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of the Gentiles, the Romans, by whose judicature he shall be put to death*,New trials therefore now approaching, it is time for you to arise and be going, that. we may resolutely meet the dangers which threaten us; for behold he is at hand, that doth betray me.
By this time Judas had concerted his iniquitous plan with the chief priests and Pharisees; and as he well knew the place, to which JESUS often resorted with his disciples,--that spot which his Master had chosen for the purpose of performing his devotions with greater privacy, the traitor selected, for apprehending and delivering him into the hands of those who sought his life. Judas therefore having received a band of men, that is of soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves for to take him : that very multitude, which had so lately ushered him into the city with repeated Hosannas and joyful acclamations. .
A signal had previously been settled between them, that, as JESUS and his disciples were together, they might not
mistake the person, whom they were te apprehend : and this was a kiss; which aggravated the crime of the traitor, who was thus using a token of allegiance and friendship, as a signal for the basest treachery.
And now behold the hypocritical traitor surrounded with his armed men, drawing near to the innocent Jesus to kiss him : and straightway going up to him, with honey in his mouth, and gall in his heart, he said unto him, Hail, Master, and kissed him. JESUS, although he well knew his traitorous design, reproached him not, but replied with meekness, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? Is this the signal of thy treachery ?
We have lately seen the blessed JESUS dejected, amazed, and full of anguish; but now we behold him, firın in conscious rectitude, declaring himself to be the person they were in search of; for knowing all things that should come upon him, he went forth and said unto them, Whom seek ye? To their answer, Jesus of Nazareth, he replied, I am he. Struck with awe at so uncommon a declaration, and at the noble steadiness of his conduct, they for a while forgat their guilty purpose, went backward, and jeil to the ground*. JEsus repeated the question, Whom seek ye? to which they answering as before, JESUS of Nazareth ; his concern for the safety of his disciples, not for himself, immediately showed itself in all its tenderness: I have told you, said he, that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.
Those then who were sent to apprehend him, came and laid their hands on JESUS, and took him. We have already had occasion, more than once, to speak of the hasty zeal of Peter ; and here we are presented with another instance of it: for seeing their beloved Master thus treacherously apprehended, the disciples were prompted to revenge, and said unto him, LORD, shall we smite with the sword ? and one of them, even Simon Peter, having a sword, stretched out his hand and drew it, and struck a servant of the high priest so violent a blow, that he cut off his right ear. JESUS rebuking Peter for his indiscreet zeal, commanded him to put again his sword into the sheath, telling him that he had no occasion for such kind of weapons; for that by praying to his Father, he could instantly obtain from him more than twelve legions of
angels ; but how then, said he, would this great work in which I am engaged, have been accomplished*? And having said this, in the presence of them all, he wrought a miracle, which, had they not hardered their hearts, must have convinced them of their wickedness, in this their violent persecution of the Lamb of God, the innocent and mild JESUS. He touched the serrani's ear, and instantly it was healed. This unwarrantable apprehension of Jesus drew from him a just expostulation with the chief priests and captains of the temple, and the elders which were come to him, demanding why they came out against him, as against a thief, with swords and staves to take him. When I was daily with you, and sat teaching in the temple, ye took me not, nor did you stretch forth any hands against me ; but this is your hour and the power of darkness : then you were withheld by a secret check, but now you are permitted to execute your malice upon me; for the ancient prophecies must be fulfilledt.
Here it was that the courage of his disciples, who had all, not many hours before, declared with most solemn pro
testations, that they would die with, rather than forsake himn - here it was that their courage failed them; for alas! they all forsook him and fled. St. Miurk, in his narrative, mentions also that a certain young man, who probably lodged near the garden, and was awakened by the noise which he heard, caine forth, and followed with a linen cloth cast about his naked body; on whom the guard, suspecting him to be a disciple of JESUS, luid hold; and that he, through fear, left the linen cloth, and fied from them nuked.
On this event of the disciples thus forsaking their Master, the following just observation occurs in the lectures before alluded to.
“ Here we have the exact completion of that prophecy, which Jesus had just before delivered, that all his disciples should be of ended because of him; that is, should desert him that very night. And that this prediction was so accomplished, is clear beyond all controversy; because it was an event, which the disciples would for their own credit gladly have suppressed, if they durst. by recording this event, they recorded their own weakness, their own pusillanimity. And we may be perfectly sure, that they