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him.' 'Dogs,' saith the Psalmist, 'have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked hath enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. They look and stare upon me, they gape upon me with their mouths; they part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.' All this was literally fulfilled in the sufferings of our blessed Redeemer: not one word failed. Again, in the sixty ninth Psalm, ' Reproach,' saith the Psalmist, ' 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.' O! how faithful and affecting a representation of the anguish of soul which Jesus endured for our sakes, and how true a prediction of the cruelty which he experienced on the cross, when, burning with intense agony, he exclaimed, 'I thirst,' and vinegar, mingled with gall, was given him, by those barbarous and bloody men.
But here, in the Psalms of David, so many passages may be found closely descriptive of the Saviour, that a full collection of them within the limits prescribed to us, would be impracticable. And we shall, therefore, pass on to some other direct evidences, beginning with the Prophet Daniel. 'After three score and two weeks,' saith he, 'shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.' Now this period of weeks, counting according to Prophetic rule, where a day signifies a year, brings out precisely the time of our Saviour's crucifixion. Again, Zechariah saith, 'They weighed for my price thirty .pieces of silver, and the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter; a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord,' Here we behold a clear prediction of the price
paid for the treachery of Judas, and of the use which was afterwards made of the money ; for when the wretched traitor cast down the reward of his iniquity in the temple, the priests purchased with it 'the potters' field, to bury strangers in.' Again, saith the same Prophet, ' What are these wounds in thine hands?' Then he shall answer,' those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' A plain allusion to the nails which fastened the Redeemer to the cross, as well as to the astonishing fact, that his worst enemies were his own brethren according to the flesh, those to whom the first benefits of his atonement were offered, and who, therefore, on every possible ground, should have been his friends. Most true was it that ' He came unto his own,' as said the Apostle,' and his own received him not.' But again, saith the same Prophet Zechariah, in a passage full of powerful expression, ' Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. Smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.' This remarkable prediction was applied by our Lord himself, when he told his disciples that they would all desert him as soon as he was taken into custody. 'All ye shall be offended because of me this night,' said he, 'for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.' Not only, however, does this passage plainly predict the desertion of the disciples, but also the death of Christ; and not only his death, but his character as God, and as man. For he was, indeed, the fellow or equal of God in his Divinity, as well as the faithful Shepherd of Israel.
One more citation from the ancient Prophets shall suffice for the present consideration of our subject, and that is from the 53d chapter of Isaiah, where the description of our blessed Saviour's sufferings and death is minute and accurate, to the most astonishing degree. 'He is despised and rejected of men/ saith the Prophet,' a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from him, and we esteemed him not. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to' the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and*who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living ; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken. He hath poured out his soul unto death, he was numbered with the transgressors, he bore the sins of many, and made intercession fjr the transgressors: and he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.' It was nearly eight hundred years from the delivery of this remarkable prophecy, before it was accomplished; and most minutely was it then verified, in the life and sufferings, trial, judgment, imprisonment, and crucifixion of our blessed Saviour. Yea, even the thieves that suffered with him are pointed out, the prayer that he offered up for his murderers, and the sepulchre of the rich man where his sacred body was laid, are all indicated; so that no reflecting tnind can meditate on this wonderful prediction, and compare it with its fulfilment, without being struck with astonishment and admiration.
3. Having thus shown, by a few plain proofs, how manifestly the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the prophecies pointed to the crucifixion of our blessed Lord, we shall briefly pass over the remaining clauses of this article, by stating what is necessary to be known in relation to his being dead and buried, and having descended into hell.
To a superficial view, it might seem altogether useless, after stating that Jesus Christ was crucified, to state also that he was dead. But this was done to guard against the various evasions of infidelity in ancient times, as it is possible that he might have been crucified and yet have survived. For a similar reason, we find it recorded that the soldiers pierced his sacred side with a spear, and that blood issued from the wound, mingled with water. This was not only a fulfilment of another prophecy, which said, 'They shall look upon me whom they have pierced,' but it was likewise a proof of his dissolution, because the blood had begun to separate, which it cannot do until all circulation has ceased. And besides this, as there can be no resurrection until there has first been a death, logical propriety dictated the statement of our Saviour's death, as introductory to the doctrine of his resurrection. Another purpose, however, and perhaps the chief, is answered by this expression; for the Christian is thereby reminded of the wonders which attended the dissolution of his Saviour, when the rocks were rent by an earthquake, the sun was darkened, the veil of the temple was rent in twain, and the heathen centurion, struck to the heart, exclaimed 'Truly this was the Son of God.'
4. Next appears the declaration, that our Lord was 'buried,' which might also seem immaterial. But it is not immaterial to remind the believer, by this one word, of the prophecy of Isaiah, who said that 'he should make his grave with the rich,' and of its remarkable fulfilment. For as our Lord was crucified as a malefactor, he would also have been buried as a malefactor, had not the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea begged the body of Jesus, and, after
. anointing it with pious care, laid it in his own new sepulchre, where man was never laid before. We are also reminded by this, of the fruitless caution of the pharisees, in setting a guard of soldiers to watch the tomb, and affixing a seal to the stone, lest it might be removed: and thus
• the memory is better prepared to carry on the chain of Gospel history, which it is one great design of the Creed to embody, in the shortest compass, and the simplest form.
5. Lastly, we come to the doctrine of our Lord's descent into hell, which is founded on the passage of the Psalmist, where he says, in the person of Christ, 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption,' which passage St. Peter expressly applies to our Lord, in his discourse to the people on the day of Pentecost. Exceedingly various have been the opinions of the learned, in relation to this doctrine of our faith, but, perhaps, the best exposition of it is that which you find immediately previous to the Creed, in the Book of Common Prayer, where it is said that hell, in this passage, is to be considered to mean simply the place of departed spirits. For as the word heaven is used in Scripture in a variety of senses, so that the true sense is to be gathered from the context, in like manner the word hell is applied in the Old Testament, not only to the place of the damned, but also to the state, or place of departed souls in general. For example, when Jacob saith, 'I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning,' in the original language the word here called 'the grave,' is the same which is elsewhere translated hell; and the remark applies to many other passages, where the word occurs in Scripture. The belief of the Church, therefore, is, that