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them, 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 us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” That is, henceforth, hereafter (for so the original strictly means) you may take your rest; your watching can be of no further use to me: my trial is over, my agony is subdued, and my destiny determined. I shall soon be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, therefore, let us go and meet this danger. Behold, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

This is the account given us of what is called our Saviour's agony in the Garden ; in the nature and circumstances of which there is certainly something “ difficult to be understood;" but it is at the same time pregnant with instruction and consolation to every disciple of Christ.

We may observe, in the first place, that the terror and distress of our Lord's mind on this occasion seems to have been extreme, and

he endured, in the highest degree poignant and acute. He is said here to be s exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” St. R 3

Mark

the agony

being in

Mark adds, that he was “sore amazed and very heavy ;*” and St. Luke tells us, that

agony he prayed more earnestly ; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the groundt." To what cause could these uncommonly painful sensations be owing ? There is great reason to believe that they could not arise solely from the fear of death, or of the torments and the ignominy he was about to undergo ; for many great and good men, many of the primitive martyrs for instance, and of our first reformers, have met death and tortures without feeling, at least without expressing, such excessive terrors of mind as these.

But it should be considered, that besides the apprehensions of a death in the highest degree excruciating and disgraceful, to which in his human nature he would be as liable as any other

person, there were several circumstances peculiar to himself, which might exceedingly embitter his feelings, and exasperate his sufferings.

In the first place, from the foreknowledge of every thing that could befal him, he would

* Ch. xiv. 33

+ Ch. xxii. 44.

have

have a quicker sense and a keener perception of the torments he was to undergo, than any other person could possibly have, from the anticipation of future sufferings.

In the next place, the complicated miseries which he knew that his death would bring upon his country, for which he manifested the tenderest concern ; the distress in which it would plunge a mother and a friend that were infinitely dear to him; and the cruel

persecu. tions and afflictions of various kinds, to which he foresaw that the first propagation of his religion would expose his beloved disciples; all these considerations,operating on a mind of such exquisite sensibility as his, must make a deep and painful impression, and add many a bitter pang to the anguish which preyed upon his soul. Nor is it at all improbable, that his great enemy and ours, the prince of darkness, whom he came to overthrow, and with whom he maintained a constant conflict through life, and triumphed over by his death; it is not, I say, at all improbable, that this malignant being should exert his utmost power, by presenting real and raising up imaginary terrors to shake the constancy of his soul, and deter

him

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him from the great work he had undertaken. These, and a multitude of other agonizing distresses, unknown and inconceivable to us, which might necessarily spring from so vast, so momentous, so stupendous a work, as the salvation of a whole world, make a plain distinction between our Saviour's situation and that of any other martyr to the cause of truth, and most clearly prove that there never was “a sorrow, in every respect, like unto his sorrow*." It is evident, indeed, that there was some other cause of his agony beside that of his approaching death; for it is said in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that he was heard in that he feared-f ; that is, was delivered from the terrors that oppressed him ; and yet we know he was not delivered from the death of the cross.

And it should be observed in the last place, that notwithstanding his temporary agonies of mind; notwithstanding he was “ sore amazed, and exceeding sorrowful, even unto death ;'* notwithstanding he prayed most earnestly and fervently “that the bitter cup of affliction might, if possible, pass away from him ;" yet, upon * Lam.i. 13.

+ Heb. v. 7.

the

the final result, he manifested the utmost firmness and fortitude of soul: and the constant termination of his prayer was, not my will, but thine be done. He submitted with the most perfect resignation to those very calamities which he felt so acutely, and deprecated so earnestly; and went out from the Garden to meet the dangers that approached him with that noble and dignified address to his slumbering disciples, “ Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

It is evident then that this remarkable incident in the history of our Lord, which has given occasion to so much unfounded and idle cavil, instead of lowering his character in the slightest degree, adds fresh lustre to it, and increases our veneration for his exalted virtues.

And what is of no less importance, it presents to us instructions the most edifying, and reflections the most consolatory to the weak, ness of our nature.

We see, in the first place, that our Lord did not pretend to that unfeeling heroism, that total insensibility to pain and affliction, which some of the ancient philosophers affected. On the contrary, in his human nature he felt like

a man ;

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