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to which we allude, was an event which occurred in the garden of Gethsemane, when a company of men
We find a band of Roman
(sent by the Chief Priest,)
went to apprehend Jesus. soldiers, armed as for war, attended by their officers, and a large concourse of persons, who were also provided with weapons, lanterns, and torches, that they might secure Jesus, whom we see coming forth to meet them, unarmed, and accompanied only by the disciples. With all the dignity of conscious innocence, we hear him inquiring whom they seek; when told, Jesus of Nazareth, he mildly answered, I am; * but instead of instantly seizing their prey, they go backwards, and fall prostrate on the ground. Is this the conduct of Roman warriors? What was it which so soon relaxed the nerves, and damped the bravery of a soldiery, famed for their discipline and valour? It was not threats nor menaces; it was not promises nor bribes; nor was it the sight of a company more numerous than themselves. It was none of those causes which usually paralyze the exertions of soldiers. Surely then there was an almighty power accompanying the word spoken, for we
* I am. The reader will observe the word He is written in italics, to denote that it was not in the original, but added by the translators.
find all this dismay and consternation was occasioned only at the simple word of Jesus. Then was that prophecy of Isaiah accomplished, who, when speaking of the Branch out of Jesse's Root, said, "He should smite the earth with the Rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips should he slay the wicked." Truly they had cause for dismay; for they were contending with none other than the glorious personage, the Great I AM, who appeared to Moses at the bush; and the same power which smote them to the earth, could, if he had pleased,[deprive them of life. Surely this must be acknowledged to be one of the greatest miracles performed by Jesus in the days of his flesh, as it was produced by apparently the slightest exertion of his power.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.-Psalm ii. 1,2.
THE whole of this Psalm is descriptive of the Messiah, and we are not destitute of strong proofs to warrant our applying it to Jesus. We find persons of
different denominations and rank in society, even kings, priests, scribes and pharisees, Jews and Gentiles, in league to persecute and destroy an innocent individual. Of the Jews we see Caiaphas the High Priest, at the head of the Sanhedrim, from day to day in consultation on the best and most effectual methods to secure and destroy the victim of their displeasure. Of the Gentile party are Herod and Pilate, deputy kings or governors under Cæsar, assisted by the Roman soldiers, seconding and consenting to the plans of the Jewish rulers and people. We see these men forget their national and personal animosities, to join in the scheme. Yea Herod and Pilate, although at enmity before, on this occasion lay aside their resentments, become friends, and act in unison. But why "do these heathens rage, and against whom do these kings of the earth set themselves," and wherefore all this consultation and contrivance? Is it to secure a powerful tyrant, the scourge of an oppressed nation? Is it to subdue an usurper who has arisen to trample on and overthrow the existing authorities of the state; or is it to bring to justice a wretch who has violated her laws, and by his crimes and enormities become the dread and fear of his race? No-but it is against the meek and lowly Jesus, who had never refused to pay
tribute to whom tribute was due, who had never attempted to establish a kingdom amongst the princes of the earth; but when solicited to do so, had ever checked the proposition, as his kingdom was not of this world; he could challenge his bitterest enemies to prove against him any violation of the laws, either of Moses or Cæsar; nor did Jesus attempt to escape from them, but was daily to be found either in the temple, or about the city or its suburbs, attended by a handful of unarmed followers. There is one circumstance which deserves particular attention, as it tends to show the extreme warmth and rage of his persecutors. The night Jesus was apprehended, was the very night the Jews celebrated the passover: after which ordinance, the whole of the people were forbidden to go abroad, or leave their houses until the morning.* But so eager were these infuriated people to accomplish their plans, that in opposition to this Jewish command, they go out to seize Jesus, whom they take to the palace of the High Priest, where the scribes and the elders of the people also assemble, to contrive measures to get Jesus crucified. It appears more than probable that they sat in council the whole
* Exodus xii. 22.
night, as we leave them late in the evening thus employed, and very early in the morning we find them still engaged on the same subject. So soon as it is day, they lead Jesus to the hall of Pilate. "But why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Against whom do the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together?" How sad their mistake, if they imagined they were only planning the destruction of a poor Jewish carpenter's son, when, in fact, their schemes were against the Lord, and against his anointed. It was not from any lack of evidence, that they denied Jesus to be the Christ of God. The language he used on another occasion, is strictly applicable to them, and to all those who do not acknowledge Jesus as the God Messiah. "Many good works have I showed you from the Father; for which of those works do you stone me? if I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him." The plea of ignorance when the means of better information are in our power, will only increase our condemnation. We may all peruse the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, for