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chequer our whole life, and overshadow all things; how sad thoughts glance off from all we do, or say, or listen to; how the mind converts every thing into its own feeling and master-thought. Even the smallest things in life have great capacities of sorrow, and hold great measures of sadness. It is not only on the greater and more set occasions that our afflictions overwhelm us. Perhaps our keenest sufferings are in sudden recollections, remote associations, indirect hints, words, tones, little acts of unconscious friends. And even so it was with Him. It was not only when Moses and Elias, in the mount of the transfiguration, allayed the brightness of His glory by speaking of " the decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem," but in all the lesser events of life His coming agony rose up before Him. When a lowly woman anointed Him with ointment, He saw in it the preparations of the grave: "She hath anointed my body to the burying." The very spikenard had in it the savour of death. "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with?" "I have a baptism to be baptised withal, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" And, as the time drew nigh, this sinless shrinking of our manhood from the agonies of His passion was more clearly manifested. He grew, if I may so speak, fuller of the thought,
and began to teach His disciples how many things He must suffer;' foretelling every step of His last afflictions, from His betrayal to His cross: and when the hour was come, He was straitened with a sinless impatience for its accomplishment; and He bade the traitor to do His work with a friendly speed: "What thou doest do quickly:" and afterwards in the garden, when He had said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death," who shall venture to imagine what were His hidden agonies; what it was that thrice wrung from Him, even after the act of self-oblation, "Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me;" what visions, it may be, of the cup and of the cross were held out to Him; how He wrestled, until by a direct consent, and choice of the will, He drank it, in foretaste, to the dregs? As yet His fleshly crucifixion had not begun. It was His spiritual cross; the sharp inward wounding of the soul, that crucified even the body before its time, and impressed its passion upon His earthlier nature. "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling down to the ground."
4. And, as the chief of all His sorrows, He suffered we know not what darkness of soul upon the cross. True it is, that the Holy One of God, even when most beset by afflictions from without,
1 St. Matt. xvi. 21, and xx. 18, 19.
2 St. Matt. xxvi. 38.
3 St. Luke xxii. 44.
was calm and illuminated within. The rays of His Father's face shone secretly in upon Him. To Him, as to all saints of God, all the avenues of heaven were open. The pure lights and soft dews of His Father's kingdom were His continual refreshment. It was not for His own sake that He endured a darkness of soul; neither for His own sake did He hunger, or thirst, or become man, or die: so, likewise, whatsoever mysterious desolation of heart came upon Him, He endured as the Saviour of sinners. He was "made sin for us." He was made to know the wages of sin, even as sinners must needs know it; and desolation of soul, and the forsaking of the light of God's countenance, is our portion in the lot of sinners: and this He suffered even as He suffered the scourge and the crown of thorns. It may be that, as soul and body were afterwards separated, so the shining of His Father's face was for a time concealed. He learned the full misery of fallen man. Of all His passion we know but a little part: His "unknown sufferings" were beyond them all of them we can know nothing. We can gather them only from His own words, few and broken, when He was passing through His hidden agonies: "If it be possible," and " Why hast Thou forsaken me?" But, what death is what shall be after death: what, in the hour of passing, is the world which lies between
the sinner's soul and God: to what mysterious nearness of conformity to the doom of a transgressor He humbled Himself for our redemption from death and hell, is not revealed: all this, whatsoever it be, He suffered: but we are speaking of what we know not.
This, then, is a dim outline of His spiritual cross. The visible sufferings on Calvary were the filling up of His afflictions, and the symbol or revelation of His hidden agonies: and it was in these that the full mastery over sin was chiefly The body, though a partaker both in sin and death, is not the chief either in the transgression or the penalty, but the spirit of man. It was on his spiritual nature that God's image was stamped in the beginning; and through the power of that spiritual being he became a rebel against God. The soul was the seat of the rebellion; there it was that the powers of spiritual wickedness erected their dominion; and in that same region of His being, the Man who alone was without sin, suffered all the penalty which sin had drawn upon the world. In a word, what pain is to the body, sorrow is to the soul; and the scourge, the crown of thorns, and the cross, are, as it were, a parable of bitterness, anguish, and affliction.
Now from all this we may understand what that cross is of which all must be partakers: not
the visible material cross, but that which is more real than the reality of fleshly crucifixion. It is not so much by sufferings in the body as in the spirit, that we are likened to Him. The railing thief was more nearly conformed to His visible passion than all, save one or two, in all the multitude of saints. Yet, though conformed to Him in the flesh, he was not likened to Him in spirit. St. John and the blessed Virgin did not suffer indeed in the flesh, yet were they truly nailed with Him upon His cross. So in all ages of the Church, kings and princes, no less than bishops and pastors of His flock, not only in sackcloth and solitude, but in soft clothing and in the throng of royal courts, have borne the marks of the Lord Jesus, and shared the reality of His passion. Weak women too, moving in silence and a veil, unseen of the world, and never breathed on by its rough oppositions, have both carried their cross with Him, and on it hung beside Him. They have died with Him in will, and in sacrifice of self; in mortifying the choices and affections of their earthlier nature; in a glad forsaking of bright hopes and fair promises in life, sitting at His feet without distraction, and bearing withal a burden of many sorrows, partly the awful tokens of their Master's love, and partly laid upon them by the wrong and enmity of the world. Among many samples, let this one suf