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§ 289. Jesus led to Calvary.—Simon of Cyrene.—The Words of Christ to the Weeping Women.

As was usual with condemned criminals, Jesus himself carried the instrument of death to the place of execution. But his severe struggles and sufferings, both of body and mind, had so exhausted his strength that he sunk under the burden. Even the rude soldiers, who had so lately mocked him, were filled with compassion, and compelled a Jew, whom they met on the way, Simon of Cyrene, to take his cross and bear it to the place of death.779779   This account, given in the first three Gospels, carries the proof of its veracity in itself It is nothing strange that Roman soldiers, in the public service, could do, unresisted, so high-handed an act (cf. Hug’s instructive remarks on the narrative of Christ’s passion, Zeitschrift für d. Geistl. d. Erzbisthums Freiburg, 1831, v., s. 12). Mark, whose account bears evidence in this, as in several other places, of peculiar sources of information, oral or written, mentions (xv., 21) that this Simon was the father of two men well known in the first Christian congregations. Notwithstanding all that Strauss says to the contrary, John’s statement, that Jesus was led bearing his own cross, is not at variance with that given by the other sources, viz., that he was afterward relieved of the load on account of his exhaustion. John passes lightly over some things in the narrative of Christ’s passion, and gives prominence to others not mentioned by the other Evangelists; there is, therefore, no ground of surprise in his omission of this particular incident. If it be supposed that the Apostle John did not write this Gospel, can it be imagined that its author knew nothing of this account (for a doctrinal motive to intentional silence is out of the question)? In what corner must he have written, to remain ignorant of an incident so closely interwoven with the traditional accounts of the passion? And how could a document issuing from such a corer be passed off as the production of John, the Apostle.

Amid all his sufferings he was moved with compassion for the 418blinded people, over whose heads he saw impending the judgments of God, called down by their long-accumulated guilt, of which he had so often warned them. Seeing the women of Jerusalem in tears,780780   Luke, xxiii., 27-31. he said to them, “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” Then, after predicting the woes of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, he said, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?781781   “If the Holy One, entering among sinful men, is so entreated, what must happen to those whose sufferings will be the just penalty of their own accumulated guilt?”

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