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act of Christ in taking that cup, was the act of Christ as God-man. From this scene in Gethsemane, we learn the unspeakable love of Christ to sinners, the glory of Christ's obedience, and the wonderfulness of Christ's submission to the will of God !
If you doubt whether Christ sustained the wrath of God, let us follow him to the garden of Gethsemane. A scene which I would always recollect when I walk along the flowery garden, or enjoy the delights of any rural retirement. He had no remorse to alarm his spotless conscience : yet fearfulness and trembling came upon him. It was night, cold night; and though our Divine Master lay prostrate upon the earth, amidst the fall of chilling dews, he sweat,-sweat blood,-sweat great drops of blood, running down in reeking streams to the ground. He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows; yet so insupportable was his affliction that he could not forbear crying out, “ My soul is sorrowful, -exceeding sorrowful,— sorrowful even unto death !" What cause, what adequate cause, can be assigned for this amazing anguish ? None but the wrath of his Almighty Father ; who was now become an inexorable Judge ; treated him no longer as the Son of his love, but as the surety for unnumbered of his guilty creatures !
REV. J. HERVEY.
“ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” If this blessed minister of heaven did comfort him with words, we must suppose, he humbly besought him to look upon the glory set before him, and reflect on the vast good that would arrive to all mankind by his passion, and that he encouraged him to go on with the great work of redemption. O my soul! and hath not God sent an angel to thee, a minister of his word in thy afflictions, and encouraged thee by the hopes of eternal glory to bear up, and to be undaunted under all the waves and billows that went over thee! Nay, hath not thy God himself suggested to thy mind what benefit thy affliction would yield, what peaceable fruits of righteousness, what hatred of sin, what love to holiness, and what humility it would produce! And yet none of these have been able to keep thee from sinking! How sensual is thy mind! How earthly are thy affections! What polishing, what refining do they want yet! And yet if affliction, which is the furnace that must purify the gold, will not do it, what can be supposed to do it?
“ And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly,” &c. See, O my soul ! how thy sin presses the Son of God! See how great the horror of it is, that it forced him into agonies, and these agonies vent themselves in a bloody sweat! He saw the wrath of God, that flaming sword which hung over thee, the revenging arm that God shook against thee! He saw the hell thou hadst deserved, the torments thou hadst merited, the agonies thou hadst involved thyself in! He saw thy sins in their full latitude and extent, what encroachments they had made on the Divine nature, what affronts they had offered to the great Majesty of heaven! Being very sensible of the infinite purity of God, he saw the dreadfulness, the monstrousness of thy transgressions, which had made war with that Divine
purity. He saw the fire and brimstone, the everlasting furnace, the burning lake that was designed to be thy recompense: he saw it and trembled : he saw it and staggered. He felt it, being infinitely compassionate, and feeling it, laboured to shake it off, and to get from under it; and as he struggles with the load, his sacred body breaks forth in a strange kind of sweat. Didst thou ever consider, O my soul, what thy sins did cost ? Hadst thou considered it, how couldst thou have been so merry, so blithe, so jocular in the commission ? Behold the agony of thy Saviour !
Observe what passed between Christ and his disciples at this time. He comes and finds them asleep. What had become of us if Christ had been now as sleepy as his disciples were ? It is well for us that our salvation is in the hand of one who neither slumbers nor sleeps. Christ bespoke them to watch with him, as if he expected some succour from them, and yet they slept; surely it was the unkindest thing that could be. When David wept at this Mount of Olives, all his followers wept with him.2 Sam. xv. 30. But when the Son of David was here in tears, his followers were asleep. Lord, what is man? what are the best of men when God leaves them to themselves ?
Christ loves them notwithstanding. Persons in sorrow are too apt to be cross and peevish with those about them, and to take it very heinously if they but seem to neglect them; but Christ in his agony is as meek as ever, and carries it as patiently towards his followers as towards his Father!
When Christ's disciples put this slight upon him, He came to them, as if he expected to receive some comfort from them: more careful for them than they were for themselves, when he was most engaged, he came to look after them; for those that were given to him were upon his heart living and dying! He
gave them a gentle reproof; for as many as he loves he rebukes. Sometimes he continued all night in prayer to God, but then he did not expect his disciples should watch with him; only now when he had but one hour to spend in prayer ! He gave
them good counsel : “ Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” He kindly excused them: “ The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” In this he set us an example of that love which covers a multitude of sins !
Rev. Matthew Henry.
On the most transient survey of this amazing story, we cannot but fall into deep admiration. What a sight is here! Let our souls turn aside to behold it with a becoming temper, and surely we must wonder how the disciples could sleep in the midst of a scene which might have almost awakened rocks and trees to compassion.
Behold the Prince of life, God's incarnate and only begotten Son, drinking of the brook in the way, (Psalm cx. 7,) and not only tasting, but drawing in full draughts of that bitter cup which his heavenly Father put in his hands on this awful occasion. Let us behold him kneeling, and even prostrate on the ground, and there pouring out his strong cries and
tears to him that was able to save him from death.—Heb. v. 7. Let us view him in this bloody agony, and say, If these things be done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry.—Luke xxiii. 31. If even Christ himself was so depressed with sorrow and amazement, and the distress and anguish he endured were such, that, in his agony, the sweat ran from him like great drops of blood, when our iniquities were laid upon him, and it pleased the Father to bruise him and put him to grief, (Isai. liii. 6, 10,) how must the sinner then be filled with horror, and with what dreadful agonies of anguish and despair will he be overwhelmed, when he shall bear the burden of his own iniquities, and God shall pour out all his wrath
Behold how fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God !—Heb. x. 31.
DR. DODDRIDGE. Suffering, then, is the process, which God has appointed to operate perfection even in Christ; and O what rich and precious comfort is thus imparted to all those who suffer for righteousness sake, or according to the will of God.
6. Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer.”- 6 It became God, and it behoved Christ.” As to the sufferings themselves of Christ, however, we are left in comparative darkness. Our whole amount of knowledge is derived from a partial resemblance, from an imperfect analogy. We know by experience, somewhat concerning the depth of the sympathies of the human nature; but what shall unfold to us the extent of the capacities of the Divine? We may indeed attend the Divine Redeemer through His earthly pilgrimage: we may trace him in every stage as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: while His couch by night is- so to speak —watered with tears, and His path by day is tracked in blood. Nor is man his only, or even his deadliest or most formidable enemy. We may see Him led
into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Yea we may hear Him acknowledge for a season the permitted potency of the foe, “ This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” As to outward and visible sufferings, indeed, many disciples may have been as their Master, many servants as their Lord. But what shall we say of the bitterness of His inward and unseen sufferings ? It did occasionally find a force or vent: He did at times appear to be labouring with some indescribable, uncontrollable agony: He did at times give relief, or at least expression to the burden of His heart, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished !" “ Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour ?” This sad utterance was wrung forth, however, while the trial was yet in distant prospect : as it comes nearer and more near, His soul becomes exceeding sorrowful unto death; the sweat stands upon his brow as large drops of blood; and his whole frame is convulsed and shattered as He prays, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” And when it is demanded, “ Wherefore God thus ordained and thus disposed ?” we can answer only, “ Because it thus became God, and thus it behoved Christ.”
Rev. THOMAS DALE.