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And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.
And when he returned, he found them asleep again. (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer him.
And he cometh a third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
And Judas also which betrayed him, knew the place; for JESUS oft times resorted thither with his disciples.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Cedron or Kedron was, as its name signified, a dark and shady vale, between Jerusalem and the mount of Olives; through it ran a little brook, which took its name from the place. Gethsemane was a pleasant fertile garden. It is probable, that our LORD chose this secret retirement, not only to avoid the interruption he might meet with in the city, but also to prevent a tumult when he was apprehended. The garden, it is supposed, belonged to one of his friends; for it seems he had been used to retire to it.
Having offered up his intercession for his apostles, and warned them of what they were to expect, our LORD prepared himself for the dreadful trial which was just at hand; and being firmly resolved to submit to the Divine will, he took three of his apostles with him as witnesses of his behaviour, that they might learn from his example the duty of resignation, and teach it
to the world.
The violent perturbation of mind which our LORD
expressed, seems to have arisen from the near prospect of his death, and the excruciating torments which would attend it. From such agonies it was natural for human nature to shrink; and our LORD's being subject to them, proved that he was perfect man. On many occasions, he had shewn the utmost compassion for the sorrows of others; can we then wonder that he shouldfeel for himself, when he had a view of every circum. stance of indignity and cruelty that would be inflicted on him? The wonder is, that he should willingly submit to them. But notwithstanding CHRIST was desirous to avoid pain, yet he was more desirous of performing the will of his FATHER. It appears from this instance, that our LORD had, like other men, freedom of will. It likewise appears, that he was perfectly acquainted with the will of God, which no mere man ever was. This knowledge, as we may judge from other parts of Scripture, was communicated to his soul by the DIVINE WORD, who was united with his human nature, and which never left him; though the influence of the GODHEAD was not exerted so as to control his will, and prevent those natural emotions of which the human soul is susceptible.
On this occasion, the love of Gon to mankind was eminently displayed. He permitted his beloved Son to suffer the pains of humanity, to be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, that he might not be severe to the ignorant and erroneous, but by his obedience purchase salvation for mankind. Our SAVIOUR's love for us, was also testified in the most endearing manner. He resolved to practise in its full extent the duty of resignation to the Divine will, in order to redeem us.
If we take a review of our LORD's life, we shall
→ See an excellent Sermon by Dr. Jortin on this subject.
find, that not only in the present instance, but in all the calamities he endured, he practised the virtue of resignation. He willingly and patiently submitted to poverty, to procure for us eternal riches. He endured weariness, he exposed himself to the inclemency of the weather, he suffered hunger and thirst, he submitted to a variety of contradictions, misapprehensions, and provocations, that would have raised the anger of the meekest man that ever lived upon earth; and restrained resentment, even when the greatest act of treachery and ingratitude that can be conceived was practised against him. Though zealous at all times for the honour of THE FATHER, never did he express indignation for any private injuries or affronts offered to himself; but, in spite of the illtreatment he met with, continued his kind endeavours to win sinners over to obedience, and save them from ruin. When injured in his reputation, and exposed to the most malicious calumny, he never lost his patience, but forgave his enemies, and continued to go about doing good.
Though from the infirmity of human nature our LORD was cast down at the foresight of the approaching death he was to suffer, and had frequent conflicts with him. self, wishing to be saved from the hour of pain and an-` guish, yet he resolved to submit to the will of GOD: and when he knew that the traitor Judas, and the soldiers' who were to apprehend him, were gone forth from the palace of the High Priest; though he was seized with extreme dejection, fear, horror, and consternation, no impatient word fell from his mouth, nothing that did not express a perfect submission to the will of GOD: neither did he discover the least impatience or peevishness, when his apostles, instead of watching with him, feel asleep.
Such was the meek and resigned conduct of our
LORD, under trials as many and as great as can well be conceived. Let us, then, endeavour, as much as possible, to copy it. To suffer in some degree is unavoid able, for it is the lot of humanity; through such trials we must all expect to pass: we cannot, and our LORD would not, escape them. Christianity will not free us from the calamities and inconveniences of life; but it will enable us to bear them by the hopes of immortality, and teach us how to support ourselves under them by the example of our SAVIOUR.
Let us, also, like our blessed LORD, in the hour of affliction," arise and pray," lest we enter into temptation; and resign ourselves to the will of GoD in all things, looking forward to the joy, which is set before us. Be our lot ever so severe, let us keep from despair; for we learn from our SAVIOUR's agony *, "that a state of the sharpest sufferings was consistent with the love of GOD; and that the most perfect innocence, and the brightest prospect of future glory, could not overcome the natural horror of them. He that fears death, and trembles at the approach of it, and yet had rather die again than sin once, hath not sinned in his fear; for CHRIST hath hallowed it, and the infirmity of human nature is his excuse."
We are told, that while our LORD prayed, his agony was so great, that his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. Whether real blood came through the pores of his skin does not clearly appear from the text, but it might be so; for ancient authors relate other instances of persons, under extreme perturbation of mind, sweating blood. This at least is certain that his body, as well as his soul, was greatly affected, and his sweat ran off with uncommon vio lence.
*Bishop Tillotson's Sermors.
THE APPREHENDING OF JESUS.
From Mark, Chap. xiv.-John, xviii.-Luke, xxii.Matt. xxvi.
AND he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners*.
Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with his disciples.
Judas then having received a band of men, and offi. cers from the chief priests, and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons.
And Judas went before them, and drew near unto JESUS to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
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 ben trayed him, stood with them.
As soon then as he had said 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.
*The verses which ended the last section are purposely repeated here; because they could not be well disjoined from this.