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Hands? How shall we clear these Things? Look into the Gospel, and there you
will find the Scene opening apace : There you will find your Lord despised and rejected of Men, persecuted and afflicted, and put to a eruel Death and open Shame, and yet rising to Glory and Honour. There you may see this Prisoner of the Grave ascending to the Glory of his Father, giving Gifts unto Men, and leading Captivity captive,
Let us then, in the last place, consider the historical Evidence, we have for the Completion of these Prophecies, which describe the calamitous Condition of our blessed Redeemer.
The Way was prepared before he was born. His Conception led to it; since the Meanness of his Parentage could promise nothing for the Child but Labour and Sorrow : And so it proved. This mighty Prince of Peace made his first Appearance in a Manger; and we may well suppose the other Conveniencies he met, upon his first coming into the World, were answerable to this. Na sooner was he born, but his Life was fought after : The distressed Parents fly their Country, and the Child is carried into Banishment, before he knew to distinguish between Good
and Evil. His Youth was spent in the Difficulties of Poverty, and his Hands employed in the Works of it; and when the Time came that he was to be made known unto Ifrael, and stood forth in the Power of the Lord, confirming his Doctrine with mighty Signs and Wonders, the Opposition to him increased, and every Act of Charity he did to others brought new Sorrow and Misery to himself. During this Time, in which he went about doing Good, he had not, as he himself has told us, where to lay his Head. When he cast out Devils, he was immediately charged to be in League with the Prince of them. When he healed the Sick of their Infirmities, and forgave their Sins, then he was a Blasphemer, an Incroacher upon the Prerogative of God. When he restored the withered Hand, and cured the Lame or the Blind on the Sabbath-day, then he was no longer fit to live: These were such Offences, as nothing but his Death could expiate. Consider what he suffered, and he was the lowest of the Sons of Men: Consider what he did, and he appears, as he truly was, to be the Son of God.
But still there remains behind the gloomiest Scene of Sorrow. When the Powers of 1
Darkness ing offered
Darkness prevailed, and the Time of his be
drew near, all Things conspired to make his Death bitter and terrifying. In his Life he had chofen Twelve to be his constant Companions, and they at least adhered to him, and willingly partook in his Afflictions: But now one of these BosomFriends conspires his Ruin, and sells him for thirty Pieces of Silver. The rest, though they were guilty of no such Baseness, yet proved no Comfort in his Distress.
As the Danger drew near, our blessed Lord, who was in all Things tempted like unto us, Sin only excepted, felt the Pangs of Nature at the Approach of Death, and retired to Prayer, the only Support of an afflicted Spirit. In this his Grief he chose Peter, and the Sons of Zebedee, to be his Companions, that they might watch with him in his Sorrow: But even here they forfook him, and, insensible of their Master's Agony, fell asleep. They were soon awakened; but they awoke only to fly, and Christ was left alone. Peter followed, but it was afar off; and he only followed him to deny him. Thus betrayed, and thus forsaken, he is carried to Judgment. When he is silent,
he is reproached with Sullenness: When he speaks, he is charged with Blasphemy. Sometimes he is buffeted and spit on; by and by, in cruel Sport, they pay him the mock Honours of a Prince, he is crowned with Thorns, has a Reed put into his Hand, and in Derision he is faluted, Hail, King of the Jews. And that nothing might be wanting to shew how vile and contemptible he was to the People, the Question was put between him and a Murderer, which should be released ; and with one Voice the People anfwered, Release unto us Barabbas. Thus was he despised and rejected of Men. Follow him but one Step farther, and
you will find him hanging upon the Cross between two common Robbers, groaning under the bitterest Agonies of Death. Nor
yet can all this Misery create in the Lookers on any Pity or Compassion. See how they shake their Heads, and say, Come down from the Crofs, Son of God, come down, and we will believe thee. But neither the Pains of the Cross, nor those Pangs which drew from him that Complaint, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, nor all the Malice and Scorn of the Crucifiers could make him one
Moment forget his Love and Tenderness towards them. You hear no Complaint from him, no Appeals made against them to a future Judgment: Instead of this, with latest Breath he pleads their Cause, excuses their Weakness, and begs for their Pardon ; Father, forgive them, for they know not what
And here let us close this Scene, and return to ourselves with this Question, What Reward shall I give unto the Lord
for all the Benefits that he hath done unto me? Let us also answer for ourselves in the Words of the Psalmist, I will receive the Cup of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. We have nothing to return but our Love and Obedience, and nothing else is required of us. He hath borne our Griefs, and carried our Sorrows; let us not call for them again by our Iniquities: Let them be buried for ever, but let us arise to a new Life of Righteousness in Christ Jesus, that when Christ, who is our Life, Mall appear, we may also appear with him in Glary.