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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 hand 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 indignity is done us, prepare ourselves to receive another, rather than indulge a revengeful temper.
JESUS EXAMINED AND CONDEMNED BY THE
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: yea, 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 me go.
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 Gon? 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 witnesses? 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.
. He is deserving of death. And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
And the men that held JESUS, mocked him, and spit in his face, and buffeted him, and others smote him with the palms of their hands.
Saying, Prophecy unto us, thou CHRIST, Who is he that smote thee?
And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
When our LORD's enemies found they could bring no legal accusation against him, they resolved to assemble the whole Counsel at break of day in the chamber where they used to sit for public business; they therefore removed from the house of Caiaphas, taking their prisoner with them: and it seems to have been at this time, that JESUS found Peter denying him, and gave him that significant look which had so happy an effect. When arrived at the council-chamber, the High-Priest and Council, finding that none offered themselves willingly. to accuse him, gave intimation that they would receive testimony even from the most infamous of mankind; persons who, for the sake of a bribe, would give solemn attestation to the most atrocious falsehood. At length: they found two, who they thought would answer their purpose. These suborned witnesses laid hold of an expression, which our LORD had used some time be fore, alluding to his resurrection from the dead; and by the alteration of a few words they insinuated, that he was an enemy to the temple, and sought for its destruction, which was deemed equal to blasphemy; for
when the Jews abandoned other idols, they made a perfect idol of the House of the LORD. Our SAVIOUR'S words, Destroy YE this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it, plainly intimated, that he spake of a temple which his enemies would seek to destroy. Thus did these false witnesses endeavour to convict him, but failed in their attempt, as they differed in their evidence ; and could not, if they had agreed, have proved any capital crime against him. Our LORD shewed no regard to their false and frivolous accusation. The High-Priest, surprised at his silence, called upon him to make his defence; but Jesus, knowing how vain it would be for him to plead for himself in so unrighteous a court, the members of which were determined to condemn him, made no reply. He would not deny the charge, because he was willing to submit to the sentence; otherwise, he could as easily have put them to silence now, as he had done formerly..
Disappointed in their view of convicting him by means of false witnesses, the High-Priest and Council asked him to tell them, whether he was the MESSIA h ? hoping to gain advantage over him, whatever should be his answer. Had he confessed himself to be the CHRIST, they would have condemned him as an impostor; and, if he had denied it, they would have exposed him to scorn, as afraid to maintain the pretensions he had made. Instead of giving a direct answer, our LORD pointed out their unfair and unjust usage of him, and referred to their silence on a former occasion, when he put a question to them, which would have led them to own his authority. In order to force him to declare himself, the High-Priest adjured him in the name of GOD to tell him, whether he was the MESSIAH. Thus called upon, Our SAVIOUR immediately answered, that he was; for
he would not give them cause to charge him with contempt of that sacred Name, nor reason to suppose he would ever relinquish his claim as the MESSIAH; but since he knew they would reject all present proofs, he referred them to the time of his second coming, when the matter would be put beyond dispute, and the prophecies fulfilled concerning his glorious coming in the clouds of heaven. Then would they be convinced, that he was not only the MESSIAH, but the Son of GOD. On this Caiaphas, with all the hypocritical appearances of pious indignation, rent his clothes (according to the Jewish custom, when any thing was spoken reproachful to GoD), affecting to be grieved, that so vile a wretch, as he regarded JESUS to be, should claim the sovereignty over. Israel, and so near a relation to GOD. He then appealed to the Council, who all agreed, that there was no occasion to seek for further evidence, since JESUS had convicted himself of a capital crime; they therefore unanimously pronounced him guilty of blasphemy.
It is supposed, that two belonging to the Council, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, disapproving these unrighteous proceedings, absented themselves from this assembly.
The officers and soldiers, who had our LORD in custody, finding that he was condemned by the Sanhedrim, offered him the vilest indignities. Thus did the Council and their wicked adherents prove themselves guilty of the very sin they laid to the charge of our blessed LORD; for the Evangelist teaches us to consider scoffing at CHRIST, and denying him to be the SoN of GOD as BLASPHEMY.
How astonishing it is to contemplate our SAVIOUR'S patience under this injurious treatment! In respect to the innocence and usefulness of his doctrine, he made