صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

nevertheless, be not discouraged, rather take heart by reflecting how, through constancy and patience, I have overcome the malice of the world, and that I am able to make you overcome it in like manner also.

As the beauty of the succeeding prayer would be obscured by mutilation, we conceived that we could do it the most justice by giving the whole complete in the translation of Dr. Campbell, a translation which casts considerable light on some important particulars.

[John xvii. 1..26.] "When Jesus had ended this discourse, he said, lifting up his eyes to heaven, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee; that, being endowed by thee with authority over all men, he may bestow eternal life on all those whom thou hast given him. Now this is the life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus the Messiah, thy apostle. I have glorified thee upon earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me in thine own presence, with that glory which I enjoyed with thee before the world was.

"I have made known thy name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world. They were thine; and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Whatsoever thou hast given me, they now know to have come from thee; and that thou hast imparted unto me the doctrine which I have imparted unto them. They received it (as such), knowing for certain that I came forth from thee, and am commissioned by thee. It is for them that I pray. I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me, because they are thine. And all thine are mine, and mine thine, and I am glorified in them. I continue no longer in the world; but these continue in the world; and I come to thee. Holy Father, preserve them in my name which thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; those whom thou hast given me I have preserved. None of them is lost except the son of perdition, as the scripture foretold. But now that I am coming to thee, I speak these things in the world, that their joy in me may be complete. I have delivered thy word to them, and the world hateth them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray thee to remove them out of the world, but to preserve then: from evil. Of the world they are not, as I am not of the world. Consecrate them by the truth; thy word is the truth. As thou hast made me thy apostle to the world, I have made them my apostles to the world. And I consecrate myself for them, that they may be consecrated through the truth.

"Nor do I pray for these alone, but for those who shall believe on me through their teaching, that all may be one; that as thou, Father, art in me, and I am in thee, they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me; and that I have given them the glory which thou gavest me, that they may be one as we are one: 1 in them, and thou in me, that this union may be perfected, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and that thou lovest them as thou lovest me. Father, I would that where I shall be, those whom thou hast given me may be with me, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, because thou lovedst me before the formation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world knoweth not thee, I know thee; and these know that I have thy commission. And to them I have communicated, and will communicate, thy name, that I being in them, they may share in the love wherewith thou lovest me."

On this prayer we remark: 1. That the denominating the Father the only true God, is evidently not meant to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, but to distinguish the Jehovah of Israel from the false gods of the heathen. To mention no other passage,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


the very first verse of this gospel asserts the important doctrine of our Saviour's Godhead in the most express and explicit language. 2. The glory which Christ had with his Father was not merely predicted, but possessed, before the world began. also is evident from the verse we have just now cited. 3. The sanctification, or, as Dr. Campbell more properly translates it, the consecration, which is here spoken of with respect to Christ and his people, signifies a dedication to sacred purposes, like that of the priest, the altar, and the sacrifice, under the law. Nothing more powerfully counteracts the love of sin, than the consideration that we are redeemed to he kings and priests to our God, and to the Lamb; and that therefore, being members of an holy kingdom, it becomes us not to be partakers of the unfruitful works of darkness. 4. This prayer is evidently divided into two parts; the first, which terminates with the nineteenth verse, particularly relating to the apostles; and the latter part of it, to the Christians who should believe through their preaching. 5. It appears that the whole dignity and happiness of Christians consist in their union with the Son, and through him with the Father; a doctrine which our Lord had beautifully illustrated in his late discourse concerning the vine and its branches.

When our Lord had terminated this prayer, he went with his disciples to a place near the mount of Olives, which was called Gethsemanc. This is supposed to be a field which was crossed by the brook Cedron; and in it, on the other side of the brook, opposite to the mount of Olives, was a garden, commonly known by the name of the garden of Gethsemane. Having entered into this garden, he left the greater part of his disciples, probably, as a watch at the door while he took with him Peter, James, and John, to be the witnesses of his agony, as they had been of his transfiguration. A sore amazement, attended with all the bitterness of sorrow, now seized upon his soul. After commanding his three most favourite disciples to watch, he went forward about a stone's cast; and, finding his human nature inconceivably burdened, he fell on the ground, and besought his heavenly Father, that if it were possible, or consistent with the great end of his mission, he might be delivered from the sufferings that were then laying upon him. That it was not the mere apprehension of dying on the cross that so heavily afflicted him, is evident from this, that to suppose it, would be to degrade our Lord's character infinitely. Make his sufferings as terrible as possible; clothe them with all the aggravating circumstances imaginable; yet if no more is included in them than the pains of dying, Jesus, whose human nature was strengthened by its union with God, would not have shrunk at the prospect, when many of his followers have endured more terrible deaths without the least emotion. The difficulty is solved when we recollect, that the Lord laid upon him the iniquities of us all; and that, therefore, the sense of that strong aversion which God has to every species of sin, was, no doubt, the heavy burden that pressed so heavily upon him. Under the pressure of this heavy load, he first poured out his soul in prayer; and then, returning to his disciples, mildly rebuked them, but more especially Peter, who had so much boasted of his strength, for being found sleeping at such an unseasonable hour. But such was the mildness of his disposition, that even now he half excused those whom he thus reproved, acknowledging that the spirit was willing, though the flesh was weak. He then a second and third time retired to supplicate his Father, and, returning to his disciples, found them a second and a third time sunk in slumber. It is remarkable, that between his two last prayers, an angel was sent to succour him, which is, by some, understood to imply, that now the divinity withdrew his usual support. His third prayer appears to have been more vehement than the rest, his perspiration having the colour and consistency of drops of blood. There is no reason for supposing this miraculous, as it has happened in a few other instances, Voltaire

himself being witness; but it serves to mark the extremity of his sufferings; and as it is an event of a very unusual kind, serves to strengthen the credibility of the gospel history. When he rose up from prayer, he came to his disciples, and said unto them, why sleep ye? tehold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, and let us be going, behold he is at hand that doin betray me.





The apprehension of Christ--he restores the ear of Malchus, the chief priest's servant-Peter thrice denies his Master---Jesus is examined before the council, and condemned as guilty of blasphemy---Judas hangs himself---Christ is brought before Pilate-Pilate refuses to condemn him, but declares him innocent---he is sent to Herod, who treats him reproachfully---Barabbas released instead of Christ---Pilate at length condemns him to appease the multitude---he is scourged, crowned with thorns, and buffetted---he is led forth and crucified between two thieves---a superscription is put upon the cross---Christ is reviled by the mob, the rulers, the priests, and one of the thieves--a miraculous darkness overspreads the earth---Christ expires---an earthquake---the observation of the centurion---the conduct of Mary Magdalene and other women--Christ's side is pierced---his-body is begged by Joseph of Arimathea, and wrapped in spices by Nicodemus---be is laid in the sepulchre, and secured by a stone---the seal of the priests, and a guard of soldiers.

WHILE Jesus was pouring forth his soul in the most bitter agonies in the garden, his enemies were indulging a malicious joy to think their plots for his destruction were now likely to be very soon accomplished. Having obtained a cohort of Roman soldiers commanded by their proper officer, they joined with these a number of their own servants and dependants, and placed the whole under the direction of Judas, while they themselves followed in the train. This motley multitude was armed with swords and staves, and furnished with lanterns; because, though the moon was full, the sky might be clouded, or which is more probable, it was a dark and shady place to which Jesus had retired. The sole object of Christ's persecutors appears to have been his destruction, without intending to involve that of his followers. It was, therefore, necessary, that the soldiers should be able to distinguish him with accuracy, and therefore Judas had appointed to salute him with a kiss, as a sign that he was the proper person for the soldiers to take into custody. The better to accomplish his detested design, the tra:tor appeared at a little distance before; and, having approached his Master in the garden, called him by that appellation, and instantly proceeded to kiss him, as the strongest token of reverence and affection. It was, perhaps, his wish to appear as one that apprized him of his danger; but if so, Christ immediately detected the imposture; but, retaining his usual mildness, said to him, friend, wherefore art thou come? betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Y y

The appointed time of our Lord's sufferings being now come, he made no attempt to escape from his enemies, but went forth to meet them, and asked them whom it was that they were thus eagerly pursuing. They replied, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he; and immediately the whole band of men walked involuntarily backward, and fell to the ground. This display of omnipotence glorified the Lord Jesus Christ, by shewing that he could easily have resisted his enemies, and even punished their temerity; but he freely gave up his life to fulfil his wise and benevolent designs. They, probably, supposing that the shock which they had experienced proceeded from the operation of some infernal power, by whom the priests had asserted the miracles of our Saviour to have been performed, rose from the ground, and advanced a second time to apprehend him. He then surrendered himself into their hands, only desiring that they would peaceably dismiss his disciples, who had not yet done their appointed work, nor received sufficient strength to prepare them for martyrdom. Some of the soldiers now rushed forward and seized him, while his disciples, standing by, were filled with the deepest amazement and concern. One of them, Simon Peter, determined now to perform his promise of abiding sted fastly by his Master, even unto death; and therefore, hastily snatching his sword from the scabbard, smote off the right ear of one Malchus, a servant of the high-priest, who was probably uncommonly officious upon this occasion. He would, no doubt, have attacked the whole band, had not Jesus checked him by observing, that all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. This passage is understood not less than three different ways. Some take it as an absolute prohibition for any of the followers of Christ to engage in acts of hostility others regard it only as an intimation to Peter that his defence was unseasonable, and only likely to procure the destruction of himself and the other apostles: and a third opinion is, that it is a prediction that God would punish the Jews, the murderers of his Son, by giving them up to perish by the swords of the Romans. And whereas, continued Jesus, you seem now to be greatly alarmed at beholding me surrounded by a single cohort or regiment of Roman soldiers, my heavenly Father, if it were consistent with the end of my mission to make such a request, would immediately afford me the assistance of more than twelve legions of angels, beings, one of which was able singly to destroy the whole army of Sennacherib. But this is not the intent of my coming into the world, which is to drink the cup of suffering that is ready prepared by my Father. Then, asking permission of the soldiers that held him, he touched the ear of the wounded man, and either restored that member to its place, or, at least, instantly healed the wound. Then, turning to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and members of the sanhedrim, he asked them why they collected such a mighty force to arrest one who had always taught openly in the temple, and never attempted to resist their power. But he himself assigned the reason: this is your hour, and the power of darkness; and it is necessary that these things should be done for the accomplishment of the scriptural predictions, which have been delivered by the prophets. His disciples then fled, while he was bound and led away as a prisoner.

The evangelist Mark has recorded a circumstance which strongly marks the confusion and uproar of that dreadful night. A young man, probably awakened by the noise, came out with no other covering than that of a linen garment, such as the peasants of Egypt and Syria make use of both to sleep upon and to wear. Some of the soldiers laid hold on him, perhaps in jest; and he was so apprehensive of being made a prisoner, that he fled away naked, notwithstanding the aversion which the inhabitants of the East have to be seen in that condition.

Christ was first conducted to Annas, who was a person much reverenced by the Jews, being father-in-law to Caiaphas, and having himself performed the office of high-priest.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »