their contempt sufficiently to make them desist from further demand, or possibly kindle some spark of pity in those ruthless breasts, as he says simply, "Behold the man!" He has no need to say more. The shame, the wounds, the woe of Jesus, were tongues eloquent enough if they had ears to hear. But Pilate's timorous policy failed signally. They only look upon this as the first instalment or earnest of the punishment. The scourging they interpret as but the prelude to crucifixion, as among the Romans it often was. Pilate, disgusted with their lawless clamour, bids them, as before,1 to take Him; gives them leave, ironically, to act in the face of the finding; to punish, if they will, as guilty, Him whom he once more pronounces faultless.2 The rulers and doctors of the law, for these our Evangelist intends by "the Jews,"stung by the just sarcasm, now attempt some defence of their outrageous conduct. We have laws, they seem to say, as well as you. We charge Him with breaking a law, the penalty of which is death. Thus they shift their ground again, from sedition to blasphemy. They bring another charge to bear where the first seems to have failed. That is dismissed, but they have another shaft in their quiver. Nor would these hypocrites have found fault with Him for sedition. So they prefer this equally groundless charge of blasphemy. But if blasphemy were the crime, stoning, not crucifixion, had been the punishment. Yet this point of their law they suppress, quoting only so much as seems to favour their own case. But what care they so long as they can get rid of their victim? It is remarkable that after Pilate had said, "Behold the man!"-then they proceed to charge Him with claiming to 'be the Son of God. Pilate speaks of His humanity: they unconsciously proclaim His Divinity. Pilate seems to point to His low and miserable estate; while they indicate (howbeit they meant not so) His high and heavenly one. But the very mention of this seems to add to the mysterious terrors which already haunt the mind of this timorous and timelife, left Him His innocence."-South, Ser. xxxi.

1 St. John xviii. 31. The "ye" in both cases is emphatically expressed, as also the "I" here, in the original. And even Pilate, His unjust judge, though He took from Him His

2 64

The pronoun in the original is emphatically expressed.

serving judge. He felt the fanaticism behind. Now he discovered the real reason of their enmity. He found there was another charge behind when the first was disposed of. It might be too that he had a vague mysterious dread (superstition often consists with scepticism) of what this strange Prisoner might prove.



St. John xix. 8-11.

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Pilate, more perplexed than ever, returns from the vain attempt to satisfy the Jews without, to further examine Jesus within the hall of judgment. He would fain see what light the statement of the evidently innocent and honest person within, will throw upon the malicious and tumultuous charge of those without. Yet it seems the question of a man perplexed in his own mind, and scarcely knowing what to say or do. Pilate's duty indeed was clear. There need have been no place for perplexity. But the difficulty was to save his conscience, and yet satisfy the Jews; things incompatible: for 66 no man can serve two masters," and a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." This strange Prisoner's silence, while it perplexes Pilate still more, seems also


"It is well to learn the divine force of silence. Remember Christ in the judgment-hall, the very symbol and incarnation of spiritual strength;


and yet when revilings were loud around Him, and charges multiplied, He held His peace.'"-F. W. Robertson's Sermons, Third Series.

somewhat to arouse his vice-regal pride. "Speakest thou not unto me," the Roman Pro-curator, Cæsar's Vice-gerent? But a greater than Pilate, a greater than Cæsar is here. Vain his thought that this Victim might be moved by the hope of life, by the terror of an ignominious and cruel death. Pilate by his question criminates himself. For he admits that he has power to release his Prisoner; and if, as he also admits, he believes Him to be innocent, why does he then deliver Him to be crucified? To Pilate's former question it was useless to make answer; but when the Governor challenges Him to speak, the Lord will not keep silence. Pilate had spoken of his power. Our Lord points to another power. He is speaking, it would seem, of "the powers that be, which are "ordained of God;" for "there is no power but of God." Yet this power might be abused, as in this case it had been most signally. He seems to have in view the Jewish Council, and Caiaphas in particular, the prime mover in this abuse of power. This power had not been exercised against Jesus by the Roman Governor, unless He had been first delivered up by the Jewish High-priest. Therefore the sin of the one was greater than the sin of the other.2 Not that

Since the above was written, the Author has come upon the same interpretation in Coleridge's Table Talk:-"The meaning of the expression... from above'... seems to me to have been generally and grossly mistaken. It is commonly understood as importing that Pilate could have no power to deliver Jesus to the Jews unless it had been given him by God, which no doubt is true; but if that is the meaning, where is the force or connection of the following clause, therefore, &c.'? I conceive the meaning of our Lord to have been simply this, that Pilate would have had no power or jurisdiction. . . over Him, if it had not been given by the Sanhedrim . . . and therefore it was that the Jews had the greater sin."

2 The subsequent history of Pilate is painful enough. The people whom

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he sinned to please, afterwards appealed against him. About three years after these events he was recalled to Rome, deprived of his office of Pro-curator of Judæa, and finally banished to Vienne in Gaul, where he laid violent hands on himself.Joseph. Antt. xviii. 5.; Euseb. ii. 7. It is remarkable that Vienne should have become "the cradle of Christianity in the West." The traditions now current among the common people there, in connection with Mont Salomon, Pilate's imaginary prison, and the Tour de Mauconseil, from which he is supposed to have cast himself down, are probably not worth much. Titisee, in the heart of the Black Forest, has also its traditions of Pilate. A writer in one of the Public Journals, who has been astonishing the natives of the Continent by invading their lakes and rivers in

his sin was slight, for it was great; but even in great crimes there may be comparison. Persecution is still persecution, whether it proceeds from ignorance or from knowledge, from hatred or from timidity. In Caiaphas and the Jews we see the will without the deed; in Pilate, the deed, as it were, without the will. His sin was less than theirs only as cowardice is less than malice, selfishness than hostility. Herein too, without extenuating the fault of Pilate,' we may see the superior sinfulness of the Jews, in that they sinned against the light of revelation, he only against the light of nature. They sinned with the Scriptures in their hands, with the recent memory of the Lord's miracles in their minds, with His acts of mercy before their eyes, with the Hosannas of the multitude still sounding in their ears. What then must be their sin who "crucify the Son of God afresh?" With the increased light of after events, after these centuries of Christianity, in the face all this ever-accumulating experience,— the guilt of the unfaithful Christian must be even greater than that of the unbelieving Jew.



St. John xix. 12, 13.

And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar's friend whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh

a portable canoe, has this mention of them: "I had a row on the lake, which is about three miles long, and 3,000 feet above the level of the sea. The people there protested against the proceeding, and said that Pontius Pilate, who it seems is at the bottom of the lake, would assuredly drag the boat down."

Acts xiii. 27, 28.

2 "If we, my friends, consider this,

that for our sins this most innocent Lamb was driven to death, we shall have much more cause to bewail ourselves that we were the cause of His death, than to cry out of the malice and cruelty of the Jews, which pursued Him to His death. We did the deeds wherefore He was thus stricken and wounded; they were only the ministers of our wickedness."-Homily for Good Friday.

against Cesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Hitherto Pilate had felt it to be his duty, now it was really his desire, if only consistent with his own safety, to release our Lord. Some further feeble efforts he seems to have made for this purpose. But this word "Cæsar," shouted in his ears, was enough to scare him. The leaders in this cruel conspiracy had two distinct charges against their victim; one for Jews, and one for Romans. Their object is to make Him out a dangerous impostor, a seditious person; opposed to Jewish religion, opposed to Roman rule. His offence against the former is that He claimed to be the Son of God; against the latter, that He set Himself up as King in opposition to Cæsar. That indeed was true, and He gave ample proof of it; but this, as the history shows and as Pilate himself admitted, was altogether false. However, blasphemy against God, sedition against Cæsar,-this was the double charge, the two-edged sword, which they had forged against the very Son of God, against Cæsar's Cæsar. To this latter point, the only one that could prevail with Pilate, they now return. This Cæsar was Tiberius, conspicuous for odious vice, for unmanly cruelty, even in the black list of vicious and cruel emperors of Rome; who from his Pandæmonium at Capreæ issued his edicts of death or proscription against all who, as he imagined, might oppose his sway. Little reverence or regard these Jews felt for this Cæsar; but they knew that his name was a terror to Pilate, and so they work upon his dread of human displeasure to quench his instincts of Divine justice. Our Lord, who up to this point had been examined privately within the Prætorium,-Pilate stepping forth from time to time to address the crowd without,-is now once more brought forth publicly into the presence of His accusers. Our Evangelist, having both Jews and Gentiles in view, takes care to explain any strange terms employed. Here he gives both the Greek or Gentile, and the Syriac or Jewish name for that piece of tesselated pavement on which the Romans were always careful to erect their tribunal. So

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