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Γάστρην μέν τρίποδος συρ άμφιτι, θέρμεσο δ' ύδωρ"
'IA. X. 343–353.
So saying, he bade his train surround with fire
Iliad XVIII. 420-433.
Were it not, then, for an early hypothesis, which has gained general reception, might it not be expected, that they, who, in the name of the Saviour, have received the sign of the washing of the body, Heb. x. 22, 23., when they are said to be, by that sign, buried with him, should be led to think of the first and universal rite of burial, that of washing, as the point of resemblance, rather than the last one, that of interment, in which there is no application of water at all, and which, in the case of the Saviour, was prevented by his resurrection ?
Again, when the honours of anointing and embalming were intended, a preparatory washing was always the first step of the process. This is expressly mentioned in all particular accounts of these operations ; and was obviously so essential to their very commencement, that where it is not mentioned, it is nevertheless to be understood.*
Further, our ordinary method of interment has probably been followed, at least among all believers of divine revelation, in all ages, except in the case of persons of wealth and distinction. For these, it was common among the Jews, as among ourselves, to build sepulchres. But among the Jews, the sepulchres appear from a very early period, to have been valued in proportion as they were elevated above the surface, and above the ordinary level of the ground. The hills, and the rocks, were the chosen situations, and the buildings were not constructed in subterraneous excavations, but reared as conspicuous and ornamental superstructures, for the reception of the dead. Thus,” says
Harmer,“ we find the burial-place for people of honour and distinction at Bethel, in the time the ten tribes made a separate kingdom, was in the mount there;t and the sepulchre of Shebna, a great man in the Jewish court, was in an elevated situation ;I · Get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say, what hast
• See Harmer's Observations, Vol. iii. Obs. XX. + 2 Kings xxiii. 16. compared with 1 Kings xiii. 2.
| Isa. xxii. 15–17.
thou here ? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock? Behold the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity."*
We close this part of the subject by remarking, that the rites of burial were, from their very commencement, a proof, that the attending friends had ascertained the fact of the decease; and that among all believers of revelation, the zeal and the solemnity, with which those rites have ever been performed, ought to be considered as the effect, not merely of personal attachment, but of religious principle, and par. ticularly of the hope that God will raise the dead.
Let us consider, 2dly, the manner in which Christ was buried. This inquiry is of peculiar importance, because the apostle's allusion is not to our burial, but to that of Christ. " We are buried with him," not in our burial, “ but in our baptism."
It is our happiness to know, that our blessed Saviour never was finally interred. “ He died, however, for our sins, according to the scriptures; and he was buried, and he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures." 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4. Preparations of his body for burial were made, both by anticipation, and after the event of his death had taken place. In both cases, they are called “ his burial.” By anticipation, he was twice anointed : six days before the passover, by Mary, on the feet, John xii. 1–8; and
# Vol. iii. Obs, xxvi. See also Matt. xxiii. 27-29.
three days before the passover, by a woman (not named but ever to be celebrated,) - who POURED DOWN the ointment on his head, as he reclined at table,” KATEXEEN EΠI' την κεφαλήν αυτού ανακειμένου. Of the latter, namely, pouring ointment on his HEAD, Jesus said, βαλούσα γαρ αύτη το μύρον τούτο επί του σώματός μου, προς το ενταφιάσαι με εποίησεν. « For in that she hath POURED (literally, “ cast," mittens, says the Vulgate, shall I say, popped ?) this ointment on my BODY, she did it for my burial."* Matt. xxvi, 1, 2, 7, 12, 13.+
After our Lord had given up the ghost, the rites of burial were renewed by Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, and were intended to have been finished by the women which came up with our Lord from Galilee, and who are said to have ministered to him, while he was with them on earth, of their substance. I By means of these rich persons, the prophecy of Isa. liii. 9. concerning our Lord was fulfilled. 66 And he made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death ; because he had done no violence, neither
* This instance of calling what was poured on the head, a pouring on the body, illustrates what is said of baptism, which is in itself a pouring on the face only, but, which being a figure of washing, is called a washing of the body. “ And having our bodies washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope 'without wavering.” Heb. X. 28.
See also the many passages from Homer quoted above, pp. 63, 64, in which washing the body signifies washing a part of it only.
† Compare Mark xiv. 3. 8. And see Parkhurst, and Schleus, ner, on ενταφιάζω, ενταφιασμός, and θάπτω.
See Luke viii. 1-3. and compare Matt. xxvii. 55–61. Mark IV, 40-47. Luke xxiii. 49-56. John xix. 38-42.
was any deceit in his mouth.” The manner, therefore, of our Saviour's burial is to be learned, from the custom, not among the middle or lower orders, but among the highest. His burial, as far as it went, was worthy of one, who was not to be despised as the carpenter's son, but to be revered, as of the seed of David according to the flesh. Up to the moment of his death for our sins, Christ was treated as guilty and polluted, as a blasphemous impostor: from that moment, he was treated as righteous, and this appeared in the honourable manner of his burial, as well as in his resurrection.
For what he desired to do, Joseph obtained the sanction of the highest authority. “ He besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came, therefore, and took away the body of Jesus.” Not only was he duly authorized ; he was secure from all annoyance. The people who had come together to behold the crucifixion, had smitten their breasts, and returned. The soldiers had parted our Lord's raiment, and for his vesture had cast lots ; and they had now no more demands to make. The centurion who commanded them, had already exclaimed, “ truly this was a righteous man : truly this was the Son of God!" The chief priests and Pharisees were off in a state of alarm to consult with one another, and to apply to Pilate, that the sepulchre might be made sure till after the third day. There was, therefore, nothing to prevent Joseph and Nicodemus from paying all due honour to the body of Jesus. Being hastened,