תמונות בעמוד


40. And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the

41. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

42. He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

Christ would not save himself, in order that he might save others. He must of necessity die upon the cross, in order to be believed in. They, not knowing this, could believe nothing concerning him; and the same prejudice in them which had been proof against so many miracles, would not have yielded to this.

43. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have hiin : for he said, I am the Son of God.

44. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the saine in his teeth.

Probably both at first, though one immediately repented.

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

Universal and preternatural. The sun was not regularly eclipsed, it being then full moon.

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 ?

Come here, wretched man, and take some measure of thy guilt ; thine, whoever thou art. Be warned by this loud cry, what vengeance is hanging over thy head, and every moment ready to crush thee, if thou hast not made Christ thy hope. I say, take notice ; let thy heart take notice how he, who bore every thing, till now, with meek silence, was so oppressed with the weight of man's sin, that it exercised all his own divine patience, and forced him to cry out in the anguish and bitterness of his soul, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Think of his love too, and what he endured that we might not be sentenced to depart from him. ·

He says, “My God, my God;" and dreadful as the desertion was, it could not deprive him of his faith. Observe it for thyself, distressed soul; he may be thy God in the utter want of sensible comfort, thy faith may be immoveable, and thy trust in him as strong as ever.

47. Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

Wresting his word, Eli, Eli, as if he was still in expectation of the coming of Elias.

48. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it ou a reed, and gave him to drink.

As if by way of support, and to gain time for the coming of Elias; his forerunner, if he was the Christ.

49. The rest said, Let be, lei us see whether Elias will come to

save him.

Elias, if he will come, is help enough without the vinegar. All in scorn.

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

He cried with a loud voice of joy and exultation, for man's redemption, for the work he had finished, and the glory that was to follow. “Yielded up the ghost :” of his own accord, and by an act of his own power; dying by as great a miracle as he was born, or any he had wrought during his life. When he had purged our sins, he would not retain his spirit a moment longer, but went in haste to finish his conquests, by overcoming death.

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;

The mystery of the veil being rent, is explained, Heb. ix. 8.; and x. 19, 20. It was the opening of heaven to all the world through his blood, by rending the veil of his flesh ; but the veil still continues unrent to those who will not enter into the holiest by this way.

“ And the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” According to the reports of modern travellers, there is a rock still to be seen, so rent as to be a standing witness of this relation, and showing plainly, that it could be the effect of nothing but an earthquake, or divine power.

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.

This took place after his resurrection, not before, though it is here related. For Christ must rise first, and they could only rise in virtue of his resurrection. And farther, it cannot be well supposed that they arose only to appear to others, and then lie down in their graves again, but to ascend with him, soul and body, into heaven.

54. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

It is remarkable that the hearts of this heathen captain and his soldiers were shaken with the earthquake, and other signs which accompanied the death of Jesus, while the Jews continued obdurate and incredulous.

Truly this was the Son of God.” The Spirit indited this gospel by St. Matthew to bring us to this confession ; and seeing it, with a true faith, is salvation.

55. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him :

56. Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

It is recorded for the honour of these women, that they followed Jesus from Galilee, ministered unto him, did not forsake him when the disciples fled, and stayed to watch his sepulchre. Mary Magdalene especially, who is men

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tioned first, could not desert him, who had cast seven devils out of her. His love, when thou knowest it, will keep thee close to him.

57. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

A much happier condition than that of great riches Make it your own; and bless God that you may be “rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him."

58. He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

That it might have a decent burial, and not be laid among common malefactors. With what further view Joseph did this, it is hard to say; for it is not probable that he, any more than the other disciples, thought of Christ's resurrection. It was a new thing in the earth, and we must not wonder that they were all so slow of belief in this point before the event. Let us look back a moment upon the dark scene they passed through, to be thankful for the daylight in which we live.

59. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean 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.


62. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and pharisees came together unto Pilate,

63. Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Let us turn this against them, and to our own benefit. If he did rise again, he was not a deceiver. He was, and is, all that we want. He will raise our souls out of their dead state, and our bodies from the grave; he will dispel all our fears, confirm us in a state of lively hope, crown all our wishes, and never leave us, till he has set us on the right hand of God.

64. 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.

65. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, inake it as sure as ye can.

66. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

It is a mighty confirmation of our faith in the article of Christ's resurrection, that his enemies took all this precaution to prevent his body being stolen away.

O Lord, be with us in the power of thy grace, as thou wast for us in thy death and resurrection ; that in this belief we may walk comfortably all the days of our lives; love God for the great love wherewith he loved us; die with thee to sin ; take up our cross in meekness, self-denial, and penitent suffering; and answering the end of thy dying for us by being faithful to thee in all holy obedience; long for thy coming, and, through thy merits, be received into the innumerable company of those blessed spirits, whom thou hast redeemed to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

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