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He is deserving of death. And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

And the men that held Jesus, mocked him, and spīt in his face, and buffeted him, and others smote him with the palms of their hands,

Saying, Prophecy unto us, thou CHRIST, Who is he that smote thee?

And many other things blasphemously spake, they against him.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

When our Lord's enemies found they could bring no legal accusation against him, they resolved to assemble the whole Council at break of day in the chamber where they used to sit for public business ; they therefore removed from the house of Caiaphas, taking their prisoner with them: and it seems to have been at this time, that JESUS found Peter denying him, and gave him that significant look which had so happy an effect. When ar. rived at the council-chamber, the High Priest and Council, finding that none offered themselves willingly to accuse him, gave intimation, that they would receive testimony even from the most infamous of mankind; persons who, for the sake of a bribe, would give solemn attestation to the most atrocious falsehood. At length

they found two, who they thought would answer their purpose. These suborned witnesses laid hold of an ex.

pression, which our Lord had used some tiine before, alluding to his resurrection from the dead; and by the alteration of a few words they insinuated, that he was an enemy to the Temple, and sought for its destruction, which was deemed equal to blasphemy : for when the

Jews

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they had agreed, have proved how

Jews abandoned other idols, they made a perfect idol of the House of the LORD. Our SAVIOUR's words, Destroy ye this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it, plainly intimated, that he spake of a temple which bis enemies would seek to destroy. Thus did these false witnesses endeavour to convict him, but failed in their attempt, as they differed in their evidence; and 'could not, if him. Our Lord shewed no regard to their faise and frivolous accusation. The High Priest, surprised at his silence, called upon him to make his defence ; but Jesus, knowing how vain it would be for him to plead for himself in so unrighteous a court, the members of which were determined io condemn him, made no reply. He would not deny, ihe charge, becuse he was willing to submit to the sentence; otherwise, he could as easily have put then to silence now, as he had done formerly.

Disappointed in their view of convicting him by means of false

" witnesses, the High Priest and Council asked him to tell them, whether he was the Messiah ? hoping to gain advantage over him, whatever should be his answer. Had he confessed himself to be the CHRIST, they would have condemned him as an impostor ; and, if he had denied it, they would have exposed him to scorn, as afraid to maintain the pretensions he had made. Instead of giving a direct answer, our LORD pointed out their unfair and unjust usage of him, and referred to their silence on å former occasion, when he put a question to them, which would have led them to own h is authority. In order to foree him to declare himself, the High Priest adjured him in the name of God to tell him, whether he was the MESSIAH. Thus called upon, our Saviour immediately answered, that he was ; for

he would not give them cause to charge him with con. tempt of that sacred Name, nor reason to suppose he would ever relinquish his claim as the Messiah: but since he knew they would reject all present proofs, he referred them to the time of his second coming, when the matter would be put beyond dispute, and the prophe. cies fulfilled concerning his glorious coming in the clouds of heaven. Then would they be convinced, that he was not only the Messiah, but the Son of God.' On this Caiaphas, with all the hypocritical appearances of pious indignation, rent his clothes (according to the Jewish custom when any thing was spoken reproachful to God), affecting to be grieved, that so vile a wretch, as he regarded Jesus to be, should claim the sovereignty over Israel, and so near a relation to God. He then appealed to the Council, who all agreed, that there was no occasion to seek for further evidence, since Jesus had convicted himself of a capital crime ; they therefore unanimously pronounced him guilty of blasphemy.

It is supposed, that two belonging to the Council, Joseph of Arimachea and Nicodemus, disapproving these unrighteous proceedings, absented themselves from this assembly.

The officers and soldiers, who had our Lord in custody, finding that he was condemned by the Sanhe. drim, offered him the vilest indignities. Thus did the Council and their wicked adherents prove themselves guilty of the very sin' they laid to the charge of our blessed LORD; for the Evaagelist teaches us to consider scoffing at CHRIST, and denying bim'to be the Son of GOD as BLASPHEMY.

How astonishing it is to contemplate our Saviour's patience under this injurious treament ! In respect to the innocence and usefulness of his doctrine, he made (as we sead is the last section) a most graceful and H6

courageous

courageous appeal to all who hcard him, and yet submitted 1) the injustice of his persecutors without uttering a single complaint ; satisfied that his integrity was so uni. form, no just accusation could be brought against him; and that Divine power so far restrained the false wit. nesses, that they could not effectually injure his character, or brand him with public infamy.

SECTION XXXV.

JÉSUS BROUGHT BEFORE PILATE.

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From Matt. Chap. xxvii.-Luke, xxiii.- John, xviii.

When the morning was come all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.

And the whole multitude of them arose, and when they had bound him, then led they Jesus, from Caiaphas nnto the hall of judgment; and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. " And it was early, and they themselves went not into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled: but that they might eat the passover.

Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accu. sation bring ye against this man ?

They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying, that he himself is CHRIST a king with

And

And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

And he answered him to never a word, insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

Then said Pilate unto them, Take ve him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.

That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

Then Pilate entered into the judgment-hall again, and called Jesus.

And Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the king of the Jews?

Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee unto me : What hast thou done?

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews : but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice,

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. And they were the n.ore fierce, saying, He stirreth up

the

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