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 east side of Calvary was the stoniest and steepest, and they made him go up that side for it was the nearest. They pulled him with the cords fastened to the belt around his waist. During all this time he never uttered a word, nor did a groan escape him, fulfilling the words of the prophet: " Like a lamb he was led to the slaughter, and he opened not his mouth." (Isaias liii. 7.) He was the Priest and Victim offering himself to his eternal Father for the sins of mankind, freely suffering all this terrible treatment, as he said by the mouth of his prophet: " I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheek to them that plucked them, I have not turned my face away from them that rebuked me and spit upon me." (Isaias l. 6)
While Christ was being dragged up the eastern side of the little hill, the Pharisees and leading Jews went around to the western side, for that was not so steep. The Roman guard of about 100 men surround the hill lest there might be an attempt at rescue. When the procession arrived at the top of the hill, the two thieves were told to lie down on the ground, and both flung themselves down on their backs with the arms of their crosses, called the patibulum, still tied to their outstretched arms. Soldiers stood around with breastplates, shields, swords and spears, people who did not fear becoming defiled draw near out of curiosity, but were not allowed to enter within the circle formed by the soldiers.
When Simon brought up the cross, he threw it on the ground, went away and joined the disciples. The executioners turned to Jesus, and one of them said : " Most powerful king, we are about to prepare thy throne." They did not know that it was a throne of grace and glory from which the Victim was to rule the nations till the end of time.
The Lord then lay down on his back on the cross, while the executioners measured the places to bore the holes for the nails. When the measurements were made, they led him down the northern side of the hill, to a little cave where shepherds used to retire during storms, opened the door, pushed him in, closed it, placed a guard, and went back up the hill to complete their preparations for the crucifixion.
In the circular space on the very top of the hill they dug down through the scanty soil and into the rock a hole for the cross, and on each side two other holes for the crosses of the thieves, but these were a little lower than the one in the center. Then they fitted the foot of the cross in the hole, and got ready five wedges to drive into the hole around it. They fastened the cross-piece securely to the upright, nailed a piece at the bottom to support the feet, bored holes for the nails, cut out places for the head and back; all this was done so the weight of the body would not tear the wounds of the hands, and death ensue more quickly than they wished.
During this time great crowds surrounded the whole open space, covered the roofs of the neighboring houses, which were higher than Calvary, and lined the ^ walls to the south and east. The leading Pharisees, Scribes, Rabbis, and chief men of Israel drew near, gloating now over their victory, did not know that they were fulfilling the designs of God hidden from eternity, but revealed by prophet and seer of Jew and Gentile hundreds of years before it came to pass.
St. Augustine in his " City of God " quotes the prophecy of the Sibyl given by Lactantius as follows:
THE SIBYL'S PROPHECY.
"Into the hands of the wicked heathens he will after wards fall, and they shall strike God with their sinful hands, and from their nasty mouths they will spit on him with venomous spittle. But he will simply turn his holy back to their scourgings, and receiving the strokes he will keep silence lest any one should know him, as was foretold, or lest it might come to pass that hell might hear him. And he will be crowned with a crown of thorns, and for his food they gave him gall, and for his drink vinegar, and they shall show forth their inhospitable table. You foolish people, you did not understand that your God was playing with the minds of mortals. But you crowned him with thorns, and horrid gall you mixed for him. But the veil of the Temple will be torn asunder, and in the middle of the day deep dark night shall be for three hours. And with death he shall die, and for three days he will sleep. And then from the dead, first, he shall come forth into the light, and the benefits of the redemption shall be given to the redeemed." (St. Augustine, City of God, Book xviii., Chapt. xxiii.)