Thursday, 16 June 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 124.

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 procession went along the street straight up the hill, passed under two vaults or stone bridges with houses over them, as is still customary in Jerusalem. Then they came to the western walls of the city, which here ran to the south towards Sion. Near the gate was a stagnant pool of dirty water. Simon in order to avoid the pool gave the cross a twist, which caused the Saviour to fall down into the muddy water. His garments became still more soiled and he exclaimed: " Jerusalem, who killest the prophets, and stonest them to death; how often I would have gathered together thy children as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wing, and thou would not!" When the Jews and Pharisees heard these words they became very angry, and began to insult and beat him. Simon seeing this shouted: " If you continue this brutal treatment, I will carry the cross no farther even if you kill me for it" Then they stopped beating him.

After passing the gate also called the Judgment Gate or of Ephraim, the road led through the fields by a crooked way towards the southwest. This road, which like all the roads of Judea was only a path, divided into three branches—one to the southwest towards Bethlehem, leading down through the valley of Hinnom, another to the west towards Emmaus and Joppa, and the third wound round Calvary. At the side of this road, the officers had placed a notice reading that three prisoners had been condemned to death. Near this spot a group of women had met some young women from Bethlehem, and told them the news, and they were all weeping as the great procession filed out the city gate.

When the guards with the Lord in their midst came to where the women stood, the latter began to weep and lament his fate according to the Jewish custom, and they presented their veils to him to wipe his face. This sad scene was foretold by the prophet who in his own person suffered to foretell our Lord. " My eye hath wasted my soul because of all the daughters of my city. My enemies have chased me and caught me like a bird without cause. My life has fallen into a pit, and they have laid a stone over me. Waters have flowed over my head. I said I am cut off." (Lament, iii. 51-54.)

"But Jesus turning to them said: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days shall come wherein they shall say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they say to the mountains: Fall upon us, and to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry " (Luke xxiii. 28-33.) He was speaking to women and young girls who lived to see the city surrounded by the Roman army under Titus, thirty-six years later, when starvation, thirst, and all the horrors of the siege fell on them, as given by Josephus. There is not in history a calamity such as that. Even some of these very girls perhaps killed and ate their own children.

The crime of the Jewish people committed that day, in rejecting their Messiah and putting him to such a death, was followed by their destruction as a nation and the scattering of Israel into all the countries of the earth. We find the same in our everyday life. The member of a parish rising up against his priest will sooner or later feel the calamity, the punishment of God falling on him, for rebelling against that supernatural power placed by God's providence over him. We have seen it many a time, and people have remarked it. There seems to be no exception. It always comes as a violent death, the loss of property, or a family affliction. But more often it is the loss of faith, absence from Sunday worship, and death without the benefits of religion. It is on a small scale what fell on the Jews.

The procession had stopped for a moment while the Lord was talking to the girls. The executioners had set off towards Calvary, carrying with them the ropes, nails and other instruments for the execution. Pilate, surrounded by his guard of officers, had accompanied the procession as far as this, for he feared lest there might be an attempt at rescue in the city, and he now returned to the palace. Again the great concourse of people with the prisoners moved on. The vast crowd spread out among the open fields, shouting, running, calling, as is customary with Oriental people.

When they started again, the Victim was so weak he could hardly walk, and he found great difficulty in pass-along the narrow stony path. When he reached the spot where the path turns to the south, he stumbled on the rough stones and fell on his face. The guards fell on him, kicking and striking him to make him rise. The treatment was so brutal that Simon carrying the cross again protested.