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Christ. The 9th and 10th are connected by the particle for; and if the Apostle's reasoning has any force, justification by the blood of Christ, must at least be included in reconciliation to God by the death of his Son. In reconciliation, we are admitted into a state of favour with the Most High, of whose displeasure we were formerly the objects; in justification, we receive a sentence of absolution from our Judge, who heretofore condemned us. By the one, we are delivered from that just indignation to which we were obnoxious; by the other, we are set free from the curse of the violated law. In both, the benefit conferred is essentially the same, but differently expressed according to the different views which may be taken of that misery from which we are relieved. This interpretation is incontestably confirmed by the expression at the close of the 11th verse; which when literally and most correctly translated runs thus,-" by whom we have now received the reconciliation." That is, by faith in Christ, who has fully satisfied offended justice and brought in everlasting righteousness, we have now received the inestimable blessing of the restored favour and friendship of God.
The reader who wishes to see this point more fully discussed, may consult Wardlaw* and Magee, † and also the writers to whom the latter refers.
NOTE X. Page 52.
That the general character of PONTIUS PILATE Corresponded with that instance of glaring injustice of which he was guilty in condemning Jesus to the cross, notwithstanding his firm conviction of his innocence, cannot admit of a doubt. Even the Evangelist Luke seems incidentally to intimate, that he was a man of no humanity or principle: For admitting that the Galileans, by their political sentiments or conduct, had incurred the displeasure of the Roman government, yet to "mingle their blood with their sacrifices" -to seize the opportunity of their attendance on the solemnities of religious worship, to apprehend and slay them in the most summary manner, was an act of savage barbarity. Josephus, too, as well as Philo, represents his character in the most odious light, and mentions two instances of impiety and gross imprudence, which took place at the commencement of his administration; namely, his causing some bucklers, on which images of Cæsar were stamped, to be brought into Jerusalem by night, and his laying out the sacred
* Discourses on the Socinian Controversy, pp. 154-156.
money of the temple upon expensive aqueducts;-both of which deeds were extremely offensive to the Jews, and occasioned great disorders.*
One design of the insertion of Pilate's name in the Creed, without doubt, was to fix the date of our Lord's sufferings, and thus to show the exact accomplishment of ancient predictions, relative to the time of the Messiah's appearing and death. The compilers of the Creed, however, probably expected also that this circumstance would excite inquiry respecting our Saviour, and in particular respecting the testimony which the Roman Procurator bore to his innocence. Beside the solemn and repeated declarations which he made on this point to the Jews, when Jesus stood as a pannel at his bar, it is affirmed by ancient writers that Pilate gave ample testimony to our Lord's innocence, both in an express written to Tiberius and presented by that Emperor to the Senate, and in records which, conformably to custom, he kept of important transactions which occurred during his government.
"Had the trial of Jesus ended," says an Author formerly quoted, " where it began, before the Highpriest and council of the Jews, it would have been less interesting to the world, and less satisfactory in the issue. But he was tried by a Roman judge; and his innocence, nay his dignity, stands attested, by the person who through weakness condemned him." "I am inclined to believe," he adds in a note, "that the compilers of the Creed, commonly called the Apostles' Creed, must have had this circumstance under their eye, as much as to fix the chronology of the death of Jesus. His suffering under Pontius Pilate would determine many to inquire into the particulars of the event, whom mere curiosity would not prompt, or who might have been restrained by their antipathies and indifference."+
A considerably full account of Pilate may be seen in Pearson on the Creed.
NOTE XI. Page 75.
"HELENA, mother of Constantine the Great," it is said in a late Biographical work,§" was probably a daughter of an Inn-keeper of Drepanum in Bithynia; for the comparatively recent tradition which makes her the daughter of a British Prince, though fondly received
• Wars of the Jews, Book ii. chap. 9.
+ Hunter's Observations on the History of Christ, Vol. ii. chap. 12. sect. 4. Art. iv. pp. 193–198.
§ Aikin's General Biography, Vol. v. Art. HELENA.
by some antiquaries of this country, seems to be entirely fictitious. --- Her son Constantine treated her with great respect. Upon his conversion to Christianity, she followed his example, and became extremely zealous for her new faith. She had the title of Augusta and Empress at court and in the army, and the entire disposal of a large revenue. --- About 326 she paid a visit to the holy places of Jerusalem, and this was the epoch of that memorable event in ecclesiastical history called the invention of the true cross. - - - Though、 Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, is silent concerning this great event, it is recorded by so many other writers of grave authority, that the Catholic Church have made no scruple of commemorating it by a religious service. --- Helena died at the age of eighty in 328, and was interred in the imperial mausoleum at Rome. - - - She is canonized as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church."
Whatever judgment may be formed of the character of Helena herself, among Protestants there can be but one opinion with regard to the invention of the cross; and the reader will probably think that "this curious piece of deplorable superstition" was scarcely worthy of a serious and elaborate confutation. It has been noticed lately in terms of great severity by a respectable traveller.*
NOTE XII. Page 76.
RHEGIUM, now called Reggio, is a considerable town on the coast of Italy opposite to Sicily. The Rhegian crime consisted in an act of treachery committed by a Legion of Roman soldiers sent to protect that city from the danger which its inhabitants apprehended from the incursions of Pyrrhus and the Carthaginian fleet. This Roman legion, which was called the Campanian, and commanded by Decius Jubellius the tribune, after remaining true to their duty for some time, were at last seduced by the commodious situation of the place and the wealth of the citizens, took entire possession of the city, and drove out or killed the inhabitants. The Roman govern ment, indignant at the treachery, besieged Rhegium, and destroyed the greater part of the legion in the assault; and three hundred who were taken alive, were carried to Rome, where they were first scourged, and then beheaded. The city, with all the lands, was restored to its former inhabitants, who enjoyed their liberty and laws as before. By this act of severity, the Romans recovered their character for good faith amongst their allies, and mightily increased their reputation.+
Dr Clarke's Travels, Vol. iii. pp. 567, 568.
+Vid. Tit. Liv. Lib. xii. cap. 27-32. Lib. xv. cap. 2—4.
NOTE XIII. Page 84.
The Author discovers his usual erudition and accuracy in his minute account of our Lord's CRUCIFIXION, and in the illustrations of that event which he borrows from ancient writers. Those inclined to compare Witsius with other writers on this subject, may consult Pearson, and an Article in the Edinburgh Encyclopædia.+ From the last of these it may not be improper to subjoin here a few
"This was a frequent punishment among the ancients, and practised by most of the nations, whose history has reached our knowledge. It is now chiefly confined to the Mahometans. - - - Augustin describes the cross on which Jesus Christ suffered as the common cross; but it does not appear on what authority, and as he lived in the fourth Century, his information must have been derived from others. Some succeeding authors have also supposed that his feet were fixed to a projection or bracket below, so that he was crucified in a standing posture; to which the same remark applies. Deviations from the ordinary form and proportions were adopted on particular occasions.
"The criminal was compelled to carry his own cross to the place of execution, which was generally at some distance from the habitations of men. It was not the whole cross, according to some, which was borne by the offender, but only the transverse beam or patibulum, because they suppose the upright part to have remained stationary in the ground, whereas the other was moveable. - The criminal having reached the fatal spot, was stript nearly naked, and affixed to the cross by an iron spike driven through each hand and each foot, or through the wrists and ancles. Authors are, nevertheless, greatly divided concerning the number and position of the nails in ancient punishments; and it has been conjectured that in the most simple crucifixion, whereby both hands were nailed above the criminal and both feet below, all on one particular post or tree, only two were used. The sounder opinion, and that which coincides with modern practice, bestows a nail on each member; and though the following passage is employed in a ludicrous sense, sufficiently indicates the truth.
Exposition of the Creed, Art. iv. pp. 202–206.
+ Vol. vii. Art. CRUCIFIXION.
Ego dabo ei talentum, primus qui in crucem excurrerit,
-- "If the cross consisted of two pieces, it is not unlikely that the hands of the criminal were nailed to the moveable part or patibulum, and that being then elevated along with it by the strength of men, his feet were fixed to the bracket. These facts are extremely obscure, and there is reason to believe that crucifixion also took place otherwise. - -
"The criminal, being fixed on the cross, was left to expire in anguish, and his body remained a prey to the birds of the air. His death, however, was not immediate, nor should it be so in general, considering that the vital organs may escape laceration. We learn from the distinct narrative of the Evangelists, that conversations could be carried on among those who suffered, or betwixt them and the bye-standers: and Justin the historian relates, that Bomilcar, the Carthaginian leader, having been crucified on an accusation of treason against the state, he bore the cruelty of his countrymen with distinguished fortitude, harangued them from the cross as from a tribunal, and reproached them with their ingratitude, before he expired. There are repeated instances of persons crucified having perished more from hunger, than from the severity of the punishment. ---St. Andrew lived two or three days, and the martyrs Timotheus and Maura did not die during nine days.
"By the Mahometan laws, certain delinquents are to be punished with crucifixion, and killed on the cross by thrusting a spear through their bodies; and here we find an example of what is narrated in Scripture of the soldiers piercing the side of Jesus Christ with a lance, though he was dead. -
"That the object of crucifixion might be fulfilled in exposing the body of the criminal to decay, sentinels were commonly posted beside the cross to prevent it from being taken down and buried. Privation of sepulture was dreaded as the greatest evil by the ancients, who believed that the soul could never rest or enjoy felicity so long as their mortal remains continued on the earth. Thus it was a great aggravation of the punishment. - -
To him who first shall on the cross expire,