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son; by all this showing that he could not be apprehended, but with his own consent, and that he did now willingly yield himself up into their hands.
This ought to fill us with respect for the Lord Jesus, at once admiring his dignity, and his condescension.
And this shows, that if afterwards he does not deliver himself, or escape from his enemies, but submits to all the evils which they are disposed to inflict upon him, it is not because he is not able to save himself; but because he resigns himself to those sufferings, it being the will of God, for the good of men, that he should so acquiesce, and thereby afford an example of consummate patience, confirm his important doctrine, and draw men to him, and bring them to high degrees of virtue here, and of glory and happiness hereafter.
3. The next thing to be observed by us is the demand which he makes for the liberty of his disciples. As it follows in St. John's gospel : “ Jesus answered, I have told you, that I am be. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way. That the saying might be fulfilled, which be spake: Of them which thou gavest me, I have lost none,” John xviii. 8, 9.
This is another proof that the mind of the blessed Jesus was not discomposed by the indignities already offered to him, or the suffering's which he expected to befal bim. He yields up himself, but secures bis disciples, who were not yet qualified for great trials, and whose life was necessary for spreading his doctrine in the world, after he should rise again.
We here also evidently discern, not only the tender compassion and faithful care of the Lord Jesus for those whom he had called to follow him, and be with him, but also the overruling conduct of Divine Providence in this event, the death of the Messiah. It is indeed a surprising thing. But it is not without a divine permission. It was the interest of the enemies of Jesus, and his doctrine, to take off his dis. ciples, his constant followers, together with him. And if he was judged to be criminal, they must be reckoned so likewise. But the high priests and rulers had not power so much as to apprehend and imprison one of them.
Christ having authoritatively and effectually demanded safety and liberty for his disciples, they soon after this withdrew, most of them, whilst one or two of them followed afar off to see the end.
4. The next thing, which immediately follows in St. John's gospel, is the resistance made by Peter. Which is
in part related also by the other Evangelists, except that they have not mentioned that disciple by name.
Says St. John : “ Then Simon Peter having a sword, drew it, and sinote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right
Then said Jesus unto Peter; Put up thy sword into the sheath. The cup, which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" John xviii. 10, 11, We must take a part of this history as related by others. In Matthew : “ Then said Jesus unto him; Put up again thy sword into its place. For all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou, that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ?” Matt. xxvi. 52-54. In St. Luke: “ And one of them,” that is, of the disciples, “ smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered, and said ; Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and bealed him,” Luke xxii. 51, 52, St. Mark: “ And they laid their hands on him and took him. And one of them that stood by, drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear,” Mark xiv. 46, 47.
Certainly Jesus appears great in this place. He had already done what might be sufficient to satisfy every one, that he was willing to subinit to the trial that was coming upon him, how great soever it inight prove, and whatever should be the issue of this attempt of his enemies upon
bis liberty. Nevertheless his faithful and affectionate disciples are still uneasy and perplexed to a great degree. And one of them makes resistance, takes the sword, and wounds one of the officers, who came to seize his Lord and Master. This was a testimony of sincere affection and zeal; and our Lord must have been sensibly touched with it. This was one of the bitter ingredients of his cup; the sorrow and anguish of mind which his disgraces and other sufferings caused in his disciples. But observe the alacrity with which he takes it, and the superior regard which he has for the will of God above all private interests of his disciples, whom he tenderly loved, as well as above his own. « The cup, which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it? Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he would give me more than twelve legions of angels ?" These things more especially concerning the disciples. However, the officers likewise, and all present, were hereby instructed.
Let us then take notice of this, as another proof of the fortitude and the meekness of Jesus, and his complete
resignation to the whole will, and all the appointments of the Father.
Christ did not suffer as he did, because he could not save himself; but for great and valuable ends, the glory of God, the interests of truth, and the welfare of men, he submitted and acquiesced.
5. What follows is the actual apprehending of Jesus.
In St. John: “ Then the band, and the captain, and the officers of the Jews, took Jesus, and bound him," John xviii. 12. In St. Matthew : “ In that same hour said Jesus unto the multitudes : Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves, to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him and fed,” Matt. xxvi. 55, 56. Compare Mark xiv, 48-50. In St. Luke thus: “ Then Jesus said unto the chief priests and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him: Be ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves ? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness," Luke xxi. 52, 53.
In this occurrence, I apprehend, we discern the sensibility of our Lord's frame, and that he was affected with this great indignity; that he was sought for, and taken up in the night as a thief, or ordinary offender against the peace of society. But though he is affected, he does not faint, or sink under the vile abuse. He teaches the men present the iniquity of their proceeding, and of the designs of those from whom they came. He also satisfies and composes himself, and likewise obviates their triumph on account of their seeming success in getting bim into their hands, saying : “ But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." You could
• • not seize me before; nor until I had fully
taught the will • of God, and finished the work, which the Father had given • me to do. But now is come the time when Divine Provi• dence, for wise reasons and great ends and purposes, per• mits your wicked counsels to take place. And though • the circumstances in which I now am, are indeed, as to
outward appearance, dishonourable and disgraceful, I ac• quiesce, and yield myself to you, and even submit to be • bound; though you have no reason to think that I should
attempt to make an escape. It is not your power to which • I am subject, and by which I am overcome. But it is • the will of God to which I submit, and resign myself.'
It is not casy to proceed, without observing the sad
instances which appear here of the hardness of men's hearts, and of an obstinate disposition of mind.
One instance is that of Judas, whom Jesus had kindly and solemnly warned more than once, intimating beforehand, that “
one of the twelve would betray him," and saying : “ Woe be to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed.' Yet this wicked disciple proceeded to execute the base purpose which he had conceived in his mind.
Another is that of the Jewish servants and officers; who, notwithstanding the knowledge which they must before bave had of the character of Jesus, and notwithstanding what they now heard from him, and saw in hiin, performed the orders which they had received, and laid hands on Jesus, and bound him, to carry him to the priests and elders. Some such officers, having formerly received a like order, returned without obeying it; and when asked, “Why they had not brought him," answered : “ Never man spake like this man,” John vii. 46. So might these have alleged this reason for not bringing him: “ Never was there
any man so great and excellent as he."
May we be always preserved from such hardness of heart. Let us not neglect the remonstrances of conscience. Let us submit to admonition. If we enter into wrong designs, let us not persist in then. Let us quit and forsake them when we find that they are disapproved of God, and contrary to reason.
They who had apprehended our Lord, first had him to Annas, who sent bim to Caiaphas, at that time high priest. Which is a particular related' by St. John only: " Then the band and captain and officers took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas first. For he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year-Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest," John xviii, 12, 13, 24.
6. What we are therefore next to take notice of in the sixth place, is, what first happened at the house of Caiaphas the high priest. “ The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. "Jesus answered him: I spake openly to the world, I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort. And in secret have I said nothing," John xviii. 19, 20. That is, I have . taken all proper opportunities of speaking in the most . public places. And if at any time I have taught my disciples privately, there is no reason to think that any thing
* If any should find the first part of this sermon too long to be read at once, here may be a proper pause.
was then said by me different from the tenour of the doc*trine taught by me in places of the most general resort.'
Why askest thou me?' Ask them which heard me, wbat I have said unto them. Behold, they know what I have said,” ver. 21.
Every one must be sensible of the propriety of this answer. It was not a time for our Lord to rehearse the doctrine which he had taught, or to apologize for it, and demonstrate the innocence of it, or that it had no bad tendency. The high priest's question was improper and unseasonable. And our Lord justly exposed it by his answer,
Nevertheless, as it follows in St. John: “ When he had thus spoken, one of the officers, who stood by, struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying: Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me,” ver. 22, 23. Which certainly shows full composure of mind, and great meekness. He does not exert his power for punishing so heinous an indignity ; but calmly shows the iniquity of the treatment just given him: his answer to the high priest having been very just, implying the consciousness of his innocence, and the impropriety of the question put by the high priest to a person brought before him as
7. In the next place, seventhly, we are to observe the farther proceedings before the high priest, which are rather more regular, thougb altogether unrighteous, they by whom they endeavoured to convict Jesus being false witnesses. “ Now the chief priests and elders and all the council sought false witness against Jesus to put him to death ; but found none. Yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said: This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and
. said unto him: Answerest thou nothing ? What is it that these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace," Matt. xxvi. 59-62. St. Mark also relating this transaction, says, “ But he held his peace, and answered nothing, ch.
, xiv. 60.
The silence of our Lord upon this occasion deserves notice, as highly becoming a person of a distinguished character, and known innocence; especially wben men, sitting in judgment as magistrates, show themselves destitute of a regard to justice and equity, and betray a malicious design to put a man to death, though they have no evidence against him, and the witnesses that appear, at their procurement, are