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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 consternation; 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.—
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 highpriest, 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, all
the members of the Sanhedrim assembled together with their proper officers, on a summons from Caiaphas, and were waiting for JESUS when he was brought before them.
Simon Peter had, with the rest of the disciples, at first forsaken his LORD; but he soon recollected himself, and resolved to return; as did another apostle, supposed to be John, being anxious to see the event, and they shortly overtook the multitude. Our LORD was taken into an inner room, in order to be examined. John, by some means with which we are not acquainted, was known to the High Priest, and was admitted into the palace without any objection: but Peter having no in. terest was obliged to wait without till his companion gained admittance for him. While the Council were examining JESUS, Peter sat down among the servants, thinking to remain there undiscovered; but when he found that he was suspected, he suffered his fear to get the better of his gratitude and affection, and meanly denied his LORD and Master, calling GoD to witness that he did not even know him. Thus did this disciple, who
had given the warmest assurances of constant attachment, sink into a degree of baseness next to that of the traitor Judas; for he denied CHRIST before men, when he ought particularly to have confessed him, and to have offered himself as a witness of his innocence. What a striking instance of human frailty and imperfection was this! for there is no doubt but that Peter, when he made his former professions, spake from his heart; as he had the greatest share of natural courage and resolution of any of the Apostles, and the fullest persuasion of faith.
See Bishop Sherlock's Sermons, from whence these reflections en St. Peter's example are extracted.
But natural courage is not the true source of fortitude in spiritual trials; and we may learn from Peter's example, that confidence and presumption are very unpromising signs of stedfastness and perseverance in religion. The. first principles of true religion are a fear of God and mistrust of ourselves, which will not easily insinuate into a mind that is full of self-sufficiency.to Ansincere: trust in GoD, and perfect submission to the divine will, enable men not only to act with zeal, but, to bear the disap pointments of life with unshaken firmness of minds but those who set out on their own bottom soon turn back: and it is in vain for any to promise themselves a› superiority under such trials and temptations, unless they! lay a right foundation, by imploring the aid of God's HOLY SPIRIT. MET
We are also taught by Peter's example, what little reason there is to promise ourselves success against temptations which are of our own seeking. Peter had warning given him, and was told by ONE whose word he might have taken, but he was not able to undergo the trial he seemed so much to: despise: but try he would, and he learnt to know his own weakness by his miscarriage.
God knows our strength better than we ourselves do; and as he has warned us to fly the occasions of sin, it is presumptuous to think ourselves able to resist them. When therefore we court the dangers and temptations which the scriptures warn us to flee from, we have no pretence to expect support from CHRIST in our undertaking. But while we are doing the work of our heavenly Father, we shall assuredly meet with proper encouragement, and we are authorised by God's promises to expect the aid of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Peter's example likewise teaches us, how great the advantages