ever warm and eager might seem the salutation which followed it.' Master he calls Him, not Lord. Comrade the Lord calls him; for to this honour the condescending Lord, whom he had thus deserted, had advanced him. And either He invites him to state the purpose he is now come for, or He exclaims, "For what a purpose art thou come!" Then addressing him by name, and showing that He saw through the hypocrisy of his over-acted part, the Lord charges him directly with the baseness concealed behind the mask of love. "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" The Son of God has stooped to become man, and thus He is requited.



St. John xviii. 4–9.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

Little this band of murderers reckoned upon His readiness who "was led as a lamb to the slaughter:" led too in the full consciousness of all that would follow. For this selfsurrender they were all unprepared. Twice He answers to the name by which they sought Him, though it was a name of reproach, and twice in answering He proclaims His own


The word in St. Matt. xxvi. 49, denotes the simulated fervency of his salute.

2 St. Luke xxii. 48.

3 St. John i. 46; vii. 52.

eternal name. And its first solemn mention, and the superhuman bearing of Him who claimed it, felled them to the ground. Like a later persecutor, at the sight and sound, at a momentary glimpse of His majesty and at the hearing of His voice, they fall to the earth; but, unlike Saul of Tarsus, they rise again not to repent of this their wickedness, but to persevere in their sin. But what need had they to seek for Him at all? For was not the traitor standing by, piloting them to their prey ?3 There was Judas to lead them to their quarry, and they were not all ignorant of His person whom they would apprehend. But that glimpse of His Majesty, suddenly unveiled to them for the moment, made cowards of them all. At that appearance they were all un-nerved, and, like the soldiers afterwards at His sepulchre, "did shake and became as dead men." So though they knew that He who was questioning them, He whom they were addressing, was the One they sought,-—they cannot speak but in this indirect manner, as fearing distinctly say "Thee." "When the people would have forced Him to a crown, He withdrew and hid Himself; but when they came to force Him to a cross, He offered Himself: for He came to this world to suffer, and went to the other world to reign." Now appears again His care for His own. He surrenders Himself to His murderers, but demands that His Disciples be discharged. Very interesting is this reference to His recent prayer for these. Doubtless the words are not to be restricted to their present and temporal meaning. They


1 Ex. iii. 14. "What," asks Augustiue (in S. Jo. Tr. cxii. 3) "will He do when He comes to judge, who did this when going to be judged? What can He not do when He comes to reign, who could do this when about to die?"

2" But in this instance there was a rare mixture of effects, as there was in Christ of natures; the voice of a man, and the power of a God."-Jer. Taylor, Life of Christ, ad Sect. xv. 3 Acts ii. 16.

4 Psa. xxvii. 2.

› Henry.


[ocr errors]

Grotius refers here to 1 Chr. xxi.

17. David was here a type of Christ,
a good king careful not for himself
but for his people. He shows too His
power, commanding their release.
7 St. John xvii. 12.

8 Alford here observes "that to fulfil is not to exhaust a prophecy; that the words of the Lord have many stages of unfolding; and that the temporal deliverance of the Apostles now, doubtless belonged to the great spiritual safe-keeping which the Lord asserted by anticipation in these words."

are an carnest of future and everlasting deliverance. But the Lord who knew their present weakness,' while satisfied of their sincerity, knew what was necessary to develope in them future strength. Now He keeps them safe under His feathers, and shelters them under the shadow of His wing. When grown strong and as it were full-fledged, He sends them forth to overcome that wicked one,2 and even to lay down their lives for His sake.



St. Matthew xxvi. 50 (latter clause)-54.

Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

Though their wicked will was to take Him, yet were they impotent till He surrendered Himself.3 Now the Disciples seem first to realize what was about to follow. "Lord," they ask, "shall we smite with the sword?" And without waiting for His answer, in an excess of misplaced zeal, one of them straightway proceeds to draw his sword and smite. It is impetuous Peter. Too literally had he interpreted his Lord's spiritual saying,-"proverbial, and prophetic of their approaching bereavement, and provided himself with a carnal weapon. He had boasted too, we may remember, what

11 Cor. x. 13.
21 St. John ii. 14.
3 St. John x. 18.

4 St. Luke xxii. 49.
5 St. John xviii. 10.
St. Luke xxii. 35-38.



he would be ready in such extremity to do;1 and now he rashly thinks to make proof of it. Forward where he should have been cautious, and timorous when he might have been bold. Thus he thought to show that he could follow Christ "now." " From another of the Evangelists also we learn the name of the man who thus received damage at the hand of Peter, and healing from the touch of Christ. He states also particularly that it was the right ear thus struck off and restored. The Lord, as it were, apologizes to His enemies for this act on the part of one of His followers,* whose safe dismissal He had just demanded. With a touch He heals the wound, and makes the maimed whole. Then He addresses Himself to His rash Disciple, and bids him sheath his sword." "Put up again thy sword into his place." Here it was plainly out of place. On the part of Peter this would be but prudence. Such rashness draws after it its own retribution. But as concerns himself, He needs no such intervention. He asks that question of noble sufferance, "The cup that my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" Against this band Peter was powerless. But a multitude of the Heavenly Host were ready, if need be, to be summoned. He had but to express the wish, and in the place of twelve poor Apostles, a more than equal number of legions of angels, more legions than Rome could muster,

1 St. Luke xxii. 31-36.

2 St. John xiii. 36, 37.

3 What a challenge is here concerning the credibility of the history! Could any but one well acquainted with the facts have thus ventured even to mention names? It is evident that this was a person of some consideration. It is not one of the servants," as afterwards (St. John xviii. 26), but "the servant of the High Priest."

+ St. Luke xxii. 51. 5 St. John xviii. 8.


6 It is curious and instructive to note the artifices and evasions of Roman apologists in their anxiety to defend St. Peter here, and also to justify their own persecution of here


tics. Some of these are cited by Lampe.

St. John xviii. 11. "An expression explained by His Prayer recited in the other Gospels, Matt. xxvi. 39; Mark xiv. 36; Luke xxii. 42."-Bp. Wordsworth. See also St. Matt. xx. 22, 23.

8 Grotius sees in it an allusion to the Roman military state, in which twelve legions constituted a perfect army. "What could this pitiful body of men have done to prejudice His life, who, with much more ease than Peter drew his sword, could have summoned more Angels to His assistance, than there were legions of men marching under the Roman eagles?" -South, Post. Ser. L.

would, by that Father whose will He came to do,1 be despatched to His rescue. This suppression of power 2 is the fulfilment of prophecy. It was enough for the Son that the cup of suffering was held out to him by His Father. This alone would reconcile Him to any sorrow. He had put it to His lips: He will drink it to the dregs. He had counted the cost, and would not shrink from the contest. He had begun, and would make an end. He had opened His mouth to the Lord, and would not go back. Let this thought too reconcile us to our lot.3 If,-to compare for one moment small things with great, things human with things that are Divine,-if in old times the warrior must return victorious, or not return at all; bring his shield home, or be borne home upon it for his bier; if in days of yore, those to whom a charge of chivalry was given dare not in honour return till it was accomplished; if even now he who is sent forth by the Sovereign on any mission, or placed by his Commander in any post, may not shrink from the duty assigned, nor return with it undone ;-shall we be less careful in the charges which our Heavenly Father and King assigns? How then should we lift up our head in the assembly of the Saints when we have fainted, or turned craven, or put aside the bitter cup which He appoints, for the pleasurable but deadly potion which the father of lies proffers in its place?




St. Mark xiv. 48-52.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me

Heb. x. 7; St. John vi. 38.

See Abp. Trench's sonnet beginning,

"He might have built a palace at a word."

3 St. Luke ix 62.

See Abp. Trench's lines beginning, "This or on this."

« ElőzőTovább »