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ut to the
, ada efore le ed Penis ntoh:
in the 37 ime, vi aart of de
mong the Fathers, that every one of the great Lines in the Scheme of our Redemption, was set for us to copy after: And, that the principal Actions of our Blessed Saviour are to be look'd on, not only as Historical; but full of Mystical Instruction, and Intimations of
somewhat to be done by every Christian too, in CorreDipolis spondence with their grcat Master. Nor is this to be Partir thought a fight of warm Zeal. For Scripture it self and on abundantly justifies that Notion ; which is indeed the
plain Importance of several Passages to the Romans, Galatians, and Colossians.
Now, as at other times the Apostle enlarges, concerning our being crucified, dying, and rising again with Christ; So, in the Sixth to the Romans,
he mentions, Being buried with Christ by he Chaise Baptism into Death; and again, in the Second to the ne; Burs. Colossians, Buried with Him in Baptisin, Ver.
wherein also ye are risen with him.
These Expressions, whatever Allusion they may have to that Ceremony, used in hotter Climates, of inimersing the Body of the Baptized Person entirely: ( which answers to the Burial of Christ; as Emerging out of the Water again resembles his Rising out of the Grave) Yet do they certainly imply a great deal more. Our Sins are said to be born by Christ in his own Body on the Tree, the Body of Sin to be crucified with him; And, by parity of reason, to be buried in his Grave. As therefore, in the Professions of Faith made at Baptism, every Christian declares his Belief, that the Body of Christ was really dead and buried ; So he obliges himself, to effect that upon his Own Sins and Lusts, which actually passed upon Christ's Natural Body. That is, to mortify and kill his corrupt Affections and Desires; and not fuffer them to act, and move, and draw him into Sin; any more than the Carkass, when the Soul
gone, and it is laid into the Earth, can any longer trajes perform the Offices of a living and animated Body.
ring i bed het
and which is
possible Conviction should be given to the World, of these two most important Paisages. Were we not well assured of his being really dead; We could not be certain, that an Atonement was made for the Sins of the World. And, had we any reasonable ground to doubt the Truth of his Resurrection, we could not depend upon that Atonement being accepted. Now what the Holy Spirit hath thought fit to record of his Burial, is so ordered, as to leave no just Suspicion, Either that our Lord's Body was not actually dead, or that the fame Body, which so died, was not actually restored to Life again. This is what the Gospel for the Day gives very full Evidence of. Especially, when considered with its parallel Texts in the Other Evangelists. Which I shall call to my Asistance, in such manner, as may best conduce to the making both this Death, and Resurrection, of our Lord beyond all Contradiction clear, from his Burial now before us.
Now here we must observe,
1. First, The Persons concerned in this Action. And,
II. Secondly, The several Circumstances of the Action it felf. After which,
III. Thirdly, I shall leave the whole upon you with some practical Inferences.
1. I begin with the Persons concerned in this Action, The Principal of which was Joseph of Arimat bea. Of whom the Gospels give us this farther Descriptiot,
that he was a rich Man, and an honoura. ble Counsellor, a just Man and a good, One, who had not consented to the Counsel az
Deed of them who persecuted and co.John xix. 28.
demned Jesus to Death; but was himle. a Disciple of His, though secretly for fear of the Jesus In All which Passages there is something material; A I fall shew, by speaking very briefly to Each of them. as they lie in order.
Mark xv. 43.
Ifa. liii. 9.
His Riches and Honourable Station are mentioned, Not out of any Vanity and Oftentation, that a Person of so considerable a Figure should pay respect to the Body of our Blessed Master : But, partly to intimate the interest and easy access he found with Pilate; and partly to shew, how strangely God brought about an ancient Prophecy concerning the Messias, that, notwithstanding the infamous manner of his dying, he should yet make his Grave with the Rich at his death. Now this in it self was a most unlikely thing. For the Bodies of them that were crucified, did, by the Roman Laws, hang upon the Gibbet, exposed to all the Injuries of Weather, and a Prey for ravenous Beasts and Fowls of the Air.
Deut. xxi. 23. And, tho’ the Jewish Institution did not allow of this Severity to the Dead; yet did they usually bury their Malefactors, in some publick, negleéted, and ignominious Place. Hence the Jews themselves besought Pilate, that all the Bodies might be taken away, to prevent the profanation of their Great Festival, and the Breach of God's Ordinance, by their continuing upon
the cursed Tree. And thus they disposed of the two Thieves in all probability, as was usual in all other Cases of this Nature. But the making a distinction between Them, and Jesus who was crucified with them, was the Act of Joseph. He applied himself to the Governor, in whose disposal the Bodies of executed Persons were ; and he treated it with that becoming Honour, which we shall have Occasion to observe by and by.
In the mean while, we are to take notice, that the next Character, under which we find him, is that of a Counsellor. Which denotes him to have been a Member of the Jewish Sanhedrim; That very Affembly of Chief Priests and Rulers, which laid wait for Jesus: Which charged him with Blasphemy; Which used him with so much Cruelty and Contempt; Which, when their own Power would not extend to inflict that Death
determind for the Messias, arraigned him of Sedition before Pilate: And, when he saw through the thinness of this frivolous pretence, and was disposed to release him, instigated the People to accept of a Robber a:d. Murtherer; and to demand, that He might be crucified. So that, when the Apostles had told us, that this Person was one of that Body; It was but necessary to acquit him from the Imputation of the conimon Guilt; to satisfy the World, that, tho' he was of thein, he did not act with them. And for this reason St. Luke clears him of having any hand in their Villanies, and distinguishes him from his wicked Fellows; by saying, that he was a good Man and a just, and had not consented to the Counsel and Deed of the rest. Nay, St. Matthew adds here, that, He himself was Jesus Diciple, but yet with some degree of Infirmity; for
St. John tells us, it was secretly for fear of John xii. 42.
the Jews. Many such he tells us, there were, among the Chief Rulers, who were convinced by his Doctrine and Miracles. But they kept their Opinion to themselves, and had not the Courage to own it publickly. How long the Rest walked under this Dirguise, we know not. But it may well seem strange, that Joseph, who never durst openly profess a regard to Jeft4s, while living; should now, when he had suffered all the Ignominy of a Malefactor, and his Enemies thought they had effectually rid their hands of him, not stick to intereft himself for the honourable Interment of a dead Master. That He should expose himself to the Insults and Contempt of his Brethren, for a Teacher, in all appearance lost and gone; Who had not the hardiness to acknowledge him, while the Power of his Instructions and Miracles spoke him more than Man, and had gained him a general Admiration. And yet, ('to fee the Efficacy of those Impressions, which God makes upon our Minds, even at the most unlikely Seasons of prevailing) This Man, who durst not join with Mul
titudes before, in paying Jesus the least respect, ventures now to stand single; goes in boldly to Pilate, as St. Mark expresses it; and does the Office, usual for deareft Friends and Relations. He begs the Body, that he might vindicate it from the contemptuous usage of common Malefactors; And thus to declare, that he thought him a Person, so distant from what he had been represented, and put to death for; as even to be worthy the highest Honours his Condition was capable of, and received with all the Affection and Respect, due to his own Kindred and Family. For all this is intended by laying him in his own new Tcmb, and by those other Circumstances, contained in the Action it self.
2. St. John adds, that Nicodemus likewise contributed to this Funeral, by bringing a great quantity of Spices and Ointments, and so Embalming the Body, as the Custom of that Country was, to preserve it from Corruption. All which seems to imply, that the Saying of Jesus, so often repeated, of his rising again the third Day, had made but sender Impression upon them. As we indeed shall find hereafter, it did upon the Apostles themselves. God in his Wisdom suffered them to be unmindful of, or very little affected with, a Persualion, which had rendred all this Care unnecessary; that so this Insensibility, or Forgetfulness, might make way for more satisfactory and unquestionable Proofs of his Son's Resurrection.
I proceed now to my Second Head, where it will be necessary to observe these Few following Particulars.
1. First, The Preparation of the Body for Burial.
1. First, Here i; the Preparation of the Body for Burial, expressed by wrapping it in a clean linen Ciot). By this, no doubt, we are to understand all the burying