Amazing articles on just about every subject...


Life Of Jesus - The Burial

( Originally Published 1913 )



IN the last chapter, we left our blessed Lord hanging dead upon the cross. Deep darkness was spread over the land, as if to hide from view the awful wickedness which men were committing.

We have now to consider what became of the dead Saviour after this. When death enters our homes and lays his icy hand on some one whom we love, we know that the next thing to follow is the funeral. We have to make preparation, as Abraham said on the death of Sarah, his wife, to "bury our dead out of mir sight." Gen. xxiii : 4. And so, after the crucifixion, or death of our Saviour, the next thing for us to consider is—his burial. We have an account of this burial in each of the four gospels. We can read all that is said about it in the following places : -St. Matt. xxvii : 56-66 ; St. Mark xv : 42-47; St. Luke xxiii : 50-56, and St. John xix : 38-42.

The history of the burial of Christ, given in these different places, briefly stated, is, that as soon as he was dead, and while he was yet hanging on the cross, two men came forward and took charge of his burial. One of these is called " Joseph of Arimathea." We know nothing about him before this. His name was never mentioned before, and after this it is never mentioned again in the Scriptures. What we are told about him is, that he was a rich man—an honorable counsellor, or a member of the Jewish Sanhedrim: he was a just and good man —a disciple of Jesus—but had kept his thoughts and feelings on this subject to himself, because he was afraid of the Jews. And with him came Nicodemus—of whom we read in the third chapter of St. John—who came to Jesus by night to have a talk with him on the subject of religion. He was also a member of the Jewish Sanhedrim, and "a ruler of the Jews." Joseph went boldly in before Pilate, and asked permission from him to take the body of Jesus down from the cross and have it buried. This was in the afternoon of the same day on which the crucifixion had taken place. Pilate was surprised to think that Jesus could have died so soon. Death by crucifixion, although very painful, was still a lingering death. It is said that cases have been known of persons who have hung upon the cross for two or three days before death put an end to their sufferings. We do not wonder, therefore, that Pilate should have felt surprised, when he heard that Jesus, who was crucified about twelve o'clock, should have been dead about three o'clock the same afternoon. He sent for the centurion, who had charge of the crucifixion, and asked if it was true that Jesus was already dead. The centurion had carefully examined the body, and told Pilate that he was really dead.

Then Pilate gave Joseph and Nicodemus permission to take down the body and bury it. Immediately they went back to Calvary and took the body of Jesus down from the cross. They could hardly do it by themselves, and they had, no doubt, engaged some other persons to help them. We are not told how the body was taken down. In the art gallery, at Antwerp in Belgium, there is a famous painting of this scene, by Rubens the celebrated Flemish artist. It is called—"The Descent from the Cross." Here, Joseph and Nicodemus are represented as having set up ladders against the cross. They have climbed up the ladder, and have drawn out the nails, and then we see them carefully handing down the dead body of our blessed Lord. This would be one way of taking the body down.

Another way would be to lift the cross up from the place in the earth, where it was fastened, and lay it carefully down on the ground, with the body of Jesus still nailed to it. It would be much easier to get the nails out, with the cross in this position, than while it was standing upright. But we are not told how it was done, and so we are at liberty to think of either of these ways as the one that was adopted. And now, the mangled body of the dead Saviour is removed from the cross. Then, it is reverently wrapped in the linen which Joseph had brought with him for this purpose. Nicodemus had brought a hundred pounds weight of spices, myrrh and aloes. These were probably in the form of powder. It was the custom of the Jews to use these spices in the burial of the dead, because they have the power of preventing decay from taking place immediately.

In a warm country like Palestine, decay begins very soon after death. And in a body that had been torn and mangled, as was the case with the body of Jesus, it would take place still sooner. And so the use of the spices was necessary.

No doubt the wounds made by the nails in the hands and feet of our Saviour, and the gash of the spear in his blessed side, were gently filled with those powdered spices. And then the spices were put freely in between the folds of the linen that were wrapped about his dead cold limbs. The Jews did not use coffins. Their dead were only wrapped in grave-clothes, as was the case with Lazarus, and here with our Lord.

And now the preparations are made. The body is ready for the burial. And the grave is ready for the body. Near to Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden. And in that garden was a new tomb, in which no dead body had ever lain. This tomb was dug out from the solid rock. The rocks around Jerusalem are filled with such tombs. They are not generally dug down below the surface of the ground, as we make our graves, but into the side of the rock, and on a level with the ground. This tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. It had, no doubt, been made for himself and family. How little he thought when he had that new tomb made, that Jesus, the Son of God, and the Redeemer of the world, would be the first one to occupy it! What an honor and privilege Joseph had in being permitted to furnish the tomb in which the dead body of the Lord of life was to rest till the morning of the resurrection !

And now, the funeral procession is formed. Joseph and Nicodemus, and their helpers, take reverently hold of the body of Jesus, and bear it quietly and solemnly away to the open tomb in yonder garden. No doubt the good women, who lingered round the cross, joined in the procession, and followed the body of their Lord to the place where it was to lie. They reach the tomb. On the rocky floor of that tomb, the lifeless body of Jesus is gently laid. They linger in silence around it. They gaze at it with loving wonder and amazement. Then they go out. A great stone is rolled against the mouth of the tomb. And now, all that loving hearts can suggest, or willing hands can do for the buried one has been done. They pause awhile to meditate on that silent tomb, and then slowly retire to their homes; to prepare for the Jewish Sabbath, which began at six o'clock on Friday evening.

But there is one other thing to notice in connection with this burial. The priests had heard Jesus speak of rising from the dead on the third day. They went to Pilate and told him of this. They said they were afraid that his disciples might come by night and steal away his body, and then declare that he had risen from the dead. They asked him, there-fore, to allow them to seal the stone over the mouth of the grave with his seal, and to have a guard of Roman soldiers appointed to keep watch over the tomb till the third day was passed. Pilate gave them leave to do this. And we read, "so they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch." St. Matt. xxvii : 66.

Such is the history of the burial of our Saviour. And as we stand in thought before the silent tomb in which the body of Jesus is lying, we may well say, in the words of one of our hymns for Easter even :

"All is o'er, the pain, the sorrow,
Human taunts, and Satan's spite;
Death shall be despoiled to-morrow
Of the prey he grasps to-night,
Yet once more, his own to save,
Christ must sleep within the grave.

"Fierce and deadly was the anguish
On the bitter cross he bore;
How did soul and body languish,
Till the toil of death was o'er!
But that toil, so fierce and dread,
Bruised and crushed the serpent's head.

"Close and still the tomb that holds him,
While in brief repose he lies;
Deep the slumber that enfolds him,
Veiled awhile from mortal eyes;
Slumber such as needs must be
After hard won victory.

"Near this tomb, with voice of sadness,
Chant the anthem sweet and low;
Loftier strains of praise and gladness
From tomorrow's harps shall flow;
Death and hell at length are slain,
Christ hath triumphed, Christ doth reign."

This is the history of the burial of Christ. And now we may speak of four lessons taught us by this history.

The first lesson taught us is about—THE CERTAINTY OF HIS DEATH.

Sometimes the enemies of our religion havé ventured to say that Jesus did not really die, but that he only fainted, or swooned, or appeared to die. But it is of the highest importance for us to know that Jesus did really die. When we are saying or singing that grand old anthem—the TE DEUM, we look up to Jesus and say, "When thou had'st overcome the sharpness of death, thou did'st open the kingdom of heaven to all believers." By Christ's overcoming the sharpness of death is meant his resurrection from the dead. But, if his resurrection was a real resurrection, then the death from which he rose, must have been a real death. We cannot come out of a state, or place, if we have never been in it. It is impossible that you, or I, for example, should go out of this church, unless we were first in it. And when we know that none of us could enter heaven, unless Jesus had really died for us, we see how important it is for us to be sure of the certainty of his death.

Now there was one thing connected with the burial of Christ which proves that he was really dead, and that was the drawing out of the nails from his hands and feet. When a great, rough nail or spike has been driven into a piece of solid wood, we know how hard it is to draw it out. There were two such spikes driven through the palms of the hands of Jesus, and two through his feet. In trying to draw these out, I suppose they must have made use of a large pair of pincers, or of a hammer with a claw on one side of it. As they came to those nails, one by one, they would have to get the nippers of the pincers or the claw of the hammer under the head of the nail. Then they would have to press down hard on the bruised and torn part of the hands and feet of our Saviour. Now this must have been so very painful that if he had only fainted on the cross this dreadful operation, as they went through with it four times, would certainly have brought him out from his fainting fit. But it did not. It had not the slightest effect upon him. There was no more feeling in his hands or feet than there was in the wood of the cross to which he was nailed. And this proves that he was really dead.

But then there was another thing that took place at the crucifixion of Jesus which also proves the certainty of his death. We read in St. John xix : 34—" But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." If Jesus had not been dead before this took place, that cruel spear, thrust into his heart, would certainly have killed him. If Jesus had been alive when the soldier did this, not blood and water, but only blood, would have flowed out from the wound which the spear made. And learned physicians who have examined this matter tell us that two things are clearly proved by this flowing out of blood and water from the wound which the soldier's spear had made in our Saviour's side. One of these is, that he was already dead. The soldier's spear did not kill him, but it proved that he was dead before the wound was made.

And then the other thing which it proved was that Jesus had died of a broken heart. In Dr. Hanna's "Life of Christ," Vol. III. pp. 369- 379, may be found letters from several eminent Scottish physicians, showing that nothing but a broken heart could account for the flowing out of "blood and water" from the wound in our Saviour's side. It was not being nailed to the cross that killed our blessed Lord. Neither was it the wound made by the spear. No, but it was the great sorrow he had felt in being made to bear our sins, that had really broken his heart.

The sixty-ninth Psalm is one of the passages in the Old Testament that refers to Christ. It is he who is speaking there. And in the twentieth verse of that Psalm, we find him saying of himself, "Reproach path broken my heart." And so when we think of "the blood and water" that flowed out from his wounded side, and of the drawing out of those nails from his hands and feet, we may feel perfectly sure about the certainty of the death of Christ.

The next lesson that we learn from the burial of Christ is about—THE FULFILLMENT OF HIS WORD.

The prophet Isaiah had spoken about the death and burial of our Saviour seven hundred years before he was born into our world. In the ninth verse of the fifty-third chapter of his prophecy, where he is speaking of Jesus he says. "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death." This means that it was arranged, or intended, that he should be buried with the wicked, and yet it would so happen .that he would be with the rich in his death. We can easily see how it was to be expected that Jesus would be buried with the wicked, because he died with them. He was crucified between two thieves. These thieves were buried "with the wicked," or in the place where common criminals were generally buried. And as Jesus had died with them, so it was to be expected that he would have been buried with them. And this is what would have happened if God had not ordered it otherwise. The disciples of Jesus had all forsaken him. And even if they had not done so, none of them were rich. Pilate would not have given them leave to take charge of the body of their dead Master. And if they had had it, they could not have procured a rich man's grave in which to bury it. It seemed impossible, therefore, that what Isaiah had spoken should come to pass. But that was the word of God. It was written in the scripture that Jesus was to be "with the rich in his death." And "the scriptures cannot be broken." God's word must be fulfilled. And so, just when Jesus was dying, Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus, made his appearance. He was a rich man. He had a sepulchre near at hand. He asked Pilate to let him have the body of Jesus, for the purpose of burying it. Pilate gave it to him. He buried it in his new tomb. And so the words of Isaiah were fulfilled to the very letter; although it seemed impossible before that such should have been the case. Jesus died with the wicked, and yet was buried with the rich. And here we see how wonderfully God's word was fulfilled.

And we meet with instances, continually, to show that God is still fulfilling his word in ways that are equally wonderful.

"Try It." A Christian woman, rich in faith, but poor in this world's goods, was greatly perplexed about the meaning of the words, "Give, and it shall be given unto you." She said to herself : "the best way to find out the meaning of such a promise, is to try it. I'll, try it."

It was Saturday night. After buying what her children would need for Sunday, she had just two dollars left. Putting this money in her pocket, she went out. She had not gone far when a friend met her, who was in great distress, and asked the loan of two dollars. She gave the money to her friend, and resolved she would wait and see how God would fulfill his word.

Monday morning came. She had nothing with which to buy food for her family. While wondering what she should do, there came a knock at the door. On opening it a lady came in with a bundle in her hand. "Can you do some work for me?" she asked. "Certainly." "What will you charge ? " The price was named. The lady put two dollars in her hand, saying, "This is more than you ask, but you may as well have it."

The good woman shouted for joy. She had tried God's promise, and had found out how wonderfully he fulfills his word.

"The Bullfinch." Andrew Austin lived in Scotland. He was a tailor by trade, a, good, honest, Christian man, but very poor. At the time to which this story refers, he was in great trouble. Sickness in his family had used up all his money. The rent of his cottage was due, and he had nothing to pay it with. "What shall I do ? " he said to himself, in great distress. He took down his Bible, and opened it at the book of Psalms. His eye rested on the fourth verse of the seventy-second Psalm-"For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth. " He kneeled down and told God of his trouble, and asked him to fulfill that promise in his present distress. As he rose from his knees his heart was comforted, and he felt sure that God would fulfill his word and send, in some way, the help that was needed.

He resolved to go and see his landlord, and ask him to allow him a week's time in which to pay the rent.

Just as he opened the door to go out, a little bird flew past him, perched upon the mantle-shelf, and hopped about, chirping merrily. Andrew closed the door, and watched the movements of the little fellow with great interest. He saw that it was a bullfinch, a piping bullfinch. This is a bird something like a sparrow, with a round head and short thick bill. Bullfinches are great singers. They can learn tunes, and carry them all through nicely. While Andrew was watching the bird, it hopped on to the Bible which he had just been reading, and lifting up its little head began to sing the tune of "Old Hundred." Of course the bird only had the music without the words. But Andrew joined him, and put in the words:

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

When he got through singing this verse, the old man felt perfectly happy. Leaving the little stranger in his room, he went to see the land-lord; and as he walked along he was repeating to himself the words of the twenty-third Psalm -"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

He found the landlord very pleasant. He readily gave him the additional time he wanted to make up his rent. As he was going home feeling very bright and cheerful, he was singing to a simple tune these words which just suited his circumstances :

"The birds, without barn or storehouse, are fed; From them let us learn to trust for our bread;

His saints, what is fitting, shall ne'er be denied,

So long as 'tis written, 'The Lord will provide.'"

As he went on, he was spoken to by a servant in livery, whom he recognized at once as the footman of Lady Armistead, a rich and pious old lady, who lived at Basford Hall, about three miles from the village where he resided.

"You seem to be in good spirits, Andrew," said the servant, who was an old acquaintance. "You sing so well, one would think you had swallowed Lady Armistead's bullfinch. It's been missing these two days. I'm going home now, for it's no use seeking any more. Her ladyship takes on dreadfully about the bird, for it was a great favorite, and a regular tip-topper at singing.

Then Andrew asked him to go home with him, and said he should find his bird again. As they walked along towards the cottage, Andrew told his friend the story of his troubles; how he had prayed; what God had said to him out of his Book; and how the bullfinch came and cheered his heart; how he had been to the landlord's, and had got another week to turn round in; "and look you here John Morris, my rent'll be ready when it's wanted, as sure as my name's Andrew ; for that bird was sent from my heavenly father, and brought me His message on its wings, `for his mercy endureth for ever.' "

So John got the bullfinch and took it home to his mistress. When she heard about it, Lady Armistead sent for the tailor. His simple story moved her to tears. She thought more of her bullfinch than ever, since God had made him a messenger of mercy to one of his suffering children. She gave the tailor money enough to pay his rent, and told him that he should have work from Basford Hall as long as he lived. "God bless your ladyship," said Andrew, with a grateful heart. Just then the bullfinch struck up its favorite tune, and Andrew joined in the song.

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

Lady Armistead smiled with sympathy, and Andrew added—" Yes, yes : Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth forever."

Now, however long old Andrew might have lived after that, I think he would never read over that verse in the seventy-second Psalm —"He shall deliver the needy when he crieth," without remembering the lesson we are here taught by the burial of Christ—and that is, how wonderfully he fulfills his word.

The next lesson we learn from the burial of Christ is about-THE WORKING OF HIS PROVIDENCE.

Suppose we are looking at a great clock. Its wheels are moving slowly on. We listen, and hear it going—tick-tick-tick. The hands on the dial plate are getting near to twelve o'clock; and the very moment the minute hand comes over the figure 12, the hammer in the clock starts up, and begins to pound on the bell, and the clock strikes twelve. The maker of that clock arranged every part of its machinery in such a way that it would be sure to keep time and strike the hours as they came.

And the providence of God is just like such a clock. He is the maker of it. And he not only made the wheels of its machinery in the beginning, but he manages them all the time. He has his hand on every part of it. " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son " to die for us. He was willing to have him crucified with wicked men. But he wished to have him buried with rich men. And seven hundred years before Jesus was born into our world he had said that it should be so. And when the time for Christ's burial came, the clock of his providence struck, just as he said it should do. Joseph of Arimathea was one of the wheels in this clock; and when the right time came, there he was—ready to bury the dead Saviour in his own new tomb. And thus, in the wonderful working of God's providence, it came to pass that Jesus was—" with the rich in his death." And as we think of ourselves, as standing by the tomb in which Jesus was buried, and seeing how strangely the prophecy about his burial was fulfilled, we cannot help wondering at the working of God's providence. It is true indeed, as the hymn says—that

"God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform :

He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm."

And it is just the same now as it was then. Here are some examples of the working of this providence.

"The Raven of Winslade Quarry." Winslade is a small town in England, famous for its stone quarries. Some years ago an incident occurred there which strikingly illustrates this part of our subject. The men were at work in the lower part of the quarry. Directly above was a great mass of overhanging rocks. Dinner time came; but just as they were getting ready for it, a raven flew down, picked up the little parcel which contained one of the miners' dinner and flew away with it. The man of course did not want to lose his dinner, so he ran after the bird, thinking that she would soon have to stop, and lay down her heavy burden, and then he would get his dinner again.

His companions wished to see the fun and they joined in the chase. The bird was stronger than they thought and led them a long way off before she alighted. But, at last she flew down the side of a steep and dangerous precipice and laid her bundle on a projecting rock. She seemed to feel that she was safe there, and so she was, for no one was willing to risk his life by attempting to go down that perilous place. Then the men gave up the chase, and went back to the quarry. On reaching the spot they found to their surprise that a great mass of rock had fallen down just where they would have been eating their dinner. It would have crushed them to death if the raven had not come and taken them away in time to save them. Thus God made use of that bird to save the lives of those men. Here we see the wonderful working of God's providence.

"Delivered by a Dog." A minister of the gospel, who had a country parish in New England, tells this story:

"A farmer belonging to my parish, and who was quite well off, died suddenly. Shortly after his death his widow, who was a good Christian woman, concluded to give up the farm and take a small house in the neighboring village. The farm was sold and then an auction was held to sell the things on the farm and in the house, except the furniture that would be needed for the little house in the village.

"I went to see her," said the minister on the day of the sale. "I told her I thought she had done wisely in concluding to give up the farm, for it was half a mile away from any other house, and she would be lonely and unprotected there."

"'Oh! no,' she said, 'not unprotected; far from it! You forget that I am now under the special charge of that God "who careth for the widow and the fatherless," and who, I am sure, will protect us.'

"And now, let me tell you how God did protect them. There was a good deal of money in the house that night from the sale which had taken place. The only persons in the house were the mother with her three young children and their maid servant.

"Some time after going to bed she heard a strange and unusual noise at the back of the house. Then she was startled by the barking of a dog, apparently in the room under her chamber. This alarmed her still more as they had no dog of their own.

"She arose and dressed herself hastily. She awoke her maid and they went down stairs. They first looked into the room where they heard the dog. There they saw a huge black dog, scratching and barking furiously at the door leading into the kitchen. She told her servant to open the door where the dog was scratching. The girl was brave, and opened the door without fear. In a moment the dog rushed out, and through the open door the widow saw two men at the kitchen window, which was also open. The men instantly turned to run, and the dog leaped through the window and ran after them. There was a fierce fight between them, but the men finally got away, though followed far off by the faithful dog.

"Mrs. M., and her maid fastened the window and doors, and concluded to sit up for the rest of the night, for, of course it would be impossible to sleep after what had taken place. They had hardly taken their seats before they heard their noble protector scratching at the outer door for admittance. They gladly let him in, and when he came up to them, wagging his great bushy tail, they patted and praised him for his goodness and courage. Then he stretched his huge form beside the warm stove, closed his eyes and went to sleep. The next morning they gave him a breakfast that any dog might have been glad to get. As soon as he had finished his breakfast, he went to the door, and stood impatiently whining till the door was opened, when off he ran in a great hurry, and they never saw him again.

"They had never seen the dog before, and knew not to whom it belonged. But the grateful widow felt sure that her Father in heaven had sent him for their protection that night. And her faith was stronger than ever at the mysterious working of his providence."

"Say not, my soul, From whence
Can God relieve my care?
Remember that omnipotence
Hath servants everywhere."

The last lesson taught us by the burial of Christ is-A LESSON OF COMFORT.

If Christ had not suffered, and died, and been buried for us, we should have no comfort when we come to die. The thought of having to lie down in the grave would have been terrible to us. But Jesus died and laid in the grave for us, on purpose that we might not be afraid to die.

It is true as the hymn says, that:

"The graves of all his saints he blest
When in the grave he lay."

David had learned this lesson, by faith in the promised Saviour, long before he came to earth, and it was this that enabled him to say, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Ps. 23:4.

And the apostle Paul had learned the same lesson, when he exclaimed so joyfully, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ? Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I. Cor. xv : 55, 57.

Good Dr. Muhlenberg put this lesson very sweetly into a single verse of his beautiful hymn, when he said:

"I would not live alway; no; welcome the tomb,
Since Jesus bath lain there I dread not its gloom.
There sweet be my rest, till he bid me arise,
To hail him in triumph descending the skies."

The sweet Scottish poet Bonar had learned this lesson well, and was feeling the comfort which the thought of Christ's burial gives when he could think of dying and lying in the grave, and speak about it in these words:

"I go to life and not to death ;
From darkness to life's native sky;
I go from sickness and from pain
To health and immortality.

" Let our farewell, then, be tearless,
Since I bid farewell to tears;
Write this day of my departure
Festive in your coming years.

"I go from poverty to wealth,
From rags to raiment angel-fair,
From the pale leanness of this flesh
To beauty such as saints shall wear.

"I go from chains to liberty,
These fetters will be broken soon;
Forth over Eden's fragrant fields
I'll walk beneath a glorious noon.

"For toil there comes the crowned rest;
Instead of burdens, eagles' wings;
And I, even I, this life-long thirst
Shall quench at everlasting springs."

We see the true effect of Christ's burial in the feeling of comfort which those who believe in him experience when they come to die. Here are some examples of what I mean.

When Dr. Watts was on his death-bed, he said, "I bless God that I can lie down at night without the slightest fear whether I wake in this world or another."

Another good minister, when asked how he felt at the approach of death, said,-" I am just going into eternity; but I bless God, I am neither ashamed to live, nor afraid to die."

During the reign of Henry VIII, of England, many good men were cruelly put to death for the sake of their religion. Among these was Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. When he came in sight of the scaffold on which he was to die, he took out of his pocket a Greek Testament, and looking up to heaven, said, "Now, O Lord, direct me to some passage which may comfort me in this trying hour." Then he opened the book, and his eye rested on this passage, "This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." He closed the book and said, "Praised be God! this is all I need. This is enough for life, or for death ; for time, or for eternity."

When the Rev. James Harvey came to his last sickness, his physician came in one day and told him he had but very little time to live.

"Then let me spend my last moments," said he, "in praising my blessed Saviour. Though my heart and my flesh fail, yet God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. St. Paul says : `All things are yours, whether life or death; things present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' Here is the treasure of a Christian, and a noble treasure it is. Death is ours. Jesus has made it our friend, by his death and burial. Praise God for this truth. And now welcome death ! How well thou mayest be welcomed among the treasures of the Christian. `For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain."'

The Rev. William Janeway was another excellent and faithful minister of Christ. In his closing sickness, these were among the last words that he spoke: "I bless God I can die in peace. I know what that means, `The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts.' It is keeping mine now. My joy is greater than I can express. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Now I can die. It is nothing. I long to die.. I desire to depart and be with Christ." And so he died.

These good men had studied well the subject of Christ's burial, and had learned the lesson of comfort it was intended to teach us. And when we think of the burial of Christ, let us remember the lessons of which we have now spoken in connection with it. These are the lessons about the certainty of his death:—the fulfillment of his word;—the working of his providence;—and the comfort we derive from his burial.

The collect for Easter-even, is a very appropriate one with which to close this subject:—"Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections, we may be buried with him; and that through the grave and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection, for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."



Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com