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advantages of regular and habitual holiness are. Good Christians; though they may fall like other men through passion or presumption, or other infirmities, yet their way to repentance is more open and easy ; their minds not being hardened by sin, are awakened by the gentlest calls, and the sense of virtue revives in them upon the first suggestions of conscience. St. Peter fell, and his fall was very shameful; but his repentance was as remarkable as his fall. While he was in the height of his rage for being suspected to be a disciple of Christ's, whilst he was abjuring him with oaths and imprecations, one look of our LORD laid all the storm, and melted him into the tears and sorrows of repentance." The same moment saw him the most audacions sinner, and the most humble penitent. There was no need of terrifying judginerits to awaken his mind to a sense of his iniquity; the eye of his LORD was a sufficient rebuke ; it struck him with a sorrow not to be dissembled ; and he went out, and wept bitterly.
How different were the calls to repentance, which the Jews had even in our Saviour's life-time, yet "how different their success ? Every man may sin, but those only will repent who sincerely endeavour after righte. ousness. A good man may be mistaken, surprised, misled; but the first return of thought, the first interval he has of cool reason and reflection, shews him his error, and hastens his return to the obedience of holiness. But the wicked, as they advance in iniquity, do more and more subdue their conscience, till even repentance itself bec comes impossible.
19901 CXI SECTION XXXIII. J1bm
Lists JESUS "EXAMINED AT THE PALACE OF CALAPHASE
From John, Chap. xviii. Tur high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing
1 Why asketh thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
Ant when he had thus spoken, one of the officers who stood by, struck JEsus with the palm of his hand, saying Answerest thou the high priest so?
.? Las Libano Jesus answered him, If I have spoken exile bear witness of the evil : buat if well, why smitest thou me
lo ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS,
TOS The proceedings against our blessed LORD were con. trary to all law and equity. He was seized as a criminal, though guilty of no crime *. He was brought to the tribunal of justice, though no one had-any thing to lay to his charge. The judge was his prosecutor, and he was unjustly required to be his own accuser. The High Priest, willing to cover the private malice of him. self; and the other members of the Sanhedrim, under a pretence of zeal for the public good, examined our
* See Henry's Annotations.
LORD concerning his disciples and his doctrine, in hopes of finding, from his own mouth, Cause to represent him as dangerous either to the Jewish church, or the Roman government, and šo’have him convicted of heresy or sedition. How calm and rational was his reply! Of his doctrine he said nothing, for he knew they were not disposed to edify by it, and if it was right, he had the same privilege with other teachers of communicating it to the world: and though his disciples had forsaken him, he would not expose them to the malice of the Sanhedrim, but' referred his persecutors to those who had heard his preaching, as, according to the rules of theif own court in capital cases, they ought to have given motice by the public crier, in his presence, for' all persons who could bear testimony to his innocence, to appear, before they proceeded to put him to deată This our LORD had a particular right to demand, as he had been candid and open in the publication of the Gospel; but they résolved, agreeably to the prophet's prediction, by oppressive judgment to cut him of, and bis manner of life zone would declare +; for all were intimidated by the seat of the power of the Council.
The crime which the Sanhedrim By law was to en. quire into, was the clandestine spreading of dangerous doctrine, and secretly enticing to the worship of strange gods 1. From this our Lôr'd fully vindicated himself, shewing, that he did not deliver things ambiguously like the heathen oracles, but explained himself fully! his reproofs were free and bold, and his testimonies ex. press, 'against the corruptions of the age. He spake to the world, to all who were willing to hear him; he feared not the censures of a mixed multitude, netther
a 10 See Bishop Louth's notes to the livid of Isaiah. + Isaiah, Ini. 2 1 9t... Deutile, 192
did he withhold knowledge from any, and his doctrines were always uniform.
The man who reproved our Lord in so violent a manner and had presumed to strike him, undoubtedly meant to gain the favour of the High Priest. With what wonderful meekness did our Saviour bear this affront! He could by his miraculous power have struck dumb the impious tongue of him who uttered it, or have withered the band that was lifted up against him; but he chose to teach men not to revenge themselves, nor render railing for railing; but with the innocency of the dove to bear injuries, even when they might appeal to the magistrate ; and with the wisdom of the serpent, shew the injustice of them.
It is observable, that our Lord did not, when he was struck, turn the other cheek; which shews, that his direction to do so in his Sermon on the Mount, was not to be understood literally. By comparing his precepts with his conduct we learn, that on such occasions we must not be our own avengers, nor-judge in our own cause. We must rather receive than give the second blow which makes the quarrel. We must accommodate ourselves to the evils of a suffering state with patience, and if any indig. nity is done us, prepare ourselves to receive another, rather than indulge a revengeful temper.
From Luke, Chap. xxii.--Matt. xxvii. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into the Council.
Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus to put him to death,
But found none : yes, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
But neither so did their witness agree together.
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace.
And the scribes and elders asked him, saying, Art thou the CHRIST? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe.
And if I also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let
Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.
And the high priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou 'tell us, whether thou be the CHRIST the Son of God?
Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said : nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye 'see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of wirnesses ? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy, What think ye?
And they said, What need we any further witnesses ? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth,