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A Godly Meditation upon the Passion of our Saviour Jesus Christ

O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the ever living and almighty God, by whom all things were made, and are ruled and governed; thou the lively image of the substance of the Father, the eternal wisdom of God, the brightness of his glory, God of God, light of light, co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial with the Father. Thou, of the love thou had to mankind, that when he was fallen from the fellowship of God into the society of satanic and all evil, did vouchsafe for our redemption to become a Mediator between God and man, taking to the Godhead our nature, as concerning the substance of it, and so became man. Also thou became the heir of all, and most merciful Messias; who by the power of thy Godhead, and merits of thy manhood, hast purged our sins, even by thine own self, whilst thou was here on earth; and being now set on the right hand of thy Father for us, even concerning our nature, in majesty, glory, and power infinite; I beseech and humbly pray thy mercy, to grant me at this present to rehearse somewhat of thy passion and suffering for me the last night thou was here before thy death, that thy good Spirit may thereby be effectual to work in me faith, as well of the pardon of my sins by them, as also the mortification of mine affections, comfort in my crosses, and patience in afflictions. Amen.

In the midst of thy last supper, with thy dear apostles, these things could not but be before thee, namely, that they would all leave thee, the most earnest would forswear thee, and one of the twelve should most traitorously betray thee; which were no small crosses unto thee. Judas was admonished by thee to beware; but when he took no heed, and wilfully went out to finish his work, contemning thy admonition and counsel, he could not but vex thy most loving heart.

After supper there was contention among thy disciples who should be greatest after thee; they still dreaming carnally of thee and of thy kingdom, and having this affection of pride and ambition busy among there, notwithstanding thy diligence in reproving and teaching them.

After thy admonitions to them respecting the cross that would come, thereby to make them more vigilant, so ignorant were they that they thought they could, with their two swords, put away all perils; which was no little grief unto thee. After thy coming to Gethsemane, heaviness oppressed thee, and therefore thou would thy disciples to pray; thou did tell to Peter and his fellows, that thy heart was heavy to death; thou did will them to pray, being careful for them also, lest they should fall into temptation. After this thou went a stone's cast from them, and did pray thyself; falling down and grovelling upon the earth; but, alas! thou did feel no comfort, and therefore thou came to thy disciples, who, of all others, were most sweet and dear unto thee! but, lo! to thy further discomfort, they cared neither for thy perils nor for their own, and therefore slept apace. After thou had awakened them, thou did go again to pray, but thou found no comfort at all, and therefore did return again for some comfort at thy dearest friends' hands. But yet again, alas! they are fast asleep; whereupon thou art enforced to go again to thy heavenly Father for some sparkle of comfort in these thy wonderful crosses and agonies. Now here thou was so discouraged and so comfortless, that even streams of blood came running from thine eyes and ears, and other parts of thy body. But who is able to express the infirmities of thy crosses, even while in the garden! All which thou suffered for my sake, as well to satisfy thy Father's wrath for any sins, as also to sanctify all my sufferings, and make them the more gladly to be sustained by me.

After thy prayer thou came, and yet again found thy disciples asleep; and before thou can well awake them, lo! Judas comes with a great band of men to apprehend thee as a thief, and does so, leading thee away bound to the high bishop's Annas, and so from him to Caiaphas. Here now to augment this thy misery, behold thy disciples flee from thee, false witnesses are brought against thee, thou art accused and condemned of blasphemy! Peter, even in thy sight, forswears thee; thou art unjustly stricken for answering lawfully, thou art blindfolded, stricken, and buffeted all the whole night in the bishop Caiaphas' house by their cruel servants.

In the morning betimes thou art condemned again by the priests for blasphemy, and therefore they bring thee before the secular power to Pilate, by whom thou art openly arraigned as thieves and malefactors were. When he saw that thou was maliciously accused, yet he did not dismiss thee, but sent thee to Herod; where thou was derided shamefully in coming and going to and from him, all the way wonderfully, especially after Herod had apparelled thee as a fool.

Before Pilate again therefore thou was brought, and accused falsely. No man took thy part, or spoke a good word for thee. Pilate caused thee to be whipped and scourged, and to be handled most pitifully, to see if any pity might appear with the prelates; but no man at all pitied thee.

Barabbas was preferred before thee; all the people, high and low, were against thee, and cried, hang thee up; unjustly was thou judged to death; thou was crowned with thorns that pierced thy head; thou was made a mocking-stock; thou was reviled, rebated, beaten, and most miserably handled.

Thou went through Jerusalem to the place of execution, even the mount of Calvary; a great cross to hang thee was laid upon thy back; to bear and draw, as long as thou was able.

Thy body was racked to be nailed to the tree; thy hands were bored through, and thy feet also, nails were put through them to fasten thee thereon; thou was hanged between heaven and earth, as one cast out of heaven, and rejected of the earth, unworthy of any place. The high priest laughed thee to scorn, the elders blasphemed thee, and said, God has no care for thee; the common people laughed and cried out upon thee. Thirst oppressed thee, but vinegar only and gall were given thee to drink. Heaven shined not on thee, the sun gave thee no light, the earth was afraid to bear thee, Satan tempted thee, and thine own senses caused thee to cry out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Oh! wonderful passions (sufferings, editor) which thou suffered; in them thou teaches me, in them thou comforts me; for by them God is my father, my sins are forgiven; by them I should learn to fear God, to love God, to hope in God, to hate sin, to be patient, to call upon God, and never to leave him for any temptation, but with thee still to cry, "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." (The similarity of many of the sufferings endured by the martyrs in those days to the sufferings of our Lord was evidently present to Bradford's mind when be penned some of the expressions in this meditation, editor.)

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