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excellent scholars all, great historians and philosophers; who also noted the day of the week, and hour of the day, agreeing with the circumstances of the cross. For the sun hid his head from beholding such a prodigy of sin and sadness, and provided a veil for the nakedness of Jesus, that the women might be present, and himself die, with modesty.

35. The eclipse and the passion began" at the sixth hour," and endured" till the ninth," about which time Jesus, being tormented with the unsufferable load of his Father's wrath, due for our sins, and wearied with pains and heaviness, "cried out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and, as it is thought, repeated the whole two and twentieth psalm, which is an admirable narrative of the passion, full of prayer and sadness, and description of his pains at first, and of eucharist, and joy, and prophecy, at the last. But these first words, which it is certain and recorded that he spake, were in a language of itself, or else, by reason of distance, not understood, for they thought he had " called for Elias," to take him down from the cross. Then Jesus, being in the agonies of a high fever," said, I thirst. And one ran, and filled a sponge with vinegar, wrapping it with hyssop, and put it on a reed," that he might drink. The vinegar and the sponge were, in executions of condemned persons, set to stop the too violent issues of blood, and to prolong the death; but were exhibited to him in scorn; mingled with gall," to make the mixture more horrid and ungentle. But "Jesus tasted it" only, and "refused the draught." And now, knowing that the prophecies were fulfilled, his Father's wrath appeased, and his torments satisfactory, he said, "It is finished, and crying with a loud voice, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, he bowed his head, and yielded up his spirit" into the hands of God, and died, hastening to his Father's glories. Thus did this

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Origen, cont. Cels. lib. ii. Tertul. Apolog. Lucian. in actis sui Mart. August. Ep. 80. ad Hesychium.

Suidas in Vita Dionys. ait eum dixisse, Aut Deus patitur, ant patienti compatitur: et hac de causa Athenienses erexisse aram a



h Veteres spongiæ conglutinant vulnera. — Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xxxi.

c. 11.

Poterit et de misericordia moveri defixus in morsus uncorum, et spongias retiariorum. - Tertul. de Spect. c. 25,

glorious Sun set in a sad and clouded west, running speedily to shine in the other world.

36. Then "was the veil of the temple," which separated the secret Mosaic rites from the eyes of the people, " rent in the midst, from the top to the bottom;" and the angels, presidents of the temple, called to each other to depart from their seats; and so great" an earthquake" happened, that "the rocks did rend," the mountains trembled, "the graves opened, and the bodies of dead persons arose, walking," from their cemeteries, " to the holy city, and appeared unto many:" and so great apprehensions and amazements happened to them all that stood by, that they " departed, smiting their breasts with sorrow and fear:" and " the centurion," that ministered at the execution, "said, Certainly this was the Son of God;" and he became a disciple, renouncing his military employment, and died a martyr*.


37. But because the next day was the "Jews' Sabbath," and a paschal festival besides, the Jews hastened that the bodies should be taken from the cross; and, therefore, sent to Pilate to hasten their death by breaking their legs', that," before sunset", "they might be taken away," according to the commandment, and "be buried. The soldiers, therefore, came, and brake the legs of the two thieves; but espying," and wondering, "that Jesus was already dead, they brake not his legs; for the Scripture foretold, that a bone of him should not be broken: but a soldier, with his lance, pierced his side, and immediately there streamed out" two rivulets of "water and blood." But the holy Virgin-mother, (whose soul, during this whole passion, " was pierced with a sword," and sharper sorrows, though she was supported by the comforts of faith, and those holy predictions of his resurrection and future glories, which Mary had laid up in store, against this great day of expense,) now that she saw her holy Son had suffered all that our necessities, and their malice, could require or inflict, caused certain ministers, with whom she joined, to take her dead son from the cross;

IS. Hieron. Ep. 150. q. 8.

k Apud Metaph. die. 16 Octob. In hac ipsa genuum commissura quædam buccarum inanitas est, quâ perfossâ, ceu jugulo, spiritus aufugit. — Plin. lib. xi. c. 45.

Vide Lactant. lib. i. c. 26. Cic. pro Rosc. m Philo de Leg, Special. Deut. xxi.

whose body, when she once got free from the nails, she kissed, and embraced with entertainments of the nearest vicinity, that could be expressed by a person that was holy and sad, and a mother weeping for her dead son.

38. But she was highly satisfied with her own meditations, that now that great mystery, determined, by Divine predestination, before the beginning of all ages, was fulfilled in her son; and the passion, that must needs be, was accomplished she, therefore, first bathes his cold body with her warm tears, and makes clean the surface of the wounds, and, delivering a winding napkin to Joseph of Arimathæa, gave to him in charge to enwrap the body, and embalm it, to compose it to the grave, and do it all the rites of funeral, having first exhorted him to a public confession of what he was privately, till now and he obeyed the counsel of so excellent a person, and ventured upon the displeasure of the Jewish rulers, and "went confidently to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus." And "Pilate gave him" the power of it.

39." Joseph, therefore, takes the body, binds his face with a napkin," washes the body, anoints it with ointment, enwraps it in a composition of " myrrh and aloes, and puts it into a new tomb, which he, for himself, had hewn out of a rock," (it not being lawful, among the Jews, to inter a condemned person in the common cemeteries :) for all these circumstances were in "the Jews' manner of burying." But when the sun was set, "the chief Priests and Pharisees went to Pilate, telling him that Jesus, whilst he was living, foretold his own resurrection upon the third day; and, lest his disciples should come and steal the body, and say he was risen from the dead," desired that" the sepulchre might be secured" against the danger of any such imposture. Pilate gave them leave to do their pleasure, even to the satisfaction of their smallest scruples. They, therefore," sealed the grave, rolled a great stone at the mouth of it," and, as an ancient tradition says, bound it about with labels of iron, and "set a watch" of soldiers, as if they had intended to have made it surer than the decrees of fate, or the neverfailing laws of Nature.

Metaphr. August. 15.

• Beda de Locis Sanctis, c. 2. Niceph. lib. i. c. 32.


Considerations of some preparatory Accidents before the Entrance of Jesus into his Passion.

1. HE that hath observed the story of the life of Jesus, cannot but see it, all the way, to be strewed with thorns and sharp-pointed stones; and although, by the kisses of his feet, they became precious and salutary, yet they procured to him sorrow and disease: it was "meat and drink to him to do his Father's will," but it was "bread of affliction, and rivers of tears to drink ;" and, for these, he thirsted like the earth after the cool stream. m. For so great was his perfection, so exact the conformity of his will, so absolute the subordination of his inferior faculties to the infinite love of God, which sat regent in the court of his will and understanding, that, in this election of accidents, he never considered the taste, but the goodness, never distinguished sweet from bitter, but duty and piety always prepared his table. And, therefore, now knowing that his time, determined by the Father, was nigh, he hastened up to Jerusalem; "he went before" his disciples, saith St. Mark," and they followed him trembling and amazed;" and yet, before that, even then when his brethren observed he had a design of publication of himself, he suffered them "to go before him, and went up, as it were, in secret." For so we are invited to martyrdom, and suffering in a Christian cause, by so great an example: the holy Jesus is gone before us, and it were a holy contention, to strive whose zeal were forwardest in the designs of humiliation and self-denial; but it were also well, if, in doing ourselves secular advantage, and promoting our worldly interest, we should follow him, who was ever more distant from receiving honours than from receiving a painful death. Those affections, which dwell in sadness, and are married to grief, and lie at the foot of the cross, and trace the sad steps of Jesus, have the wisdom of recollection, the tempers of sobriety, and are the best imitations of Jesus, and securities against the levity of a dispersed and a vain spirit. This was intimated by many of the disciples of Jesus, in the days of the Spirit, and, when they had "tasted of the good

word of God, and the powers of the world to come;" for then we find many ambitious of martyrdom, and that have laid stratagems and designs, by unusual deaths, to get a crown. The soul of St. Lawrence was so scorched with ardent desires of dying for his Lord, that he accounted the coals of his gridiron but as a julep, or the aspersion of cold water, to refresh his soul; they were chill as the Alpine snows, in respect of the heats of his diviner flames. And if these lesser stars shine so brightly, and burn so warmly, what heat of love may we suppose to have been in the Sun of Righteousness? If they went fast toward the crown of martyrdom, yet we know that the Holy Jesus went before them all: no wonder that "he cometh forth as a bridegroom from his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course."

2. When the disciples had overtaken Jesus, he begins to them a sad homily upon the old text of suffering, which he had, well nigh for a year together, preached upon; but because it was an unpleasing lesson, so contradictory to those interests, upon the hopes of which they had entertained themselves, and spent all their desires, they could by no means understand it for an understanding, prepossessed with a fancy, or an unhandsome principle, construes all other notions to the sense of the first; and whatsoever contradicts it, we think it an objection, and that we are bound to answer it. But now that it concerned Christ to speak so plainly, that his disciples, by what was to happen within five or six days, might not be scandalized, or believe it happened to Jesus without his knowledge and voluntary entertainment, he tells them of his sufferings, to be accomplished in this journey to Jerusalem. And here the disciples shewed themselves to be but men, full of passion and indiscreet affection; and the bold Galilean, St. Peter, took the boldness to dehort his Master from so great an infelicity; and met with a reprehension so great, that neither the Scribes, nor the Pharisees, nor Herod himself, ever met with its parallel: Jesus called him Satan; meaning, that no greater contradiction can be offered to the designs of God and his holy Son, than to dissuade us from suffering. And if we understood how great are the advantages of a suffering condition, we should think all our daggers gilt, and our pavements strewed with roses, and our halters silken, and the rack an instrument of pleasure,

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