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clxxxvii

Luke XXIII. 20.

no cause of death in him: I will therefore

383 The Jews moved by the priests prefer Barabbas to Christ. SECT. him, Crucify him ; let him immediately be cru- cried out again, (and cified ; for he is fit to be treated as the vilest say unto him,] cru

city him: (Let him Mark slave, rather than to be called our king . be crucified.] (MAT. XXV.13 Pilate therefore, being still desirous to release XXVII.—22.

Luke Jesus, spake to them yet again ; urging them Pilate therefore, wilXXIII 20 seriously to consider what they did, in thus ling to release Jesus, preferring such an abandoned miscreant as Ba- spake again to them.

21 But they cried, 21 rabbas to so innocent a person. But they, without so much as offering any farther reason, per- crucify him.

saying, Crucify him, sisted in their importunity, and cried out as

before saying, Crucify (him,] crucify him. 22 And Pilate, was so intent on delivering him, 29 And [MARK, that he said to them a third time, IVhy will you the third time, why?

Pilate] said unto them
be so cruel as to insist upon it? what evil has he what evil hath he
done h ? I declare to you all, as I told you but done? I have found
now, (ver. 14, p. 385.) that I have found no
capital crime in him: I will therefore, as I said chastise him, and let
(ver. 16.) chastise him by scourging, and then I him. go. (M AT
hope your rage will be moderated, and you will

XV. 14.-]
be prevailed upon to agree that I should let
[hingo without any farther punishment.

23 And they were 23 But they, without pretending to answer the

instant argument he had alledged, overbore it by a voices, (Mark, and wild fury, and were urgent in pressing him with cried out the more exloud and importunate voices; and the more he ceedingly,] requiring opposed them, they cried out the more abun- fied : and the voices of dantly and violently, demanding that, whit- them, and of the chief ever was the consequence of it, he might be priestsprevailed. (Mat.

XXVII.--23. MARK crucified : and, on the whole, notwithstanding XV. 14.) the farther remonstrance of Pilate on the admonition of his wife (which will be mentioned in the next section,) their voices, and [those of the chief priests, (who, to encourage the cry, bad so little sense of common decency as themselves to join in it,) prevailed with the governor, though contrary to the convictions of his own conscience, to comply with their request.

XXVII. 23.

MARK

with

loud

IMPROVE

Ti yap

Let him be crucified.] By this cry they Roman governor. And indeed it turned declared the greatest degree of rage that dreadfully on themselves, when such vast can be imagined; for it was as if they numbers of them were crucified for their had said, “ Let him whom you call our opposition to the Romans, during the time king be treated like one of the vilest of of their last war. See note o in the next your slaves, who has committed the most section, on Mat. xxvii. 25. enormous crime.” To have inflicted h Why? what evil has he done ? such a punishinent as this on any free Jew xaxoy como Ev; Raphelus, (Annot. ex would probably have been sufficient to Xenoph. p. 64. has well proved, that yap have thrown the whole city and nation is often used by the correctest Greek into an uproar ; but now they were deaf writers, and particularly Xenophon, as an to every thing but the clamour of passion, elegant expletive, especially to introduce a and in their madness forgot with how dan- question. gerous a precedent they might furvish the

Reflections on their violence in persecuting Jesus.

389

IMPROVEMENT.

Luke

Behold, how all imaginable circumstances seem to conspire sect. to increase the infamy thrown on that sacred head, which now clxxxvii. most worthily wears a crown of eternal glory! Of a truth, O Lord, against thy holy Child Jesus, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, xxiii. with the Gentiles and the chief priests, and the people of Israel, 7-10 were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel had determined before to be done, (Acts iv. 27, 28.) The wisest 11 person on earth was by Herod and his soldiers derided, as a fool : the most deserving was condemned by the chief priests : and the most innocent was treated as a criminal by Pilate, and furiously demanded as a public victim by the Jews. All the proofs of his innocence are overborne by a loud and senseless cry : and those hosannahs with which the streets and temple were so lately echoing, are exchanged into Crucify him, crucify him. So uncer-21--23 tain is human applauses

, and so uprighteous may human judgments be.

But in the midst of all, the blessed Jesus stands collected in himself. Firm as a rock he bears the violence of the storm, and is not moved by all the furious waves that beat upon him; and when he saw a robber and a murderer preferred before him, and a sentence of the most cruel death clamorously called for and de-Ver. manded against him, he silently commits himself to him that 18, 19 judgeth righteously, who ere long brought forth his righteousness Mark as brightness, and his salvation as a lamp that burneth. (Compare i Pet. ii. 23. and Isa. Ixii. 1.)

Lord, if thou callest us out to share in thy sufferings, may the Spirit of God and of glory thus rest on us ! And may neither the scorn nor the rage of our enemies separate us from thee, who did so courageously bear all this for us ; nor may they ever sink us into any weakness of behaviour unworthy of those who have the honour to call themselves thy followers !

xv.

13, 14

SECT. CLXXXVIII.

Pilate, having again and again renewed his efforts to persuade the

Jews to consent that Jesus should be released, at length yields to
their importunity, and delivers him up to be crucified. Mat.
XXVII. 19,21-31. Mark XV. 15-20. Luke XXIII. 24, 25.
John XIX. 1-16.-
John XIX. 1.

JOHN XIX. 1.
THIEN Pilate there-

fore took Jesus, TIEN, as the priests and people of the Jews sect, and scourged him.

continued their clamorous demand that clxxxviii Jesus should be crucified, Pilate thought it most

3 C2

John

advisable xix. 1

Mat.

Then the soldiers of

390)

Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns. SECT. advisable to seem at least to consent to it, and clxxxviii therefore took Jesus and scourged himn ; hoping John that, after he had been severely scourged, the xix, 1. rage of the populace would be something abat

ed, and they might at last be prevailed upon to
consent that he should be dismissed.
Then the soldiers of the governor 2, knowing

MAT. XXVII. 27. XXVII.

that it was the Roman custom to scourge prison- the governor took Je27

ers just before they were put to death, inter- sus and [led him apreted Pilate's order on this head as a declara- way) into the com

mon hall (called pretion that he was immediately to be crucified :

torium,) and gathered and therefore they took Jesus (and] led him away unto him the whole into the common-hall in Pilate's palace, wbich band of soldiers. [MARK was called the prætorium (as being the place XV. 16.] where the prætor, a Roman magistrate, used to keep his court ;) and there they gathered to him the whole band, or cohort, to insult and torment him, not being concerned to keep any measures

with a person whom they looked: upon as en28 tirely abandoned to their will. And having

28 And they stripstripped him of that splendid garment in which ped him, and (clothHerod bad contemptuously dressed him, in order ed him with purple, to vary the mockery and affront, they wantonly scarlet robe : [MARK clothed him in a vest of imperial purple, [and] XV. 17.—John XIX. put on him a scarlet robe over it, that in this -2.] gaudy dress he might have something of a mock

29 And when(John, 29 resemblance to a prince : And, farther to ri

the soldiers] had platdicule his pretensions to royalty, which they ted a crown of thorns, considered as an affront to their nation and em- they put it upon his peror, the soldiers having maliciously platted a head, and a reed in his crown of thorns, put it upon his head , and put [began to salute him, a large reed, or cane, into his right-hand, to re- and bowed the knee present a sceptre : and then they began in a lu- before him, [and wor, dicrous manner to pay their homage and saluta- mocked him, saying, tions to him, as to a new-created prince on bis

Hail, coronation

a Then the soldiers, &c.] The evangen distinct account which John gives of the lise John so plainly speaks of their croi'n whole process of this affair. Many ining our Lord with thorns, and these other stances of the indeterminate use of that indignities, as previous to Pilate's last at- particle occur in the evangelists : Sec Mat. tempt to save him, that I think it proper ix. 14. xxiv. 40. Mark xiii. 14, 26. Luke to transpose those verses in Matthew and xxi. 10, 21. and John xix. 1o. Mark, which mention these circumstances b Haring plutted a crown of thorns, &c.] as afler his condemnation, and immediately It is certain they intended hereby to expreceding the execution. Some of them pose his pretended royalty to ridicule and might probably be repeated after Pilate had contempt : but had that been all, a crown delivered him to be crucified, while the of straros might have served as well. They instruments of death were preparing; and undoubtedly meant to add cruelty to their therefore Matthew and Mark mention the scorn, which especially appeared in their whole series of these cruelties together: or striking him on the head when this crown the word Tole, then (which is used by Mat was put on.-If the best descriptions of thew,) may only signify 'hat it was done the eastern thorns are to be credited, they about that time,) not determining the order are much larger than any commonly of each particular so absolutely as to be known in these parts. inconsistent with the most accurate and

& Tool

clxxxviii

smote him with their

him

on

the

Pilate's wife sends to him to let Jesus alone.

391 Hail, king of the Jews: coronation-day : [and] bowing the knee before sect: [John, and they him, they did him reverence in a scoffing way, hands : } [MARK XV. and mocked him, saying, All hail thou most mag- Mat. --17. 15-19. John nificent king of the Jews ! Hail mighty Monarch! XXVII. XIX. 2—3.)

29 we give thee joy on thine accession to the crown! and then approaching him as if they would have

offered him some present, as is usual on such oc50 And they [did] casions, they smote him with their hands: And 30 spit upon him, and proceeded so far as to spit upon him, even in his trok the reed and smote

head. very face; and at last took the reed, or cane, out (MARK XV. 19.] of his hand", and barbarously struck him with

it on the head ; and so, as it were, nailed down
the thorns into his forehead and temples, and
occasioned thereby exquisite pain, as well as a
great effusion of blood : all which tbis holy Suf-
ferer bore with the utmost meekness and com-
posure, neither reviling nor threatening them,
but silently committing himself to the righteous

invisible Judge. (1 Pet. ii. 23.) MAT. XXVII. 19.

In the mean time Pilate was taken up with Nat. When he was set down trying and condemning some other prisoners XXVII. bis wife sent unto him, who were to be executed that day; and while he 19 saying, Have thou no- thus was sitting on the tribunal he had erected, thing to do with that his wife, having by this time been informed that sutiered many things Jesus had been brought before him, and was this day in a dream going to be given up to death, sent a very imbecause of him.

portunate message to him, saying, I beseech
thee see to it, that thou have nothing to do with
the blood of that righteous One, against whom
the Jews are now demanding judgment ; for I
have suffered many things to-day on his account
in a dream', and have bad such terrible views
represented to my imagination in my sleep this

very

c Took the reed, or cane, out of his hand.] dreamt these things that morning, since PiThe word x-acp docs indeed sometimes late rose; and as the Heathens imagined signify a slender reed, (Mat. xi. 7. xii. 20. those dreams most significant which came and 3 John, ver. 13 ) but it includes all about break of day, she might on that ackind of canes ; and it is most probable count lay the greater stress upon them. this was

a walking-staff, which they put Jansenius thinks she had now a represeninto bis hand as a sceptre, for a blow with tation of those calamities which afterwards a slight reell would scarce have been felt, befci Pilate and his family. (See note s in or háre deserved a mention in a detail of the improvement.) But it is an unaccountsuch dreadtul sufferings.

able thought of Mr. Fleming, that the devil d His vife sent to him.] While Rome might be the author of this dream, by whicir was governed by a commonwealth it was he might endeavour to prevent the death of unusual for the governors of provinces to Christ according to the prophecies. His take their wives with them; but atter ards tiro arguments, from her calling Christ a it grely customary, and ille motion made man (birh is merely taken from our veragainst it in the fourth year of Tibernis iras sion, for in the original it is oniy tu dixcelu reje ted with some indignation. Sce l'acit. EXEIyw, that righteous One), and from the Anual. lib. iii. cap. 35, St.

disquiet which this dream gave her, are too. e I have suffered many things to-day on inconsiderable to need a particular reply. his account in a dream.] Perhaps the word Seu Fiem. Christol. Vol. 11. p. 325. smuspon, tooday, may imply, that she had

clxxxviii.

392

Pilate again declares he found no fault in him. SECT. very morning, that I cannot but look upon it as

something Divine ; and conclude that if thou Mat. doest upon any terms consent to his death, it XXVII. will be attended with dreadful consequences to 19

thyself and thy family. John

Pilate therefore, alarmed by such a message John XIX. 4. Pilate XIX. 4.

as this, went into the common-hall himself to therefore went forth see what they were doing with the prisoner; and them, Behold, I bring when he beheld with strong emotion all those bim forth to you, that indignities and torments which Jesus had borne, ye may know that I

find no fault in him. and saw how severely the soldiers had scourged him, thinking that the sight of him in so sad a condition might move the Jews to compassion, he determined to make one trial more. And accordingly he came out again to the public tribunal where the Jews were assembled, and having ordered Jesus to be led thither, he said to them, just before he appeared, Behold I am bringing him out to you again, that ye may

know and observe it, that I can find no fault in him, though the tortures he has now undergone are such as must surely have brought him to confession, if he were indeed guilty. 5 Then, as he spake these words, Jesus came out 5 Then came Jesus of the prætorium wearing the thorny crown, and forth, wearing the the purple role, now also dyed in his own blood, the purple robe. And which streamed forth from all parts of his body: Pilate saith unto them, and [Pilatej said to them, Behold the man! view Behold the man. him attentively; and when you see what dreadful things the poor unhappy creature has suffered, let that content you; for surely, considering his innocence, he has suffered already much more than enough. 6 When therefore the chief priests and (their) at

6 When the chief tending officers saw him, fearing lest the people priests therefore and should

relent, they presently renewed their ex- cried out, saying, Cruclamations, and eagerly cried out as before, say, cify him, crucify him.ing, We know the man sufficiently: away with him to the cross; crucify [him], crucify [him] ; and immediately order the wretch to be executed.

Pilate on this said to them, If ye are thus re - Pilale saith unto solute and inexorable, I leave him in your hands, them, Take ye him, to dispose of him as you think fit: take

and crucify him: for him

ye I fiud no fault in him. therefore, if it must be so, and crucify [him] yourselves; but I desire to discharge myself from having any thing to do in it, either by myself, or by my Roman guards; for, as I bave told you again and again, I find no fault in him worthy of any such punishment.

The

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