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beg for his life, as other prisoners use to do at such times. No, but as a sheep he goes to the slaughter, not opening his mouth. From the time that Pilate gave sentence, till he was nailed to the cross, we do not read that he said any thing, save only to the women that fol. lowed him out of the city to Golgotha: and what he said there, rather manifested his pity to them, than any discontent at what was now come upon him ; "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” Luke, 23: 28, &c. Oh the perfect patience and meekness of Christ !
INFERENCE 1. Do you see what was here done against Christ, under pretence of law? What cause have we to pray for good laws and righteous rulers ? Oh! it is a singular mercy to live under good laws, which protect the innocent from injury. Laws are hedges about our lives, liberties, estates, and all the comforts we enjoy in this world. Times will be evil enough, when iniquity is not discountenanced and punished by law; but how evil are those times like to prove when iniquity is established by law! as the psalmist complains. Ps. 94 : 20. How much therefore is it our concern to pray that "judgment may run down as a mighty stream !” Amos, 5 : 24. That our officers may be peace, and our exactors righteousness !” Isa. 60 : 17. It was not therefore without great reason that the apostle exhorted that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men ; for kings, and all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peace able life in all godliness and honesty." 1 Tim. 2:1, 2. Great is the interest of the church of God in them; they are instruments of much good or much evil.
. Was Christ condemned in a court of judicature ? How evident then is it that there is a judgment to çome? Surely things will not be always carried as they are in this world. When you see Jesus condemned, and
Barabbas released, conclude that a time will come when innocency shall be vindicated, and wickedness shamed. On this ground, Solomon concludes, and very rationally, that God will bring things hereafter to a more righteous tribunal : " And moreover, I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.” Eccl. 3:16, 17. Some indeed, on this ground, have denied the Divine providence; but Solomon draws a quite contrary conclusion, God shall judge: surely he will take the matter into his own hand, he will bring forth the righteousness of his people as the light, and their just dealing as the noon-day. It is a mercy, if we be wronged in one court, that we can appeal to another, where we shall be sure to be relieved by a just, impartial Judge. "Be patient therefore, my brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” James, 5:7.
3. Again, here you see how conscience may be overborne by a fleshly interest. Pilate's conscience bid him beware, and forbear: his interest bid him act; his fear of Cesar was greater than his fear of God. But Oh! what a dreadful thing is it for conscience to be insnared by the fear of man! Prov. 29 : 25. To guard thy soul, reader, against this mischief, let such considerations as these be ever with thee.
Consider how dear those profits or pleasures cost, which are purchased with the loss of inward peace! There is nothing in this world good enough to recompense such a loss, or balance the misery of a tormenting conscience. If you
violate it for the sake of a fleshly lust, it will remember the injury many years after. Gen. 42: 21; Job, 13:26. It will not only retain the memory of what you did, but it will accuse you for it. Matt. 27:4. It will not fear to tell you that plainly, which others dare not whisper. It will not only accuse, but it will also
condemn you for what you have done. This condemning voice of conscience is a terrible voice. You may see the horror of it in Cain, the vigor of it in Judas, the doleful effects of it in Spira. It will produce shame, fear, and despair, if God give not repentance to life. The shame it works will so confound you, that you will not be able to look up. Job, 31 : 14; Ps. 1:5. The fear it works will make you wish for a hole in the rock to hide you. Isa. 2 : 9, 10, 15, 19. And its despair is a death-pang. Oh! who can bear such a load as this? Prov. 18: 14.
Consider the nature of your present actions; they are seed sown for eternity, and will spring up again in suitable effects, rewards and punishments, when you that did them are turned to dust. What a man sows, that shall he reap. Gal. 6 : 7. And as sure as the harvest follows the seed-time, so sure shall shame, fear, and horror follow sin. Dan. 12 : 2. What Zeuxis, the famous painter, said of his work, may much more truly be said of ours; "I paint for eternity.” Ah! how bitter will those things be in the day of reckoning, which were pleasant in the acting! It is true, our actions, physically considered, are transient; how soon is a word or action spoken or done, and there is an end of it! But morally considered, they are permanent, being put upon God's book of account. Oh, therefore, take heed what you do: so speak, and so act, as they that must give an account.
Consider how by these things men do but prepare for their own torment in a dying hour. There is bitterness enough in death, you need not add more gall and wormwood to increase it. What is the forcing and wounding of conscience now, but putting thorns in your death-bed, against you come to lie down on it ? This makes death bitter indeed. How many have wished in a dying hour, they had rather lived poor and low all their days, than to have strained their consciences for the world! Ah!
how is the aspect of things altered in such an hour !
4. Did Christ stand arraigned and condemned at Pilate's bar? Then the believer shall never be arraigned and condemned at God's bar. This sentence that Pilate pronounced on Christ gives evidence that God will never pronounce sentence against such : for had he intended to have arraigned them, he would never have suffered Christ, their surety, to be arraigned and condemned for them. Christ stood at this time before a higher judge than Pilate ; he stood at God's bar as well as his. Pilate did but that which God's own hand and counsel had be. fore determined to be done, and what God himself at the same time did : though God did it justly and holily, dealing with Christ as a creditor with a surety; Pilate most wickedly and basely dealing with Christ as a cor. rupt judge, that shed the blood of a known innocent to pacify the people. But certain it is that out of his condemnation flows our justification; and had not sentence been given against him, it must have been given against us.
Oh what a melting consideration is this! that out of his
agony comes our victory; out of his condemnation, our justification ; out of his pain, our ease; out of his stripes, our healing ; out of his curse, our blessing ; out of his crown of thorns, our crown of glory; out of his death, our life. If he could not be released, it was that you might. If Pilate gave sentence against him, it was that the great God might never give sentence against you. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
CHAPTER X XV.
CHRISTS ADDRESS TO THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM.
" And there followed him a great company of people, and of women,
which also bewailed and lamenlcd him. Bul Jesus lurning unlo them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, bul vcep for yourselves, and for your children.” Luke, 23 : 27, 28, &c.
The sentence of death being given against Christ, the execution quickly follows. The evangelist here observes a memorable occurrence in their way to the place of execution; the lamentations and wailing of some that fol. . lowed him out of the city, who expressed their pity and sorrow for him most tenderly and compassionately: all hearts were not hard, all eyes were not dry. followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.”
The text calls them " Daughters, that is, inhabitants of Jerusalem ; like the expression, daughters of Zion, daughters of Israel.” There were many of them, a troop of mourners, that followed Christ out of the city towards the place of his execution, with lamentations and wailings.
What the principle or ground of these their lamentations was, is not agreed by those that have pondered the story. Some suppose their tears and lamentations were but the effects of their more tender and ingenuous natures, which were moved and melted with so tragical and sad a spectacle as was now before them. But Calvin and others attribute it to their faith, regarding them as a remnant reserved by the Lord in that lamentable dispersion of Christ's followers.
Christ's reply to them is, " Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me.” Strange, that Christ should forbid