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him to death, and seek for witnesses against him. When none appeared, they set some to bear false witness; and when their witness did not agree together, then they go to examining him to catch something out of his own mouth. They hoped he would
say, that he was the Son of God, and then they thought they should have enough. But because they see they are not like to obtain it without it, they then go to force him to say it, by adjuring him in the name of God, to say whether he was or not : And when he confessed that he was, then they supposed they had enough ; and then it was a time of rejoicing with them, which they show, by falling upon Christ and spitting in his face, and blindfolding him, and striking him in the face with the palms of their hands, and then bidding him prophecy who it was that struck him : Thus ridiculing him for pretending to be a prophet. And the very servants have a hand in
sport : Mark, xiv. 65. « And the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.”
During the sufferings of that night, Peter, one of the chief of his own disciples, instead of standing by him to comfort him, appears ashamed to own him, and denies and renounces him with oaths and curses. And after the chief priests and elders had finished the night in so shamefully abusing him, when the morning was come, which was the morning of the most wonderful day that ever was, they led him away to Pilate, to be condemned to death by him, because they had not the power of life and death in their own hands. He is brought before Pilate's judgment seat, and there the priests and elders accuse him as a traitor.
And when Pilate, upon examining into the matter, declared he found no fault in him, the Jews were but the more fierce and violent to have him condemned. Upon which Pilate, after clearing him, very unjustly brings him upon a second trial ; and then, not finding any thing against him, acquits him again. Pilate treats him as a poor worthless fellow ; but is ashamed on so little pretence to condemn him as a traitor.
And then he was sent to Herod to be tried by him, and was brought before Herod's judgment seat; and his enemies followed, and virulently accused him before Herod. Herod
does not condemn him as a traitor, or one that would set up for a king, but looks upon him as Pilate did, as a poor worth less creature, not worthy to be taken notice of, and does but make a mere laugh of the Jews accusing him as a dangerous person to Cesar, as one that was in danger of setting up to be a king against him ; and therefore, in derision, dresses him up in a mock robe, and makes sport of him, and sends him back through the streets of Jerusalem to Pilate, with the mock robe on.
The Jews prefer Barabbas before him, and are instant and violent with loud voices to Pilate, to crucify him. So Pilate; after he had cleared him twice, and Herod once, very unrightcously brings him on trial the third time, to try if he could not find something against him sufficient to crucify him. Christ was stripped and scourged : Thus he gave his back to the smiter. After that, though Pilate still declared that he found no fault in him ; yet so unjust was he, that for fear of the Jews he delivered Christ to be crucified. But before they execute the sentence, his spiteful and cruel enemies take the pleasure of another spell of mocking him ; they get round him, and make a set business of it. They stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe, and a reed in his hands and a crown of thorns on his head. Both Jews and Roman soldiers were united in the transaction ; they bow the knee before him, and in derision cry, “ Hail, king of the Jews." They spit upon him also, and take the reed out of his hand and smite him on the head. After this they led him away to crucify him, and made him carry his own cross; till he sunk under it, his strength being spent ; and then they laid it on one Simon a Cyrenian.
At length, being come to Mount Calvary, they execute the sentence which Pilate had so unrighteously pronounced. They nail him to his cross, by his hands and feet, then raise it erect, and fix one end in the ground, he being still suspend: edon it by the nails which pierced his hands and feet. And now Christ's sufferings are come to the extremity : Now the cup which he so earnestly prayed that it might pass from him, is come, and he must, he does drink it,
In those days crucifixion was the most tormenting kind of death by which any were wont to be executed.
There was no death wherein the person expired so much of mere tor® ment: And hence the Romani word which signifies tormenty is taken from this kind of death. And besides what our Lord endured in this excruciating death in his body, he endured vastly more in his soul. Now was that travail of his soul, of which we read in the prophét; now it pleased God to bruise him, and to put him to grief ; now he poured out his soul unto death, as in Isa. liii. And if the mere forethought of this cup made him sweat blood, how much more dreadful and excryciating must the drinking of it have been ! Many martyrs have endured much in their bodies, while their souls have been joyful, and have sung for joy, whereby they have been supported under the sufferings of their outward man, and have triumphed over them. But this was not the case with Christ; he had no such support ; but his sufferings were chiefly those of the mind, though the other were extremely great. In his crucifixion Christ did not sweat blood, as he had before, bem cause his blood had vent otherwise, and not because his agong was now not so great. But though he did not sweat blood; yet such was the suffering of his soul, that probably it rent his vitals ; as seems probable by this, that when his side was pierced, there came forth blood and water. And so here was a kind of literal fulfilment of that in Psal. xxii. 14. “ I am poured out like water : My heart is like wax, it is melted iir the midst of my bowels."
Now, under all these sufferings, the Jews still mock him ; and wagging their heads say, “ Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” And eyen the chief priests, scribes, and elders, joined in the cry, saying, « He saved others; himself he cannot save." And probably the devil at the same time tormented him to the utmost of his power; and hence it is said, Luke xxii. 53. “ This is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Under these sufferings, Christ having cried out once and again with a loud voice, at last he said, “ It is finished," (John
xix. 30.) “ and bowed the head, and gave up the ghost.” And thus was finished the greatest and most wonderful thing that ever was done. Now the angels beheld the most wonderful sight that ever they saw. Now was accomplished the main thing that had been pointed at by the various institutions of the ceremonial law, and by all the typical dispensations, and by all the sacrifices from the beginning of the world.
Christ being thus brought under the power of death, continued under it till the morning of next day but one ; and then was finished that great work, the purchase of our redemption, for which such great preparation had been made from the beginning of the world. Then was finished all that was required in order to satisfy the threatenings of the law, and all that was necessary in order to satisfy divine justice ; then the utmost that vindictive justice demanded, even the whole debt was paid. Then was finished the whole of the purchase of eternal life. And now there is no need of any thing more to be done towards a purchase of salvation for sinners ; nor has ever any thing been done since, nor will any thing more be done for ever and ever.
IN surveying the history of redemption, from the fall of man to the end of the world, we have now shown how this work was carried on through the two former of the three main periods into which this whole space of time was divided, viz. from the fall to the incarnation of Christ, and from thence to the end of the time of Christ's humiliation ; and have particularly explained how in the first of these periods God prepared the way for Christ's appearing and purchasing redemption; and how in the second period, that purchase was made and finished. I would now make some improvement of what has been said on both these subjects, considered conjunctly: And this I would do,
1. In a use of reproof.
Ì begin with a use of reproof; a reproof of three things : 1. Of unbelief. 2. Of self righteousness. 3. Of a careless neglect of the salvation of Christ.
1. If it be as we have heard, how greatly do these things reprove those who do not believe in, but reject the Lord Jesus Christ ! i. e. all those who do not heartily receive him. Persons may receive him in profession, and carry well outwardly towards him, and may wish that they had some of those benefits that Christ has purchased, and yet their hearts not receive Christ : They may be hearty in nothing that they do towards Christ; they may have no high esteem of Christ, nor any sincere honor or respect to Christ; they may never have opened the door of their heart to Christ, but have kept him shut out all their days, ever since they first heard of him, and his salvation has been offered to them. Though their hearts have been opened to others, their doors have been flung wide open to them, and they have had free admittance at all times, and have been embraced and made much of, and the best room in their hearts has been given them, and the throne of their hearts has been allowed them; yet Christ has always been shut out, and they have been deaf to all his knocks and calls. They never could find an inclination of heart to receive him, nor would they ever trust in him.
Let me now call upon you with whom it is thus, to consider how great your sin, in thus rejecting Jesus Christ, appears to be from those things that have been said. You slight the glorious person, for whose coming God made such great preparation in such a series of wonderful providences from the beginning of the world, and whom after all things were made. ready, God sent into the world, bringing to pass a thing before unknown, viz. the union of the divine nature with the human, in one person. You have been guilty of slighting that great Saviour, who after such preparation, actually accomplished the purchase of redemption; and who, after he had VOL. II.