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that the following complaint was no less suited to him than to Job; “Therefore I will not refrain my mouth, "I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will com
plain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I a sea of "a whale, that thou settest a watch over me." It was a great censolation to David of old, when he fled from Jerusalem, that he had his servants attending him, with all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and other heroes, who mingled their tears with his, and were prepared to brave all extremities in his behalf. But our David, to the increase of his grief, beheld malefactors on each side of him, and around him soldiers sprinkled with his blood;-no friends, except a very few, and those few timid, confounded, more ready to augment than assuage his sorrow.
LVI. But further, as Elisha once beheld a mountain surrounded with good Angels, watching for his defence,b so Christ saw mount Calvary encompassed with malignant devils, raging dreadfully against him.16 Now surely, if ever, the Prince of this world assaults him with his infernal troops. Now he had to maintain a close combat with the enemy. Now, on the confines of death, he had to grapple with him who has the power of death, and who had erected numberless trophies of his victory on that same territory.
LVII. But what more virulent than those REVILINGS and taunts with which both the corrupt rulers and the insane people assailed him! The most abandoned of criminals, when suffering a capital punishment which they have justly deserved, still find some who, from the common feelings of humanity, condole with them, and
2 Sam. xv. 16-18.
*Job vii. 11, 12.
16 See NOTE XVI.
comfort them by their tears, if they can do it by no other means. But Christ had reason to say; "Re
proach hath broken my heart, and I am full of hea"viness. And I looked for some to take pity, but "there was none, and for comforters, but I found "none." It is a consolation to sufferers to have some to weep with them, and to express their commiseration by their words, and by their gestures. But what more intolerable than to find the hearts of all spectators alienated from one's self in the time of adversity. Hence that dolorous exclamation of Job; "Have pity upon "me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the “hand of God hath touched me. Why do you perse
cute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh ?"d Christ now experienced similar treatment. His enemies, contrary to the admonition of Solomon,e rejoice in the time of his calamity. When very few were able to reach him with their hands, a great multitude attack him with the darts and sharp arrows of the tongue, of which the point is peculiarly keen,f and the poison peculiarly malignant. They do their utmost to deprive him, as well of honour as of life. They calumniate all that is most excellent,-all that most strikingly exhibited the bright splendour of sanctity, and the finger of God. In fine, they approve themselves the servants of the Devil, in deriding the glory of his Sonship, which, after it had been announced by God the Father,h and claimed by our Lord, that mischievous spirit assaulted in vain.i
LVIII. But the most terrible of all miseries, as it is
• Ps. lxix. 20.
• Prov. xxiv. 17, 18.
e Ps. lviii. 4. cxl. 3.
d Job xix. 21, 22.
Ps. lii. 2. lv. 21.
h Mat. iii. 17.
proverbially called, is the dart of DEATH,-particularly such a death as Christ suffered; which was denounced against the first Adam, as the awful effect of the Divine indignation; and to which the second Adam, in the capacity of our substitute, surrendered himself a prey. Wonderful indeed, almost surpassing faith, and altogether transcending the grasp of reason,-that he who preserved so many diseased persons from death, he who restored so many dead to life from the couch, the coffin, and the sepulchre, he who only is the Author of life and immortality, the true God and eternal life, did himself submit to death!
LIX. Nay, he submitted to more than one kind of death; for in addition to the common bitterness of animal death, he suffered the pains of spiritual and eternal death. Of these the sufferings of David were typical; yet his words, in their full meaning, were verified only in the antitype: "The sorrows of death "compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made "me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about; "the snares of death prevented me." Hence those prayers and supplications offered up, with strong cry"ing and tears, unto him that was able to save him "from death." Were any one to affirm that those prayers and supplications arose merely from the fear of temporal death, he would, in reality, do very great injustice to Christ, by representing him as possessed of less courage for facing death than a Socrates, or a Cato; and than many myriads of martyrs, men, women, and girls, who have departed this life with joy and exultation, despising the torments of the most frightful deaths. There was something more, therefore, in the death of
Christ; to wit, the envenomed sting of sin, deriving its force and sharpness from the law; by which the soul as well as the body of Christ, was so cruelly pierced, that neither iron-hooks nor fires, nor any thing else which infernal barbarity has devised in ancient or in modern times, can bear a comparison with torments so severe. In a comment on the following words, "He hath made "him to be sin for us who knew no sin," Chrysostome finely says: "He hath given him to be condemned as a sinner, and to die as accursed; for Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. And to die in this manner, is far more grievous than death itself."
LX. O what stony, what adamantine hearts must we have, who can write, and read, and hear, and think of all these sufferings without being dissolved into sorrow, without melting into sighs and tears! When the history of Abel cruelly murdered by his brother Cain, or that of Joseph sold by his brethren, or that of David fleeing from his son Absalom, or that of a worthy martyr singing praises to Christ amidst horrible tortures, or when even a skilfully composed tragedy representing a scene of fictitious distress, is exhibited to our view, we sometimes feel ourselves so much affected that it is with difficulty we can restrain our tears. And shall we not be so moved by the unutterable agonies of Christ, our Brother, our Husband, our Lord and our God,―agonies which, although perfectly innocent, he so cheerfully sustained on account of our sins, from a principle of unbounded love to our souls-shall we not at least be so moved by these agonies, as sincerely to deplore them, and to burn with holy revenge against his enemies!
12 Cor. v. 21.
LXI. I do not require you, however, Christian, to be touched with that natural commiseration towards Christ, with which common humanity teaches us to regard the children of adversity. Christ himself forbade the daughters of Jerusalem to indulge in wailing and lamentation of that sort. And without doubt, it is far more unbecoming now, when, having emerged from all his distresses, and having perfected the work of our salvation, he enjoys his glorious reward in the highest heavens.
LXII. Nor would I have you to indulge your indignation against the Jews in the same way with Clovis, King of the Franks, of whom it is said, that when he had heard the Bishop of RHEIMS recite the history of our Lord's passion, he exclaimed; "Had I been there "with my Franks, I should soon have dispatched that "impious rabble." Divine justice inflicts sufficient punishment on that wretched nation, which, after so many myriads of them had been miserably slain, and after their land had been smitten with a curse, have wandered for so many ages, having no certain habitation, exiles from their own country, rejected by God and despised by men, enduring that wrath which comes upon them to the uttermost;n until, when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, they also shall at last through Jesus obtain salvation and happiness."
LXIII. It is better, deeply to lament thy sins, by which thou wast the author and cause of all the agonies of Christ; such is the effect of the Spirit of grace. It is better, that contemplating in Christ as in a glass, the punishments due to thy transgressions,
Luke xxiii. 27, 28.
• Rom. xi. 25, 25.
n 1 Thes. ii. 15, 16.
P Zech. xii. 10.