Chapter IX.-Of the Mockery Which He Sustained at the Hands
of Pilate's Cohort, and of the Harmony Subsisting Among the Three Evangelists
Who Report that Scene, Namely, Matthew, Mark, and John.
36. We have now reached the point at which we may study the Lord's passion,
strictly so called, as it is presented in the narrative of these four evangelists.
Matthew commences his account as follows: "Then the soldiers of the governor
took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto Him the whole band of
soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And when
they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed
in His right hand: and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him,
saying, Hail, King of the Jews!"140 At the same stage in the narrative,
Mark delivers himself thus: "And the soldiers led Him away into the hall
called Praetorium; and they called together the whole band. And they clothed
Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head,
and began to salute Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote
Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and, bowing their knees,
worshipped Him."141 Here, therefore, we perceive that while Matthew tells
us how they "put on Him a scarlet robe," Mark speaks of purple, with which
He was clothed. The explanation may be that the said scarlet robe was employed
instead of the royal purple by these scoffers. There is also a certain
red-coloured purple which resembles scarlet very closely. And it may also
be the case that Mark has noticed the purple which the robe contained,
although it was properly scarlet. Luke has left this without mention. On
the other hand, previous to stating how Pilate delivered Him up to be crucified,
John has introduced the following passage: "Then Pilate therefore took
Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and
put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, and said, Hail,
King of the Jews! And they smote Him with their hands."142 This makes it
evident that Matthew and Mark have reported this incident in the way of
a recapitulation, and that it did not actually take place after Pilate
had delivered Him up to be crucified. For John informs us distinctly enough
that these things took place when He yet was with Pilate. Hence we conclude
that the other evangelists have introduced the occurrence at that particular
point, just because, having previously passed it by, they recollected it
there. This is also borne out by what Matthew proceeds next to relate.
He continues thus: "And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote
Him on the head. And after that they had mocked Him, they took the robe
off from Him, and put His own raiment on Him, and led Him away to crucify
Him."143 Here we are given to understand that the taking the robe off Him
and the clothing Him with His own raiment were done at the close, when
He was being led away. This is given by Mark, as follows: "And when they
had mocked Him. they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes
Chapter X.-Of the Method in Which We Can Reconcile the Statement
Which is Made by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, to the Effect that Another Person
Was Pressed into the Service of Carrying the Cross of Jesus, with that
Given by John, Who Says that Jesus Bore It Himself.
37. Matthew, accordingly, goes on with his narrative in these terms:
"And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they
compelled to bear His cross."145 In like manner, Mark says: "And they led
Him out to be crucified. And they compelled one Simon, a Cyrenian, who
passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to bear His cross."146 Luke's version is also to this effect: "And as they
led Him away, they laid hold upon one Simon a Cyrenian, coming out of the
country; and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."147
On the other hand, John records the matter as follows: "And they took Jesus,
and led Him away. And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called
the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha; where they
crucified Him."148 From all this we understand that Jesus was carrying
the cross Himself as He went forth into the place mentioned. But on the
way the said Simon, who is named by the other three evangelists, was pressed
into the service, and got the cross to carry for the rest of the course
until the spot was reached. Thus we find that both circumstances really
took place; namely, first the one noticed by John, and thereafter the one
instanced by the other three.
Chapter XI.-Of the Consistency of Matthew's Version with that of
Mark in the Account of the Potion Offered Him to Drink, Which is Introduced
Before the Narrative of His Crucifixion.
38. Matthew then proceeds in these terms: "And they came unto a place
called Golgotha; that is to say, a place of a skull."149 So far as the
place is concerned, they are most unmistakeably at one. The same Matthew
next adds, "and they gave Him wine150 to drink, mingled with gall; and
when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink."151 This is given by Mark
as follows: "And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; and He
received it not."152 Here we may understand Matthew to have conveyed the
same sense as Mark, when he speaks of the wine being "mingled with gall."
For the gall is mentioned with a view to express the bitterness of the
potion. And wine mingled with myrrh is remarkable for its bitterness. The
fact may also be that gall and myrrh together made the wine exceedingly
bitter. Again, when Mark says that "He received it not," we understand
the phrase to denote that He did not receive it so as actually to drink
it. He did taste it, however, as Matthew certifies. Thus Mark's words,
"He received it not," convey the same meaning as Matthew's version, "He
would not drink." The former, however, has said nothing about His tasting
Chapter XII.-Of the Concord Preserved Among All the Four Evangelists
on the Subject of the Parting of His Raiment.
39. Matthew goes on thus: "And after they crucified Him, they parted
His garments, casting lots: and sitting down, they watched Him."153 Mark
reports the same incident, as follows: "And crucifying Him, they parted
His garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take."154 In
like manner Luke says: "And they parted His raiment, and cast lots. And
the people stood beholding."155 The occurrence is thus recorded briefly
by the first three. But John gives us a more detailed narrative of the
method in which the act was gone about. His version runs thus: "Then the
soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four
parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat: now the coat was without
seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves,
Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture
might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments, and for my vesture
they did cast lots."156
Chapter XIII. - Of the Hour of the Lord's Passion, and of the Question
Concerning the Absence of Any Discrepancy Between Mark and John in the
Article of the "Third" Hour and the "Sixth."
40. Matthew continues thus: "And they set up over His head His accusation
written, `This is Jesus the King of the Jews.'"157 Mark, on the other hand,
before making any such statement, inserts these words: "And it was the
third hour, and they crucified Him."158 For he subjoins these terms immediately
after he has told us about the parting of the garments. This, then, is
a matter which we must consider with special care, lest any serious error
emerge. For there are some who entertain the idea that the Lord was certainly
crucified at the third hour; and that thereafter, from the sixth hour on
to the ninth, the darkness covered the land. According to this theory,
we should have to understand three hours to have passed between the time
when He was crucified and the time when the darkness occurred. And this
view might certainly be held with all due warrant, were it not that John
has stated that it was about the sixth hour when Pilate sat down on the
judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
For his version goes on in this manner: "And as it was the preparation
of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews,
Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him! crucify
him! Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests
answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto
them to be crucified."159 If Jesus, therefore, was delivered up to the
Jews to be crucified when it was about the sixth hour, and when Pilate
was then sitting upon the judgment-seat, how could He have been crucified
at the third hour, as some have been led to suppose, in consequence of
a misinterpretation of the words of Mark?
41. First, then, let us consider what the hour really is at which He
can have been crucified; and then we shall see how it happens that Mark
has reported Him to have been crucified at the third hour. Now it was about
the sixth hour when Pilate, who was sitting, as has been stated, at the
time upon the judgment-seat, delivered Him up to be crucified. The expression
is not that it was the sixth hour fully, but only that it was about the
sixth hour; that is to say, the fifth hour was entirely gone, and so much
of the sixth hour had also been entered upon. These writers, however, could
not naturally use such phraseologies as the fifth hour and a quarter, or
the fifth hour and a third, or the fifth hour and a hall or anything of
that kind. For the Scriptures have the well-known habit of dealing simply
with the round numbers, without mention of fractions, especially in matters
of time. We have an example of this in the case of the "eight days," after
which, as they tell us, He went up into a mountain,160 -a space which is
given by Matthew and Mark as "six days after,"161 because they look simply
at the days between the one from which the reckoning commences and the
one with which it closes. This is particularly to be kept in view when
we notice how measured the terms are which John employs here. For he says
not "the sixth hour," but "about the sixth hour." And yet, even had he
not expressed himself in that way, but had stated merely that it was the
sixth hour, it would still be competent for us to interpret the phrase
in accordance with the method of speech with which we are, as I said, familiar
in Scripture, namely, the use of the round numbers. And thus we could still
take the sense quite fairly to be that, on the completion of the fifth
hour and the commencement of the sixth, those matters were going on which
are recorded in connection with the Lord's crucifixion, until, on the close
of the sixth hour, and when He was hanging on the cross, the darkness occurred
which is attested by three of the evangelists, namely, Matthew, Mark, and
42. In due order, let us now inquire how it is that Mark, after telling
us that they parted His garments when they were crucifying Him, casting
lots upon them what every man should take, has appended this statement,
"And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him."163 Now here he had
already made the declaration, "And crucifying Him, they parted His garments;"
and the other evangelists also certify that, when He was crucified, they
parted His garments. If, therefore, it was Mark's design to specify the
time at which the incident took place, it would have been enough for him
to say simply, "And it was the third hour." What reason, then, can be assigned
for his having added these words, "And they crucified Him," but that, under
the summary statement thus inserted, he intended significantly to suggest
something which might be found a subject for consideration, when the Scripture
in question was read in times in which the whole Church knew perfectly
well what hour it was at which the Lord was hanged upon the tree, and the
means were possessed for either correcting the writer's error or confuting
his want of truth? But, inasmuch as he was quite aware of the fact that
the Lord was suspended on the cross] by the soldiers, and not by the Jews,
as John most plainly affirms,164 his hidden object [in bringing in the
said clause] was to convey the idea that those parties who cried out that
He should be crucified were the Lord's real crucifiers, rather than the
men who simply discharged their service to their chief in accordance with
their duty. We understand, accordingly, that it was the third hour when
the Jews cried out that the Lord should be crucified. And thus it is intimated
most truly that these persons did really crucify Christ at the time when
they cried out. All the more, too, did this merit notice, because they
were unwilling to have the appearance of having done the deed themselves,
and with that view delivered Him up unto Pilate, as their words indicate
clearly enough in the report given by John. For, after stating how Pilate
said to them, "What accusation bring ye against this man?" his version
proceeds thus: "They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor,
we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them,
Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said
unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death."165 Consequently,
what they were especially unwilling to have the appearance of doing, that
Mark here shows that they actually did do at the third hour. For he judged
most truly that the Lord's murderer was rather the tongue of the Jews than
the hand of the soldiers.
43. Moreover, if any one alleges that it was not the third hour when
the Jews cried out for the first time in the terms referred to, he simply
displays himself most insanely to be an enemy to the Gospel; unless perchance
he can prove himself able to produce some new solution of the problem.
For he cannot possibly establish the position that it was not the third
hour at the period alluded to. And, consequently, we surely ought rather
to credit a veracious evangelist than the contentious suspicions of men.
But you may ask, How can you prove that it was the third hour? I answer,
Because I believe the evangelists; and if you also believe them, show me
how the Lord can have been crucified both at the sixth hour and at the
third. For, to make a frank acknowledgment, we cannot get over the statement
of the sixth hour in John's narrative; and Mark records the third hour:
and, therefore, if both of us accept the testimony of these writers, show
me any other way in which both these notes of time can be taken as literally
correct. If you can do so, I shall most cheerfully acquiesce. For what
I prize is not my own opinion, but the truth of the Gospel. And I could
wish, indeed, that more methods of clearing up this problem might be discovered
by others. Until that be done, however, join me, if it please you, in taking
advantage of the solution which I have propounded. For if no explanation
can be found, this one will suffice of itself. But if another can be devised,
when it is unfolded, we shall make our choice. Only don't consider it an
inevitable conclusion that any one of all the four evangelists has stated
what is false, or has fallen into error in a position of authority at once
so elevated and so holy.
44. Again, if any one affirms his ability to prove it not to have been
the third hour when the Jews cried out in the terms in question, because,
after Mark's statement to this effect, "And Pilate answered, and said again
unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the
King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him," we find no further
details introduced into the narrative of the same evangelist, but are led
on at once to the statement, that the Lord was delivered up by Pilate to
be crucified-an act which John mentions to have taken place about the sixth
hour;-I repeat, if any one adduces such an argument, let him understand
that many things have been passed by without record here, which occurred
in the interval when Pilate was engaged in looking out for some means by
which he could rescue Jesus from the Jews, and was exerting himself most
strenuously by every means in his power to withstand their maddened desires.
For Matthew says, "Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do, then, with
Jesus, which is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified." Then
we affirm it to have been the third hour. And when the same Matthew goes
on to add the sentence, "But when Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing,
but that rather a tumult was made," we understand that a period of two
hours had passed, during the attempts made by Pilate to effect the release
of Jesus, and the tumults raised by the Jews in their efforts to defeat
him, and that the sixth hour had then commenced, previous to the close
of which those things took place which are related as happening between
the time when Pilate delivered up the Lord and the oncoming of the darkness.
Once more, as regards what Matthew records above,-namely, "And when he
was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have
thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things
this day in a dream because of him,"166 -we remark, that Pilate really
took his seat upon the tribunal at a later point, but that, among the earlier
incidents which Matthew was recounting, the account given of Pilate's wife
came into his mind, and he decided on inserting it in this particular connection,
with the view of preparing us for understanding how Pilate had an especially
urgent reason for wishing, even on to the last, not to deliver Him up to
45. Luke, again, after mentioning how Pilate said, "I will therefore
chastise him and let him go," tells us that the whole multitude then cried
out, "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas."167 But perhaps
they had not yet exclaimed, "Crucify him!" For Luke next proceeds thus:
"Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake gain to them. But they
cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him!"168 This is understood to have
been at the third hour. Luke then continues in these terms: "And he said
unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no
cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him and let him go. And
they were instant With loud voices requiring that He might be crucified.
And the voices of them prevailed."169 Here, then, this evangelist also
makes it quite evident that there was a great tumult. With sufficient accuracy
for the purposes of my inquiry into the truth, we can further gather how
long the interval was after which he spoke to them in these terms, "Why,
what evil hath he done?" And when he adds thereafter, "They were instant
with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified, and the voices
of them prevailed," who can fail to perceive that this clamour was made
just because they saw that Pilate was unwilling to deliver the Lord up
to them? And, inasmuch as he was exceedingly reluctant to give Him up,
he did not certainly yield at present in a moment, but in reality two hours
and something more were passed by him in that state of hesitancy.
46. Interrogate John in like manner, and see how strong this hesitancy
was on Pilate's part, and how he shrank from so shameful a service. For
this evangelist records these incidents much more fully, although even
he certainly does not mention all the occurrences which took up these two
hours and part of the sixth hour. After telling us how Pilate scourged
Jesus, and allowed the robe to be put on Him in derision by the soldiers,
and suffered Him to be subjected to ill-treatment and many acts of mockery
(all of which was permitted by Pilate, as I believe, really with the view
of mitigating their fury and keeping them from persevering in their maddened
desire for His death), John continues his account in the following manner:
"Pilate went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth
to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth,
wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto
them, Behold the man!"170 The object of this was, that they might gaze
upon that spectacle of ignominy and be appeased. But the evangelist proceeds
again: "When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried
out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him!"171 It was then the third hour,
as we maintain. Mark also what follows: "Pilate saith unto them, Take ye
him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him,
We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself
the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more
afraid; and went again into the judgment-hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence
art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest
thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and
have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power
at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that
delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. From thenceforth Pilate sought
to release Him."172 Now, when it is said here that "Pilate sought to release
Him," how long a space of time may we suppose to have been spent in that
effort, and how many things may have beer omitted here among the sayings
which were uttered by Pilate, or the contradictions which were raised by
the Jews, until these Jews gave expression to the words which moved him,
and made him yield? For the writer goes on thus: "But the Jews cried out,
saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever
maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard
that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat,
in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And
it was the preparation of the passover, about the sixth hour."173 Thus,
then, between that exclamation of the Jews when they first cried out, "Crucify
him," at which period it was the third hour, and this moment when he sat
down on the judgment-seat, two hours had passed, which had been taken up
with Pilate's attempts to delay matters and the tumults raised by the Jews;
and by this time the fifth hour was quite spent, and so much of the sixth
hour had been entered. Then the narrative goes on thus: "He saith unto
the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with
him! crucify him!"174 But not even now was Pilate so overcome by the apprehension
of their bringing a charge against himself as to be very ready to yield.
For his wife had sent to him when he was sitting at this time upon the
judgment-seat,-an incident which Matthew, who is the only one that records
it, has given by anticipation, introducing it before he comes to its proper
place (according to the order of time) in his narrative, and bringing it
in at another point which he judged opportune. In this way, Pilate, still
continuing his efforts to prevent further advances, said then to them,
"Shall I crucify your king?" Thereupon "the chief priests answered, We
have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be
crucified."175 And in the time that passed when He was on the way, and
when He was crucified along with the two robbers, and when His garments
were parted and the possession of His coat was decided by lot, and the
various deeds of contumely were done to Him (for, while these different
things were going on, gibes were also cast at Him), the sixth hour was
fully spent, and the darkness came on, which is mentioned by Matthew, Mark,
47. Let such impious pertinacity therefore perish, and let it be believed
that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified at once at the third hour by the
voice of the Jews, and at the sixth by the hands of the soldiers. For during
these tumults on the part of the Jews, and these agitations on the side
of Pilate, upwards of two hours elapsed from the time when they burst out
with the cry, "Crucify Him." But again, even Mark, who studies brevity
above all the other evangelists, has been pleased to give a concise indication
of Pilate's desire and of his efforts to save the Lord's life. For, after
giving us this statement, "And they cried again, Crucify him" (in which
he gives us to understand that they had cried out before this, when they
asked that Barabbas might be released to them), he has appended these words:
"Then Pilate continued to say unto them, Why, what evil hath he done?"177
Thus by one short sentence he has given us an idea of matters which took
a long time for their transaction. At the same time, however, keeping in
view the correct apprehension of his meaning, he does not say, "Then Pilate
said unto them," but expresses himself thus: "Then Pilate continued to
say unto them, Why, what evil hath he done?" For, if his phrase had been
"said,"178 we might have understood him to mean that such words were uttered
only once. But, by adopting the terms, "continued to say,"179 he has made
it clear enough to the intelligent that Pilate spoke repeatedly, and in
a number of ways. Let us therefore consider how briefly Mark has expressed
this as compared with Matthew, how briefly Matthew as compared with Luke,
how briefly Luke as compared with John, while at the same time each of
these writers has introduced now one thing and now another peculiar to
himself. In fine, let us also consider how brief is even the narrative
given by John himself, as compared with the number of things which took
place, and the space of time occupied by their occurrence. And let us give
up the madness of opposition, and believe that two hours, and something
more, may quite well have passed in the interval referred to.
48. If any one, however, asserts that if this was the real state of
the case, Mark might have mentioned the third hour explicitly at the point
at which it really was the third hour, namely, when the voices of the Jews
were lifted up demanding that the Lord should be crucified; and, further,
that he might have told us plainly there that those vociferators did really
crucify Him at that time,-such a reasoner is simply imposing laws upon
the historians of truth in his own overweening pride. For he might as well
maintain that if he were himself to be a narrator of these occurrences,
they ought all to be recorded just in the same way and the same order by
all other writers as they have been recorded by himself. Let him therefore
be content to reckon his own notion inferior to that of Mark the evangelist,
who has judged it right to insert the statement just at the point at which
it was suggested to him by divine inspiration. For the recollections of
those historians have been ruled by the hand of Him who rules the waters,
as it is written, according to His own good pleasure. For the human memory
moves180 through a variety of thoughts, and it is not in any man's power
to regulate either the subject which comes into his mind or the time of
its suggestion. Seeing, then, that thoseholy and truthful men, in this
matter of the order of their narrations, committed the casualties of their
recollections (if such a phrase may be used) to the direction of the hidden
power of God, to whom nothing is casual, it does not become any mere man,
in his low estate, removed far from the vision of God, and sojourning distantly
from Him, to say, "This ought to have been introduced here;" for he is
utterly ignorant of the reason which led God to will its being inserted
in the place it occupies. The word of an apostle is to this effect: "But
if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost."181 And again he
says: "To the one indeed we are the savour of life unto life; to the other,
the savour of death unto death;" and adds immediately, "And who is sufficient
for these things?"182 -that is to say, who is sufficient to comprehend
how righteously that is done? The Lord Himself expresses the same when
He says, "I am come that they which see not might see, and that they which
see might be made blind."183 For it is in the depth of the riches of the
knowledge and wisdom of God that it comes to pass that of the same lump
one vessel is made unto honour, and another unto dishonour.184 And to flesh
and blood it is said, "O man, who art thou that repliest against God?"185
Who, then, knows the mind of the Lord in the matter now under consideration?
or who hath been His counsellor,186 where He has in such wise ruled the
hearts of these evangelists in their recollections, and has raised them
to so commanding a position of authority in the sublime edifice of His
Church, that those very things which are capable of presenting the appearance
of contradictions in them become the means by which many are made blind,
deservedly given over to the lusts of their own heart, and to a reprobate
mind;187 and by which also many are exercised in the thorough cultivation
of a pious understanding, in accordance with the hidden righteousness of
the Almighty? For the language of a prophet in speaking to the Lord is
this: "Thy thoughts are exceeding deep. An inconsiderate man will not know,
and a foolish man will not understand these things."188
49. Moreover, I request and admonish those who read the statement which,
with the help of the Lord, has thus been elaborated by us, to bear in mind
this discourse, which I have thought it needful to introduce in the present
connection, in every similar difficulty which may be raised in such inquiries,
so that there may be no necessity for repeating the same thing over and
over again. Besides, any one who is willing to clear himself of the hardness
of impiety, and to give his attention to the subject, will easily perceive
how opportune the place is in which Mark has inserted this notice of the
third hour, so that every one may there be led to bethink himself of an
hour at which the Jews really crucified the Lord, although they sought
to transfer the burden of the crime to the Romans, whether to the leaders
among them or to the soldiers, [as we see] when we come here upon the record
of what was done by the soldiers in the discharge of their duty. For this
writer says here, "And crucifying Him, they parted His garments, casting
lots upon them, what every man should take."189 And to whom can this refer
but to the soldiers, as is made manifest in John's narrative? Thus, lest
any one should leave the Jews out of account, and make the conception of
so great a crime lie against those soldiers, Mark gives us here the statement,
"And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him,"-his object being to
have those Jews rather discovered to be the real crucifiers, who will be
found by the careful investigator in a position making it quite possible
for them to have cried out for the Lord's crucifixion at the third hour,
while he observes that what was done by the soldiers took place at the
50. At the same time, however, there are not wanting persons who would
have the time of the preparation-which is referred to by John, when he
says, "And it was the preparation of the passover, about the sixth hour"-understood
under this third hour of the day, which was also the period at which Pilate
sat down upon the judgment-seat. In this way the completion of the said
third hour would appear to be the time when He was crucified, and when
He was now hanging on the tree. Other three hours must then be supposed
to have passed, at the end of which He gave up the ghost. According to
this idea, too, the darkness would have commenced with the hour at which
He died-that is to say, the sixth hour of the day-and have lasted until
the ninth. For these persons affirm that the preparation of the passover
of the Jews was indeed on the day which was followed by the day of the
Sabbath, because the days of unleavened bread began with the said Sabbath;
but that, nevertheless, the true passover, which was being realized in
the Lord's passion, the passover not of the Jews, but of the Christians,
began to be prepared-that is, to have its parasceue-from the ninth hour
of the night onwards, inasmuch as the Lord was then being prepared for
being put to death by the Jews. For the term parasceue means by interpretation
"preparation." Between the said ninth hour of the night, therefore, and
His crucifixion, the period occurs which is called by John the sixth hour
of the parasceue, and by Mark the third hour of the day; so that, according
to this view, Mark has not introduced by way of recapitulation into his
record the hour at which the Jews cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him,"
but has expressly mentioned the third hour as the hour at which the Lord
was nailed to the tree. What believer would not receive this solution of
the problem with favour, were it only possible to find some point [in the
narrative of incidents] in connection with the said ninth hour, at which
we could suppose, in due consistency with other circumstances, the parasceue
of our passover-that is to say, the preparation of the death of Christ-to
have commenced. For, if we say that it began at the time when the Lord
was apprehended by the Jews, it was still but the first parts of the night.
If we hold that it was at the time when He was conducted to the house of
Caiaphas' father-in-law, where He was also heard by the chief priests,
the cock had not crowed at all as yet, as we gather from Peter's denial,
which took place only when the cock was heard. Again, if we suppose it
was at the time when He was delivered up to Pilate, we have in the plainest
terms the statement of Scripture, to the effect that by this time it was
morning. Consequently, it only remains for us to understand that this parasceue
of the passover-that is to say, the preparation for the death of the Lord-commenced
at the period when all the chief priests, in whose presence He was first
heard, answered and said, "He is guilty of death," an utterance which we
find reported both by Matthew and by Mark;191 so that they are taken to
have introduced, in the form of a recapitulation, at a later stage, facts
relating to the denial of Peter, which in point of historical order had
taken place at an earlier point. And it is nothing unreasonable to conjecture,
that the time at which, as I have said, they pronounced Him guilty of death,
may very well have been the ninth hour of the night, between which time
and the hour at which Pilate sat down on the judgment-seat there came in
this sixth hour, as it is called-not, however, the sixth hour of the day,
but that of the parasceue-that is to say, the preparation for the sacrifice
of the Lord, which is the true passover. And, on this theory, the Lord
was suspended on the tree when the sixth hour of the same parasceue was
completed, which occurred at the completion of the third hour of the day.192
We may make our choice, therefore, between this view and the other, which
supposes Mark to have introduced the third hour by way of reminiscence,
and to have had it especially in view, in mentioning the hour there, to
suggest the fact of the condemnation brought upon the Jews in the matter
of the Lord's crucifixion, in so far as they are understood to have been
in a position to raise the clamour for His crucifixion to such an effect
that we may hold them to have been the persons who actually crucified Him,
rather than the men by whose hands He was suspended on the tree; just as
the centurion, already referred to, approached the Lord in a more genuine
sense than could be said of those friends whom He sent [on the matter-of-fact
mission].193 But whichever of these two views we adopt, unquestionably
a solution is found for this problem on the subject of the hour of the
Lord's passion, which is most remarkably apt at once to excite the impudence
of the contentious and I to agitate the inexperience of the weak.
140 Matt. xxvii. 27-31.
141 Mark xv. 16-20.
142 John xix. 1-3.
143 Matt. xxvii. 30, 31.
144 Mark xv. 20.
145 Matt. xxvii. 32.
146 Mark xv. 20, 21.
147 Luke xxiii. 26. [This probably implies that the afterpart
of the cross was laid upon Simon, not the whole of it. This obviates the
necessity for the explanation given by Augustin.-R.]
148 John xix. 16-18.
149 Matt. xxvii. 33.
150 Vinum. [So the correct Greek text. Comp. Revised
151 Matt. xxvii. 34.
152 Mark xv. 23.
153 Matt. xxvii. 35, 36. The words, "that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among
them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots," are omitted [So the Greek
text, according to the best authorities. Comp. Revised Version.-R.]
154 Mark xv. 24.
155 Luke xxiii. 34, 35.
156 John xix. 23, 24.
157 Matt. xxvii. 37. [No notice is taken of the different
forms the "title" on the cross, recorded by the evangelists.-R.]
158 Mark xv. 25.
159 John xix. 13-16.
160 Luke ix. 28.
161 Matt. xvii. 1; Mark ix. 1.
162 Matt. xxvii. 45; Mark xv. 33; Luke xxiii. 44.
163 Mark xv. 25.
164 John xix. 23.
165 John xviii. 29-31.
166 Matt. xxvii. 19.
167 Luke xxiii. 16, 18.
168 Luke xxiii. 20, 21.
169 Luke xxiii. 22, 23.
170 John xix. 4, 5.
171 John xix. 6.
172 John xix. 6-12.
173 John xix. 12-14.
174 John xix. 15.
175 John xix. 15, 16.
176 [The arrangement of the various details is open to
discussion; but the probability is, that the virtual surrender of Pilate
to the demand of the Jews took place about the third hour (9 A.M.), and
that it was nearly two hours before the crucifixion took place.-R.]
177 Mark xv. 13, 14.
179 Dicebat. (The Greek also has the imperfect, e/legen.
But in the use of this verb in the New Testament the continuous force of
the imperfect cannot be insisted upon, as many examples will show. The
conclusion of Augustin is correct, despite the insufficiency of this argument.-R.]
180 Fluitat = floats.
181 2 Cor. iv. 3.
182 2 Cor. ii. 16.
183 John ix. 39.
184 Rom. ix. 21.
185 Rom. ix. 20.
186 Rom. xi. 34.
187 Rom. i. 24-28.
188 Ps. xcii. 5, 6.
189 Mark xv. 24.
190 [There is so much force in the positions of Augustin
in regard to the time of day, that one may overlook the irrelevant arguments
he introduces. He at least candidly accepts the readings before him. The
supposition of an early confusion of the numbers has no support, and such
an alteration is altogether unlikely.-R.]
191 Matt. xxvi. 66; Mark xiv. 64.
192 [This view is extremely fanciful. "Preparation" was
a Jewish term, with a distinct meaning. In early Christian times it meant
Friday. To modify the sense is impossible.-R.]
193 See above, Book ii. ch. 20.