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LORD, under trials as many and as great as can well be conceived. Let us, then, endeavour, as much as possible, to copy it. To suffer in some degree is unavoidable, for it is the lot of humanity; through such trials we must all expect to pass: we cannot, and our LORD would not escape them. Christianity will not free us from the calamities and inconveniences of life; but it will enable us to bear them by the hopes of immortality, and teach us how to support ourselves under them by the example of our SAVIOUR.
Let us, also, like our blessed LORD, in the hour of affliction," arise and pray," lest we enter into temptation; and resign ourselves to the will of God in all things, looking forward to the joy, which is set before us. Be our lot ever so severe, let us keep from despair: for we learn from our SAVIOUR's agony," that a state of the sharpest sufferings was consistent with the love of GOD; and that the most perfect innocence, and the brightest prospect of future glory, could not overcome the natural horror of them. He that fears death, and trembles at the approach of it, and yet had rather die again than sin once, hath not sinned in his fear; for CHRIST hath hallowed it, and the infirmity of human nature is his excuse."
We are told, that while our LORD prayed, his agony. was so great, that his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. Whether real blood came through the pores of his skin does not clearly appear from the text, but it might be so; for ancient authors relate other instances of persons, under extreme per turbation of mind, sweating blood. This at least is certain that his body, as well as his soul, was greatly affected, and his sweat ran off with uncommon vios lence.
#Bishop Tillotson's Sermons.
THE APPREHENDING OF JESUS.
From Mark, Chap. xiv.-John, xviii.-Luke, xxii.Matt. xxvi.
AND he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners *.
Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place for JESUS oft-times resorted thither with his disciples.
Judas then having received a band of men, and officers from the chief priests, and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons.
And Judas went before them, and drew near unte JESUS to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss.
JESUS therefore knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. JESUS saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also which betrayed him, stood with them.
As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, JEsus of Nazareth.
The verses which ended the last Section are purposely repeated here; because they could not be well disjoined from this. JESUS
JESUS answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.
That the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me, have I lost none.
When they which were about him, saw what would follow, they said unto him, LORD, shall we smite with the sword?
Then Simon Peter having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
Then said JESUS unto Peter, 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 scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
The cup which my
Father hath given me shall I not
Then the band, and the captain, and officers of the Jews, took JESUS, and bound him.
And JESUS answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched the ear of Malchus, and healed him.
Then JESUS said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders which were come to him, Be ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves?
When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
All this has been done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
And there followed him a certain young man, hav ing a linen cloth cast about his naked body: and the young men laid hold on him.
And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It was related in the last Section, that when our LORD retired into the garden at Gethsemane, he exhorted the three Apostles who attended him, to watch and pray, lest they entered into temptation; but they fell asleep. It certainly was their duty to watch with their Master, when his life was in such imminent danger, and to endeavour to comfort him when they beheld him so greatly distressed. Had they watched in this manner, their own minds would have been better prepared against the trials and temptations to which they themselves were to be exposed: but as our LORD knew that it was through infirmity, and not for want of affection for him, that they fell asleep, he kindly excused it; and that they might see enough of his behaviour to enable them to bear testimony to it, and learn the duty of resignation, he repeatedly awakened them.
At the close of this affecting scene, our LORD told his Apostles, that they might now sleep on and take their rest; the design for which they were separated from the other Apostles being so far accomplished, there was no occasion for them to watch with him.
Though the cup of DEATH was not removed, yet our LORD's prayer was heard, and consolation granted him; the violent perturbation which had been raised in his soul by the view of his approaching sufferings, was súcceeded by a perfect calmness and serenity. Perhaps the ministering angel was sent by THE FATHER, to recall to our LORD's mind the necessity of his death, and
to confirm the assurance he had before received, that his human nature would certainly be a partaker of that glory which the DIVINE WORD had from all eternity: for we may judge from other passages of Scripture, that, on extraordinary occasions, when our LORD's soul was exposed to unusual temptations, and the operations of the DIVIN NATURE seem to have been for an instant suspended, he received evident proofs of the peculiar favour and protection of GOD by means of his outward senses; particularly in the wilderness, after the Devil had tempted him to doubt whether he were the SON of Gon, when angels came and ministered unto him as such. As our LORD at that time willingly resolved to submit to a state of poverty, he as willingly determined in the garden of Gethsemane patiently to endure the cross, with all its attendant evils; accordingly he went forth with the utmost composure to meet the traitor, who was attended by a band of Roman soldiers, with their captain, and some Jewish officers belonging to the temple guard: nay, some of the members of the Sanhedrim, hurried on by malice and rage, mixed with a low rabble, and came in the dead of the night, to see that their infamous design was effectually executed.
The moon was then at the full; yet they brought lanterns and torches with them, that the guards might the better see to use their arms in case of opposition, or discover JESUS if he should hide himself in any private recess. It appears, from the signal which Judas gave, that our LORD permitted his Apostles, according to the Jewish custom, to salute him, when he returned to them after having been any time absent. Though the traitor approached with all the marks of duty and friendship, his perfidious purposes were known to his Master; who, instead of reproaching him, gently reminded him of the