29 March 2023

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - March 29th



Consider first, how the barbarous ruffians, being wearied at last with scourging our Lord, untie him from the pillar, all covered with wounds, and with his strength quite exhausted by the loss of so much blood; and now, whilst they rest themselves they leave him to seek out and to pick up his clothes, which they had scattered about, and to put them on as well as he can; for he is so stiff and weak, so mangled by their barbarity as to be but little able to help himself; and he has no friend at hand to help him. But O! how ill do these rough woollen clothes suit with his green wounds! how does the rubbing of them at every step or motion increase the smart? But now behold, my soul, another scene of barbarity not to be paralleled in all history, acted by these bloody soldiers in crowning our Lord for a king, by a most cruel mockery, and sporting themselves in all his sufferings. To perform this tragical ceremony with more solemnity, they drag our Saviour into the court of the governor’s hall, and assemble the whole regiment about him; then they strip him again of all his garments, which now were beginning to stick to his wounds, which they rend and widen by this violence. See, my soul, how the Lord now stands as a lamb, in the midst of innumerable wolves; see how, from head to foot, he is imbrued in blood; see at how dear a rate he has purchased thy redemption.

Consider 2ndly, what a throne, what royal robes, what a crown, what a sceptre, these wretches have provided for the Lord of Glory! See, my soul, how they make him sit down on some dirty stool for a throne, and how they throw about him for his royal robes an old ragged purple garment, causing the greatest pain to his wounded back, shoulders, and arms. After this they press down on his sacred head a twisted wreath of long, hard, and sharp thorns for a royal diadem or crown; then they put into his hands for a sceptre a reed or cane; and having thus arrayed him, they come and kneel before him in mockery, to pay him their homage, saluting him scornfully with a ‘Hail! king of the Jews;’  and then, by turns they buffet him, spit in his face, and strike him over the head with the sceptre they had given him, and by that means drive the thorns deeper in, whilst the blood trickles down apace from the numberless wounds which he receives from their points! Ah! who shall be able to number the multitude and variety of sufferings which our Lord endured upon this occasion? In which it is hard to say whether the torment or the ignominy and disgrace was more intolerable. Yet our dear Lord bore all in patience and silence for the love of us.

Consider 3rdly, and take a view at leisure of our Saviour sitting on this stool of ignominy, in the midst of this whole regiment of insolent and barbarous pagan soldiers. Reflect on what he suffers in his sacred head and temples from those hard sharp thorns, which pierce his flesh with so many wounds. O! who can conceive the greatness of this torture. See, my soul, how the blood trickles down his face and neck; see the many bruises he receives from the violent blows they gave him with their hands; see his divine countenance covered with the filth they cast upon him; see through the ragged purple all the wounds of his mangled body, bleeding plentifully for thy sins; in fine, see how this lawless, insulting multitude strives which shall outdo each other in their scoffs, affronts, and injuries; whilst our Lord on his part still preserves the same serenity in his countenance, the same tranquillity in his soul, and the same charity in his heart. But, O my soul, whilst thou art contemplating him under all these barbarous mockeries and torments, cast thy eye upwards and see him sitting on his throne of glory, adored by all the legions of Angels; and do thou join with them in paying him the best homage thou art able; and ever remember that the more he has debased himself for thee, the more dear he ought to be to thee.

Conclude by acknowledging thy Saviour, in the midst of all these ignominies, for the true King of thy heart, and begging him to come and establish his throne there. Learn from him to bear and to submit to the thorns which are appointed for thee in this thy mortal pilgrimage. O pretend not to a crown of roses, to a life of worldly pleasures, whilst thy Lord makes choice of a crown of thorns for the love of thee.

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