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But he was persuaded that if pity was they cried, saying, crucify him, crucify absolutely banished from their callous him. Then Pilate saith unto them, why, breasts, his proposal would have been ac what evil hath he done? And they cried ceptable to the people, whom he expect out the more exceedingly, crucify him.” ed would embrace the first opportunity of declaring in his favour. Yet in this he They were so resolutely determined to was disappointed. They cried out all at have him destroyed, that notwithstanding once, “ Away with this man, and release the governor urged them again and again unto us Barabbas."
to desire bis release, declared his inno
cence, and offered several times to dismiss Apostate mortals ! a few hours ago ye him, they would not hear it, uttering their listened with rapture to his heavenly dis
rage, sometimes in hollow, distant, inarcourses, beheld with transport the many
ticulate murmurs, and sometimes in furisalutary miracles wrougbt by this benevolent
ous outcries : to such a pitch were their Son of the Most High, and earnestly impor- passions raised by the craft and artful intuned him to take possession of the throne sinuations of their priests. and sceptre of David! Now nothing will satiate your infernal malice, but his precious
Pilate, finding it therefore in vain to blood ! But remember, ye miscreants, ye
struggle with their prejudices, called for monsters to human form, that this same
water, and washed his hands before the Jesus, 'whom ye beheld with such contempt multitude, crying out at the same time, before the tribunal of the Roman governor;
that the prisoner had no fault, and that this Jesus, whose blood your infernal mouths
he himself was innocent of his blood. so loudly requested, shall one day come in the clouds of heaven to take vengeance on
By this action and declaration, Pilate his enemies ! And how will ye be able to
seems to have intended to make an impresbear the sight of his appearance, when the sion on the Jewish populace, by complying very heavens themselves will melt at his
with the institution of Moses, wbich orders, presence, " the sun become black as sack
in case of an unknown murder, the elders cloth of hair," the moon be turned into blood,
of the nearest city to wash their hands puband the stars fly from their spheres? How
licly, and say, " Our hands have not shed will ye then repent of your unjust demand,
this bloorl.” And in allusion to this law, and call to the mountains aud rocks to fall
the Psalmist says, " I will wash mine bande . on you, and biđè you from the presence of in innocence.” According, therefore, to that immaculate Lamb of God, the tre
the Jewish rite, Pilate made the most somendous.Judge of the whole earth.
lemn and public declaration of the inno
cence of our Dear Redeemer, and of his Pilate himself was astonished at this determination of the multitude, and repeated
resolution of having no band in his death. his question ; for he could hardly believe
But notwithstanding the solemnity of this what he had himself 'heard. But on their
declaration, the Jews continued inflexible, again declaring that they desired Barabbas
and cried out with one voice, “ His blood be might be released, he asked them, what he
on us and our children.” Dreadful imprecashould do with Jesus, which is called Christ?
tion ! It shocks humanity! An inprecation as if he had said, your demand that Barabbas
which brought on them the dreadful venshould be released; but wbat shall I then do
geance of Omnipotence, and is still a with Jesus? you cannot surely desire me to
heavy burden on that perfidious people! crucify him, wliom so many of you have acknowledged as your Messialı'? '56 But The governor, finding it impossible to No. 16.
alter their choice, released unto them Ba in order to render the impression still more rabbas. Andas it was the general practice poignant, he went out himself, and said of the Romans to scourge those criminals unto them, Though I have sentenced this they condemned to be crucified, Pilate man to die, and have scourged him as one ordered the blessed Jesus to be scourged, that is to be crucified, yet I once more before he delivered him to the soldiers to bring him before you, that I may again be put to death.
testify how fully I am persuaded of his in
nocence: and that ye may yet have an The soldiers having scourged Jesus, and received orders to crucify him, carried him
opportunity of saving his life. into the Prætorium, or common hall, where As soon as the governor had finished his they added the shame of disgrace to the bit
speech, Jesus appeared on the pavement, terness of his punishment; for sore as he
his hair, his face, his shoulders all clotted was, by reason of the stripes they had given
with blood, and the purple robe bedaubed him, they dressed him in a purple robe, in
with spittle. And that the sight of Jesus derision of his being king of the Jews.
in this distress might make the greater imHaving dressed him in this robe of mock pression on the people, Pilate, while he majesty, they put a reed in his hand, instead was coming forward, cried out,“ Behold of a sceptre, and after platting a wreath of
the man!" As if he had said, Will nothing thorns, they put it on his head for a crown ;
make you relent? Have ye lost all the forcing it down in so rude a manner, that feelings of humanity, and bowels of comhis temples were torn, and his face besmeared passion ? Can you bear to see the innowith his most precious blood. To the Son
cent, a son of Abraham, thus injured ? of God in this condition, the rude soldiers
But all this was to no purpose. The bowed the knee, pretending to do it out of respect, but at the same time gave him se
priests, whose rage and malice bad extin
guished not only the sentiments of justice, yere blows on his head, which drove the prickles of the wreath afresh into his tem
and feeling of pity natural to the human ples, and then spit on him to express their
heart, but also that love which countrymen
bear for each other, no sooner saw Jesus, highest contempt.
than they began to fear the fickle populace The governor, whose office obliged him might relent; and therefore laying decency to be present at this shocking scene of inhu aside, they led the way to the multitude, manity, was ready to burst with grief. The crying out with all their might, Crucify sight of an innocent and virtuous man treat bim ! crucify him! ed with such shocking barbarity, raised in his breast the most painful sensations of pity.
Pilate, vexed to see the Jewish rulers And though he had given sentence that it thus obstinately bent on the destruction of should be as the Jews desired, and had de a person, from whom they had nothing to livered our dear Redeemer to the soldiers
fear that was dangerous, either with reto be crucified, he was persuaded, that if
gard to their church or state, passionately he shewed him to the people in that con
told them, that if they would have him dition, they must relent, and petition him
crucified, they must do it themselves ; beto let him go.
cause he would not suffer his people to
murder a man who was guilty of no crime. Filled with this thought, he resolved to carry him out, and exhibit to their view, a But this they also refused, thinking it disspectacle capable of softening the most honourable to receive permission to punisha inveterate, obdurate, enraged enemy. And a person who had been more than once pub
licly declared innocent by his judge. Be answered, I well know that you are Cæsar's sides, they considered with themselves, that servant, and accountable to him for your the governor might afterwards have called management. I forgive you any injury, it sedition, as the permission had been ex which, contrary to your inclination, the potorted from him. Accordingly, they told | pular fury constrains you to do unto me. bim that even though none of these things Thou hast thy power from above, from the alledged against the prisoner were true, he emperor; for which cause, the Jewish had committed such a crime, in the presence high priest, who hath put me into thy hands, of the council itself, as by their law de and by pretending that I am Cæsar's eneserved the most ignominious death. He my, forces thee to condemn me, or if thou had spoken blasphemy, calling himself the refusest, will accuse thee as negligent of Son of God, a title which no mortal could the emperor's interest ; he is more guilty assume, without the highest degree of guilt: than thou. " He that delivered me unto “ We have a law, and by our law he ought thee hath the greater sin.” to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
This sweet and modest answer made such
an impression on Pilate, that he went out When Pilate heard that Jesus called him to the people, and declared his intention of self the Son of God, his fear was increased. releasing Jesus, whether they gave their Knowing the obstinacy of the Jews in all consent or not. Upon which the chief priests matters of religion, he was afraid they and rulers of Israel cried out, “If thou let would make a tumult in earnest; or per this man go thou art not Cæsar's friend : haps he was himself more afraid than ever whosoever maketh himself a king, speakto take away his life, because he suspected eth against Cæsar.” If thou releasest the it might be true. He doubtless remember
He doubtless remember- prisoner, who hath set himself up for a king, ed the miracles said to have been performed
and endeavoured to raise a rebellion in the by Jesus, and therefore suspected that he country, thou art unfaithful in the interest really was the Son of God. For it was well of the emperor thy master. known that religion, which the governor professed, directed him to acknowledge This argument was weighty, and shook the existence of demi-gods and heroes, or Pilate's resolution to the very basis. He men descended from the gods. Nay, the was terrified at the thought of being acheathens believed that their
gods themselves cused to Tiberius, who, in all affairs of sometimes appeared upon earth in the form government always suspected the worst, of men.
and punished the most minute crimes rela
tive thereto with death. Reflections of this kind induced Pilate to go again into the judgment-hall, and ask The governor being thus constrained to Jesus from what father he sprung, and yield, contrary to his inclination, was very from what country he came ?
angry with the priests for stirring up the blessed Saviour gave him no answer, lest people to such a pitch of madness, and the governor should reverse his sentence, determined to affront theip. and absolutely refuse to crucify him.
He therefore brought Jesus out a se. Pilate marvelled greatly at his silence, cond time into tbe pavement, wearing the and said unto Jesus, Why dost thou refuse purple robe and the crown of thorns; and, to answer ne? you cannot be ignorant that pointing to him, said, * Bebold
your I am invested with absolute power, either king ?" ridiculing their uational expectato release or crucify you. To which Jesus tion of a Messiah.
no farther, and here shall thy proud wares be stayed.”
This sarcastical expression stung them to the quick, and they cried out, “ Away with him, away with him, crucify him.' Το which Pilate ans ered, with the mocking air, “Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have 10 king but Cæsar.” Thus did they publicly renounce their hope of the Messiah, which the whole æconomy of their religion had been calculated to cherish: they also publicly acknowledged their subjection to the Romans : and, consequently, condemned themselves, when they afterwards rebelled against the emperor.
The innocent, immaculate Redeemer is led forth to mount Calvary, and there ignominiously crucified between two notorious Malefactors. Reviled by the Spectators. A Phenomenon appears on the important occasion. Our Lord addresses his Friends from the Cross, and gives up the Ghost.
We cannot help observing here, that
the TTHE solemn, the awful period now great unwillingness of the governor to pass approached, when the Son of God, sentence of death upon Jesus, has something the Redeemer of the world, was to undergo in it very remarkable. For, from the cha
the oppressive burden of our sins, upon racter of Pilate, as drawn by the Roman the tree, and submit unto death, even the historians themselves, he seems to have death of the cross, that we might live at been far from possessing any true principle the right hand of God, forever and ever. of virtue. To what then could it be owing, that so wicked a man could so steadily ad. Sentence being pronounced against the here to the cause of innocence, which he blessed Jesus, the soldiers were ordered to defended with uncommon bravery, and per prepare for his execution, a command which haps would never have abandoned it, had he they readily obeyed, and after clothing him not been forced by the threatenings of the in his own garments, led him away to cruchief priests and rulers of Israel? And cify him. It is not said that they took the when be did yield, and passed sentence of crown of thorns from his temples ; prodeath upon our dear Redeemer, why did be bably tie died wearing it, that the title still declare him innocent? This can certain placed over his head might be the better unly be attributed 'to no other cause than to derstood. the secret but powerful direction of the providence of the Almighty, who intended It is not to be expected that the ministers tbat, at the same time his Son was con of Jewish malice remitted any of the circumdemned and executed as a malefactor, bis stances of afflietion, which were everdaid on innocence should be made appear in the person's condemned to be crucified. Aumost public manner, and by the most au cordingly Jesus was obliged to walk on foot thentic evidence, even that of the judge him to the place of executivn, bearing his cross. self. It was the power of the Almighty that But the fatigue of the preceding night spent set bounds to the inveterate malice and fury without sleep, the sufferings he had unof the Jews, that would not suffer them to, dergone in the garden, bis having been stain the innocence of the blessed Jesus, at burried from place to place, and obliged to the same time they deprived him of his life ; stand the whole time of bis trials; the want but said to their boisterous malice, as be of food, and tbe loss of blood be had sustainbad before said to the foaming billows of ed, and not his want of courage on the octhe ocean, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and easion, made bim faint under the burden of