Imágenes de páginas

were wont to have. Besides, he was persecuted in his infancy. They began to seek his life as soon as he was born. Herod, the chief man of the land, was so engaged to kill him, that, in order to it, he killed all the children in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under. And Christ suffered banishment in bis infancy, was driven out of his native country into Egypt, and without doubt suffered much by being carried so long a journey, when he was so young, into a strange country.

II. Christ was subject to great humiliation in bis private life at Nazareth. He there led a servile, obscure life, in a mean, laborious occupation; for be is called not only the carpenter's son, but the carpenter: Mark vi. 3. Is not this the car. penter, the brother of James and Joses, and Juda, and Simon ? By bard labour, he earned his bread before he ate it, and so suffered that curse which God pronounced on Adam, Gen. iii. 13. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. Let us consider how great a degree of humiliation the glorious Son of God, the creator of heaven and earth, was subject to in this, that for about thirty years he should live a private, obscure life among labouring men, and all this while be overlooked, not taken notice of in the world, more than other common labourers. Christ's humiliation, in some respects, was greater in private life than in the time of his public ministry. There were many manifestations of his glory in the word he preached, and the miracles he wrought: but the first thirty years of his life he spent among ordinary men, as it were in silence. There was not any thing to make him to be taken notice of more than any ordinary mechanic, only the spotless purity and eminent holiness of his life; and that was in a great measure bid in obscurity, so that he was little taken notice of till after his baptism.

III. Christ was the subject of great bumiliation and suffering during his public life, from his baptism till the night wherein he was betrayed.

1. He suffered great poverty, so that he had not where to lay his head, (Matth. viii. 20, compared with John xviii. 1, 2, and Luke xxi. 27, and chap. xxii. 30.) So that what was spoken of Christ in Cant. v. 2, My head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night, was literally fulfilled. And through his poverty he doubtless was often tried with hunger, thirst, and 'cold, Matt. iv. 2; xxi. 18. His mother and natural relations were poor, not able to help him; and he was maintained by the charity of some of his disciples while he lived. So we read in Luke viii. at the beginning, of cer. tain women that followed bim, and ministered unto him of their substance. He was so poor, that he was not able to pay the demanded tribute without a miracle, See Matt. xvii. 27.


And when he ate his last passover, it was not at his own charge, but that of another, as appears by Luke xxii. 7, &c. And from his poverty he had no grave of his own to be buried in. It was the manner of the Jews, unless they were poor, to prepare themselves a sepulchre while they lived. But Christ had no land of his own, though he was possessor of heaven and earth; and therefore was buried by Joseph of Arimathea's charity, and in his tomb, which he had prepared for himself.

2. He suffered great hatred and reproach. He was despised and rejected of men; one of little account, slighted for bis low parentage, and bis mean city Nazareils. He was reproac bed as a glutton and drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners; was called a deceiver of the people; sometimes was called a madman, and a Samaritan, and one possessed with a devil, (John vii. 20, viii. 48, and x. 20.) He was called a blasphemer, and was accounted, by many, a wizzard, or one that wrought miracles by the black art, and by communication with Beelzebub. They excommunicated him, and agreed to excommunicate any man that should own him, (John ix. 22.) They wished him dead, and were continually seeking to murder him; sometimes by force, and sometimes by craft. They often took up stones to stone him, and once led him to the brow of a hill, intending to throw him down the precipice, to dash him in pieces against the rocks.

He was thus hated and reproached by his own visible people, John i. 11. He came to his own, and his own received him not. And he was principally despised and hated by those who were in chief repute, and were their greatest men. Indeed the hatred was general. Into whatever part of the land he went, he met with hatred and contempt; in Capernaum, and Jericho; in Jerusalem, which was the holy city, even when he went to the temple to worship; also in Nazareth, his own city, among his own relations, and his old neighbours. 3. He suffered the buffetings of Satan in an uncommon

One time in particular, he had a long conflict with the devil, when he was in the wilderness forty days, with wild beasts and devils; and was so exposed to the devil's power, that he was carried about by him from place to place, while he was otherwise in a very suffering state. So much for the humiliation and suffering of Christ's public life, from his baptism to the night wherein he was betrayed.

IV. I come now to his last humiliation and sufferings, from the evening of the night wherein he was betrayed, to his resurrection. And here was his greatest humiliation and suffering, by which principally he made satisfaction to the justice of God for the sins of men. First, his life was sold by one of his own disciples for thirty pieces of silver ; which was the price of the life of a servant, Exod. xxi. 32. Then he



was in dreadful agony in the garden. There came such a dismal gloom upon his soul, that he began to be sorrowful and very heavy, and said, that his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and was sore amazed. So violent was the agony of his soul, as to force the blood through the pores of his skin; so that while bis soul was overwhelmed with amazing sorrow, body was clotted with blood. The disciples, who used to be as his friends and family, at this time, above all, appeared cold towards him, and unconcerned for him, at the same time that his father's face was hid from him. Judas, to whom Christ had been so very merciful, and who was treated as one of his family or familiar friends, comes and betrays him in the most deceitful, treacherous manner. The officers and soldiers apprehend and bind him; his disciples forsake him, and flee; his own best friends do not stand by him to comfort him in this time of his distress. He is led away as a malefactor to appear before the priests and scribes, bis venomous, mortal enemies, that they might sit as his judges. Now they had got him into their hands, they sat up all night, to have the pleasure of insulting him. But because they aimed at nothing short of his life, they set themselves to find some colour to put him to death, and seek for witnesses against him. When none appeared, they set some to bear false witness; and when their witness did not agree together, they examined him, in hope to catch something out of his own mouth. They hoped he would say, that be was the Son of God, and then they thought they should have enough. But because they see they are not like to obtain this, they adjure him, in the name of God, to say whether he was or not; and when he confessed that he was, then it was a time of rejoicing with them, which they show, by spitting in his face, blindfolding him, and striking him in the face with the palms of their hands, and then bidding him prophecy who it was that struck him; thus ridiculing him for pretending to be a prophet. And the very servants have a hand in the sport, Mark xiv. 65. And the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

During the sufferings of the night, Peter, one of the chief of his own disciples, instead of standing by to comfort, appears ashamed to own him, and denies and renounces him with oaths and curses. And after the chief priests and elders had finished the night in so shamefully abusing him, in the morning (the morning of the most wonderful day that ever was,) they led him away to Pilate, to be condemned to death by him, because they had not the power of life and death in their own hands. He is brought before Pilate's judgment-seat, and there the priests and elders accuse him as a traitor. And when Pilate, upon examining into the matter, declared he found 'no fault in him, the Jews were but the more fierce and violent to have

him condemned. Upon which Pilate, after clearing him, very unjustly brings bim upon a second trial; and then not finding any thing against him, acquits him again. Pilate treats him as a poor worthless fellow; but is ashamed, on so little pretence, to condemn him as a traitor.

And then he was sent to Herod, to be tried by him, and was brought before his judgment-seat; his enemies followed, and virulently accused him before flerod. Herod does not condemn him as a traitor, or one that would set up for a king, but looks upon him as Pilate did, as a poor worthless creature, not worthy to be noticed, and makes a mere laugh of the Jews accusing him as dangerous to Cæsar, as one setting up to be a king against bim; and therefore, in derision, dresses him up in a mock robe, makes sport of him, and sends him back through the streets of Jerusalem to Pilate, with the mock robe on.

Then the Jews prefer Barabbas before him, and are instant and violent with loud vociferations to Pilate, to crucify him. So Pilate, after he had cleared him twice, and Herod once, very unrighteously brings him on trial the third time, to try if he could not find something sufficient to crucify him. Christ was stripped and scourged; thus be gave his back to the smiters. After that, though Pilate still declared that be found no fault in him, yet, so unjust was he, that, for fear of the Jews, he delivered Christ to be crucified. But before they execute the sentence, his spiteful and cruel enemies take the pleasure of mocking him again; they get round him, and make a set business of it. They stripped him, put on him a scarlet robe, a reed in his hand, and a crown of thorns on his head. Both Jews and Roman soldiers were united in the transaction; they bow the knee before him, and in derision cry, “ Hail, king of the Jews.” They spit upon him also, take the reed out of his hand, and smite him on the head. After this they led him away to crucify him, made him carry his own cross, till he sunk under it, his strength being spent; and then they laid it on one Simon, a Cyrenian.

At length, being come to Mount Calvary, they execute the sentence which Pilate had so unrighteously pronounced. They nail him to his cross by his hands and feet, then raise it erect, and fix one end in the ground, he being still suspended on it by the nails which pierced his hands and feet. Now Christ's sufferings are come to the extremity: now the cup, which he so earnestly prayed might pass from him, is come; he must, he does drink it. In those days crucifixion was the most tormenting kind of death by which any were wont to be executed. There was no death wherein the person experienced so much of mere torment; and hence the Roman word, which signifies torment, is taken from this kind of death. Besides what our Lord endured in this excruciating corporeal death,

he endured vastly more in his soul. Now was that travail of his soul, of which we read in the prophet; now it pleased God to bruise him, and to put him to grief; now he poured out his soul unto death, as in Isa. liji. And if the mere forethought of this cup made him sweat blood, how much more dreadful and excruciating must the drinking of it have been! Many martyrs have endured much in their bodies, while their souls have been joyful, and have sung for joy, whereby they have been supported under the sufferings of their outward man, and have triumphed over them. But this was not the case with Christ; be bad no such support; but his sufferings were chiefly those of the mind, though the other were extremely great. In his crucifixion Christ did not sweat blood, as he had done before ; not because his agony was now not so great, but his blood had vent another way. But though he did not sweat blood, yet such was the sufferings of his soul, that probably it rent bis vitals; when his side was pierced, there caine forth blood and water. And so here was a kind of literal fulfilment of that in Psal. xxii. 14. I am poured out like water :-my heart is like war, it is melled in the midst of my bowels.

Now, under all these sufferings, the Jews still mock bim ; and, wagging their heads, say, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. And even the chief priests, scribes, and elders, joined in the cry, saying, He sared others, himself he cannot save. And probably the devil at the same time tormented him to the utmost of his power; and hence it is said, Luke xxii. 53. This is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Under these sufferings, Christ, having cried out once and again with a loud voice, at last said, It is FINISHED, (John xix. 30.) and bowed the head, and gave up the ghost. And thus was finished the greatest and most wonderful thing that ever was done. Now the angels bebeld the most wonderful sight that ever they saw. Now was accomplished the main thing that had been pointed at by the various institutions of the ceremonial law, by all the typical dispensations, and by all the sacrifices from the beginning of the world.

Christ being thus brought under the power of death, continued under it till the morning of next day but one. Then was finished that great work, the purchase of our redemption, for which such great preparation had been made from the beginning of the world. Then was finished all that was required in order to satisfy the threatenings of the law, and all that was necessary in order to satisty divine justice ; then the utmost that vindictive justice demanded, even the whole debt, was paid. Then was finished the whole of the purchase of eternal life. And now there is no need of any thing more

« AnteriorContinuar »