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THE SAME SUBJECT —continued.
St. Luke xxiii. 39-43.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly ; for we receive the due reward of our deeds : but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember
, me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Of the two evil-doers hanging' on either side, one unhappily proceeds from reproaches, from an expression of wonder why the Lord did not release Himself and them, to blasphemy,’ to question if He can be the Christ He claimed to be. Indeed, seeing the idea which possessed all of a triumphant Messiah, this sight of our suffering Saviour must have seemed the deathblow of all their hopes.» Better thoughts seem meanwhile to have been passing through the mind of the other. The scene they had just witnessed, the care our Lord showed for the Mother of His flesh, the confidence reposed in the Disciple whom He loved, may have helped
i St. Luke's word may perhaps de Genlis était superstitieuse et latipoint to a different mode of execution. niste . . . On voyait encore, il y a The malefactors might, as appears in quelques années, collés dans l'intérieur some pictures, have been bound by d'une petite armoire de sa cellule où cords to their crosses.
elle serrait son argent et ses bijoux, 2 See the word rendered “railed." ... cinq vers latins écrits de sa main 3 St. Luke xxiv. 19-21.
à l'encre rouge sur papier jaune, et * The Church of Rome, always wise qui, dans sou opinion, avaient la vertu above what is written, has even pre- d'effaroucher les voleurs . . . Ces vers, sented us with the names of the male- en latin du sixième siècle, soulèvent factors. The author of Les Misérables, la question de savoir si les deux in taking occasion to speak of a con- larrons du Calvaire s'appelaient, vent to which Madame de Genlis re- comme on le croit communément, tired for a time en pension, has this Dimas et Gestas, ou Dismas et Gespassage (Liv. vi. chap. 6.) Madame mas."
to rekindle any feelings of penitence and faith in this man's mind. He does what he can to prove it. In those untoward circumstances he does at least all that he can. He tries to bring his companion in sin and suffering to the same mind. Dost thou' too not fear God ? Should it be with thee, in this same judgment which should bring thee to a better mind, as with pagan soldiers and a mocking, unfeeling crowd ? Here was unfeigned repentance of the errors of his life past, and submission to his sentence, severe as it was. He confessed his fault. Had his life been prolonged, he would doubtless have done what he could to repair it. In the only opportunity allowed him, he did what he could; he confessed Christ.” This one 3—for even in that humiliation he felt Him to be more than man-had done, he is convinced, nothing out of place. Here too is stedfast faith in the Son of God. Even on the Cross he recognized his King. It was in his eyes a throne. He believed that the Lord to whom he prayed was about to take to Himself a kingdom and to return. He believed that He who came in great humility, would come again in His glorious majesty. He believed that that kingdom would come, though now all seemed to be against it. The Lord does for this penitent exceeding abundantly even above all that he asked or thought. From the Cross, as from a throne, this Prince, as it were in disguise, dispenses royal bounty. It is the third of His seven sayings from the Cross. That miserable day shall have a happy end. He does not promise him instant Heaven. Such is nowhere the language of the Scripture or of the Church. But He promises him what is preparatory to it, a place in that Paradise where “the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity.”] The place is called Paradise ? with reference to that garden or pleasureground or park which the Lord God planted eastward in Eden, where our first Parents were placed in their state of innocence, ere it was invaded by sin, and consequently by sorrow. For Heaven itself, such it seems must wait in hope till the general Resurrection. This case is no encouragement to those who are disposed to postpone their repentance. The mercies of God are not recorded to encourage presumption, any more than the failings of any are recorded for imitation.
· The pronoun in the original is ginal. emphatically expressed.
* See the original word. 2 “He consecrates to Christ what- 5 The true reading of v. 42 is not ever he has at liberty-his heart to into, but in. believe in Him, and his tongue to & Bengel notes that he had clearer confess Him."—Quesnel. “ His faith ideas of the kingdom of Christ than then we see was of that saving kind even the Apostles themselves at that which would have expanded into all time. And Lucas Brugensis says, the actions of a Christian life, if time “ The robber believed in spite of the had been afforded.”-Macbride. sufferings, when Apostles believed not
3 The word man is not in the ori in spite of miracles.”
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. Matthew xxvii. 45-47. St. John xix. 28, 29.
St. Matt. xxvii. 45–47.–Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 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? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
St. John xix. 28, 29.- After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spurge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Three hours of darkness; from mid-day, by which time our Saviour had been already for three hours hanging upon the Cross, till three in the afternoon of that first Good Friday ! Even the crowd seems awed and silent. Jesus breaks the silence with that mysterious cry, showing whom the Psalmist meant, showing whom the Holy Ghost spake of in the person of David, in the prophetic Psalm of which His enemies had already made application. Here was Gethsemane over again. Now that conflict was renewed. During that darkness the face of God seemed hidden from Him. He bare in our place this temporary loss of the Father's favour. He felt as one deserted of the Father whom He cannot do without, from whom He never has been separated. Still He calls Him “My God.” He is still our God even in the darkest hour, even when we seem forsaken of Him, even when left to die. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." The Sun is still there, come what clouds there may between. This is the fourth of the seven sayings from the Cross. Catching, as people under excitement are apt to do, at a word, some of the bystanders misunderstood the only word in the sentence which seems to have struck their ear.3 There was an opinion that Elias, that is the Prophet Elijah, would return to life in the days of the Messiah; and they imagine that this poor enthusiast is now calling for his help. And now we draw nigh to the closing scene. All He does He does with full consciousness, and of set purpose. The work was now done, in so far that it could not be undone. Jesus had been crucified, and would shortly die. Yet ere He yielded Himself to the final stroke, one thing remained to be done, one minute prophecy to have its accomplishment. And He whom it behoved " in all things to be made like unto His brethren,” and whose lacerated frame now began to experience that sensation and sign of suffering, that parching thirst which the wounded and the dying feel, -He, now first expressing any physical want, saith (it is the fifth of the sayings from the Cross), "I thirst.” “In my thirst,” so had the Psalmist said, speaking in the person of Christ, a thousand years before, “In my thirst they gave me vinegar
1 The Order for the Burial of the Commentary. Dead. Not in the highest heaven, 2 “How memorable a word to be to which our Lord Himself ascended found on the lips of the Second Adam, not till afterwards, . . . but in that and at such a time! What else does intermediate state of faithful souls it imply but that, having undone ... to which on that day our Lord the curse, having overcome death by descended (according to the prediction dying, He was about to reinstate manof the Psalmist, and the confession in kind in the lost privilege of their our Creed), was the penitent thief to race ?”—Ibid. be that day with Christ.”-A Plain
Ps. xxii.; St. Matt. xxvii. 43. ? Ps. xxx. 7; civ. 29. * St. Mark gives us the Aramaic
form, the dialect in which it is probable our Lord usually spake.
to drink.” 1 A vessel was at hand full of sharp weak wine, or mingled vinegar and water, the customary beverage of the Roman soldier. A sponge saturated with this, and raised to His mouth at the end of the long stalk of a plant common in that country, was offered, it would seem, in mingled pity and contempt. For he? who offered it could say, in reference to that late cry from the Cross,– the rest joining in the derisive remark,3—“Let us see whether Elias will come to take Him down.” But Elias was come already, and they had done unto him whatsoever they listed, as they now are doing to the Messiah Himself.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John xix, 30.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished.
Nothing now remained to be done. All was accomplished; every prophecy, all the Scripture concerning Him. So that now He had nothing to do but to die, and might well sound that closing note of triumph, that all but final utterance from His Cross, “It is finished !” 4 “It is finished !”-In vain might we now try "to bring out the many meanings of this most important and glorious word.”5 Now He proclaims, in
” its actual accomplishment, that which before He had uttered in anticipation, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” 6 This is that which the rent Veil of the Temple signified. Now the Law of Moses was fulfilled; its types, its shadows, its prophecies, all in Christ answered and accomplished. Above all, the mysterious and stupendous 1 Ps, lxix. 21.
such an expletive as 2 St. Mark xv. 36.
then.” 4 See the original word. 3 The words rendered “Let be,” 5 Alford. and " Let alone,” mean no more than St. John xvii. 4. Comp. iv. 34.