« AnteriorContinuar »
The Church of England a Bulwark chapters, and by a corresponding between Superstition and Schiem. opposite translation of the three next, Two Set rons, preached in the Cole they have offered facilities to beginlegiate Church of Christ, in Man
We wish they had used the chester, on Sunday, the 4th day of pruning knife more sacredly. Such October, 1835,
being the Third Čen- expressions as O Ciel! Par St. Antenary of the Reformation. By the toine de Padoua ! however natural to Red. RICHARD PARKINSON, M.A. a French child, are not exactly what Fellow of Christ's College. London: English fathers and mothers would
Rivingtons. 1835. Pp. 31. like to encourage in the case of our Two-excellent Discourses, well timed jeunesse. But these blemishes are
few. and well written.
Naralide of Six Months' Residence in A Vindication of the Church of England a Convent. By REBECCA THERESA from the Charge of Unsound Doc
Reed, late inmate of the Ursuline trine and Inefficient Discipline, Convent, Mount Benedict, Charlesbrought against her in “ A Letter
town, Massachusetts. With a Prefrom a Clergyman of her Communion face and Concluding Remarks, by to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Mrs. HENRY GREY. Glasgow: By the Rev. WILLIAM Pullen, Rec- George Gallie. 1835. Pp. xxii. 137, lor of Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire. London: Simpkin & Marshall. All we can say of Miss Reed is, let 1835. Pp. 54.
all our readers read her Narrative, and An unanswerable reply to an unjusti
that forthwith. fied charge.
Dedicated by permission to her Royal History of the English Language and Highness the Duchess of Gloucester:
Literature. By Robert CHAMBERS. Pompeii, with other Poems, recited (Educational Course.) Edinburgh:
at the Cheltenham Literary and W. & R. Chambers. London: Orr Philosophical Institution. By the & Smith, 1835. Pp. viii. 278.
Rev. S. MIDDLETON, B.D. (The Price 2s. 6d.
Profits arising from this Publication
will be devoted to the Funds of the This is one of the cheapest books we Cheltenham Female Orphan Asybave seen for a long time: it offers a lum.) London : Smith, Elder, & very well-written, well-arranged ac
Co. "No date. Price 38. count of the subject, under seven periods. The last, extending from
The poetry is respectable, and the 1780 to the present time, might bave object of publication praiseworthy. been made more full; but as the editor's object is to give instruction to the young, it will no doubt succeed,
Elucidations of Dr. Hampden's Theoby inducing a more extensive course
logical Statements. Oxford: Parker. of reading in other sources of informa
London: Rivingtons. 1836. 8vo. tion.
Pp. 47. Le Gil Blas de la Jeunesse, à l'Usage des
We strongly recommend the perusal
of this pamphlet to all who would Ecoles. Par CHARLES Le Roy et
know the theological opinions of the A. LORADOUX. London: Whittakers
newly appointed Regius Professor in & Pickering. 1835. Pp. vi. 319.
the University of Oxford. The exThe editors of this famous novel of tracts from the Doctor's published Le Sage have taken pains to expurgate works are copious, and the remarks all the unnecessary and offensive parts, upon them most pertinent. We shall, and by introducing before the text an at an early opportunity, take up the interlinear version of the five first objectionable book ourselves.
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.
How deeply interesting are the accounts preserved to us of the closing scenes of our Lord's sojourn upon earth! How well deserving are they of our most serious consideration ! How striking, for instance, are the several transactions recorded in the Second Lesson for this morning's service! But it may perhaps be doubted whether any one event there noticed is more suited to arrest our attention than that which I have selected for the subject of my present discourse; I mean, our Divine Saviour's agony in the garden of Gethsemane. It was, indeed, a most extraordinary scene. It will be found also, I conceive, to afford to the devout disciple of Christ materials for very useful and very seasonable meditation, and especially so on this occasion. May it please God to make it profitable to our sound edification,-to our practical as well as spiritual improvement.
In the passage which has been just read, we see what was the course which our blessed Saviour was pleased to adopt, to prepare himself, if we may so say, in his human capacity for the sufferings he was about to endure. For this purpose he repaired to a spot whither he had been accustomed to resort, for the exercise of his more private devotions. Accompanied by his disciples, “ he cometh unto a place called Gethsemane,” which seems to have been a garden situated in some part of the Mount of Olives. On entering the spot, le desired the disciples generally to sit down there, probably at the entrance of the garden, while he himself went further into it for the purpose of prayer. He did not, however, go alone. He took with him those three peculiarly favoured disciples, " Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee,” that is, James and John, who had been distinguished by him on several occasions, and especially by being allowed to be present at his transfiguration. His object in this seems to have been, that, as they had before seen his glory on the mount, so they might now be especial witnesses of his humiliation and sufferings.
As then they proceeded together, his agony commenced. We are told that “ he began to be sorrowful and very heavy:" nay more, he even with his own lips declares to his disciples the state of his feelings. “ Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." The words here used to describe what was passing within our Lord's mind, are amongst the most expressive which can be imagined. They denote the very deepest grief, anguish, and dejection of heart; the condition of a man surrounded by sorrows, overwhelmed with miseries, and almost swallowed up with consternation and amazement; nay, even the state of one excruciated with such intense agony, that if speedy succour were not afforded, death must necessarily be the consequence.
When in this frame of mind, he separated himself even from the three disciples whom he had selected to accompany him. After having bid them to tarry awhile where they were, occupying themselves in “watching with him," he went a little farther; St. Luke says, “ about a stone's cast," (xxii. 41 ;) then, as an outward sign of the prostrate and dejected state of his inmost spirit, he fell on his face, and so he prayed. The substance of his prayer is thus given by St. Matthew:–O’my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." The word "cup” is used in Scripture to represent sorrow, anguish, terror, and death ; and so by employing the word here, our Lord evidently meant to refer to the sufferings and death which he was about to endure. He prayed that these might pass from him untasted. . But observe that he says, “if it be possible ;" that is, if it could be made consistent with the purpose for which he came into the world; namely, for securing the salvation of lost and perishing man. Moreover he adds, “ Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” In his human nature he looked with a most extreme degree of terror and anguish at what was coming upon him ; hence he wished that he might be delivered from it. But we must not of course imagine that all this intensity of feeling arose from the mere fear of death, however excruciating might be the sufferings even of “the death of the cross." No ; there must have been something infinitely greater than these, or he would surely never have been thus overwhelmed-never would have prayed thus earnestly to have them taken from him ; for we know that many of his disciples have been enabled, by divine grace, to meet the most dreadful kinds of death without such an appearance of fear or amazement. What was the precise cause of our Lord's anguish we cannot now fully explain ; but this is the account which the Scriptures give of the matter, "The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.” He “suffered once for sin, the just for the unjust.” “When it pleased the Lord to bruise him," " he was bruised for our iniquities;" and when “he put him to grief," " he made his soul an offering for sin."* From these, and such passages of Scripture as these, we may perhaps justly conclude, that the human nature of Christ was burdened by the foresight of what it would be to have the punishment of all the sins of a whole guilty world laid upon him. He had, no doubt, the most distinct and clear perception of the infinite evil of sin, and of that immensity of guilt
See Isaialı, chap. liii. passim.
which he was to expiate; he bad, moreover, the most awful view of the Divine justice, and the vengeance deserved by the sins of men, and hence such a sense of the Divine wrath might naturally press down his inmost soul, as no tongue can express, or imagination conceive.*
Such might be the spring of his excessive sorrow, which was even unto death. Hence might naturally arise his prayer for deliverance. But let it be remembered, that pressing as his supplication for this deliverance certainly was, it was accompanied by the most perfect and complete submission to the divine purpose. “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt," are the words with which he concludes his prayer.
Having thus prayed, he cometh again unto the three disciples whom he had left with a serious injunction to watch; and in what condition did they appear? Were they watching as he bid them? Alas! they were not. He “ findeth them asleep. Consequently he addresses himself to them, and to that disciple in particular who had been just before most bold and forward in professing his confidence in himself(Matt. xxvi. 33,) he " saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour ?". To these words of rebuke our Lord adds this warning and exhortation .“ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Thus we see, that in his greatest distresses he never lost sight of the welfare of his disciples. He reminds them gently, but solemnly, of the willingness they had just before expressed of their spirit to suffer any thing for him. He reminds them also of the weakness of the flesh, of the infirmity of the natural man. He does not notice this, however, be it observed, as an excuse for their past conduct, but rather as a warning respecting the future, a warning which should lead them to watch and to pray for strength from above, which alone could overcome their weakness, and enable them to triumph over temptation,
In following our Lord's course on this occasion, we find, that as soon as he had delivered this solemn charge to his disciples, he again left them. “He went away again the second time, and prayed,” using almost the same expressions as before, and “saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." Upon completing this, his second supplication, he returned once more to the disciples, and, notwithstanding his warning," found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy." Whether he further charged them or not we are not told by St. Matthew; but it seems probable that he did so, because St. Mark adds, “Neither wist they what to answer him,” (xiv. 40.)
The purpose, however, for which he thus visited his disciples being accomplished, our Lord once more returned to his devotions. “He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words."
This is all that St. Matthew tells us respecting this our Saviour's most extraordinary act of devotion ; but St. Luke relates that, at one period, “ being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down on the ground. See Scott and A. Clarke's Commentaries on the
passage. + Bloody sweats are mentioned by many authors. Some have thought that the meaning of the words is, that the sweat was so profuse that every drop was as large
(xxii. 44.) The same sacred writer also informs us, that during some part of the transaction " there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."
Such is the history of our blessed Lord's agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Must we not regard it as an event of the most intensely interesting character? Does it not present to our minds a subject deserving of the deepest attention? Does not that subject demand our peculiar regard in the present season? What, in fact, can more suitably occupy our thoughts on this day, the first of that week which is called “Passion Week,” during which the Church invites us to the more especial consideration of our blessed Saviour's passion, or sufferings for our sakes? We should not, however, content ourselves with a merely passing 'meditation on the extraordinary event which has thus come before us. We ought to see whether or not some spiritual and practical instruction may not be derived from it. Let us not depart, brethren, till we have endeavoured, under the blessing of God, to obtain from what we have heard on the subject some lesson which may have a good effect on our hearts and lives.
"1. Now I know not whether the history of the agony in the garden does not sốem fitted to place the sufferings of our Lord for our sakes before bur eyes in a more striking light than even what is related of his actual death on the cross. I do not mean to say that our Saviour did really endure more agony on this occasion than what came upon him on the tree ; but still I think that in the minute description here afforded us of his feelings and actions at this season, we have, if possible, a more vivid and touching representation of his sufferings, than that which is any where else conveyed to us. At all events, the heart must be hard and unifeeling in the extreme, which can meditate with indifference on the circumstances of this most remarkable scene. We see here, as Bishop Horsley observes, “ a just Man and perfect ; a Man whose conscience reproaches him with no vice or folly; a Man whose life hath been piety and love-unaffected piety, disinterested love; a Man in whose ample mind are hidden all the treasures of knowledge ; a Man assuredly entitled to every comfort which the consciousness of perfections, of perfect virtue, and of perfect wisdom, can bestow :" we “see this wise, this good, this perfect Man, this Man in union with Divinity, overwhelmed with grief and tribu ion. Surely He bears our griefs, He carries our sorrows, He undergoes the chastisement of our peace. See his mortified looks, his troubled gestures ! See the bloody sweat !--strong symptoms of the unuttered pangs that rend his righteous heart! See him prostrate on the earth in anxious supplication.” Well may we exclaim with Dean Stanhope, " What more lively representation can we as a drop of blood, not that the sweat was blood itself : but this does not appear likely. There have been cases in which persons in a debilitated state of body, or through horror of soul, have had their sweat tinged with blood. Dr. Mead, from Galen, sbserves, “ Cases sometimes happen in which, through mental pressure, the pores may be so diluted that the blood may issue from them, so that there may be a bloody sweat." And Bishop Pearce gives an instance from Thuanus (De Thou) of an Italian gentleman being so distressed with the fear of death that his body was covered with a bloody sweat.- (Dr. A. Clarke's Commentary.) That our Church inclines to the opinion of its having been really blood is clear from the words in the Litany, “ By fírine agony and bloody sweat."
VOL. XVIII. NO, III.