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me which was as heavy as a millstone to the soul of Christ? Why should that be my pleasure, which was his suffering? Why that be upon a throne with me which was on a cross with him? Why should I allow that to be really in me, which the Lord so severely punished when the guilt thereof was but imputed to his Son? Many sins there are which [some] esteem as light and venial. But, however, let us not dare esteem that a light thing, for which Christ died. And woful had it been for men, if Christ had not, in his body on the tree, carried as well the guilt of our idle words, our vain thoughts, our loose and impertinent actions, as of our oaths, execrations, and blasphemies. If great sins were as the spear and nails, certainly small sins were as the thorns which pierced his head. And therefore we should learn, with David, to hate every evil way, because God hates it, and suffers it not to pass unpunished; to revenge the quarrel of Christ against those lusts of ours which nailed him to his cross, and to crucify them for him again; and for that end was Christ crucified, "that our old man might be crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Rom. vi. 6.—REYNOLDS.
Oh, what a condition will that man be in, who must stand, or rather everlastingly sink and be crushed, under the weight of that wrath against sin which amazed and made heavy unto death the soul of Christ himself; which made him
who had the strength of the Deity to support him, the fulness of the Spirit to sanctify and prepare him, the message of an angel to comfort him, the relation of a beloved Son to refresh him, the voice of his Father from heaven testifying unto him that he was heard in that he feared, the assurance of an ensuing glory and victory to encourage him,
which made, I say, even the Son of God himself, notwithstanding all these abatements, to pray, with strong cries and bloody drops and woful conflicts of the soul, against the cup of his Father's wrath.— REYNOLds.
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.-If it be objected, that Christ's death was against his own will for he exceedingly feared it (Heb. v. 7.), and prayed earnestly against it, as a thing contrary to his will,-to this I answer, that all this doth not hinder, but commend his willingness and obedience. Consider him in private as a man, of the same natural affections, desires and abhorrences with other men; and consider the cup as it was, a very bitter cup; and so he most justly feared and declined it, as knowing that it would be a most woful and a heavy combat which he was entering upon. But consider him in his public relation, as a Mediator, a surety, a merciful and faithful High Priest,
and so he most willingly and obediently submitted unto it. And this willingness, by reason of his office, was much the greater, because
by reason of his nature, his will could not but shrink from it. It is easy to be willing in such a service as is suitable to our natural condition and affections; but when nature shall necessarily shrink, sweat, startle, and stand amazed at a service, then not to repent nor decline, nor fling off the burden, but with submission of heart to lie down under it, this is, of all others, the greatest obedience. It was the voice of nature, and the presence of the just and implanted desires of the flesh to say, "Let it pass from me;" it was the retraction of mercy and duty to say, "Glorify thyself." "Whatever my nature desires, whatever my will declines, whatever becomes of me, yet still glorify thyself, and save thy church: if it cannot otherwise be, then, by drinking this bitter cup, thy will be done."-REYNOLDS.
have saved man: yet we are bound to adore this means, as being by him selected out of that infinite treasure of his own counsel, as most convenient to set forth his wonderful hatred of sin, his inexorable justice and severity against it, his unsearchable riches of love and mercy towards sinners, and in all things to make way to the manifestation of his glory. But further to show forth his own power, which had strength to stand under all this punishment of sin, and at last to shake it off, and to declare himself to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead, Rom. i. 4. For, though Christ did exceedingly fear, and for that seems to decline and pray against these his sufferings; yet not out of jealousy or suspicion that he should not break through them. But he feared them as being pains unavoidable, which he was most certain to suffer; and as pains very heavy and grievous which he should not overcome without much bitterness, and very woful conflict. REYNOLDS.
O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done.-The Scripture giveth principally these reasons why Christ suffered these things-to execute the decree of his Father, Thy will be done.-It is the desire Acts iv. 27, 28 ; - to fulfil the of a Christian, that his own will prophecies, prefigurations, and pre- may be annihilated, and the will of dictions, of holy Scriptures, Luke God placed in its room; that he xxiv. 46;-to magnify his mercy may have no will but God's; that and free love to sinners and most he may be altogether subject both impotent enemies, Rom. v. 8;-to to God's commanding and his declare the righteousness and truth working will, to do what he of God against sin, who would not commands, and to be heartily be reconciled with sinners but upon content with what he does.-And a legal expiation, Rom. iii. 25. He who taught us to pray, "Thy For although we may not limit the will be done on earth as it is in unsearchable wisdom and ways of heaven" gives us his own example God, as if he could no other ways in this. He did the will of his |
Father indeed as it is done in heaven, and he came to the earth for that purpose: "Then said he, Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God." And, in that great and most painful part of his work, "Not my will, but thine be done." For our actions, let his word be our guide; and for the events of things, and all that concerns us, let his good pleasure and wise disposing be our will. Let us give up the rudder of our life into his hand, to be steered by him.-LEIGHTON.
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Sleepiness and idleness is the devil's opportunity to persuade us into sin. Had the disciples prayed, instead of sleeping, it is possible they would not have fled when they saw danger nigh. And hath not the devil prevailed with us by idleness? When we have taken our rest and ease, has not Satan thrown some ill thoughts into our minds? When we have not known how to spend our time, has not the enemy made us to swallow the dangerous bait? When we have stretched ourselves upon our couch, and indulged ourselves, have we not then felt our love to God decay, and our affections to the world increase, and our faculties to dissolve into vanity and voluptuousness, and contempt of better things?-HORNECK.
Make us, O Lord, ever mindful of our infirmities and backslidings, that we may be more watchful and more earnest for grace, for the time to come; that the adversary of our
turbed! How sore amazed was thy soul! How dismayed thy mind ! To such an exceeding height of grief and sorrow did the sense of the incumbent load of my sins, and the prospect of calamities hanging over my head, together with reflection on my unhappy condition, wind up thy affections. Innumerable evils encompassed thee; thou sawest the wrath of God flaming out against my sin, and trembledst! stoodest before the mouth of hell which I had deserved, and wast astonished. Thou with thine own heart's blood didst quench the wrath of heaven. How am I obliged to adore thy love, O everlasting Father! What charity was it not to spare thine own Son, but to deliver him up for us all! What pity and compassion was it, O thou eternal Son of God, thus to pour forth thy blood! What affection, what tenderness to my soul, O thou eternal Spirit, hast thou expressed in inspiring my blessed Redeemer with charity more than human, and in supporting him to undergo all pres
sures with inimitable patience!—If
excuses no more.
"My Father!" thus the Saviour cried
"But if these pangs must still be borne,
Then though, like Him, in dust we lie,
CHAP. XXVI. 47-56.
Christ is betrayed with a kiss.
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
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
my heart with religious fear, and priests and elders of the peolet thy humble passion kill my pride. Let my sins appear more dreadful to me when I contemplate thine agonies; and let the world with all its deceitful vanities become loathsome to me when I see how Let little thou didst regard it. every thing die in me that is not agreeable to thy life; that when thou, who art my life, shalt appear, I may also appear with thee in glory. Amen. Amen.-HORNECK.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou Then came they, and
laid hands on Jesus, and took What shall we think of Judas who
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my 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 must be?
55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves 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 "all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
9 Mark xiv. 43. Luke xxii. 47. 16.- 2 Sam. xx. 9- Ps. xli. 9;
John xviii. 3. Acts i. & lv. 13.- John xviii.
10. Gen. ix. 6. Rev. xiil. 10 2 Kings vi. 17. Dan.
betrayed him? of the officers who apprehended him? of the chief priests and elders who accused him? what shall we think of the rabble
who preferred a murderer before him, and cried out Crucify him, crucify him! crucify him! What shall we think of Pilate who pronounced sentence upon him? And of the soldiers who put a crown of thorns upon his head, who stripped him, who mocked him, who spit upon him, who smote him upon the head, who fastened his blessed hands and feet unto the cross with nails driven through them? What shall we think, I say, of these? These certainly are far more odious to all good Christians than we can think them to be. Or rather, with what patience are we able to think of them at all? O generation of vipers! Who could ever have imagined that men, created after the image of God, could have had such venom and poison, such rancour and malice, so much of the spirit of the devil in them, as to sell their
Redeemer, accuse their advocate, condemn their judge, destroy their Saviour, kill him that gave them life, and so do all the mischief they could do to him who did all the good that could be done for them?
But we must not spend all our wrath and fury upon them, but remember that we ourselves had also a hand in that horrid act.
vil. 10.-y Is. liii. 7, &c. ver. 24. Luke xxiv. 25, 44, 46. They indeed were the instruments;
- Lam. iv. 20. ver. 54.-a See John xviii. 15.
READER. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas one of the twelve came, &c.
but the sins of men, and ours among the rest, were the principal causes of it: the consideration whereof is