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intention, does a good or evil act work back again upon the intention which has produced it with any good or evil power? To this it must be replied that all our moral faculties are strengthened by their every exercise. A man's disposition to steal is stronger from every theft, and any wrong purpose
becomes more intense by the wrong deed in which it is executed. Also the fires of devotion are fed by their own flames and every loving heart becomes more loving by loving.
It is doubtless, therefore, well to repress some deeds and encourage others. But what deeds? Here again we are to look at the deed in the light of the intention, though perhaps in some instances we can only discover the intention by the deed itself. Anything whereby we become less susceptible to holy impressions reveals a wrong intention, however secret or subtle, and as this intention strengthens itself by its exercise, every exercise which reveals it should cease. Whether balls, theatres, cardplaying, etc., are proper amusements, will therefore at once be answered if we notice whether they are pursued with a proper intention, and if there be any doubt respecting this, it can be solved by noticing whether there is thus displayed an increasing zest, or a growing aversion to religious things.
But our best means of repressing wrong amusements will be in cultivating the heart. The baby will give up his rattle and toy of his own accord, when he ceases to be a baby, while no amount of persuasion could lead him to do it before. A man does not play marbles, or trundle his hoop in the street. He did this when a child, and though his growth to manhood may have been slow, yet when he became a man he put away
childish things. In like manner, frivolous amusements will be discarded by a soul no longer frivolous.
The quickest and most effective judgment respecting wrong amusements, or any wrong courses, will be gained by the mind most sensitive to right. If its true being and destiny can be kept before it, if it can be filled with thoughts of its great relationship to God and goodness, this will teach it quickly to discriminate between things right and wrong. The mind which has the prevailing consciousness of God and duty will have no trouble to distinguish between good and bad amusements.
We may properly refer here to one of the most noticeable
passages of the Bible, bearing upon this point : “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart and in the sight of thine eyes, but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” No good reason appears for regarding the former part of this verse as a strain of irony, wherein the sacred Author sarcastically taunts us for the exercise of our original propensities. Rather does it seem to be a divine permission, or perhaps a solemn injunction, to reap the harvest of gladness which we find ready sown and ripened for us in life. There is the command, but as everywhere else, so here, there is the caution too. Rejoice, indeed, and do it heartily, but remember the account to be rendered for it all. Not that the caution makes the command only a mockery, not as though the thought of the coming judgment should destroy every relish for the present joy, but rather that the gladness of this life is to be elevated and hallowed, and set in its due proportions and relationship by the remembrance of the realities and the glories of the life to come. And this is exactly in the line of our argument hitherto. We need the true principle of life to direct us in all the conduct of life. The thought of a coming judgment keeps us constantly watchful of our preparation for it. It need not fill us with dread, for perfect love casteth out fear, and to the true heart nothing is so welcome as a judgment according to truth.
THE ARCHÆOLOGY OF THE TRIAL AND CRUCIFIXION
OVER the greater part of the life of our Saviour there hangs a silence which in vain we seek to break. Even his public ministry, crowded as it was with events the most wonderful, and characterized by words such as man never spake, has come down to us only in fragmentary narratives. Not so imperfect, however, is the record of the last days of Christ. The story of the trial and crucifixion is told by the sacred writers with a minuteness of detail unusual in the Gospels. The scenes of that painful march from Gethsemane to Calvary are all complete. Even the season of the year is distinctly marked; and we know not only the days of the week on which the several events occurred, but also, in some instances, the very hours of the day. Nor is this all. Many of the characters introduced into the sacred narratives are noticed in contemporary history. Besides, the social, political, and judicial customs, to which reference is made, are explained either by Roman or Jewish writ
To sketch the trial and crucifixion of our Saviour in these different lights, and from these different points of observation, is our purpose
in this article.
JESUS IN THE HOUSE OF ANNAS.
When the detachment of the Roman cohort, and the officers of the Jews who had been sent by the Sanhedrim to arrest Jesus, had returned to Jerusalem with their prisoner, they led him, as we learn from John, first to Annas. Annas, or Ananus according to Josephus, had, at an earlier period of his life, filled the office of high priest. He received his appointment, A. D. 12, from Quirinus, the imperial governor of Syria ; but eleven years after, he was deposed by Valerius Gratus, who on the accession of Nero Tiberius to the throne of the Cæsars, had been made procurator of Judæa. This interference by a Roman official was by no means acceptable to the Jews, who, however degraded politically, were still jealous of their religious rights. It may be, therefore, that Annas, though deprived of his sacred office, continued to be regarded by the Jews themselves as the lawful high priest during the remainder of his life. Certainly he retained the title, and somewhat of the dignity, pertaining to his former station.
Into his presence, before it was yet day, Jesus was brought ; Bengel says, “solum honoris causa.” Wiesler and others suppose that Annas was their Nasi, or President of the Sanhedrim, an office, which, it would seem, was not always filled by the high priest. Lightfoot infers that as "he was the older man, of greater experience and skill in the law," "they desired that Caiaphas might be directed by his counsel.” Friedlich maintains that it was merely in order to allow Caiaphas sufficient time to assemble the Sanhedrim. The explanation of John, however, “for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas," is much more satisfactory than any or all of these. There is here an intimation of a fact which we learn from profane history, when we are told that the ex-high priest exerted a powerful influence over his priestly son-in-law. In all but the title he was indeed still the high priest. Moreover, he had undoubtedly interested himself in no slight degree, in the present attempt to overthrow the growing kingdom of Christ. How natural then, that the motley crowd, which hurried Jesus along the streets of Jerusalem to trial and death, should first halt before the residence of this influential Jew, to assure him of the entire success of their plans by delivering into his hand the prisoner himself?
JESUS BEFORE CAIAPHAS.
After a short delay, Jesus was sent to Caiaphas, the high priest and President of the Sanhedrim. Caiaphas, called by Josephus, Joseph Caiaphas, received his appointment to the high priesthood from Valerius Gratus. He continued in office throughout the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate, the successor of Valerius, but was removed at the request of the people by the Proconsul Vitellius during his visit to Jerusalem, A. D. 36. He is called by John "high priest of that year.” Hug supposes that there were at this time two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas, (Luke iii. 2), and that, by an agreement which they had made, they alternated according to years or festivals. This view, however, is not sustained by Josephus. Lightfoot, on the other hand, finds in these words a reference to the frequent, almost yearly changes at this time in the high priesthood, occasioned by the unwelcome interference of Roman officials; and is of the opinion, as is also Neander, that John introduced this phrase in order to distinguish Caiaphas from Annas, who also bore the title of high priest.
Caiaphas, when informed of the arrest of Jesus, immediately summoned to his palace the members of the Sanhedrim. While they were assembling occurred the preliminary examination by the high priest, which John (xviii. 19—24) alone records. Then followed, probably as the day began to dawn, the formal arraignment of Jesus before
THE SAXHEPRIM. This was the highest court of judicature among the Jews. It was instituted by Hyrcanus II., but its systematic organization belongs to a later period. The high priest was usually its President, and with him were associated two vice-Presidents. The number of its members was seventy-two. They were of three orders: (1) chief priests, those who had held the office of high priest, together with the heads of the twenty-four classes of priests; (2) elders, who were the princes of tribes, and the heads of distinguished families; (3) scribes, those learned in the laws and customs of the Jews. Not all of the elders and scribes, however, had a seat in the Sanhedrim. This was a privilege which could be secured only by election or royal appointment.
Under the Asmonean princes, in whom both royal and ecclesiastical authority were united, the Sanhedrim exercised jurisdiction in the highest matters, civil and religious, deciding all cases brought before it by appeal from inferior courts, and also exercising a general supervision over the affairs of the nation. It had, moreover, the power of life and death, when free from the Roman yoke.
The place where the Sanhedrim anciently held its deliberations was the hall Gazith, or the stone chamber, which, according to the Talmudists, was in the temple, and east of the most Holy Place.
The seats of the members were so arranged as to form a semicircle. In the centre sat the Nasi or President, and also the two vice-Presidents. The first vice-President was called the Father of the council, and sat on the right of the President, while the second vice-President sat on the left. Before them, upon a slight elevation, stood the accused with his advocate. If the person brought to trial was acquitted, the verdict was recorded by a scribe who sat on the right of the President; if he was condemned, the sentence was recorded by another scribe, who sat on the left. Near also stood those who were employed to