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cutors of Jesus, were not without their fears. At one time, lest, from his growing popularity, the Romans should take away their place and nation; at another time, the purity of his doctrine becomes the source of disquietude. They all secretly dreaded his power. Fear was on every side, while they took counsel and devised to take away the life of Jesus. Pilate's wife could not forbear expressing her fears; and Pilate himself illy concealed the perturbation of his troubled conscience. How insufficient was water to cleanse the polluted hands of that wretched governor, so deeply stained with the blood of an innocent victim, sacrificed to his tame compliance; and, to seal his awful doom, he soon after impiously dared imbrue his hands in his own blood, and rush uncalled into the presence of his offended Judge. How tremendous the situation of Pilate when standing before the Judge of all the earth, even that Jesus, he had unjustly condemned and crucified. How different the scene from that when Jesus appeared as the despised Nazarene in Pilate's hall. The mind shudders at contemplating the awful fate of those who dare to lift their puny arms in rebellion against Zion's King, and the language of whose hearts till death is, we will not have this man to reign over us."
Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the days of his fierce anger.-Lamentation i. 12.
THESE words are in some degree applicable to the mournful prophet Jeremiah, but it will do no violence to consider them as referring to Jesus, and to him they apply with tenfold force. Let us not pass him by unnoticed, but let us "behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow," who, by way of distinction, is called "the Man of Sorrows." We see Jesus, attended by three of his disciples, enter the garden of Gethsemane; we behold him withdraw from them about a stone's-throw, and, kneeling down, pour out his soul in prayer to God. Let us draw nigh to witness the scene, but let us approach with awe and reverence, for methinks we are about to tread on hallowed ground, Let the frame of our minds be solemn and attentive, whilst we view a scene so mysterious and sublime. We observe Jesus on his knees, begin to be sore amazed and very heavy: yea, his soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; and in the bitterness of his spirit, we hear him cry out, "Fa
ther, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done." Being in an agony, he prays the more earnestly. Thrice we hear him present the same petition. His agony becomes so extreme, that he sweats great drops of blood, and so profusely, that it even falls upon the ground. Struck at a sight so mysterious and solemn, we turn towards the disciples for an explanation; but lo, they are fallen into a deep sleep, although requested by their Master to watch and pray. Desirous to ascertain the cause, we survey the wondrous scene, but find no external marks of punishment. True, the sufferings of the cross he viewed as near, but they were not yet commenced; nor can we discover any one afflicting him. The only visible object we perceive is, an angel from heaven; but his was an errand of love, for he strengthened him. It is therefore quite clear, that it was from sorrow of soul, and not pains of body, Jesus then suffered. We eagerly inquire what powers could have had such influence over him, as to occasion so great anguish of spirit? We are told, the powers of heaven and hell; * and we immediately request to be informed, why the holy, harmless, and undefiled
*Luke xxii. 53.
Jesus, is thus the object of God's displeasure, and the sport of Satan. We are directed to consult the
records of truth for an explanation of the scene. examine, and find that Jesus had voluntarily come forth, and offered himself as the surety of his people, having placed himself in their room, and the curses of the law taken hold upon him, his soul endured all the horrors of the tremendous load of our guilt imputed to him. Would you behold the awful consequences of sin; then go, visit Gethsemane, and see Jesus prostrate in the garden. Mark the extreme anguish of his spirit. What language is sufficiently strong to express the agonies of his soul in that awful hour, when the conflict of his mind forced through all the pores of his sacred body a bloody sweat; not merely a drop or two, but so copiously as to fall upon the ground, and that in the open air, in a night of such extreme cold, that, in the crowded hall of the High Priest's palace, the servants found it necessary to make a fire to warm themselves. We may well tremble and stand amazed at a sight so awful and mysterious as the soul-agonies of the God-Man Christ Jesus. "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto his which was done unto him, wherewith the Lord
afflicted him in the day of his fierce anger." Yes, the hand of Jehovah was in it, he then stood up to punish the sins of his people, in the person of their surety. It was also the hour and power of darkness, and Satan then poured forth all his malice, and exerted all his fury, to worry and destroy this Lamb of God; although Jesus declared, the prince of this world had nothing in him, (i, e.) no corrupt principles or evil passions as materials on which to work; yet was the soul of Jesus assaulted by all the malicious artifices of hell. It is more than probable, that the great adversary overpowered the three disciples with drowsiness, and caused them to fall into a deep sleep, in order to keep every source of creature-comfort from Jesus during this season of conflict and sorrow. In the garden of Eden, did Satan gain his first triumph over apostate man; but in Gethsemane's garden, did Jesus, as the representative and surety of man, give that decisive overthrow to the power of sin and Satan, which shook to its centre the throne of that arch-fiend,