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dignity of the person he was about to betray. Judas could not be ignorant, that our LORD had frequently declared himself to be the MESSIAH; and by the injunction he gave to the guards to hold their prisoner fast, we may judge, that he expected JESUS to effect his escape in some wonderful way.
How admirable was our LORD's conduct on this trying occasion! not a word passed his lips that was not perfectly consistent with the dignity of the Son of God, and the submission of the Son of Man. One would have supposed, that when the guards, who attempted to scize him, fell backwards on his saying, I AM HE, the members of the Sanhedrim would have recollected the instance of the companies who were sent to seize the Prophet Elijah, and would have perceived that the consternation of these men was likewise effected by a divine influence, but they were invincibly obdu
What tenderness did our LORD discover towards those who had so lately neglected him (sleeping when he was in such extreme agony)! He would not suffer them to be terrified, even by a short imprisonment, but capitu. lated with his prosecutors for the safety of his disciples before he would resign himself into their hands: and when Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, he over-ruled the resentment of his enemies, who, we may suppose, would otherwise have seized him; but he did not encourage his followers in acts of violence; on the contrary, forewarned them, "that drawing the sword in the cause of their religion, or against the governors of the land, would involve the good and bad, the persecuted and the persecutors, in undistinguished destruction; and desired Peter to put up his sword, since, were it the will of his FATHER that he should escape,
he would, at his entreaty, send a celestial army to destroy his persecutors; and that he stood in no need of the feeble assistance of his disciples. But since he knew it was the irrevocable will of GOD THE FATHER that he should die, and that the prophecies would not be fulfilled, unless he submitted to bear the portion of affliction allotted for him, he would no longer pray to be delivered from death; on the contrary, he willingly resigned himself to it.
Our LORD's behaviour, under the dreadful conflict he endured, afforded a very useful lesson to his disciples in particular, teaching them that they were not requir ed to court persecution, but to pray against it with perseverance and earnestness, though, at the same time, with the most entire resignation. When he had surrendered himself, his persecutors immediately proceed. ed to bind him, in order to prevent his escape. We may suppose, that Malchus, enraged at the wound he had received from Peter, was one of the first to seize JESUS; and, it is probable, was about to bind his hands; but he prevented him, that he might first heal him with a touch. By this miracle, our LORD not only gave an instance of unparalleled compassion and generosity, but also obviated the reflections and censures which the rashness of Peter might otherwise have occasioned.
How extremely reasonable was our LORD's expostu lation with the chief priests and captains of the temple guard! For what pretence could they have for coming against him as a robber, who would make a desperate resistance? He reminded them of their not seizing him
* A Roman legion is supposed to have consisted at that time of 6000 men. How dreadful then must an army of twelve legions of angels have appeared! for we read, that one of them slew 185,000 of the Assyrians in the camp of Sennacherib. See 2 Kings, xix. 35.
in the temple, and intimated, by saying it was now their hour and the power of darkness, that they had hitherto been secretly restrained by divine power, which could as easily have been exerted at the time; but that he was willing to resign himself into their hands, that. the prophecies might be fulfilled.
The behaviour of our LORD's disciples when he was bound, shews how necessary was his admonition, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: for want of this preparative, their spirits were struck with con. sternation; they forgot their divine Master's repeated predictions concerning himself, and the solemn protestations they had lately made, that they would never leave him nor forsake him; and now thought only of providing for their own safety, by a flight disgraceful to their profession. Our LORD did not remind them of the inconsistency of their behaviour, but let them de-, part, that Christians might learn from this instance, not. to depend too confidently on the friendship even of the best men.
The young man who fled away naked, is supposed to have been one who lodged in a house near the gar-. den, and was awakened by the noise of the tumult : having an affection for our LORD, and apprehending him to be in danger, he only wrapped his under garment loosely about him, which he threw off when he found himself seized upon.
JESUS CARRIED BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST.-PETER
From John, Chap. xviii.-Matt. xxvi.-Mark, xiv.— Luke, xxii.
Now Annas sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest (for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year).
Now Caiaphas was he who gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
And they that had laid hold on JESUS, led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
And Simon Peter followed JESUS, and so did another disciple. That disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with JESUS into the palace of the high priest.
But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals (for it was cold), and they warmed themselves; and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
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.
And when the maid saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.
And he denied it again. And a little after they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.
But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the cock crew the second time.
And the LORD turned, and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the LORD, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice; and he went out and wept bitterly.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It appears from Josephus, that Annas, whom he calls Ananus, had been High-Priest before his son-in-law Caiaphas; and it was by his interest that Caiaphas, who married his daughter, and had probably officiated as his deputy, had obtained that dignity: so that though Annas had resigned that office himself, yet the people paid so much regard to his experience, that they brought JESUS first to him, who no doubt took all necessary care to prepare Caiaphas for receiving him, as he could not but know this was a critical juncture.
Notwithstanding it was the dead of the night, ali VOL. VI.