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twixt the regenerate and evil leart! Satan / stabs of an enemy cannot be so grievous as lays siege to the best by his temptations, the skin-deep wounds of a disciple. and sometimes, upon battery and breach made, enters; the other admits him by willing composition. When he is entered CONTEMPLATION XXVIII. — THE AGONY. upon the regenerate, he is entertained with perpetual skirmishes, and, by a holy vio What a preface do I find to my Saviour's lence, at last repulsed ; in the other, he passion! A hymn, and an agony: a cheer. is plausibly received, and freely command- ful hymn, and an agony no less sorrowful. eth. O the admirable meekness of this A hymn begins, both to raise and testify Lamb of God! I see not a frown, I hear the courageous resolutions of his suffering; not a check, but, “What thou dost, do an agony follows, to shew that he was quickly." Why do we startle at our petty truly sensible of those extremities wherewith wrongs, and swell with anger, and break he was resolved to grapple. All the dis. into furious revenges upon every occasion, ciples bore their part in that hymn: it was when the Pattern of our patience lets not fit they should all see his comfortable and fall one harsh word upon so foul and bloody divine magnanimity wherewith he entered a traitor? Yea, so fairly is this carried, into those sad lists: only three of them that the disciples as yet can apprehend no shall be allowed to be the witnesses of his change: they innocently think of commo- agony, only those three that had been the dities to be bought, when Christ speaks of witnesses of his glorious transfiguration. their Master sold, and, as one that longs to | That sight. had well fore-armed and prebe out of pain, hastens the pace of his irre-pared them for this. How could they be claimable conspirator : “ What thou dost, dismayed to see his trouble, who there saw do quickly." It is one thing to say, Do his majesty ? how could they be dismayed what thou intendest, and another to say, to see his body now sweat, which they had Do quickly what thou dost. There was then seen to shine? how could they be villany in the deed: the speed had no sin; daunted to see him now accosted with Juthe time was harmless, while the man and das and his train, whom they then saw at. the act were wicked. O Judas, how happy tended with Moses and Elias? how could had it been for thee, if thou hadst never they be discouraged to hear the reproaches done what thou perfidiously intendedst! but of base men, when they had heard the since thou wilt needs do it, delay is but a voice of God to him from that excellent torment.
glory : “ This is my beloved Son, in whom That steelly heart yet relents not. The I am well pleased ?". obfirmed traitor knows his way to the high | Now, before these eyes this sun begins priest's hall, and to the garden: the watch-to be overcast with clouds : “ He began word is already given, “Hail, Master, and to be sorrowful, and very heavy.” Many a kiss." Yet more hypocrisy ; yet more pre- sad thoughts for mankind had he secretly sumption upon so overstrained a lenity! | hatched, and yet smothered in his own How knewest thou, O thou false traitor, breast; now his grief is too great to keep whether that sacred cheek would suffer it. in : “ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even self to be defiled with thine impure touch? unto death.” O Saviour, what must thou Thou well foundest thy treachery was un needs feel, when thou saidst so ? Feeble masked; thine heart could not be so false minds are apt to bemoan themselves upon to thee as not to tell thee how hateful thou light occasions ; the grief must needs be wert. Go, kiss and adore those silverlings violent, that causeth a strong heart to break which thou art too sure of; the Master forth into a passionate complaint. Woe is whom thou hast sold is not thine. But, me, what a word is this for the Son of God! () the impudence of a deplored sinner! | Where is that Comforter which thou proThat tongue which hath agreed to sell his misedst to send to others? where is that Master, dares say, Hail ! and those lips, thy Father of all mercies, and God of all that have passed the compact of his death, comfort, “in whose presence is the ful. dare offer to kiss him whom they had coveness of joy, and at whose right hand there nanted to kill. It was God's charge of old, are pleasures for evermore?” where are “ Kiss the Son, lest he be angry." O Sa- those constant and cheerful resolutions of a viour, thou hadst reason to be angry with fearless walking through the valley of the this kiss : the scourges, the thorns, the shadow of death? Alas! if that face were nails, the spear of thy murderers, were not not hid from thee, whose essence could not so painful, so piercing, as this touch of Ju- be disunited, these pangs could not have das: all these were in this one alone. The been, The sun was withdrawn awhile,
that there might be a cool, though not a suing crucifixion? O poor and base thoogte dark night, as in the world, so in thy breast; of the narrow hearts of cowardly and inwithdrawn in respect of sight, not of being. potent mortality! How many thousands as It was the hardest piece of thy sufferings thy blessed martyrs have welcomed no less that thou must be disconsolate.
tortures with smiles and gratulations, and But to whom dost thou make this moan, have made a sport of those exquisite crud. O thou Saviour of men? Hard is that man ties which their very tyrants thought usdriven, that is fain to complain to his in- | sufferable! Whence had they strength but feriors. Had Peter, or James, or John, from thee? If their weakness were thus thus bewailed himself to thee, there had undaunted and prevalent, what was the been ease to their soul in venting itself; power? No, no: it was the sad weight of thou hadst been both apt to pity them, and the sin of mankind; it was the heavy burdea able to relieve them : but now, in that thou of thy Father's wrath for our sin, that thos lamentest thy case to them, alas! what pressed thy soul, and wrung from thee these issue couldst thou expect? They might be bitter expressions. astonished with thy grief; but there is nei What can it avail thee, O Saviour, to ther power in their hands to free thee from tell thy grief to men? Who can ease thee, those sorrows, nor power in their compas- but He of whom thou saidst, « My Fatber sion to mitigate them. Nay, in this con- is greater than I?” Lo, to him thou turpest: dition, what could all the angels of heaven, “ O Father, if it be possible, let this cup as of themselves, do to succour thee? what pass from me.” strength could they have but from thee? Was not this thy prayer, O dear Christ, what creature can help when thou com- which in the days of thy flesh thou oder plainest ? It must be only the stronger that edst up with strong crying and tears, to hin can aid the weak.
that was able to save thee from death? Old and holy Simeon could fore-say to Surely this was it. Never was cry so strong; thy blessed mother, that “ A sword should never was God thus solicited. How could pierce through her soul ;" but, alas ! how heaven choose but shake at such a prayer many swords at once pierce thine! Every from the power that made it ? how can my one of these words is both sharp and edged: heart but tremble to hear this suit from “ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even the Captain of our salvation? O thou that unto death." What human soul is capable saidst, “I and my Father are one," dost of the conceit of the least of those sorrows thou suffer aught from thy Father but what that oppressed thine? It was not thy body thou wouldst, what thou determinedst? was that suffered now; the pain of body is but this cup of thine either casual or forced as the body of pain ; the anguish of the wouldst thou wish for what thou koerest soul is as the soul of anguish. That, and thou wouldst not have possible? Far, far in that thou sufferedst, where are they that be these misraised thoughts of our ignorance dare so far disparage thy sorrow, as to say and frailty! Thou camest to suffer, and thy soul suffered only in sympathy with thou wouldst do what thou camest for: Fet thy body ? not immediately, but by parti since thou wouldst be a man, thou wouldst cipation ? not in itself, but in its partner? take all of man, save sin: it is but human, Thou best knewest what thou feltest, and and not sinful, to be loath to suffer what thou, that feltest thine own pain, canst cry we may avoid. In this velleity of thide, out of thy soul. Neither didst thou say, | thou wouldst show what that nature of My soul is troubled ; so it often was, even ours, which thou hadst assumed, could to tears; but, “ My soul is sorrowful :" as incline to wish; but, in thy resolution, if it had been before assaulted, now pos- thou wouldst show us what thy victorious sessed, with grief. Nor yet this in any thoughts, raised and assisted by thy divine tolerable moderation, (changes of passion power, had determinately pitched upon : are incident to every human soul), but “ex-“ Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou ceeding sorrowful." Yet there are degrees wilt." As man, thou hadst a will of thine in the very extremities of evils: those, that own: no human soul can be perfect with. are most vehement, may yet be capable of out that main faculty. That will, which a remedy, at least a relaxation; thine was naturally could be content to incline towards past these hopes : “exceeding sorrowful an exemption from miseries, gladly veils to unto death."
that divine will, whereby thou art designed What was it, what could it be, O Sa to the chastisements of our peace. Those viour, that lay thus heavy upon thy divine | pains, which in themselves were grievous, soul? Was it the fear of death? was it the thou embracest as decreed; so as thy fear forefelt pain, shame, torment, of thine en. | hath given place to thy love and obedience.
How should we have known these evils so I thou hadst not sweat. 0! let me abhor formidable, if thou hadst not, in half a my own wickedness, and admire and bless thought, inclined to deprecate them ? how | thy mercy. could we have avoided so formidable and But, О ye blessed spirits, which came to deadly evils, if thou hadst not willingly uncomfort my conflicted Saviour, how did ye dergone them? we acknowledge thine holy look upon the Son of God, when ye saw fear, we adore thy divine fortitude.
him labouring for life under these violent While thy mind was in this fearful agi- | temptations ! with what astonishment did tation, it is no marvel if thy feet were not ye behold him bleeding, whom ye adored ! fixed. Thy place is more changed than In the wilderness, after his duel with Satan, thy thoughts: one while thou walkest to | ye came and ministered unto him; and now thy drowsy attendants, and stirrest up their in the garden, while he is in a harder comneedful vigilancy; then thou returnest to bat, ye appear to strengthen him. O the thy passionate devotions, thou fallest again wise and marvellous dispensation of the upon thy face. If thy body be humbled Almighty! Whom God will afflict, an angel down to the earth, thy soul is yet lower ; shall relieve; the Son shall suffer, the serthy prayers are so much more vehement as vant shall comfort him ; the God of angels thy pangs are : “ And being in an agony, droopeth, the angel of God strengthens he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling Blessed Jesu! if as man thou wouldest down to the ground.” O my Saviour, what be “ made a little lower than the angels," an agony am I in, while I think of thine! | how can it disparage thee to be attended What pain, what fear, what strife, what and cheered up by an angel ! Thine humi. horror was in thy sacred breast! how didst | liation would not disdain comfort from thou struggle under the weight of our sins, meaner hands. How free was it for thy that thou thus sweatest, that thou thus Father to convey seasonable consolations to bleedest! All was peace with thee; thou thine humbled soul, by whatsoever means ! wert one with thy co-eternal and co-essen. | Behold, though thy cup shall not pass, vet tial Father; all the angels worshipped thee; it shall be sweetened. What if thou see ·all the powers of heaven and earth aw. not, for the time, thy Father's face, yet thou fully acknowledged thine infiniteness. It was shalt feel his hand. What could that spirit our person that feoffed thee in this misery have done without the God of spirits ? O and torment; in that thou sustainedst thy Father of mercies! thou mayest bring thine Father's wrath, and our curse. If eternal into agonies, but thou wilt never leave them death be unsufferable, if every sin deserve there. “ In the midst of the sorrows of my eternal death, what, O! what was it for heart, thy comforts shall refresh my soul.” thy soul, in this short time of thy bitter Whatsoever be the means of my supportapassion, to answer those millions of eternal tion, I know and adore the Author. deaths, which all the sins of all mankind had deserved from the just hand of thy Godhead! I marvel not if thou bleedest CONTEMPLATION XXIX. - PETER AND MALa sweat, if thou sweatest blood: if the CHUS: OR, CHRIST APPREHENDED. moisture of that sweat be from the body, the tincture of it is from the soul. As there WHEREFORE, O Saviour, didst thou take never was such another sweat, so neither those three choice disciples with thee from can there be ever such a suffering. It is their fellows, but that thou expectedst some no wonder if the sweat were more than comfort from their presence? A seasonable natural, when the sufferings were more than word may sometimes fall from the meanest human.
attendant; and the very society of those O Saviour, so willing was that precious we trust, carries in it some kind of contentblood of thine to be let forth for us, that it ment. Alas! what broken reeds are men! was ready to prevent thy persecutors; and While thou art sweating in thine agony, issued forth in those pores, before thy they are snoring securely. Admonitions, wounds were opened by thy tormentors. threats, entreaties, cannot keep their eyes O that my heart could bleed unto thee, open. Thou tellest them of danger, they with true in ward compunction, for those will needs dream of ease; and though twice sins of mine which are guilty of this thine roused, as if they had purposed this neglect, agony, and have drawn blood of thee, both they carelessly sleep out thy sorrow, and in the garden and on the cross! Woe is their own peril. What help hast thou of me! I had been in hell, if thou hadst not such followers? In the mount of thy been in thine agony; I had scorched, if | transfiguration they slept, and, besides, fell
on their faces, when they should behold to use them: “Shall we smite?" They vere thy glory, and were not themselves for willing to fight for him, with whom they fear. In the garden of thine agony, they were not careful to watch: but of all others, fell upon the ground for drowsiness, when | Peter was most forward ; instead of openthey should compassionate thy sorrow, and ing his lips, he unsheathes his sword; and, lost themselves in a stupid sleepiness.- instead of, Shall I? smites. He had Doted Doubtless, even this disregard made thy Malchus, a busy servant of the high-priest prayers so much more fervent. The less too ready to second Judas, and to lay is comfort we find on earth, the more we | rude hands upon the Lord of life: agains. seek above. Neither soughtest thou more this man his heart rises, and his hand is it than thou foundest: lol thou wert heard in up. That ear, which had too officiousłe that which thou fearedst. An angel supplies listened to the unjust and cruel charge of men: that spirit was vigilant, while thy dis- his wicked master, is now severed from that ciples were heavy; the exchange was happy.worse head wbich it had mis-served.
No sooner is this good angel vanished, I love and honour thy zeal, O blessed than that domestic devil appears : Judas disciple! Thou couldst not brook wrong comes up, and shows himself in the head done to thy divine Master: had thy life been of those miscreant troops. He, whose too dearer to thee than his safety, thou hads much honour it had been to be a follower not drawn thy sword upon a whole troop. of so blessed a Master, affects now to be | It was in earnest that thou saidst, “ Thougy the leader of this wicked rabble. The all men, yet not l;" and, “ Though I should sheep's fleece is now cast oft*; the wolf ap- | die with thee, yet I will not deny thee." pears in his own likeness. He that would Lo! thou art ready to die upon him that be false to his Master, would be true to his should touch that sacred person. What chapmen: even evil spirits keep touch with would thy life now have been in comparthemselves. The bold traitor dare yet son of renouncing him. Since thou wert so still mix hypocrisy with villany; his very fervent, why didst thou not rather fall upon salutations and kisses murder. O Saviour, | that traitor that betrayed him, than that this is no news to thee. All those who, serjeant that arrested him ? Surely the sio under a show of godliness, practise impiety, was so much greater, as the plot of mischief do still betray thee thus. 'Thou, who hadst is more than the execution, as a domestic said, “ One of you is a devil," didst not is nearer than a stranger, as the treason of now say, “ Avoid, Satan!" but, “ Friend, a friend is worse than the forced enmity of wherefore art thou come?” As yet, Judas, an hireling. Was it that the guilty wreich, it was not too late: had there been any upon the fact done, subduced himself, and the least spark of grace yet remaining in shrouded his false head under the wings of that perfidious bosom, this word had fetched darkness? was it that thou couldst not so thee upon thy knees. All this sunshine suddenly apprehend the odious depth of cannot" thaw an obdurate heart. The that villany, and instantly hate him that sign is given; Jesus is taken. Wretched had been thy old companion ? was it that traitor ! why wouldst thou for this purpose thy amazedness as yet conceived not the be thus attended? And ye foolish priests purposed issue of this seizure, and astonishand elders! why sent you such a band, and edly waited for the success? was it that so armed, for this apprehension ? One mes-though Judas was more faulty, yet Malcbus senger had been enough for a voluntary was more imperiously cruel? Howsoever, prisoner. Had my Saviour been unwilling thy courage was awakened with thyself, and to be taken, all your forces, with all the thy heart was no less sincere than thide legions of hell to help them, had been too hand was rash. “ Put up again thy sword little; since he was willing to be attached, into his place : for all they that take the two were too many. When he did but sword, shall perish with the sword." Good say, “ I am he,” that easy breath alone intentions are no warrant for our actions. routed all your troops, and cast them to O Saviour ! thou canst at once accept of the earth, whom it might as easily have our meanings, and censure our deeds. Could cast down into hell. What if he had said, I there be an affection more worth encou. will not be taken; where had ye been? or ragement than the love to such a Master: what could your swords and staves have could there be a more just cause, wherein done against Omnipotence ?
to draw his sword, than in thy quarrel ? yet Those disciples, that failed of their vigi. this love, this quarrel, cannot shield Peter lance, failed not of their courage : they from thy check; thy meek tongue smites had heard their Master speak of providing him gently, who had furiously smote thine swords, and now they thought it was time enemy: “Put up thy sword.”
It was Peter's sword; but to put up, not be so weak as to imagine, that this suffering to use: there is a sword which Peter may of mine is not free and voluntary? Canst use; but it is of another metal. Our wea-thou be so injurious to me, as to think I pons are, as our warfare, spiritual : if he yield, because I want aid to resist? Have I smite not with this, he incurs no less blame not given to thee and to the world many unthan for smiting with the other : as for this deniable proofs of my omnipotence? Didst material sword, what should he do with it, thou not see how easy it had been for me that is not allowed to strike? When the to have blown away these poor forces of Prince of Peace bade his followers sell their my adversaries? Dost thou not know, that, coat and buy a sword, he meant to insinuate if I would require it, all the glorious troops the need of these arms, not their improve of the angels of heaven (any one whereof ment, and to teach them the danger of the is more than worlds of men) would pretime, not the manner of the repulse of the sently show themselves ready to attend and danger. When they therefore said, “ Be- rescue me ? Might this have stood with the hold, here are two swords," he answered, justice of my decree, with the glory of my “ It is enough.” He said not, “Go, buy mercy, with the benefit of man's redemp. more." More had not been enough, if ation, it had been done: my power should bodily defence had been intended : David's have triumphed over the impotent malice tower had been too strait to yield sufficient of my enemies: but now, since that eternal furniture of this kind. When it comes to decree must be accompliehed, my mercy use, Peter's one sword is too much : “ Put must be approved, mankind must be ran. up thy sword.” Indeed, there is a temporal somed; and this cannot be done without sword; and that sword must be drawn, else my suffering. Thy well-meant valour is no wherefore is it? but drawn by him that better than a wrong to thyself, to the world, bears it; and he bears it, that is ordained to Me, to my Father. to be an avenger, " to execute wrath upon Ogracious Saviour! while thou thus him that doth evil; for he bears not the smitest thy disciple, thou healest him whom sword in vain. If another man draw it, it thy disciple smote. Many greater miracles cuts his fingers, and draws so much blood hadst thou done ; none that bewrayed more of him that unwarrantably wields it, as that mercy and meekness than this last cure : "he who takes the sword shall perish with of all other, this ear of Malchus hath the the sword.” Can I choose but wonder how loudest tongue to blazon the praise of thy Peter could thus strike unwounded ? how clemency and goodness to thy very enemies. he, whose first blow made the fray, could Wherefore came that man but in a hostile escape hewing in pieces from that band of manner to attach thee? Besides his own, ruffians ? This could not have been, if thy what favour was he worthy of for his maspower, ( Saviour, had not restrained their ter's sake? and if he had not been more rage ; if thy seasonable and sharp reproof | forward than his fellows, why had not bis had not prevented their revenge.
skin been as whole as theirs ? Yet, even Now, for aught I see, Peter smarts no amidst the throng of thine apprehenders, less than Malchus: neither is Peter's ear in the heat of their violence, in the height less smitten by the mild tongue of his Mas- of their malice, and thine own instant peril ter, than Malchus' ear by the hand of Pe- of death, thou healest that unnecessary ear ter. Weak disciple! thou hast zeal, “but which had been guilty of hearing blasphenot according to knowledge :" there is not mies against thee, and receiving cruel and more danger in this act of thine, than in- unjust charges concerning thee. O Malchus, consideration and ignorance. « The cup could thy ear be whole, and not thy heart which my Father hath given me, shall I not broken and contrite with remorse, for rising drink it?" Thou drawest thy sword to | up against so merciful and so powerful a rescue me from suffering. Alas! if I suffer hand? Could thou choose but say, O blessed not, what would become of thee? what Jesus ! I see it was thy providence that prewould become of mankind ? Where were served my head, when my ear was smitten; that eternal and just decree of my Father, it is thine Almighty power that hath mira. wherein I am a “ Lamb slain from the be. culously restored that ear of mine which I ginning of the world ?" Dost thou go about had justly forfeited: this head of mine shall to hinder thine own and the whole world's never be guilty of plotting any further misredemption ? Did I not once before call chief against thee; this ear shall never en. thee Satan, for suggesting to me this immu- tertain any more reproaches of thy name, nity from my passion ? and dost thou now this heart of mine shall ever acknowledge think to favour me with a real opposition to and magnify thy tender mercies, thy divine this great and necessary work? Canst thou | omnipotence? Could thy fellows see such