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by bands of his own; his father's will, and mercy, pity of the world, prophecies, and mysteries, and love held him fast: and these cords were as "strong as death;" and the cords, which the soldiers' malice put upon his holy hands, were but symbols and figures, his own compassion and affection were the morals. But yet he undertook this short restraint and condition of a prisoner, that all sorts of persecution and exterior calamities might be hallowed by his susception; and these pungent sorrows should, like bees, sting him, and leave their sting behind, that all the sweetnesses should remain for us. Some melancholic devotions have, from uncertain stories, added sad circumstances of the first violence done to our Lord; that they bound him with three cords, and that with so much violence, that they caused blood to start from his tender hands; that they spate then, also, upon him, with a violence and incivility like that, which their fathers had used towards Hur, the brother of Aaron, whom they choaked with impure spittings into his throat, because he refused to consent to the making a golden calf. These particulars are not transmitted by certain records. Certain it is, they wanted no malice, and now no power; for the Lord had given himself into their hands.
11. St. Peter seeing his master thus ill-used, asked, "Master, shall we strike with the sword?" and before he had his answer, cut off the ear of Malchus. Two swords there were in Christ's family, and St. Peter bore one; either because he was to kill the paschal lamb, or, according to the custom of the country, to secure them against beasts of prey, which in that region were frequent, and dangerous in the night. But now he used it in an unlawful war; he had no competent authority; it was against the ministers of his lawful prince, and against our prince we must not draw a sword for Christ himself, himself having forbidden us; as his "kingdom is not of this world," so neither were his defences secular: he could have called for many legions of angels for his guard, if he had so pleased; and we read that one angel slew 185,000 armed men in one night; and, therefore, it was a vast power, which was at the command of our Lord; and he needs not such low auxiliaries as an army of rebels, or à
▸ Dominum omnium mysteria, non arma, tenuerunt.
S. Amb. in Lucam.
navy of pirates, to defend his cause: he first lays the foundation of our happiness in his sufferings, and hath ever since supported religion by patience and suffering, and in poverty, and all the circumstances and conjunctures of improbable causes. Fighting for religion is certain to destroy charity, but not certain to support faith. St. Peter, therefore, may use his keys, but he is commanded to put up his sword; and he did so; and presently he and all his fellows fairly ran away: and yet that course was much the more Christian; for though it had in it much infirmity, yet it had no malice. In the mean time, the Lord was pleased to touch the ear of Malchus, and he cured it; adding to the first instance of power, in throwing them to the ground, an act of miraculous mercy, curing the wounds of an enemy made by a friend. But neither did this pierce their callous and obdurate spirits; but they led him in uncouth ways, and through the brook Cedron, in which it is said the ruder soldiers plunged him, and passed upon him all the affronts and rudenesses which an insolent and cruel multitude could think of, to signify their contempt and their rage. And such is the nature of evil men, who, when they are not softened by the instruments and arguments of grace, are much hardened by them; such being the purpose of God, that either grace shall cure sin, or accidentally increase it; that it shall either pardon it, or bring it to greater punishment: for so I have seen healthful medicines, abused by the incapacities of a healthless body, become fuel to a fever, and increase the distemperature, from indisposition to a sharp disease, and from thence to the margent of the grave. But it was otherwise in Saul, whom Jesus threw to the ground with a more angry sound than these persecutors: but Saul rose a saint, and they persisted devils; and the grace of God distinguished the events.
O holy Jesus, make me by thy example to conform to the will of that eternal God, who is our Father, merciful and gracious; that I may choose all those accidents, which his • Providence hath actually disposed to me; that I may know
De torrente in via bibet. Ps. cx. ult.
no desires but his commands, and his will; and that in all afflictions I may fly thither for mercy, pardon, and support; and may wait for deliverance in such times and manners, which the Father hath reserved in his own power, and graciously dispenses, according to his infinite wisdom and compassion. Holy Jesus, give me the gift and spirit of prayer; and do thou, by thy gracious intercession, supply my ignorances, and passionate desires, and imperfect choices; procuring and giving to me such returns of favour, which may support my needs, and serve the ends of religion and the Spirit, which thy wisdom chooses, and thy passion hath purchased, and thy grace loves to bestow upon all thy saints and servants. Amen.
Eternal God, sweetest Jesu, who didst receive Judas with the affection of a Saviour, and sufferedst him to kiss thy cheek, with the serenity and tranquillity of God; and didst permit the soldiers to bind thee, with patience exemplary to all ages of martyrs; and didst cure the wound of thy enemy, with the charity of a parent, and the tenderness of an infinite pity; O kiss me with the kisses of thy mouth, embrace me with the entertainments of a gracious Lord, and let my soul dwell and feast in thee, who art the repository of eternal sweetness and refreshments. Bind me, O Lord, with those bands which tied thee fast, the chains of love; that such holy union may dissolve the cords of vanity, and confine the bold pretensions of usurping passions, and imprison all extravagancies of an impertinent spirit, and lead sin captive to the dominion of grace and sanctified reason; that I also may imitate all the parts of thy holy passion; and may, by thy bands, get my liberty; by thy kiss, enkindle charity; by the touch of thy hand and the breath of thy mouth, have all my wounds cured, and restored to the integrity of a holy penitent, and the purities of innocence; that I may love thee, and please thee, and live with thee for ever, O holy and sweetest Jesu. Amen.
Considerations upon the Scourging, and other Accidents, happening from the Apprehension till the Crucifixion of
1. THE house of Annas stood in the Mount Sion, and in the way to the house of Caiaphas; and thither he was led, as to the first stage of their triumph for their surprise of a person so feared and desired; and there a naughty person smote the holy Jesus upon the face, for saying to Annas, that he had made his doctrine public, and that all the people were able to give account of it: to whom the Lamb of God shewed as much meekness and patience in his answer, as in his answer to Annas he had shewed prudence and modesty. For, now that they had taken Jesus, they wanted a crime to object against him, and therefore were desirous to snatch occasion from his discourses, to which they resolved to tempt him, by questions and affronts: but his answer was general and indefinite, safe and true, enough to acquit his doctrine from suspicions of secret designs, and yet secure against their present snares; for now himself, who always had the "innocence of doves," was to join with it the prudence and wariness of serpents; not to prevent death, (for that he was resolved to suffer,) but that they might be destitute of all appearance of a just cause on his part. Here it was that Judas received his money; and here that holy face, which was designed to be that object, in the beholding of which much of the celestial glory doth consist; that face which the angels stare upon with wonder, like infants at a bright sunbeam, was smitten extrajudicially by an incompetent person, with circumstances of despite, in the presence of a judge, in a full assembly, and none reproved the insolence and the cruelty of the affront; for they resolved to use him as they use wolves and tigers, with all things that may be destructive, violent, and impious : and in this the injury was heightened, because the blow was said to be given by Malchus, an Idumæan slave, and, therefore, a contemptible person; but far more unworthy by his ingratitude, for so he repaid the holy Jesus for working a miracle and healing his ear. But so the Scripture was fulfilled;
a Malchus Idumæis missus captivus ab oris.
Vida, Episc. Cremon. lib. ii. Christeidos. Isa. 1. 6. Micah, v. 1.
"He shall give his body to the smiters, and his cheeks to the nippers," saith the prophet Isaiah; and, "They shall smite the cheek of the Judge of Israel," saith Micah. And this very circumstance of the passion Lactantius affirms to have been foretold by the Erythræan sibyl. But no meekness, or indifference, could engage our Lord not to protest his innocence and though, following his steps, we must walk in the regions of patience, and tranquillity, and admirable toleration of injuries; yet we may represent such defences of ourselves, which, by not resisting the sentence, may testify that our suffering is undeserved: and if our innocence will not preserve our lives, it will advance our title to a better; and every good cause ill judged shall be brought to another tribunal, to receive a just and unerring sentence.
2. Annas, having suffered this unworthy usage towards a person so excellent, sent him away to Caiaphas, who had formerly, in a full council, resolved he should die; yet now, palliating the design with the scheme of a tribunal, they seek out for witnesses, and the witnesses are to seek for allegations; and when they find them, they are to seek for proof, and those proofs were to seek for unity and consent, and nothing was ready for their purposes; but they were forced to use the semblance of a judicial process, that, because they were to make use of Pilate's authority to put him to death, they might persuade Pilate to accept of their examination and conviction without farther inquiry. But such had been the excellency, and exemplar piety, and prudence, of the life of Jesus, that, if they pretended against him questions of their law, they were not capital in a Roman court: if they affirmed, that he had moved the people to sedition and affected the kingdom, they saw that all the world would convince them of false testimony. At last, after many attempts, they accused him for a figurative speech, a trope which they could not understand; which, if it had been spoken in a literal sense, and had been acted, too, according to the letter, had been so far from a fault, that it would have been a prodigy of power; and it had been easier to raise the temple of Jerusalem, than to raise the temple of his body.
b Εις ἀνόμων χειρας καὶ ἀπίστων ὕστερον ἥξει,
Δώσουσίν τε θεῷ ῥαπίσματα χερσὶν ἀνάγνοις. -- Instit. lib. iv. c. 18.
Victor in S. Marc.