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wrestling with Satan in the end of his Lent, then they appeared to him and served; but now, while about the same time, he is wrestling with the wrath of his Father for us, not an angel dare be seen to look out of the windows of heaven to relieve him. For men, much less could they, if they would ; but what did they? Miserable comforters are ye all: the soldiers, they stripped him, scorned him with his purple crown, reed, spat on him, smote him ; the passengers, they reviled him, and insulting, wagging their heads and hands at him, “Hey, thou that destroyest the Temple, come down, &c. :" the elders and scribes ; alas, they have bought his blood, suborned witnesses, incensed Pilate, preferred Barabbas, undertook the guilt of his death, cried out, “Crucify, crucify!” “Ho! thou that savedst others:” his disciples; alas, they forsook him, one of them forswears him, another runs away naked, rather than he will stay and confess him: his mother and other friends, they look on indeed, and sorrow with him ; but to his discomfort. Where the grief is extreme, and respects near, partnership doth but increase
Paul chides this love: “What do you weeping and breaking my heart?" The tears of those we love, do either slacken our hearts, or wound them. Who then shall comfort him ? himself? Sometimes our own thoughts find a way to succour us, unknown to others; no, not himself. Doubtless, as Aquinas, the influence of the higher part of the soul, was restrained from the aid of the inferior :
My soul is filled with evils.” Who then? his father? here, here was his hope : “If the Lord had not holpen me, my soul had almost dwelt in silence: I and my father are one.” But now, alas, he, even he, delivers him into the hands of his enemies; when he hath done, turns his back upon him as a stranger yea, he woundeth him as an enemy..
“ The Lord would break him." Yet any thing is light to the soul whiles the comforts of God sustain it: who can dismay, where God will relieve ? But here, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
What a word was here, to come from the mouth of the Son of
God. My disciples are men, weak and fearful ; no marvel if they forsake me. The Jews are themselves, cruel and obstinate. Men are men, graceless and unthankful. Devils are, according to their nature, spiteful and malicious. All these do but their kind ; and let them do it: but thou, O Father, thou that hast said, “ This is my well-beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" thou, of whom I have said, “It is my Father that glorifies me;" what?
“ forsaken me?" Not only brought me to this shame, smitten me, unregarded me; but, as it were, forgotten, yea, forsaken
What, even me, my Father? How many of thy constant servants have suffered heavy things: yet, in the multitudes of the sorrows of their hearts, thy presence and comforts have refreshed their souls. Hast thou relieved them, and dost thou forsake me ? me, thine only, dear, natural, eternal Son ? Oye heavens and earth, how could you stand, whiles the Maker of you thus complained ?' Ye stood, but partaking after a sort of his Passion : the earth trembled and shook, her rocks tore, her graves opened, the heavens withdrew their light, as not daring to behold this sad and fearful spectacle.
Oh! dear Christians, how should these earthen and rocky hearts of ours shake, and rend in pieces at this meditation? How should our faces be covered with darkness, and our joy be turned into heaviness ? All these voices, and tears, and sweats, and pangs, are for us ; yea, from us.
Shall the Son of God thus smart for our sins, yea with our sins, and shall not we grieve for our own ? Shall he weep to us in this marketplace, and shall not we mourn? Nay, shall he sweat and bleed for us, and shall not we weep for ourselves ? Shall he thus lamentably shriek out, under his Father's wrath, and shall not we tremble? Shall the heavens and earth suffer with him, and we suffer nothing ? I call you not to a weak and idle pity of our glorious Saviour; to what purpose ? His injury was our glory. No, no, “ Ye daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but
weep for yourselves :" for our sins, that have done this ; not for his sorrow that suffered it: not for his
pangs, that were, but for our own that should have been, and, if we repent not, shall be. Oh! how grievous, how deadly are our sins, that cost the Son of God, besides blood, so much torment! How far are our souls gone, that could not be ransomed with an easier price! That, that took so much of this infinite Redeemer of men, God and man, how can it choose but swallow
up and confound thy soul, which is but finite and sinful? If thy soul had been in his soul's stead, what had become of it ? it shall be, if his were not in stead of thine. This weight that lies thus heavy on the Son of God, and wrung from him these tears, sweat, blood, and these inconceivable groans of his afflicted spirit, how should it chuse but press down thy soul to the bottom of hell ? and so it will do. If he have not suffered it for thee, thou must and shalt suffer it for thyself. Go now thou lewd man, and make thyself merry with thy sins ; laugh at the uncleanness, or bloodiness of thy youth: thou little knowest the price of a sin ; thy soul shall do, thy Saviour did, when he cried out, to the amazement of angels, and horror of
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?"
But now no more of this ; “ It is finished :" the greater conflict, the more happy victory. Well doth he find and feel of his Father, what his type said before ;
“He will not chide always, nor keep his anger for ever.” It is fearful; but in him, short : eternal to sinners; short to his Son, in whom the Godhead dwelt bndily. Behold; this storm, wherewith all the powers of the world were shaken, is now over. The Elders, Pharisees, Judas, the soldiers, priests, witnesses, judges, thieves, executioners, devils, have all tired themselves in vain, with their own malice ; and he triumphs over them all, upon the throne of his cross: his enemies are vanquished, his Father satisfied, his soul with this word at rest and glory ; “It is finished.” Now there is no more betraying, agonies, arraignments, scourgings, scoffing, crucifying, conflicts, terrors, "all is finished.” Alas, beloved, and will we not let the Son of God be at rest? Do we now again go about to fetch him out of his glory, to scorn and crucify him? I fear to say
it: God's spirit dare and doth ; " They crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and make a mock of him :" to themselves, not in himself; that they cannot, it is no thank to them; they would do it. See and consider : the notoriously sinful conversations of those that should be Christians, offer violence unto our glorified Saviour, they stretch their hand to heaven, and pull him down from his throne, to his cross; they tear him with thorns, pierce him with nails, load him with reproaches. Thou hatest the Jews, spittest at the name of Judas, railest on Pilate, condemnest the cruel butchers of Christ; yet, thou canst blaspheme, and swear him quite over, curse, swagger, lie, oppress, boil with lust, scoff, riot, and livest like a debauched man; yea, like an human beast ; yea, like an unclean devil. Cry Hosanna as long as thou wilt ; thou art a Pilate, a Jew, a Judas, an executioner of the Lord of life; and so much greater shall thy judgment be, by how much thy light and his glory is more. Oh, beloved, is it not enough that he died once for us? Were those pains so light, that we should every day re-double them? Is this the entertainment that so gracious a Saviour hath deserved of us by dying? Is this the recompence of that infinite love of his, that thou shouldest thus cruelly vex and wound him with thy sins ? Every of our sins is a thorn, and nail, and spear to him ; while thou pourest down thy drunken carouses, thou givest thy Saviour a potion of gall; while thou despisest his poor servants, thou spittest on his face ; while thou puttest on thy proud dresses, and liftest up thy vain heart with high conceits, thou settest a crown of thorns on his head; while thou wringest and oppressest his poor children, thou whippest him, and drawest blood of his hands and feet. Thou hypocrite; how darest thou offer to receive the Sacrament of God, with that hand which is thus imbrued with the blood of him whom thou receivest? In every ordinary thy profane tongue walks, in the disgrace of the religious and conscionable. Thou makest no scruple of thine own sins, and scornest those that do: not to be wicked, is crime enough. Hear him
that saith, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Saul strikes at Damascus; Christ suffers in heaven. Thou strikest; Christ Jesus smarteth, and will revenge. These are the, úsepñpara, afterings of Christ's sufferings. In himself it is “finished;" in his members it is not, till the world be finished. We must toil, and groan, and bleed, that we may reign ; if he had not done so, “It had not been finished.”
This is our warfare; this is the religion of our sorrow and death. Now are we set upon the sandy pavement of our theatre, and are matched with all sorts of evils ; evil men, evil spirits, evil accidents; and, which is worst, our own evil hearts; temptations, crosses, persecutions, sicknesses, wants, infamies, death; all these must in our courses be encountered by the law of our profession. What should we do but strive and suffer, as our General hath done, that we may reign as he doth, and once triumph in our Consummatum est ? God and his angels sit upon the scaffolds of heaven, and behold us : our crown is ready; our day of deliverance shall come; yea, our redemption is near, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes, and we that have sown in tears shall reap in joy. In the mean time let us possess our souls not in patience only, but in comfort: let us adore and magnify our Saviour in his sufferings, and imitate him in our own. Our sorrows shall have an end; our joys shall not : our pains shall soon be finished ; our glory shall be finished, but never ended.
SIR THOMAS BROWN,
Born 1605—Died 1682.
I could never divide myself from any man upon
the difference of an opinion, or be angry with his judgment for not agreeing with me in that, from which perhaps within a few days I should dissent myself. I have no