Life Of Jesus - The Trial
( Originally Published 1913 )
WE come now to another of the dark and sad chapters in the history of our Saviour's life. We have seen how he was betrayed by one of his disciples, and forsaken by all the rest. Then his enemies seized him, and led him away to those who had sent them—the priests and rulers of the Jewish church. We speak of what then took place at the trial of our Saviour. But it was only the form or mockery of a trial. It was not conducted at all in the way in which regular trials were required to be conducted among the Jews. The simple truth is that the enemies of Jesus had made up their minds to put him to death, and they merely pretended to have a trial because they were afraid to do it without.
And in studying this part of the life of our Saviour, we may look, very briefly, at the history of his trial ; and then at some of the lessons that it teaches us.
When the band of soldiers and servants had seized Jesus, and made him prisoner, they led him away to the house of Caiaphas the high-priest. He had gathered together the chief-priests and other members of the Jewish high council, called the Sanhedrim. This was the highest court among the Jews. It was composed of seventy, or seventy-two of the oldest, the most learned, and honorable men of the nation. The high-priest was generally the president of this council. Their usual place of meeting was in one of the courts of the temple. But, on special occasions, they met in the house of the high-priest, as they did now. Jesus was brought before this council. Here they tried to bring some charge against him of teaching false doctrines, or of doing something contrary to the laws of their church. But though they had hired many false witnesses against him, the witnesses did not agree in their testimony, and they found it impossible to prove anything wrong against him.
Then the high-priest made a solemn appeal to him, and asked him to say whether he was the Son of God. " Jesus saith unto them—I am.
Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God." Then they said he was guilty of blasphemy, and deserved to be put to death. St. Matt. xxvi : 59-66; St. Mark xiv : 55-64; John xviii : 19-24.
After this, the servants of the priests blind-folded Jesus, and began to mock him, to smite him, to spit on him, and to say all manner of insulting and blasphemous things to him. St. Matt. xxvi: 67, 68; St. Mark xiv: 65; St. Luke xxii : 62-65.
Then the priests and other members of the council seem to have gone home, leaving Jesus to the mockery and insults of the servants. As soon as it was morning the priests and scribes met again. They asked him once more if he were the. Christ, the Son of God. Again he declared that he was. Then they arose and led him to Pilate, the Roman governor, to get his consent for them to put him to death. This was necessary because Jerusalem was then under the power of the Romans, and no one but the governor, whom they appointed, had the power of putting a prisoner to death according to law.
But, when the priests brought Christ before Pilate, they changed their plan. They did not accuse him of blasphemy now, because they knew very well that Pilate would not care at all about that. So they pretended that he had been trying to stir up the people in opposition to the Roman government. This was a very serious charge, and one for which, if it could be proved, the punishment would be death.
But, they could not prove their charge. As soon as Pilate looked on Jesus, he seemed to be satisfied that he was an innocent man. Then he took him aside and had a long conversation with him, alone by himself. The result of this was that Pilate was perfectly satisfied of the innocence of Jesus, and was resolved to release him.
But, on returning to the judgment hall and telling the Jews what he wished to do, he found that they would not listen to this for a moment. Thus he was in trouble, and knew not what to do. Just then something was said about Galilee. This was in the northern part of Palestine, and out of the dominion of Pilate. Herod was the governor of Galilee. He happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Pilate resolved to send his prisoner to him, and hoped in this way, to get rid of any further trouble in connection with him.
So Jesus was sent to Herod—the Herod under whose dominion John was beheaded. He asked him many questions; but Jesus declined to answer one of them. Then Herod, with his men of war, mocked him and sent him back to Pilate, only saying that he found no fault in him. St. Matt. xxvii : 1, 2,11-14; Mark xv : 1-5 ; Luke xxiii: 1-12; John xviii: 28-38.
After this Pilate made several attempts to release Jesus; but the Jews were so fierce in their opposition that he was afraid to do it.
Then he thought he saw his way out of the difficulty by the help of a custom that had prevailed in connection with the feast of the Pass-over, which was then about to be kept. He had been in the habit of allowing the Jews to ask for the release of some prisoner who de-served to be put to death, and of setting him at liberty, when they requested it, while they were keeping the feast. There was a prisoner then in Jerusalem named Barabbas. He had been guilty of murder and other dreadful crimes. Pilate thought that when he should bring Jesus and Barabbas before the people, side by side, and offer to release to them whoever they should choose, they would be sure to ask for the gentle, loving Jesus, in preference to a wretched, blood-stained murderer. And no doubt they would, if they had been left to their own choice. But they were not so left. The priests and scribes had made up their minds that Jesus should be put to death. So they went about among the people, when this offer was made, and persuaded them to cry out—"Not this man, but Barabbas."
Thus Pilate was disappointed again.
While this was going on, his wife sent a message to him saying she had had a dream about this prisoner Jesus, which troubled her greatly. She said he was a just and good man, and begged her husband not to have anything to do with putting him to death. This made Pilate feel still more resolved than ever to let him ago.
Then he told the Jews that Jesus had done no wrong, and he would therefore chastise him and let him go. This made the Jews very furious. They told Pilate that if he let this man go, it would show that he was not a true friend of the emperor, Caesar. They gave him to understand that they would complain of him to the emperor, and in this way he would be likely to lose his office. This alarmed him so that he could stand out no longer. He let the Jews have their way, and delivered Jesus up to them, to be crucified.
Then the soldiers took Jesus and stripped him of his own clothes, and put a purple robe upon him ; and platted a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and bowed the knee before him in shameful mockery, and cried—" Hail ! king of the Jews!" Then they smote him with the palms of their hands, and with the reed, and showed their utmost contempt by spitting on him. Then Pilate had him brought forth before the Jews, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe, and pointing to him in scorn, said:
"Behold the man ! Behold your king!"
"And he delivered him to be crucified." St. Matt. xxvii: 11-30; St. Mark xv : 1-20 St. Luke xxiii : 1-25 ; St. John xviii : 13-24, 28-40; xix : 1-16.
Such is the history of our Saviour's trial. And now, we may go on to speak of five lessons taught us by this history.
The first lesson is about—THE WEAK RULER.
We refer, of course, here to Pontius Pilate. We know very little about him beyond what we learn from the gospels. He belonged to a highly honorable Roman family. He had been the governor of Judea for several years. He was not a very cruel or oppressive ruler, although he sometimes did hasty and unjust things. Our Saviour referred to one of these when he spoke of —" the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." We know none of the particulars of this event. But, from reading the history of our Lord's trial we can see, very well, what sort of a man Pilate was. He was a weak man. I do not mean weak in body, but weak in character. He could see what was right, and was willing to do it, if it could be done without injury to himself.
When Jesus was brought before him as a prisoner, he soon saw that he was an innocent man, and that it would be wrong to put him to death. But, at the same time, he saw that unless he did put him to death, he would give great offence to the Jews. And if he offended them, he was afraid they would complain of him to the emperor, and he would lose his office. And so his fear led him to condemn an innocent man to death, although he knew it was wrong to do so. He tried to get rid of the guilt connected with this act by washing his hands before the Jews, and saying "I am innocent of the blood of this just person : see ye to it." But this was very foolish. Why, all the waters in the ocean could not wash away the stain of the Saviour's blood from the hands of Pilate. He knew that the right thing for him to do was to let Jesus go : but he was afraid to do it. This shows what a weak man he was.
And the wrong that he did on this occasion did not save him from the dangers that he dreaded. The Jews did accuse him to the emperor for some other things. He lost his office in disgrace. And of what happened to him after losing his office, different accounts are given. One of the stories about him is that he retired into Switzerland and spent the rest of his days on a mountain, near the city of Lucerne. This mountain is named Pilatus after him. The story says that he lived a very unhappy life there, and that he finally drowned himself in a lake on the top of that mountain. But the things for us to remember about Pilate are that he was a weak man; that he committed a dreadful sin when he condemned Jesus to death; and that the punishment of his sin which followed him in this life was the loss of his office, and the deep disgrace which it has fastened on his name. Wherever the two great creeds of the church are repeated, all over the earth, we hear it publicly proclaimed that Jesus —"suffered under Pontius Pilate."
We see plainly illustrated in Pilate's case the punishment that followed from his weakness in not doing what he knew to be right. If we have the courage to refuse to do what is wrong, we shall always be rewarded for it.
" Brave Charlie." Two little boys were walking along a village street one day, when they stopped before the garden connected with a gentleman's house and gazed with admiration on the many beautiful flowers that were growing there. Presently the smaller of the two boys exclaimed, "Oh, how I wish I had one or two of those beautiful roses, to take home to my sick sister. Every day she says she wishes she could see some flowers again."
"Then, why don't you take some of them, you little goose," said the other boy.. "Here, I am taller than you, and I can reach over the fence. I'll get some for both of us."
" No, no, Tim," said the little boy, seizing his arm ; "I wouldn't steal even a flower, if I never had one in the world; but I'll go in and ask the lady for a rose for Ellen."
"Well, you'll only get sent away for your pains," said the older boy; "for my part I shall help myself."
But, just as Tim was reaching over the fence and had seized a branch of beautiful roses, the gardener spied him, and dropping a basket that was in his hand, he rushed after the boy and caught him. He gave him a sound flogging and told him that if he ever found him doing that again, he would have him put in jail as a thief.
In the meantime little Charlie had gone up the steps and rung the doorbell. The door was opened immediately by a kind-looking lady.
"Please, ma'am will you give me a rose or two for my sick sister? " asked Charlie.
"Yes, indeed, my little man," said the lady. "I have been sitting at the window and I heard your conversation with the boy who wished you to steal some of my roses; and I'm very glad to see that you would not steal `even a flower.' Now come with me, and I will cut you a beautiful bunch of roses." Then she asked him about his mother and sister, and told him to come and get some flowers whenever his sister wanted them.
After this she went to see his sick sister and mother and helped them in many ways. She kept up her interest in Charlie, and when he had done going to school, she got him a nice situation and remained his friend for life.
And when we think of Pontius Pilate, the weak ruler, let us remember that if we do wrong,
we must always suffer for it; and that if we do right God will surely reward and bless us.
"Dare to do right ! dare to be true !
You have a work that no other can do; Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well, Angels will hasten the story to tell.
"Dare to do right ! dare to be true !
The failings of others can never save you;
Stand by your conscience, your honor, your faith; Stand like a hero, and battle till death.
"Dare to do right! dare to be true !
God, who created you, cares for you too—Treasures the tears which his striving ones shed, Counts, and protects every hair of your head."
The second lesson that we may learn from the history of Christ's trial is a lesson about—THE WICKED PRIESTS.
If our Saviour had been persecuted and put to death by infidels or by men who did not profess to be religious, it would not have been surprising. But, when we find that it was the priests-men occupying the highest places in the church, and whose business it was to study the Scriptures, and teach them to the people—when these were the men most forward in having Jesus put to death—it seems very strange. And yet, it was just so. When Jesus began his ministry, the priests were the first to oppose him. As he went on with the work of his ministry, they were always the most ready to persecute him, and give him trouble. And at the last, it was the priests who resolved he should be put to death and who took the lead in bringing about that awful result. It was the priests who hired Judas to betray him. It was the priests who brought false charges against him. And, when Pilate was willing to let him go, it was the priests who stirred up the people to insist on his being put to death. Jesus had come at the time and in the way that the prophets had said he should come; and yet the priests would not receive him. He had been loving, and gentle, and kind; and yet they hated him. He had spent his life in going about doing good; and yet the priests made up their minds that he must be put to death.
And the question that comes up here is—how was it possible that these men-these priests—should be so wicked? This is a very serious and important question. And the answer to it is this : that being ministers, or priests, or being engaged in the outward duties of religion will do us no good and make us no better than other people, unless we are careful to have our hearts made right In the sight of God; unless we are willing to believe what he tells us, and to think, and feel, and speak, and act, as he wishes us to do. The best things, when spoiled, always become the worst things. Women have many things that help to make them better than men. But a bad woman is always worse than a bad man. Satan was once an arch-angel. But he sinned. He fell. He is now an angel ruined, and this makes him the worst, the wickedest person to be found in all the universe.
There is one passage of Scripture which explains to us how it was possible for those priests to become so wicked. This passage is found in II. Thess. ii : 11, 12. Here the apostle Paul tells us that if we are not willing to let God be our teacher, and if we do not love the teachings that he gives us, God will let Satan come and deceive us, and lead us to believe what is not the truth. This will make us very wicked; and the end of it will be that our souls will be lost. This explains to us how it was that those Jewish priests became so wicked. They were not willing to let God be their Teacher. They would not receive the things that God had taught about Jesus in the Old Testament. Then Satan came and deceived them. He made them believe what was not true about Jesus. And it was this which led to their becoming such wicked men. They were the wickedest men in the world at the time they lived.
And this should make us very careful not to think too much of ourselves or of our own opinions. It should make us willing to believe all that God tells us about Jesus, or about ourselves, in the Bible, whether we understand it or not. This is the only way in which we can become wise, and good, and happy; and be kept from following the example of these wicked priests.
There is only room for one illustration here :
"The Two Brothers." Some years ago there lived in the State of Rhode Island two boys who were brothers, twin-brothers. They grew up together. They both had the same home, the same education, and everything about them the same. They were very much alike in size and appearance. They were both bright, intelligent, sensible, good-natured boys. This continued till they were about sixteen years of age. Then one of them read an infidel book—called Paine's Age of Reason. He made up his mind to follow the teachings of that book. The other brother had read the Bible and resolved to take that as his guide and teacher through life. And from this time, the two brothers, who had been so much alike before, soon began to be very different from each other. One of them turned around and walked in a wrong way, the other went on in the right way. One of them fell into habits of intemperance, and so was led on to all kinds of wickedness. The other learned the lessons which the Bible teaches, and practised them in his daily life. One of them became an idle, worthless vagabond, while the other became a useful, prosperous, and happy citizen. One of them sank down to the low level of a wretched gambler, while the other rose to occupy a seat in the Legislature of the State in which he lived.
And the end of these two men was that one of them committed murder. He was put in prison; was tried, found guilty, condemned to be hanged, and died upon the gallows. The other lived a long and useful and happy life, and died at last loved and honored by all who knew him.
This is the lesson about the wicked priests. The next lesson from this history of the trial is about-THE PATIENCE OF CHRIST.
There are many things told us of the life of Christ which are wonderful, but the most wonderful of all is his patience. There are other examples of patience in the Bible, but none that can be compared with the example of Jesus. The apostle James tells us of "the patience of Job." Ch. v : 11. He was indeed very patient. In one day he lost all his property and his children. The messengers that brought him the sad tidings of his losses followed each other, like the waves of the sea. It must have been very hard for him to bear. And if we had been told that he was very much excited and had said some very violent and bitter words on hearing of all that had happened to him, we should not have been at all surprised. But he did nothing of the kind. After hearing of all his terrible losses, he simply bowed himself to the earth, and said—" The Lord gave, and the Lord bath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job i : 21. Here is a noble example of patience.
Joseph was very patient. When he first saw his brethren, as they came down to Egypt to buy corn, he remembered all the bitter wrongs they had done to him. He was now the governor of all the land of Egypt. They were completely in his power. How easily he could have taken revenge upon them by throwing them all into prison or putting them to death ! But there was no such feeling in his heart. He was forgiving and patient. He only thought of doing them good and showing them kindness.
But, all other examples of patience dwindle into nothing when compared to the example of Christ. What a beautiful picture of his patience the prophet Isaiah gives when he thus speaks 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." Is. liii : 7. He let his enemies say all manner of evil things against him falsely; he let them mock him,—and smite him on the face,-and spit upon him. Yes, he whom the angels of heaven had been accustomed to honor and worship, as they bowed in reverence before him, allowed himself to be so shamefully treated by sinful worms of the dust, by the very men he had come down from heaven to save; and yet, he never spoke one cross or angry word to them ! How wonderful this was ! How amazed the angels must have been when they saw it!
Oh! what an example of patience we have in Jesus ! And if we call ourselves the friends and followers of Christ, let us try to have the same mind in us that was in him, by imitating the example of his patience. There is no way in which we can do so much good to others, and make them think well of the religion of Christ, as by trying to practise the same patience which he practised.
"How to Learn Patience." A good many years ago there was a celebrated physician in Germany, named Boerhave. He was famous for his learning and also for his piety. He had learned well this lesson of patience. One day he had been greatly provoked, but without getting angry in the least. A friend who had witnessed it, asked him if he knew what it was to be angry. "0, yes," said he, "my temper was naturally very violent and passionate."
"Then, pray tell me," said his friend, "how you ever learned to be so patient." Now mark what that great and good man said in answer to this inquiry.
"I learned to be patient," was his reply, "by doing two things; one was by thinking of Christ; the other was by asking him to help me."
We may all learn patience in this way.
"A Soldier's Example of Patience." Some years ago an English missionary in India baptized a soldier. This man had been a famous prize-fighter in England. He was a powerful, lion-looking, lion-hearted man. With a single blow he could level the strongest man to the ground. The men in his regiment were all, afraid of him. He had not been in the habit of going to church, but, as he afterwards told the missionary, "he sauntered into the chapel one evening, hardly knowing where he was going." What he heard that night led him to repentance and he became a Christian. The change which took place in his temper and conduct was very surprising. The lion was changed into a lamb. A month or so after this, when they were dining in the mess-room one day, some of his comrades, who had always been afraid of him, began to ridicule him on account of his religion. One of them said, "I'll find out whether he is a real Christian or not;" and taking a bowl of hot soup, he threw it into his breast. The whole company were alarmed at this. They looked on in speechless silence, expecting to see the roused lion leap up, and spring in fury on his foe. But he quietly opened his waistcoat, and wiped his scalded breast.
Then turning calmly round he said, "This is what I must expect. If I become a Christian, I must suffer persecution. But my Saviour was patient, and I want to be like him." His comrades were filled with astonishment. But they were satisfied he was a true Christian and he had no more trouble from them. The patience of Christ is the third lesson for us to learn from his trial.
The fourth lesson taught us by this subject is THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST.
If we desired to put the whole history of the life of our blessed Saviour into a single sentence, I do not think we could find a better one than that which the apostle Paul uses when he says of him that-"He humbled himself." Phil. ii: 8. Before he came into our world he was "in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God." This means that he was God. Now if he had chosen to become an angel, holy, and pure, and good, he would have had to humble himself very much, even for that. But, instead of becoming an angel, he became a man. And, in becoming a man, he took our nature upon him in its fallen state. He was made like us in all points, except sin. How he humbled himself here! And, in coming into our world, if he had chosen to come as one of the richest men in it,—as a great king or emperor—that would have been an act of great humiliation. But he came as a poor man. He was one of the poorest men that ever lived on the earth. He had made the world, and was the owner of all its treasures, and yet he could say of himself with truth—" The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man bath not where to lay his head." What humiliation there was here ! We see his humiliation in the poverty and suffering that he endured. His whole life was an act of humiliation. But how greatly this humiliation was increased during the time of his trial ! Think how his back was torn by the cruel scourges ! What humiliation was there ! Think how he was mocked, and insulted! Think how the soldiers put an old purple robe upon him : how they platted a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head; how they put a reed in his hand in mockery for a sceptre : how they bowed the knee before him in scorn, and cried—"Hail! king of the Jews!" How wonderful this was O, never let us forget the humiliation of Christ! And when we think of all this—how can we, as Christians, ever feel proud ? Our great duty is, as the apostle says, to be "clothed with humility." No wonder that Augustine, one of the old fathers of the early church, when asked—"What is the first thing for a Christian to learn ? " should have said-" humility." "What is the second? "—"humility." "And what is the third? " should still have said-" humility."
"Examples of Humility." A converted South Sea Islander was helping to translate the New Testament into his native language. On coming to the passage, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God;" I. John iii : 1, he hastened to Mr. Williams, the missionary and said, "No, no, this is too much, too much ! let us say—' Now are we allowed to kiss God's feet.' That man was clothed with humility.
A pious nobleman in England was in the habit of attending a prayer meeting in the country village where he lived, and where a few of the poor people of the neighborhood were accustomed to assemble on a weekday evening. When he first came in they were surprised to see him, and they all rose up at once to offer him the best seat in the room. This troubled him greatly. He gently said to them, "Please take your seats my friends, and have the kindness not to do this again. When I go to the `House of Lords,' I go as one of the lords of the realm. But when I come to this cottage prayer meeting, I come simply as a disciple of Jesus among my fellow disciples, and must be allowed to take any seat that may be empty." That nobleman was clothed with humility.
"The Humble King." A French monarch was found one day by some of his attendants engaged in instructing out of the Bible a boy belonging to his cook.
They said it was beneath his dignity as the King of France to be engaged in teaching the child of his cook. His answer was a noble one. "My friends," said he, "this boy has a soul that is as precious as mine, and it was bought with the same precious blood. If it was not beneath the dignity of my Saviour, the King of heaven, to die for him, it is not beneath my dignity as king of France to tell him what has been done for his salvation."
That king was clothed with humility. The humiliation of Christ is the fourth lesson taught us by this trial.
The last lesson we learn from the history of the trial is about—THE GLORY OF CHRIST.
Perhaps some may think it strange to speak of the glory of Christ in connection with this part of his history. Here we see him betrayed, and deserted by his own disciples. He is de-livered into the hands of his enemies. They pretend to try him. But it is only the form of a trial through which he is made to pass. He is charged with great crimes. These cannot be proved against him. But still he is condemned to the most disgraceful of all deaths. He is handed to the soldiers to do what they please with him. And is it right to speak of the glory of Christ in connection with such scenes as these? Yes. For this was just what Jesus did himself. It was, as he was about to enter on all this humiliation and suffering, when Judas went out from his presence to betray him, that Jesus said:-"Now is the Son of man glorified." Thus he himself connected the thought of his glory with these very scenes. And surely he was not mistaken. He knew what he was saying.
Now just think what it is in which true glory consists. It is not in wearing fine clothes. It is not in occupying high positions. It is not in having people say fine and flattering things about us. No ; but it is in thinking, and feeling, and saying, and doing, and suffering that which is right and according to the will of God. And this is just the position that Jesus was occupying during his trial. He was fulfilling the will of God in things that were the hardest of all for him to do and to suffer. And that was what made him glorious.
If we were asked to point to that part of our Saviour's life in which he appears to us in the greatest glory, there would probably be considerable difference of opinion among us. Some of us, no doubt, would point to his transfiguration ; some to the times when he walked upon the water, or controlled the winds and the waves with his word; and others would point to the times when he healed the sick, or raised the dead, and cast out devils. But it was not so. No; but it was when he was betrayed and forsaken—when he was condemned to death, and mocked, and insulted by his enemies that Jesus appeared most glorious : for it was then that he was showing, in the strongest possible light, his desire to do his Father's will and the greatness of his love for the people he came to save. It is not clothing, but character that makes us great or glorious. And the more we try to be like Jesus, in doing the will of God as he did it, in this part of his life, the greater will be the glory belonging to us.
"The True Hero." A number of boys were playing after school one day. The playground was on the bank of a river. One of the biggest boys was named Tom Price. He was the strongest boy in the school. He loved to get up quarrels among the boys to show how easily he could whip any of them. But there was one boy in the school who never would fight. His name was Joe Wilson. He was not so big or so strong as Tom Price. But it was not this which made him unwilling to fight. He was trying to be a Christian. He knew it was wrong to fight, and so he always refused to do it.
One day Tom Price agreed with some of the other boys to try and force a fight on Joe Wilson. So while they were playing after school, Tom knocked Joe's cap off his head, and it fell into the river.
"Tom threw your cap over on purpose, Joe," said one of the boys; "fight him for it."
"Yes, give it to him, Wilson," said the other boys, "we'll see that you have fair play."
Price squared off and stood in a fighting position. "I won't fight," said Wilson. "I'm sorry you threw the cap over Price; for it was all but new, and I don't see any fun in such mischief. But, I'm not going to fight about it."
" Come on, if you dare," said Price, shaking his fist at him. All the boys gathered round and urged Wilson to "go on, and give it to him."
"No, I don't think it right to fight," said Wilson, "and I won't do it."
"Coward! coward ! he's afraid," cried the boys. "I am not a coward," said Wilson; "I dare do anything that's right. But this is not right, and I wont do it."
"Go home, coward! go home, coward!" shouted the boys after him, as he turned to go home.
He had not gone far before there was a sound of a heavy splash. "He's in! He'll drown !—he can't swim ! Price is drowning," cried the boys as they stood on the edge of the bank.
Joe Wilson heard these shouts and ran to the bank of the river. He saw Price struggling in the stream. The other boys were running about and shouting, but they were afraid to go in. In a moment Joe Wilson threw off his jacket, stepped back a few paces—ran—and jumped into the river. He swam out to Price —caught him by the hair of his head, and managed, though with great difficulty and at the risk of his own life, to bring him safely to the shore. Wilson walked quietly home, not only to change his wet clothes, but also to avoid the praise of those who but a moment ago were calling him a coward.
An old gentleman was standing there who had witnessed this whole scene. As soon as Wilson was gone, he called the boys to him and said : "Boys! learn a lesson from what has just taken place. Don't mistake a hero for a coward next time. The boy who is afraid to do what he knows to be wrong in God's sight, is the true hero. He is not afraid of anything else; not afraid of man—of danger-or of death."
The point of greatest glory in Joe Wilson's conduct that day was not when he bravely plunged into the river. No; but it was when he nobly stood his ground among his companions, and said "I think it wrong to fight; and I won't do it."
And so, even amidst the sorrowful scenes of our Saviour's trials, we see his glory shining out in the way in which he did and suffered what was according to the will of God.
And from this study of the trial of our Saviour, let us carry away with us the five lessons of which we have spoken.
These are the lesson about the weak ruler :—the wicked priests :—the patience—the humiliation—and the glory of Christ.