Page images

been many others at different times, and some, even, at the same time with him; to distinguish him, therefore, from all the rest with as great a particularity as possible, the prophet here adds, that he should not only be crucified, but thrust through with a spear ; not only have his hands and his feet, but even his heart, pierced too: expressing unto us the piercing, not with the whips and scourges, not with the nails and thorns, but with the speur point, which went through bis very heart itself. * And this piercing of his side was in consequence of his immediately giving up the ghost, after having cried, with a loud voice, “ Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit ;" which was so ordained by the divine counsel to prove what he had before asserted, " I have power to lay down my life and I have power to take it again ;f" and likewise to accomplish two very singular predictions concerning his death : for, when the soldiers came to him, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs, a circumstance usually attending the crucifixion of malefactors the more speedily to put an end to their lives, whereby that eminent prophesy was verified, a bone of him shall not be broken.|But,


pus et pedes in cruce perfossos fuisse, tum hunc psalmum in Christum quadrare, sensumque mire consentire, omnino legendum, foderunt, &c. Et cum circumstantiæ crucifixionis Christi a prophetis pleræque omnes exacte designatæ fuerint, quis credat rem præcipuam. Calovius anti Grot. Illud, foderunt manus, &c. nusquam alibi impletum quam in cruce.” Bochart.

* See Bishop Andrews.

+ " Multa erant quæ Christum admodum debilitaverant, summa animæ tristitia, nox insomnis, longa et varia itinera, flagra, crucis bajulatio, sanguinis effusio, pena crucifixionis, quibus cruciatibus jam naturaliter confectus erat, et mori coactus. Clamorem ergo hunc edidit humanis viribus majorem, divina Christi natura ipsum roborante, ut declararet se non necessitate, aut infirmitate, mori, sed voluntate, quia mortem, quum posset, noluit tamen prohibere.” Brugensis, Mackn. &c.

"Ad accelerandam mortem.” Vossius, &c.

Exod. xii. 46. “ Sic in Christo impletum quod de dyno Paschali lex edixerat.” Vossius, &c. And the Paschal Lamb was a type of Christ. " Ego vero in ea sententia sum, hanc rem (de osse Messiæ non confringendo) non tantum hoc typo primitus fuisse adumbratam; sed et prædictam quoque de Messià alicubi inter oracula prophetica, idque disertis verbis : arbitror etiam fore, ut unius vocabuli in Psal. xxxiv, correctione factå, primum hoc testimonium a Johanne allatum, æque vindicari possit ac alterum. -- In com. 20 memoratur justus, quidem individuus, p'78, justus vir, vel justus ille; quo quidem nomine, ut omnibus notum est, celebratur Messias. De illo igitur hîc dictum


one of them, still doubting whether it was really so, pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. * What need we, thereforc, any farther witness of the certainty of his death?

But we should do an injury to the sufferings of our Saviour if we should conceive that, by this piercing, no other but that of the spear is meant ; for, not only his heart was stabbed, but his very spirit wounded too, and that in two ways, hy sorrow and by reproach. If it could be truly said of the blessed Virgin, by way of prophecy, that a sword should go through her soul for sorrow, at the time of her son's passion,+ what great searchings of heart must he himself have endured, when he was about to make his soul an offering for sin? Only conceive what he must have suffered, when he cried out, in the anguish of his mind, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.See the sweat, as it were great drops of blood, issuing forth from every pore of his body, when no manner of violence had been offered to it; and hear him, in


est: multæ sunt afflictiones justi, sed er omnibus iis JEHOVA tum liberat. Sequitur immediate, in com. 21. Custodit omnia ossa ejus; ne unum quidem er iis confringetur. In commate proximo justus ille iterum introducitur; eoque modo, ut vox de alio quam Messiâ intelligi non possit. Addendum, in citatione evangelicâ reperiri ouitponostas, quod ipsissimum est vocabulum in Græcâ versione Psalmi respondens Hebraico 173W." Kennicott.

* Blood and water. Mysterium sapuit hæc effluxio potius quam naturam; et si prænaturale quid in ea non fuisset, vix credo evangelistam triplicatam illam asseverationem de veritate rei, adhibuisse velle, et qui vidit testatur. Dicitur vulgò, quod effluxerunt duo Sacamenta novi fæderis. . Aqua baptismum, sanguis Eucharistiam, representat. Significat insuper sacramenta vim efficaciamque habere, ad nostri regenerationem, expiationem, et sanctificationem, ex sanguine Jesu, qui illis conjunctus est.” Lightfoot, &c.

+ A sword, &c. “ Ingentem dolorem senties animo tuo, quòd ita illi contradicetur; præsertim cum illum in cruce pendentem videris.” Brugensis, Mackn. &c. " Al. gladius hic denotat martyrium, quod Beata Virgo Christi causà subivit; ut refert Epiphanius, hæres. 3, lxxviii. 23.” Lightfoot, &c.

* "'Aywvwles maxime sudant, inquit Aristot. de sudore.” Hammond. “Sed illud, quasi, non significat hunc non fuisse verum sanguinem, sed non fuisse vere guttas sanguinis, sed guttas aqueas mistas sanguine, quod etiam fieri possit per naturam vim intus patientem, ac proinde per poros ejicientem unâ cum aqua sanguinem; præsertim ubi corpus rarum est ac delicatum, et sanguis subtilis, ut in Christo indubie erat.” Brugensis, &c. “ Et Meadus a Guleno observat contingere interdum, poros multo aut fervedo spiritu usque adeo dilatari, , ut etiam exeat sanguis per eos, fiatque sudor sanguineus.Pearce.


the very agonies of death, uttering that bitter lamentation ; " My God, my God, tèhy hast thou forsaken me?” and you must at once say, was there ever sorrow like unto this sorrow? But, what still added to this unparalleled sorrow.of heart, and pierced it still deeper, were the insolent reproaches and impious revilings of those for whom he thus suffered. When they, had blindfolded him, they smöte him with the palms of their hands; and, deriding his pretensions of being a prophet, tauntingly said; “ Prophecy* unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?" When they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and, in ridicule of his claim of royalty, they bowed the knee before him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews.When they had nailed him to the cross, hand and foot, so that he could not move, they insulted him, as the Saviour of the world, and blasphemously said; “ He saved others, himself he cannot save ; let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him;" and, either ignotantly or scornfully misapplying his dying words, they insolently said, “ Let us see whether Elias will come to take him down."! These indignities and contumelious reproaches offered to the majesty of the Son of God literally verified those words of the Psalmist, xxii. 7, 8, who was a type of Christ; “ 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."

Prophecy unto us, &c. “ Acerbissima ironia. Hoc ideo quia oculos obvelaverant, ut Marcus addit, prophetarum autem erat non tantum futura prædicere, quod proprie vox indicat, sed et alia quae naturali cognitione sciri nequibant.” Grotius, &c.

+ A crown of thorns. " Ramusculos aliquot spinosos convolventes, in orbemque torquentes et contexentes, coronam condidere, ligno auri vice, et spinis gemmarum loco, constantem.” Brugensis, &c. "Maledictio in spinis cæpit, Gen. iii. 18, in spinis desut. Lilium (hîc erat) in medio spinarum, Cant. ii. 2." Grotius, &c.

* “ De redituro Elia vetus fama, ok vaticiniis malè intellectis hausta, non Palæstinos tantum Judæbs, sed et Hellenitas, pervaserat, ut ex Ecclesiastiei libro manifestuin est. Ejus tempus jam instare putabatur, Matt. xvii. 10." Grotius, &c. « Vel hæc verba calumniantes perverterunt, ut datâ operâ Christo illuderent.” Brugensis, &e.



· This prediction then of the prophet, having been fulfilled, entirely and wholly, both in body and soul, alive and dead, in the person of Jesus, is a most convincing testimony of the spirit, that this is the very Christ.

From the act of piercing, let us proceed to the persons who pierced him. For the prophet's mode of expression is very singular and appropriated. He does not say, they shall look on me, who was pierced, but on me, whom they have pierced; which necessarily implies the piercers themselves. The evangelist, in reciting these words, varies indeed from the prophet in the expression but not in the sense; “ They shall look on him whom they pierced ;” and, if we consult the context of the original, some versions, and several manuscripts, it is probable that this is the true reading.* Which will likewise instruct us, in some measure, who they were who pierced him. The whole passage runs thus ; “ And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced ; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.”

It is evident, then, that they who pierced him are the house of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this is indisputably confirmed by the authority of St Peter, who addresses himself thus to the man of Judea and all those who dwell at Jerusalem; Ilim, i. e. Jesus, being delivered by the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God,

* Grotius not only observes that some authors read mobs, not oss; but it is supported by forty MSS. See Kennic. Collat. and Randolph. And it is likewise to be remarked, that the Syriac, according to Walton's version, reads both the pronouns. But, if the text, as it now stands, be adhered to, it may be well urged as a proof of the divinity of Christ, as it is the same person, i. e. Jehorah, who poureth the spirit of grace and supplications upon the house of Judah, and who is pierced. For which reason Dr Evelcigh contends that this is the true reading; and observes, from De Rossi, that, " Non modo plerique ac meliores codices osm legunt; sed sine ullo alterius lectionis indicio acerrimi Christianorum hostes, Lipmannus, &c.” And, in opposition to Dr Blayney's opinion, that wys in this place is merely a preposition, and should be rendered ad, or persus, he remarks, that, in the other twenty-two passages where it occurs in this book, it always is rendered by Dr Blayney himself, ad me. However, I cannot help thinking that Dr Kennicott's observation ought to have great weight, that the Old Testament should be corrected by the New


ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” By wicked hands here are to be understood the Roman governor and his under agents.* Which circumstance affords a most eminent display of the wonderful interference of Providence; for, had not Judea been at this time under the direction of a Roman governor, that remarkable prediction of David, they pierced my hands and my feet, and this of Zechariah, could not have been accomplished; for crucifixion was not á Jewish punishment. The Jews, therefore, through malice, as well as through ignorance, delivered up the Prince of Life to Pontius Pilate to be crucified, that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die, John xii. 33. + And they readily took the whole guilt of this atrocious deed upon themselves; all the people saying, Jis blood be on us and on our children.” But, though tbey were the avowed murderers of the Holy one and the just one, yet they were but instruments in the hand of God, (as the Roman governor was only their agent,) and are rather to be considered as accessaries than as principals in crucifying the Lord of Glory; as those remarkable words of Isaiah indisputably testify, “ He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, and the Lord hath laid on him|| the iniquity of us all." Which St Peter fully explains, 1 Eph. ii. 24, where he says, “ Who his own self bare our sins in his

* By wicked hands. Dicuntur per Romanos hoc fecisse Judæi, quòd a Romanis importunis Nagitationibus ac minis extorsere. Facit, qui facit ut fiat.” Grotius.

+ What death he should die, i.e. the death of the cross. Which was certainly typically foretold by the lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness; see John, iii. 14: and perhaps in the intended sacrifice of Isaac, who was in many respects an eminent type of Christ; for, as Lyra and others have observed, “ Ligavit (Abrahamus) Isaacum, non quia timeret, ne fugeret, aut rebellaret; sed ut significaret ligationem Christi in cruce.” And that expression of laying him upon the altar, on the wood, may give some countenance to this supposition.

I“ Sic et Romani dicebant; sit capiti tuo. Testes solebant dicere, sit sanguis istius super nos, et super filios. Mos vetus non se modo, sed et liberos devotandi. Certe magnis sceleribus etiam posteritatem obstringi, non Hebræorum tantùm, sed et omnium prope gentium, fuit opinio." Grotius, &c.

# “ De solo Christo hæc. accipienda ipsa phrasis, posuit in co, docet; quæ sacrificalis est, et desumpta ab hirco illo Átomojná.w, Levit. xvi. 20, &c.” Calovius... H 2


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »