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John xix.18. and Jesus in the midst.
Jerusalem. Mark xv.28.
And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he
was numbered with the transgressors. John xix.19.
And Pilate wrote a title,
date, as one to be found only in the Rabboth and the Jerusalem
Talmud. The time of the compilation of the Rabboth has been
fixed by the Jews to about the year 300 after Christ; but some
Christians place it at a later period. Wolf observes, “ Faten-
dum hoc est, pro antiquitate rei alicujus demonstranda non
satis tuto ad Rabboth provocari posse, cum nullo argumento
constet, quo tempore hæc vel illa narratio aut expositio sub
nata sit.”-Bibliotheca Hebræa. vol. ii. p. 1426, art. Rabboth.
The Jerusalem Talmud is said by Buxtorf to have been com-
posed about the year 230, or, according to others, about the
year 270 (Wolfii Bib. Hebræa, vol. ii. p. 683.); but Lightfoot, in
his Horæ Heb. in Evang. Matthæi, contends, that it was not
written until the fourth century.-Cent. Chorograph. c. 81.
Schoetgen also, among the apparent contradictions of the
New Testament, enumerates this between St. Matthew and St.
Mark, with respect to the potion offered to our Lord upon the
St. Matthew, he observes, tells us they gave him vinegar,
mingled with gall, ő£os perà xoañs mensyuévov, Matt. xxvii. 34.
St. Mark, tbat they gave bim louvpviouévov oivov. Mark xv.
24. Schottgen would reconcile the two passages by saying, ut
myrrha una cum felle dicatur admixta potu , atque vinum fuisse
acidum, quod indistincte vinum, et acetum appellari solet. He
then goes on to shew that the sour wine was indiscriminately
named wine or vinegar ; and the wine offered to our Lord might
in like manner be called either wine or vinegar.
I cannot but conclude, after an attentive perusal of these and some other criticisms, that the simplest mode of interpreting the passages in question is the best, as being equally consistent and satisfactory. The first potion was probably given to our Lord in derision, the second, the stupifying draught usually administered to criminals, and the third called for from the sufferings of the moment. The hyssop meutioned by St. John in the next verse, may perhaps be considered as possibly to allude to one of the types, wbich were permitted to point out Christ as the typical paschal lamb. The Jews always commenced this seast by the oating of bitter herbs dipped in vinegar, which was considered as emblematical of purity, see Ps. li. 7.
It must be observed, tbat in Matt. xxvii. 34. instead of őžos, many MSS, read oivov. The posca, or common drink of the Roman soldiers, was known by each pame: they both convey the same sense (a).
(a) See Archbishop Lawrence's Sermon on excess in Philological Speculation, p. 39, notes. Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. p. 158, and part ii. p. 127-8. Schoetgen Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 236. Adam Clarke's Commentary. Horne's Critical Introduction, second edition, vol. iii. p. 115.
24 The Christian world is deeply indebted to the accurato and learned Dr. Townsou, for his ingenious criticism on the title placed by Pilate on the cross. The apparent discrepancy between the accounts of this title given by the Evangelists, bad been urged as an objection against the inspiration and veracity of the sacred writers. The superscription on the cross was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin; and as the Evange lists all mention the title differently, Dr. Townson conjectured that it was possible it might bave slightly varied in each lan
Mark xv.26. the superscription of his accusation
Jerusalem. Mtxxvii.37, And set up over his head his accusation written, guage. As St. Luke wrote for the Gentiles in Achaia, it is
bable that he would prefer mentioning the Greek inscription.
As St. Mattbew addressed the Jews, it is likely tberefore that be
should use the Hebrew: and as St. Mark principally wrote to
the Romans, he would naturally give the Latin inscription. I
bave observed in my arrangement the order proposed by Dr.
Townson. He remarks, the Evangelists all mention this super-
scription, but every one with some difference, except in the last
words, The King of the Jews.
We may reasonably suppose St. Matthew to have recited the
JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS,
and St. John the Greek:
JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
If it should be asked, why the Nazarene was omitted in the He-
brew, and we must assign a reason for Pilate's humour, perbaps
we may thus accouot for it. He might be informed that Jesus
in Hebrew denoted a Saviour (John xi. 49–51.) and as it car-
ried more appearance of such an appellative, or general term,
by standing alone, he might choose, by dropping the epitbet,
The Nazarene, to leave the sense so ambiguous, that it might
be thus understood :
A SAVIOUR, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Pilate, as little satisticd with the Jews as with himself, on that
day, meant the inscription, wbich was his own, as a dishonour
to the pation; and thus set a momentous verity before them,
with as much design of declaring it, as Caiaphas had of prophe-
sying, that Jesus should die for the people (John xi. 49–51.)
The ambiguity not holding in Greek, the Nazarepe might be
there inserted in scorn again of the Jews, by denominatiog their
King from a city which they held in the utmost contempt. (Jobn
Let us now view the Latin. It is not assuming much to sup-
pose, that Pilate would not concern himself with Hebrew Dames,
nor risk an impropriety in speaking or writing them. It was
thought essential to the dignity of a Roman magistrate, in the
times of the Republic, not to speak but in Latin on public occa-
sions (Valerius Maximus, b. ii. c. ii. f. 2) of which spirit Tibe-
rius the Emperor retained so much, that in an oration to the
senate, he apologized for using a Greek word; and once, when
they were drawing up a decree, advised them to erase another
that had been inserted in it. (Sueton in Tiberi, c. 71. Tbe
two words were monopoly and emblem.) And thougb the ma-
gistrates in general were then become more condescending to
the Greeks, they retained this point of state with regard to
other nations, whose languages they esteemed barbarous, and
would give themselves vo trouble of acquiring. Pilate indeed,
according to St. Matthew, asked at our Lord's trial, Whom will
ye that I release unto you, Barabbas, or Jesus, which is called
Christ? And again, What shall I do with Jesus, wbich is called
Christ? But I judge this to be related as the interpreter by
whom he spake delivered it in Hebrew.-(See Wolfius on Matt.
xxvii. 2.) For if the other Evangelists have given his exact
words, he never pronounced the name of Jesus, but spake of
him all aloog by a periphrasis: Will ye that I release unto you
The King of the Jews? What will ye then, that I shall do unte
John xix.19. and put it on the cross. And the writing was
Jerusalem. La, xxiii.38. in letters of Greek, Joho xix.19. JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. La.xxiii.38. and Latin, Mark xv.26. THE KING OF THE JEWS. Lu.xxiii.38. and Hebrew, Mtxxvii.37. THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. John xix.20. This title then read many of the Jews': for the place
where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city : and it'
was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
21. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write
not, The King of the Jews ; but that he said, I am King
of the Jews,
Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written.
him whom ye call The King of the Jews? Thus be acted in con-
ference with the Rulers, and then ordered a Latin inscription,
without mixture of foreign words, just as St. Mark repeats it
THE KING OF THE JEWS,
which is followed by St. Luke, only that he has brought down
This is, from the above superscription, as having a common re-
ference to what stood under it.
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
It is very possible, tbat a better account may be given of the
three forms of the inscription ; but I think I am well founded
in asserting that there were variations in it, and that the short-
est was that of St. Luke, in the Latin.-Towoson's Works,
vol. i. p. 199.
S. Reger has published a dissertation on the title on the cross,
and comes nearly to the same conclusions as Townsan, who does
not however refer to, nor appear to have seen, bis treatise. He
supposes that the inscription varied in each language, and that
they might have been written on three several tablets, in this
Luke xxiii. 38. Matt. xxviii. 37. John xix. 19.
He mentions many opinions on the imagined difficulty-Alii
enim duos Evangelistas Matthæum et Lucam duo verba oúrós
ésiv, non ex titulo descripsisse, sed sententiæ perficiendæ gratiæ
adjecisse. Alii vero Marcum, et Johannem dicta verba neg-
lexisse ; præterea tres reliquos cognomen Nazareni ; Marcum et
Lucam vero Nomen proprium JESUS omisisse, quamobrem ex
omnium Evangelistarum, descriptionibus tres conformes formant
έτος έσιν "Ιησές ο Ναζαραιος ο βασιλευς Ιεδαιων. Ηic est Jesus
Nazarenus Rex Judæorum. See the dissertation ap Crit. Sac.
vol. xi. p. 241, &c. &c.
הוה יִשוּעַ הַנָצְרִי מֶלֶד הַיְהוּדִים :inscriptiones, hoc modo
MARK XV. part of ver. 22. and ver. 26.
22 And they bring him unto the place called Golgotha, which
is, being interpreted, the place of a skull.
26 And-was written over-
LUKE xxiii, ver. 38.
38 And a superscription also was written over him-
JOAN xix, part of ver. 18.
18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on
either side one-
Christ prays for his Murderers.
LUKE xxii. part of ver. 34.
Lu.xxiii.34, Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know
not what they do.
The Soldiers divide, and cast Lots for the Raiment of
MATT. xxvii. 35, 36. MARK XV, 24, 25. LUKE xxii,
part of ver. 84. JOHN xix. 23, 24.
Mtxxvi.35. And they crucified him as,
Joh. xix. 23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took
his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a
25 He hangs upon the cross, for us, and for our salvation ! The Son of God dies for the restoration of man! The manifested God, who was present at the creation of this scene of his glory;
who for the sins of one generation of man, brought the deluge of waters upon the earth; He who was seen in the firmament, commanding the fire to descend upon the cities of the Plain; the dweller between the cberubim, the form which tabernacled in the moving flame, guiding his people through the wilderness; the King of glory, the Lord of angels, the Ruler of the universe, the fellow of Jehovah, the future Judge of the world, He hangs upon the cross, and offers bimself a willing sacrifice for the sins of an offending world. That this holy and mighty Being should die as a man, amidst the indig. nities and cruel mockings of the higher as well as of the lower raoks of his people, for the sins of those who pierced him, and of all who in ages to come should believe in this wonder al atonement, is a mystery so truly sublime, that the intellectual powers of man, while in the body, cannot fully comprehend its effects and benefits. The wonderful and holy Being, whose mysterious death we are now contemplating, is revealed to us, not merely as the Lord of mankind, but as the superior of augels. Evil spirits knew him, and fled: good spirits ministered to bim. He spake of the invisible world, as of the scene of existence to which he had been accustomed, and of angels and devils as his obedient or rebellious subjects. It is evident, therefore, that the actions of our Lord, while in his state of bumiliation, were the subjects of attention to an innumerable host of intellectual and spiritual creatures who, we may suppose, are all more or less interested in the heavenly sacrifice. Angels in humble submission desired to look into this great mystery; fallen spirits retained the malignity of their evil nature, saw, believed, and tremblod. They fell from their high estate by
: Joh. xix. 23. part; and also his coat. Now the coat was without Jerusalem.
seam, woven from the top throughout.
their own pride and ambition, without external temptation, and
they are left to the consequences of their wilful disobedience.
Man, having been created of a compound nature, and liable to
evil, did not, like them, fall away by bis own original, innate
perverseness, but by the enticements of a superior and evil
spirit. For man Christ died- for man there is bope of salva.
tion, and at this solemo moment the seal was affixed to his pardon,
Now was the sentence of eternal punishment pronounced upon
the evil spirits. Satan fell as lightning from heaven; and the cap-
tivity of hell was led captive. The voice of mercy confirmed the
angels in their obedience, and taught them also that there was
no more sacrifice for sin: and the human race were emancipated
from the bondage and degradation of the Fall, and exalted to
become, with the angels, the sons of God. Thus was moral or.
der, which had been disturbed through the dominion of evil,
by the sin and disobedience of the first Adam, restored to the
whole universe by the triumphant sacrifice of the second Adam.
Sufficient, therefore, is revealed to us to convince us of the
necessity of this great atonement, and to demonstrate to as the
holy indignation of the Almighty God, against sin and sinners.
We all carry about within us, the sad marks of our fallen nature.
The remembrance of some past sin continually arises to embitter
our happiness, and to convince us that we have no power to
help ourselves. Man requires some other atonement, some other
intercession. His former sins cannot be cancelled by peni-
tence or reformation (a), the only offering he has it in his power to
make ; "the convert and the sinner are the same individual per-
son : and as such, be answerable for his whole conduct. His
sentiments of himself can only be a mixture of approbation and
disapprobation, satisfaction and displeasure. His past sins
must still, however sincerely he may have reformed, occasion
self-dissatisfaction: and this will ever be the stronger the more
he improves in virtue. Now, as this is agreeable to truth, there
is reason to conclude, that God beholds him in the same light.”
Therefore man's redemption must be accomplished by other
than himself. It is further evident that the blood of bulls and
of goats could not take away sin ; they were not of the same
nature and origin as man, and therefore incapable of making
an expiation for the sin he had contracted. These were only
the types and figures of a more perfect sacrifice of that holy
victim who was appointed before the foundation of the world.
either could the sacrifice of any ordinary man make satisfaction for us, because it is clear he would only suffer that panishmont which his own sins had deserved ; and no satisfaction can be made for others, by suffering that which justice requires for our own offences. No ordinary man could raise himself from the dead, or procure that redemption for another, whicb he could not obtain for himself. Neither could any ordinary man make satisfaction to the violated laws of God by a life of sinless obedience. He only who bad power to lay down his life, and take it up again, could procure for man å resurrection, and deliver him from the eternal death his sins had incurred. He alone, who took upon him buman nature, that he might set us an example of human virtue, “who knew no sin,” who was perfect and spotless, the Lamb of God, could satisfy the purity of divine justice, or reconcile it with his mercy, and the economy of his government. Throughout the whole system of the divine dispensations, the Father uniformly acts by the ministry of the Son, and the Son by the ministry of the Holy Ghost.