« PreviousContinue »
the multitude to choose Barabbas, à notorious robber and murderer, as the object of their clemency, in preference to him whom but a few days before they had ushered into Jerusalem, with the utmost acclamations of joy and reverence, as the king of the Jews. And although the greatest vengeance was denounced by the Jewish law against the shedding of innocent blood, yet the rage and madness was inflamed to such a height, that when Pi. late declared himself convinced of his innocence, and that no part of the guilt of the blood of fo just a person should rest on him, they all exclaimed, as with one voice, “ His blood be on us, and on our “ children.” — (St. Luke, chapter xxvii. verse 34.) It is needless, in this place, to remind
readers how completely this curse has been fulfilled
this illfated race.
Now was the time when the prophecy of Daniel was to be fulfilled, (chap. ix. ver. 24.): Seventy weeks are deter“mined upon thy people and upon thy
“ holyholy city, to finish the transgression, and
to make an end of sins, and to make “ reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring “ in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up
the vision and prophecy, and to “anoint the Most Holy." The Messiah himself fulfilled the whole of the Jewilh law, and then abolished it; laying down his life for the fins of the whole world; and, after his glorious resurrection and ascension, he sent the gift of the holy Ghost, for the propagating and establishing of his divine gospel; which ensures the pardon of all iniquity, upon sincere repentance and amendment of life. This brings justification, by the free grace of God, in Christ Jesus, our righteousness ; who having fulfilled all the prophecies concerning his life and death, they, consequently, were then brought to an end.
May we all be ranked amongst the faithful, who are to enjoy those unspeakable blessings which Christ has purchased for us by his most precious death, resurrection and ascension : grant this, most merciful
Father, for the sake of the fame, thy Son our Lord; to whom, with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all honor, glory, praise and thanksgiving, world without end. Amen.
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-THIRD.
ST. JOHN, CHAP. XIX.
HEN Pilate, therefore, took Je
sus, and scourged him. 2. And the soldiers platted a crown “ of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
3. And said, Hail, king of the Jews ! and they smote him with their “ hands."
That the Roman governor should allow such cruelties to be exercised on a prisoner under trial, seems very surprizing, particularly as we may see by all Pilate's actions that he wished to save our Lord's life: this leads to the supposition that he permitted him to be scourged' and otherwise cruelly and insultingly treated, with the hope that, by gratifying their malice so far, some spark of compassion might be excited in the breasts of his merciless
persecutors, and that he might prevail on them to spare his life; but this, like all his other endeavors, proved fruitless, and only made them the more outrageous, and increased their desire to add fresh insults to the meek and humble Jesus; who suffered himself to be led “ as a lamb to the
slaughter; and as a sheep before his “ shearers is dumb, so opened he not his “ mouth," How must it have filled the beholders with astonishment and wonder, to see the very person who had done such miraculous and merciful acts amongst them, subjected to such accumulated and unheard of insults ! But those emblems of royalty with which the Jews in derision insulted our blessed Lord, were all shortly turned into real dignities : the crown of thorns' was soon converted into rays of glory, and the reed mentioned by St.