« PreviousContinue »
thus to sport with the sufferings of such a distressed object; thus to mock the wishes of one in the last agonies of death!
When the son of Jesse, in the cave of Adullam, longed, and said, "O that one would give me to drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is by the gate," three of the mightiest heroes in his valiant little band broke through the opposing ranks of the Philistine's army, to fetch the wished-for draught; but when the Son of God required the refreshment of a little water; when his tongue, from very thirst, clave to the roof of his mouth, and his strength was dried up as a potsherd, he was insulted with a mixture of vinegar and gall. But little did the thoughtless multitudes who surrounded the cross of Jesus imagine, that he was then drinking to the very dregs, the wormwood, and the gall, of Jehovah's wrath, which was far more bitter to his soul, than their offensive present to his taste. He was then redeeming his church from hell, that black abode of wo, whose wretched inhabitants are deprived of a drop of water, to assuage their tormenting thirst: and the horrors of the crucifixion were greatly augmented by the darkness that shrouded the scene, when the meridian sun was enveloped in the gloom of night. Blessed Jesus,
though Lord of all, thou wast treated worse than
earth's meanest slave.
With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.-Psalm xxxv. 16.
All they that see me, laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.-Psalm xxii. 7, 8.
THIS prophecy is so exactly in accordance with the event, that one could readily believe the royal psalmist had stood on Calvary's mount, and literally recorded the insulting taunts and ironical reproaches used by the despisers of the suffering Jesus. The men, their actions, and the time, are exactly described, and even their insulting language noticed, with a minuteness that precludes a possibility of mistake. This disgraceful scene occurred at the passover; at that feast, when Israel was commanded to remember her Lord's mercies, in delivering her from Egyptian bondage; when he slew the strength of Egypt's land, even from the first-born of Pharoah that sat on the throne, to the first-born of the captive in the dungeon. At that
solemn festival, did those merciless hypocrites discover (beneath the cloak of pharisaical sanctity) the rancorous enmity they cherished in their hearts towards virtue in its purest, loveliest form. But how void of every spark of magnanimity must be the wretch who can sport with the feelings of one writhing in all the agonies of death. How lost to all the kindlier feelings of our nature, thus to exult over suffering humanity. Surely the Chief Priests and scribes strangely forgot their station and their pride, when they could stoop to join the railing throng, and mingle their voice of mockery and insult with the Jewish rabble. How little did they intend to honour Jesus when they insultingly exclaimed," he saved others, himself he cannot save." But we admit the fact, and glory in the truth. He indeed had then cured many a dire
disease, and released some from the very jaws of death and in those very hours of sorrow, saving "a countless multitude, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation," who must inevitably have perished for ever, had he not been content to suffer for them. But though he saved others, himself he would not, yea, he could not, save. His honour was pledged in the council of peace; he must fulfil the covenants he had engaged to perform.
God is not
66 a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: "hath he said,
and shall he not do it?" or "hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" "Sing, O ye Heavens, for the Lord hath done it; and shout, ye lower parts of the earth, for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob and glorified himself in Israel."
Therefore, will I devide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.-Isaiah liii. 12.
To whom but Jesus can we apply this. Do we not find him reckoned with Barabbas, a traitor and murderer, and were not two theives crucified with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst? Thus we behold him numbered with the transgressors, and bearing the sin of many. All the Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles, Martyrs, with the Church Militant, and the Church Triumphant, proclaim, as with
one voice, his death as the expiatory sacrifice, his blood as the propitiation for the sins of his Church, and that he suffered, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God. He died to redeem a countless multitude of the children of earth, who, freed from sin and sorrow, will for ever shout victory, through the blood of the Lamb. This is the great leading doctrine of the everlasting Gospel. This is the sum and substance of the Old and New Testaments. Thanks be unto God, for having given us line upon line, and precept upon precept, on this momentous article of the Christian Faith. We hear the blessed Jesus interceding for transgressors. Even when on the cross he was not unmindful of his priestly office, but amid all his personal sorrows and agonies, he did, as with his dying breath, send in a petition to the Heavenly Court, for the pardon of his murderers: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." This Great High Priest is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens, where "He is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him; seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." The God-man Christ Jesus, is now exalted to high and distinguished honours, on account of his humiliation and sufferings, and his