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The Sanhedrim consult how they should deal with Jesus.

259

SECT. CXLI.
The Sanhedrim being informed of the Resurrection of Laza-

rus, by the Advice of Caiaphas agree, that Jesus pould
be put to Death. He retires to Ephraim, and they issue
an Order for apprehending him. John XI. 47, to the End.
JOHN XI. 47. .

Jown XI. 47. THEN gathered the Chief I T was before observed, (at the Close of the Sect. 141. 1 Priests and the Pharisees

I last Section) that some who had been presents a Council, and said, What

oth at the Resurrection of Lazarus, instead of being do we? for this Man doth at the Kelurrection of Lazarus,

John XI. 47 many Miracles.

duly wrought upon by the Miracle, went away
and made an invidious Report of it to the Pha-
risees : The Chief Priests therefore and the Phari-
fees, who were united in their Enmity to Christ,
being exceedingly alarmed at so astonishing and
Information, convened the Sanhedrim, which was
the great Council of the Jewish Nation ; and said,
What are we doing in this strange Conjuncture of
Affairs ? and why do we seem to be dreaming,
when Things are come to such a Crisis? It is of
absolute Necessity, that some effectual Method
should immediately be taken ; for it is not to be
denied, that by some Means or other, this Man,
whom we have been so solicitous to suppress, does

many of the most surprizing Miracles that were
48 If we let him thus ever seen or heard of:. And if we suffer him 48
alone, all Men will believe [to go on) thus uncontrolled, all the populace will
on him ; and the Romans

believe on him as the promised Meffiah, and will both our Place and Nation. acknowledge him as the King of Israel; and what

can we expect will be the Consequence of this,
but that the Power of the Romans, so vastly su-
perior to ours, will be armed against us, and their
Legions will come, and take away both our Place
and Nation ; they will destroy Jerusalem, and this
sacred Temple where we are now assembled, and
will extirpate all the People who are committed

to our Guardianship and Care.
49 And one of them And while some of the Council seemed appre- 49
mamed Caiaphas, being the henfive of the Danger of attempting any thing

against Jesus, one of them, [even] Caiaphas, who
Kk 2.

among

High

260 Caiaphas advises, that One Mould die for the People. Sect. 141. among the many sudden Revolutions which hap- High-Priest that same Year,

said unto them, Ye know. pened in the Government about that Time, was

nothing at all, John 21. 49. High-Priest that Year in which Christ was cracia

fied (a), said to them, while they were thus de-
liberating, You seem to know nothing at all of
what the present Urgency of Affairs requires, or
you would easily find out a Remedy, in the Death

of this Jesus, who occasions such an Alarm :
50 Nor is this to be scrupled, because he does not 50 Nor consider that it
appear to have committed any Crime which is is expedient for us, that one

Man should die for the Peo- . made Capital by our Law ; for do you not con- ple, and that the whole Na. fider, that the extream Danger of a State will tion perish not. justify such extraordinary Steps as are necessary for its Preservation, and that it is undoubtedly much better for us, that One innocent Man Mould die for the Security of the People, than that the wbole Nation he belongs to pould perip by our fcrupling to take away his Life?

Now this, by the Way, was a very remarkable 51 And this spake he, not Saying; and it is to be observed, that he spake it of himself : but being High-

Priest that Year, he prophenot merely of himself, but being High-Priest that fied that Jesus thould die for Year, and so a Person of the greatest Dignity and that Nation :Authority, he was moved by a secret Impulse from God to utter these Words, which might be

efteemed as an Oracle, and were capable of a · much higher Şenfe than he apprehended ; and by

them he in Effect prophesied (6), that Jefiis. fhould

fhortly die for the Security, Redemption, and Hapo 52 piness of the Jewish Nation : And' indeed, not 52 And not for that Nafor the Jewith Nation alone, but for all the Na- tion only, but that also he

should. tions of the Earth, even that he also might gather

together

(a) Was High-Priest that Year. It is well known, that the High-Priesthood among the Jews was not Annual ; but the many Revolutions about that Time might justify such a Manner of speaking, which signifies no more than in those Days, or at that Time. (Compare Deut. xxvi. 3: 706. xx. 6. Ezek. xxxviii, 8. and Mal, iii. 4.) See Mr. Lardner's Creo dibility, Vol. i. pag. 512, 513

(6) Being High-Priest that rear, he prophesied.] The Jewish High-Priests had in former Ages been often under the Inspiration of a Prophetic Spirit : There was therefore some peculiar Congruity in putting this Oracle into his Mouth, and the Dignity of his Office would add some peculiar Weight and Regard to what he said. It is a strange Fancy of Dr. Lightfoot, that Caiaphas knew 7efus to be the Messiah, and that the Sanbedrim founded their Apprehension of Danger from the Romans, in Consequence of the Regard shewn to him, on a ridiculous Interpretation of Isa. X. ult. and xi. 1. whence they inferred, that the Destruction of the Temple should quickly fucceed the Coming of the Meliab. See his Hor. Hebr. on John xi. 48, 51. .

They resolve on bis-Death, and Jesus retires to Ephraim. 261 should gather together in together into one glorious and happy Society all the Sect. 141. one the Children of God

GOD chosen Children of GOD, that a that were factered abroad. broad in the most distant Places and

*** John XI. 52. the Gentiles as well as the Jews. 53 Then from that Day From that very Day therefore, the Members 53 forth they took Counsel to- of the Sanhedrim in general, (tho' some partigether for to put him to

cular Persons were averse to their Proceedings, ) Death.

having thus resolved upon the Death of Jesus,
fought for an opportunity to execute the Purpose
they had formed, and united their Counsels, that
they might find out some convenient Method to

Tay bim. . . 54 Jesus therefore walk. For this Reason Jesus, who knew the secret 545 ed no more openly among Resolution they had formed to take away his the Jews; but went thence unto a Country near to the Life, walked no more openly among the Jews in Wilderness, into a City call those Parts; till the appointed Hour for his Suffered Ephraim, and there con- ing was come ; but instead of visiting Jerusalem, tinued with his Disciples.

he went away from thence, even from Bethany
where he now was, into the Country near the Wil-
derness. of Judea, to a little City called Ephraim (c),
which lay not far from Bethel on the Confines of
the Tribe of Benjamin ; and there be continued.
a while with a few of bis select Disciples, and
afterwards took a little Journey Eastward, towards
the Banks of the River Jordan (d), from whence
he had lately come to Bethany on Account of

Lazarus's Death. ..
55 And the Jews Paíso- And soon after this the Jewish Passover drew 55
ver was nigh at hand : and near ; and many went up from all parts of the
many went out of the Coun-
try úp to Terufalem before Country to Jerusalem, some little Time before the
the Passover, to purify them- Passover, that they might purify themselves by some
selves.

preparatory Sacrifices (e), in order to be ready for

the Celebration of that solemn Festival. (Com56 Then sought they for pare 2. Chron. xxx. 17:). Then as the People 56 Jesus,

came

55 And the

wind and near ; and many wen.come little Time before the

(c) To a City called Ephraim.] This City (which is mentioned with Bethel, 2 Chron: xiii. 19.) is by fome called Ephrem, and is generally supposed to have lain in the North-East Part of the Lot of Benjamin. See Reland's Palestin. pag. 376. and compare Note (a) on Luke xiii. 23. pag. 138. .

(d) Tookalitele Journey Eastward, &c.] This we have Reason to suppose, or Jericha. would not have lain in his Way to Jerusalem, which yet we find that yeus passed throin his Return. See Luke xix. 1. Sit. 143.

(e) That they might purify themselves by some preparatory Sacrifices. ) Dr. Lightfoot (in his Hor. Hebr. on this place, has shewn, that as a variety of Circumstances mighi happen to Multitudes which would require Purification, so some sort of Cleansing required no less than Seven Days.

262 The Sanhedrim give Orders to all to discover him. Sect. 141. came together, they diligently sought for yesus Jesus,, and spake among w m there, being some of them delirous to see and hearin

'themselves as they stood in John XI. 56.

the Temple, What think 11.5°. him, and others wanting to discover him to his ye, that he will not come to

avowed Enemies the Pharisees ; and as it could the Feaft?
not but be generally known, that the surprizing
Miracle, which he had lately wrought, had very
much inflamed the Rage and Enyy of his Perse-
cutors, they were suspicious whether he would
venture to appear in Publick, and said one to ano-
ther, as they stood in the Temple, What think ye of
his coming to the Passover ? Do you suppose, that
after this Alarm he will not have the Co
come to the Feast ? . But both the Chief. Priests - 57 Now both the Chief

Priests and the Pharisees had and the Pharifées, concluding that he would not

given a Commandment, that fail to come according to his usual Custom, no if any Man knew where he longer dissembled their Malice, but publifhed a were, he should thew it, Mandate, by which they had given an express that they might take him. Command, that if any one knew where he was, he should immediately declare [it] to them ; that they might apprehend, and bring him to his Trial, as a Disturber of the publick Peace, and a Person dangerous to the State.

age to

57

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John xi. 47.
W H ERE shall we find such restless, such causeless, such incorri-

gible Malice, as was in the Hearts of these Rulers against our Blessed Saviour ? What but Divine Grace can reclaim Men, when to have heard of the Resurrection of Lazarus from their own Friends and Confidents, who had just been Eye-witnesses of it, instead of conquer

ing their Hearts, served only to inflame their murtherous Rage ? Ver. 47,-50. This is an Instance, where we evidently see the Place of Judgment, that

Wickedness was there; and the Place of Righteousness, that Iniquity was
there. (Eccles. iii. 16.) The High-Prieji lays down a most dangerous, tho'
plausible Maxim, which is in Effect no other than this, “ That the Mur.
is ther of an Innocent Person by Forms of Law,” (which, as a noble Suf-
ferer observed, is surely the worst Kind of Murther,)“ nay, even of a
« Person who by Miracles demonstrated that he was an Embassador from
« God, was to be chosen, rather than by protecting and obeying him,
“ to give Umbrage to an Earthly Power, which seemed superior to their
16 own.” When will the Politicians of this Earth learn to trust GOD
his own Ways, rather than to trust themselves, and their own Wisdom,
in Violation of all the Rules of Truth, Honour, and Conscience ? Till

then,

Reflestions on the Rage and Folly of Christ's Enemies. 263 then, like this foolish Ruler, they will be caught in their own Craftiness ; Sect. 141. and it is more than possible, that they may, in many Instances, hasten them very Distress, they are contriving to avoid. For this was here the Event: The Romans (called therefore the People of Messiah the Prince, Dan. ix. 26.) were sent as Executioners of the Divine Vengeance, and the Yews were given up to a Spirit of Discord and Madness, the terrible Effects of which were such as cannot be read without Horror, till their Place and Nation were taken away; nor could even the Roman General forbear declaring, that the Hand of GOD was apparent in their Destruction.

Let us attend to this Divine Oracle, which God saw fit to put into Ver. 51, 52. the Mouth of so wicked a Man. Hefus has actually died for the People, even for all the Children of GOD that are scattered abroad. His Death is substituted instead of theirs ; and by it they are redeemed and delivered, and shall e’er long be incorporated together, and all the happy Colony be raised to an Abode of eternal Glory. Blessed Harvest, which springs up from Redeeming Blood ! Heroic Love of the dear Redeemer, which at the proper Time brought him to Jerusalem, where he knew that Evil Ver. 56, 57, was determined against him! Let us follow him in a couragious Adherence to God, and our Duty, in the Midst of Danger and Opposition; and.. not wonder, if we are set up as the Marks of Infamy and Reproach, when we fee Yesus marked out by a publick Mandate, as if he had been a Robber or a Murtherer ; and find so numerous and grand a Court of Judicature, requiring their Subjects to seize this most generous Friend of the whole World, as the grand Enemy of God and his Country.

SE CT. CXLII.

CHRIST setting out on bis-last' Journey to Jerusalem, pro

phefies of his Sufferings there ; rebukes the Ambition of
James and John; and renews his Exhortations to Humility.
Mat. XX. 17,---28. Mark X. 32,---46.- Luke XVIII.
31,---340
MARK X. 32.

MARK X. 32.
AND they were in the A T length our Lord departed from the Place Sect: 142.

Way-going up to Jeru A of his Retreat, and tho' he knew the Rev falem : and Jesus went be

****for folution that his Enemies had formed against him. Mat. X. 326

yet he set out with his Disciples, and (taking Je-
richo in his Road,) was determined to make his
Appearance in the Temple at the approaching

Passover ::

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