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he feared and shunned death; as God-man, be willingly submitted to it; the divine spirit and tlie human nature of Christ did now assault each other with disagreeing interests, till at last victory was got on the spirit's side. Again, this prayer was not absolute, but conditional: if it be possible. Father, if it may be, if thou art willing, if it please thee, let it pass: if not, I will drink it. Learn hence, 1. That the cup of sufferings is in itself considered as a very hitter and distasteful cup, which human nature abhors, and cannot but desire and pray may pass from it. 2. That yet oft-times the wisdom of God is pleased to put this bitter cup of affliction into the hands of those whom he doth most sincerely love. 3. That when God doth so, it is their duty to drink it with humble submission, and cheerful resignation. Not my oill, but thine be done. Observe, 4. The manner how our Lord prayed; and here we shall find it, 1. A solitary prayer; he went by himself alone, out of the bearing of his disciples; he saith unto them, Tarry ye here, while I go and pray yonder. Mark, Christ did neither desire his disciples to pray with him, nor to pray for him. No, he must tread the winepress alone; not but that Christ loved and delighted in his disciples' company; but there were occasions when he thought fit to leave them, and to go alone to God in prayer. Thence learn, That the company of our best friends is not always seasonable. Peter, James, and John, were three good men; but Christ hids them tarry, whue he went aside for private prayer. There are times and cases when a christian would not be willing that the dearest friend he has in the world should be with him, or understand and hear what passes betwixt him and his God. 2. This prayer of Christ was an humble prayer; that is evident by the postures into which he cast himself; sometimes kneeling, sometimes lying prostrate upon his face. He lies in the very dust; lower he cannot fall; and his heart was as low as his body. And such was the fervour of his spirit, that he prayed himself into an agony. O let us blush to think how unlike we are to Christ in prayer, as to our praying frame of spirit! Lord, what drowsiness and deadness! what laziness and dulness! what stupidity and formality, is found in our prayers! how often do our lips move, and our hearts stand still! 3. It was a repeated and reiterated prayer. He prayed the
first, second, and third time. He returns upon God over and over, plies him again and again, resolving to take no denial. Learn thence, That christians ought not to be discouraged, though they have besought God again and again for a particular mercy, and no answer of prayer has come unto them. Observe also, How our Lord used the same prayer three times over, saying the same words. A person then may pray with and by a form of prayer, and yet not pray formally, but in a very acceptable manner unto God. Christ both gave a form of prayer to his disciples, and also used one himself. Observe next, The posture in which our holy Lord found his own disciples, when he was in his agony: they were sleeping, when he was praying. O wonderful! that they could sleep at such a time. Hence we gather, that the best of Christ's disciples may be sometimes overtaken with infirmities, with great infirmities, when the most important duties are performing. He eometh to his disciples and ftndeth them sleeping. Observe farther, The gentle reproof he gave the disciples for sleeping: What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Could not you watch, when your Master is in such danger? Could not you watch with me, when I am going to deliver up my life for you? What! not one hour, and that the parting hour too? After this reprehension, he subjoins an exhortation: Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: and superadds a forcible reason, for though the spirit is willing, yet the flesh is weak. Thence learn, That the holiest and best resolved christians, who have willing spirits for Christ and his service, yet in regard of the weakness of the flesh, or the frailty of human nature, it is their duty to watch and pray, and thereby guard themselves against temptations. Watch and pray,—for though the spirit is -willing, yet theflesh is weak; though you have sincerely resolved rather to die with me than deny me, yet be assured, that when temptation actually assaults you, when fear and shame, pain and suffering, death and danger, are before you, and present to your sense, the weakness of your flesh will prevail over these resolutions, if you do not watch diligently, and pray fervently for divine assistance.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and fake your rest; behold, the
hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going ; behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
47 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.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
Our Saviour having poured out his soul in prayer to God in the garden, he is now ready, and waits for the coming of his enemies; being first in the field: accordingly, 'while he yet spake, came Judas, one of the twelve, and under his conduct a band of soldiers to apprehend him. It was the lot and portion of our blessed Redeemer to be betrayed into the hands of his mortal enemies, by the treachery of a false and dissembling friend. Observe here, The traitor, the treason, the manner how, and the time when, this treasonable design was executed. Observe, 1. The betrayer, Judas; all the evangelists carefully describe him by his name, Judas, by his surname, Iscuriot; lest he should be mistaken for Jude, the brother of James. God is tender and careful of the names and reputations of his upright-hearted servants. He is also described by his office, one of the twelve. The eminence of his place of station was an high aggravation of his transgression. Nay, in some respect he was preferred above the rest, having a peculiar trust reposed in him; he bare the bag: that is, he was almoner and steward of Christ's family, to take care for the necessary accommodations of Christ and his apostles; and yet this man, thus called, thus honoured, thus respectfully treated, by Christ, for the lucre of a little money perfidiously betrays him. O whither will not a bad heart, and a busy devil, carry a man! Learn hence, 1. That the greatest professors had need be jealous of their own hearts, and look well to the grounds and principles of their profession.
A profession begun in hypocrisy, will certainly end in apostasy. Learn, 2. That persons are never in such imminent danger, as when they meet with temptations exactly suited to their master-lust. Covetousnesswas Judas's master-sin ; the love of the world made him a slave to Satan, and the devil lays a temptation before him which suits his temper, hits his humour, and it prevails immediately. O pray, pray that ye may be kept from a strong and suitable temptation, a temptation suited to your predominant lust and inclination. Observe, 2. As the betrayer Judas, so the treason itself, with its "aggravating circumstances: he led an armed multitude to the place where Christ was, gave tliem a signal to discover hun, and encouraged them to lay hands upon him, and hold him fast. This was the hellish design Satan put into his heart, and it has these aggravating circumstances attending it. He had seen the miracles which Christ wrought by the power of God, and could not but know him to be a Divine Person. He could not sin out of ignorance or blind zeal, but the love of money made him do what he did. Farther, what he did was not done by the persuasions of any, but he was a volunteer in this service. The high priest neither sent to him, nor sent for him, but he offers his service, and no doubt they were very much surprised to find one of Christ's own disciples at the head of a conspiracy against him. Learn hence, That no man knows where he shall stop or stand when he first enters the ways of sin; should any one have told Judas, that his love of money would at last so far prevail upon him, as to make him sell the blood of Jesus Christ, he would have answered, as Hazael did Elisha, Is thy servant a dog, that Ishoala do this thing? Wickedness, like holiness, doth not presently come to its ful strength in the soul, but grows up by in sensible degrees. Men do not cornraenc* masters in the art of villany in an in stant; they begin first with lesser, tie with greater sins; first with secret, that with open sins. Doubtless Judas was a] old though secret sinner; surely he couli not immediately attain to such an heigt of impudence, and so great a degree c stupidity. Hear, ye professors of religios ye that partake of ordinances, frequent ss craments, take heed of living as Judas dk in the allowed commission of any seer sin, to the wasting of your conscience and the destroying of your souls. Observ
manner how this hellish plot was forwardest to lay hold on Jesus. Observe
[; partly by force, and partly by here St. Peter's zeal and sincere love for
fraud: by force, in that he came with a his Lord and Master: it was in great
multitude armed with swords and staves: sincerity spoken, Though I die with thee,
and. by fraud; he gives him a kiss, and vet wii l I not deny thee. But why did
says, Hail, Matter. Here was honey in not Peter draw his sword upon Judas,
the tongue, and poison in the heart. This treacherous kiss enhanced his crime beyond expression. O vilest of hypocrites, how dufet thou approach so near thy Lord iu the exercise of so much baseness and ingratitude! But none sin with so much impudence and obstinacy as apostates. Learn we hence, To beware of men: when we see too, too glittering appearances, we may suspect the inside. Charity tor others is our duty, but too great confidence may be our snare. There is so much hypocrisy in many, and so much corruption in all, that we must not be too confident. Observe, 4. The time when this treasonable design was executed upon Clirist; when he was in the garden with his disciples, exhorting them to prayer and watchfulness, dropping heavenly and most seasonable counsels upon them. While he vet spake, lo, Judas came, and the multitude with him. Judas found Christ in the most heavenly and excellent employment, when he came to apprehend him. O how happy is it, when our sufferings find us in God's way, engaged in his service, and engaging his assistance by fervent supplication f Thus did our Lord's sufferings meet hira: may they so meet us!
51 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. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place; for all tbey that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to ray Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it ;be?
The rude multitude laying hands upon Christ, the disciples, who had remitted their watch, do resume their courage, and are willing to rescue their Master if they can, particularly Peter draws his sword, and cuts off the ear of Malchus, one of the
rather than Malchus f Perhaps because though Judas was more faulty, yet Malchus was more forward to arrest and carry off our Saviour. How doth a pious breast swell with indignation at the sight of any open affront offered unto Christ! Observe here, That though St. Peter's heart was sincere, yet his hand was rash: good intentions are no warrant for irregular actions; and accordingly Christ, who accepted his affection, reproves him for the action : put up thy sword; for they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword. Learn hence, That Christ will thank no man to fight for him without a warrant and commission from him. To resist a lawful magistrate, even in Christ's own defence, is rash zeal, and discountenanced by the gospel. To a lawful power lawfully executed, there must be yielded due obedience. Observe lastly, Our Lord's absolute refusal to be rescued out of his enemies' hands, with the reason of it: "Did I incline to be rescued by force, (as if our Lord had said,) I could demand all the troops of angels in heaven to show themselves upon that occasion; but how can this stand with the decree of my Father, with the declarations of the scripture, with the demonstration of my mercy, and with the salvation of miserable mankind?" Learn thence, That Christ was infinitely more concerned for the salvation of lost sinners, than for his own death and sufferings; more concerned for our eternal salvation, than for his own temporal preservation. Had he been rescued by the power of angels, we had fallen a prey into the paw of devils.
55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and slaves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then till the disciples forsook him, and fled.
We had an account of our Lord's apprehension in the former verses; here, the sad effect of it upon his disciples: They allforsook him, and fled. Had this been done by the giddy multitude who followed him for the loaves, it had been no cause of wonder; but for those who had already forsaken all to follow him, who were faithful though fearful friends; what an addition to his sufferings must this be! No doubt but the ingratitude of his friends made deeper wounds in his soul, than the malice of enemies could make in his body. They that said all to Christ, verse 36, Though we should die with thee, yet we will not deny thee, do here all of them desert and forsake him; when it came to the push, not a man of them stands by him. Leam thence, That the holiest of men know not their own hearts when great temptations and trials are before them, till they come to grapple with them, and to be engaged in them. We know not our own strength till temptation puts us to the proof.
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. 58 But Peter followed him afar off, unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death: 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came; yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what if it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace.
Judas having made good his promise to the high priest, and delivered Jesus a prisoner into their hands, these wolves of the evening no sooner seize the Lamb of God, , but they thirst and long to suck his innocent blood. Yet lest it should look like a downright murder, they will allow him a mock-trial, by abusing the law, and perverting it to injustice and bloodshed; accordingly, they industriously suborn false
witnesses to take away his life, not sticking at the grossest perjury, so they might destroy him. The chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death. Abominable wickedness! innocency itself cannot protect from slander and false accusation. No man is so innocent or good whom false witness may not condemn. Yet observe farther, our Lord's meekness and patience, his submissive silence under all these wicked suggestions and false accusations; Jesus held his peace, verse 63. Guilt is clamorous and impatient; innocence is silent, and careless of misreports. Learn hence, That to bear the reviliogs, contradictions, and false accusations of men, with a silent and submissive spirit, is an excellent and Christ-like temper. Our Lord stood before his unjust judges and false accusers, as a sheep before his shearer, dumb, and not opening his mouth. Although a trial for his life was managed most maliciously and illegally against him, when he was reviled, he reviled not again: when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him that Judgeth righteously. O let the same humble mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus.
—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. 64 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. 65 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 blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. 67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?
We observed even now that our Lord was silent, and did make no reply to the false witnesses that evidenced against him at his trial; because being so manifestly contradictory, they did fall to the ground of themselves. But now when the question was solemnly put by the high priest, Art thou the Christ .* he said, I am. Thence learn, That although we are not obliged to answer every cavilling or ensnaring question, yet we are bound faithfully to own and freely to confess the truth, when we are solemnly called thereunto. Christ, who in the former verses was silent, and as a deaf man heard not, now witnesses a good confession: teaching us, both by his example and command, to confess and own both him and his truth, when lawfully required; when our silence would be a denying of the truth, a dishonour to God, and a scandal to our brethren. Christ knew that his answer would cost him his life, and yet he durst not but give it . Art thou the Son of the Blessed? Jesus said, I am. Yea, farther observe, That as Christ answered directly and plainly at his trial, so be did not refuse to answer upon oath: I adjure thee by the living God, says the judge of the court, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ; that is, I require thee to answer this question upon oath; for adjuring a person, or requiring him to answer upon oath, was the manner of swearing among the Jews. Now to this adjuration our Saviour answered plainly and directly, JT am, Mark xiv. 61. Hence learn, That swearing before a magistrate, upon a just and great occasion, is lawful: if Christ in the filth of St. Matthew forhid all oaths, then here his practice was contrary to his own doctrine; but it is evident that Christ answered the magistrate upon oath, and so may we. Observe lastly, The sentence of condemnation which the council passed upon him for owning himself to be the Son of God: He hath spoken blasphemy, and is worthy to die. Hereupon the unruly rabble affront him with the vilest abuses, and roost horrid indignities; They spit in his face, they blindfolded him, they smote him with their fists and palms pf their hands; and in the way of contempt and mockery, they hid him divine or prophesy who it was that smote him. Learn hence, That there is no degree of pontempt, no mark of shame, no kind of suffering, which we ought to decline or stick at for Christ's sake, who hid not his face from shame and spitting upon our account. O monstrous impiety! how do they spit on that awful lovely face! How do they revile and blaspheme his noble office
o£a Prophet of the most high God f Prophesy, say they, in a mocking derision, who was it that smote thee .* To such acts of inhumanity did the barbarous rage of the bloody Jews carry them.
09 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto nim, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came unto him, they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept hitterly.
This last paragraph of the chapter gives us an account of the fall and rising of Peter, of his sin in denying Christ, and of his recovery by a speedy and severe repentance. Both must be considered distinctly. First, As touching his sin and fall, there are four particulars observable, namely, the sin itself, the occasion of that sin, the reiteration and repetition of it, and the aggravating circumstances attending it. Observe, 1. The sin itself, the denial of Christ, / know not the man; a manifest untruth: next he adds an oath to confirm that untruth; he swore that he knew not the man. And, last of all, he wished an horrid curse and imprecation upon himself, that is, he wished himself excommunicated and cast out of the church, say some: he wished himself eternally separated from the presence of God, say others: he wished in effect that the devil might take him, if he , were acquainted with Jesus. The inordinate love of life, and slavish fear of sufferings and death, may draw the best of men to commit the worst of sins. Observe, 2. The occasions of this sin, and they were