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a demonstration of power and goodness with the first in this bloody scene; they have unrelenting hearts? Unthankful Malchus ! paid for this head, and now long to see what and cruel soldiers ! ye were worse wounded, they shall have for their thirty silverlins and felt it not. God had struck your breasts The bench is set in the hall of Caiaphas; with a fearful obduration, that ye still per- | false witnesses are sought for, and hired; sist in your bloody enterprise." And they, they agree not, but shame their suborders. that had laid hold on Jesus, led him away,” | Woe is me! what safety can there be for &c.
innocence, when the evidence is wilfully corrupted? What state was ever so pure
as not to yield some miscreants, that will CONTEMPLATION XXX. - CHRIST BEFORE either sell or lend an oath! What a brand CAJAPHAS.
hath the wisdom of God set upon false
hood !- even dissonance and distraction : That traitor, whom his own cord made whereas truth ever holds together, and jars soon after too fast, gave this charge con not while it is itself. O Saviour ! what a cerning Jesus: “Hold him fast." Fear perfect innocence was in thy life, what makes his guard cruel; they bind his hands, an exact purity in thy doctrine, that malice and think no twist can be strong enough itself cannot so much as devise what to for this Samson. Fond Jews and soldiers ! slander! It were hard if hell should not if his own will had not tied him faster than find some factors upon earth. At last two your cords, though those manacles had been witnesses are brought in, that have learned the stiffest cables or the strongest iron, they to agree with themselves, while they differ had been but threads of tow.
from truth; they say the same, though What eyes can but run over to see those false: “ This fellow said, I am able to dehands, that made heaven and earth, wrung stroy the temple of God, and build it again together and bruised with those merciless in three days.” Perjured wretches! Fere cords! to see him bound, who came to re- these the terms that you heard from that store us to the liberty of the sons of God! sacred mouth? said he formally thus as ye to see the Lord of life contemptuously have deposed? It is true, he spake of the dragged through the streets, first to the temple, of destroying and building, of three house of Annas, then from thence to the days : but did he speak of that temple, of house of Caiaphas, from him to Pilate, from his own destroying of a material building Pilate to Herod, from Herod back again to in that space ? He said, Destroy ye: ye Pilate, from Pilate to his Calvary! while, say, I am able to destroy. He said, This in the meantime, the base rabble and scum temple of his body; ye say, The temple of of the incensed multitude runs after him God. He said, I will make up this temple with shouts and scorns! The act of death of my body in three days: ye say, I am able hath not in it so much misery and horror in three days to build this material temple as the pomp of death.
of God. The words were his, the sentence And what needed all this pageant of yours: the words were true, the evidence cruelty? Wherefore was this state and lin- false : so, while you report the words, and gering of an unjust execution ? Was it for misreport the sense, ye swear a true false that their malice held a quick dispatch too hood, and are truly forsworn. Where the much mercy? was it for that, while they resolutions are fixed, any colour will serve. meant to be bloody, they would fain seem Had those words been spoken, they conjust? A sudden violence had been paltained no crime: had he been such as they pably murderous; now the colour of a le- supposed him, a mere man, the speech had gal process gilds over all their deadly spite, carried a semblance of ostentation, no semand would seem to render them honest, blance of blasphemy. Yet how vehement and the accused guilty. .
is Caiaphas for an answer ; as if those This attachment, this convention of the | words had already battered that sacred pile, innocent, was a true night-work: a deed or the protestation of his ability had been of so much darkness was not for the light. the highest treason against the God of the Old Annas, and that wicked bench of grey temple. That infinite wisdom knew well headed scribes and elders, can be content how little satisfaction there could be in anto break their sleep to do mischief: envy swers, where the sentence was determined: and malice can make noon of midnight. It “ Jesus held his peace." Where the asker is resolved he shall die; and now pretences | is unworthy, the question captious, words must be sought that he may be clearly bootless, the best answer is silence, murdered. All evil begins at the sanctu. Erewhile, his just and moderate speech ary: the priests and scribes and elders are to Annas was returned with a buffet on
the cheek : now, his silence is no less dis- / What heed is to be taken of men's judg. pleasing. Caiaphas was not more malicious ment? so light are they upon the balance, than crafty : what was in vain attempted that one dram of prejudice or forestalment by witnesses, shall be drawn out of Christ's turns the scales. "Who were these but the own mouth; what an accusation could not grave benchers of Jerusalem, the synod of effect, an adjuration shall: “ I adjure you the choice Rabbis of Israel? yet these pass by the living God, that thou tell us, whe- sentence againsi the Lord of life : sentence ther thou be the Christ, the Son of God." of that death of his, whereby, if ever, they Yea, this was the way to screw out a kill. shall be redeemed from the murder of their ing answer. Caiaphas, thy mouth was im- sentence. pure, but thy charge was dreadful. Now, O Saviour! this is not the last time where. if Jesus hold his peace, he is cried down in thou hast received cruel dooms from for a profane disregarder of that awful name: them that profess learning and holiness. if he answer, he is ensnared; an affirmation What wonder is it if thy weak members is death; a denial, worse than death. No, suffer that which was endured by so perCaiaphas, thou shalt well know, it was not | fect a head? what care we to be judged by fear that all this while stopped that gra- man's day, when thou, who art the righcious mouth: thou speakest to him that teous Judge of the world, wert thus miscannot fear those faces he hath made ; he judged by men? Now is the fury of thy that hath charged us to confess him, can malignant enemies let loose upon thee: not but confess himself: “ Jesus saith un- what measure can be too hard for him that to him. Thou hast said." “ There is a is denounced worthy of death? Now those time to speak, and a time to keep silence." | foul mouths defile thy blessed face with He, that is the Wisdom of his father, hath their impure spittle, the venomous froth of here given us a pattern of both. We may their malice: now those cruel hands are not so speak, as to give advantage to cavils: lifted up to buffet thy sacred cheeks: now we may not be so silent as to betray the scorn and insultation triumph over thine truth. Thou shalt have no more cause, humble patience : “ Prophesy unto us, thou proud and insulting Caiaphas, to complain Christ, who it is that smote thee." O dear of a speechless prisoner: now thou shalt Jesu, what a beginning is here of a passion! hear more than thou demandest : “ Here. There thou standest bound, condemned, after sball ye see the Son of Man sitting on spit upon, buffeted, derided by malicious the right hand of power, and coming in the sinners. Thou art bound, who camest to clouds of heaven." There spake my Savi loose the bands of death; thou art conour; “the voice of God, and not of man." | demned, whose sentence must acquit the Hear now, insolent high-priest, and be con-world; thou art spit upon, who art" fairer founded. That Son of Man, whom thou than the sons of men;" thou art buffeted, seest, is the Son of God, whom thou canst“ in whose mouth there was no guile ;" not see: that Son of Man, that Son of thou art derided, “ who art clothed with God, that God and Man, whom thou now glory and majesty." seest standing despicably before thy con. In the meanwhile, how can I enough sistorial seat, in a base dejectedness, him wonder at thy infinite mercy, who, in the shalt thou once, with horror and trembling, midst of all these woful indignities, couldst see majestically sitting on the throne of find a time to cast thine eyes back upon thy heaven, attended with thousand thousands frail and ungrateful disciple, and in whose of angels, and coming in the clouds to that | gracious ear Peter's cock sounded louder dreadful judgment, wherein thyself, amongst than all these reproaches? O Saviour ! other damned malefactors, shall be presented thou, who, in thine apprehension, couldst before that glorious tribunal of his, and ad-forget all thy danger, to correct and heal his judged to thy just torments.
| over-lashing, now in the heat of thy arraign. Go now, wretched hypocrite, and rend ment and condemnation, canst forget thy thy garments; while, in the meantime, own misery, to reclaim his error : and, by thou art worthy to have thy soul rent from that seasonable glance of thine eye, tu strike thy body, for thy spiteful blasphemy against his heart with a needful remorse. He that the Son of God. Onwards thy pretence is was lately so valiant to fight for thee, now, fair, and such as cannot but receive ap- the next morning, is so cowardly as to deny plause from thy compacted crew : “ What | thee: he shrinks at the voice of a maid, need have we of witnesses ? behold, now who was not daunted with the sight of a ye have heard his blasphemy. What think band. O Peter, had thy slip been sudder., ye? And they answered and said, He is thy fall had been more easy; premonition guilty of death."
aggravates thy offence: that stone was foreslowed thee whereat thou stumbledst; cheeks channels that shall never be dried ! neither did thy warning more add to thy “ And Peter went out and wept bitterly." guilt, than thine own fore-resolution. How didst thou vow, though thou shouldst die with thy Master, not to deny him! Hadst CONTEMPLATION XXXI. - CHRIST BEFORE thou said nothing, but answered with a
PILATE, trembling silence, thy shaine had been the less. Good purposes, when they are not Well worthy were these Jews to be held, do so far turn enemies to the enter- tributary: they had cast off the yoke of tainer of them, as that they help to double their God, and had justly earned this Ro. both his sin and punishment.
man servitude. Tiberius had befriended Yet a single denial had been but easy: f them too well with so favourable a governor thine, I fear to speak it, was lined with as Pilate. Had they had the power of life swearing and execration. Whence then, and death in their hands, they had not been O whence, was so vehement and peremp beholden to a Heathen for a legal murder. tory disclamation of so gracious a Master? I know not whether they more repine at What such danger had attended thy pro this slavery, or please themselves to think fession of his attendance? One of thy | how cleanly they can shift off this blood fellows was known to the high-priest for a into another's hand. These great masters follower of Jesus, yet he not only came him- of Israel flock from their own consistory to self into that open hall, in view of the Pilate's judgment-hall. The sentence had bench, but treated with the maid that kept | been theirs, the execution must be his; and the door to let thee in also. She knew him now they hope to bear down Jesus with the for what he was, and could therefore speak stream of that frequent confluence. to thee, as brought in by his mediation : But what ails you, O ye rulers of Israel, “ Art not thou also one of this man's dis-that ye stand thus thronging at the door? ciples ?" Thou also supposest the first why do ye not go in to that public room of acknowledged such; yet what crime, what judicature, to call for that justice ye came danger, was urged upon that noted disciple? | for? Was it for that ye would not defile What could have been more to thee? Was yourselves with the contagion of a Heathen it that thy heart misgave thee thou mightst roof? Holy men ! your consciences would be called to account for Malchus? It was not suffer you to yield to so impure an act; no thank to thee that that ear was healed; your Passover must be kept, your perneither did there want those that would sons must be clean : while ye expect justice think how near that ear was to the head. from the man, ye abhor the pollution of Doubtless, that busy fellow himself was not the place. Woe to you priests, scribes, el. far off, and his fellows and kinsmen would ders, hypocrites ! can there be any roof so have been apt enough to follow thee, be. unclean as that of your own breasts ? Not sides thy discipleship, upon a bloodshed, a Pilate's walls, but your hearts, are impure. riot, a rescue. Thy conscience hath made Is murder your errand, and do ye stick at thee thus unduly timorous: and now, to be | a local infection ? “ God shall smite you, sure, to avoid the imputation of that affray, ye whited walls." Do ye long to be stained thou renouncest all knowledge of him in with blood, with the blood of God? and whose cause thou foughtest. Howsoever, do ye fear to be defiled with the touch of the sin was heinous. I tremble at such a Pilate's pavement ? Doth so small a gnat fall of so great an apostle. It was thou, o stick in your throats, while ye swallow such Peter, that buffetedst thy Master more than a camel of flagitious wickedness? Go out of those Jews; it was to thee that he turned yourselves, ye false dissemblers, if ye would the cheek from them, as to view him by not be unclean. Pilate, onwards, hath more whom he most smarted: he felt thee afar cause to fear, lest his walls should be deoff, and answered thee with a look; such filed with the presence of so prodigious a look as was able to kill and revive at once.monsters of impiety.
Thou hast wounded me, mayst thou now That plausible governor condescends to say, O my Saviour! “ Thou hast wounded humour their superstition: they dare not my heart with one of thine eyes;" that one come into him; he yields to go forth to eye of thy mercy hath wounded my heart them. Even Pilate begins justly: “ What with a deep remorse for my grievous sin, accusation bring you against this man ?" with an indignation at my unthankfulness; It is no judging of religion by the outward that one glance of thine hath resolved me demeanour of men; there is more jus. into the tears of sorrow and contrition.- tice amongst Romans than amongst Jews. O that mine eyes were fountains, and my These malicious Rabbis thought it enough, that they had sentenced Jesus; no more | malice, this blood had not been shed. How was now expected but a speedy execu. palpably doth their tongue bewray their tion. « If he were not a malefactor, we heart ! “ It is not lawful for us to put any would not have delivered him up unto | man to death." Pilate talks of judgment, thee.” Civil justice must be their hangman. they talk of death. This was their only It is enough conviction that he is delivered aim : law was but a colour, judgment was up to the secular powers: themselves have but a ceremony; death was their drift, and judged, these other must kill. Pilate and without this nothing. Blood-thirsty priests Caiaphas have changed places: this pagan and elders! it is well that this power of speaks that law and justice which that high | yours is restrained: no innocence could priest should have done; and that high- have been safe, if your lawless will had had priest speaks those murdering incongruities no limits. It were pity this sword should which would better have beseemed the be in any but just and sober hands. Your mouth of a pagan. “ What needs any new fury did not always consult with law: what trial? Dost thou know, Pilate, who we | law allowed your violence to Stephen, to are? Is this the honour that thou givest to Paul and Barnabas, and your deadly at. our sacred priesthood ? is this thy valuation tempts against this blessed Jesus, whom ye of our sanctity? Had the basest of the vul- now persecute? How lawful was it for you gar complained to thee, thou couldst but to procure that death which ye could not have put them to a review. Our place inflict? It is all the care of hypocrites to and holiness looked not to be distrusted. seek umbrages and pretences for their hateIf our scrupulous consciences suspect thy ful purposes, and to make no other use of very walls, thou mayest well think, there laws, whether divine or human, but to serve is small reason to suspect our consciences. turns. Upon a full hearing, ripe deliberation, and Where death is fore-resolved, there can. exquisitely judicial proceeding, we have sen- | not want accusations. Malice is not so bartenced this malefactor to death: there needs ren as not to yield crimes enough : “ And no more from thee but thy command of they began to accuse him, saying, We found execution.” O monsters, whether of malice this fellow perverting the nation, and foror injustice! Must he then be a malefactor bidding to give tribute unto Cæsar, saying, whom ye will condemn ? is your bare word that he himself is Christ and king.” ground enough to shed blood? whom did What accusations, saidst thou, O Pilate? ye ever kill but the righteous ? by whose heinous and capital: thou mightst have behands perished the prophets? The word lieved our confident intimation ; but, since was but mistaken: ye should have said, If thou wilt needs urge us to particulars, we had not been malefactors, we had never know, that we come furnished with such delivered up this innocent man unto thee. an indictment as shall make thine ears glow
It must needs be notoriously unjust, to hear it. Besides that blasphemy whereof which very nature hath taught pagans to he hath been condemned by us, this man abhior. Pilate sees and hates this bloody is a seducer of the people, a raiser of sedi. suggestion and practice. Do ye pretend tion, an usurper of sovereignty. O impudent holiness, and urge so injurious a violence suggestion! What marvel is it, O Saviour, If he be such as ye accuse him, where is if thine honest servants be loaded with his conviction ? if he cannot be legally con- slanders, when thy most innocent person victed, why should he die? Do ye think I escaped not so shameful criminations. Thou may take your complaint for a crime? If I a perverter of the nation, who taughtst the must judge for you, why have ye judged for way of God truly!- thou a forbidder of tri. yourselves ? Could ye suppose that I would bute, who paidst it, who prescribedst it, condemn any man unheard? If your Jewish who provedst it to be Cæsar's due! - thou laws yield you this liberty, the Roman laws a challenger of temporal sovereignty, who yield it not to me; it is not for me to judge avoidedst it, who renouncedst it, who pro. after your laws, but after our own. Your fessedst to come to serve! O the forehead prejudgment may not sway me; since ye of malice! Co, ye shameless traducers, and have gone so far, be ye your own carvers swear that truth is guilty of all falsehood, of justice: “ Take ye him and judge him justice of all wrong; and that the sun is according to your law.”
the only cause of darkness, fire of cold. O Pilate, how happy had it been for I Now Pilate startles at the charge. The thee, if thou hadst held thee there! thus name of tribute, the name of Cæsar, is in thou hadst washed thy hands more clean mention; these potent spells can fetch him than in all thy basons. Might law have back to the common hall, and call Jesus to been the rule of this judgment, and not the bar. There, O Saviour, standest thou
meekly to be judged, who shall once come rule is over the conscience, yours over bo. to judge the quick and the dead: then shall dies and lives; he punishes with hell, ye he, before whom thou stoodst guiltless and with temporal death or torture. Yea, so dejected, stand before thy dreadful Majesty, far is he from opposing your government, guilty and trembling.
| that, “ by him ye kings reign :" your scep. The name of a king, of Cæsar, is justly tres are his; but to maintain, not to wield, tender and awful; the least whisper of a not to resist. ( the unjust fears of vain usurpation or disturbance is entertained (men! He takes not away your earthly with a jealous care. Pilate takes this inti- kingdoms, who gives you heavenly; he mation at the first bound : “ Art thou then discrowns not the body, who crowns the the King of the Jews?" He felt his own soul; his intention is not to make you less freehold now touched; it was time for him great, but more happy. to stir. Daniel's weeks were now famously The charge is so fully answered, tnat known to be near expiring. Many arrogant Pilate acquits the prisoner. The Jewish and busy spirits, as Judas of Galilee, Theu- masters stand still without: their very malice das, and that Egyptian seducer, taking that dares not venture their pollution in going in advantage, had raised several conspiracies, | to prosecute their accusation. Pilate hath set up new titles to the crown, gathered examined him within, and now comes forth forces to maintain their false claims. Per. to these eager complainants, with a cold haps Pilate supposed some such business | answer to their over-hot expectation : " I now on foot, and therefore asks so curiously, find in him no fault at all." O noble tes. “ Art thou the King of the Jews ?”
timony of Christ's innocence, from that He, that was no less wisdom than truth, mouth which afterwards doomed him to thought it not best either to affirm or deny death! What a difference there is betwixt at once. Sometimes it may be extremely a man as he is himself, and as he is the serprejudicial to speak all truths. To disclaim vant of others' wills! It is Pilate's tongue that title suddenly, which had been of old that says, “I find in him no fault at all :" given him by the prophets, at his birth by it is the Jews' tongue in Pilate's mouth, the Eastern sages, and now lately at his that says, “ Let him be crucified.” That procession by the acclaiming multitude, had cruel sentence cannot blot him, whom this been injurious to himself; to profess and attestation cleareth. Neither doth he say, challenge it absolutely, had been unsafe, I find him not guilty in that whereof he is and needlessly provoking. By wise and just accused; but gives a universal acquittance degrees, therefore, doth he so far affirm this of the whole carriage of Christ -- " I find truth, that he both satisfies the inquirer, in him no fault at all.” In spite of malice, and takes off all peril and prejudice from innocence shall find abettors. Rather than his assertion. Pilate shall know him a King, Christ shall want witnesses, the mouth of but such a King as no king needs to fear, Pilate shall be opened to his justification. as all kings ought to acknowledge and adore: How did these Jewish blood-suckers stand “ My kingdom is not of this world.” It is thunder-stricken with so unexpected a word! your mistaking, O ye earthly potentates, that His absolution was their death, his acquittal is guilty of your fears. Herod hears of a their conviction. “No fault," when we bare King born, and is troubled; Pilate hears of found crimes? “no fault at all," when we a King of the Jews, and is incensed. Were have condemned him for capital offences ? ye not ignorant, ye could not be jealous ; How palpably doth Pilate give us the lie! had he learned to distinguish of kingdoms, how shamefully doth he affront our autho. these suspicions would vanish.
rity, and disparage our justice! So ingenuThere are secular kingdoms, there are ous a testimony, doubtless, exasperated the spiritual: neither of these trenches upon | fury of these Jews: the fire of their indigother : your kingdom is secular, Christ's is nation was seven-fold more intended with spiritual; both may, both must stand to the sense of their repulse. gether. His laws are divine, yours civil : ! I tremble to think how just Pilate as yet his reign is eternal, yours temporal : the was, and how soon after depraved; yea, glory of his rule is in ward, and stands in how merciful, together with that justice. the graces of sanctification, love, peace, How fain would he have freed Jesus, whom righteousness, joy in the Holy Ghost; yours he found faultless! Corrupt custom, in in outward pomp, riches, magnificence: his memory of their deliverance from Egyptian enemies are the devil, the world, and the bondage, allowed to gratify the Jews with flesh; yours are bodily usurpers, and exter- | the free delivery of some one prisoner. Tranal peace-breakers: his sword is the power dition would be encroaching: the Paschal of the Word and Spirit, yours material ; his lamb was monument enough of that happy