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graces, and, in fine, sacred bitters, by which your soul may be healed, by which you may learn from experience how much you are indebted to Christ, and by tasting the bitterness of which beforehand, the consolations of the Spirit may prove the sweeter, and the joys of heaven the more delightful. As good faith does not permit the same debt to be demanded twice, Divine justice cannot allow that debt, which was paid by thy Surety, to be placed to thy account. 3dly, Consider also that these sufferings of Christ have opened for thee the fountain of the Divine favour and beneficence, from which alone proceeds whatever you receive in this, or a future life, that is good and desirable. If you have an habitation in which you dwell joyfully with a beloved partner and pleasant children; if you are clothed with decent apparel ; if you are supplied with wholesome and delicious food; if when sick, neither the attention of domestics or friends, nor pleasant cordials furnished by
our own country or by foreign lands, are wanting ; if ! when fatigued in body, or perplexed in mind, you can
recline upon a soft couch; and if you enjoy all these comforts not in the same way with the men of this world, but as the fruits of the love of God ;—for this you are entirely indebted to a suffering Christ; who for your sake wandered as a poor man without a home, was suspended naked on the cross, received vinegar and gall to drink, and hung on the accursed tree, destitute of every comfort, and enduring the most excruciating pains, his hands and his feet being pierced with iron nails. If you are soothed with the consolations of the Holy Spirit, if you exult in afflictions, if you have free and abundant access to the throne of grace, if you have a tranquil conscience, if you venture to hope for heaven itself and life everlasting,--all this, too, is owing to no
other cause than the sufferings of Christ ; who for your sake was himself deprived, amidst his anguish, of the cheering manifestations of his Father's love, complained of the sorrows of his soul, lamented that his prayers were not heard,w and was girded and bound with the chains of death and hell. Athly, Hence too you may form an estimate of the magnitude of that salvation and happiness, which the Son of God himself, to whom the value of every thing is well known, did not hesitate to purchase for his people with the inestimable price of his own sufferings.
XXXI. But what testimonies of Gratitude shall we render, in any measure corresponding to this unbounded love? Ist, Let all the hatred, indignation, and revenge of which our minds are capable, be turned wholly against sin, which was the sole cause of all the sorrows of Christ. Neither Judas, nor the scribes, or chief priests and rulers of the people, nor the Jewish populace, nor Herod or Pontius Pilate, could have done any thing against him; neither scourges, nor thorns, nor nails, would have been prepared to torment him; nor would the prince of darkness have attacked him with all his forces—unless he had taken upon himself our sins, which could not be expiated in any other way. Shall we not then deplore, with tears of the bitterest sorrow, the sins, which in time past (and Oh that I could say in time past !) we have committed ?y Shall we roll ourselves in that dirt and dung from which nothing but the blood of the Son of God was able to cleanse us ? Shall we return to the service of former crimes, and to the vain conversation received by tradi
x Is. liii. 5-7.
w Ps. xxii. 1, 2. y Zech. xii. 10.
tion from the fathers, from which we could not be redeemed but at so vast an expense ? Shall we suffer the old man, the murderer of Christ, our Lord, Brother, and Husband, to live, to flourish, to maintain the ascendant in our souls ? Far, very far, be an infatuation so base, from every generous breast. O our sins, O ye daughters of Babylon, devoted to destruction, happy may he be that rewardeth you, that taketh and dasheth your little ones against the rock of our salvation.z 2dy, Whatever, on the contrary, we know to be acceptable to our Lord, let us perform it with alacrity and diligence. Let us value him, who was sold by Judas for thirty pieces of silver, as infinitely more precious than all the treasures of the world. Let us closely and stedfastly follow him, who was forsaken by the disciples, whithersoever he may be pleased to lead us. With undaunted resolution, let us confess him, who was denied by Peter. Let us cheerfully accompany him, who was cast out of the city by the rulers, bearing his reproach ; and let us receive him, with his word and Spirit, into the gates of our cities, into the doors of our houses, into the innermost recesses of our hearts, there to live and to reign for ever. When we find him still naked, or hungry, or thirsty in his poor members, let us supply him with clothing, meat and drink; instead of vinegar and gall, let us “ cause him to drink of spiced wine, of “the juice of the pomegranate.”a In fine, let nothing in his worship and service seem too arduous, to be cheerfully done for his sake, who sustained far harder labours, and far more bitter sufferings, on our account.
hich mein hi
ON THE CRUCIFIXION AND DEATII OF CHRIST.
1. THE CROSS of Christ is the foundation of foundations, and the pillar of sacred wisdom; without which it is impossible to understand the mysteries of our Religion, to attain genuine holiness, or to inherit eternal life. It was, accordingly, the determination of Paul, that forgetting, in a manner, all other things which he had learned, he would “ know nothing among the Co“ rinthians, save JESUS CHRIST, and him CRUCI“FIED.”a This topic, then, is peculiarly entitled to the careful attention and pious inquiry of the Theologian, and indeed of every Christian. In treating it at present, we shall, in the first place, explain the history of the crucifixion of Christ, as it is related by the Evangelists, collecting from Roman antiquity, but briefly and sparingly, what may tend to illustrate the subject; and we shall then pass on to the more profound mysteries of Christianity, in the faith and practice of which the marrow of true godliness consists.
a i Cor. ii. 2.
11. Before examining the mode of crucifixion, it seems proper to make a few preliminary remarks on the terms by which this punishment is expressed, and on the form of the cross. The terms most frequently employed, are, Patibulum, Furca, Crux; which, in their more general signification, are sometimes employed indiscriminately, even by the most correct writers in the Latin tongue. Yet Crux, the Cross, strictly and properly so called, is distinguished from the Patibulum strictly understood. The Patibulum was either the OLD or the new one. The OLD was a beam divided into two parts above, that is, one piece of timber rising upwards with separate branches, according to the figure of the letter Y. It was called Patibulum, not from the word patiendum, (suffering,) as many after Isidorus have thought; but from those two patentes (spreading) branches or horns: as latibulum, a den, from latendum, lurking. On account of the resemblance it bore to a certain instrument of husbandry, it was also frequently named Furca, a fork; which is entirely the same with the old Patibulum. The New Patibulum was introduced by Constantine; who, being unwilling that the sign of salvation should be used for the purpose of destruction, and exposed to contempt by the manner in which condemned malefactors were punished, “ first set “ aside the former and very ancient punishment by the “ patibulum,” as Victor says in his life of Constantine; or, as it is expressed by Cassiodorus,* “ prohibited by “ law the punishment of the Cross, which was anciently “ in use amongst the Romans.” He introduced in its place, another Patibulum, and one which is used in
* Hist. Trip. par. i. cap. 9.