« הקודםהמשך »
humanity, or even
of common justice, when so convincing a proof of the accused person's inrocence had been given them, would naturally have relented, would have put an immediate stop to the proceedings, and released the pri soner. But this was very far from entering into their plan. With the guilt or innocence of Jesus they did not concern themselves: This was not their affair. All they wanted was the destruction of a man whom they hated and feared, and whose life and doctrinetwere a standing reproach to them. This was their object: and as to the mercy or the justice of the case, on this head they were at perfect ease; « What is that to us? See thou totliat." And yet to see the astonishing inconsistence of human nature, and the strange contrivances by which even the most abandoned of men endeavour to satisfy their minds their apprehensions; these very men, who had no scruple at all in murdering an imocent person, yet had wonderful qualms of conscience about putting into the treasury the money which they themselves had given as the “ price of blood !"
“The chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, it is not law
ful fort maşsto put them into the treasury, be: cause, it-is the price of blood. And they took counsel,and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called The Field of Blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Joremy, the prophet, saying, And they took the thinty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel didi values and gave them for the pots ter's, field, as the Lord appointed me*."
slicannot pass on from this part of the chapter without observing, that the short account here given us of Judas Iscariot affords, us a veryistriking proof of the perfect innocence and integrity of our Lord's character, and of the truth of his pretensions.
* It happens that this passage is found not in Jeremiah; to which the evangelist refers, but in the eleventh chapter of Zechariah. But there are various very satis. factory ways in which learned men have accounted for this difficulty; which after all, as the prophecy actually exists, is natter of no moment; and in writings' two or three thousand years old, it is no great wonder if, by the carelessness of transcribers, ane pame should some times (especially where abbreviations are used) be put for another,
w.el Jou Li Ji b< cuc .29090 el Had
Had there been any tling reprehensible in the former, or any deceit in the latter, it must have been known to Judas Iscariot. "He was one of the twelve who were the constant com. panions of our Saviour's ministry, and witnesses to every thing he said or did. If therefore his conduct had been in any respect irré. gular or immoral ; -if his miracles had been the effect of collusion or fraud ; if there had been any plan concerted between him and his disciples to impose a false religion upon the world, and under the guise of piety, to gratify their love of fame, honour, wealtha or poweri; if, in short, Jesus had been either an enthusiast or an impostor, Judas must have been in the secret; and when he betrayed his Master, would immediately have divulged it to the world. By such a discovery, he would not only have justified his own treachery, but: might probably' have gratified also "his ruling passion, his love of money. For there can be no doubt, that wlien the chief priests and rulers were industriously seeking out for evidence against Jesus, they would most gladly have purchased that of Judas at any price,
however extravagant, that he chose to dem mand. But instead of producing any evidence against Jesus, he gives a voluntary and most decisive evidence in his favour. “I have sinned," says he, in an agony of grief; 6? I have sinned, and have betrayed the innocent blood.” This testimony of Judas is invalua* ble, because it is the testimony of an un willing witness; the testimony, not of a friend, but of an enemy; the testimony, not of one desirous to favour and to befriend the accused; but of one who had actually betrayed him. After such an evidence as this, it seems impossible for any ingenuous mind either to question the reality of our Saviour's miracles, or the divinity to which he laid claim; because, ás Judas declared him innocent (which he could not be, had he in any respect deceived his disciples), he must have been, what he assumed to be, the Son of God, and his religion the word of God. After this account of Judas Iscariot; the evangelist proceeds in the history,
" And Jesus stood before the governor." Little did that governor imagine who it was that: then stood before him. Little did he suspect Vol. II. T
that he must himself one day stand before the tribunal of that very person, whom he was then going to judge as a criminal !
It appears from the parallel place in St. Luke (and from what was stated in the preceding Lecture), that the charge brought against Jesus before Pilate was not what it had been before the chief priests, blasphemy, but sedition and treason. “They began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying, that he liimself is Christ a king *.”. These were great crimes against the state, as, affecting both the revenue and the sovereignty of the Roman emperor, both of which it was the duty-of the governor to support and maintain. “ Pilate therefore asked him, Art-thou the king of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.” That is, I am what thou sayest.
*** And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things those wit"Dess against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor * Luke xxiii. e.