« AnteriorContinuar »
bfhis great Fortitude, is, that he all along had a perfect Foresight of his last Sufferings, with all the distressing Circumstances, the amazing Agonies and Dolours that would attend them j yet did he not in the least Recline the Work that was given him to do, but applied himself to it with an inviolable Resolution and Constancy. The Evangelist Luke observes, that, when the Time was come that he should be received up, he Jledfajlly set his Face to go Jerusalem, which he knew was to be the Scene of his grievous Sufferings. Luke ix. 51. And, as he drew nearer in his last Progress, he expressly declared to his Disciples, that he Jhould be betrayed to the chief Priejls, and that they would condemn him to Death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and that he Jhould be mocked, and scourged, and crucified. Luke xviii. 31,32, Matt. xx. 17, 18, ig. These Things filled his Disciples with Dread and Amazement, but they did not cause him to aker his Course. St. Mark observes, that they were in the Way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them, and they were amazed; and, as they followed him, they were afraid. Mark.x. 32, 33. Yet he still went on instructing the People, and performing his beneficent M rjcles, without any Intermission in his sacred Work. A a 2 When When he was actually come to Jerusalem, and was sensible that his Sufferings were at Hand, he co?itinued to teach daily in the Temple, with the same Freedom as before, though he knew that they only waited for an Opportunity to destroy him. And whosoever impartially considereth his Conduct, the very Night in which he was betrayed; his instituting the Sacrament of the holy Supper for the solemn Commemoration of his Sufferings and Death; his excellent valedictory Discourses to his Disciples, and his incomparable Prayer to his heavenly Father; will find Reason to admire the great Composure "of his Mind in those Circumstances. He was perfectly in Possession of himself: Nothing that he did or said was abjeSi or mean; all was great, solemn, and divine; and shewed a steady Resolution becoming the Saviour of Mankind, when he was about to leave the Worlds and go to the Father. After his Discourses and his Prayer, he went forth into the Garden. which was to be the Scene of his dolorous Agonies, and where he knew Judas would look for him, that he might apprehend him: For it is observed that Judas knew the Places for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his Disciples. John xviii. i, 2. And, when accordingly he came with a Band of Men and Officers from the chief 2 ..'■'.- Priejls,
Priests, the Evangelist informs us, that Jesus, knowing all things that Jhould come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus -of Nazareth. Jesus faith unto them, I am be. And Judas aljo which betrayed him flood with them. As soon then as he fid 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. Jesus answered, I have told you, that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their Way. John xviii. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. It appeareth from this remarkable Passage that he was far from endeavouring to hide himself from his Persecutors: As he went to the Place whither he knew they would come to seize him, so, when they were coming, he himself went forth to. meet them, and, upon their declaring that the Person they sought for was Jejus of Nazareth, he faid to them, with a noble Fortitude, I am he. Thus he went to meet his Death, witli an unshaken Steadiness of Resolution; and at the same Time gave a manifest Proof how easily he could, -with one powerful Word or Look, have struck them with*Consternation or Dismay, and have delivered himself out of their Hands, if he had been so minded. Upon his only telling them that I am he, they went backA a 3 war-d, ward, and fell to the Ground: But he, checked and restrained his Power, after having given this Specimen of it, and freely surrendered himself, because he knew it was necessary, for important Ends, that he should do so. A farther Proof of this he gave, immediately after, when he healed the Ear of Malchus, which Peter had cut off, by only touching it: And what he faid to Peter on that Occasion deserveth special Notice: Put up thy Sword into the Sheath: The Cup, which my Father hath given me to drinks Jhall I not drink it? Thinkejl thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he Jhall presently give me more than twelve Legions of Angels f But how then Jhall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it mujl be? John xviii. u. Matt. xxvi. 53, 54. This plainly sheweth, that, if he suffered himself to be apprehended and crucified, it was not through Want of Power to have prevented it j but it was what he voluntarily submitted to, because he knew it was the Father's Will, and made a Part of the Divine Scheme for the Salvation of Mankind, and which had been foretold by his Servants the Prophets. It also appeareth, that, if he had prayed absolutely to the Father, and it had been his own positive and peremptory Desire to be freed from those Sufferings, it had been granted him; but
that, •that, all Things considered, it was his own Will and Purpose, in Compliance with that of his heavenly Father, to undergo them, notwithstanding all the grievous and shocking Circumstances wherewith they were to be attended.
Another Thing to be observed in the holy Jesus is his exemplary Sincerity, Integrity, and Truth, in Opposition to all Difjimulation, Deceit, and Guile. He had not a double Heart and a double Tongue; all was open, candid, and sincere. His Words and Actions agreed with one another, and with his Heart: He was full of Grace and Truth. John i. 14. And there was no Guile found in his Mouth. 1 Pet. ii. 22. He never flattered the Rich and Great, nor endeavoured artfully to accommodate himself to the Prejudices and Paflions of the People, or to soothe them in their wrong Notions of Religion: His Conduct was so remarkable this Way that even his Enemies bore him this Testimony: Mafter, we know that thou art true, and carejl for no Man j for thou regardejl not the Person of Man, but teaches the Way of God in Truth. Mark xii. 14. What is said of him in his exalted State was also really applicable to him in the Days of his Flesh. Rev. iii. 7. These Things filth be that is holy, be that is true. And again, These . Things faith the Amen, the fait'.ful and A a 4 true