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"They that sit in the gate spake against me, and I was "the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer "is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time. Thou "hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dis"honour; mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." It is more honourable to suffer for thy name, than to have the praise of kings. And the time is soon coming, when thy servants who have been most despised and persecuted for righteousness sake, shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. There thou art now highly exalted; and because thou so humbledst thyself, thou hast a name above every name. Oh when shall all the inhabitants of the earth have their eyes opened to see thy glory, as it is seen in heaven.

45. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

the land from twelve The sun was darken

There was darkness over all o'clock to three in the afternoon. ed. Some other strange events at thy crucifixion, such as the earthquake, and the rending of the rocks, may be said by infidels to have been in the course of nature, though they happened at that time; but this darkness of the sun cannot be accounted for by ordinary causes. What was the language of it, but that those who were perpetrating such a deed, were not fit objects for the sun to shine upon, but deserved everlasting darkness, there seems to be a suitableness betwixt that preternatural darkness, and the inward darkness that was at that time upon thy pure and innocent soul. Lord, save us from the darkness of sin and of hell; any other darkness instead of these, however uncomfortable but do thou, Lord Jesus Christ, deliver us from these. And we would also humbly deprecate the darkness of deser

And

tion: rather send us any affliction of body, than leave our souls without the light of thy countenance.

We observe, Lord, that the holy Spirit is careful by the Evangelists (a) to mark the hours of thy suffering. They began to crucify thee at the third hour, and it was at the sixth hour that dreadful darkness commenced, which continued till the ninth hour, when thy sufferings were at their height, and soon ended in death. Every moment of thy sufferings was of unspeakable importance; but though those of thy servants are not to be compared with thine, they may be assured for their comfort, that every hour, every minute of them, is reckoned by thee, and they will soon come to an end. Lord Jesus, give us the comfort of this when we are called to suffer according to thy will, upon a death-bed; or at whatever time, or in whatever manner thou seest fit.

46. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47. Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man

calleth for Elias. 48. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

This is the most awful and affecting part of all thy sufferings. What an inconceivable oppression must there have been upon thy soul, when thou thus criedst out before all thy enemies, that thy God had forsaken thee. None of thy former sufferings, however sharp and bitter, made thee cry out in this manner. Though all thy friends and disciples forsook thee, thou wast not left alone, for thy Father was with thee. But now when thou lookedst for help and comfort from thy Father, he was gone: He also had forsaken thee. Ah why? Thou always didst the things that pleased him, and thou wast just now obeying him in undergoing these unexampled sufferings; and he had again and again declared his delight in thee by a voice from heaven, What could be

(a) Compare Mark xv. 25.

the reason then of thy merciful Father forsaking thee in this time of greatest need? Surely he never loved thee better than now. It was not upon thy account, but upon account of these sins, these great and numerous sins, which thou wast bearing the guilt of. It was that thy sacrifice might be complete. Thy God forsook thee for a time, that we might not be everlastingly forsaken. Glory be to him who found in his heart to do it: glory be to thee who enduredst it, and whose soul clave to God, thy God, in the greatest darkness. Thou hast exhorted thy followers to do the same by thy prophet, who, when speaking of thy sufferings, says, "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, and that walketh in "darkness, and hath no light; let him trust in the name "of the Lord, and stay upon his God." Lord Jesus, strengthen us to comply with this encouraging invitation in the darkest hour.

'

When we read the psalm which begins with these lamentable words uttered by thee upon the cross, how wonderfully do we find it accomplished in the various parts of it. Blessed be thy name, that it ends with as much joy and triumph, as it begins with sorrow.

Strange that thy doleful cry to God should also be turned into ridicule! This man, said they, calleth for Elias. Whether they spoke from ignorance, or in derision, thy words were despised, and every circumstance contributed to increase thy sufferings.

50. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Having again cried with a loud voice, thou gavest up thy soul to thy Father, bowing thy head, and saying, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." Help us, Lord, to die in the same manner, committing our departing souls into the hands of thy Father and our Father, and into thy hands, saying, with thy martyr Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive our spirits." How unspeakable was now the joy of thy innocent soul, which had so lately been overwhelmed with sorrow! A like

change shall death work on all who are thine, in their

measure.

51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection,

and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him watchingJesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

The trembling of the earth under their feet, and the rending of the rocks, were proper means to awaken the attention of that vast multitude that were convened at thy death, and to make them reflect upon the dreadful deed they had been committing, or consenting to. In the rending of the vail of the temple, we seem to behold thy Father departing from the temple, and opening a way into the holiest of all by thy death. thy death. There was also another very wonderful event, in the resurrection of many saints about the time of thy resurrection, who went into Jerusalem, and appeared to many. Who these saints were, is not told, nor how their bodies were disposed of after they had walked about awhile. But we need not be anxious to know this; for the time is fast coming, when all the graves shall be opened, and the bodies of thy saints of all nations and times shall be raised up in glory. Lord, make us to know that spiritual resurrection of our souls from the death of sin, by thy holy Spirit, and we shall be sure to partake of the other. And give us to know what thy apostle speaks of having our old man crucified with thee, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin; for he that is dead, is freed from sin. May we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God through thee and like as thou wast raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so may we also walk in newness of life.

55. And many women were there, beholding afar off, which

followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him;

Among which was Mary Mag

dalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the

mother of Zebedee's children.

Some of them, as the centurion, feared greatly, and glorified God, and said, "Certainly this was a righteous man truly this was the Son of God." Others smote their breasts; and thy acquaintance and followers stood afar off beholding these things with deep concern. Only the chief priests and Pharisees continued obdurate. Lord, grant that our hearts may be suitably affected with every remembrance of thy sufferings. Save us from spiritual blindness and hardness.

SECT. CIV.

The Burial of Jesus Christ ;---The Sepulchre sealed and watched.

57. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58. He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean

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linen cloth, 60. And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 61. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

In the account of this affecting and astonishing event, we see many remarkable circumstances. Joseph, an honourable counsellor, and a man of wealth, appeared now among thy friends. He was shy before, but now he went boldly to Pilate, and craved thy body. To the weakest and most timorous thou canst give boldness in time of the greatest need. Pilate commanded thy body to be given him, but not till he had enquired of the centurion whether thou hadst been any while dead. Thus the certainty of thy death is confirmed by an unexpected enquiry. Joseph got the dead body of his Saviour to dispose of. With what affections would he do this! He was joined in the work of Nicodemus; and these two took care that thy sacred body should be honourably interred. Oh humble and self-denied Saviour, thou hadst

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