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ciples, led to Caiaphas, and followed afar off by Peter, who falls so low as to deny his Lord. Now our Jesus being condemned as a blasphemer, and pronounced by sinners as worthy of death, is used in the following manner: the servants of the high priest and the officers, who were the guard upon him, seeing and hearing him condemned as guilty of death, wreak their hellish malice upon him: they spat on his face, boxed him with their double fists, smote him with the palms of their hands, either giving him many a slap on the face with their open hands, or else striking him on the face with rods. Hereby was accomplished the prophecy in Mic. v. 1: “They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.” Having covered his face and blindfolded him, they, by way of pastime in a ludicrous way, make him their sport and diversion, saying, “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?” Here we behold again Christ a man of sorrows, and may view him as described and set forth by the prophet: “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off
the hair: I hid not myself from shame and spitting.” (Isaiah 1. 6.) Is this the perfection of beauty, the desire of all nations ? «How is his visage marred more than any man's, and his form more than the sons of men ! » What a spectacle of sorrow must our Lord now appear to be ? His face besmeared with blood and spittle, and his cheeks bruised with cruel blows, given him by the profane mockers, who looked on him, gnashing with their teeth.
After this night of sorrows and sufferings, the morning being come, the Sanhedrim sat again upon our Lord, and having already adjudged him to death, they now consult what death to put him to, and in what manner; and they chose crucifixion, as the most ignominious and painful. They therefore bound him as a malefactor, and led him away to Pilate the Roman governor, and delivered him up to him. In the pretorium, before Pi. late, Christ is examined and accused by the Jews, but declared innocent by the judge; who sends him to Herod, who insulted him, mocked him as a king, and
made sport and pastime of him, arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, (perhaps an old worn-out robe of one of the officers or soldiers) treating our blessed Lord as a fool, and casting the utmost obloquy, shame, disgrace, and contempt upon him. After this, Herod and his men of war having set Christ at nought, he is sent back again to Pilate; upon which Pilate pronounces Christ's innocency again before the Jews, and joins Herod's testimony of it with his own; all of which only increase the malice and rage of our Lord's enemies.
His life they seek, his blood they thirst to spill, his death only can satisfy them; the governor therefore gives commandment for Christ to be scourged; which was accordingly done. The Roman soldiers stripped him naked, bound him to a pillar, and whipped him severely. At which time that prophecy was fulfilled,
I gave my back to the smiters; the ploughers ploughed upon my back, and made long their furrows." Our Lord's sufferings at this time must be inconceivable ; for this was done preparatory to
his crucifixion; which was a Roman punishment; it being the custom to hang up the person naked upon
the cross. After the soldiers had with inexpressible cruelty scourged Christ, they crowned him with thorns, and clothed him in a purple robe; all which was done by way of scorn. They put a reed, or rod, into his hand, instead of a sceptre; which, when they had done, then they, by way of scorn and rude derision, bowed the knee before him, crying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spat upon him, and took the reed or rod and smote him on the head, riveting as it were the crown of thorns, and fixing them thereby deeper into his saered temples; and they smote or. boxed him on the cheeks. Pilate orders Christ, thus miserably scourged, to be brought forth, that he should be presented, as a sad spectacle to move the Jews to pity and commiseration. And our Lord “ came forth wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe, upon which Pilate saith unto them, • Behold, the Man !'”
But, though a man of sorrows; his soul wounded, his hody bruised, his blood streaming down his blessed cheeks; his face and eyes swoln, his body being as it were almost bathed in his own blood, which might appear to view, when the purple or scarlet robe was thrown back, yet this sight does but increase their rage and clamour: “ they cried out, Crucify him, Crucify him." Pilate vindicates Christ's innocency; upon which the Jews exhibit a charge of blasphemy against him, which put the governor upon going again to the judgment-hall, where he interrogates Christ on this fresh accusation; to which our Lord makes no reply. Pilate then proudly boasts of his authority, as having the power of our Lord's life and death in his hand; which caused our Saviour to break silence, informing him, that his delegated power over him was from above; and he said to the governor,