« AnteriorContinua »
might be then. But no. His love for his disciples yielded not in the prospect of death. "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." He would give them, before he went to his Father, a lesson of love; a lesson which they should long remember, of that love which he had felt for them, and which he desired that they should feel towards each other. He "knew that the father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;" but exalted as he was, he hesitated not to perform a menial office to his followers, that they might remember and feel more deeply the lesson he designed to convey. Oh where is pride? Where is the haughtiness of station or of birth? Do they not shrink into nothingness at the contemplation of the Son of God employed in such an office of holy humility?
And dost thou deign, my blessed Lord,
May thy meek spirit far remove
May never hate this breast annoy,
Let me with thee the path pursue
PRAYER IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE.
MATT. XXVI. 36.
THEN Cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, Oh my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again; (for their eyes were heavy ;) and he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Are ye sleeping on now, and taking your rest? behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. And while he yet spake,
lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come ? Then came they and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword; and struck a servant of the high priest, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scripture be fulfilled? for thus it must be. In the same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Ye are come out as against a thief, with swords and staves for to take me; I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me; but all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Our Saviour's perfect foreknowledge of his approaching doom, imparted the depth of agony to an hour like this, when all was removed which could keep from his mind the dark image that rose before it. In the midnight silence of Gethsemane, and with no one near him but his slumbering apostles, he had a foretaste in its full bitterness, of that cup of woe, which awaited him on the morrrow. We may well doubt how far the reality of bodily pain exceeded the mental an
guish, now imparted by the fearfully distinct anticipation of his sufferings. A new pang too was inflicted on him by the insensibility of his followers. He could not derive strength from their sympathy, for they understood not yet his character or his destiny. While he prayed in agony, they were sleeping. There was but One Being in the universe to whom he could look for aid or consolation, his Father in heaven. And how, even in that darkest hour, did the holy mind of Jesus triumph over the strength of agony! Language is vain to describe, it can but detract from 'the impressiveness of the scene. All that can be said, all that can be felt, of the strength of human suffering, and the still greater strength of faith, is comprised in his brief prayer, "Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Faint not, poor traveller, though thy way
Nay, sink not, though from every limb
Christian! thy friend, thy master prayed,
Oh, think'st thou that his Father's love
Go, sufferer, calmly meet the woes,
JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST.
MATT. XXVI. 57.
AND they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off, unto the high priest's palace, and went, and sat with the servants to see the end. Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death. But they found none, though many false witnesses came. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee, by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said. Nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphe