comfort into his harrowed spirit, death, his last, haggard hope, would be divested of half its stings. But he was regarded an outlaw; the priests, above all men, feared his defilement,* and left him to sigh and moan to the winds. A licentious rabble often surrounded him, laughed at the grimaces and contortions which indicated his anguish, and returned raillery to his “groanings which could not be uttered.” The man was lifted up between heaven and earth, deserted by all that was consoling in either, and pierced through and through by arrows from both. Such was his exit. Just so was the iron gate of eternity opened upon him.t

As the extremities of the system, and not the seat of life, were directly touched by the instruments, the victim died, as might be expected, a fearfully lingering death. The crucifixion of an Algerine, is thus described by one of its spectators, (Edinburgh Encyclopædia, vol. vii. part i. p. 211.) “ The criminal was nailed to a ladder, by iron spikes through his wrists and ankles, in a posture resembling St. Andrew's cross, ( X ) and, as if apprehensive that the spikes would not hold, from failure of his flesh, the executioners had bound his wrists and ankles with small cords to the ladder. Two days I saw him alive in this torture, and how much longer he lived I cannot tell.” Lipsius says, (p. 1188, vol. iii.) that Victorinus, when hung with his head downwards, lived two days; that Timotheus and Maura completed their martyrdom in triumph, after having hung nine days. The apostle Andrew is said to have lived three days, while bound, not nailed to the deadly machine, and to have spent a great part of the three in religious exhortation. The amount of strength which sometimes remained in the mangled subject, is evidenced by Bomilcar, upbraiding his subjects for a long time, and with a stentorian voice, for their barbarity; and also by the agonized wretches mentioned by Seneca, “qui ex patibulo spectatores suos conspuerunt.” Sometimes the victim, when taken down, recovered his health.

The Edinburgh Encyclopedists say, that probably, at Rome, either a bell was attached to the cross, or else a crier went before the victim with a bell in his hand, for the purpose of forewarning priests and magistrates of their exposedness to be polluted, if they should come near the procession. This, however, seems to be rather conjectural.

+ Consult, on the subject of the pains of crucifixion, the extracts from the medical testimony of Richter, in Jahn's Arch. p. 262; also Horne's Introduction, vol. iii. pp. 149–159.

"returned from a certain street in the city," says Josephus, “ and saw many of the Jews crucified, and knowing three of them, with whom I was once intimate, I grieved very much in mind, and with tears went out, and spoke to Titus. He immediately ordered them to be taken down, and to be attended very carefully. Two of them died under the care ; one survived.”

So tardy, indeed, was death on the cross, that many have ascribed it not so much to the wounds, as to the slow workings of famine. Eusebius details an account of some martyrs crucified in Egypt, whose appearance unequivocally indicated starvation, as the principal cause of their death. Doubtless, in all cases, the want of aliment was an effective aid to the various other agents, conspiring to wear down the body. “ The victims,” says Salmasius, “were finished on the cross, not altogether by it.” The blood fell drop by drop, so cautiously and gradually, that no part of the system could give way, without its appropriate and distinctly recognised pang.

“ And Pilate marvelled if Jesus were already dead,” for he had been suspended only three hours, and it was almost unprecedented for one to die so soon. Why indeed was it, that he could not survive longer? Why was it, that he did not, while hanging on the cross, exhort to repentance as zealously, and boldly, and manfully as some of his disciples ? Why say so little, and that little in tones so low, so much unlike a conqueror ? And when he did swell his voice to a louder note, why was it to exclaim Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani? What! shall a slothful servant confide in God, and burst out, with triumphant assurance, “ When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up," and shall a faithful son be left to wailing, and to cry, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful?” Had not God promised a thousand times, that he would never forsake a friend in trouble? Why then shall this best-beloved friend distrust the promise, and bewail a desertion ? Be it ever remembered, that hundreds of penitent sinners, in our own day, have died more triumphantly than Christ; hundreds who were to be saved scarcely," "so as by fire,” have feared less, recoiled less. Be it ever remembered, that multitudes even of the more delicate sex, that many children of both sexes have suffered



tortures externally as intense as those of Jesus, perhaps more so, and have felt none of his dejection. While bound to the rack and the wheel, while tied to the stake and consumed by slow fires, while lingering whole days and nights on the cross, pelted there with vollies of stones, attacked by rapacious beasts, berest of the consciousness which Christ enjoyed of entire sinlessness; in fine, thousands of transgressors, while enduring every combination of distress which could be contrived by the maddened genius of persecuting tyrants, have triumphed; have triumphed in the very man who was so severely depressed in his sufferings; triumphed in the very depression of that man; and while their own feelings at death were so different from his, have venerated him as a model in all their duties, and yet have triumphed in the difference between his death and theirs. How can these things be? saith Nicodemus, a ruler in modern Israel. Is it right, to clap our hands at sight of the cross and its bleeding victim? So we are commanded to do. See 1 Thess. v. 16; Gal. vi. 14, etc. But is it not strange, to glory in the weakness rather than the strength of a champion ; in the blood rather than the brilliancy and heroism of a conqueror? Herein is the enigma of Christianity. Here is the faith of the saints.

The prescribed custom was to leave the crucified man to the operation, however prolonged, of his torture. The Romans, however, often deviated from this custom, and adopted various means of expediting the criminal's death. They suspended him sometimes in an oblique posture, sometimes in the reversed perpendicular, with his head downwards. “ And Peter," Abdias relates, “approaching the cross, asked that he might be fixed upon it, with his feet turned upward.” “Rejoice," exclaims Chrysostom, in view of it, “ rejoice, oh Peter! for you have tasted the privilege of the cross, and desired to taste it in imitation of

your Master; not, however, as he hung in an upright posture, but with your head downwards, and feet aloft, as if you were preparing to journey from earth to heaven.” The martyr Calliopius, and several Egyptian martyrs, suffered the same inverted crucifixion. The suspended wretches were often doomed to be surrounded with slow fires, to be suffocated by the smoke of green wood, sometimes to be consumed on and with their gibbet. Not unfrequently were they exposed

to the crows,* vultures, f dogs, wolves, and the most ferocious beasts of prey. Sometimes they were transfixed with a lance; Marcellianus and Marcus were; criminals, in Mohammedan countries (to which countries crucifixion is now chiefly confined), are required to be. Our Saviour was transfixed, probably in his left side, though painters specify the right. The lance penetrated his pericardium, and one of the ventricles of his heart. From the pericardium came forth the serous, watery liquid, which is collected in an unusual quantity at death, but which always surrounds the heart, and keeps its surface from becoming dry. Blood came forth from the ventricle, and thus John saw what appeared to be blood and water, and what satisfied the doubting spearman, that Jesus must have already deceased. Sometimes the legs of the sufferer were broken, by striking the joints with a mallet, sledge, or heavy bar of iron. This breaking of the legs (crurifrangium) was also a distinct punishment. The legs of the criminal were placed on an anvil, and fractured with a heavy hammer. Twenty-three Christians under Dioclesian suffered in this way ; " both the Apollinares, father

vast numbers of slaves also, women and children. The Jews uniformly adopted some such means to secure the death of their malefactors; for the law, Deut. xxi. 22, 23, forbade that any one, defiled and accursed by crucifixion, should remain out of his grave beyond a single day.

The Roman statute required, that the malefactor should hang exposed to the sun and air until his body had corrupted; that he should then be neither burnt nor interred, but thrown upon the earth's surface, or elsef " dragged with a hook, and cast into the Tiber,” or some other stream. Here was another item in the ignominy of this punishment.

Privation of sepulture was anciently regarded one of the sorest of evils. There was thought to be no peace for the soul, so long as there was no grave for the body.

Hence the relatives of a crucified man were restlessly eager for his burial, and were wont, if opportunity presented, to steal the corpse and inter it. It was chiefly to prevent this theft, that

and son ;

* Pasces in cruce corvos. Hor. Ep. 16, v. xlviii. I. 1. † Vultur, jumento et canibus, crucibusque relictis, Ad foetus properat, partemque cadaveris affert. Juv. sat. xiv. v. 77, 78. Adam's Rom. Ant. p. 228.

sentinels were appointed to guard the body. A soldier, whom Petronius Arbiter mentions, watching a cross during the night, clearly discerned the torches of the crucified man's relatives, who came privily for his corpse, and at last succeeded in obtaining it. Ordinarily, the four soldiers who nailed the victim were stationed as his sentinels. It was so in the case of Jesus, " and sitting down, they watched him there.” The sufferer's friends, likewise, often watched him, to protect him from the depredations of villains, or of birds and beasts of prey. The story of the Ephesian matron attending the cross, is well known; but nothing can be more touchingly painted than the perseverance of Rizpah, whose two sons, together with five of their father's grandsons, were hung by the Gibeonites, “on the hill before the Lord.” “ And Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest, until water dropped upon them from out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest upon them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.” Six months she watched them, with a mother's faithfulness. The female friends of Jesus continued to look on him “until a great stone was laid at the door of his sepulchre," and himself secured.

It must not be supposed, however, that the statute forbidding burial was beyond the reach of an exception. The government of each province had power to grant the interment of


when his relatives or near friends requested it. The statement of Jahn, (Arch. p. 261.) that rulers were reluctant to bestow this favor, that they reserved it for festive occasions, and then for very few individuals, is abundantly contradicted by the history of that date. Cicero specifies it as one of the crimes of Verres' administration, that having torn sons from the embrace of their parents and led them to death, he demanded money from their parents for permission to bury them. It is recorded, too, as one of the most atrocious cruelties of Tiberius, in the latter part of his reign, that he generally refused interment to those whom he had condemned to die. In each of these cases, “exceptio probat regulam.” Augustine, in the tenth book of his own life, mentions the custom of permitting relatives to take down and inter corpses from the gibbet, as a custom frequently observed by himself. Ulpian, in bis treatise on the duty of a proconsul, prescribes, “the bodies of men condemned to


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