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59Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death,

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59. Sought false witness. By these words the Evangelists remark, that nothing was farther from the design of the priests than to inquire into the cause, so that, when the matter was thoroughly understood, they might decide what was proper. For they had previously resolved to put Christ to death, and now they only seek a pretense for oppressing him. Now it is impossible that equity can have any place where an examination of the cause is not the first step. In seeking false witnesses, their treacherous cruelty is manifested; and when, after being disappointed of their expectation, they still do not desist, this affords a still more striking display of their blinded obstinacy. Thus, amidst the darkness of their rage, the innocence of the Son of God shone so brightly, that the devils themselves might know that he died innocent.