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shall be partakers of it, that God, the Messiah, and all true Christians, may form a spiritual kingdom on earth, and an eternal one in heaven.
Our LÒRD once more declared, that he had pre. existence with the Father before the foundation of the
rld. The conclasion of this excellent prayer was a solemn confirmation to his apostles, that what he , had formerly taught them concerning God was true; accompanied with a promise, that he would afford them farther knowledge of the perfections and will of God; that through the love of the Father to himself, his love for his disciples, and theirs for him, a spiritual intercourse might be preserved when his bodily presence was removed. Let us frequently and diligently meditate on this excellent prayer, and may Divine grace make it eflectual to our benefit !
Matt. Chap. xxvi.-- Fohn, xiii.- Luke, xxii.
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scata tered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go
Simon Peter said unto him, LORD, Whither goest thou ? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst pot follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards,
Peter said unto him, LORD, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake, I am ready to go with thee both to prison and to death.
Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked you any thing? And they said, Nothing.
Then said he unto them, But now he that hath a purse, let him take it'; and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me. And he was reckoned among the transgressors : for the things concerning me have an end.
And they said, LORD, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is es pugh.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
In the beginning of this section our Lord. seems to allude to a passage in the prophecy of Zechariah, see Zech. ch. xiii. Simon Peter certainly had a very zealous attachment to his Divine Master, but he forgot that the infirmities of human nature make all men liable to temptations, which they cannot overcome by their own strength, unassisted by Divine grace. Our Lord informed. Peter, that he would shortly be exposed to such a temptation as he could form no idea of at presents GS
when Satan, the great enemy of souls, would endeavour to take advantage of him, by tempting him to apostatize; but that he, foreseeing this danger, had already prayed to his FATHER, that Peter's faith might not sink under a trial so severe.
Qur LORD then exhorted Peter to retain ever after. wards a constant remembrance of the mercy vouchsafed to him, and to endeavour as much as possible, to engage all, over whom he should have any influence, to be steady to the Christian cause.
Peter, still confident of his own strength, expressed himself with great eagerness and warmth ; on which our Lord assured him, that he knew not his own heart : for, so far from following him to prison and to death, he would shortly disclaim all connexion with him.
In order to strengthen the faith of his apostles, our LORD appealed to their own experience, whether they had, when he sent them forth, been in want of any thing necessary for the support of life? To which they replied, that they had not. He told them, that the case would be altered : for, instead of finding in every place the hearts of strangers disposed to receive them, they would be exposed to great sufferings and dangers in the prosecution of their ministry : it was, therefore, necessary that they should be well armed and furnished for the conflicting scenes they would be engaged in; for the time was approaching, when Isaiah's prediction, that " he shall pour out his soul unto death, and be nunbered with the transgressors," should be fulfilled, by his being executed as a malefactor, and all that was predicted concerning him should suddenly be accomplished.
From our Lord's expression, “ He that hath no sword, let bim sell bis garment and buy one," his disciples sup6
posed, that he wished them to provide each man his weapon, in order to defend him against his pursuers : but he shewed that he had no such desire, by saying, that trwo swords, which were all they had among eleven of them, were sufficient. His words seem to intimate, that during the time of his sufferings, and absence from them, they should be left to provide for their own necessities, by natural means; and were not to depend either on miracles, or the benevolence of others, for their support.; and that in case they were attacked to the hazard of their lives, they might defend themselves as their own natural courage should suggest. If this was our Lord's meaning, we may infer from the text of Scripture we are considering, that there are occa. sions, on which it is not only lawful, but expedient, for Christians to have recourse to arms. Those occasions we may judge to be, when they have no other means of preserving the lives of themselves or families; when the country they inhabit is in danger of invasion; or when an open attempt is made to extirpate Christianity and introduce heathenism.
Our Lord certainly never meant that his holy reli. gion, whose principal object was, “Peace and GOODWILL to men,” should be propagated by fire and sword : or that Christians should engage in civil wars to maintain different modes of Faith. On the contrary, the Apostles were expressly commanded by our Lord him. self, not to resist the persecutions of their countrymen the Jews, by violent methods, but to flee from city to city to avoid them. And the Holy Spirit afterwards taught the Apostles, to consider themselves as engaged in a spiritual warfare, in which they were to make use of none but spiritual armour *.
* Ephes. vi. 14, 16, 376
OUR LORD'S AGONY IN THE GARDEN.
From John, Chap. xviii.-Matt. xxvi. Luke, xxii.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
And he took with him Peter, and James, and John, and began to be sorrowful, and very heavy.
Then said he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray, that ye enter not into temptation.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood fall. ing down to the ground.
And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith onto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou. watch one hour ?
Watch ye and pray, lest .ye enter into temptation : the spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak,