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he confirm it without the least suspicion of fraud ! But, alas ! how many there are that get no further than the devils themselves in their faith concerning him as the Son of God !
“For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”—Heb. ii. 18. Temptation, trial, may be for a good purpose, — by subjecting one to any evils or dangers, as God tried Abraham (Gen. xxii
. 1); or by placing him in circumstances either prosperous or adverse, that are of a peculiar nature, as God did Israel.—Exod. xvi. 4; Judg. ii. 22. Trial may be for an evil purpose; as the Pharisees tempted Jesus, by proposing to him ensnaring and subtle questions (Matt. xix. 3; xxii. 18. 35); or, by laying before any one inducements to sin, as Satan does before the minds of men. -1 Cor. vii. 5; 1 Thess. iii. 5. In both these senses Christ was tried. “ It pleased the LORD to bruise him, and to put him to grief” (Isai. liii. 10); and “ It became him, for whom and by whom are all things, to advance to glory our Prince and Saviour.". Heb. ii. 10. The same Saviour was solicited by Satan to sin.—Matt. iv. 1-3; Mark i. 13; Luke iv. 2. Understood in either way, then, the Saviour was tempted in like manner as we are (Heb. iv. 15), though without sin. That he did not yield to any excitement to sin was owing to the strength of his virtue and holiness, not to the weakness of the temptation in itself considered. Men tempt God; they tempt Christ; and so did Satan; but there never was any disposition in Christ to yield to it.
Christ then, being proved, both by sufferings and by solicitations to sin, is fitted in a peculiar manner to succour those who undergo either kind of trial. He is not only possessed of a merciful regard for them, but he has direct and immediate sympathy with them, the result of his own personal feeling and experience. Wonderful condescension of redeeming love ! Here lies the great mystery of godliness, God made manifest in the flesh. And while Jesus sits on the throne of the universe, Lord over all, the Christian is reminded, that he does this in his nature as his brother.—Heb. ii. 11. In the person of Jesus, man is exalted above the angels; yea, he himself is to attain a rank superior to theirs ; for while Jesus passed them by (ver. 16), he laid down his life for us, in order to exalt us above them. -1 Cor. vi. 3. Deeper and deeper still becomes the mystery. The debt of gratitude appears boundless when viewed in this light; the baseness of our ingratitude and disobedience is boundless too ; and all that we can do is, to lie down in the dust, overwhelmed with a sense of them, exclaiming at the same time with the prophet, 66 Who is like unto thee ? A God forgiving iniquity, and passing by the offences of thine heritage !"
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him
stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgres-
SACRED NARRATIVE. THEN cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death : tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me! nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch, and pray, that ye enter not into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.—Matt. xxvi. 36-44.
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthen
ing him. And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus, to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss ?—Luke xxii. 42-48.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE SACRED NARRATIVE. What a preface do I find to my Saviour's passion! a hymn, and an agony: a cheerful hymn, and an agony no less sorrowful. A hymn begins, both to raise and testify the courageous resolutions of his sufferings; an agony follows, to show that he was truly sensible of those extremities, wherewith he was resolved to grapple. All the disciples bore their part in that hymn; it was fit that they should all see his comfortable and divine magnanimity, wherewith he entered into those sad lists: only three of them shall be allowed to be witnesses of his agony; only those three that had been witnesses of his glorious transfiguration.
Now, before their eyes, this sun begins to be overcast with clouds; He began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Many sad thoughts for mankind had he secretly hatched, and yet smothered in his breast ; now, his grief is too great to keep in, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. O Saviour, what must thou needs feel, when thou saidst so ? Feeble minds are apt to bemoan themselves upon light occasions : the grief must needs be violent, that causeth a strong heart to break forth into a passionate complaint.-Woe is me! what a word is this for the Son of God!
Old and holy Simeon could foresay to thy Blessed Mother, that a sword should pierce through her soul ; but, alas ! how many swords at once pierce thine! Every one of these words is both sharp and edged ; My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. What human soul is capable of the conceit of the least of these sorrows that oppressed thine? It was not thy body that suffered now : thy pain of body is but as the body of pain ; the anguish of the soul is as the soul of anguish. Thou didst not say, “ My soul is troubled;" so it often was even to tears ; but, My soul is sorrowful; as if it had been before assaulted, now possessed with grief. Nor yet this in any tolerable moderation : changes of passion are incident to every human soul; but exceeding sorrowful. Yet there are degrees in the very extremities of evils: those that are most vehement may yet be capable of a remedy, at least a relaxation : thine was past these hopes, exceeding sorrowful unto death.
What was it, what could it be, O Saviour, that lay thus heavy upon