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satan's terms. Happy are they, who are made wise by the miscarriage of others! who learn to secure their innocence, and to know their own weakness, that the evil one may not take advantage of it to their destruction.

2. We can never be secure from satan's assaults till we have intrenched ourselves within a settled resolution of denying the world.

We are like an open city, without fornication, walls, or motes; and consequently cannot sustain a siege. This Pilate found to be true by fatal experience. The favour of the Roman Emperor being, as he thought of greater concern to him than a good conscience and the favour of God, he at last sunk under the temptation which assaulted him. By one indirect menace of the Emperor's displeasure, he lays down his arms. His haughtiness which, but a little before, had displayed itself in these arrogant words, "Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee,' was at once pulled down; and the devil gained a compleat triumph over his weakness.

Thus it happens when a man accounts the friendship of the world, and favour of the great, an indispensible part of his happiness. Then, in order to avoid the loss of it, integrity and a good conscience are frequently laid aside, and he becomes the contemptible slave of those whom he looked upon as his vassals. Here we see how far the natural love of virtue and justice extends; and that is no further than to the confines of denying the world. Pilate, for the sake of Christ and his own integrity, should have risqued the danger of being informed against at Rome, as a favourer of the emperor's enemies; on the contrary, he became a betrayer of Justice, and delivered the innocent into the hands of his enemies. Let this be a warning, and powerful incitement to us, absolutely to deny the world and all its sinful customs. The world must be so little to our eyes, and our Saviour so great, that we should be ready to part


with all, rather than offend him by any deliberate sin, or injure his honour. This renouncing of the world is the partition-wall between mere morality and genuine Christianity. Whatever progress a person by his natural strength may make in the government of his passions, and the practice of outward moral virtues, if he does not deny himself, and renounce the world, he will yield to the first temptation that assaults him. Whoever does not fear and love God above all things, and put an entire trust and confidence in him, will not be able to act even in a temporal office with untainted integrity, and a conscience void of offence; much less will he be able worthily to discharge a spiritual office: But as soon as he is threatened by the great and powerful, he will, like Pilate, set aside his conscience, and do what he himself knows to be sinful. In a word, he will not be able rightly to perform one single duty that the Christian religion requires. For however praise-worthy his intention may be, and though he has even made a good beginning towards putting it into execution; yet when he comes to be menaced by others, who say all manner of evil of him ; he then forgets his laudable designs, conforms to the world, and again gives himself up to what he had hitherto avoided from the dictates of his conscience. Hence we may see, that Christ lays no unnecessary burden upon us, in requiring that we should renounce the world; on the contrary, we should look upon it as a necessary preservative against the snares of the tempter.

III. We come, in the last place, to consider the consequence of Pilate's timidity and irresolution; and here the three following particulars deserve our notice.

First, The preparation made for condemning the Lord Jesus. This is described in these words: "When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth,' out of the hall of Judgment, where he had privately examined him whether he was the Son of

God, and sat down in the Judgment-seat, in a place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew Gabbatha.' There was probably a pompous tribunal erected adjoining to Pilate's house, on a raised paved area, where he usually pronounced sentence of death on malefactors. In this elevated seat of judgment he seats himself with great parade; and as he had extremely weakened his authority by his scandalous pliableness throughout this whole affair, he was now for recovering the respect due to him, by pronouncing sentence on Jesus with great pomp and solemnity.

St. John likewise particularly specifies the time of the day, and the season of the year, when this happened. Concerning the latter the Evangelist says, "It was the Preparation,' i. e. the day before the Sabbath, (Mark xv. 42.) or the Friday preceding the Passover, when they prepared themselves for the approaching Sabbath, which was a high day, and to be observed with particular solemnity. As for the time of the day, the Evangelist observes, that it was about the sixth hour,' i. e. according to our computation of time, about twelve of the clock at noon. For the Jews used to compute their hours from Sun rising, and divided the day into twelve equal parts or hours, (See John xi. 9.) Are there not twelve hours in the day?' Thus it appears, that it was twelve of the clock or near mid-day. There is nothing contradictory to this in the gospel by St. Mark, (chap. xv. 25.) who says, that it was about the third hour when they crucified our blessed Saviour. For either these words may be rendered, 'It was the third hour, after they had crucified him,' namely, when the soldiers, as we have observed above, parted his garments; or the third hour in St. Mark may be understood of the second larger division of the day, which began at the end of the third hour from sun-rising. For as the Jews divided the night into four parts or watches; so likewise they divided the day into four parts or equal divisions, called the temple-hours, or hours of prayer.

Each of these divisions took its name from the hour of the day, at the end of which it began. For instance, the first quarter or division of the day was called the first temple-hour, and comprehended the first, second, and third, of the twelve common hours of the day. The second division was called the third temple-hour, which lasted from the fourth to the fixth hour of the day inclusively, in which the condemnation of Jesus happened. The third great division was called the sixth hour, which included the seventh, eighth, and ninth hour of the day, during which our blessed Saviour was crucified. The fourth division was called the ninth hour, and this included the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth hour of the day. By either of these methods, the two Evangelists may very easily be reconciled, without the least necessity of making any alteration in the text, of either St. John or St. Mark's gospel. Indeed there are a few copies where the fourteenth verse of the nineteenth chapter of St. John runs thus, 'It was about the third hour.' This was the preparation which Pilate made for condemning the Lord Jesus. After this follows,

Secondly, Pilate's last effort to release our blessed Lord; but this was very faint, and proved ineffectual. And he said unto the Jews, Behold your king! As if he had said, Look on him again; consider how severely he has been handled, by scourg ing and other abuses. Suppose he has acted indiscreetly, he seems to have been sufficiently punished; for you see what a wretched spectacle he is. Now I refer it to you, whether it would not better become you to shew him mercy and spare his life, than to punish him any farther.

But the Jews cried out, 'Away with him! Away with him! He is none of our king, Crucify him!1 Hence it appears, that these words of Pilate only added fuel to the flames. Pilate then saith unto them, shall I crucify your king? He now would fain work on them by remonstrating, that such an action would be a scandal to them, and what an indeliable stain


they would bring on their nation, by occasioning it to be said by foreigners, The Jews suffered their king to be crucified. But alas! such motives had little weight with a tumultuous rabble, frantic with rage and cruelty. Upon other occasions, men are apt to stand very much on their reputation, and think that whoever touches their character, touches their life. But this their so highly valued reputation they willingly sacrifice to their hatred against Christ.

On this remonstrance of Pilate, the chief Priests at last broke out into this declaration, which redounds to their eternal infamy. We have no king but Cesar.' At other times they grievously murmured against the Roman yoke, and held it inconsistent with their honour and liberty, to pay tribute to the emperor; but their hatred against Christ made them now pretend to be very loyal subjects to Cesar, rather than acknowledge for their Messiah and king, the unhappy victim of their malice who now stood before them; and rather than take on themselves the easy yoke of Christ's gospel, they choose to be vassals and servants to the tyrannical and cruel Tiberius. In this · remarkable declaration, the l'riests and Elders of the people proceeded to such a pitch of abandoned wickedness, as publicly to disown the hope of Israel, namely, the Messiah, who had been promised to them under the title of a king, and to deny this important article of their religion, before a Pagan governor. At the same time, by these words, 'We have no king but Cesar,' they again indirectly threatened him with the emperor's displeasure: As if he had said, "We are loyal subjects to the Roman emperor, and have brought this rebel before you to be punished. Now if you discharge him, we are obliged in conscience as priests and rulers, to lay a report of it before his Im perial Majesty." This was the last assault on Pilate's heart, which carried the fortress after a faint resistance of some hours. Upon this followed,

Thirdly, The actual condemnation of the Lord Jesus; which is thus related by St. Matthew, (chap.

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