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

5 theyshould alk) that he should s e they had brought with them, ibat they sould ask marka Mark XV.

rather release Barabbas unto the Governor with a continual Noise and Cla- them, sand destroy Jesus.] II.

mour, that he would rather release Barabbas 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 Yesus. And therefore when the Go- MAT.XXVII.21.- The XXVII. 21. vernor answered them in this Manner, and said

Governor answered and said

unto them, Whether of the to them again, Take Notice that your Choice lies 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. XXII

Luke XXIII. 18. And 18. cipals had prompted them, they all cried out again

- [Joh. then) they (Joh. all]

cried out Storaginlallai with one Consent, in the same noisy and tumul- once, saying, (Jon. Not this tuous Way as they had done before, saying, We Man, but Barabbas : ) away will not have this (Man) but Barabbas; away with

ich with this Man, and release

unto us Barabbas. [MAT. 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 iï. 14.) Mark XV. And Pilate. to divert them from their Purpose. MARK XV. 12. And 12.

Pilate answered, and said again answered and said to them, What therefore

again unto them, What will would you have me do with this Jesus, who is called ye then that I shall do (with Christ, and whom, if I may believe your own Jesus, which is called Chrift,] Rulers. so many of you are ready to call and own whom ye call the Aing of

the Jews ? (Mat. XXVII. as the King of the Jews (e) ?' And they all 22.-) presently renewed their Clamour, and cried out 13 And they [all) cried again as before, [and] with one Voice said to out again, [and lay unto

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

Pilate

ined ; of the vilefcuch a Pue Whole City Paffionnan. Govo

(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 Meffiah ; and partly to procure from the Jews, in their Zeal against Chrift, the strongest and most publick Profeffions of their Subjection to Cesar.

(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 moft 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 Passion, 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 Şection, on Mat. xxvii, 25.

(8) Why?

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 feri. m Jesus, spake again to them.

XXIII. - ously to consider what they did, in thus prefer- Lu

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

their Importunity, and cried out as before, fay

ing, Crucify [bim,] crucify bim. 22 And [Mar. Pilate] And Pilate was so intent on delivering him, 22 faid unto them the third

Td that he said to them the third Time, Why will you

that
Time, Why? what Evil
hath be done? I have found be so cruel as to insist upon it? what Evil bas he
no Cause of Death in him: done (g)? I declare to you all, as I told you but.
I'will therefore chastise him, now. (ver. 14. pag. 540.) that I have found no
and let him go. (MAT.
XXVII 22 _MARK Xy. Capital Crime in him : I will therefore, as I said,
14.-)

(ver. 16.) chastise him 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 22:
with loud Voices, [MAR. Argument he had alledged, overbore it by a wild
and cried out the more ex-
ceedingly, ] requiring that Fury, and were urgent

him with loud he might be crucified : and and importunate Voices; and the more he opthe Voices of them, and of

posed them, they cried out the more abundantly the Chief Priests, prevailed. P [MAT. XXVII. 23. and violentiy, demo

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

on the whole, notwithstanding the farther Re-
monftrance of Pilate on the Admonition of his
Wife, (which will be mentioned in the next
Section,) their Voices, and [thofel 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.

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Preluing him

IMPROV E M E N T. D EHOLD, how all imaginable Circumstances seem to conspire, to Luke xxiii.

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

thy

() Why? what Evil has he done?) To gop na HOU ETOINTEV ; Raphelius (Annot. ex Xenoph. pag. 64.) has well proved, that gap is often used by the correcteft Greek Writers, and particularly Xenophon, as an elegant Expletive, especially to introduce a Question,

II.

544 Reflections on their Violence in persecuting Jesus. Sect. 187. tby boly Child Jesus, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and w the Chief Priests, and the People of Israel, were gathered together, to do

whatsoever thy Hand and thy Counsel had determined before to be done. Luke xxiü. (Afts iv. 27, 28.) The wisést Person on Earth was by Herod and bis

Soldiers derided as a Fool; the most deserving was condemned by the Chief Priests ; and the moft innocent was treated as a Criminal by Pilate, and furiously 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

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

plause! and so unrighteous may Human Judgments be!

But in the midst of all, the Blessed Vésus 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 Mark xv. and a Murtherer preferred before him, and a Sentence of the most cruel 13, 14.

Death demanded against him, he silently commits himself to bim that judgeth righteously, who e'er long brought forth his Righteousness as Brightiness, and his Šalvation as a Lamp that burneth. (Compare i Pet. ii. 23. and Isa. Ixii. 1.)

Lord, if thou calleft 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 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!

. 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.

JOHN XIX. 1.

John XIX. 1. Sect. 188. THEN, as the Priests and People of the Jews THEN Pilate therefore

I continued their clamorous Demand, that Jesus .. took Jelus, and Icourged John XIX. should be crucified, Pilate thought it most ad

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

after

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MAT. XXVII.27 Gover

that it was before they were

cultom to scourge Priso- XXVII. 27.

Jesus is scourged, and a Crown of Thorns put on his Head. 545

after he had been severely scourged, the Rage of Sect. 188.
the Populace would be something abated, and a
they might at last be prevailed upon to confent, . .. :

that he thould be dismissed.. MAT.XXVII. 27. Then Then the Soldiers of the Governor (a), knowing Matth. the Soldiers of the Gover- that it was the Roman Custom to scourge Prisopor took Jesus (and led him awavlinto the common Hall ners just before they were put to Death, inter(called Pretorium,) and ga-" preted Pilate's Order on this Head, as a Declarathered unto him the whole tion that he was immediately to be crucified : Band of, Soldiers. [MARK And therefore they took Yesus, Tand) led bim away XV. 16.)

into the Common Hall in Pilate's Palace, which
was called the Prætorium, (as being the Place
where the Prætor, a Roman Magistrate, used to
keep his Court ;) and there they gathered to bim
the whole Band, or Cohort, to insult and torment
bim, not being concerned to keep any Measures

with a Person, whom they looked upon as en-
28 And they ftripped him, tirely abandoned to their Will. And having 28
and (clothed him with Pur-
ple, and I put on him a Scar- ftripped bim of that splendid Garment in which
let' Robe : [MARK XV. Herod had contemptuously dressed him, in order
17.- John XIX. -2.] to vary the Mockery and Affront, they wantonly

clothed him in a Vest of Imperial Púrple, [and]
put on bim a Scarlet Robe over it, that in this

gaudy Dress he might have something of a mock
- 29 And when (Joh. the Resemblance to a Prince: And farther to ri- 29
Soldiers) had platted a Crown
of Thorns, they put it upon

n dicule his Pretensions to Royalty, which they

dim
his considered as an Affront to their Nation and Em-

peror, the Soldiers baving maliciously platted a
Crown of Thorns, put it upon bis Head (b), and

' put (a) Then the Soldiers &c.] The Evangelia Foba so plainly speaks of their crowning our Lord with Thorns, and these other Indignities, as previous to Pilate's laft Attempt to save him, that I think it proper to transpose those Verses in Matthew and Mark, which mention these Circumftances as after his Condemnation, and immediately preceding the Execution : Some of them might probably be repeated after Pilate had delivered him to be crucified, while the Instruments of Death were preparing; and therefore Matthew and Mark mention the whole Series of these Cruelties together : Or the Word role, then, (which is used by Matthew,) may only signify, that it was done about that Time, not determining the Order of each Particular so absolutely, as to be inconsistent with the most accurate and diftin&t Account which yohn gives of the whole Process of this Affair. Many Instances of the indeterminate Use of that Particle occur in the Evangelifs : See Mat. ix. 14. xxiv. 40. Mark xiii. 14, 26. Luke xxi. 10, 21, and John xix. 16.

(b) Having platted a Crown of Thorns, &c.] It is certain, they intended hereby to expose his pretended Royalty to Ridicule and Contempt; but bad that been all, a Crown of Straws might have served as well. They undoubtedly meant to add Cruelty to their Scorn, which cspecially appeared in their Atriking him on the Head, when this Crown was put on. If the best Descriptions of the Eastern Thorns are to be credited, they are much larger than any commonly known in these Parts. VOL. IL Z z z

(0) Took

546 i il Pilate's Wife sends to bim to let Jésus alone.... Sect. 188. put a large! Reed, or Cane, into his Right Hand, his Head, and a Reed in his w

to represent a Sceptre : And then thev began in å Right Hand: and they (beMatth... ludicrous Manner to pay their Homage and i Salur ed the Knee before him, [and

gan to salute him, and ) bowXXVII. 29.

tations to him, as to a new-created Prince on his worshipped him,]and mockCoronation Day: fand) bowing the Knee before bim, ed him, saying, Hail, King they did þim Reverence in a scoffing Way, and. imote him with their Hands:

of the Jews : [Joh. and they mocked him, saying. All hail, thou most magnifi- (MAR K. XV. –17, 18, cent King of the Jerus! Hail, mighty Monarch ! -19. JOHN XIX. 2.-3.] we give thee Joy on thine Accession to the Crown! :::.' And then' approaching him, as if they would com

. have offered him some Present, as ufual on such

Occasions, they smote him with their Hands; 30 And proceeded so far as to spit upon him, even in 30 And they [did] spit bis very Fiocesandoit bf toob the Peodor Cane upon him, and took the

Reed, and smote him on the out of his. Hand (c); and barbarously Jtruck him Head. MARK XV. 19.-1 with it on the Head; and fo, as it were, nailed down the Thorns into his Forehead and Temples, and occafioned thereby exquisite Pain, as well as a great Effafion of Blood: All which this holy . Suffereri þorel with the utmost Meekness and Composure, neither feðiling nor threatening them, but filently committing himself to the righteous

invisible Judge, (1 Pet. ii. 23:) != 1; Matth. In the mean Time, Pilate was taken up with MAT.XXVII. 19. When XXVII. 4, 19. trying and condemning fome other Prifoners who he was let down on the Judg. were to be executed that Day ; and white be thus to him, saying, Have thou

ment, Seat, his Wife sent unwas hitting rom the Tribunal, his Wife :: Having by nothing to do with that just this Time been informed that Jesus had been Man : for I have suffered brought before him, and was going to be given

many up to Death, sent a very importunate Message to him (d), saying, I beseech thee see, to it, that

y that

is thou þave nothing to do with the Blood of that i, s i . righteous.' One, aga inst whom the Jews are now'...". demanding Judgment ; for I have suffered many os r.!! 16:.:.:.

: : : Ibings is

596) Took The Reed, or Cane, out of his Hand.) The Word xenapios does indeed sometimes fignify" a pender Reed (Mar, xi. 5. xii. 20. and 3. 7ohn, ver. 13.) but it includes all Kind' of Canes; and it is inost probable, this was a Walking-Staff, which they put into hls Hand as a Scepere; fofa Blow with a light Reed'would scarce have been felt, or have deserved a Mention in a Detail of Puch dreadful. Sufferings..

(d) His Wife sent to him.] While Rome was governed by a Commonwealth, it was unusual for the Governors of Provinces to take their Wives with them ; but afterwards it grew customary, and the Motion made against it in the Fourth Yearof 'Tiberius was rejected, with Tome Indignation. See Tacit. Annal. lib. ill. cap. 33, 34. ...) 371: tij

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