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which is the instrument or the image of the final chastisement of the impenitent. But, with these two exceptions, the Prophet's words are literally true; Vere languores nostros Ipse portavit. He would feel all, that He might pity all, remembering that we are but dust. And as the perfect organization of that Human Body, “made ready for the scourges," which grew as a tender plant from the barren soil of our common nature, constrained Him to feel every pulsation of physical agony more keenly ten thousand fold than is possible to the ruder apprehension even of the most sensitive and finely strung of bodily organisms among His earthly brethren, so, too, -and far more—did the purely natural sufferings of His perfect Human Soul unspeakably exceed in intensity the bitterest sorrows that ever wrung the heart of man.
And we must remember that to Him all pains, whether of soul or body, inflicted by others, were aggravated by a love we can but dimly conceive of towards those who smote Him, which reached its culminating point in that last mute appeal to the traitor Apostle, as He knelt on the very night of His betrayal to wash his feet. These were the wounds He was wounded with in the house of His earthly friends. Most of us, indeed, know something of the bitterness of contradiction, ingratitude, deliberate misconstruction, sympathy slighted or betrayed; yet in this element even of His bodily sufferings neither Saint nor Martyr can approach Him, for none can realise the love which made it what it was. But all self-sacrifice involves suffering of some kind, and what He voluntarily chose for His earthly lot He has made into a privilege for His children. There was a place found for the mourner, the persecuted, the reviled, among the Beatitudes of the kingdom of God.
4. It is a common saying, that cruelty and cowardice go together; so also do self-sacrifice and tenderness. They are different sides of the same idea. And all the delicacy and romance, so to speak, of Christian tenderness is perceptibly an outgrowth of the Cross. If we compare either the characters of holy men, or the broader facts of history, before and since the Crucifixion, there are few contrasts so remarkable as the presence or absence of that special quality which may be called the grace and bloom of sacrifice, which is the chivalry of self-devotion, and gives to heroic patience its winning and attractive power. It seems as though, till Christ had lived and died, that fulness of human sympathy was impossible. Compare Samuel with St. Bernard, or Moses with the Teacher of the Gentiles. The points of resemblance are many and striking, but there is in each case a marked distinction. Moses devoted his life for his people, his brethren after the flesh, and could even pray that his own name might be blotted out of the book of God's remembrance for their sakes; but we seek in vain for that power of world-wide sympathy, at once so universal and so minute, which makes us feel towards the great Apostle even now, as we read his words, as though he were a
personal friend. Samuel did not cease to pray for his royal master, till the day of his death; but we see nothing of that intense feeling which melted Bernard into an agony of tears, when he preached over a brother's grave. It is the chief Apostle of the Church who bids us be “sympathizing, lovers of the brethren, merciful, courteous.” 3
Or turn from individual to national characteristics. Pain, deformity, sickness, sorrow, old age, are an heirloom of the Fall, but their cure or consolation is an outflow from that Heart which, for us men and for our salvation, was pierced on Calvary. Rome, Athens, Alexandria; in their palmiest days, took no heed of suffering, or heeded it only as an eyesore to be concealed, or even as a crime to be punished. Our hospitals, refuges, sisterhoods of compassion, and the like, are a shadow cast from the Cross. There have, indeed, in terrible visitations of pestilence been scenes of frenzied selfishness in Christian cities, that do but too well recall the worst moral features of the plague recorded by Thucydides and Lucretius; but there was no Borromeo at Athens to stand, as an angel of mercy, between
1 See Newman's Sermons on Various Occasions, Serm. 7 and 8, on the Character of St. Paul. Cf. also Stanley's Epistles to Corinthians, vol. ii. p. 23.
? It is not of course meant to deny, that there are exquisite touches of tenderness to be met with in the Old Testament history, as in the recognition of Joseph by his brethren, and still more in the tender affection which bound together David and Jonathan, to use the words of a distinguished author, as by a sacramental union;" but the very vividness with which such instances fix themselves in our memory shows that they are rare and exceptional. I hope it is not an over refinement to add, that they mostly occur in the case of persons who are commonly recognised as partial types of Christ.
: 1 Peter iii. 8.
the living and the dead. There have been in our own day cruel massacres at the barricades of a Christian metropolis, but the gentle self-devotion of Affré was a bequest from the Good Shepherd, whose words hung upon his dying lips. The fierceness of war is not on the whole what it was of old; and, if slavery still unhappily survives in some Christian nations, much at least in its incidents, which the highest public opinion of Rome or Athens allowed, is emphatically condemned by the universal conscience of Christendom.'
Hence, again, the Passion of Jesus has conferred on childhood, and the child-like temper, a new dignity, and made the love of children—whom He took into His arms and blessed—a reflection and memorial of His own. Even a heathen poet could tell us that the greatest reverence is due to boyhood, but our Lord made children the living types of that temper without which none can enter into His kingdom. Of the seven sacraments that flowed from His riven Heart on Calvary two alone were designed for any special age, and both for the
age of childhood. Nay, more, He has vouchsafed to be named, for our abiding devotion, by the lips of Apostles and Evangelists, "the Holy Child Jesus." And in the days of His earthly pilgrimage children were drawn to Him as by the spell of an instinctive sympathy. They
" See Note at the end of this Chapter.
? Luke ii. 43., Acts iv. 27, 30. It would seem that mais in these passages of the Acts has its proper meaning of Boy, as well as slave or servant of God, as in the parallel passage of Isaiah liji. 11. There is probably an allusion in both places to the fact that favourite slaves were often boys. It is remarkable, that the classical poets bardly ever refer to their childhood, while fow Christian poets have failed to dwell on it.
were the first to welcome Him on His entrance into the world, the last to sing His praise. They form the vanguard of the whiterobed army of Martyrs, “baptized in blood for Jesus' sake" in the cradles of Bethlehem, pursuivants of a long procession from every clime
When the representative wickedness of all generations of mankind was concentrated in the crowning act of apostasy which converted the chosen city into a moral wilderness, and seemed, but only seemed, to seal the Tempter's victory, every race, age, sex, condition, but one, conspired to swell his triumph. The purity of the judgment-seat was corrupted, priestly sanctity profaned, the gentleness of woman turned to gall; the crowds who chanted “Hosanna,' on Palm Sunday afternoon were the same that on Friday morning shouted, Crucify.' One class alone, so far as the Gospels tell us, never joined that cry. While priests and scribes were plotting under the very temple roof, the last time He visited it, the death of its Lord, Hosannas rose once more from boyish voices that would not be put to silence, and the mouths of babes and sucklings rebuked the madness of His people.
More than this; there has been a “tender grace' thrown over all the relations of thought, of literature, and of life, which may no doubt often degenerate into mere idle sentimentalism, but none the less springs from a deeper and truer estimate of the sacredness of that humanity, which Jesus sanctified in sorrow and death. One of the greatest modern writers on physical science has commented on the very different appreciation