Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 24)
( ...continued from File 23)
Sermon 24. The second and third Preparatives for the Death of 
Christ, by his illegal Trial and Condemnation. 
Luke 23:23,24 
And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be 
crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests 
prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they 
Judas has made good his promise to the high-priest, and delivered 
Jesus a prisoner into their hands. These wolves of the evening, no 
sooner seize the Lamb of God, but they thirst and long to be sucking 
his precious innocent blood; their revenge and malice admit no 
delay, as fearing a rescue by the people. 
    When Herod had taken Peter, he committed him to prison, 
"intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people," Acts 
12:4. But these men cannot sleep till they have his blood, and 
therefore the preparation of the passover being come, they resolve 
in all haste to destroy him; yet lest it should look like a 
downright murder, it shall be formalised with a trial. This his 
trial and condemnation are the two last acts by which they prepared 
for his death, and are both contained in this context; in which we 
may observe, 1. The indictment. 2. The sentence to which the judge 
    1. The indictment drawn up against Christ, wherein they accuse 
him of many things, but can prove nothing. They charge him with 
sedition and blasphemy, but falter shamefully in the proof. However, 
what is wanting in evidence, shall be supplied with glamour and 
importunity. For saith the text, "They were instant with loud 
voices, requiring that he might be crucified; and their voices 
prevailed". When they can neither prove the sedition and blasphemy 
they charged him with, then, Crucify him, Crucify him, must serve 
the turn, instead of all witnesses and proofs. 
    The sentence pronounced upon him; Pilate gave sentence, that it 
should be as they required: i. e. he sentenced Christ to be nailed 
to the cross, and there to hang till he was dead. From both these we 
may observe these two doctrinal conclusions. 
    Doct. 1. That the trial of Christ for his life, was managed 
    most maliciously, and illegally against him, by his unrighteous 
    Doct. 2. Though nothing could be proved against our Lord Jesus 
    Christ worthy of death, or of bonds; yet he was condemned to be 
    nailed to the cross, and there to hang till he died. 
    I shall handle these two points distinctly in their order, 
beginning with the first, namely, 
    Doct. 1. That the trial of Christ for his life, was managed 
    most maliciously and illegally against him, by his unrighteous 
    Reader, here thou mayest see the Judge of all the world 
standing himself to be judged; he that shall judge the world in 
righteousness, judged most unrighteously; he that shall one day come 
to the throne of judgement, attended with thousands, and ten 
thousands of angels and saints, standing as a prisoner at man's bar, 
and there denied the common right which a thief or murderer might 
claim, and is commonly given them. 
    To manifest the illegality of Christ's trial, let the following 
particulars be heedfully weighed. 
    1. That he was inhumanely abused, both in words and actions, 
before the court met, or any examination was taken of the fact: for 
as soon as they had taken him, they forthwith bound him, and led him 
away to the High-priest's house, Luke 22: 54. And there they that 
held him, mocked him, smote him, blind-folded him, struck him on the 
face, and bid him prophesy who smote him; and many other things 
blasphemously spake they against him, ver. 63, 64, 65. How illegal 
and barbarous a thing was this? When they were but binding Paul with 
thongs, he thought himself abused contrary to law, and asked the 
centurion that stood by, "Is it lawful fat for you to scourge a man 
that is a Roman, and uncondemned?" q. d. Is this legal! What, punish 
a man first, and judge him afterwards! But Christ was not only 
bound, but horribly abused by them all that night, dealing with him 
as the lords of the Philistine did with Samson, to whom it was sport 
to abuse him. No rest had Jesus that night; no more sleep for him 
now in this world: O it was a sad night to him: and this under 
Caiaphas's own roof. 
    2. As he was inhumanely abused before he was tried, so he was 
examined and judged by a court that had no authority to try him. 
Luke 22: 66. "As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and 
the chief priests, and the scribes came together and led him into 
their council." This was the ecclesiastical court, the great 
Sanhedrin, which, according to its first constitution, should 
consist of seventy grave, honourable, and learned men; to whom were 
to be referred all doubtful matters, too hard for inferior courts to 
decide. And these were to judge impartially and uprightly for God, 
as men in whom was the Spirit of God, according to God's counsel to 
Moses, Numbers 11: 16, &c. In this court the righteous and innocent 
might expect relief and protection. And that is conceived to be the 
meaning of Christ's words, Luke 13: 33 "It cannot be that a prophet 
perish out of Jerusalem;" that is, there righteousness and innocence 
may expect protection. But now, contrary to the first constitution, 
it consisted at a pack of malicious Scribes and Pharisees, men full 
of revenge, malice, and all unrighteousness: and over these Caiaphas 
(a head fit for such a body) at this time presided. And though there 
was still some face of a court among them, yet their power was so 
abridged by the Romans, that they could not hear and determine, 
judge and condemn in capital matters, as formerly. For as Josephus 
their own historian informs us, Herod in the beginning of his reign 
took away this power from them; and that scripture seems to confirm 
it, John 18: 31. "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death;" 
and therefore they bring him to Pilate's bar. He also understood him 
to be a Galilean, and Herod being Tetrarch of Galilee, and at that 
time in Jerusalem, he is sent to him, and by him remitted to Pilate. 
    3. As he was at first heard and judged by a court that had no 
authority to judge him; so when he stood at Pilate's bar, he was 
accused of perverting the nation, and denying tribute to Caesar, 
than which nothing was more notoriously false. For as all his 
doctrine was pure and heavenly, and malice itself could not find a 
flaw is it; so he was always observant of the laws under which he 
lived, and scrupulous of giving the least just offence to the civil 
powers. Yea, he not only paid the tribute himself though he might 
have pleaded exemption, but charged it upon others as their duty so 
to do, Mat. 22: 24. "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's." 
And yet with such palpable untruths is Christ charged. 
    4. Yea, and what is more abominable and unparalleled; to 
compass their malicious designs, they industriously labour to suborn 
else witnesses to take away his life, not sticking at the grossest 
perjury, and manifest injustice, so they might destroy him. So you 
read, Mat. 26: 59. "Now the chief priests and elders, and all the 
council, sought false witnesses against Jesus to put him to death." 
Abominable wickedness! for such men, and so many, to complot to shed 
the blood of the innocent, by known and studied perjury! What will 
not malice against Christ transport men to? 
    5. Moreover, the carriage of the court was most insolent and 
base towards him during the trial: for whilst he stood before them 
as a prisoner, yet uncondemned, sometimes they are angry at him for 
his silence! and when he speaks, and that pertinently to the point, 
they smite him on the mouth for speaking, and scoff at what he 
speaks. "To some of their light, frivolous and ensnaring questions, 
he is silent, not for want of an answer, but because he heard 
nothing worthy of one." And to fulfil what the prophet Isaiah had 
long before predicted of him; "He was oppressed, and he was 
afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to 
the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he 
opened not his mouth," Isa. 53: 7. As also to leave us a precedent 
when to speak, and when to be silent, when we for his name sake 
shall be brought before governors: for such reasons as these he 
sometimes answers not a word, and then they are ready to condemn him 
for a mute. "Answerest thou nothing? (saith the high-priest) what is 
it that these witness against thee?" Mat. 26: 62. "Hearest thou not 
how many things they witness against thee?" saith Pilate, Mat. 27: 
    And when he makes his defence in words of truth and soberness, 
they smite him for speaking, John 18: 22. "And when he had thus 
spoken, one of the officers which stood by, struck Jesus with the 
palm of his hand, saying, answerest thou the high priest so?" And 
what had he spoken to exasperate them? Had he spoken impertinently? 
Not at all; what he said was but this, when they would have had him 
ensnare himself with his own lips: "Jesus answered, I spake openly 
in the world, I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, 
whither the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing. 
Why askest thou me? Ask them that heard me, behold they know what I 
said;" q. d. I am not obliged to accuse and ensnare myself, but you 
ought to proceed secundum allegata et probata, according to what is 
alleged and proved. Did he deserve a blow on his mouth for this? O 
who but himself could have so patiently digested such abuses! Under 
all this he stands in perfect innocence and patience, making no 
other return to that wretch that smote him, but this, "If I have 
spoken evil, bear witness of the evil but if well, why smites thou 
    6. Lastly, To instance in no more: he is condemned to die by 
that very mouth which had once and again professed he found no fault 
in him. He had heard all that could be alleged against him, and saw 
it was a perfect piece of malice and envy. When they urge Pilate to 
proceed to sentence him; "Why, saith he, what evil has he done?" 
Mat. 27: 23. Nay, in the preface to the very sentence itself, he 
acknowledges him to be a just person, Mat. 27: 24. "When Pilate saw 
he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took 
water, and washed his hands before the multitude, and said, I am 
innocent of the blood of this just person, see ye to it." Here the 
innocence of Christ brake out like the sun wading out of a cloud; 
convincing the conscience of his judge that he was just; and yet he 
must give sentence on him, for all that, to please the people. 
    Inference 1. Was Christ thus used when he stood before the 
great council, the scribes and elders of Israel? Then surely "great 
men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand judgement," 
Job 32: 9. Here were many great men, many aged men, many politic men 
in council; but not one wise or good man among them. In this council 
were men of parts and learning, men of great abilities, and by so 
much the more pernicious, and able to do mischief. Wickedness in a 
great or learned man, is like poison given in wine, the more 
operative and deadly. Christ's greatest enemies were such as these. 
Heathen Pilate had more pity for him than superstitious Caiaphas. 
Luther tells us, that his greatest adversaries did not rise out of 
the ale-houses or brothel-houses, but out of monasteries, convents, 
and religious houses. 
    Inf. 2. Hence also we learn, That though we are not obliged to 
answer every captious, idle, or ensnaring question, yet we are bound 
faithfully to own and confess the truth, when we are solemnly called 
    It is true, Christ was sometimes silent, and as a deaf man that 
heard not; but when the question was solemnly put, "Art thou the 
Christ, the Son of the blessed? Jesus said, I am," Mat. 14: 61, 62. 
He knew that answer would cost his life, and yet he durst not deny 
it. On this account the apostle saith, "he witnessed a good 
confession before Pontius Pilate," 1 Tim. 6: 13. Herein Christ has 
ruled out the way of our duty, and by his own example, as well as 
precept, obliged us to a sincere confession of him, and his truth, 
when we are required lawfully so to do, i.e. when we are before a 
lawful magistrate, and the questions are not curious or captious; 
when we cannot hold our peace, but our silence will be 
interpretatively a denying of the truth; finally, when the glory of 
God, honour of his truth, and edification of others, are more 
attainable by our open confession, than they can be by our silence; 
then must we with Christ, give direct, plain, sincere answers. 
    It was the old Priscillian error, to allow men to deny or 
dissemble their profession, when an open confession would infer 
danger. But you know what Christ has said, Mat. 10: 33. "Whosoever 
shall deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father which is 
in heaven." Christ will repay him in his own coin. It was a noble 
saying of courageous Zwinglius, "What deaths would I not choose? 
What punishment would I not undergo? Yea, into what vault of hell 
would I not rather choose to be thrown, than to witness against my 
conscience? Truth can never be bought too dear, nor sold cheap. The 
Lord Jesus, you see, owns truth with the imminent and instant hazard 
of his life. The whole Cloud of witnesses have followed him therein, 
Rev. 14: 1. We ourselves once openly owned the ways of sin; and 
shall we not do as much for Christ, as we then did for the devil? 
Did we then glory in our shame, and shall we now be ashamed of our 
glory? Do not we hope Christ will own us at the great day? Why, if 
we confess him, he also will confess us. O think on the 
reasonableness of this duty. 
    Inf. 3. Once more, hence it follows, That to bear the reviling 
contradictions, and abuses of men, with a meek, composed, and even 
spirit, is excellent and Christ-like. He stood before them as a 
lamb; he rendered not railing for railing? he endured the 
contradictions of sinners against himself. Imitate Christ in his 
meekness. He calls you so to do, Mat. 11: 28. This will be 
convincing to your enemies, comfortable to yourselves, and 
honourable to religion: and as for your innocence, God will clear it 
up as Christ's was. 
    You have heard the illegal trial of Christ, how insolently it 
was managed against him; well, right or wrong, innocent or guilty, 
his blood is resolved upon; it is bought and sold before-hand; and 
if nothing else will do it, menaces and clamours shall constrain 
Pilate to condemn him. Whence our second note was, 
    Doct. 2. That though nothing could be proved against our Lord 
    Jesus Christ worthy of death or of bonds, yet was he condemned 
    to be nailed to the cross, and there to hang till he died. 
    For the explication of this, I shall open the following 
particulars. First, Who gave the sentence. Secondly, Upon whom it 
was given. Thirdly, What sentence it was that was given. Fourthly, 
In what manner Christ received it. 
    First, Who, and what was he, that durst attempt such a thing as 
this? Why, this was Pilate, who succeeded Valerius Gratus in the 
presidentship of Judea, (as Josephus tells us) in which trust he 
continued about ten years. This cruel, cursed act of his against 
Christ was in the eighth year of his government. Two years after, he 
was removed from his place and office by Vitellius, president of 
Syria, for his inhuman murdering of the innocent Samaritans. This 
necessitated him to go to Rome to clear himself before Caesar; but 
before he came to Rome, Tiberius was dead, and Caius in his room. 
Under him, saith Eusebius, Pilate killed himself. "He was a man not 
very friendly or benevolent to the Jewish nation, but still 
suspicious of their rebellions and insurrections; this jealous 
humour the priests and scribes observed, and wrought upon it to 
compass their design against Christ." Wherefore they tell him so 
often of Christ's sedition, and stirring up the people; and that if 
he let him go, he is none of Caesar's friends, which very 
consideration prevailed with him to do what he did. But how durst he 
attempt such a wickedness as this, though he had stood ill in the 
opinion of Caesar? What! give judgement against the Son of God? for 
it is evident, by many circumstances in this trial, that he had many 
inward fears and convictions upon him, that he was the Son of God: 
By these he was scared, and sought to release him, John 19: 8, 12. 
the fear of a Deity fell upon him; his mind was greatly perplexed, 
and dubious about this prisoner whether he was a God or a man. And 
yet the fear of Caesar prevailed more than the fear of a Deity; he 
proceeds to give sentence. 
    O Pilate! thou was not afraid to judge and sentence an 
innocent, a known innocent, and one whom thou thyself suspectest at 
least to be more than man! But see in this predominance of 
self-interest, what man will attempt, and perpetrate, to secure and 
accommodate self. 
    Secondly, Against whom does Pilate give sentence? Against a 
malefactor? No, his own mouth once and again acknowledged him 
innocent. Against a common prisoner? No, but one whose fame no doubt 
had often reached Pilate's ears, even the wonderful things wrought 
by him, which none but God could do: one that stood before him as 
the picture, or rather as the body, of innocency and meekness. Ye 
have condemned and killed the just, and he resisteth you not, Jam. 
5: 6. Now was that word made good, Psal. 94: 21. "They gather 
themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn 
the innocent blood." 
    Thirdly, But what was the sentence that Pilate gave? We have it 
not in the form in which it was delivered: but the sum of it was, 
that it should be as they required. Now what did they require? why, 
crucify him, crucify him. So that in what formalities soever it was 
delivered, this was the substance and effect of it, I adjudge Jesus 
of Nazareth to be nailed to the cross, and there to hang till he be 
dead. Which sentence against Christ was, 
    1. A most unjust and unrighteous sentence: the greatest 
perversion of judgement and equity that was ever known to the 
civilised world, since seats of judicature were first set up. What! 
to condemn him before one accusation was proved against him. And if 
what they accused him of (that he said he was the Son of God) had 
been proved, it had been no crime, for he really was so; and 
therefore no blasphemy in him to say he was. Pilate should rather 
have come down from his seat of judgement, and adored him, than sat 
there to judge him. O it was the highest piece of injustice that 
ever our ears heard of! 
    As it was an unrighteous, so it was a cruel sentence, 
delivering up Christ to their wills. This was that misery which 
David so earnestly deprecated, Psal. 27: 12. "O deliver me not over 
to the will of mine enemies." But Pilate delivers Christ over to the 
will of his enemies, men full of enmity, rage, and malice, whose 
greatest pleasure it was to glut themselves with his blood, and to 
satiate their revengeful hearts with such a spectacle of misery. For 
lo, as soon as these wolves had gripped their prey, they were not 
satisfied with that cursed, cruel, and ignominious death of the 
cross, to which Pilate had adjudged him, but they are resolved he 
shall die over and over; they will contrive many deaths in one; now 
they saw as a tyrant did once, moriatur, at sentiat se mori; "let 
him die, so as he may feel himself to die." To this end they 
presently strip him naked; scourge him cruelly; array him in 
scarlet, and mock him; crown him with a bush of plaited thorns; 
fasten that crown upon his head by a blow with a cane, which set 
them deep into his sacred temples; sceptered him with a reed, spat 
in his face, stript off his mock-robes again; put the cross upon his 
back, and compelled him to bear it. All this, and much more, they 
express their cruelty by, as soon as they had him delivered over to 
their will. So that this was a cruel sentence. 
    3. As it was a cruel, so it was a rash and hasty sentence. The 
Jews are all in haste; consulting all night, and early up by the 
break of day in the morning, to get him to his trial. They spur on 
Pilate, with all arguments they can to give sentence. His trial took 
up but one morning, and a great part of that was spent in sending 
him from Caiaphas to Pilate, and from Pilate to Herod, and then 
back; again to Pilate; so that it was a hasty and headlong sentence 
that Pilate gave. He did not sift and examine the matter, but 
handles it very slightly. The trial of many a mean man has taken up 
ten times more debates and time than was spent about Christ. "They 
that look but slightly into the cause, easily pronounce and give 
sentence." But that which was then done in haste, they have had time 
enough to repent for since. 
    4. As it was a rash and hasty, so it was an extorted, forced 
sentence. They squeeze it out of Pilate by mere glamour, 
importunity, and suggestions of danger. In courts of judicature, 
such arguments should signify but little; not importunity, but 
proof, should carry it: but timorous Pilate bends like a willow at 
this breath of the people: he had neither such a sense of justice, 
nor spirit of courage, as to withstand it. 
    5. As it was an extorted, so it was a hypocritical sentence, 
masking horrid murder under the pretence and formality of law. It 
must look like a legal procedure to palliate the business. Loth he 
was to condemn him lest innocent blood should glamour in his 
conscience; but since he must do it, he will transfer the guilt upon 
them, and they take it; "his blood be on us, and on our children for 
ever," say they. Pilate calls for water, washes his hands before 
them, and tells them, "I am free from the blood of this just 
person." But stay; free from his blood, and yet condemn a known 
innocent person? Free from his blood, because he washed his hands in 
water? No, no, he could never be free, except his soul had been 
washed in that blood he shed. O the hypocrisy of Pilate! Such 
juggling as this will not serve his turn, when he shall stand as a 
prisoner before him who now stood arraigned at his bar. 
    6. And lastly, As it was hypocritical, so it was an unrevoked 
sentence: it admitted not of a reprieve, no, not for a day; nor does 
Christ appeal to any other judicature, or once desire the least 
delay; but away he is hurried in haste to the execution. Blush, O ye 
heavens! and tremble, O earth! at such a sentence as this! Now is 
Christ dead in law, now he knows whether he must he carried, and 
that presently. His soul and body must feel that, the very sight of 
which put him into an agony but the night before. 
    Fourthly, and lastly, In what manner did Christ receive this 
cruel and unrighteous sentence? He received it like himself, with 
admirable meekness and patience. He does as it were wrap himself up 
in his own innocence, and obedience to his Father's will, and stands 
at the bar with invincible patience, and meek submission. He does 
not at once desire the judge to defer the sentence, much less fall 
down and beg for his life, as other prisoners use to do at such 
times. No, but as a sheep he goes to the slaughter, not opening his 
mouth. Some apply that expression to Christ, Jam. vs. 6. "Ye have 
condemned and killed the Just, and he resisteth you not." From the 
time that Pilate gave sentence, till he was nailed to the cross, we 
do not read that ever he said any thing, save only to the women that 
followed him out of the city to Golgotha: and what he said there, 
rather manifesting his pity to them, than any discontent at what was 
now come upon him; "Daughters of Jerusalem, (saith he) weep not for 
me, but weep for yourselves and for your children," Luke 23: 28, &c. 
O the perfect patience and meekness of Christ. The inferences from 
hence are. 
    Inference 1. Do you see what was here done against Christ, 
under pretence of law? What cause have we to pray for good laws, 
and righteous executioners of them? 
    O! It is a singular mercy to live under good laws, which 
protect the innocent from injury. Laws are hedges about our lives, 
liberties, estates, and all the comforts we enjoy in this world. 
Times will be evil enough, when iniquity is not discountenanced and 
punished by law; but how evil are those times like to prove when 
iniquity is established by law! As the Psalmist complains, Psal. 94: 
20. "It was the complaint of Pliny to Trojan, that whereas crimes 
were wont to be the burden of the age, now laws were so; and that he 
feared the commonwealth which was established would be subverted by 
laws." It is not likely that virtue will much flourish, when 
"judgement springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field," Hos. 
10: 4. How much therefore is it our concernment to pray, that 
"judgement may run down as a mighty stream?" Amos 5: 24. "That our 
officers may be peace, and our exactors righteousness?" Isa. 60: 17. 
It was not therefore without great reason, that the apostle 
exhorted, that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of 
thanks be made for all men; for kings, and all that are in 
authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all 
godliness and honesty;" 1 Tim. 2: 1, 2. Great is the interest of the 
church of God in them; they are instruments of much good or much 
    Inf. 2. Was Christ condemned in a court of judicature? How 
evident then is it, that there is a judgement to come after this 
life? Surely things will not be always carried as they are in this 
world. When you see Jesus condemned, and Barabbas released, 
conclude, that a time will come when innocence shall be vindicated, 
and wickedness shamed. On this very ground, Solomon concludes, and 
very rationally, that God will call over things hereafter at a more 
righteous tribunal: "And moreover, I saw under the sun the place of 
judgement, that wickedness was there; and the place of 
righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in my heart, God 
shall judge the righteous, and the wicked: for there is a time there 
for every purpose and for every work," Eccles. 3: 16, 17. Some 
indeed, on this ground, have denied the divine providence; but 
Solomon draws a quite contrary conclusion, God shall judge: Surely, 
he will take the matter into his own hand, he will bring forth the 
righteousness of his people as the light, and their just dealing as 
the noon-day. It is a mercy, if we be wronged in one court, that we 
can appeal to another where we shall be sure to be relieved by a 
just impartial Judge. "Be patient therefore, my brethren (saith the 
apostle) until the coming of the Lord," James 5: 6, 7, 8. 
    Inf. 3. Again here you see how conscience may be over-borne and 
run down by a fleshly interest. Pilate's conscience bid him beware, 
and forbear: His interest bid him act; his fear of Caesar was more 
than the fear of God. But O! what a dreadful thing is it for 
conscience to be ensnared by the fear of man? Prov. 29: 25. To guard 
thy soul, reader, against this mischief, let such considerations as 
those be ever with thee. 
    1. Consider how dear those profits, or pleasures cost, which 
are purchased with the loss of inward peace! There is nothing in 
this world good enough to recompense such a loss, or balance the 
misery of a tormenting conscience. If you violate it, and prostitute 
it for a fleshly lust, it will remember the injury you did it many 
years after; Gen. 42: 21. Job 13: 26. It will not only retain the 
memory of what you did, but it will accuse you for it: Mat. 27: 4. 
It will not fear to tell you that plainly, which others dare not 
whisper. It will not only accuse, but it will also condemn you for 
what you have done. This condemning voice of conscience is a very 
terrible voice. 
    You may see the horror of it in Cain, the vigour of it in 
Judas, the doleful effects of it in Spira. It will, from all these 
its offices, produce shame, fear, and despair, if God give not 
repentance to life. The shame it works will so confound you, that 
you will not be able to look up; Job 31: 14. Psal. 1: 5. The fear it 
works will make you wish for a hole in the rock to hide you; Isa. 2: 
9, 10, 15, 19. And its despair is a death pang. The cutting off of 
hope, is the greatest cut in the world. O! who can stand under such 
a load as this? Prov. 17: 14. 
    2. Consider the nature of your present actions; they are seed 
sown for eternity, and will spring up again in suitable effects, 
rewards, and punishments, when you that did them are turned to dust. 
Gal. 6: 7. "What a man sows, that shall he reap:" And as sure as the 
harvest follows the seed time, so sure shall shame, fear, and 
horror, follow sin, Dan. 12: 2. What Zeuxis, the famous limner, said 
of his work, may much more truly be said of ours, aeternitati pingo, 
I paint for eternity, said he, when one asked him why he was so 
curious in his work. Ah! how bitter will those things be in the 
account and reckoning, which were pleasant in the acting, and 
committing? It is true, our actions, physically considered, are 
transient; how soon is a word or action spoken or done, and there is 
an end of it? But morally considered, they are permanent, being put 
upon God's book of account. O! therefore take heed what you do; so 
speaks speak, so act, as they that must give an account. 
    3. Consider, how by these things men do but prepare for their 
own torment in a dying hour. There is bitterness enough in death, 
you need not add more gall and wormwood to increase the bitterness 
of it. What is the violencing and wounding of conscience now, but 
the sticking so many pins or needles in your death bed, against you 
come to lie down on it? This makes death bitter indeed. How many 
have wished in a dying hour, they had rather lived poor and low all 
their days, than to have strained their consciences for the world? 
Ah! how is the face and aspect of things altered in such an hour. 
    No such considerations as these had any place in Pilate's 
heart; for if so, he would never have been courted, or scared in 
such an act as this. 
    Inf. 4. Did Christ stand arraigned and condemned at Pilate's 
bar? Then the believer shall never be arraigned and condemned at 
God's bar. This sentence that Pilate pronounced on Christ gives 
evidence that God will never pronounce sentence against such: for 
had he intended to have arraigned them, he would never have suffered 
Christ, their surety, to be arraigned and condemned for them. Christ 
stood at this time before a higher judge than Pilate; he stood at 
God's bar as well as his. Pilate did but that which God's own hand 
and counsel had before determined to be done, and what God himself, 
at the same time, did; though God did it justly and holier, dealing 
with Christ as a creditor with a surety; Pilate most wickedly and 
basely, dealing with Christ as a corrupt judge, that shed the blood 
of a known innocent to pacify the people. But certain it is, that 
out of his condemnation flows our justification: and had not 
sentence been given against him, it must have been given against us. 
    O what a melting consideration is this! that out of his agony 
comes our victory; out of his condemnation, our justification; out 
of his pain, our ease; out of his stripes, our healing: out of his 
gall and vinegar, our honey; out of his curse, our blessing; out of 
his crown of thorns, our crown of glory; out of his death, our life: 
if he could not be released, it was that you might. If Pilate gave 
sentence against him, it was that the great God might never give 
sentence against you. If he yielded that it should be with Christ as 
they required, it was that it might be with our souls as well as we 
can desire. And therefore, 
              Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift 

(continued in file 25...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-24.txt