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" This day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” not only spoke comfort to the penitent thief, it also told that the hour of the Redeemer's victory
It marks him out even there as the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last who had the keys of death and hell, as him who openeth and no man shutteth, as the Lord Almighty, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.
When we read in the inspired book the records of Gethsemane, we contemplate the “
man of sorrows bowed down beneath the weight of man's transgressions, knowing all that should come upon his righteous soul, and in his agony pleading that if it were possible the bitter cup might pass from him. Let us read the sacred writers' own words,* __ Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place, a garden, 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 saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here and watch with
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me! Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation ; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my
• Matthew xxvi. 36, &c.; Mark xiv. 32, &c.; Luke xxii. 40, &c.; John xviii. 1, &c.
Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again ; for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” St. Luke informs us further, that so great, so heavy was the burden that bowed down the sinless one, that “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him; " and that “ being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly : and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
No sooner had this fearful trial ended (even whilst he was yet speaking to his disciples), than “Behold a great multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss ?" " Judas knew the place, for Jesus oftimes resorted thither with his disciples ;” and that well-known and consecrated spot, that Garden was chosen for this most awful deed of treachery. “ Then all his disciples forsook their Master and fled.” Alone must he drink that bitter cup, alope must he endure the mockery and taunts of men whom he came to redeem. Not one, not qne was there of those who with Peter had
Though all men forsake thee yet will not L" Reflect on this, reader, not that you may think. more of Gethsemane, but that you may think more and more of his love who endured all this for thee!
The view which we have given of the Garden of Gethsemane, has been copied, by permission, from the print published in Bartlett's “Walks
about the City of Jerusalem.”* A few words only are needed as descriptive of the present view of the Garden, and these we shall take from that volume—“ We descend the steep broken path into the Valley of the Kidron; and crossing its dry bed by a small arch, reach a remarkable group of objects, venerable in the traditions of the place. On our right is a stony plot of ground surrounded by a low wall, and enclosing eight olive-trees of very great antiquity. Our sketch will give an idea of the gnarled and timeworn character of these trees, supposed to be those of the Garden of Gethsemane. There is something very impressive in the whole scene. The long wall of the Temple overhangs it on one side, and the woody heights of Olivet on the other. The opening through the trees displays the angle of this wall, descending steeply into the sepulchral Valley of Jehoshaphat, whose melancholy cliffs shut in the view. The trees themselves reminded me of the celebrated cedars of Solomon, on Mount Lebanon, in the disproportionate hugeness of their venerable trunks to the thin foliage above. For ages the pilgrim has knelt and kissed them with tears, carrying thence a few of the scattered fruit, or a portion of the bark, to remind him of the spot where, for his salvation, the soul of his Redeemer was sorrowful even unto death.""
The true Christian needs not such remembrancers as the fruit or the bark of the olives of Gethsemane, to remind him of the agony of
* A very beautiful volume. The views which it contains of Jerusalem, and objects of interest within and around the city, are said to be most accurate. Published by Virtue, Ivy-lane.
his Lord. The joy and peace which, through believing in him, dwell within his heart, are the sure proofs of that Lord's suffering even unto deatb; and the recollection of what those blessings cost, adds deep humility to his grateful praise. Thou, O Lord, art worthy-thou hast redeemed us by thy precious blood I
BIBLE HISTORY OF THE JEWS.
Others of some note,
Twice by a voice inviting him to eat.—MILTON. Ar length the promised child was born, and Sarah rejoiced in a son whom she named Isaac (Laughter). Abraham was an hundred years old when Isaac was born. “ The child grew and was weaned : and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.” And Sarah saw Ishmael, now a lad of fourteen years old, mocking : jealous fears were raised in her heart against Hagar and her child, “ Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac."
And the thing was very grievous to Abraham, for he loved his son. But he was told by God to hearken to Sarah's voice in this matter. Isaac was to be, beyond the possibility
of doubt, the heir of promise.
So he rose up early in the morning, and took bread and à bottle of water, which he put upon Hagar's shoulder, and sent her away with her child. Again a wanderer in the lonely desert, the water all spent and the bread eaten, she laid her fainting child under a shrub, “and went and sat her down a good way off, as it were a bow-shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child !” And she lifted up her voice and wept. and the cry of her child were heard. “ The angel of God called to her out of heaven, saying, What aileth thee, Hagar ? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad." Her eyes were opened and she saw a well of water, from which she filled her bottle and gave the lad drink. God was with hin, and he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran * where he became an archer, and when he grew up his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
Honoured by his neighbours, one of whom, Abimelech, King of Gerar, wished to enter into covenant with him, because he saw that “ God was with him in all that he did : " and, happy in the possession of his long looked-for child, Abraham began to see the actual fulfilment of those promises, the belief of which had for so many years been the stay of his soul. But an unexpected trial of his faith awaited him. He received this command fro God.
66 Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the
* Wilderness of Paran.—That tongue of land made by the fork of the northern part of the Red Sea, afterwards famous as the scene of the wanderings of the Israelites.