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CHRIST'S Agony and Prayer in the garden of Gethsemane: Judas, be

trayeth Jesus with a Kiss: The Officers and Word, fall to the Ground: CHRIST healeth a Priest, whose Ear was cut off by Peter His ted bound to Annas and Caiaphas

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Soldiers, at CHRIST'S
Servant of the High**
Disciples flee Hevis:

THE prayer of our great Intercessor being ended, he with his disciples, came down from the Mount of Olives into a field below, called Gethse mane, through which the brook Cedron ran, and in it, on the other side of the brook, was a garden, called the garden of Gethsemane. Here he de sired his disciples to sit down, perhaps at the garden door within, till he should retire to pray, taking with him, Peter, James, and John, those three select disciples whom he had before chosen to be witnesses of his transfigdration, and now to be eye witnesses of his passion, leaving the other disciples at the garden door, to watch the approach of Judas and his band.— The sufferings he was on the point of undergoing were so great, that the very prospect of them terrified him, and made him express himself in this doleful exclamation," My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death carry ye here and watch". On this great occasion he sustained those grievous sorrows in his soul, by which, as well as by dying on the cross, he became a sin offering, and accomplished the redemption of mankind. He now withdrew from them about a stone's cast, and his human nature being now overburdened beyond measure he found it necessary to retire and pray, that if it was possible, or consistent with the salvation of the world, he might be delivered from the sufferings which were then laying on him : it was not the fear of dying on the cross which made him speak or pray in such a manner : to suppose this, would infinitely degrade his character, make his sufferings as terrible as possible, and clothe them with all the agi gravating circumstances of distress: yet the blessed JESUS, whose human nature was strengthened by being connected with the divine, could not shrink at the prospect of suffering, or betray a weakness which many of his followers, who, though mere men, were strangers to having encountered more terrible deaths without the least emotion. He addressed bis Divine Father with a sigh of fervent wishes, that the cup, might if possi ble be removed from him : in the Greek, it is," O that thou wouldest remove this cup from me.” “And having first kneeled and prayed, he fell prostrate on his face, accompanying his address with due expressions of re signation, adding immediately, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but was thou wilt." Having prayed he returned to his disciples, and finding them asleep he said to Peter Simon sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch sone bour ?? Canst thou so soon forget thy Master? Thou who so lately boast ed of thy courage and constancy in my service. ⠀ mech

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However, in this greatest distress, he never lost sight of that kind concern he had for his disciples: "Watch ye," he says, and pray, lest ye enter into temptation," Neither was he on those extraordinary occasions, in the least moved with the offences which they had committed through frailty of human weakness: on the contrary, was always willing to make excuses for them; alledging in their defence, "that the spirit truly was ready, but the flesh was weak." It seems from these particulars, that he spent some considerable time in his addresses, because the disciples fell asleep in his absence, and he himself retired again to pray; for the sorrows of our Lord continuing to increase upon him, affecting him to such a degree, that he retired a second time, and prayed to the same purpose, saying, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." After which he returned again to them and found them asleep, for their eyes were heavy." He returned thus frequently

to his disciples, that they, by reading his distress in his countenance and gesture, might be witnesses of his passion which proves that his pain was beyond description intense and complicated; for he went away the third time to pray, and notwithstanding an angel was sent from heaven to com fort and strengthen him; yet they overwhelmed him, and threw him into an agony; upon which he still continued to pray more earnestly: but the sense of his sufferings still increasing, they strained his whole body to su violent a degree, that his blood was pressed through the pores of his skin, which it pervaded, together with his sweat, and fell down in large drops to the ground: “And he left them, and went away again. And there ap peared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great dropé of blood falling down to the ground." Thus did he suffer unspeakable sorrows in his soul, as long as Divine Wisdom thought proper. At length he obtained relief, being heard on account of his perfect and entire sub mission to the will of his heavenly Father: "And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow." This circumstance shews how much the disciples were affected with their Master's sufferings; the sensation of grief which they felt on seeing his unspeakable distress, so overpowered them that they sunk into sleep. Our Blessed Saviour for the last time came to his disciples, and seeing them asleep, he said, “ Sleep on now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise let as be going; behold he is at hand that doth betray me.”myftorfe

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The owner of the garden, it seems, where he now was, had been our Lord's acquaintance, perhaps his disciple, who believing on him, considered himself as highly honoured in Jesus's frequenting it, for the sake of retirement or devotion, and, therefore, had given him the free use of it whenever he pleased. We are told that Jesus knew the place; for Jes sus oft-times resorted thither, with his disciples." The chief priests!and elders being informed by Judas, that the proper time for apprehending JESUS was now come, sent a band of soldiers with him, and servants carrying lanterns and torches, to shew them the way; because, though it was always full moon at the passover, the sky might be dark with clouds, and the place whither they were going was shaded with trees; at the same time, a deputation of their number accompanied the band, to see that eves by one did his duty. Judas having thus a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh hither with lanterns and forches, and weapons; for they were exceeding anxious to secure and get him into their hands, and the soldiers having perhaps never seen JEsUs before, found it necessary that Judas should distinguish him, and point him out to them by some particular sign. St. Luke seems to say, that Judas went before them at a little distance, to prepare them for the readier execution of their office, by kissing his Master, the token they had agreed upon, that they might not mistake him and seize a wrong person: "And he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him." Nor can the account which St. John has given us, be understood on any other supposition, who says, that after Judas was come up with the soldiers. Jesus went out of the garden, and asked them, who it was they were seeking? To which they replied "Jesus of Nazareth." It therefore follows, that they were at a loss to know him which they could not have been, had they seen Judas kiss him: the kiss, therefore, must have been given in the garden before the band came op; nor is their agreement about the sign inconsistent with this supposition; because that confusion which commonly attends the commission of an evil action, might prevent Judas from giving the sign at the proper season. He went before the soldiers, on pretence that he would lead them to the place, and shew them the man by kissing him: however, to conceal his


villany from his Master and the disciples, he walked bastily,

waiting for the band, went up directly and saluted him; fej

haps, to apprize him of his danger. But JESUS did not fail to convince him that he knew, the meaning and intent of his salutation, saying, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss ?" Judas certainly concealed his treachery so well, that Peter did not suspect him, as it is probable, he would have struck at him rather than at Malchus, the high priest's servant, if he had.

Our Lord's appointed time for suffering being now come, he did not, as formerly, avoid his enemies; but, on the contrary, on their telling him they sought JESUS of Nazareth, he replied, "I am he" thereby insinuating to them, that he was willing to put himself into their hands: at the same time, to shew them that they could not apprehend him without his own consent, he in an extraordinary manner exerted his divine power, he made the whole band fall back, and threw them to the ground: 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 betrayeth him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground," But the soldiers and the Jews imagining, perhaps, that they had been thrown down by some demon or evil spirit, with whom the Jews said he was in confederacy, advanced towards him a second time: "Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you, that I am he;" expressing again his willingness to fall inte their hands: If therefore ye seek me, let those go their way." If your business be with me alone, suffer my disciples to pass; for the party had surrounded them also. He seems to have made this request to the soldiers, that the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none." For as he always proportions the trials of his people to their strength; so here he took care that the disciples should escape the storm, whieh none but himself could bear.


Some of the soldiers, more daring than the rest, at length rudely caught JESUS, and bound him: upon which Peter drew his sword, and smote eff the ear of the high priest's servant, who probably was shewing greater forwardness than the rest in this business: "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." The enraged apostle was on the point of singly attacking the whole band, when JESUS ordered him to sheath his sword, telling him, that his unseasonable and imprudent.defence might prove the occasion of his destruction: "Then said Jesus unto him, put up again thy sword into it's place; for all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword." He told him likewise, that it implied both a distrust of the Divine Providence, which can always employ a variety of means for the safety of good men, and also his ignorance in the Scriptures: Thinkest thou," said he, "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 ?" Matt. xxvi. 53, 54.

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Legion was a Roman military term, being the name which they gave to a body of five or six thousand men: wherefore in regard that the band which now surrounded them, was a Roman cohort, our Lord might make usb of this term by way of contrast, to shew what an inconsiderable thing the cohort was, in comparison of the force he could summon to his assistance; more than twelve legions, not of soldiers, but of angels. He yet was tenderly inclined to prevent any bad consequences, mhich might have flowed from Peter's rashness, by healing the servant, and adding, in his rebuke to him, a declaration of his willingness to suffer: "The cup which Father has given me, shall I not drink it ?"

"Our Lord's healing the ear of Malchus, by touching it, seems to imply, that he created a new one in the place of that which was cut off; but though he performed the care some other way it equally demonstrates. both bis goodness and his power. No wound or distemper was incurable in the band of Jesus; neither was any injury so great that he could not forgive. It seems somewhat surprising that this evident miracle did not make an impression upon the chief priests, especially as our Lord put them in mind at the same time of his other miracles; for having first said, Suffer ye thus far; and he touched his ear, and healed him; he added, "Be'ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When 1 was daily with you in the temple, ye stretened forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness." Luke xxii. 51, 52, 53. They had kept at a distance during the attack, but drew near, when they understood that Jesus was in their power; for they were proof against all conviction, being costinately bent on putting him to death. And the disciples, when they saw their Master in the hands of his onemies, forseok him and fled, according to his prediction: notwithstanding they might have followed him without any danger, as the priests had no design against them: Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. Then the band, and the captain and officers of the Jews, took Jesus, and bound him." But it was not the cord which held him; his immense charity was by far a stronger band; he could, with more ease than Sampson. have broken those wenk lics, and exerted divinity in a more wonderful manner; he could have stricken them all dead, with as much ease as he had before thrown them on the ground; but he patiently submitted to this, as to every other indignity which they pleased to offer him; so meek was he under the greatest injuries. Having thus secured him, they led him away: And there followed him a certain young man, having a linnen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young man laid hold on him; and he left the linnen cloth, and fied from them naked." This, per haps, was the proprietor of the garden; who, being awakened with the noise, came out with the linnen cloth, in which he had been lying, cast round his naked body; and forgetting the dress he was in, and having a 'respect for JESUS, followed him.

7. He was first led to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was highpriest that year. Annas having himself discharged the office of high priest, was consequently a person of distinguished character, which, together with his relation to the high-priest, made him worthy of the reespect they now paid him; but he refused singly to meddle in the affair; they, therefore, carried JESUS to Caiaphas himself, at whose place the chief priests, elders, and Scribes were assembled, having staid there all night to see the issue of their stratagem. This Caiaphas was he that advised the council to put Jesus to death, even admitting he was innocent, for the safety of the whole Jewish nation. He was advanced to the sacredotal dignity by Valerius Gratus, Pilate's predecessor, and was divested of it by Vitellius, governor of Syria, after he had deposed Pilate from his procuratorship; and therefore seems to have enjoyed it during the whole course of Pilate's government.

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Peter thrice denies his having any Knowledge of Jesus; but on his LORD's turning and looking on him, he repenteth.

THE trial of our blessed Lord in the high-priest's palace, and Peter's denying him, being co-temporary events, might be repeated by the evangel

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