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ings which humanity shrinks from, of pangs which an imagination full of sensibility clothes with more terror than the actual sufferings inflict, was perhaps too powerful to be borne in that situation in which these ideas presented themselves. Add to all these, the consciousness that those divine aids on which he had always depended, and which had been so liberally communicated, were now, for a season, withdrawn; and that alone, and unsupported, he felt himself left to struggle with all the bitterness of death; I say, let us attend to these things, and, perhaps, we may have some conception of that dismal state, in which our Saviour uttered this prayer; Father, If it be possible, let this cup depart from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt ; upon which, as Luke informs us, an interposition of Providence became necessary, and an angel was sent from Heaven to strengthen him. It is fufficient to mention, for it would be fuperfluous to prove, that by the first expression, Father, if it be possible, is meant, not if the request I now make is within the verge of Omnipotence, but if it is consistent with the plan of the divine government, and the great design
of my mission into the world. That severe depression of mind which he presently felt, and the sufferings he was so soon to undergo, are evidently what he meant by that cup, which he prays to be removed from him. The lot of human life, in general, may be figuratively expressed by a cup; and the figure is so frequent in scripture, and so apposite indeed of itself, that it must be readily apprehended. Thus the Pfalmist, to denote the felicity of his situation, uses the expression, My cup runneth over b. And our Saviour, when he rebukes the sons of Zebedee for their intemperate request, does it in these terms, Are ye able to drink of the cup which I Jhall drink of? That is, to partake of the sufferings which I must endure.
Having said thus much in explication of the passage now under consideration, I proceed to my principal design in this discourse, to wit, to consider those virtues in the character of Christ which are here exhibited to us, and to illustrate them from the correfponding passages of his life. That I may not engage in too wide a field, I shall con
fine myself to the consideration of those features of our Saviour's character which appear in this passage in the moft conspicuous light; I mean his piety, his resignation, and his fortitude : And of these I shall discourse in the order I have now mentioned them.
ist, The piety of our Saviour's heart is here discovered in the strongest light. The immediate recourse he has to prayer in this distressful situation, the humble prostration he used, the fervour of his address, and the tenor of it, all conspire to Thew that he was actuated by the truest sense of the divine perfections, and the veneration that is due to them. And, indeed, if we can be said to perceive the principal qualities of a person's character, who gave a perfect pattern of so many virtues, we may pronounce them to be, a perpetual impression of the divine perfections and government, and a humane and generous feeling for the distresses of mankind. The first discovers itself by all the expressions of veneration and zeal which the different circumstances of his life gave occasion to, and in the frequent acts of a rational and elevated devotion. All the answers which he gave at that time, when he was led up into the wil
derness to be tempted of the devil, are plainly characteristical of this disposition. When the tempter desired a proof of his being the Son of God, by commanding the stones to become bread, he replies : It is written, man Mall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Godd. Upon a second effort to seduce him, by a quotation from scripture, he both shews his own piety, and infinuates a reprehension of the malicious employment of this wicked spirit. It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. The last answer he gives discovers entirely the same temper. Thou shalt worship, says he, the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou fervet. In his sermon on the mount, which contains the sum of Christian morals, there is this remarkable difference from every other system, that the duty of piety is not only recommended as an essential branch of morality, but that every other duty is insisted upon as flowing from or dependent upon it; and that in the performance of every one of them, we are called to consider ourselves as creatures related to the supreme Being, an
* Matt. iv. 4.
• Matt. iv. io.
Matt. iv. 7.
swerable to him for our conduct, and under the strictest obligation to promote his glory. The divine prayer which he taught his difciples, is a perfect model of devout expresfion. It is impossible to read it with attention, without perceiving that it breathes the sentiments of a heart under this particular impression, that the happiness of human creatures arises principally from the advancement and completion of the divine counsels. When his disciples had taken fome offence at feeing him converse with the Samaritan woman; from a small incident which foon followed, he lays hold of an opportunity both of rectifying their mistakes, and of informing them of the great object he had in view. When they prayed him, faying, Master, eat; I have meat, says he, to eat that ye know not of. For my meat is to do the will of him that fent me, and to finish his works. As by the appointment of Providence, food is necessary for invigorating our bodies, and for enabling us to perform the duties of ordinary life; fo the exertions of piety, and the spreading its interests, seemed essential not only to the fe
1 Joha iv, 27-35.