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"His Portion of Scripture contains so exact a Deo
scription, of the barbarous Indignities our Bleffed Saviour sutrered, and of his Meek Deportment under them; as looks more like an Historical Narration of Facts already pass’d, than a Prediction of Events then several Hundred Years to come. Had Isaiah been present at the High-Priest's Palace and the Judgment-Hall; What fuller Representation could He, what indeed do the Evangelifts themselves, give, more punctual, than that, which the Holy Ghoit hath here inspired him with? They, who attend to the Connexion of This, with the Chapter next before, will see reason sufficient to conclude, that the Prophet, in both, personates the Messiah. And They, who compare the account here, with that of our Lord's Passion in the New Testament, must be utterly Blind, or extremely Perverse, if they can any longer suffer themselves to doubt, whether yea Jus of Nazareth were that Meffiah.
In regard then, that this Prophecy is so plain, as to ask no Enlargement, either for the Interpreting, or the Applying it: We may very well join it with the Gospel of the Day, as partly Introductory, and partly Parallel, to it. The Affronts and Injuries, commitced upon our Bleised Saviour, at the Palace of the HighPriest, make the Subject of this Epistle; which leads him, as it were, from the Garden, thro' all the painful Steps of Rudeness, and Violence, Insult, and Scorn, and Reproach, till it fets himn at Pijate's Bar. There the Gospel takes him up, and carries him on to Crucifixion and Death. So that Both together, proceeding in so regular a Method, and making one continued Relation, I chuse to treat upon them together. Not forgetting, in the mean while, some Particulars, which Isaiah here suggests proper Matter for, and fit to be
F ever suffering Innocence and injured Virtue had
power to move Compassion, and melt us into Tears; If ever the Barbarity and Infolence of Base and Wicked Men could provoke our juft Indignation and Abhorrence; let it appear at this time. At this, I say, the Service whereof presents us with a Sc ne of the blackcít Villary, that ever malicious and enraged People were Guilty of; and at the same time too, with the brighest, the most unspotted Virtue, the meekest, the most invincible Patience, that ever suffer'd in human Flesh. Had some very vile Impostor been exposed, abused, tormented, as the Evangelists relate; yet the Cruelty, even to such a Man, would have been thought great, and the foulness of his Guilt would scarce have extinguilh'd all our Pity. But when a Person was so ill treated, whose only Message into the World was to lead Men into the Truth, who was himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life; Who can be so Inhuman, as not to resent it, with a quick and tender Sense of what he endured, and with the greatest Detestation of those Merciless, Malicious Wretches, that inflicted it upon him? All this, I say, is due to our Lord's Innocence, and injured Virtue. But, when we consider farther, that those Sufferings had a secret End, unseen to the Beholders of them at that time ; that they were directed and designed by Almighty God, to the most glorious Purposes of redeeming Mankind from Sin and Hell, and making this Just and Holy Perfon a Sacrifice, and Atonement for the whole World; When we observe that he suffered for Us, in Our Stead, and for Our unspeakable Benefit; Then Pity is too low, too cold a Passion; and it is necessary we should be transported with Wonder, and inflamed with Gratitude and love. The Dying for Us, though in all those alleviating Circumstances, that
might have softened Death, and made it the moit easy and tolerable, that it could be made ; is what most of Us, who are fond of Life, for the mere sake of Living, have reason to Magnify, as an unparallelld Instance of Kindness. But, to submit to all those Aggravations, which add to the Terrors of Dying, and are infinitely more Grievous, than the thing it self; shews plainly, that there was nothing thought too much for compassing our Happiness: And, that His Kindnessand Zeal for our Redemption knew no Bounds. Nay, which is yet more; This Person was not under any Natural necessity of Dying, as We all are; but God Blessed from all Eternity, God, above the reach of Suffering, or Pain, oi Corruption: And yet, Blefsed and Impassible as he was, he made that his Choice, which could not be his Fate.
He took a Body capable of Misery and Death, and he took it on purpose, that he might Suffer and Die in it. So free, fo amazing was this Goodness: So little did the Eternal Father spare his own Son, so far was the Son from sparing himself, for Us.
To have his Blood fer to fale at a Price, and that but a very low and poor one too: That Blood, which was a Purchase more than equivalent to the whole World, rated at thirty Pieces of Silver: To be Betrayec' and Sold by one of his own Servants, his Friend and content Com panion; One, who was honoured with the Dignity of an Apostle, with the power of working Miracles, with a Commission of Preaching his Gospel, and (to free him from the Temptation of such base Avarice) was intrusted with the Bag, and made Distributer of the Storis of his Master: To be Affaulted with Swords and Staves, and Apprehended as a common Robber, and Peit of Mankind : To be haled from one High-Priest to :Inother, and there Blindfolded, Spit upon, Buffeted, a.id Insulted over: To be exposed to the Mercenary Tongue, of False Witnesses, and, in the midst of all this Distress,
posed, every way that was possible. And therefore He, who had no Sin of his own, but took Ours upon himself, must suffer all that was any way due to it, all that could be consistent with his Nature to suitcr. The King of Heaven and Earth was therefore arrayed in Purple, and made a Spectacle to the People, as if he had pretended to a Royalty, which belonged not to him. A mock Crown and Scepter is given him, and Obeysance made to him in Jeft and Wantonness; that he might be the gazing and the Laughing-Stock of the Beholders. Royal Salutations, feconded with Spittings in his F..ce, and his Scepter broke about his Head, to render him more Ridiculous and Contemptible. Malice was then let loose, and all the Instruments of Hell set on work, to make the Injury more black and detestable. This was Satan's Hour, and the Power of Darkness ; and it appeared to be so, by such unrelenting Cruelties, as could never have been exercised, had not the Committers of themrbeen carried beyond the common Corruptions of Nature, and for that time ceased to be Men. For, tho’ the Nature of Government and Civil Conftitutions require great Severities, upon such as are found, or supposed, to have grievously Offended; yet no Laws pretend to countenance Barbarity and Infolence, and we can scarce forbid our selves pitying the worst of Criminals. But here was a Person declared wholly Blamcless; None of the Courts, before whom he stood, could convict him of the least Fault; The very Judge, who partially condemned him, washed his Hands publickly, and disclaimed the having any thing to do in taking him off. And yet this Just Man found no Bowels, but all possible Industry was used to add to his Torment, and to render him more Vile and Odious, and more unworthy of Compassion.
But, tho’Insolence and Cruelty be detestable upon all Occasions, and more so yet to the Innocent and Injured, yet is there something of Difference, with regard
to the Dignity of the Person, againft whom it is exercifd; And, the more exalted his Character is, the more cutting it is in Him that endures, and the more villanous in Them that commit, it. Our own Nation hath seen (and Woc unto us that we have seen) an excellent Prince, inhumanly expofud, murthered with wicked Triumph; and all Good Men, I think, must needs look back
upon that Fact with Grief, and Horror, and great Indignation. But alas! though This were such a Wickedness, as hath seldom been seen under the Sun ; yet, how vastly short does it come of the Alfronts and Indignities put upon our Blefied Lord? The best and holiest of the Sons of Men are not pure in His Sight; nor ought to be compared with his Innocence, even as Man; And the Greatest, and most Glorious Monarchs are yet infinitely more beneath his Divine Majesty and Perfections. Yeteven this unblemish'd Virtue, even this Almighty King suffered the Rudeness and Insults of a blind and enraged Multitude. He permitted himself to be made, as it was written of him long before, a Worm and no Man, a very Scorn of Men, and the Outcast of the
Pfal. xxii. 5. People; all they that saw him, laughed him to Scorn. They entertained themselves with reproaching and ridiculing him ; and, when they had ended this insolent Farce, they then proceeded to act the last part of their intended Tragedy, and resolved to glut their Fury with his Blood. Yet still they proceed to observe their former Method, of giving Scoffs and Stripes together ; to wound his Soul, as well as bruise his Body For, after they had mocked him, they led him away to crucify him. A Death, the most dreadful of all Cthers, both for the Shane and for the Pain of it.
First, Crucifixion was a Death full of Shame. So scandalous, that it was inflicted, as the last Mark of Detestation, upon the vilest of People. Peculiar to the meaneft Condition, and to the most heinous Offences. It was the Punishment of Robbers and Murtherers, pro