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killing the King of heaven, made a conscience of the external customs and ceremonies of their law, which had in them no interior sanctity, which were apt to separate them from the nations, and remark them with characters of religion and abstraction it would defile them to go to a Roman forum, where a capital action was to be judged; and yet the effusion of the best blood in the world was not esteemed against their religion so violent and blind is the spirit of malice, which turns humanity into cruelty, wisdom into craft, diligence into subornation, and religion into superstition.

8. Two other articles they alleged against him: but the first concerned not Pilate, and the second was involved in the third, and, therefore, he chose to examine him upon this only, of his being "a King." To which the holy Jesus answered, that it is true, he was a King indeed, but "not of this world;" his throne is heaven, the angels are his courtiers, and the whole creation are his subjects: his regiment is spiritual, his judicatories are the courts of conscience and church-tribunals, and at dooms-day the clouds: the tribute which he demands are, conformity to his laws, faith, hope, and charity; no other gabels but the duties of a holy spirit, and the expresses of a religious worship, and obedient will, and a consenting understanding. And in all this, Pilate thought the interest of Cæsar was not invaded. For certain it is, the discipline of Jesus confirmed it much, and supported it by the strongest pillars. And here Pilate saw how impertinent and malicious their accusation was: and we, who declaim against the unjust proceedings of the Jews against our dearest Lord, should do well to take care that we, in accusing any of our brethren, either with malicious purpose, or with an uncharitable circumstance, do not commit the same fault which, in them, we so hate and accuse. Let no man speak any thing of his neighbour but what is true and yet, if a truth be heightened by the biting rhetoric of a satirical spirit, extended and drawn forth in circumstances and arts of aggravation, the truth becomes a load to the guilty person, is a prejudice to the sentence of the judge, and hath not so much as the excuse of zeal, much less the charity of Christianity. Sufficient to every man is the plain story of his crime; and to excuse as much of it as we can,

would better become us, who perish unless we be excused for infinite irregularities. But if we add this also, that we accuse our brethren before them that may amend them, and reform their error, if we pity their persons, and do not hate them, if we seek nothing of their disgrace, and make not their shame public, but when the public is necessarily concerned, or the state of the man's sin requires it; then our accusations are charitable: but if they be not, all such accusations are accepted by Christ with as much displeasure, in proportion to the degree of the malice, and the proper effect, as was this accusation of his own person.

9. But Pilate, having pronounced Jesus innocent, and perceiving he was a Galilean, sent him to Herod, as being a more competent person to determine concerning one of his own jurisdiction. Herod was glad at the honour done to him, and the person brought him, being now desirous to see some miracle done before him. But the holy Jesus spake not one word there, nor did any sign; so to reprove the sottish carelessness of Herod, who, living in the place of Jesus' abode, never had seen his person, or heard his sermons. And if we neglect the opportunities of grace, and refuse to hear the voice of Christ in the time of mercy and Divine appointment, we may arrive at that state of misery, in which Christ will refuse to speak one word of comfort to us; and the homilies of the Gospel shall be dead letters, and the spirit not at all refreshed, nor the understanding instructed, nor the affections moved, nor the will determined; but because we have, during all our time, stopped our ears, in his time God will stop his mouth, and shut up the springs of grace, that we shall receive no refreshment, or instruction, or pardon, or felicity. Jesus suffered not himself to be moved at the pertinacious accusations of the Jews, nor the desires of the tyrant, but persevered in silence, till Herod and his servants despised him, and dismissed him. For so it became our High Priest, who was to sanctify all our sufferings, to consecrate affronts and scorn, that we may learn to endure contempt, and to suffer ourselves, in a religious cause, to be despised; and when it happens in any other, to remember that we have our dearest Lord for a precedent, of bearing it with admirable simplicity and equanimity of deportment: and it is a mighty stock of self-love that dwells in our spirits,

which makes us, of all afflictions, most impatient of this. But Jesus endured this despite, and suffered this to be added, that he was exposed in scorn to the boys of the streets. For Herod caused him to be arrayed in white, sent him out to be scorned by the people and hooted at by idle persons, and so remitted him to Pilate. And since that accident to our Lord, the church hath not indecently chosen to clothe her priests with albs, or white garments; and it is a symbolical intimation and representment of that part of the passion and affront, which Herod passed upon the holy Jesus: and this is so far from deserving a reproof, that it were to be wished all the children of the church would imitate all those graces, which Christ exercised when he wore that garment*, which she hath taken up in ceremony and thankful memory; that is, in all their actions and sufferings be so estranged from secular arts and mixtures of the world, so intent upon religion, and active in all its interests, so indifferent to all acts of providence, so equal in all chances, so patient of every accident, so charitable to enemies, and so undetermined by exterior events, that nothing may draw us forth from the severities of our religion, or entice us from the retirements of a recollected, and sober, and patient spirit, or make us to depart from the courtesies of piety, though, for such adhesion and pursuit, we be esteemed fools, or ignorant, or contemptible.

10. When Pilate had received the holy Jesus, and found that Herod had sent him back uncondemned, he attempted to rescue him from their malice, by making him a donative and a freed man, at the petition of the people. But they preferred a murderer and a rebel, Barabbas, before him; for themselves being rebels against the King of heaven, loved to acquit persons criminal in the same kind of sin, rather than their Lord, against whom they took up all the arms which they could receive from violence and perfect malice," desiring to have him crucified, who raised the dead, and to have the other released, who destroyed the living'." And when Pilate saw they were set upon it, he

κ Θεῷ δὲ θύε διὰ τέλους δίκαιος ὢν,

Μὴ λαμπρὸς ὢν ταῖς χλαμύσιν, ὡς τῇ καρδίᾳ. -- Μenand.

1 S. Aug. Tract. 15. in Joann.

consented, and delivered him first to be scourged"; which the soldiers executed with violence and unrelenting hands, opening his virginal body to nakedness, and tearing his tender flesh till the pavement was purpled with a shower of holy blood. It is reported in the ecclesiastical story, that when St. Agnes and St. Barbara, holy virgins and martyrs, were stripped naked to execution, God, pitying their great shame and trouble to have their nakedness discovered, made for them a veil of light, and sent them to a modest and desired death. But the holy Jesus, who chose all sorts of shame and confusion, that, by a fulness of suffering, he might expiate his Father's anger, and that he might consecrate to our sufferance all kind of affront and passion, endured even the shame of nakedness at the time of his scourging, suffering himself to be divested of his robes, that we might be clothed with that stole he put off: for therefore he took on him the state of sinning Adam, and became naked, that we might first be clothed with righteousness, and then with immortality.

11. After they had scourged him without remorse, they "clothed him with purple, and crowned him with thorns," and "put a cane in his hand for a sceptre," and "bowed their knees before him," and "saluted him" with mockery, with a "Hail, King of the Jews!" and they "beat him,” and "spat upon him;" and then Pilate brought him forth, and showed this sad spectacle to the people, hoping this might move them to compassion, who never loved to see a man prosperous, and are always troubled to see the same man in misery. But the earth, which was cursed for Adam's sake, and was sowed with thorns and thistles, produced the full harvest of them, and the second Adam gathered them all, and made garlands of them, as ensigns of his victory, which he was now in pursuit of, against sin, the grave, and hell. And we also may make our thorns, which are in themselves pungent and dolorous, to be a crown, if we bear them patiently, and unite them to Christ's passion, and offer them

m Vinctus in his Dominus stetit ædibus, atque columnis
Anuexus tergum dedit ut servile flagellis :

Perstat adhuc templumque gerit veneranda columna.
Nosque decet cunctis immunes vivere flagris.- Prudent.
Cernitur in toto corpore sculptus amor.- Naz. in Chr. Patien.

to his honour, and bear them in his cause, and rejoice in them for his sake. And indeed, after such a grove of thorns growing upon the head of our Lord, to see one of Christ's members soft, delicate, and effeminate, is a great indecency, next to this of seeing the Jews use the King of glory with the greatest reproach and infamy.

12. But nothing prevailing, nor the innocence of Jesus, nor his immunity from the sentence of Herod, nor the industry and diligence of Pilate, nor the misery, nor the sight of the afflicted Lamb of God, at last (for so God decreed to permit it, and Christ to suffer it,) Pilate gave sentence of death upon him, having first washed his hands; of which God served his end, to declare the innocence of his Son, of which, in this whole process, he was most curious, and suffered not the least probability to adhere to him; yet Pilate served no end of his, nor preserved any thing of his innocence. He that rails upon a prince, and cries, Saving your honour, you are a tyrant; and he that strikes a man upon the face, and cries him mercy, and undoes him, and says it was in jest, does just like that person that sins against God, and thinks to be excused by saying it was against his conscience; that is washing our hands when they are stained in blood, as if a ceremony of purification were enough to cleanse a soul from the stains of a spiritual impurity. So some refuse not to take any oath in times of persecution, and say it obliges not, because it was forced, and done against their wills; as if the doing of it were washed off by protesting against it, whereas the protesting against it declares me criminal, if I rather choose not death than that which I profess to be a sin. But all the persons which co-operated in this death were in this life consigned to a fearful judgment after it. The Jews took the blood (which Pilate seemed to wash off) "upon themselves and their children," and the blood of this Paschal Lamb stuck upon their forehead, and marked them, not to escape, but to fall under the sword of the destroying angel, and they perished either by a more hasty death, or, shortly after, in the extirpation and miserable ruin of their nation. And Pilate, who had a less share in the crime, yet had a black character of a secular judgment; for, not long after, he was, by Vitellius, the president of Syria, sent to Rome, to answer to the crimes

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