« AnteriorContinuar »
and followers, who valued his life more than their own ; and he lived to triumph over all enemies, and ended his life in great honour and prosperity. But “consider Jesus," surrounded not only by insulting multitudes, not only by the powerful chief priests, rulers, and scribes, but also by the Roman soldiers ; scourged, mocked, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross; the raising up of which, and placing it in its foot, shook or dislocated his bones; parched with thirst, fainting in languor and anguish ; and at length expiring ; and you have a most striking accomplishment of a most extraordinary prediction : nor can any other example be adduced from universal history, which accords to it, in a similar manner. Sufferers in extremity are commonly compassionated, if not by the rude multitude, yet by superior persons: or, if the superiors be hardened against them, the people often sympathize with them. This has almost always been the case, with martyrs in general; but it was not the case of Jesus the Nazarene: even his disciples forsook him, and were afraid to own him.
“ For dogs have compassed me; the assembly “ of the wicked hath inclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet: I may
my bones S; they look and stare upon me.-“ Of whom “speaketh the prophet this ? of himself, or of
some other man?” Of what other man? Of Jesus, and of him only.
It is true that in the Hebrew text, the clause rendered, “They pierced my hands and my feet," stands, “ As a lion, my hands and my feet.” But this contains no clear meaning at all. The Sepand ;אֲרִי and כָרָח think the word compounded of
tuagint, which is certainly more ancient than the Christian era, and the work of Jews, evidently read it, as we do, (putar xĒopa's po xai modas)“ they “dug my hands and my feet.” Some indeed
; that it means “ They dug as a lion my hands; &c. : but it does not appear how this construction can be maintained. It is more obvious to allow, that a trivial alteration has taken place in the text, through the error of some ancient transcriber. But, however that may be,” the hands “ and the feet” of the sufferer were especially affected, and no punishment, yet invented by the cruel ingenuity of man, ever so affected “the “hands and the feet” as crucifixion, by nailing them to the cross, and suspending, in great measure, if not wholly, the weight of the body on the nails thus driven through those exquisitely sensible parts of the human frame.
It may be doubted whether crucifixion were originally a Roman punishment, but it was not used in Israel. The “hanging on a tree,” mentioned in the scripture, was suspension of the dead corpse after execution; or, perhaps, gometimes death by suspension, or strangulation : and there can scarcely be a reasonable doubt, that the Holy Spirit, speaking by the Psalmist, pointed out the special manner of the Messiah's death, above a thousand years before the Christian era.
“ They part my garments among them, and
they cast lots upon my vesture.”! Three of the Gospels, in which the fulfilment of this pre
Ps. xxii. 18. Matt. xxvii. 35. Mark xv. 24. Luke xxiii. 34. John xix. 23, 24.
diction stands recorded, were extant at an early period; when either Jews or Romans might have denied the fact if they had been able: yet this was never done. The singular circumstance, that while the other garments of Jesus were divided into portions, his vesture should be so formed, that the soldiers rather chose to cast lots for it, than to rend it, is worthy of special notice: for, whatever any others, concerned in these transactions might be supposed to do, from regard to the predictions of the prophets; the Roman soldiers cannot be imagined to have regulated their conduct by them. Thus the prophetic history becomes more and more circumstantial : and in whom was it ever realized, except in Jesus of Nazareth ? Have then the words of the Psalmist any meaning ? and what is that meaning, if it be not that which Christians maintain ? Still the simile recurs : a lock of such intricate and complicated wards, that no key but one, can be found, however forcibly applied, to move it; and that one opens it by a touch. Is not this the key which was made for the lock? Who can reasonably doubt it?
“ But be not thou far from me: O Lord, my strength, haste thee to help me. “ soul from the sword, thy darling from the power “ of the dog.” (YACHADIKA ; thy only One, unicus, unigenitus.) Robertson. Toje povoyevñ me, my only begotten, femin. Sept. The substantive is mascuJine, and the pronoun is the second person, in the original. The translators, probably, supposed the word to coincide with my soul; but the idea of only begotten is recognized." Save me from the
“ lions' mouth; for thou hast heard me from the “ horns of the unicorns.” 1
Immediately after this, he who had complained in such doleful lamentations, and who had been “ brought into the dust of death," bursts forth in a most triumphant manner : the last clause quoted being somewhat such a connecting step to transition from the depth of suffering and debasement, to the glory which followed, as our Lord's last words on the cross were : “Father, into thy hands “ I commend my spirit.”—“I will declare thy “ name unto my brethren ;' in the midst of the
congregation will I praise thee.-Ye that fear “ the Lord, praise him. All ye seed of Jacob,
glorify him; and fear him, all ye seed of Israel : “.for he hath not despised nor abhorred the “affliction of the afflicted, neither hath he hid “ his face from him ; but when he cried unto him “ he heard." 3
“My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation; I will pay my vows before them that “ fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied ;
they shall praise the Lord that seek him; your “ heart shall live for ever." 4
Who can read these verses, as compared with the preceding part of the Psalm, without being reminded of the risen Saviour conversing with his disciples; and commissioning the apostles to preach to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem; and of their addresses and exhortations to the Jews, before they turned to the gentiles? 5 EspePs. xxii. 19, 20.
• John xvii. 6, 26. 3 Heb. v. 7.
* Ps. xxi. 22-26. 5 Acts xiii, 26, 38, 39.
cially what can be made of the clause, as referred to David, or any other person, than Jesus “ The “ meek shall eat and be satisfied-your heart shall “ live for ever?"! Let the reader carefully and impartially compare with this clause the scripture referred to, and he must be struck with the coincidence.
Hitherto, however, Israel exclusively may be considered as spoken of; but the next verse predicts the conversion of the gentiles all over the earth, as our Lord intimated, when certain Greeks wanted to see him: “And I, if I be lifted up from “ the earth, will draw all men to me. This he
said, signifying what death he should die.” 2 Thus the prophecy; All the ends of the earth shall “ remember themselves, and shall turn unto the
Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall “ worship before him: for the kingdom is the “ Lord's and he is the governor among the people. “ All that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship; “all that go down to the dust, shall bow before “ him ; 3 and none can keep alive” (or make alive) “ his own soul. A seed shall serve him, it shall “ be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” 4 What can these verses mean, if referred to David, or to any other than the Messiah :-to him, of whom Isaiah says,
" He shall be called the ever“ lasting Father,” (or the Father of the everlasting age,) and whom the apostle calls “The second “ Adam, the Lord from heaven;" from whom all the true church derive spiritual and eternal life, as all men derive natural life from the first Adam ?
* John vi. 48–58.
Phil. ii. 8--11.
John xii. 20—33. * Ps. xxii. 27-30.