Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Our next inquiry is, What this God the Son did suffer, as the Son of man; not in the latitude of all his sufferings, but so far as they are comprehended in this Article: which first prescindeth all the antecedent part, by the expression of time under Pontius Pilate, who was not governor of Judea long before our Saviour's baptism; and then takes off his concluding passion, by adding his crucifixion and his death. Looking then upon the sufferings of our Saviour in the time of his preaching the Gospel, and especially before his death, we shall best understand them, by considering them in relation to the subject or recipient of them. And being we have already shewed his passion was wholly subjected in his human nature, being that nature consisteth of two parts, the soul and body; it will be necessary to declare what he suffered in the body, what in the soul.

For the first, As we believe the Son of God took upon him the nature of man, of which the body is a part; so we ac. knowledge that he took a true and real body, so as to become flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone. This body of Christ, really and truly human, was also frail and mortal, as being accompanied with all those natural properties which necessarily flow from the condition of a frail and mortal body: and though now the same body, exalted above the highest heavens, by virtue of its glorification, be put beyond all possibility of passion; yet in the time of his humiliation, it was clothed with no such glorious perfection; but as it was subject unto, so it felt, weariness, hunger, and thirst. Nor was it only liable to those internal weaknesses and natural infirmities, but to all outward injuries and violent impressions. As all our corporal pain consists in that sense which ariseth from the solution of that continuity which is connatural to the parts of our body; so no parts of his sacred body were injuriously violated by any outward impression, but he was truly and fully sensible of the pain arising from that violation. Deep was that sense, and grievous was that pain which those scourges produced, when “ the ploughers ploughed upon his back, and made long their furrows :” (Psalm cxxix. 3.) the dilaceration of those nervous parts created a most sharp and dolorous sensation. The coronary thorns did not only express the scorn of the imposers, by that figure into which they were contrived, but did also pierce his tender and sacred temples to a multiplicity of pains, by their numerous acuminations. That spear directed by an impertinent malice, which opened his side, though it brought forth water and blood, caused no dolorous sensation, because the body was then dead; but the nails which pierced his hands and feet, made another kind of impression, while it was yet alive and highly sensible. Thus did the body of the Son of man truly suffer the bitterness of corporal pains and torments inflicted by violent external impressions.

As our Saviour took upon him both parts of the nature of man, so he suffered in them both, that he might be a Saviour of the whole.* In what sense the soul is capable of suffering, in that he was subject to animal passion. Evil apprehended to come tormented his soul with fear, which was as truly in him in respect of what he was to suffer, as hope in reference to the recompense of a reward to come after and for his sufferings. Evil apprehended at present tormented the same with sadness, sorrow, and anguish of mind. So that he was truly represented to us by the prophet, as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;" (Isa. liii. 3.) and the proper subject of that grief he hath fully expressed, who alone felt it, saying unto his disciples, “ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” (Matt. xxvi. 38.)

We ought not, therefore, to question whether he suffered in his soul or no; but rather to endeavour to reach, if it were possible, the knowledge how far, and in what degree, he suffered; how bitter that grief, how great that sorrow and that anguish was. Which though we can never fully and exactly measure; yet we may infallibly know thus much, both from the expressions of the Spirit of God, and from the occasion of his sufferings, that the griefs and sorrows which he felt, and the anguish which he underwent, were most incomparably far beyond all sorrows of which any person here was sensible or capable.

The evangelists have in such language expressed his agony, as cannot but raise in us the highest admiration at the bitterness of that passion. “He began to be sorrowful,” saith St. Matthew (xxvi. 37.) “ He began to be sore amazed," saith St. Mark (xiv. 33.) “ and to be very heavy," say both : (Ibid.) and yet these words in our translation come far short of the original expression, which render him suddenly, upon a pre

* 'Qui suscepit animam, suscepit this Greek notation, here is to be obanimæ passionem.' S. Ambros. de served a reference to the words of ride, I. ii. c. 3.

David, Psal. xlii. 5. 'Ivari nepívnos + The words in the original are el ý boxń pov; niingono. So three, λυπείσθαι, εκθαμβείσθαι, and that it doth not only signify an excess αδημονείν. Λυπείσθαι the first is of of sorrow surrounding and encoma known and ordinary signification, passing the soul; but also such as but in this case it is to be raised to brings a consternation and dejection the highest degree of its possible sig- of mind, bowing the soul under the nificancy, as appears by the words pressure and burden of it. And if which follow, Tepihutóg ŠOTIV Ý Yuxý neither the notation of the word, nor uov. For, as the ancient grammarians the relation to that place in the observe, Ý Tepi mpógeoig šmiTaoiv Psalms, did express that sorrow, yet δηλοί, and again, ή περί πρόθεσις the following part of our Saviour's λαμβάνεται αντί της υπέρ κατά λόγον words would sufficiently evidence it, , υπερθέσεως και περιττότητος: and there- έως θανάτου, it was a sorrow which fore zepidurog of itself must signify a like“ the pangs of death compassed” man possessed with an excessive grief; him, and like " the pains of hell got as in Æschylus Eumenid. 161. ne- hold upon” him, Psalm cxvi. 3. The pißapu repúos, that is, according to the second word used by St. Mark alone, scholiast, περισσώς βαρύ. But beside is έκθαμβείσθαι, which with the vulgar

sent and immediate apprehension, possessed with fear, horror, and amazement, encompassed with grief, and overwhelmed with sorrow, pressed down with consternation and dejection of mind, tormented with anxiety and disquietude of spirit.

This he first expressed to his disciples, (Matt. xxvi. 38, 39. Mark xiv. 34, 35.) saying, My soul is exceeding sorrowful;" and lest they should not fully apprehend the excess, adding, “ even unto death,” as if the pangs of death had already encompassed him, and, as the Psalmist speaks, (cxvi. 3.)" the pains of hell had got hold upon him.He" went but a little farther” before be expressed the same to his Father, falling on his face and praying, even with“ strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death.” (Heb. v.7.) Latin is pavere, but in the language left us in Eustathius, ad Iliad. E. 'H of the Greeks bears a higher sense. έξ πρόθεσις ου μόνον την έξω δηλοί σχέθάμβος σημαίνει την έκπληξιν, says σιν, αλλά ύψωμα πολλάκις σημαίνει. Etymologus: and Hesychius, Oáußos Of which he gives an example in θαύμα, έκπληξις. (Gloss. Vet. θάμβος, έκνομίως, used by Aristophanes in stupor. Philoponus, preserved by Eu- Pluto, 982. though not named by him. stathius 'IX. M. Oáußos pèp ý ēKTÀmbis. And again, ad Iliad. N. 'H & apóleous θαμβος δε κατ' οξείαν τάσιν ο εκπλαγείς. επίτασιν δηλοί, όποίαν και το μάλιστα. Froιn whence the verb θαμβείν, in 'Εκθαμβείσθαι therefore is μάλιστα termination active, in signification Daußerolat, to be surprised with horror passive, perculsum esse, in Homer Il. in the highest degree, even unto stuA. 199. ápßnoev SO 'Axilleus, where pefaction. Gloss. Vet. 'Exhaußoūmai, it is the observation of Eustathius: obstupesco. The third word is 'Adnxoáußnoev švePYNTIKOV Ý Vewtépa poveiv, Vulg. Lat. tædere in St. Mark, xoñou oủa čxel Daußoúpevou yàp, kai moestus esse in St. Matthew: but it εθαμβήθη, και τεθάμβημαι, φασίν οι μεθ' hath yet a farther sense. 'Αδημονώ, "Ounpov. but not universally true. For árnòrã, åywvtõ, says Hesychius. ''Aồn(as to our purpose) we have both the povô, Niav lutroquai, Suidas. It use and sense of this word in the Old signifieth therefore grief and anguish Testament. As 1 Sam. xiv. 15.10779 in excess, as appeareth also by the 7987, kaì łbáußnoev ń yñ, “and the origination of it. For, as Eustathius earth quaked. And Psalm xlviii. 5. observes: Toũ ådnuoveiv 7pWTÓTUTTOV ΟΠΩΣ, Αquila έθαμβήθησαν, Sym- αδήμων αδήμονος, ο εκ λύπης ως ολα machus εξεπλάγησαν, as Psalm XXXI. καί τινος κόρου, δς άδος λέγεται, αναπε22. 'Εγώ δε είπα εν τη εκστάσει μου, πτωκώς. Ιliad. Λ. From αδώ αδήσω Aquila θαμβήσει, Symmachus εκπλή- αδήμων, from αδήμων αδημονώ. It EEL. The like is also in the passive hath therefore in it the signification termination ; as Daniel expresses of ädnu or Xiav, satiety, or extremity. his fear in a vision, ébaußnonv, kai From whence it is ordinarily so exhíTtw & Trì a póow Tov uov, Dan. viii. pounded, as if it contained the con17. and the wicked are described by sequence of the greatest fear or sorthe Wise Man, Baußoúpevol delvūs, kai row, that is, anxiety of mind, disivdá, paowv écrapagoópevoi, Sap. xvii. quietude, and restlessness. 'Aờnuo3. From whence it appeareth, that veiv, ålúelv kaì å ropeīv, åpnxaveīv, Daußeiobal of itself signifieth a high Etymol. As Antony is expressed by degree of fear, horror, and amaze- Plutarch, after the loss of 8,000 men, ment. Gloss. Vet. Oaußoõuai, obstupeo, being in want of all things necessary stupeo, pavesco. And by the addition for the rest: Kleotárpav nepiéjeve, of the preposition εξ the signification και βραδυνούσης αδημονείν ήλυε. c. 51. is augmented. "Ex außos, érte ANKTOS, So where the Heb. Down is by the Hesych. passively; Onpiov poßepòv kai LXX. translated ékalayss, by Symčxoaußov, Dan. vii. 7, actively, i. e. machus it is rendered åờnuovõs, ÉKTINKTikóv. Such an augmentation Eccles. vii. 16. in this word is justifiable by that rule

Nor were his cries or tears sufficient evidences of his inward sufferings, nor could the sorrows of his breast be poured forth either at his lips or eyes; the innumerable pores of all his body must give a passage to more lively representations of the bitter anguish of his soul; and therefore while he “prayed more earnestly,” in that agony

“ his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke xxii. 44.) As the Psalmist had before declared, “ I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” (Psal. xxii. 14.) The heart of our Saviour was as it were melted with fear and astonishment, and all the parts of his body at the same time inflamed with anguish and agony; well then might that melting produce a sweat, and that inflamed and rarified blood force a passage through the numerous pores.

And as the evangelists' expressions, so the occasion of the grief, will manifest the height and bitterness thereof: For God “ laid on his own Son the iniquities of us all;" (Isa. liii. 6.) and as we are obliged to be sorry for our particular sins, so was he grieved for the sins of us all. If then we consider the perfection and latitude of his knowledge; he understood all the sins of men for which he suffered, all the evil and the guilt, all the offence against the majesty, and ingratitude against the goodness of God, which was contained in all those sins. If we look upon his absolute conformity to the will of God; he was inflamed with most ardent love, he was most zealous of his glory, and most studious to preserve that right which was so highly violated by those sins. If we look upon bis relation to the sons of men; he loved them all far more than any did themselves, he knew those sins were of themselves sufficient to bring eternal destruction on their souls and bodies; he considered them whom he so much loved, as lying under the wrath of God, whom he so truly worshipped. If we reflect upon those graces which were without measure diffused through his soul, and caused him with the greatest habitual detestation to abhor all sin; if we consider all these circumstances, we cannot wonder at that grief and sorrow. For if the true contrition of one single sinner, bleeding under the sting of the Law only for his own iniquities, all which notwithstanding he knoweth not, cannot be performed without great bitterness of sorrow and remorse; what bounds can we set unto that grief, what measures to that anguish, which proceedeth from a full apprehension of all the transgressions of so many millions of sinners ?

Add unto all these present apprehensions, the immediate hand of God pressing upon him all this load, laying on his shoulders at once a heap of all the sorrows which can happen unto any of the saints of God; that he, being “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” (Heb. ii. 17, 18.) might become a “merciful high-priest, able and willing to succour them that

are tempted.” (Heb. iv. 15.) Thus may we “behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto that sorrow which was done unto him, wherewith the Lord afflicted him in the day of his fierce anger.” (Lam. i. 12.) And from hence we may and must conclude, that the Saviour of man, as he took the whole nature of man, so he suffered in whatsoever he took : in his body, by internal infirmities and external injuries; in his soul, by fears and sorrows, by unknown and inexpressible anguishes. Which shews us fully (if it can be shewn) the third particular propounded, what our Saviour suffered.

That our Saviour did thus suffer, is most necessary to believe. First, That thereby we may be assured of the verity of his human nature. For if he were not man, then could not man be redeemed by him; and if that nature in which he appeared were not truly human, then could he not be truly man. But we may be well assured that he took on him our nature, when we see him subject unto our infirmities.

We know the Godhead is of infinite perfection, and therefore is exalted far above all possibility of molestation. When therefore we see our Saviour truly suffer, we know his divine essence suffered not, and thence acknowledge the addition of his human nature, as the proper subject of his passion. And from hence we may infallibly conclude, surely that Mediator between God and man was truly man, as we are men, who when he fasted was an hungred, when he travelled was thirsty and weary as we are, who being grieved wept, being in an agony sweat, being scourged bled, and being crucified died.

Secondly, It was necessary Christ should suffer for the redemption of lapsed men, and their reconciliation unto God; which was not otherwise to be performed than by a plenary satisfaction to his will. He therefore was by all his sufferings made an expiation, atonement, and propitiation, for all our sins. For salvation is impossible unto sinners without remission of sin; and remission, in the decree of God, impossible without effusion of blood. Our redemption therefore could not be wrought but by the blood of the Redeemer, but by a Lamb slain, but by a suffering Saviour.

Thirdly, It behoved Christ to suffer, that he might purchase thereby eternal happiness in the heavens both for himself the head, and for the members of his body. “He drank of the brook in the way, therefore hath he lift-up his head.” (Psal.

7.) “Ought not Christ to suffer, and so to enter into his own glory?" (Luke xxiv. 26.) And doth he not by the same right by which he entered into it, confer that glory upon us ? *The recompense of the reward was set before him, and through an intuition of it he cheerfully underwent whatsoever was laid upon him. . He must therefore necessarily suffer to obtain that happiness, who is therefore happy because he suffered.

Fourthly, It was necessary Christ should suffer, that we

CX.

« ZurückWeiter »