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his death and resurrection; that being made perfect in faith, to them also might be extended the affection, which God had born to his Son; and that the Spirit of Christ might dwell in them, to animate and support them in the work of the Lord.
Such is the substance of our Saviour's prayer to God for his disciples. Cold indeed must be the heart, in which some spark of religious feeling, some return of affection is not excited by the perusal of an address so full of dignity and love ; love, not from one man towards another, but from the Creator to his creature. “ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out * !"
The concluding chapters of St. John's Gospel are taken up with a more particular relation of the circumstances attending the crucifixion and resurrection of our Saviour; some of which had been omitted, or less explicitly stated, by the other evangelists. The narrative itself is so plain, that in general it needs, or indeed admits of little illustration. But wonderful as these things are, they are not related to excite our admiration; but to settle our faith. For this is, as it were, the seal and ratification of our salvation. “ If Christ be not raised," saith St. Paul, “our faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins *." It is not possible for the mind of man adequately to conceive the greatness of the sacrifice, or the importance of its effects. These things are mysteries for angels to admire.
* Rom. ii. 33.
Ver. 1. There are in this part of the subject also some particulars, to which it may not be improper to advert. And first, respecting the time, and place, in which Jesus was taken. To a superficial reader it may seem extraordinary that he should be found walking in a garden after it was dark, so that they, who were sent to apprehend him, came“ with lanterns and torches.” But we have seen before, that when he went up to attend the Jewish festivals, it was his custom to reside at Bethany, a village about two miles distant from Jerusalem, whither he retired at night after the religious ceremonies of the day were finished t. Judas therefore, having undertaken to deliver Jesus secretly into the hands of his persecutors, could not have chosen a more favorable opportunity for the execution of his purpose, than by waylaying him on his accustomed path over the brook Cedron, through the garden of Gethsemane* (perhaps an orchard of olives) bordering upon the hill, on the other side of which was situated Bethany. Jesus's agony, and prayer for deliverance, accompanied by his most perfect submission to the will of the Father, are omitted by St. John, probably for no other reason, but that they had already been recorded in the well-known histories of the three other evangelists.
* 1 Cor. xv. 17.
† Chap. viii. 1. from Luke xxi. 37.
Ver. 6. At the sixth verse we read, that as soon as Jesus had said to those, who came to apprehend him, “I am he; they went backward and fell to the ground.” Those who look for a miracle in every occurrence, have no difficulty in attributing this to some supernatural effect of divine power. But a juster interpretation may perhaps be drawn from the ordinary language of Scripture, in which the same words t, with little variation, are used to signify“ bowing down in act of reverence.” So our Saviour himself, as it is related by St. Matthew, “ fell on his face, and prayed *;" or, as it is in St. Mark's Gospel, “ fell on the ground, and prayed t." In like manner the disciples who were present at the Transfiguration, and heard the voice out of the cloud," fell on their faces, and were sore afraid .” In the Old Testament, Job, it is said, “ fell down upon the ground, and worshipped g ;” and Balaam, when his eyes were opened, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, “ bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face ll." Now, of those who came with Judas some might have been believers, or half believers, or certainly were not unacquainted with the character and pretensions of Jesus. Thus prepared in their minds, they might very naturally have been struck with the dignity and simplicity of his confession, and unable to restrain this expression of their respect, or fear, which, to such among them as were Jews, may have been heightened by the use of the very terms in which God had formerly been made known to them *. Something very similar to this has already been noticed on a former occasion, when the officers sent by the chief priests and pharisees to apprehend Jesus, returned without effecting their purpose; and being asked “Why have ye not brought him ?" The officers answered, “Never man spake like this man t.” That the “ band of men” should have been miraculously thrown down upon the pronunciation of Jesus's words, may, without presumption, be thought an unnecessary and unprofitable display of miraculous power. Immediately follows the account of Simon Peter drawing a sword in defence of his Master, and cutting off the ear of the High Priest's servant. St. John only adds that the servant's name was Malchus. But St. Luke informs us besides, that Jesus “touched his ear, and healed him.” Now, if this miraculous cure preceded the question of Jesus, “whom seek ye?" and his subsequent declaration, “I am he;" which the order of the narrative in the other Gospels renders not improbable; it might afford
* Matt. xxvi. 36.
+ επεσεν επι προσωπον-επεσεν επι την γην-πεσων χαμαι IT POOEKUVNOE. These expressions occur in many passages of the Septuagint, and of the New Testament.
In all of them προσεκυvnde is either put in, or understood. The same is found also in Josephus, οι δε πεσοντες επι την γην προσεκύνησαν. (Αnt. 7, 14, 11.) And similar to this is the use of the word a poo ALT VW familiar to the Greek tragedians, in the sense of supplicating.
* Matt. xxvi. 39. + Mark xiv. 35. I Matt. xvii. 6. § Job i. 20.
|| Numb. xxii. 31.