Reader, go near to that cross!

(George Everard, "The Piercing of Jesus' Side!" 1868)

Reader, go near to that cross! As John and the faithful women stood beneath its shadow — so you likewise go and behold the Lamb of God slain for sinners!

Behold that head, lately anointed with fragrant spikenard — now encircled with a chaplet of sharp thorns!

Behold that face, fairer than the children of men, upon which angels delighted to gaze — covered with mingled blood and spittle!

Behold those eyes, which beheld the city with such compassion, which shed tears over it, as at the tomb of Bethany — now growing dim in death!

Behold those ears, which never in vain heard the cry of sorrow or distress — now greeted with bitter mockings and reproaches!

Behold those lips, which spoke as never man spoke, which said to the widow, "Weep not;" and to the waves, "Peace, be still" — now swollen with blows and parched with thirst!

Behold those hands, which healed the leper by their touch, which lifted up the daughter of Jairus and restored her to life — now torn by rugged nails!

Behold those feet, which ever went about doing good, which trod the waves of Gennesaret — now sore wounded, and painfully transfixed to the cruel wood!

Behold that body, so holy, so chaste, so pure — suffering unknown agonies!

And now behold the heart of Jesus, so tender and true, so kind and loving — pierced with the soldier's spear!

Ah, it was a savage, cruel hand that inflicted this last wound on the body of our Lord! There was no need for it. The spirit of the Redeemer had fled. His enemies had done their worst. He could no longer suffer pain or grief. But that spear-wound was, as it were, a mark of the hatred which still existed against the Crucified.

Let every Christian look at his own sin, and see how it has wounded his Lord. Surely it has been as the scourge, the nail, the spear!

My sin is that which has wounded the One who bore me nothing but good will, and who ever sought my peace. My sin is that which has slain my Friend, my Savior, my Redeemer! May I ever regard it as an accursed thing! May I never more look upon it with favor, but with the utmost abhorrence. May I keep far away, shrinking from its very touch, as the deadliest pollution!

How utterly we should loathe and forsake the sin that wrought the sufferings and death of our best Friend!