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shouldst thirst, than that thou shouldst die.
Both were upon the same predetermination ; both upon the same prediction. How else should that word be verified, Psalm xxii. 14, 15. AU my bones are out of joint ; my heart is like war, it is melted in the midst of my bowels : My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws ; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death ? Had it not been to make up that word whereof one jot cannot pass, though thou hadst felt this thirst, yet thou hadst not bewrayed it. Alas! what could it avail, to bemoan thy wants to insulting enemies, whose sport was thy misery? How should they pity thy thirst, that pitied not thy bloodshed? It was not their favour, that thou expectedst herein, but their conviction. O Saviour, how can we, thy sinful servants, think much to be exercised with hunger and thirst, when we hear thee thus complain!
Thou, that not long since proclaimedst in the Temple, If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink : he that believeth in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters, now thyself thirstest. Thou, in whom we believe, complainest to want some drops. Thou hadst the command of all the waters both above the firmament and below it, yet thou wouldst thirst. Even so, Lord, thou, that wouldst die for us, wouldst thirst for us. O give me to thirst after those waters which thou promisest ; whatever become of those waters which thou wouldst want.
The time was, when, craving water of the Samaritan, thou gavest better than that thou askedst. Oh give me to thirst after that more precious water : and so do thou give me of that water of life, that I may never thirst again.
Blessed God, how marvellously dost thou contrive thine own affairs ! Thine enemies, while they would despight thee, shall unwittingly justify thee and convince themselves. As thou foresaidst, In thy thirst, they gave thee vinegar to drink. given thee wine, thou hadst not taken it. The night before thou hadst taken leave of that comfortable liquor ; resolving to drink no more of that sweet juice, till thou shouldst drink it new with them, in thy Father's kingdom. Had they given thee water, they had not fulfilled that prediction, whereby they were selfcondemned.
I know not now, O Dear Jesu, whether this last draught of thine were more pleasing to thee or more distasteful : distasteful in itself, for what liquor could be equally harsh ? pleasing, in that it made up those sufferings thou wert to endure, and those prophecies thou wert to fulfil.
Now, there is no more to do. Thy full consummation of all predictions, of all types and ceremonies, of all sufferings, of all satisfactions, is happily both effected and proclaimed*. Nothing
For the full explication whereof, I refer my reader to my Passion Sermon; wherein the particularities are largely discussed.
now remains, but a voluntary, sweet, and heavenly resignation of thy Blessed Soul, into the hands of thy Eternal Father; and a bowing of thy head, for the change of a better crown ; and a peaceable obdormition, in thy bed of ease and honour; and an instant entrance into rest, triumph, glory.
And now, 0 Blessed Jesu, how easily have carnal eyes, all this while, mistaken the passages and intentions of this thy last and most glorious work! Our weakness could hitherto see nothing here but pain and ignominy ; now, my better-enlightened eyes see, in this elevation of thine, both honour and happiness. Lo, thou that art the Mediator betwixt God and man, the Reconciler of heaven and earth, art lift up betwixt earth and heaven, that thou mightest accord both. Thou, that art the great Captain of our Salvation, the Conqueror of all the adverse powers of death and hell, art exalted upon this triumphal chariot of the Cross, that thou mightest trample upon death, and drag all those Infernal Principalities manacled after thee. Those Arms, which thine enemies meant violently to extend, are stretched forth for the embracing of all mankind, that shall come in for the benefit of thy all-sufficient redemption.
Even while thou sufferest, thou reignest. Oh the impotent madness of silly men ! They think to disgrace thee with wry faces, with tongues put out, with bitter scoffs, with poor wretched indignities ; when, in the mean time, the heavens declare thy righteousness, O Lord, and the earth shows forth thy power. The sun pulls in his light, as not abiding to see the sufferings of his Creator; the earth trembles under the sense of the wrong done to her Maker; the rocks rend; the veil of the Temple tears from the top to the bottom; shortly, all the frame of the world acknowledges the dominion of that Son of God, whom man despised.
Earth and hell have done their worst. O Saviour, thou art in thy Paradise, and triumphest over the malice of men and devils. The remainders of thy Sacred Person are not yet free The soldiers have parted thy garments, and cast lots upon thy seamless coat: (those poor spoils cannot so much enrich them as glorify thee, whose Scriptures are fulfilled by their barbarous sortitions). The Jews sue to have thy bones divided ; but they sue in vain. No more could thy garments be whole, than thy Body could be broken. One inviolable decree overrules both.
Foolish executioners ! ye look up at that Crucified Body, as if it were altogether in your power and mercy; nothing appears to you but impotence and death : little do you know, what an irresistible guard there is upon that Sacred Corpse; such, as if all the Powers of Darkness shall band against, they shall find themselves confounded. In spite of all the gates of hell, that word shall stand, Not a bone of him shall be broken.
Still, the infallible decree of the Almighty leads you on to his
own ends, through your own ways. Ye saw him already dead, whom ye came to despatch: those bones therefore shall be whole, which ye had no power to break. But yet, that no piece either of your cruelty or of Divine prediction may remain unsatisfied, He, whose bones may not be impaired, shall be wounded in his flesh: He, whose Ghost was yielded up, must yield his last blood; One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith there came out blood and water.
Malice is wont to end with life; here, it overlives it. Cruel man! what means this so late wound? What commission hadst thou for this bloody act ? Pilate had given leave to break the bones of the living; he gave no leave to gore the side of the dead: what wicked supererogation is this ! what a superfluity of maliciousness! To what purpose did thy spear pierce so many hearts in that one ? Why wouldst thou kill a dead man?
Methinks the Blessed Virgin, and those other passionate associates of hers, and the disciple whom Jesus loved, together with the other of his fellows, the friends and followers of Christ, and especially he that was so ready to draw his sword upon the troop of his Master's apprehenders, should have work enough to contain themselves within the bounds of patience, at so savage a stroke. Their sorrow could not choose but turn to indignation, and their hearts could not but rise, as even mine doth now, at so impertinent a villainy. How easily could I rave at that rude hand? But, O God, when I look up to thee, and consider how thy holy and wise Providence so overrules the most barbarous actions of men, that, besides their will, they turn beneficial, I can at onco hate them and bless thee. This very wound hath a mouth, to speak the Messiahship of my Saviour, and the truth of thy Scripture, They shall look at him, whom they have pierced.
Behold, now, the Second Adam sleeping, and out of his side formed the Mother of the Living, the Evangelical Church. Behold the Rock, which was smitten, and the waters of life gushed forth. Behold the fountain, that is set open to the house of David, for sin and for uncleanness : a fountain, not of water only, but of blood too. O Saviour, by thy water we are washed; by thy blood we are redeemed. Those two Sacraments, which thou didst institute alive, flow also from thee dead, as the last memorials of thy love to thy Church : the water of baptism, which is the laver of regeneration ; the blood of the New Testament shed for remission of sins : and these, together with the Spirit that gives life to them both, are the three Witnesses on earth, whose attestation cannot fail us. O precious and sovereign wound, by which our souls are healed ! Into this cleft of the rock,
Dove fly and enter; and there safely hide herself from the talons of ail the birds of prey.
It could not be, but that the death of Christ, contrived and acted at Jerusalem in so solemn a festival, must needs draw a
world of beholders. The Romans, the Centurion, and his band, were there as actors, as supervisors of the execution.
Those strangers were no otherwise engaged, than as they, that would hold fair correspondence with the citizens, where they were engarrisoned. Their freedom from prejudice rendered them more capable of an ingenuous construction of all events. Now when the Centurion and they that were with him that watched Jesus saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, they feared greatly, and glorified God, and said, Truly, this was the Son of God.
What a marvellous concurrence is here, of strong and irrefragable convictions ! Meekness in suffering, prayer for his murderers, a faithful resignation of his soul into the hands of his Heavenly Father, the sun eclipsed, the heavens darkened, the earth trembling, the graves open, the rocks rent, the veil of the Temple torn : who could go less than this, Truly, this was the Son of God? He suffers patiently ; this is through the power of grace : many good men have done so, through his enabling. The frame of nature suffers with him ; this is proper to the God of Nature, the Son of God.
I wonder not, that these men confessed thus : I wonder, that any spectator confessed it not. These proofs were enough, to fetch all the world upon their knees, and to have made all mankind a convert. But all hearts are not alike : no means can work upon the wilfully obdured. Even after this, the soldier pierced that Blessed Side ; and, while Pagans relented, Jews continued impenitent.
Yet even of that nation, those beholders, whom envy and partiality had not interested in the slaughter, were stricken with just astonishment; and smote their breasts, and shook their heads; and, by passionate gesture, spake what their tongues durst not. How many must there needs be, in this universal concourse, of them whom he had healed of diseases, or freed from devils, or miraculously fed, or some way obliged in their persons or friends! These, as they were deeply affected with the mortal indignities, which were offered to their acknowledged Messiah ; so they could not but be ravished with wonder, at those powerful demonstrations of the Deity of Him in whom they believed ; and strangely distracted in their thoughts, while they compared those sufferings with that omnipotence. As yet, their faith, and knowledge, was but in the bud, or in the blade. How could they choose but think, “ Were he not the Son of God, how could these things be? And if he were the Son of God, how could he die?" His Resurrection, his Ascension, should soon after perfect their belief ; but, in the mean time, their hearts could not but be conflicted with thoughts hard to be reconciled. Howsoever, they glorify God; and stand amazed, at the expectation of the issue.
But above all other, O thou Blessed Virgin, the Holy Mo
ther of our Lord, how many swords pierced thy soul ; while standing close by his Cross, thou sawest thy dear Son and Saviour thus indignantly used, thus stripped, thus stretched, thus nailed, thus bleeding, thus dying, thus pierced! How did thy troubled heart now recount, what the Angel Gabriel had reported to thee from God, in the message of thy blessed Conception of that Son of God! How didst thou think of the miraculous formation of that thy Divine burden, by the power of the Holy Ghost! How didst thou recal those prophecies of Anna and Simeon concerning him, and all those supernatural works of his, the irrefragable proofs of his Godhead! And, laying all these together, with the miserable infirmities of his Passion, how wert thou crucified with him! The care, that he took for thee in the extremity of his torments, could not choose but melt thy heart into sorrow: but oh, when, in the height of his pain and misery, thou heardst him cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? what a cold horror possessed thy soul! I cannot now wonder, at thy qualms and swoonings: I could rather wonder, that thou survivedst so sad an hour. But when, recollecting thyself, thou sawest the heavens to bear a part with thee in thy mourning, and feltest the earth to tremble no less than thyself, and foundst that the dreadful concussion of the whole frame of nature proclaimed the Deity of him that would thus suffer and die, and rememberedst his frequent predictions of drinking this bitter cup and of being baptised thus in blood; thou beganst to take heart, and to comfort thyself with the assured expectation of the glorious issue. More than once, had he foretold thee his victorious resurrection. He, who had openly professed Jonas for his type, and had fore-promised in three days to raise up the ruined Temple of his body, had doubtless given more full intimation unto thee, who hadst so great a share in that Sacred Body of his. The just shall live by faith. Lo, that faith of thine in his ensuing Resurrection, and in his triumph over death, gives thee life, and cheers up thy drooping soul, and bids it in a holy confidence to triumph over all thy fears and sorrows; and him, whom thou now seest dead and despised, represents unto thee living, immortal, glorious.
CONTEMPLATION XXXIII.-THE RESURRECTION.
MATTHEW XXVIII.; MARK XVI.; LUKE XXIV. ; JOHN XX. GRACE doth not ever make show, where it is. There is much secret riches, both in the earth and sea, which never eye saw. I never heard any news till now, of Joseph of Arimathea : yet was