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mercy extends to thee,' whose sin on that awful day was not the greatest. Haply through Him thou mayest find “What is truth ?” Thou mayest learn, whence, and wherefore, that sufferer, who bound, and bleeding, had power to move thine inmost soul! Think not, though God in His infinite mercy may pardon, that man sball ever clear thee. The lisping child learns Thy name to shudder at it, and thousands of thousands of voices continually repeat that Christ the Saviour, “suffered under Pontius Pilate."
Miserable Jews ! your cry" His blood be upon us, and upon our children,” on that day rose to heaven and was recorded there. Fearful was the echo that returned to earth, wrung from your own agonizing lips.
Many of those who now howled around the Lamb of God, “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” lived to be crucified by those very Romans who were the executioners their fury stirred
to murder Him. Their children! how fearfully did His blood come upon them, when the very fires that consumed the Holy City were often quenched by the blood of its inhabitants : and those who survived the massacres of the murderous siege of Jerusalem ! heart-broken and spirit-crushed they were sold into all lands, as slaves, and even as victims to be thrown to the wild beasts, kept for the amusement of their conquerors !
But when does God forget to be merciful ?
The Saviour soon followed the cry for His blood, that rose to heaven on that day, when the feast of the Passover was fulfilled, and He pleaded then the virtue of His shed blood. It had power to cleanse away all sin; and many, even of His murderers, through Him were brought to repentance and to life. His blood is still upon the sons of Israel. Grievously have they in all lands been punished for their rejection of their Messiah, who
up to despair, and in the end committed suicide ; but the tradition we love best to believe, is that he retired to a solitary place in Switzerland, upon a mountain, which to this day bears his name-Monte Pilate; and there passed his life in penitence and prayer for pardon. There is a lake near the summit of this mountain ; and when its waves are disturbed by a storm, and the mists come down upon it, the peasants around, who are both ignorant and superstitious, imagine that it is the spirit of Pilate washing his hands, that troubles the waters.
came to His own, and His own received Him not,” but His blood is upon them, as it was upon their fathers' door-posts in Egypt, a sign of salvation,* for Jesus died as it had been said of Him, “ for His people, and not for that nation only, but that He might gather in one all the children of God." +
LUKE xxiii. 23. “And the voices of them, and of the chief priests prevailed."
MARK xv. 15. “ And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”
They knew it not, but they were bringing to pass that which had been long before determined : and thus was fulfilled that which had been pictured by the ceremonies appointed for the great day of atonement in the old Jewish laws. Jesus, the sacrifice chosen and accepted of the Lord, was to be offered for the sins of the people, and Barabbas the acknowledged murderer and robber, was to be sent away alive, as the scape-goat, into the wilderness, with all his crimes confessed upon him.
Barabbas is the type of sinful human nature; for whom a way of escape is made by the death of Jesus. We hear of him no
He knew assuredly that His present life was secured to him by the death of Jesus, but whether or not it was ever made known to him, that the eternal life of his soul could also be secured by that same redeeming blood, we know not; all that we can say on this subject, is--that what we know not, we may yet hope for.
* It was a sermon preached from the text, “His blood be upon us, and upon our children;" that was the means of the conversion of Mr. Myers, the Author of that admirable work-" Both one in Christ," from the Jewish to the Christian religion. There is in his book, a deeply interesting account of the effect it produced on his mind. + John xi. 52.
LUKE xxiii. 24, 25. “And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required, And he delivered unto them, him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired : but he delivered Jesus unto their will.
MARK xv. 20. “And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe from him, and put his own clothes upon him, and led him out to crucify him.”
Of the Roman Governor we hear no more from Scripture; but history and tradition tell his miserable end, teaching that lesson which is the experience of the whole world, if men would but observe and profit by it—that there is no folly so great as to do wrong in the hope of avoiding some foreseen evil consequence.' The evil that we feared, comes, and in a worse shape, for we know and feel it to be the punishment of our cowardice. There is no safe path through life, but the path of duty.
The word of God gives us the dark history of the false apostle, the traitor Judas, to the end; when, overcome by the horror of his crime, and its dreadful consequences, which he does not seem to have foreseen, he put an end to his life. St. Matthew writes,
Matthew xxvii. 3, 4. " Then Judas which had betrayed Jesus, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood."
“ He saw," therefore he must have been in that crowd before Pilate's judgment-seat. The whole scene passed before his eyes. The fury of the people wrought up to phrenzy by those very priests to whom he had betrayed their victim. The hesitation of the Roman judge, his repeated declaration that he “found no fault in this man ” whom they had brought before him for condemnation, his efforts to save Him, the brutal cruelty of the soldiers — all this had passed before his eyes, and at last amidst a storm of fearful cries of “ Crucify Him! crucify Him!” he had beheld the holy Jesus bleeding from the Roman scourge, crowned with thorns, and clad in mock robes of royalty, brought forth, that Barabbas, the robber and the murderer, might be preferred before Him.
He had seen Pilate call for water, and wasbing his hands before all the people, cry aloud “I am free from the blood of this just person,”—while yet he gave him up to be crucified !
Could Judas strive thus to appease his conscience ? Could he by any self-deceit throw from his soul the accursed weight of the treason which had delivered his Lord, among whose friends and followers he had been numbered, into the hands of those who thirsted for his blood ? Could any water wash the stain of murder from his soul? And what murder? The murder of Christ bis Lord, whom he felt and knew to be the Messiah. He hated him because his worldly schemes of greatness had been crossed, not forwarded, by having joined His cause; but he could not doubt that He was the Messiah, since from Him he had received power himself to perform all manner of wonderful works. Perhaps he had thought, by betraying Him into the hands of His enemies, to force Him into taking to Himself at once the power and majesty of the Messiah King of Israel, and establishing the kingdom, in which He had promised that His twelve Apostles should " sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” If this had happened, and he had declared his motive, he might have hoped to be again received into favour ; for it is plain that the desire of gain had blinded him entirely to all spiritual things, and that he could neither comprehend the character nor the kingdom of his Lord; but when he saw Him bleeding, thorn-crowned, “ despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with
grief,” and that all his friends and followers “hid as it were their faces from bim," -- then perhaps the truth flashed upon the mind of Judas; and understanding that the Messiah must first suffer many things, as he had himself often declared, and be crucified, before He entered into glory, he saw himself by his own act and deed made the wretched instrument of bringing about his Lord's predetermined death. Then indeed the kingdom of Christ would be established, but he himself, the traitor, would be shut out of it for ever. Thus does Satan ever out-wit his tools.
Maddened with remorse, Judas rushed from the place. He flew to the Temple to which the Chief Priests were now forced to return for the great sacrifice of the Passover, and gave vent to the anguish of his soul in the words,
Verse 4. "I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.”
Their cold and cruel reply put the finishing stroke to his despair,
Verse 4. "And they said, What is that to us ? see thou to that.”
Wretched man! Was it nothing to them that they had gladly paid the price of innocent blood, and made use of the treachery of the false apostle to destroy the "holy one and the just,” whose innocence they did not attempt to deny when thus face to face with his betrayer ? Vainly do wicked men try to throw the burthen of guilt upon each other ;-God knows the tempter and the tempted. He has provided one way of escape, and only one. The false Apostle and the hypocritical Priests might have found a refuge at the feet of Him who, through their crime, was now on his way to Calvary, there to complete the sacrifice that can wash away all sin. But repenting love found no place in the storm of passions that raged in the breast