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EDITED BY REV. HERY EWLAD,
St. John, xix. 18.
" Where they crucified Him, and two others with
Him : on either side one, and Jesus in the midst."
WHEX three o clock struck this afternoon, I
wonder what we were doing, and of what we
were thinking? Suppose that I could have
looked into each of your houses, what should
I have seen that you were about? Suppose
that I could have looked into all your hearts,
what would have been the thoughts with which
they were filled? Would it have been that, at
this same hour, the most wonderful thing that
the world ever saw took place? that the God
of the spirits of all flesh gave up the ghost ; the
Prince of Life suffered death ; the Holy One,
leaving a corn and mangled body to the part
nership of the thieves, and the care of the
soldiers, had done with the griefs, and cares,
and afflictions of this life, for ever? Let us
" IT IS FIISHED." 121
still go on with the story : " It is good for us,"
as David says, " to hold us fast by God."
The top of Mount Calvary was about a mile
from the hall of judgment. The Jews believed
that Adam was buried in this place : and, in
deed, it was meet that he who brought death
into the world, and He by Whom death was
overcome, should be buried in the same spot.
But it is at least quite certain that Mount
Calvary is the same as Mount Moriah ; that
where the great type of Christ, Isaac, carried
the wood for the burnt-offering, two thousand
years before, there Christ should carry the
Cross now: that where Isaac was bound on
the Altar, there Christ should be nailed on the
Altar of the Cross : that where the ram was
caught in a thicket, there Christ should bear
on His Blessed Head the Crown of Thorns.
And you may remember that, when Isaac had
been left to go free, and the ram was offered
up in his stead, then "Abraham called the name
of the place Jehovah -jireh : for he said, In
the Mount of the Lord it shall be seen."
What shall be seen? The destruction of
death, by the death of our Lord. The sal
vation of man. The fulfilment of all the
prophecies. The greatness of God s love.
The exceeding sinfulness of sin. The malice
of the Devil. The greatest battle that the
122 "IT is FIISHED.
world ever knew, fought. The greatest vic
tory that the world ever saw, gained. Of all,
and each of these things, it might be said, " In
the Mount of the Lord it shall be seen."
We read of many other mountains into
which our Lord went up, and always to per
form there some mighty work for our sakes.
Once, to overcome a temptation, when the Devil
took Him up into an exceeding high mountain,
and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world
in a moment of time. Once, to teach, at its very
beginning, the Gospel : when a seeing the
multitudes. He went up into a mountain, and
when He was set, His disciples came to Him."
Once, to intercede for His Church, when " He
continued all night in prayer to God," before
He chose His twelve Apostles. Once, to
show Himself in all His glory, when He was
transfigured on Mount Tabor. But all these
things He did yet more gloriously on this hill.
Here He overcame, not one temptation, but all
temptations put together. Here He taught all
ages to come, by His seven sayings on the
Cross. Here He founded His Church in the
Blood and Water that flowed from His Side.
Here He showed Himself in more glory than
on Mount Tabor, when the sun was darkened,
and the earth quaked. This is the hill of
which Isaiah prophesied : " In this mountain
" IT IS FIISHED." 123
shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people
a feast of fat things ;" even His Body, which is
meat indeed, and His Blood, which is drink in
deed. " And He will destroy in this moun
tain," Isaiah goes on, " the face of the cover
ing cast over all people, and the veil that is
spread over all nations:" that veil, namely,
which prevented the heathen from seeing and
knowing the things which belonged to their
peace. " And it shall be said in that day,
Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him,
and He will save us : this is the Lord, we will
be glad, and rejoice in His salvation. For
in this mountain shall the Hand of the Lord
rest." Rest, by being nailed to the Cross.
Rest, also, because its work shall be accom
plished, and its victory won. I may say of
these words, as St. John of another text,
" These things said Esaias when he saw His
glory, and spake of Him."
But why it was that our Lord suffered not
in Jerusalem, but without the city, St. Paul
explains to us. " Wherefore Jesus also, that
He might sanctify the people with His own
Blood, suffered without the gate." He teaches
us, that if we would really follow our Lord,
we must come out and be separate from the
pomps and vanities of this wicked world.
The way by which our Lord went up from
124 " IT IS FIISHED."
Jerusalem to Mount Calvary is shown to this
day. It is called the Via Dolorosa; and a
Painful Way \ve shall find it, as our Head
found it, before we can attain to the glory
which He has promised to them that love
"On either side one, and Jesus in the midst."
Still our Lord was a King even in death ; set
ting forth then a type of that day when He
shall come in the glory of His Father, and
of the holy angels, to judge the quick and
the dead. Here He divided the good from
the bad, as He will divide them then; here
He set the penitent thief on His right hand,
and the impenitent thief on His left. ow
was fulfilled the type which we read in the
history of Joseph, when, himself being un
justly condemned, he foretold to the butler
that he would be restored unto Pharaoh s
favour, and to the baker that he would be
ow was fulfilled that which was spoken
by Habakkuk : "I will stand upon my watch,
and set me upon my tower." The cross was
this watch-tower, where our Lord, hanging
between earth and Heaven, foresaw all things
that should be brought to pass by the virtue
of His Passion ; foresaw the salvation of the
elect, that should be wrought by His mercy ;
"IT IS FIISHED." 125
foresaw the loss of the wicked, that should be
damned for their own sins.
In that vast crowd of things and persons,
from that day to the end of the world, of
which He had full knowledge, He saw us, as
we now are, us, with what we are now think
ing of, us, with what we are intending to do,
you who listen, me who speak. And thence
He invited us, " Come unto Me, all ye that
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
And He would have the world see Him,
and know Him also. It follows: "And
Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.
And the writing was, JESUS OF AZARETH THE
KIG OF THE JEWS. This title then read
many of the Jews : for the place where Jesus
was crucified was nigh to the city : and it was
written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin."
There it was : the exact truth. o one could
have said more precisely what ow Lord was.
A wicked man may write a good book ; and,
miserable sinner though he were, Pilate s title
was the truth. He confessed our Lord to be
a Saviour, in the word Jesus; he confessed
Him to be separate from sinners, in the word
azareth, which means separation; he con
fessed Him to be the King, not a king, like
the kings of the earth; not a king to be
126 "IT is FIISHED."
clothed in purple and fine linen, and to fare
sumptuously every day; but the King, the
King of kings, and Lord of lords; the King
Whose dominions should be from one sea to
the other, and from the flood unto the world s
end; the King Who died for His rebellious
subjects ; the King in Whose hands are all the
corners of the earth, and the strength of the
hills is His also. And the King of the Jews.
ot of the people of the Jews, but of those
who, as St. Paul tells us, are the true Jews.
For the word Jew means one that praises ; the
King of those who set forth His praise, not
only with their lips, but in their lives.
" This title, then, read many of the Jews."
Yes; and what were they the better for it?
They read it ; they stood by the cross ; they
reviled : and we also read it ; we know its full
meaning ; and what then ? Truly, it might as
well be written in Hebrew and Greek still for
any benefit that many of us gain from it. If
we read of a Saviour, and rush headlong into
all the sins from which He died to save us ; if
we read of One that was separated from sinners,
and wallow ourselves in all iniquity; if we
read of a King, and break all His statutes
what else are we doing but heaping up to our
selves wrath against the day of wrath, and
revelation of the righteous judgment of God?
"IT IS FIISHED." 127
" Then the soldiers, when they had crucified
Jesus, took His garments, and made four
parts, to every soldier a part ; and also His
coat : now the coat was without seam, woven
from the top throughout. They said therefore
among themselves, Let us not rend it, but
cast lots for it, whose it shall be : that the
Scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They
parted My raiment among them, and for My
vesture they did cast lots. 11
I do not wonder that they wished to gain
those garments. They knew how virtue had
gone forth from them by a touch. These were
the spoils of this war. He spoiled principali
ties and powers, and made a show of them
openly; they, for their parts, took His gar
ments, and divided them. And there is a les
son in this. The first Adam sinned, and lost
the robe of innocence, and needed other vest
ments; the second Adam died, and restored
man to better than his first state, and what
further need of His garments ?
" These things therefore the soldiers did"
It is well said. It is as though St. John
told us, These things the soldiers did, and
after that, had no more that they could do:
these things the soldiers did in mockery, but
they were indeed accomplishing the purpose
of God. These things the soldiers did, but
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the armies of heavenly Angels were worship
ping in wonder that God should thus suffer
from man ; these things the soldiers did, but
the holy Church throughout the world at all
times, but more especially in this most holy
day, and most holy hour, blesses and praises
Christ for the mercy thus shown to her.
As we draw to the end of this history, each
word seems to have its own wonder. If we
did not know what followed, could the wisest
or holiest man have guessed ? After this
after God had been judged by itfan, mocked,
reviled, crowned with thorns, nailed to the
Cross, what then ? We might have imagined
that fire would have come down from the
Lord, and slain those murderers, and burnt
up their city ; we might have imagined that
the twelve legions of Angels of whom our
Lord spake would have hastened to confound
his enemies. Yes, and we might have
imagined that the Heaven should have rolled
asunder like a scroll, and the elements should
have melted with fervent heat. It is said
that one of the wisest men of old, who saw
how, contrary to the whole course of nature,
the sun was darkened at the Passion of our
Lord, cried out, " Either the God of ature
is distressed, or the frame of nature is being
"IT IS FIISHED." 129
dissolved." And so it was, when there was
darkness over all the earth from the sixth
hour until the ninth hour.
" After this, Jesus knowing that all things
were now accomplished, that the Scripture
might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 11
This, to say it with all reverence, is the
only complaint which we hear that our Lord
ever made. They nailed His hands and His
feet to the Cross, and He only said, " Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they
do." He was hanging in agony, and He
said, " To-day shalt thou be with Me in Para
dise ;" and yet He, Who had been silent as
the Cross, now complains of thirst.
Why ? Surely by this, He sanctified all
bodily sufferings whatever. Hunger and
thirst ! we might have been ashamed to think
that, if they were borne in His service, He
would reward them. But so it is. or yet
would He have complained even then, but
that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Which
of us in agony of body and mind, would
think of such a reason for speaking, or being
silent ? u That the Scripture might be fulfilled,
saith, I thirst."
And yet, holy men have thought that they
could discover a deeper meaning in these
words of our Lord s. " I thirst not for that
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water of which, if a man drinketh, he shall
thirst again, but for the salvation of those
souls which none could redeem but Myself,
and which, unless I thirsted to redeem them,
would have gone down into that place where
the worm dieth not, and the fire shall never
" Wlien Jesus, therefore, had received the
vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed
His Head, and gave up the ghost" U !T is
finished." With those words, that most blessed
Spirit left its earthly sufferings for ever. ow
the labour, and misery, and weariness, and
watching, and fasting of thirty and three years
are over ; now the body can feel no more ; now
the blood is ceasing to flow from it ; now it is
putting on the paleness of death; now it is
growing cold and stiff, and they that stand by
the cross, see and say that all is over. Yet
even then, it is the belief of the Church, fully
borne out by the implicit confidence of her
who "pondered these things in her heart;"
who said, unhesitatingly, " Whatsoever He
saith unto you, do it," that while the others
doubted and were sore distressed, the faith of
St. Mary never wavered for one instant. The
sword pierced through her own heart, and she
suffered so, that holy men have called her the
greatest of all martyrs but doubt she did
U IT IS FIISHED." 131
not. And now that our Lord s Body and
Soul are thus separate, we must remember
how it is a part of the Catholic faith that
His Godhead remained in both : that it went
with His Soul into the place of departed spirits :
that it was also present with His Body. For
our Lord s Body, as being truly man, was
like our bodies, naturally subject to corrup
tion, and would have corrupted in the grave,
but that the especial power of His Godhead
preserved it, according to that saying, " Thou
wilt not suffer Thy Holy One to see corrup
"/ is finished." ot those sufferings
alone at once and for ever but the em
pire of Satan but our sins but all our fears
but all our hopes but everything that
we ought to care for in this world or in the
" It is finished : and He bowed His Head
and gave up the ghost." And notice the
order of these words, not He gave up the
ghost, and bowed His Head. But He bowed
His Head first that He might make manifest
the truth of His own saying, " o man taketh
My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself :
I have power to lay it down, and I have power
to take it up again."
" It is finished. " And how can we end this
132 "IT is FIISHED."
wonderful day better, than by repeating these
words ? The suffering is finished this evening :
the rest remaineth for to-morrow : the glory,
for Easter Day. To which glory, God vouch
safe to bring us all, for Jesus Christ s sake : to
Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost,
be all honour for ever and ever. Amen.
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