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separated the holy place from the exterior of shall answer all their inquiries, and resolve all the temple, which Josephus calls“ a Babyloni- their difficulties. It is Elias, who by his prayan hanging," embroidered curiously with gold, ers, shall obtain the resurrection of the just. purple, scarlet, and fine flax.* There was also It is Elias, who shall do for the Jews of the a veil over the door which separated the holy dispersion, what Moses did for the Israelites place from the Holy of Holies. The expres- enslaved in Egypt: he shall march at their sion in the text the veil, described in Exod. head, and conduct them into Canaan. These xxvi. 31, and denoted the veil by way of ex- are all expressions of the Rabbins, whose names cellence, makes it presumable that the second I suppress, as also the lists of the works from is here meant.
which we extract the passages just now quoted. 3. The evangelist relates that “the graves Here we conclude our proposed commentary were opened; and many bodies of saints which on the words, and now proceed: slept, arose, and went into the holy city, and II. To direct your attention to the great obappeared unto many." This has induced inject exhibited in the text, Jesus Christ expiring terpreters to institute an inquiry, who those on the cross. We shall derive from the words dead persons were? It is pretended by some read, six ideas of the death of Jesus Christ. that they were the ancient prophets; others, 1. The death of Christ is an expiatory sacriwith a greater air of probability, maintain that fice, in which the victim was charged with the they were persons lately deceased, and well sins of a whole world. 2. It is the body of all known to those to whom they appeared. But the shadows, the truth of all the types, the achow is it possible to form a fixed opinion, when complishment of all the predictions of the anwe are left so entirely in the dark?
cient dispensation, respecting the Messiah. 3. 4. Our last remark relates to the interpreta- It is, on the part of the Jewish nation, a crime, tion affirmed to the Syriac words which Jesus which the blackest colours are incapable of deChrist pronounced; “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachtha- picting, which has kindled the wrath of Heani,” and which St. Mark gives in the Chaldaic ven, and armed universal nature against them. form. The evangelist tells us, that some of 4. It presents a system of morality in which those who heard Jesus Christ thus express him- every virtue is retraced, and every motive that self, said that “he called for Elias.” The can animate us to the practice of it, is displaypersons who entertained this idea, could not be ed. 5. It presents a mystery which reason the Roman soldiers, who assisted at the execu- cannot unfold, but whose truth and importance tion. By what means should they have known all the difficulties which reason may urge are any thing of Elias? They were not the Jews unable to impair. 6. Finally, it is the triumph who inhabited Jerusalem and Judea; how could of the Redeemer over the tomb. they have been acquainted with their native 1. The death of Jesus Christ is an expiatory language? They must have been, on the one sacrifice, offered up to divine justice.“ Eli, hand, Jews instructed in the traditions of their Eli, lama sabachthani: My God, my God, why nation, and who, on the other, did not under- hast thou forsaken me?” This is the only proof stand the language spoken at Jerusalem. Now which we shall at present produce in support this description applies exactly to those of the of the doctrine of the atonement. It is, unJews who were denominated Hellenists, that is doubtedly, difficult, to determine with precito say, Greeks: they were of Jewish extraction, sion, what were, at that moment, the disposiand had scattered themselves over the different lions of the Saviour of the world. In general, regions of Greece.
we must carefully separate from them every But whence, it will be said, did they derive idea of distrust, of murmuring, of despair. the strange idea, that Jesus Christ called for We must carefully separate every thing injuriElias? I answer, that it was not only from the ous to the immaculate purity from which Jesus resemblance in sound between the words Eli Christ never deviated, and to that completo and Elias, but from another tradition of the submission, which he constantly expressed, to Jews. It was founded on those words of the the will of his heavenly Father. We have prophet Malachi: “behold, I will send you here a victim, not dragged reluctantly to the Elijah the prophet . . and he shall turn altar, but voluntarily advancing to it; and the the heart of the fathers to the children, and the same love which carried him thither, supported heart of the children to their fathers,” chap. iv. him during the whole sacrifice. These com6; an oracle which presents no difficulty to the plainings, therefore, of Jesus Christ, afford us Christian, whom Jesus Christ has instructed to convincing reasons to conclude, that his death consider it as accomplished in the person of was of a nature altogether extraordinary. John Baptist. But the Jews understood it in Of this you will become perfectly sensible, the literal sense: they believed that Elias was if you attend to the two following reflections; still upon mount Carmel, and was one day to (1.) That no one ever appeared so deeply overreappear. The coming of this prophet is still, whelmed, at the thought of death, as Jesus next to the appearance of the Messiah, the Christ: (2.) That no person ought to have met object of their fondest hope.t. It is Elias, as death with so much constancy as he, if he unthey will have it, who "shall turn the heartderwent a mere ordinary death. of the fathers unto the children: and the heart (1.) No one ever appeared so deeply overof the children unto their fathers.” It is Elias, whelmed, at the thought of death, as Jesus who shall prepare the way of the Messiah, Christ. Recollect in what strong terms the who shall be his forerunner, and who shall sacred authors represent the awful conflict anoint him with the holy oil.' It is Elias, who which he endured in the garden of Gethse* Exod. xxvi. 36. Joseph. Wars of the Jews, Book vi. soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death,”
mane. They tell us of his mortal sorrow: “my chap 14, See Kimchi and Aben Ezra on Mal, iv. 5.
Matt. xxvi. 38. They speak of his agony:
“ being in an agony," says St. Luke, xxii. 44. the stores of knowledge from the bosom of the They speak of his fears: he was heard in that Father, and who had “ brought life and imhe feared: they speak of his cries and tears: mortality to light,” 2 Tim. i. 20. “he offered up prayers and supplications, with IV. Finally, Jesus Christ died in the perfect strong crying and tears," Heb. v. 7. They assurance of that felicity which he was going speak of the prodigious effect which the fear to take possession of. When the dying person of death produced upon his body: “his sweat beholds hell opening under his feet, and begins was as it were great drops of blood falling to feel the gnawings of the worm which dieth down to the ground.” They even spake of the not, and the torment of the fire that is never desire which he felt to draw back: “O my Fa- to be quenched," Mark ix. 44, it is not astonther, if it be possible, let this cup pass from ishing that he should die in terror. But when me,” Matt. xxvi. 39. And in our text, they he can say, as he looks death in the face, represent him as reduced to the lowest ebb of “there is the termination of all my woes, and resolution: “My God, my God, why hast thou the reward of all my labours; I am going to reforsaken me?" Is it possible to be more depress- store my soul into the hands of my Creator; I ed at the thoughts of death?
behold heaven open to receive it;" what trans(2.) But we said, secondly, That no person ports of delight must not such a prospect imought to have met death with so much con- part! Such, too, was the case with Jesus stancy as Jesus Christ, if he underwent a mere Christ. If ever any one could have enjoyed a ordinary death. For,
foretaste of the paradise of God; if ever any 1. Jesus Christ died with perfect submission one could conceive sublime ideas of that glory to the will of his heavenly Father, and with and blessedness, still it was Jesus Christ. He the most fervent love towards the human race. knew all these things by experience: he knew Now, when a man serves a master whom he all the apartments of the kingdom of his Fahonours, when he suffers for the sake of per- ther: from God he had come, and to God he sons whom he loves, he suffers with patience was returning. Nay there must have been and composure.
something peculiar in his triumph, transcend2. Jesus Christ died with the most complete ently superior to that of the faithful in general. assurance of the justice of his cause, and of Because "he humbled himself, and became the innocence of his life. When, at the hour obedient unto death, even the death of the of death, conscience is roused as an armed cross; God was about highly to exalt him, and man; when the recollection of a thousand to give him a name that is above every name,” crimes awakes, when a life of unrepented guilt Phil. ii. 8, 9. A cloud was going to serve him stares the dying sinner in the face, the most as a triumphal car, and the church triumphant obdurate heart is then stretched on the rack. was preparing to receive their King in these But when, at a dying hour, the eye can look rapturous strains: “Lift up your heads, O ye back to a life of innocence, what consolation gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, does not the retrospect inspire? This was the and the King of glory shall come in,” Ps. case with Jesus Christ. Who ever carried so xxiv. 7. far charity, holy fervour, the practice of every What, then, shall Jesus Christ do? shall he virtue? Who ever was more blameless in con- meet death with joy? shall he say with St. Paul, duct, more ardent in devotion, more pure in “I have a desire to depart?" shall he exclaim secret retirement?
with the female celebrated in ecclesiastical his3. Jesus Christ died, thoroughly persuaded tory: this is the day that crowns are distributof the immortality of the soul. When a man ed, and I go to receive my share? No, Jesus has passed his life in atheism, and is dying in a Christ trembles, he grows pale, his sweat bestate of uncertainty: haunted with the appre- comes “as great drops of blood,” Luke xxii. hension of falling into a state of annihilation; 44, he cries out, "My God, my God, why hast reduced to exclaim, with Adrian, “O my soul, thou forsaken me?" whither art thou going?” Nature shudders; our Add to these reflections, the promises of attachment to existence inspires horror, at the divine assistance, which all the faithful have a thought of existing no longer. But when we right to claim, in the midst of tribulation, and have a distant knowledge of what man is; when which Jesus Christ must have had a far supewe are under a complete conviction that he rior right to plead, had he died a mere ordinary consists of two distinct substances, of spirit, and death; but of the consolation flowing from of matter; when we become thoroughly per- these he seems entirely deprived. suaded, that the destruction of the one does Add, in a particular manner, the example of not imply the destruction of the other; that if the martyrs. They met death with unshaken “the dust return to the earth as it was, the fortitude: they braved the most cruel torments: spirit shall return unto God who gave it,” Ec- their firmness struck their very executioners cles. xii. 7; when we know that the soul is the with astonishment. In Jesus Christ we behold seat of all perception; that the body is merely nothing similar to this. a medium of intelligence; that the soul, when Nay, I will go farther, and say, that even disengaged from matter, may retain the same the penitent thief discovers more firmness, in ideas, the same sentiments, as when united to his dying moments, than the Saviour himself
. the body; that it may be capable of perceiving He addresses himself to Jesus Christ, he imthe sun, the stars, the firmament, death is no plores his mercy, and, set at rest by the prolonger formidable. This, too, was the case mises given to him, he expires in tranquillity: with Jesus Christ. If ever any one enjoyed a Jesus Christ, on the contrary, seems equally to persuasion of the immortality of the soul, and despair of relief from heaven and from the of the resurrection, it undoubtedly was this di- earth. vine Saviour. He it was who had derived all The opposers of the satisfaction of Jesus Christ will find it absolutely impossible to re- | instructer, you will discover that this seed is solve these difficulties: the doctrine of the sa- Jesus Christ, Gal. iii. 16. tisfaction is the only key that can unlock this If you contemplate the temporal wonders mystery. “Innumerable evils have compassed which God was pleased to work in favour of me about,” is the prophetic language of the the Jewish nation, you will discover every psalmist, “mine iniquities have taken hold where in them an adumbration of the spiritual upon me, so that I am not able to look up: blessings which the death of Jesus Christ was they are more than the hairs of mine head, to procure for the church. You will there see therefore my heart faileth me," Ps. xl. 12. the blood of a lamb on the doors of the Israel“He was wounded for our transgressions, he ites. It was the shadow of that “Lamb withwas bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement out blemish and without spot, foreordained beof our peace was upon him:” as Isaiah ex- fore the foundation of the world,” 1 Pet. i. 19, presses himself, chap. liii. 5. “God spared 20. You will there behold a rock, which when not his own Son,” Rom. viii. 32," he hath smitten, emitted a stream sufficient to quench 'made him to be sin for us,” 2 Cor. v. 21, "be- the thirst of a great people. This was a shadow ing made a curse for us,” Gal. iii. 13, to use of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that it was the language of St. Paul: this is what we un- Christ himself, who refreshes us with “ living dertook to prove; and this is the first idea un- water, springing up into everlasting life," ī der which we proposed to represent the dying Cor. x. 4, and John iv. 14. You will there Saviour of the world.
behold a serpent lifted up, the sight of which
healed the deadly wounds of the Israelites. It SERMON LXXII.
was a shadow of him who was to be lifted up on the cross.
If you look into the Levitical worship, you THE CRUCIFIXION.
will perceive through the whole types of this
death, a perpetual sacrifice, the type of him PART II.
“ whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation
through faith in his blood," Rom. iii. 25. You MATTHEW xxvii. 45–53.
will there behold victims, the types of him
“who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himNoro from the sixth hour there was darkness over self without spot to God, to purge the con
all the land unto the ninth hour. And about science from dead works, to serve the living the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, God,” Heb. ix. 14; a scape-goat, bearing “on saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to his head all the iniquities of the children of say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Israel,” Lev. xvi. 21. The type of him who me? Some of them that stood there, when they suffered for us without the gate,” Heb. xiii. heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 13. And straightway one of them ran, and took a
If you run over the predictions of the prosponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it phets, you will find them, as with one mouth, on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest announcing the death of Jesus Christ. Now it said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come is Isaiah who lifts up his voice, saying, “He is to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, who made his soul an offering for sin behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain
who is brought as a lamb to the slaughfrom the top to the bottom: and the earth did ter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, quake; and the rocks rent; and the graves were so he openeth not his mouth .... who was opened; and many bodies of saints which slept, oppressed, and was afflicted . . .. who was arose, and came out of the graves after his resur- cut off out of the land of the living,” chap. rection, and went into the holy city, and ap- liii. 3, &c. Now it is Daniel who holds up peared unto many.
the same object: “Messiah shall be cut off, Having represented the death of Christ but not for himself,” chap. ix. 26. Now Zaunder the idea, 1. Of an expiatory sacrifice, charias takes up the subject, and under the inin which the victim was charged with the sins fluence of prophetic inspiration, gives animaof the whole world; we proceed,
tion to the sword of the Lord of Hosts: 2. To consider it, as the body of all the sha- Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and dows, the truth of all the types, the accom- against the man who is my fellow: smite the plishment of all the predictions of the ancient shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered," dispensation, respecting the Messiah. In fact, chap. xiii
. 7. Now the prophetic David, mion what state or period of the Old Testament nutely describing his sufferings, in such affectchurch can we throw our eyes, without dis- ing terms as these: “My God, my God, why covering images of a dying Jesus, and traces hast thou forsaken me? Why ari thou so far of the sacrifice which he offered up?
from helping me, and from the words of my If we resort to the origin of all our woes, roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time but there also we find the remedy. You will dis- thou hearest not; and in the night season, and cover that Adam had no sooner by transgres am not silent: . . I am a worm and no sion fallen, than God promised him a "seed, man; a reproach of men, and despised of the whose heel the seed of the serpent should people: all they that see me laugh me to scorn; bruise,” but who, in the very act of suffering, they shoot out the lip, and shake the head,” should " bruise the serpent's head," Gen. iii. Ps. xxii. 1, 2. 6, 7; and, in another place: 15. You will find this same promise repeated “Save me, O God, for the waters are come in to Abraham; that seed announced anew to unto my soul: I sink in deep mire, where there the patriarchs, and, taking St. Paul for your lis no standing: I am come into deep waters,
where the floods overflow me. I am weary of founded, shall supply our defects, and serve, my crying, my throat is dried: mine eyes fail this day, as so many preachers. The prodigies while I wait for my God .... for thy sake I which signalized the death of Jesus Christ have borne reproach, shame hath covered my shall persuade more powerfully than all the face. ... . Reproach hath broken my heart, figures of rhetoric. That darkness which covers and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for the earth, that veil of the temple rent in twain, some to take pity, but there was none; and for that trembling which has seized the solid globe, comforters, but I found none; they gave me those rocks cleft asunder, those yawning also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they graves, those reviving dead, they, they are the gave me vinegar to drink,” Ps. Ixix. 1, 2, &c. pathetic orators who reproach the Jews with
Such good reason have we to consider the the atrocity of their guilt, and denounce their death of Jesus Christ under this second idea: impending destruction. The sun shrouds himit is in our text. The Saviour appropriates to self in the shades of night, as unable to behold himself the prediction in the twenty-second this accursed parricide, and what courtly poets psalm: “My God, my God, why hast thou for- said in adulation, namely, that the orb of day saken me?" and, in order that the Scripture clothed himself in mourning, when Julius might be fulfilled, he gives occasion to his exe- Cesar was assassinated in the senate house, cutioners to present him with vinegar, which was here realized under special direction of preceded his expiring exclamation, "It is divine Providence. The veil of the temple is finished," as it is related by another of the rent asunder, as on a day of lamentation and evangelists.
The earth trembles, as refusing to sup 3. The death of Jesus Christ is, on the part port the wretches, whose sacrilegious hands of the Jews, an atrocious crime, which has were attacking the life of him who “fastened roused the indignation of Heaven, and armed the foundations thereof,” Job xxxviii. 6, and universal nature against them. But where “ founded it upon its bases,” Ps. civ. 5. The shall we find colours black enough to depict it rocks cleave, as if to reprove the Jews for the Here the most ardent efforts of the imagination hardness of their hearts. The dead start from must fall far below the reality, and the most their tombs, as coming to condemn the rage lively images come short of truth.
of the living Supposing we possessed the faculty of col- 4. The death of Jesus Christ is a system of lecting, into one point of view, all that was morality, in which every virtue is clearly traced. gentle in the address of Jesus Christ, all that If the divine justice be an object of fear, where was fervent in his piety, humble in his deport- is it more powerfully inculcated than on the ment, pure in his conduct: supposing us capa- cross of Jesus Christ. How very terrible does ble of making an enumeration of all the bene- that justice there appear! It goes in pursuit fits which he accumulated on the heads of those of its victim into the very heaven of heavens. monsters of ingratitude; the gracious exhorta- It extends on the altar a Divine Man. It tions which he addressed to them; the mira- spares not the Son of God, his own Son. cles of goodness which he performed among And thou, miserable sinner, who canst present them, in healing the sick, and raising the dead: nothing to the eyes of thy judge but what is supposing we could display to you those ma- odious and abominable, how shalt thou be able lignant calumnies with which they loaded him, to escape his vengeance, if violating the laws those abominable and repeated falsehoods, of the gospel thou renderest thyself so much those cruel and remorseless importunities for the more worthy of condemnation, that thou permission to put him to death, worthy of the hadst, in that very gospel, the effectual means severest execration had they been employed of deliverance? even against the most detestable of mankind: If vice is to be held in detestation, where is could we represent to you all that was barba- this lesson so forcibly taught as from the cross rous and inhuman in the punishment of the of Jesus Christ? Let the man who makes cross; by telling you that it was a huge stake light of sin, who forms to himself agreeable crossed by another piece of wood, to which images, and feeds' on flattering ideas of it, they bound the body of the person condemned learn, at the cross of Christ, to contemplate it to terminate his life upon it; that the two in its true light: let him form a judgment of arms were stretched out upon that cross beam, the cause from the effects; and let him never and nailed, as well as both the feet, to the tree, think of sin, without thinking at the same so that the body of the sufferer, sinking with time, on the pangs which it cost the Saviour of its own weight, and suspended by its nerves, the world. was speedily reduced to one vast wound, till If we wish for models to copy, where shall the violence and slowness of the torment at we find models so venerable as on the cross of length delivered him, and the blood drained Christ Let the proud man go to the cross of off drop by drop, thus exhausted the stream of Christ; let him there behold the Word in a life: supposing us to have detailed all the ig. state of humiliation; let him there contemplate nominious circumstances which accompanied the person who made himself of no reputation, the death of Christ; that crown of thorns, that and took upon him the form of a servant, and purple robe, that ridiculous sceptre, that wag-condescended to submit to the punishment of ging of the head, those insulting defiances to a slave: the person who being in the form of save himself, as he had saved otherssuppos- God, thought it not robbery to be equal with ing, I say, all this could be collected into one God: let the proud man look to him, and learn point of view, we should still believe that we to be humble. Let the voluptuous repair to had conveyed to you ideas much too feeble, of the cross of Christ; let him there behold the the criminality of the Jews.
flesh crucified, the senses subdued, pleasure Nature convulsod, and the elements con- | mortified, and learn to bring forth fruits meet