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came to Jesus, and saw that he was desd already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side; and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true; for these things were done, that this scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken: And again another scripture saith, they shall look on him whom they pierced.
And now, when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is the day before the sabbath, came a rich man of Arimathea, a city of the Jews, named Joseph; he was an honourable counsellor, and a good man and a just. The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them, who also was a disciple of Jesus (but secretly for fear of the Jews) and waited for the kingdom of God. He went in boldly unto Pilate, and besought him that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead; and calling unto him the Centurion, he asked him, whether he had been any while dead? And when he knew it of the Centurion, he gave the body of Jesus to Joseph, and commanded it to be delivered to him. And Joseph bought fine linen. And there came also Nicodemus, who at the first came unto Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wrapped it in the clean linen, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
'Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre hewn out of a rock, wherein never man before was laid. Here laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews, preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. And they rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And the women also, who came with him from Galilee, followed after.
Among these were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joses, who sat over against the sepulchre, and beheld how, and where, his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the sabbath day, according to the commandment. Now the next day that followed the day of the preparation, the chief Priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: So the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, mike it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.'
THE PREPARATORY PRAYER.
O FAITHFUL Saviour, who was crucified in weakness, but now livest in power, and canst forever save all those who come to God through thee; It is our purpose now to consider the concluding scene of thy sufferings on mount Golgotha. O thou crucified Love! be pleased to favour this our weak attempt, and make it conducive to the glory of thy name. Give us a lively sense of our incapacity so to conduct these Considerations, that they may be a real benefit and blessing to us. Grant that this sense of our weakness may awaken in us an earnest desire of the Divine assistance, and the influence of thy Spirit ; and satisfy this desire, by giving us all those talents and graces, which thou thyself knowest to be necessary towards an edifying consideration of thy sufferings. Amen.
THE LORD JESUS LED TO HIS CRUCIFIXION.
IN the preceding Considerations, we have discoursed of the several sufferings which our dear Mediator, for our sins, endured on the Mount of Olives; before the spiritual court of the Jews; and the civil tribunal of Pilate and Herod.
It now remains, that we consider his sufferings on Mount Golgotha, the place appointed by the infinite wisdom of God for the conclusion of our blessed Lord's meritorious afflictions. The beginning of this remarkable transaction runs thus.
Then the soldiers took the purple robe off from Jesus, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And Jesus went forth, bearing his cross. And there were also two other malefac tors led with him, to be put to death. And as they led Jesus away, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who passed by, coming out of the country: And they laid hold on him, and compelled him to bear his cross; and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great company of people, and of women who also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children,' &c. (Matt. xxvii. 31, 32. Mark xv. 20, 21. Luke xxiii. 26-32. John xix. 16, 17.)
These words exhibit to us the mournful procession of the blessed Jesus to his crucifixion. Our blessed Lord had, in his former sufferings, been forced to take several painful and ignominious walks. From the mount of Olives he had been hurried, bound as a prisoner, to Annas; from Annas to Caiaphas, from
Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate; and consequently, he may be supposed to have passed through most of the streets in Jerusalem. Now our blessed Saviour was to take his last mournful walk, when he was led as a malefactor from Pilate's house to the place of execution.
Jesus was led away immediately after sentence had been pronounced on him by Pilate. Then,' (John xix. 16.) i. e. immediately after this, Pilate delivered him up to the Roman soldiers, in order to be crucified for among the Romans, the soldiers were usually the executioners in such cases. The Roman emperor Tiberius, who then sat on the throne, had, about seven years before, issued an order, That no criminal should be executed until ten days after sentence had been pronounced upon him. But the benefit of this edict did not extend to murderers and rebels, it being judged necessary for the public tran quility that such delinquents should be immediately put to death. Our blessed Saviour therefore was not intitled to this privilege; for he had been indicted as a mover of sedition and a rebel, and one whom the Jews were for sending out of the world with all possible dispatch, as a pest to the commonwealth, and a scandal to the Jewish church. Nay, they urged the Roman governor with such vehemence, that he was obliged to give orders for the immediate execution of the sentence. No one offered to prepare Jesus for death; no one interposed in his favour, or spoke a word of exhortation or comfort to him; but he was dragged away to death with the utmost precipitancy, as one that was past all hopes of amendment, and unworthy of the notice of the humane and charitable. He, indeed, stood in no need of comfort or preparation for death; for he was long since prepared for it, by his patient submission and willingness to suffer; but he denied himself all human comforts, that he might acquire for us a right to expect divine conso
lations in our last hours. By the precipitancy with which he was led to death, he moved his heavenly Father to grant to every one, in his preparation for death, as much time as would be necessary; and has likewise sanctified the sufferings of his faithful servants, when they are suddenly surprised by the impatient barbarity of their persecutors, who allow them no time for recollection, or preparation for death. Thus every circumstance of our blessed Saviour's sufferings is a source of comfort and blessing to his followers.
But now let us take a nearer view of the last mournful walk of the blessed Jesus, to his execution. the above account we may see,
First, How, and in what manner, he was led to Golgotha.
Secondly, The company which attended him thither.
Thirdly, What happened to him by the way.
Fourthly, What our blessed Lord said, as he was led to his crucifixion.
I. As to the manner in which our blessed Saviour was led away to execution, the evangelical history informs us, that he was clothed in his own raiment, and bore his cross. That he was led away clothed in his own raiment, we are told by St. Matthew and St. Mark, in these words: Then the soldiers took the purple robe off from Jesus, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.' The Lord Jesus had, a little before, among other mockeries and insults he endured in Pilate's judgment-hall, been dressed up in an old purple mantle; and in this garb he was afterwards led away, and made a show of to the whole Jewish people, as a mock king. But now as he was to be carried to the place of execution, the soldiers took off from him this purple mantle, and put on him his own upper garment, that he might be the more easily known by the spectators; since it is probable, that his sacred face was