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people to fall upon him as a man already Early in the morning, the Jewish councondemned : spitting upon him, buffeting cil brought Jesus to the hall of judgment or him, and offering him all manner of rudeness | governor's palace. They themselves, howand indignities. They blindfolded him: ever, went not into the hall, but stood withand some of the council, in order to ridicule out, lest they should be defiled, and renhim for having pretended to be the great dered incapable of eating the passover. prophet, bid him exercise his prophetical gift, in declaring who had smote him.
Now Judas Iscariot, who had delivered ce l o to
his Master into the hands of the council, Such was the treatment of the Son of God, finding his project turn out very different the Saviour of sinners, which though unwor. from what he expected, was filled with the thy of his character, be bore with patience deepest remorse for what he had done. He and resignation, leaving his people an ex saw all his golden dreams of temporal hoample to follow his steps, and submit to the nours and advantagés sunk at once to will of God in all things, nor murmur at nothing ; he saw his kind, his indulgent any of the dispensations of his Providence Master, condemned, and forsaken by all
bis followers. He saw all this, and determined to make all the satisfaction in his
power for the crime he had committed. CHAP. XXXVII.
Accordingly, he came and confessed Our blessed Saviour is carried before the openly his sin, before the chief priests and
Roman Governor. The traitor Judas elders, offered them the money they had vubecomes his own executioner. Pilate given him to commit it, and earnestly -publicly acquits Jesus, and refers his wished he could recal the fatal transaction Case to the Decision of Herod.
of the preceding night.
d. bis incubs all
THE blessed Jesus being thus condemn- ! It seems he thought this was the most
ed, by the unanimous voice of the | public testimony he could possibly give of grand assembly, it was resolved to carry him his Master's innocence, and his own repentbefore the governor, that he likewise might ance. I have, said he, committed a most pass sentence on him. The Roman gover horrid crime, in betraying an innocent man nors of Judea,generally resided at Cæsarea; to death. but at the great feast they came up to Jerusalem, to prevent or suppress tumults, and But this moving speech of Judas had no to administer justice: it being a custom for effect on the callous hearts of the Jewish the Roman governors of provinces, to visit rulers. They affirmed, that however be the principal towns under their jurisdiction, might think the prisoner innocent, and for on this latter account. Pilate being accor- that reason had sinned in bringing the sendingly come to Jerusalem, some time before tence of death upon his head, they were the feast, had been informed of the great not to blame; because they knew him a ferment among the rulers, and the true blasphemer, who deserved to die. "What character of the person on whose account it is that to us? said they, see thou to that.” was raised; for he entertained a just notion Nay, they even refused to take back the of it: "He knew that for envy they had money they had given him as a reward for delivered him. He knew the cause of their performing the base act of betraying his envy, was impressed with a favourable Master.R
ods opinion of Jesus, and wished, if possible, to deliver him from his vile persecutors." The deepest remorse now seized upon the wretched Judas, and his soul was agitated į made by Jeremiah, and afterwards repeated by the liorrors of despair The innocence by the immediate direction of the Spirit, by and benevolence of his Master, the many Zachariah ; and that therefore the evangelist favours he himself had received from biin, has only ascribed the prophecy to its origi. and the many kind offices he had done for nal author. But, however this be, the the sons and daughters of affliction, crowd prophecy is remarkable, and was remarked at once into his mind, and rendered his ably fullilled. And the evangelist, by thus torments intolerable. Racked with those appealing to a public transaction, puts the agonizing passions, and unable to support. truth of this part of the history beyond all; the misery, he threw down the wages of bis. manner of exception... iniquity in the temple; and confessing at the same time his own sin, and the innocence of his Master, went away in despair, and. death, the blessed Jesus, however liberal of 1 The multitude being now again assemhis miracles to the sons, and daughters of bled before the governor's palace, began to. affliction, would not work them to gratify call aloud on him to perform the annual the curiosity of a tyrant, nor even answerone office of mercy, customary at that festival. of the many questions he proposed to him.
We have already observed, that the chief banged himself,
priests and elders refused to go themselves
into the judgment-ball, lest they should Thus perished Judas Iscariot the traitor,
contract some pollutions in the house of.
an heathen, which would have rendered a miserable example of the fatal influence of
them unfit for eating the passover. The covetousness, and a standing monument of
same reason also hindered them from divine vengeanceto deter future generations froin acting in opposition to the dictates of
entering the governor's palace, on other
festivals, when that magistrate attended conscience, through a love of the things of
in order to administer justice : a kind this world; for which this wretchied mortal
of structure was therefore erected, adbetrayed his master, his friend, bis Saviour, accumulated such a load of guilt on himself,
joining to the palace, which served ina
stead of a tribunal or judgment-seat. This as sunk his soul into the lowest pit of:
structure, called in the Hebrew Gabbatha, perdition.
was finely paved with small pieces of mar
ble of different colours, being always expos · • The pieces of silver cast down by Judas
ed to the weather. One side of this strucwere gathered up, and delivered to the
ture joined to the palace, and a door was priests, who thinking it unlawful to put
made in the wall, through which the goverthem into the treasury, hecause they were
nor passed to this tribunal. By this conthe wages of a traitor, agreed to lay them
trivance, the people might staud round the out in purchasing the potter's field, and to
tribunalin the open air, hear and see the make it a common burial-place for stran
governor when lie spake to them from the gers.
pavement: and observe thic whole admini..
stration of justice, without the least fear of This the evangelist tells us was done; / being deliled, either, by biin or any of his that a particular prophecy, relating to the
retinue. Messiah might be fulfilled : “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the | Before this tribunal the great Redeemer children of Israel did value ; and gave them of mankind was brought, anxd the priests for the potter's field, as the Lord had ap and elders having taken their places round pointed.” This prophecy is found in Za- | the pavement, the governor ascended the @bariah; but by a nistake of some copyist, judgmeut-seat, and asked them what actbe word Jeremiah is inserted in the Greek cusation they brought against tlie prisoner ? manuscripts of St. Matthew's gospel, un- Though nothing could be more natural than Jess we suppose with the learned Grotius, for the governor to ask this question, yet that this remarkable prophecy was first I the Jews thought themselves highly affrontNo. 15.
ed by it, and laughtily answered, if he had sinuated that they had already convicted not been a very great and extraordinary lim of this crime; which was absolutely malefactor, we should not have given you false. Pilate, however, asked him, Is it this trouble at all, much less at so unseason- | true what these men lay to your charge, able an hour.
that you have, indeed, attempted to set
up yourself as king of the Jews ? To Pilate their examined Jesus; and finding which Jesus replied, have you ever during he had not been guilty either of rebellion or your stay in this province, heard any thing sedition, but that he was accused of particu of me, that gave you reason to suspect nie lars relating to the religion and customs of guilty of secret practices and seditious designs the Jews, grew angry, and said, What are against the government? Or do you found these things to me? Take him yourselves your question, only on the present clamour and judge bim, according to your own law. / and tumult that is raised against me? If Plainly insinuating, that in his opinion the this be the case, be very careful lest you be crime they laid to the prisoner's charge was imposed on merely by the ambiguity of a not of a capital nature; and that such pu word : for, to “be King of the Jews" is nishments as they were permitted by Cæsar not to erect a temporal throne in opposition to inflict, were adequate to any misdemeanor to that of Cæsar, but a thing of a very that Jesus was charged with. But this pro- different nature; the kingdom of the Meso posal of the Roman governor was absolutely siah is in the heavenly Canaan.. refused by the Jewish priests and elders, because it condemned the whole proceeding; To which Pilate replied, Am I a Jes? and therefore they answered, we have no Can I tell what your expectations are, power to put any one to death, as this man and in what sense you understand these certainly deserves, who has attempted not words? The rulers and chiefs of your only to make innovations in our religion, but own people who are the most proper also set up himself for a king.
judges of these particulars, have brought
you before me as a riotous and seditious This eagerness of the Jews to get Jesus person: if this be not the truth, let me, condemned by the Roman governor, who know what is, and the crime thou hast been often sentenced malefactors to be crucified, guilty of ? tended to fulfil the saying of our great Redeemer, who, during the course of his Jesus answered, I have, indeed a kingministry, had often mentioned what kind of dom, and this kingdom I have professed to death he was, by the council of Omnipo- establish. But then it is not of this world, tence, appointed to die.
por have my endeavours to establish it any
tendency to cause disturbances in the goPilate finding it impossible to prevent a vernment. For had that been the case, tumult, unless he proceeded to try Jesus,
my servants would bave fought for me, ascended again the judgment-seat, and
and not suffered me to have fallen into the commanded his accusers to produce their hands of the Jews. But I tell you plainly, accusations against him. Accordingly they my kingdom is wholly spiritual. I reign in accused him of seditious practices, aflirm- the hearts of my people, and subdue their ing that he had used every method in his
wills and affections into a confirmity to the power to dissuade the people from paying will of God. taxes to Cæsar, pretending that he himself was the Messiah, the great king of the | You acknowledge then, in general, anJews, so long expected. But they brought swered Pilate, that you have pretended to. no proof of these assertions. They only in- / be a king ? To which the blessed Jesus
replied, Iin the sense I have told you I have inhabitants of Galilee, rendered any reply
him, saying, Wilt thou continue to make
no defence? Dost thou not hear how vellePilate answered, (What is truth ?) And mently these men accuse thee?. immediately went out to the Jews, and said unto them, I have again examined this But Pilate recollecting what the chief man, but cannot find hiin guilty of any priests had said with regard to a sedition fault, which, according to the Roman law, in Galilee, asked if Jesus came out of is worthy of death.
that country'; and on being informed he
did, he immediately ordered him to be carThis generous, declaration made by the ried to Herod, who was also then at Jeru.' governor, of the innocence of our blessed salem., Saviour, had no effect on the superstitious and bigotted Jews. They even persisted The governor supposed that Herod, in. in their accusations with more vehemence, whose dominions the sedition was said to than before, affirming that he had attempted i have been raised, must be a much better to raise a sedition in Galilee: "He stirreth judge of the affair than himsell. Besides, up (said they) the people, beginning from his being a Jew rendered him more expert Galilee to this place." .
in the religion of his own country, and gave
him greater influence over the chief priests „Jesus, however, made no answer at all and elders; he therefore considered him as, to this heavy charge. Nay, he continued the most proper person to prevail on the silent, notwithstanding the governor him. | Jewish council to desist from their cruel self expressly required him to speak in-his | prosecution. But if, contrary to all human own defence. A conduct so extraordinary, probability, he should, at their solicitation, in such circumstances, astonished Pilate condemn Jesus, Pilate hoped to escape the exceedingly; for he had great reason to be | guilt and infamy of putting an innocent perpersuaded of the innocence of our dear Re.. son to death. He might also propose by, deemer. The trutb is, he was altogether this action, to regain Herod's friendship, ignorant of the divine counsel, by which / which he had formerly lost by eneroaching, the whole affair was directed.
in all probability, on his privileges.
There were many reasons which induced But however that be, or whatever mótire the blessed Jesus not to make a public de induced Pilate to send our great Redeemer. fence, He came into the world purely to to Herod, the latter greatly rejoiced at redeem lost and undone mankind, by offer- this opportunity of seeing Jesus, hoping to ing up himself a sacrifice to appease the bave ihe pleasure ofbeholding him perforin wrath of his Alinighty Father.; but had he some great miracle. pleaded with his usual force, the people had, in all probability, been induced to ask 1 In this he was, however, mistakep; for bis release, and consequently Iris death bad as Herod bad a postatized from the doctrine. been prevented. Besides, the gross falsco of John the Baptist, to which he was once hood of the accusation kijown to all the a convert, and had even put his teacher to
Pilate, glad of this opportunity, told Herod, finding himselfthus disappointed,
them, that he was very willing to grant the ordered our blessed Saviour to be clothed,
favour they desired ; and asked them whewith an old robe, resembling in colour those
| ther they would have Barabbas, or Jesus, worn by kings, and permitted bis attendants
released unto them? But without waiting to insult bim.
for an answer, he offered to release Jesus, From Herod's dressing him in this man knowing that the chief priests had deliverner, it evidently appears, that the chief ed him through envy; especially as Herod priests and elders had accused him of no had not found him guilty of the crimnes laid. thing, but his having assumed the character to his charge. of the Messiah, for the affront put upon him. was plainly in derision of that profession. 1.: | " Wliile these particulars were transacting, The other head of accusation, namely,
Pilate received a inessage from his wife, his having attempted to raise a sedition in
then with him at Jerusalem, and who had Galilee, on account of tribute paid to Cæ
that morning been informed of something sar, they did not dare to mention, as Herod
in-a dream which gave her great uneasiness. could not fail of knowing it to be a gross and
The dream had so great an effeet on this malicious falsehood. And no crime worthy,
Roman lady, that she could not rest till she of death being laid to his charge, Herod sent
had sent an account of it to her husband, bim' again to Pilate. It seems, that though
who was then sitting with the tribunal on he was displeased with the great Redeemer
the pavement, and begged him to have no of mankind for refusing to work a miracle
hand in the death of the righteous person before him, yet-lie did not think proper to
he was then judging. :'-'. be unjust to him.
The people had not yet determined whe: rouwruimrommers
ther they would have Jesus or Barabbas
released to them; therefore when Pilate CHAP. XXXVIII.
received the message from his wife, he call.
ed the chief priests and rulers together, and The Roman Governor, for want of Evi
in the hearing of the multitude, made a dence, proposes to acquit and release
speech to them, in which he gave them an Jesus, three separate Times, but at
account of the examination which Jesus had length, at the pressing Instigation of the
undergave both at his own and Herod's inveterate Jews, he condemns and de.
tribunal, declaring, that in both courts it had livers him up. .
turned out honourably to his character: for. THE Roman governor, in order to ac which reason he proposed to them, that he
1 quire popular applause, used generally, should be the object of the people's favour. at the feast of the passover, to release a prisoner nominated by the people. At this fcast Pilate did the priests the honour of desire. there was one in prison, named Barabbas, ling to know their inclinations in particular, who at the head of a number of rebels, had perhaps with a design to soften their stony, made an insurrection in the city, and com hearts, and, if possible, to move them for mitted murder during the confusion.
once to pity an unhappy and innocent man,