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ous sufferings and death, and his resurrection afterwards. Nevertheless he was greatly concerned in the near view and approach of those sufferings. If he had not be had not been man.

Nor does he dissemble it. Fors going out with his disciples after supper to the mount of Olives, when he came to the place called Gethsemane, he said to the rest, “ Sit ye here whilst I go and pray yonder. And he taketh with bim Peter, and James, and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy," or to be in great concern of mind. “ Then saith he unto them; My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Tarry ye here and watch with

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." Which prayer he also repeated.

Meditating in this retirement on the sufferings he had in view, he earnestly recommended his case to infinite wisdom, expressing acquiescence in the divine will whatever it should be. After which he was strengthened and comforted by the presence of an angel sent to him from heaven, and by considering “ the joy that was set before biin,” Heb. xii. 2, and the benefits that would accrue to mankind by his death and resurrection.

Whereupon he arose, went out to meet him that betrayed him, and those who came to apprehend him, and went through the amazing scene of sufferings that followed, with full composure, and all the indications of a most excellent temper, which have been delineated, though too faintly, in the preceding part of this discourse.

Our Lord said to his disciples, “ Watch, and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing; but the flesh is weak.” He was himself an example of those duties, suited to all, the best, and the strongest, in a state of trial. And he was an instance of the benefit of them.

There can be no doubt, that the apostle refers to these devotions of our Saviour, in those words, “ Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, to him that was able to save him from death. And was heard in that be feared," Heb. v. 7. Or, was delivered from his fear.

Our Lord's devotions in the garden, if duly considered, are liable to no exceptions. They are edifying, and exem, plary. Acquiescence in the divine will is always reckoned

8 Matt. xxvi. 36–46. Mark xiv, 32—42. Luke xxii, 39–46. " See Whitby upon the place.

by wise meni a proof of perfection of virtue, or of great progress therein. If there be no sensibility to pain and shame, nor any apprehensiveness of mind in the prospect of sufferings, there can be no virtue in resignation to the disposals of Providence. The greater the sensibility of any human frame to the evils of this life, the greater must be the virtue of resignation under them; and the more engaging is the example of suchk patience.

2. The view which we have now taken of our Lord in his Jast sufferings, may be of use to confirm our faith in him, and increase our esteem for him, and enable us to vindicate him against such as would detract from him. Indeed he is, in all respects, the greatest character that has appeared on this earth. “ Never man spake like him," John vii. 46. Nor has there ever been any other man who lived and died as he did.

3. The view which we have now taken of our Lord in his last sufferings may be of use to lessen our regard for worldly honour and grandeur, and to abate our dread of the evils of this life.

If we should have a prospect of any great trial, we are to recommend ourselves to the disposal of Providence, and should submit our will to the will of God. If troubles befal us, we should aim to bear them with a greatness of mind resembling that of our great Master; that is, without murmurings and complaints, or dejection of spirits, with meekness and patience, and a comfortable hope and expectation of being vindicated, and rewarded in due time.

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' Ινα δυνηται λεγειν εν τη φυλακή, η φιλε κριτων, ει ταυτη τους θεοις φιλον, TavTn yeveodw. Arrian. Epict. I. 1. c. 4. * Vid. Cleric. H. E. ann. 29. n. xliii.

Says that good man, and great preacher, Abp. Tillotson : All this our Lord bore, not with a stoical and stupid insensibility, but with a true patience. For ‘no man had greater apprehensions of suffering, and a more quick and tender sense of it, than he had. He had not only the more manly virtues of wisdom, and resolution, and constancy; but was clothed also with the softer passions of human nature, meekness, and compassion, and grief, and a tender sense of pain and suffering ; “ He took our infirmities,” says the prophet, “ and bore our griefs." And this he expressed both in his agony in the garden, and in his behaviour upon the cross. He did not despise pain, but dreaded it, and yet • submitted to it. He did not outbrave his sufferings, but bore them decently. • He had a human sense of them, but bore them with a divine patience, resign

ing himself absolutely to the will of God, when he saw them coming : and ' when they were upon him, expressing a great sense of pain without the least • sign of impatience. And hereby he was a pattern accommodated to the . weakest and tenderest of mankind. He did not give us an extravagant ex'ample of bravery, and a sturdy resolution ; but, which was much fitter for

us, of a patient submission to the will of God, under a great sense of suffering.' Serm. 166. the second upon 1 Pet. ii. 21, near the end. See likewise the beginning.

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Such are the words of St. Peter, with which I conclude. “ For hereunto were ye called : because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth : who, when he was reviled, reviled not again : when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously,” 1 Pet. ii. 21, 22.

SERMON XXI.

DIVINE TESTIMONIALS GIVEN TO JESUS DURING HIS

LAST SUFFERINGS.

And the graves were opened, and many bodies of saints,

which slept, arose ; and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeured

unto many. Matt. xxvii. 52, 53, I HAVE lately considered our blessed Lord's sufferings, chiefly in one particular light, for showing the excellency of his behaviour under them, bis greatness and majesty during a scene of the utmost scorn and ignominy, his meekness under the most heinous provocations, and his full trust and confidence in God during that hour of darkness which concluded his wonderful life.

I would now observe, in one single discourse, the extraordinary testimonials given from heaven in that season, to his innocence, and the dignity of his person and character.

The miracles of our Saviour's ministry, the spotless innocence, and the unparalleled excellence of his life and death, his resurrection on the third day, together with the mighty works done after his ascension by his apostles in his name, would have been a sufficient vindication of his character, and a full attestation to the truth of his doctrine, and the divine original of his mission; notwithstanding the reproaches, and other indignities cast upon him by envious and designing men.

Nevertheless the Divine Wisdom saw fit not to leave him without witness at that very season. And though our Lord was so far left and forsaken of God the Father, as to be given up into the hands of sinful men; and they were allowed to carry into execution their malicious purposes, so

far as to put him to a painful and ignominious death, there appeared, cven then, some tokens of God's especial favour and approbation of him who suffered, and of his displeasure against those who presumed to touch that excellent person.

1. In the first place, I observe what is said by the evangelist Matthew at the nineteenth verse of this chapter, speaking of Pontius Pilate the Roman governor in Judea. “When he was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream, because of him."

There can be no reason to doubt that the terrifying thoughts of this dream were owing to a divine impulse. There are in the scriptures many instances of extraordinary intimations given to heathen people as well as others, in dreams, which must have been of divine operation; as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Joseph's fellow-prisoners, and others; and to bad as well as to good men.

Pilate's wife, when he was set down on the judgment-seat, sent him a message, earnestly entreating him not to pronounce a sentence, or do any thing whatsoever to the prejudice of the person now brought before him, and accused by the Jewish rulers. For she had that morning a dream, in which her thoughts had been mightily disturbed with the apprehension of calamities likely to befal Pilate and his family, if he should pronounce sentence against that person, who

, was just and innocent.

It was a testimony to our Lord's innocence, at the time that he was accused by the Jews. It was delivered publicly. Nor would the message have been brought at all, if it had not been judged important; but though it deserved the notice of all, it was more especially a warning to Pilate. It was a warning of an extraordinary kind, sent to him by bis nearest relative, to deter and dissuade him from an action that could not but be criminal, and might be of fatal consequence. Solomon says, “ A dream cometh through the multitude

, A of business,” Eccl. v. 3: which may be a good way of aca counting for ordinary dreams. In the night season, when the body is at rest, those things about which the mind was much engaged in the day time, may disturb the thoughts and produce dreams. But it does not appear that Pilate's wife could at this time have any knowledge of the Jewish, prosecution of our Lord in an ordinary way. Jesus was not a prisoner that had been long in custody. He was apprehended late in the night, and was hurried away to the house of Annas, and then of Caiaphas. Having been there examined, and detained some while by the Jewish council, he was carried by them early in the morning to Pilate; about which time his wife, still at rest, had a dream of an uncommon nature, in which she was admonished, and by which she was greatly affected. As soon as she awoke, she by the first opportunity sent this warning to Pilate, then upon his tribunal : “ Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream, because of him.”

Elibu says excellently well: “ God speaketh once, yea, twice; yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed. Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction. That he may withdraw man from his purpose and hide pride from man,” Job xxxiii. 14–17. Those observatious may have been founded upon facts. There is an instance of a warning given to Abimelech, king of Gerar, in the time of Abraham, for preventing sin, and with effect, Gen. xxx. The warning, of which we are

, now speaking, was for the very same purpose. Nor was it altogether without effect. For this warning, now sent to Pilate, may be well supposed to have been one reason, together with his own clear discernment of the innocence of Jesus, upon examination, why he so long withstood the importunate and clamorous demands of the Jewish rulers and ihe multitude to pass sentence upon him.

II. In the next place we observe the darkness at this time, mentioned by three Evangelists. Matt. xxvii. 45, “ Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” Mark xv. 33, “ And when the sixth bour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” Luke xxiij. 44, 45, “ And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened."

That is, there was darkness for the space of three hours, from the sixth to the ninth hour, according to the computation of the hours of the day in those times, reckoning the day from sun-rising to sun-setting ; according to our method of computation, from about twelve at noon till three after

noon.

How great this darkness was, is not distinctly said. It might resemble that of a total eclipse of the sun, though there were glimmerings of light, whereby business might be transacted.

• See Matt. xxvii. 1, 2. Mark xv. 1. John xviii. 27, 28.

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