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§ 292. Christ’s Exclamation: Psalm xxii.His Last Words.

What Divine confidence did Christ’s words to the malefactor display, even in the midst of his sufferings! But he partook of all purely human feelings, and was therefore subject to the alternations which the outward circumstances tended to produce. The first struggles of death may call forth in man the sense of personal sin; but He, the perfectly Holy, could have no such sense. All that he could feel (and that he did feel) was a consciousness that his sufferings were the result of the sins of men, and a deep sympathy with the sufferings brought upon mankind by sin. Under these pangs of soul and body he sees before him the Holy One, persecuted, mocked, proved in the bitterest sufferings, yet steadfastly trusting in God, as described in the twenty-second Psalm: and the idea, as delineated by the inspired Psalmist, was realized—not only in itself, but in the minutest traits of its delineation also—in Him, who stood among men as the only Holy One, not only exhibiting the ideal of holiness in conflict and suffering, but triumphing through them.

At the acme of his pangs he cries aloud, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The form of the words, “my God,” implies the consciousness, in his inmost soul, of inseparable union with God. The words must also be taken as the expression of a single subordinate moment, in connexion with the whole state of soul expressed in the Psalm.

An enigma, indeed, must this exclamation appear to all who isolate it from its connexion with the state of Christ’s soul up to the last expression of triumph, “It is finished!” an enigma, indeed, to those who forget that Christ suffered and died for mankind—for mankind laid up in his heart; an enigma to all, in a word, who are strangers to the Christian life. But the Christian sees, in this feature of his Master’s history, a type of the life of individual believers and of the whole Church; for both must be led through all stages of suffering, and even through moments of apparent abandonment by God, to perfection and glorification.

Parched with inward heat, the Saviour asks, for the last time, for a cooling drink. A sponge, filled with the acid drink used by the soldiers,789789   Posca. was placed to his lips. Dying, he commends his mother to the care of that beloved disciple who stood nearer to him than a brother. And then he litters the word of triumph, the greatest and the weightiest that has been uttered upon the earth: “It is finished!” and commends his soul, separating from his bodily being, to the Father in Heaven.

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