The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings
by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
THE JEWS AT THE TIME OF CHRIST.
THE FIRST FEW WORDS.
THAT the reader may see the reasons why the Jews did not receive Christ, but put him to death, we will give a rapid account of their history,—how God spoke to their fathers face to face, and to the whole nation by his prophets; why He spoke no more; how they then divided into sects ; the history of the Herod family; Pilate ; his palace; Calvary, and the great Temple of Jehovah.
THE JEWS AND THEIR SACRED BOOKS.
We find in every city in the world Jews, thus called after their father Judah, " Praise," one of the twelve sons of Jacob, " the Supplanter," because for a mess of pottage he supplanted his brother as the first-born.
Brightest and most active, perhaps, of the races, they are noted for thrift and industry; devoting themselves to trade, they get rich, and are seldom inmates of prison or poor-house. On them still rest God's blessings of worldly prosperity given to aid them in carrying on the Church, which they rejected when they put her Founder to death.
But God will not be frustrated. The Holy Ghost blessed Japheth's race, the white men, by Noe's lips: "May God enlarge Japheth; and may he dwell in the tents of Sem." (Gen. ix. 27.) From that time the white races began all advancement, progress, invention, and improvement by which they lifted themselves to the highest civilization.
Japheth's sons are the priestly race called to administer the world-wide empire of the religion of the Hebrew King Messiah. They feel their superiority. They receive the members of no other race on an equality. They have an instinctive repulsion to the Jew which never can be overcome. The tainted blood flowing in their veins signs them with the mark of Cain. They wander over the world while the blood of their Brother Christ cries to heaven for mercy for our sins. (Gen. iv, 10.) That terrible cry " His blood be on us and on our children " (Matt, xxvii. 25, ) seems to be answered in their case wherever they wander even to our day.
In the histories of all the nations, we trace them back through the middle ages proscribed and persecuted, to Christ's time, and far beyond their history leads till we find them in Egypt like slaves, helping build vast temples, tombs, and stone structures now crumbling along the Nile Valley.
We find their fathers shepherd sheiks in Palestine descending from Heber: " A companion," (Gen. x. 21) son of Sale, after whom they are called Hebrews. Their writers say Heber refused to take part with the other seventy-one families in the building of the tower of Babel, (Gen. xi,) that his language was not changed when the families scattered to found the nations, and that Hebrew was Adam's language.
By a series of miracles Moses led them out of Egypt, formed them into a nation, under God's direction led them for forty years through the vast deserts of Arabia, and after he died, under Josue, or in its Greek form Jesus : " Jehovah will save," they enter and conquer Palestine, land of milk and honey, thus called because of its fertility. Now let us see why this land, surrounded by deserts, is so fertile.
In our hemisphere, a current of air always sweeps over the earth from west to east, and that is why there is so much west wind. Passing over the ocean, it absorbs all the water it can carry. But striking the warm lands, its moisture is dried up, making the west of the continents dry or desert, for the hotter the air the drier it becomes. When cooled it drops the rain. On the high cold mountains there is much moisture.
Palestine, a high mountainous ridge, running from the Lebanon mountains, nearly always covered with snow, down to the deep hot valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, 1,300 feet below the ocean, has every variety of climate, from the high cold mountains to the almost tropical plains around Jericho. The rock of Palestine is of a peculiar limestone, like marble, and the soil is exceedingly rich, well watered in winter, dried up in summer, and to day, with the right cultivation, it would yield crops equal to the Mississippi Valley.
There God's providence brought the Hebrews, shielded them from enemies while they remained faithful, and punished them when they left His worship.
God chose them to give them his revelation foretelling the Redeemer born of their race, that mankind might receive Him when he came. He spoke to their fathers, fore told that in Abraham's seed all nations would be blessed ; called Moses from the burning bush; (Exod, iii) gave them his Jaw on Sinai; (Exod, xx) established their religious services in the tabernacle and Temple, and chose them from all the other races to be His own people.
The coming of the Redeemer had streamed down from the creation in all the primitive races, but only dimly. The Persians had Zoroaster's writings, the Bramins had their Sanscrit, the Chinese their Kings, the Egyptians the Book of the Dead, the Celts the Druid writings, the Northmen folk-lore, and the Arabs their traditions.
While these ancient writings and religious rites but dimly foretold the Redeemer, " desired of all the nations," the Hebrew books as ages pass reveal Him clearer and more distinct. Patriarchs tell of Him; Temple ceremonies typify Him; men tending flocks, Temple priest, king on his throne, and venerable seer and prophet come to the people with the story God gave them, about the Personage who will be born of a Virgin of their race, of David's family in Bethlehem—even the very year of his birth they gave, the very time before the kings of the tribe of Juda ceased to reign. Their writings collected in one book is called the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible.
He rises from every page of the sacred books; He is in the ceremonies of tabernacle and Temple; He is the hope of Israel down the ages ; their solace in suffering, the burden of prophet's story, the talk of family fireside, the glory of the race, the dream of peasant, sage, and king.