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to condemn bim, and even offering the most bitter insults, while he laboured under the
CHAP. XL. most cruel sufferinys. And others were deeply affected at beholding the pains he The blessed Jesus is treated with Indig. suffered, which were undeservedly severe. nity after his Crucifixion. A pious
Person begs his Body of Pilate in These rarious passions, being visibly Order for Interment. painted in their countenances, afforded a
T was expressly tude returning from the cruel execution with their eyes fixed upon the earth, pen were hanged should remain all night on the sive and silent, their hearts ready to burst tree. In conformity to this law, and be with grief, groaning deeply within them cause the sabbath was at hand, the Jews selves, shedding floods of tears, and smit- begged the governor, that the legs of the ing themselves on their breasts.
three persons crucified might be broken, to
hasten their death. To this request Pilate The grief they now felt for the blessed readily consented; and accordingly gave Jesus was distinguished from their former the necessary order to the soldiers for putting rage against him, by this remarkable par it in execution. ticular, that their rage was entirely owing to the artful insinuatious of the priests; But on perceiving that Jesus was already whereas their grief was genuine, and the dead, the soldiers did not give themselves natural feelings of their own hearts, greatly the trouble of breaking his legs, as they had affected with the truth and innocence of done those of the two malefactors, that him who was the object of their commisera were crucified with him. One of them, tion. And as fattery had no share in this however, either out of wantonness mourning, so the expressions of their sorrow cruelty, thrust a spear into his side, and were such as distinguished a real and un out of the wound, flowed blood and water. feigued passion.
This wound, therefore, was of the greatThus was demonstrated, by many awful est importance to mankind, as it abundanttokens, the truth, the divinity, the power ly denonstrated the truth of our Saviour's of our Redeemer's mission ; the blind, the death, and consequently prevented all obdurate Jews, were struck with horror, objections, that the enemies to our holy fully convinced that the person they had faith would otherwise bave raised against it. eruelly put to death, was nothing less than The evangelist adds, that the legs of our the Son and Servant of God, the promised | great Redeemer were not broken ; but his Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
side pierced, that two particular prophecies might be fulfilled, "Abone of him shall not be broken, and they shall look on him whom they have piereed."
Among the disciples of our blessed Jesus, was one called Joseph of Arimathea ; a person equally remarkable for his birth, fortune, and office. This man, who was not to be intimidated by the malice of his countrymen, went boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of his great Master. He had, indeed, no
that he should be dead in so short a time can dwell upon the enchanting theme too
thing to fear from the Roman governor, but bringing with him a quantity of spices, who, during the whole course of our Savi necessary in the burial of his Saviour. our's trial, had shewn the greatest inclination to release him ; but he had reason to Accordingly they wrapt the body with apprehend that this action might draw up the spices in fine linen, and laid it in a new on him the 'malice of the rulers of the Jews, sepulchre, which Joseph had hewn out of a who had taken such pains to get the Mes. rock for himself. This sepulchre was situsialı"crucified.
ated in a garden near mount Calvary ; but
being not entirely finished, when they deHowever, the great regard he had for the posited in it the body of the blessed Jesus, remains of his Master, made him despise they fastened the door, by rolling to it a the malice of the Jews; being persuaded | very large stone. that Onnipotence would defend him, and cover his enemies with
shame and confusion. | Oh! what a wonderful spectacle was And he well knew, that if no friend pro now exhibited in this memorable sepulcured a grant of the body, it would be igno- chre! He who clothes himself with light, miniously cast out among the executed as with a garment, and walks upon the malefactors.
wings of the wind, was pleased to wear
the babiliments of mortality, and dwell Pilate was at first surprised at the request among the prostrate dead! Who can reof Joseph, thinking it highly improbable peat the wondrous truth too often ? Who He had, indeed, given orders for the soldiers long? He who sits enthroned in glory, to break the legs of the crucified persons ;
and diffuses bliss among all the heavenly but he knew it was common for them to live host, was once a pale and bloody corpse, many hours after that operation was per and pressed the floor of this little sepulformed; though the pain they felt must chre! be exquisite to the last degree, yet as the vital parts remained untouched, life would O death! how great was thy triumph in continue some time in the miserable body. that hour! never did thy gloomy realms
contain such a prisoner before-Prisoner, The governor, therefore, called the cen did I say? No, he was more than Conturion, to know the truth of what Joseph queror. He arose far more mighty than had told him; and being convinced from Sampson from a transient slumber; broke the answer of that officer, that Jesus had down the gates, and demolished the strong been dead some time, he readily gave the bold of those dark dominions. And this, , body to Joseph.
O mortals, is your consolation and security.
Jesus bas trod the dreadful path, and This worthy counsellor havivg obtained smoothed it for your passage.
Jesus, bis request, repaired to mount Calvary; sleeping in the chambers of the tomb, has and being assisted by Nicodemus, took the brightened the dismal mansion, and left an body down from the cross. The latter was inviting odour in those beds of dust. formerly so cautious in visiting Jesus, that he came to him by night. But in paying The dying Jesus is your sure protection, the last duties to his Master, he used no art your unquestionable passport through the to conceal his design. He shewed a cou territories of the grave.
the grave. "Believe in him. , rage far superior to that of any of the apo and they shall prove a highway to Sion : stles, not only assisting Joseph, in taking shall transmit you safe to paradise. Believe down the body of Jesus from the cross, in him, and you 'shall be no losers, but
unspeakable gainers, by your dissolution. sired them to report that his disciples bad For hear what the oracle of heaven says, on stolen him away, while they slept, and to this important point, 66 whoso believeth in encourage them to tell the falsehood, boldly me shall never die." Death shall no longer promised, that if their neglect of duty came be inflicted as a punishment, but rather be | to the governor's ears, proper methods vouchsafed as a blessing. The exit is the should be used to pacify him, and deliver end of the frailty, and their entrance upon them from any punishment: a promise perfection; their last groan is the prelude which there was no need of making to their to life and immortality.
But to return. The women of Galilee, The priests having thus obtained a guard who had watched their dear Redeemer in his of Roman soldiers, men long accustomed last moments, and accompanied his body to to military duties, and therefore the most the sepulchre, observing that the funeral proper for watching the body, set out with rites were performed in a burry, agreed ihem to the sepulchre; and, to prevent among theinselves, as soon as the sabbath these guards from combining with the disci. was passed, to return to the sepulchre, and ples in carrying on the fraud, placed them embalm the body of their dead Saviour, by at their post, and sealed the stone which anointing and swathing him in the manner was rolled to the door of the sepulchre. then common among the Jews. Accordingly, they returned to the city, and purchased Thus what was designed to expose the the spices necessary for that purpose ; Nico- mission and doctrine of Jesus, as rank falsedemus having furnished only a mixture of hood, and vile imposture, proved in fact myrrh and aloes.
the strongest confirmation of the truth and
divinity of the same, that could possibly be During these transactions, the chief priests given: and placed what they wanted to reand pharisees, remembering that Jesus had fute, which was his resurrection from the more than once predicted his own resurrec dead, even beyond a doubt. opp , med tion, came to the governor and informed him of it; begging at the same time, that a guard might be placed at the sepulchre, leat his disciples should carry a way the body,
CHAP. XLI. and affirm that he was risen from the dead. This happened a little before it was dark in Two pious Women go to view the Sepulthe evening, called the next day that fol chre of their crucified Lord and Savi. lowed, by the evangelist, because the Jewish our. An awful Phanomenon happens. day began at sun-set.
A ministering Spirit descends. The
Redeemer bursts the Chains of Death, This request being thought reasonable by and rises from the Confines of the Grave. Pilate, he gave them leave to take as many soldiers as they pleased out of the cohort, U ERY early in the morning, after the which the feast came from the castle of An
sabbath, Mary Magdalene and the tonia, and kept guard in the porticoes of the other Mary, came to visit the sepulchre, in temple. For that they were not Jewish but order to einbalm our Lord's body; for the Roman soldiers, whom the priests employed performance of wbicb, they had in consort to watch the sepulchre, is evident, from with several other women from Galilee, their asking them of the governor. Besides, brought ungents and spices. But before when the soldiers returned with the news of they reached the sepulchre, there was a our Saviour's resurrectiop, the priests de- | great earthquake preceding the most we