Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 111.

The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
The dream of Pilate's wife by Alphonse François.
At this moment Pilate's wife's servant asked for a word with him, and handed him a parchment with the words 'Claudia Procla begs to remind you of your promise this morning.' Pilate sent back the pledge to his wife as a sign that he was going to keep his promise. Then Pilate came forward, and sitting himself on the tribune asked again, for the third time :

" 'Which of the two am I to deliver up to you ?' A general cry like a hoarse shout came from the unthinking multitude; ' Not this man, but Bar-Abbas.' ' But what am I to do with Jesus, who is called Christ ? " With a great roar they cried out ' Let him be crucified.' But what evil has he done ? I find no cause in him, I will scourge and then acquit him. But with the roar of a mighty tumult, rose the cry from all sides, * Crucify him.' * Crucify him.'" It was like an infernal tempest. A sea of faces turned towards the procurator waving back and forth, shouting, gesticulating, stretching out their hands, towards Pilate; all Jewry sent forth that terrible cry again and again: "Crucify him ": "Crucify him " : " Away with him : " Let him die:" "We have no king but Caesar: " His blood be on us and on our children," etc.

Pilate gave orders to release Jesus Barabbas. But he determined not to put an innocent man to death, and he thought that if he would make a terrible example of the

Victim, that the sight of his terrific sufferings would excite the pity of the howling gesticulating mob. He would scourge him and let him go. (St. Augustine, Tract, c. xvi.)

According to the law of Moses, unchaste women betrothed and other persons guilty of grave crimes were scourged. But the law stated that they were not to inflict more than thirty-nine stripes lest the victim die. At Jerusalem in that day, the punishment was inflicted with a scourge of four lashes of raw-hide, thirteen stripes being inflicted on the breast, the same on each shoulder: The law of Moses said, " Yet so they exceed not the number of forty, lest thy brother depart shamefully torn before thy eyes." (Deut. xxv. 2, 3.)

In Egypt prisoners are still beaten with a stick on the soles of feet—the bastinado. In our day the " cat-o'-nine, tails is still laid on the back of the British soldier who breaks military discipline. In Russia it is used with such vigor as to excite the pity of all, and sometimes it is severe enough to lead the sufferer to the gates of death.

Let not the reader think the scourging of Christ given in the following pages is exaggerated. Man by nature is a savage. Maxim Gorky, the famous Russian writer, in one of his works tells us that he saw the following scene, called "Leading out," in a Russian village in 1901.

" A strange procession makes its way with savage outcry between the white mud huts of the village street. The crowded mass moves forward—moves thickly and slowly like the flow of some great wave.

"Before it travels a little white horse, its coat rough with sweat. As it lifts its forefeet, one before the other, its head goes up and down, as though its nose would touch the dust.

" A woman, not much more than a girl, and perfectly naked, is tied by her hands to the fore part of the cart. She is obliged to go forward in an awkward manner, on on one side. Her head, with its thick disordered, luster-less blond hair, is lifted a little, inclined backward, and her eyes wide open gaze vaguely into the distance, with a dull and meaningless regard, something less than human. Her whole body is covered in every direction with blue and purple stripes.

" On the left, the firm girlish breast is broken by a blow, and a little purple runlet of blood trickles down the body as far as the knee. Below is a crust of cinnamon-colored dust.

" Long ribbons of skin have been torn from the woman's body, which is terribly blue and swollen, as though long beaten with sticks.

"Her feet, small and graceful, seem hardly able to carry, and her whole form so bends and sways, that one wonders how she can remain on her feet, for on them also, as on the rest of her body could be found no inch of space not swollen and discolored.

" In the cart stands a tall peasant dressed in a white smock, and black sheepskin cap, from beneath which, a tangled mat of light red hair hangs across his forehead. In one hand he holds the reins, in the other a whip, with which he methodically thrashes alternately, the back of the horse, and the slender body of the woman, by this time beaten out of all human shape.

" The bloodshot eye of the red-headed countryman glistens with an evil delight. The sleeves of his smock, rolled up to the elbows, expose strong and muscular hands thickly covered with a growth of reddish hair, his mouth full of white teeth is open, and at intervals he shouts." 'Now then!' 'Witch!' 'Hey!' 'Ha!' 'How's that, little brothers?'

" Behind the bound woman surges a crowd, who howl, hoot, whistle, cat-call, incite. There follow also boys, sometimes one runs forward and shouts some obscenity into the face of the woman. Then a burst of laughter from the crowd drowns all other sounds, even the sharp whistles of the whip as it cuts the air.

" There go women, their faces full of excitement, their eyes shining with pleasure, and men yelling some kind of abomination to the man in the cart. He turns to them and guffaws with wide-open mouth, and down comes the whip on the woman.

" The whip, long and thin, falls on the shoulder and clings around under the arm. Then the man draws it firmly towards him, the woman shrieks and is thrown backward to the ground. The people crowd around her till she is hidden from the sight. The horse comes to a stand-still, but in a moment starts again, and the battered woman is again dragged forward."

Such is the way the Russian people punish the woman they think unfaithful to her marriage vows.