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14.

540

Pilate at bis Return proposes to scourge, and discharge bim. Sect. 187. I must solemnly declare, that I have found no you, have found no Fault in

Crime in this Man as to the Things that you have this Man touching those Luk.XXIII . charged bim with ; nor can I in

Things whereof ye accuse my

Conscience him ; think, that

you have made good any of the Ac15 cusations

you have brought against him : Nor 15 No, nor yet Herod": yet bas Herod been able to make any fuch Disco- for I sent you to him, and

lo, nothing worthy of Death. very; for I sent you to bim with the Prisoner, that is done unto him. you might do your utmost to convict him before that Prince, who being a Person of your own Religion, and well acquainted with your Laws and Customs, might have known more of the Matter than myself; and yet behold, it appears to have been Herod's Judgment, that nothing worthy of Death has been done by him (C); for instead of fending him back like one who deserves a Capital Sentence, he has treated him like an Ideot, rather than a Traitor, so as plainly to Thew, that he thinks him merely the Object of Ridicule, or to

deserve at most but some light Punishment..
16 And therefore when I have chastised bim by scourg- 16 I will therefore chastise

ing, which will be an Admonition to him for the him, and release him.
future not to use those wild enthusiastical Ex-
pressions, which have given so much Umbrage and
Sufpicion, I will let him] go : And I believe you :
may depend upon it, that he will give us no far-
ther Trouble ; nor would he have Interest enough

to do it, if he were inclined to the Attempt.
Mark XV.6.
Now it was usual at the Feast of the Passover,

MARK XV. 6. Now at

that Feast [the Governor (and) even was grown by Custom in a manner

was wont] (LUK, and of necessary (d), for the Roman Governor to release to Necessity he muft] [release the People any one Prisoner, whom they defred' to unto the People) one Pri

be set at Liberty, whatever Crime it was that he soner, whomsoever they de7 was charged with.

fired. (Mat. XXVII, 15. And there was then in Pi- LUKE XXIII. 17.) late's Custody a very infamous and noted Prisoner, 7. And there was [then a

notable whose

(c). Nothing worthy of Death has been done by him.] Flerpaq Memor owula muft here have this Signification, as the Margin of our Bible renders it ; for tho this is something of an unusual Construction, yet as Raphelius (Annot. ex Polyb. pag. 259,) has produced many Instances of the like Nature, it would be much harsher to suppose, that a Capital Sentence, or any Treatment from Herod, which should intimate he thought Iefus deserved it, should be called assov Javals, fomething worthy of Death.

(d) Usual, and in a manner necessary.] There was no Law to oblige him to this ; but as Kets of Grace are generally popular Things, this seems to have been forft freely fed by the Romans to please their Tributaries, and now by Custom was in a manner established. I find no fubftantial Reason to believe, there was in the Original of this Custom any, Retesence to the Deliverance of Ifrael from the Egyptian Bondage at this Time.

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It was usual at the Feast to release a Prisoner to them. 541 notable Prisoner) named Ba- whose Name was Barabbas, that lay bound with Sect. 187. rabbas, which lay bound with them that had made Insur. fome other Ruffians, who had made an Insurrection Mark XV. rection with him [Luk. in in the City in Conjunction with him, and who bad the City), who had commit- also committed Murther in the Insurrection ; and ted Murther in the Insur- besides the Part he had acted in this feditious re&tion, (Joh. and was a Robber.] (MAT. XXVII. Riot, he was a Fellow of a most abandoned Cha16. Luke XXIII. 19. racter, and known to be a Robber, who had inJohn XVIII. -40.] fested the High-ways with his Villany; so that

it was generally concluded, he would receive Sen

tence of Death, and would be executed that Day. 8 And the Multitude And as the Power of reversing or executing such 8. Etherefore when they were Sentences then lay in the Romans, the People sloud, began to delire bin therefore, when they were gatbered together about to do as he had ever done the Tribunal, began with a great Noise and Claunto them. (Mat.XXVII. mour to demand of Pilate, [that be would do] at this 17.-)

Passover, as be had always done to them upon the

like Occasions, and would difcharge a Prisoner. 9 Bat Pilate answered And Pilate hoping that he might preserve the 91 them, saying, ļJOH. Ye Life of Jesus, whose Innocence he so clearly release unto you one at the faw, determined to attempt it by this Method ; Passover :] [Whom) will

and accordingly, that he might induce them to poh. therefore) that I re- chuse him, he proposed no other Alternative; lease unto you? (Barabbas: than that scandalous and outragious Criminal; or Jesus, which is called Chrift, ] "the King

of the whom we have just now mentioned, and answers Jews ? (Mat. XXVII. ed'them, saying, You have indeed a Custom that I --17. Joun XVIII. 39.). should release to you one at the Passover, and I am

ready "now to oblige you in this Affair ; Whom
will you therefore chuse, that I release unto you?
Barabbas, that seditious and murtherous Robber?
or this Jesus, who is called Chrift, whom fome of
you pretend to be, in. I know not what strange
Sense, the King of the Jews, and whom you see

before you in the fine Robe, in which Herod
10 (For he knew that the has thought fit to array him? For be knew 10
Chief Priests had delivered that the Chief Priests and Rulers had not delivered
him for Envy.) [MAT. him up into his Hands from a Regard to Justice,
XXVII. 18.]

but merely out of Envy. at his Popularity; and
therefore he was willing to make the Proposal to
the People in such a Form, as might be most

likely to secure his Life.
II But the Chief Priests But the Chief Priests and Elders, who were
[and Elders] moved [ and exceedingly solicitous to obtain their End, left this

per. Artifice of the Governor should defeat all their
laboured Scheme, excited the most forward of

the

II

Mark XV. 11.

18.

542

The Jews prefer Barabbas to CHRIST,
Sect. 187. the People, [and] effectually persuaded the Mob persuaded the People, [that

they had brought with them, that they should ask rather relcase Barabbas unto
the Governor with a continual Noise and Cla- them, [and destroy Jesus.)
mour, that he would rather release Barobbas to [Mat. XXVII. 20.)
them ; that by this Means the point they had in

View might be secured, and they might be sure
Matth. to destroy Jesus. And therefore when the Go- MAT.XXVII.21,-'The
XXVII. 21. vernor answered them in this Manner, and said Governor answered and said
to them again, Take Notice that your Choice lies unto them. Whether of the

twain will ye that I release only between these, and therefore now determine unto you?

for yourselves, which of the Two do you desire I Luk. XXIII. should release unto you

? Then, as their Prin- LUKE XXIII. 18. And cipals had prompted them, they all cried out again [Jox, then they [Joh. all! with one Consent, in the same noisy and tumul- once, saying, (Joh. Not this tuous Way as they had done before, saying, We Man, but Barabbas :) away will not have this (Man] but Barabbas; away with with this Man, and release this (Man,) and release unto us Barabbas. And XXVII.-21. John XVIII. thus, when Pilate would have let him go, they 40.—] denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a Murtherer to be granted unto them. (Acts iii. 14.) And Pilate, to divert them from their Purpose, Pilate answered, and faid

MARK XV. 12. And again answered and said to them, What therefore, again unto them, What will

have me do with this yesus, who is called ye then that I fall do (with Christ,

and whom, if I may believe your own Jesus, which is called Chrift] Rulers, so

call the King of of many you are ready to call and own

the Jews ? (MAT. XXVII. 13 as the King of the Yews (e) ?

And they all 22.-) presently renewed their Clamour, and cried out 13 And they call] cried again as before, [and] with one Voice said to

out again, (and say unto

him,] Crucify him : [Let bim, Crucify him : Let him immediately be cruci- him be crucified.] [MAT. fied; for he is fit to be treated as the vilest Slave, XXVII. —22.] rather than to be called our King (f).

Pilate

Mark XV. 12.

would you

whom

ye

(e) Whom you call the King of the Jews.] Pilate often repeats this Title ; and it may seem strange, that he should use it fo frequently. Probably he might do it, partly to ridicule those Pretences, and bring Contempt on the Scheme of a Meliah ; and partly to procure from the Jews, in their Zeal against Christ, the strongest and most publick Professions of their Subjection to Cæfar.

(f) Let him be crucified.] By this Cry they declared the greatest Degree of Rage that can be imagined; for it was as if they had said, “ Let him whom you call our King, be “ treated like one of the vileft of your Slaves, who has committed the most enormous “ Crime.” To have in Aicted such a Punishment as this on any free Jew, would probably have been sufficient to have thrown the whole City and Nation into an Uproar; but now they were deaf to every thing, but the Clamour of Paffion; and in their Madness forgot with how dangerous a Precedent they might furnish the Roman Governor. And indeed it turned dreadfully on themselves, when such vaft Numbers of them were crucified for their Opposition to the Romans, during the Time of their last War. See Note (n) in the next Section, on Mat. xxvii, 25.

(8) Why?

20.

and eagerly cry out to have him crucified.

543 LUKE XXIII. 20. Pilate Pilate therefore, being still defrous to release Sect. 187. therefore willing to release Jesus, spake to them yet again; urging them feriJesus, spake again to them. ously to consider what they did, in thus prefer

Luk. XXIII. ring such an abandoned Miscreant as Barabbas, to 21 But they cried, say- so innocent a Person. But they, without so 21 ing, Crucify him, crucify much as offering any farther Reason, persisted in him.

their Importunity, and cried out as before, say

ing, Crucify [him,] crucify him.
22 And [Mar. Pilate] "And Pilate was so intent on delivering him, 22
faid unto them the third that he said to them the third Time, Why will you
Time, Why? what Evil
hath he done? I have found be so cruel as to insist upon it? what Evil ha's be
no Cause of Death in him: done (g)? I declare to you all, as I told you but
I will therefore chastife him,
and let him go. (MAT: now, (ver. 14. pag. 540.) that I have found no
XXVII
. 23.-MARKXV. Capital Crime in him : I will therefore, as I said,

(ver. 16.) chastise bim by scourging, and then I
hope your Rage will be moderated, and you will
be prevailed upon to agree, that I should let [him]

go without any farther Punishment. 23 And they were instant

But they, without pretending to answer the with loud Voices, (Mar. Argument he had alledged, overbore it by a wild

23 and cried out the more exceedingly, ) requiring that Fury, and were urgent in pressing him with loud he might be crucified : and and importunate Voices ; and the more he opthe Chief Priests, prevailed.. posed them, they cried out the more abundantly MAT. XXVII.

-23

and violently, demanding, that whatever was the MARK XV.-14.] Consequence of it, he might be crucified: And

on the whole, notwithstanding the farther Re-
monstrance of Pilate on the Admonition of his
Wife, (which will be mentioned in the next
Section,) their Voices, and [thofė] of the Chief
Priests, (who to encourage the Cry, had so little
Sense of common Decency, as themselves to join
in it,) prevailed with the Governor, tho' con-
trary to the Convictions of his own Conscience,
to comply with their Request.

B

IM PRO V E M E N T.
EHOLD, how all imaginable Circumstances seem to conspire, to Luke xxiii.

increase the Infamy. thrown on that Sacred Head, which now moft 70--11. worthily wears a Crown of Eternal Glory! Of a Truth, oh Lord, against

thy (8) Why? what Evil has be done? ] Te goep na HOU ETOINTED ; Raphelius (Annot. ex Xenoph. pag. 64.) has well proved, that goep is often used by the correcteft Greek Writers, and particularly Xenophon, as an elegant Expletive, especially to introduce a Question,

II.

544 Refleations on their Violence in persecuting JE s U s. Sect. 187. thy holy Child Jesus, both Herod, and Pontius Pilale, with the Gentiles, and

the Chief Priests, and the People of Israel, were gathered together, to do

whatsoever thy Hand and thy Counsel bad determined before to be done. Luke xxiii. (Axts iv. 27, 28.) The wisest Person on Earth was by Herod and bis

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 furioully demanded as a publick Victim by the Jews. All the Proofs of his Innocence are overborne by a loud and a senseless Cry; and those Ho

sannahs, with which the Streets and Temple were so lately ecchoing, are Ver. 21, 23. exchanged into Crucify bim, crucify him." so uncertain is Human Ap

plause ! and so unrighteous may Human Judgments be !

But in the midst of all, the Blessed Yesus stands collected in himself,

Firm as a Rock, he bears the Violence of the Storm, and is not moved Ver. 18, 19. by all the furious Waves, that beat upon him; and when he saw a Robber

and a Murtberer preferred before him, and a Sentence of the most cruel 13, 14

Death demanded against him, he filently commits himself to bim that judgeth righteously, who e'er long brought forth his Righteousness as Brightiness

, and his Salvation as a Lamp that burneth. (Compare i Pet. ii. 23. and Isa. Ixii. 1.)

Lörd, if thou calleft us out to share in thy Sufferings, may the Spirit of GOD and of Glory thus reft on us ! And may neither the Scorn, nor the Rage of our Enemies separate us from Thee, who didst so couragioully 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!

Mark xv.

SECT. CLXXXVIII.

Pilate, having again and again renewed bis Efforts to per-
Juade the Jews, to consent that Jesus pould be released,
at length yields to their Importunity, and delivers him up
to be crucified. Mat. XXVII. 19. 24---31. Mark XV.
15,---20. Luke XXIII. 24, 25. John XIX. 1,-16.-

1

bim.

JOHN XIX. 1.

John XIX. 1. Sec. 188. THEN, as the Priests and People of the Jews THEN Pilate therefore continued their clamorous Demand, that Jesus

took Jesus, and scourged John XIX. should be crucified, Pilate thought it most ad

visable to seem at least to consent to it, and there-
fore took Jesus, and scourged him ; hoping, that

after

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