. And just before Pilate consigns our Lord over to death, we are told, it was the preparation for the Passover, and about the sixth hour,' or twelve at noon. The Jews, therefore, after he had hung about three hours upon the cross, with the two malefactors who were crucified with him, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the on the Sabbath-day (for that Sabbath-day was an high