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Sufpicion of taking down the Body, a Guard of Soldiers was fet to watch it, left any out of Kindnefs or Pity fhould carry it away and bury it. And therefore it may be fitly enough ask'd how our Saviour came to obtain this Privilege? In anfwer to which,

This Favour was obtain'd partly upon the Interceffion of a great Man in the Country, who begg'd his Body, and partly upon the Requeft of the Jews, by whofe Suit and Importunity he was fentenc'd to undergo this Punishment: and both fo order'd by Divine Providence, for fulfilling the Prophecies concerning him.

Tho the Law of the Romans, for the greater Shame and Terror of Crucifixion, requir'd the expofing the Body till it was either devour'd or confum'd; yet that Law was not fo ftrict as to admit of no Relaxation, for the Roman Governours had power to mitigate it, and to grant the leave of Burial. Accordingly therefore we read, That Jofeph of Arimathea, a rich Man and honourable, and confequently of no mean Intereft in his Country, came and befought Pilate that he might take away the Body of Jefus. Pilate was not backward in granting this Requeft, but commanded the Body to be deliver'd; and indeed, he who fo oft declar'd, that be found no fault in him when alive, could not well deny this Favour being dead: and having obtain'd this leave, he took his facred Body from the curfed Tree in order to his Interment. 'Tis faid indeed, that this honourable Counsellor came fecretly, for fear of the Jews; doubting left they, who call'd fo loudly for his Crucifying, fhould proceed farther to prevent his Interment: but it prov'd quite otherwife, for the Jews join'd in the Requeft, and they who clamour'd for his Death, petition'd for his Burial. That which mov'd them hereunto, was the general Custom of the Jews to bury thofe that were fentenc'd to die, and the fame day too that they fuffer'd; which Cuftom was grounded on a Law of Mofes, requiring, that if a Man have committed a Sin worthy of Death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a Tree, his Body Shall not remain all night upon the Tree, but thou shalt in any wife bury him that day; Deut. 21. 22, 23. This made the Jews, that his Body might not remain on the Cross the next Day, which was their Sabbath-Day, beseech Pilate that it might be taken away and bury'd: as we read, John 19. 31. The Verfe before our Text tells us, that Nicodemus a Ruler of the Jews, who at the first came to Fefus by night, now came more openly, and brought a Mix


Part II. ture of Myrrh and Aloes, a hundred Pound weight, to embalm him.

This Cuftom of embalming dead Bodies hath been very antient: the Egyptians took more than ordinary Care about it, for we read that they embalm'd their Dead in the most curious and coftly manner imaginable; which fome think proceeded from their Hopes of a Resurrection; others afcribe it to an Opinion, that the Soul does not chufe a new Body till the former be corrupted; and therefore to preferve its former Habitation, they us'd the most exquifite and expenfive Art to keep it from Corruption, by which means we read of Bodies, thus preferv'd many hundred Years: yea, we are told of fome embalm'd near three thousand Years ago, which are found intire at this day. This Custom we find in our Saviour's days, who commended the Woman, having an Alabafter Box of Ointment very precious, for breaking it and pouring it on his Head; faying, he did this beforehand to anoint his Body to the Burying; Mark 14. 3, 8. And both Mary Magdalen and the other Mary bought Spices, that they might come and anoint him; Mark 16. 1.

But, befide the Spices, our Text tells us, that his Body was wrapped up in Linen Clothes: this was likewise the antient Custom of arraying the Dead, as appear by Lazarus, who came forth bound Hand and Feet, with the GraveClothes, and his Face bound about with a Napkin : John 11. 44. In like manner, St. Peter, looking into the Sepulchre of our Saviour, faw the linen Clothes lie, and the Napkin that was about his Head; John 20.6, 7.

Thus having, according to the Cuftom of the Jews, prepar'd his Body for the Sepulchre, Jofeph of Arimathea, a good Man and a just, who also waited for the Kingdom of God, prepar'd a Sepulchre for his Body, and fuch a one too wherein never Man laid; for he bew'd it out of a Rock for his own Tomb! where having decently laid up the Body of our Lord, he roll'd a great Stone at the door of the Sepulchre, and departed. Thus was our bleffed Saviour honourably entomb'd, and his Body inter'd with all the folemn Rites of Burial.

All which was fo order'd by Divine Providence, for the fulfilling the Prophecies concerning him.

He was numbred among Tranfgreffors, by his living and dying with them: After which, according to the Prophecy of Ifaiah, he made his Grave with the wicked, by being bury'd after the manner of finful Flesh; and likewife with the

Rich in his Death, being entomb'd in a large hollow Vault, prepar'd for the Burying place of a great and rich Counsellor, where, according to the Prediction of the Pfalmift, his Flefb did reft in Hope of a glorious Refurrection, which in the fpace of three Days, before the Body began to putrify, came to pafs: thereby verifying the following words, Thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell, nor fuffer thy Holy One to fee Corruption. By which the Prophecies concerning him were fully and compleatly accomplish'd.

Thus we have brought the Son of God to his Grave, in which he was laid by a Counsellor and Ruler of the Jews, the whole Action being perform'd as the manner of the Jews is to bury; where we must leave him, with a Band of Soldiers watching the Sepulchre, and fee what we may learn from his Burial. And,

1. Chrift's Burial may fully confirm us in the Truth of his Death, and the Verity of his Refurrection; for Men are not wont to bury any but those that are dead, nor are any faid to rife again that were never bury'd. Pilate was very inquifitive of thofe who requested the Body of Jefus, how long be had been dead; and was fully fatisfy'd of his Death, before he confented to the Delivery of him to be buried: And we too may be as thorowly convinc'd that he was a dead Man, when he was thus publickly and folemnly laid in his Grave by thofe that effected it; and as firmly believe his Refurrection, when he was after found alive by those that expected it.

2. Chrift's Burial fhould teach us a Conformity to it by being dead and buried unto Sin, and his rifing again should make us walk in Newnefs of Life. There is a myftical Meaning and Defign in all the great Tranfactions, both of our Saviour's Life and Death; and we are to learn many great and weighty Leffons from both. The Apoftle minds us, That we are buried with him in Baptifm, that the Body of Sin might be deftroy'd; and elsewhere, that we are bury'd with him unto Death, that henceforth we should die unto Sin, and live unto him who dy'd for us. By this we shall make a right ufe of the Death of our Saviour, and our Sorrow for Sin is our beft Mourning at his Funeral.

Laftly, From our Saviour's Burial, and the Solemnities us'd about it, we may learn the decent Care that is to be taken of our dead Bodies, and the due Honour and Respect that is to be paid to them. This is no more than what hath been obferv'd in all Times and Nations, who have ever paid


Part II fome Refpects to the Remains of the Dead, and laid them up fafe in the Repofitories of the Grave; and to be depriv'd of it, hath been ever reckon'd one of the greatest Punishments that could be inflicted on the worst of Malefactors. But this decent and laudable Practice is fo well obferv'd among us to this day, that little elfe needs to be fpoken to it; but only to admonish fome upstart Sectaries lately rifen up amongst us, whofe want of Understanding is the fole Caufe of that great Neglect, and the little Regard they fhew in this matter.


ACTS ii. 27.

Thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell.


E are yet upon the Fourth Article of the Creed, which contains the feveral Steps and Degrees of our Saviour's Paffion.

In the Expofition whereof, having feen our Bleffed Saviour crucified, dead, and buried; I proceed to the last and lowest step of his Humiliation, contain'd in these words, He defcended into Hell.

The Belief of this Branch of the Article is grounded on thefe words of Holy Scripture, Thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell. They are part of St. Peter's excellent and fuccefsful Sermon to the Jews, wherein he minds them of their great Cruelty in crucifying and putting to death the Lord of Life; which had that good effect upon them, that many hundreds of them were prick'd at the Heart with the Senfe and Remorfe of their Sin, and ask'd what they should do to be fav'd from the Guilt of it?

In this Sermon, after fome short account of what David foretold of the Death and Burial of the Meffias, St. Peter brings him in saying, in the Perfon of our Saviour, Thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell. Which words, by reafon of the Ambiguity of the word Sheol in Hebrew, and Hades in Greek, both which are in English tranflated Hell, have fomewhat a difficult and obfcure fignification: and therefore, in explaining of them, I must,

First, Shew the most probable Senfe and Meaning of this Article. And,

Secondly, See what Use we are to make of it. For the

First, Divers Senfes have been given of Chrift's defcending into Hell; the principal whereof, I fhall discover and examine, that we may the better come to the knowledge of the Truth in this matter. And,

1. Some, because the Extremity of Pain is in Scripture fometimes exprefs'd by Hell, as in that of the Pfalmift, The Pains of Hell got hold upon me, have thought this Expreffion to refer to thofe grievous and almoft infufferable Pains which Chrift indur'd in his Soul in the Garden, when in his Agony he fweat great drops of Blood, and groaning under the horror of the Dereliction, he cry'd out in the anguifh and bitterness of his Soul, My God, my God, why haft thou forsaken me! Which Pains being attended with fome kind of Defpair, and confequently of the fame nature with the Torments of the Damn'd, are compar'd to, and exprefs'd by Hell.

But thefe being antecedent to his Crucifixion, and going before both his Death and Burial, cannot be his defcending into Hell; which, both in Holy Scripture, and the Creed, plainly relate to fomething that came after and follow'd both.

2. Therefore others, because the word Sheol, here tranflated Hell, is in Scripture frequently us'd to fignify no more than the Grave; as in that of Facob, I will go down mourning to my Son in Hell; that is, in the Grave; Gen. 37. 35. and again, Ye hall bring down my grey Hairs with forrow to the Grave, the fame word which is here render'd Hell, Gen. 42. 38. I fay others, for this reafon, have thought his defcending into Hell to be no more than his going into the Grave, or the lower parts of the Earth.

But this importing no more than his being buried, which is mention'd before, it cannot reafonably be conceiv'd, that in this fhort Summary of the Chriftian Faith, the fame thing fhould be repeated again in a different Phrafe, if no more were intended by it.

But that which gives fome feeming credit to this Opinion, is, that in fome Creeds, where his Burial is mention'd, his Defcent into Hell is left out; and in others, where his Defcent into Hell is mention'd, his Burial is omitted: of

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