Saturday, 16 July 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 150.

The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken from prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920

The shades of the setting sun were fast lengthening as the mourners finished their sad duty to the dead. The Scriptures tell us that the way the Jews mourned their dead was by beating the breast, weeping, wearing sad-colored garments, songs of lamentation, funeral feasts, and hiring persons, especially women, to lament. These may be seen in many parts of the Old Testament, at the funerals of their great personages. The Mishna, prescribes seven days mourning for a father, mother, brother, sister or wife. Among pagans things were carried to excess. Herodotus says Egyptian women covered their heads with mud, paraded the streets beating themselves, while the men made a great outcry. Arab women tear their hair, hands and faces, and scream. When influential men die in these countries in our age, great mourning is made at their funerals.

But all took place at the Lord's funeral with decorum. The women separated to one side, as was the custom of the Jews, and the men gathered on the other. Deep was their grief, fast fell their tears, as they looked on the stone door closed on the remains of him they so loved. And as thus in the gloaming they wept for him, they fulfilled the words of the prophet:

"And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced. And they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son. And they shall grieve over him as the manner is to grieve for the death of the first-born. In that day there shall be a great lamentation in Jerusalem, like the lamentation of Adadremmon in the plain of Mageddon. And the land shall mourn, families and families apart; the families of the house of David apart, and their women apart; The families of the house of Nathan apart, and their women apart; the families of the house of Levi apart, and their women apart; the families of Semei apart, and their women apart. All the rest of the families, families and families apart, and their women apart." (Zach. xii. 10-14.)

And the holy Mother, the chief mourner, with all her friends and the Apostles, gathered there to weep over their Beloved, fulfilling the words of the prophet: " Depart from me, I will weep bitterly, labor not to comfort me for the devastation of the daughter of my people. For it is a day of slaughter, arid of treading down, and of weeping to the Lord, the God of hosts, in the valley of the vision, searching the wall, and magnificent on the mountain." (Isaias xxii. 2, 5,)

The Jews mourned their dead for seven days, and they prayed nearly a year for the repose of their souls in the synagogues, and fasted for them. In their sorrows for their friends, they used to read, and sometimes sing the Lamentations of Jeremias, over the destruction of the sacred city, the scattering of Israel into Babylonia, and attribute the holy words to the loss the family had sustained.

And as the Apostles, and the band of Jesus' lovers gathered in tears around the tomb, Mary the Mother of the Lord, who had long years studied when a little girl in the Temple, brought forth the roll of the Prophet Jeremias' Lamentations, and for the first time she sang that mournful Tenebræ in which ever since the widowed Church for three days of Holy Week laments the death of her Spouse. Sadly the Virgin's voice rose in sorrow, and the others joined her in the prophetic words foretelling her Son's death her own grief the destruction of the city and the scattering of Israel into all the lands of earth.