Gethsemane - [1](No. 493) -  Delivered on Sunday Morning, February 8th, 1863, by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON - 09/12/2004

  Gethsemane - [1](No. 493) -  Delivered on Sunday Morning, February 8th, 1863, by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON - 09/12/2004

   "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."--Luke 22:44.

   FEW HAD FELLOWSHIP with the sorrows of Gethsemane. The majority of the disciples were not there. They were not sufficiently advanced in grace to be admitted to behold the mysteries of "the agony."

   Occupied with the Passover feast at their own houses, they represent the many who
   live upon the letter, but are mere babes and sucklings as to the
   spirit of the gospel. The walls of Gethsemane fitly typify that
   weakness in grace which effectually shuts in the deeper marvels of
   communion from the gaze of ordinary believers. To twelve, nay, to
   eleven only was the privilege given to enter Gethsemane and see this
   great sight. Out of the eleven, eight were left at some distance; they
   had fellowship, but not of that intimate sort to which the men greatly
   beloved are admitted. Only three highly favored ones, who had been
   with him on the mount of transfiguration, and had witnessed the
   life-giving miracle in the house of Jairus--only these three could
   approach the veil of his mysterious sorrow: within that veil even
   these must not intrude; a stone's-cast distance must be left between.
   He must tread the wine-press alone, and of the people there must be
   none with him. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, represent the few
   eminent, experienced, grace-taught saints, who may be written down as
   "Fathers;" these having done business on great waters, can in some
   degree, measure the huge Atlantic waves of their Redeemer's passion;
   having been much alone with him, they can read his heart far better
   than those who merely see him amid the crowd. To some selected spirits
   it is given, for the good of others, and to strengthen them for some
   future, special, and tremendous conflict, to enter the inner circle
   and hear the pleadings of the suffering High priest; they have
   fellowship with him in his sufferings, and are made conformable unto
   his death. Yet I say, even these, the elect out of the elect, these
   choice and peculiar favourites among the kings courtiers, even these
   cannot penetrate the secret places of the Savior's woe, so as to
   comprehend all his agonies. "Thine unknown sufferings" is the
   remarkable expression of the Greek liturgy; for there is an inner
   chamber in his grief, shut out from human knowledge and fellowship.
   Was it not here that Christ was more than ever an "Unspeakable gift"
   to us? Is not Watts right when he sings--

   "And all the unknown joys he gives,

   Were bought with agonies unknown."

   Since it would not be possible for any believer, however experienced,
   to know for himself all that our Lord endured in the place of the
   olivepress, when he was crushed beneath the upper and the nether
   mill-stone of mental suffering and hellish malice, it is clearly far
   beyond the preacher's capacity to set it forth to you. Jesus himself
   must give you access to the wonders of Gethsemane: as for me, I can
   but invite you to enter the garden, bidding you put your shoes from
   off your feet, for the place whereon we stand is holy ground. I am
   neither Peter, nor James, nor John, but one who would fain like them
   drink of the Master's cup, and be baptized with his baptism. I have
   hitherto advanced only so far as yonder band of eight, but there I
   have listened to the deep groanings of the man of sorrows. Some of
   you, my venerable friends, may have learned far more than I; but you
   will not refuse to hear again the roarings of the many waters which
   strove to quench the love of the Great Husband of our souls.

   Several matters will require our brief consideration. Come Holy
   Spirit, breathe light into our thoughts, life into our words.

   I. Come hither and behold the SAVIOR'S UNUTTERABLE WOE.

   The emotions of that dolorous night are expressed by several words in
   Scripture. John describes him as saying four days before his passion,
   "Now is my soul troubled," as he marked the gathering clouds he hardly
   knew where to turn himself, and cried out "What shall I say?" Matthew
   writes of him, "he began to be sorrowful and very heavy." Upon the
   word ademonein translated "very heavy," Goodwin remarks that there was
   a distraction in the Savior's agony since the root of the word
   signifies "separated from the people--men in distraction, being
   separated from mankind." What a thought, my brethren, that our blessed
   Lord should be driven to the very verge of distraction by the
   intensity of his anguish. Matthew represents the Savior himself as
   saying "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Here the
   word Perilupos means encompassed, encircled, overwhelmed with grief.
   "He was plunged head and ears in sorrow and had no breathing-hole," is
   the strong expression of Goodwin. Sin leaves no cranny for comfort to
   enter, and therefore the sin-bearer must be entirely immersed in woe.
   Clark records that he began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy.
   In this case thambeisthai, with the prefix ek, shows extremity of
   amazement like that of Moses when he did exceedingly fear and quake. O
   blessed Savior, how can we bear to think of thee as a man astonished
   and alarmed! Yet was it even so when the terrors of God set themselves
   in array against thee. Luke uses the strong language of my
   text--"being in an agony." These expressions, each of them worthy to
   be the theme of a discourse, are quite sufficient to show that the
   grief of the Savior was of the most extraordinary character; well
   justifying the prophetic exclamation "Behold and see if there be any
   sorrow like unto my sorrow which was done unto me." He stands before
   us peerless in misery. None are molested by the powers of evil as he
   was; as if the powers of hell had given commandment to their legions,
   "Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king himself."

   Should we profess to understand all the sources of our Lord's agony,
   wisdom would rebuke us with the question "Hast thou entered into the
   springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in search of the depths?" We
   cannot do more than look at the revealed causes of grief. It partly
   arose from the horror of his soul when fully comprehending the meaning
   of sin. Brethren, when you were first convinced of sin and saw it as a
   thing exceeding sinful, though your perception of its sinfulness was
   but faint compared with its real heinousness, yet horror took hold
   upon you. Do you remember those sleepless nights? Like the Psalmist,
   you said "My bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long, for
   day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture is turned into
   the drought of summer." Some of us can remember when our souls chose
   strangling rather than life; when if the shadows of death could have
   covered us from the wrath of God we would have been too glad to sleep
   in the grave that we might not make our bed in hell. Our blessed Lord
   saw sin in its natural blackness. He had a most distinct perception of
   its treasonable assault upon his God, its murderous hatred to himself,
   and its destructive influence upon mankind. Well might horror take
   hold upon him, for a sight of sin must be far more hideous than a
   sight of hell, which is but its offspring.

   Another deep fountain of grief was found in the fact that Christ now
   assumed more fully his official position with regard to sin. He was
   now made sin. Hear the word! he, who knew no sin, was made sin for us,
   that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. In that night
   the words of Isaiah were fulfilled--"The Lord hath laid on him the
   iniquity of us all." Now he stood as the sin-bearer, the substitute
   accepted by Divine justice to bear that we might never bear the whole
   of wrath divine. At that hour heaven looked on him as standing in the
   sinner's stead, and treated as sinful man had richly deserved to be
   treated. Oh! dear friends, when the immaculate Lamb of God found
   himself in the place of the guilty, when he could not repudiate that
   place because he had voluntarily accepted it in order to save his
   chosen, what must his soul have felt, how must his perfect nature have
   been shocked at such close association with iniquity?

   We believe that at this time, our Lord had a very clear view of all
   the shame and suffering of his crucifixion. The agony was but one of
   the first drops of the tremendous shower which discharged itself upon
   his head. He foresaw the speedy coming of the traitor-disciple, the
   seizure by the officers, the mock-trials before the Sanhedrim, and
   Pilate, and Herod, the scourging and buffeting, the crown of thorns,
   the shame, the spitting. All these rose up before his mind, and, as it
   is a general law of our nature that the foresight of trial is more
   grievous than trial itself, we can conceive how it was that he who
   answered not a word when in the midst of the conflict, could not
   restrain himself from strong crying and tears in the prospect of it.
   Beloved friends, if you can revive before your mind's eye the terrible
   incidents of his death the hounding through the streets of Jerusalem,
   the nailing to the cross, the fever, the thirst, and, above all,
   forsaking of his God, you cannot marvel that he began to be very
   heavy, and was sore amazed.

   But possibly a yet more fruitful tree of bitterness was this--that now
   his Father began to withdraw his presence from him. The shadow of that
   great eclipse began to fall upon his spirit when he knelt in that cold
   midnight amidst the olives of Gethsemane. The sensible comforts which
   had cheered his spirit were taken away; that blessed application of
   promises which Christ Jesus needed as a man, was removed, all that we
   understand by the term "consolations of God" were hidden from his
   eyes. He was left single-handed in his weakness to contend for the
   deliverance of man. The Lord stood by as if he were an indifferent
   spectator, or rather, as if he were an adversary, he wounded him "with
   the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one."

   But in our judgment the fiercest heat of the Savior's suffering in the
   garden lay in the temptations of Satan. That hour above any time in
   his life, even beyond the forty days' conflict in the wilderness, was
   the time of his temptation. "This is your hour and the power of
   darkness." Now could he emphatically say, "The prince of this world
   cometh." This was his last hand-to-hand fight with all the hosts of
   hell, and here must he sweat great drops of blood before the victory
   can be achieved.

   We have glanced at the fountains of the great deep which were broken
   up when the floods of grief deluged the Redeemer's soul. Brethren,
   this one lesson ere we pass from the contemplation. "We have not an
   high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our
   infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
   sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we
   may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Let us
   reflect that no suffering can be unknown to him. We do but run with
   footmen--he had to contend with horsemen; we do but wade up to our
   ankles in shallow streams of sorrow--he had to buffet with the
   swellings of Jordan. He will never fail to succor his people when
   tempted; even as it was said of old, "In all their affliction he was
   afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them."

   II. Turn we next to contemplate THE TEMPTATION OF OUR LORD.

   At the outset of his career, the serpent began to nibble at the heel
   of the promised deliverer; and now as the time approached when the
   seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, that old dragon
   made a desperate attempt upon his great destroyer. It is not possible
   for us to lift the veil where revelation has permitted it to fall, but
   we can form some faint idea of the suggestions with which Satan
   tempted our Lord. Let us, however, remark by way of caution, before we
   attempt to paint this picture, that whatever Satan may have suggested
   to our Lord, his perfect nature did not in any degree whatever submit
   to it so as to sin. The temptations were, doubtless, of the very
   foulest character, but they left no speck or flaw upon him, who
   remained still the fairest among ten thousand. The prince of this
   world came, but he had nothing in Christ. He struck the sparks, but
   they did not fall, as in our case, upon dry tinder; they fell as into
   the sea, and were quenched at once. He hurled the fiery arrows, but
   they could not even scar the flesh of Christ; they smote upon the
   buckler of his perfectly righteous nature, and they fell off with
   their points broken, to the discomfiture of the adversary.

   But what, think you, were these temptations? It strikes me, from some
   hints given, that they were somewhat as follows--there was, first, a
   temptation to leave the work unfinished; we may gather this from the
   prayer--"If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." "Son of God,"
   the tempter said, "is it so? Art thou really called to bear the sin of
   man? Hath God said, 'I have laid help upon one that is mighty,' and
   art thou he, the chosen of God, to bear all this load? Look at thy
   weakness! Thou sweatest, even now, great drops of blood; surely thou
   art not he whom the Father hath ordained to be mighty to save; or if
   thou be, what wilt thou win by it? What will it avail thee? Thou hast
   glory enough already. See what miscreants they are for whom thou art
   to offer up thyself a sacrifice. Thy best friends are asleep about
   thee when most thou needest their comfort; thy treasurer, Judas, is
   hastening to betray thee for the price of a common slave. The world
   for which thou sacrificest thyself will cast out thy name as evil, and
   thy Church, for which thou dost pay the ransom-price, what is it
   worth? A company of mortals! Thy divinity could create the like any
   moment it pleaseth thee; why needest thou, then, pour out thy soul
   unto death?" Such arguments would Satan use; the hellish craft of one
   who had then been thousands of years tempting men, would know how to
   invent all manner of mischief. He would pour the hottest coals of hell
   upon the Savior. It was in struggling with this temptation, among
   others, that, being in an agony, our Savior prayed more earnestly.

   Scripture implies that our Lord was assailed by the fear that his
   strength would not be sufficient. He was heard in that he feared. How,
   then, was he heard? An angel was sent unto him strengthening him. His
   fear, then, was probably produced by a sense of weakness. I imagine
   that the foul fiend would whisper in his ear--"Thou! thou endure to be
   smitten of God and abhorred of men! Reproach hath broken thy heart
   already; how wilt thou bear to be publicly put to shame and driven
   without the city as an unclean thing? How wilt thou bear to see thy
   weeping kinsfolk and thy broken-hearted mother standing at the foot of
   thy cross? Thy tender and sensitive spirit will quail under it. As for
   thy body, it is already emaciated; thy long fastings have brought thee
   very low; thou wilt become a prey to death long ere thy work is done.
   Thou wilt surely fail. God hath forsaken thee. Now will they persecute
   and take thee; they will give up thy soul to the lion, and thy darling
   to the power of the dog." Then would he picture all the sufferings of
   crucifixion, and say, "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be
   strong in the day when the Lord shall deal with thee?" The temptation
   of Satan was not directed against the Godhead, but the manhood of
   Christ, and therefore the fiend would probably dwell upon the
   feebleness of man. "Didst thou not say thyself, 'I am a worm and no
   man, the reproach of men and the despised of the people?' How wilt
   thou bear it when the wrath-clouds of God gather about thee? The
   tempest will surely shipwreck all thy hopes. It cannot be; thou
   canstnot drink of this cup, nor be baptized wiit this baptism." In
   this manner, we think, was our Master tried. But see he yields not to
   it. Being in an agony, which word means in a wrest ring, he struggles
   with the tempter like Jacob with the angel. "Nay," saith he, "I will
   not be subdued by taunts of my weakness; I am strong in the strength
   of my Godhead, I will overcome thee yet." Yet was the temptation so
   awful, that, in order to master it, his mental depression caused him
   to "sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

   Possibly, also, the temptation may have arisen from a suggestion that
   he was utterly forsaken. I do not know--there may be sterner trials
   than this, but surely this is one of the worst, to be utterly
   forsaken. "See," said Satan, as he hissed it out between his
   teeth--"see, thou hast a friend nowhere! Look up to heaven, thy Father
   hath shut up the bowels of his compassion against thee. Not an angel
   in thy Father's courts will stretch out his hand to help thee. Look
   thou yonder, not one of those spirits who honored thy birth will
   interfere to protect thy life. All heaven is false to thee; thou art
   left alone. And as for earth, do not all men thirst for thy blood?
   Will not the Jew be gratified to see thy flesh torn with nails, and
   will not the Roman gloat himself when thou, the King of the Jews, art
   fastened to the cross? Thou hast no friend among the nations; the high
   and mighty scoff at thee, and the poor thrust out their tongues in
   derision. Thou hadst not where to lay thy head when thou wast in thy
   best estate; thou hast no place now where shelter will be given thee.
   See the companions with whom thou hast taken sweet counsel, what are
   they worth? Son of Mary, see there thy brother James, see there thy
   loved disciple John, and thy bold Apostle Peter--they sleep, they
   sleep; and yonder eight, how the cowards sleep when thou art in thy
   sufferings! And where are the four hundred others? They have forgotten
   thee; they will be at their farms and their merchandize by morning.
   Lo! thou hast no friend left in heaven or earth. All hell is against
   thee. I have stirred up mine infernal den. I have sent my missives
   throughout all regions summoning every prince of darkness to set upon
   thee this night, and we will spare no arrows, we will use all our
   infernal might to overwhelm thee; and what wilt thou do, thou solitary
   one?" It may be, this was the temptation; I think it was, because the
   appearance of an angel unto him strengthening him removed that fear.
   He was heard in that he feared; he was no more alone, but heaven was
   with him. It may be that this is the reason of his coming three times
   to his disciples--as Hart puts it--

   "Backwards and forwards thrice he ran

   As if he sought some help from man."

   He would see for himself whether it was really true that all men had
   forsaken him; he found them all asleep; but perhaps he gained some
   faint comfort from the thought that they were sleeping, not from
   treachery, but from sorrow, the spirit indeed was willing, but the
   flesh was weak.

   We think Satan also assaulted our Lord with a bitter taunt indeed. You
   know in what guise the tempter can dress it, and how bitterly
   sarcastic he can make the insinuation--"Ah! thou wilt not be able to
   achieve the redemption of thy people. Thy grand benevolence will prove
   a mockery, and thy beloved ones will perish. Thou shalt not prevail to
   save them from my grasp. Thy scattered sheep shall surely be my prey.
   Son of David, I am a match for thee; thou canst not deliver out of my
   hand. Many of thy chosen have entered heaven on the strength of thine
   atonement, but I will drag them thence, and quench the stars of glory;
   I will thin the courts of heaven of the choristers of God, for thou
   wilt not fulfill thy suretyship; thou canst not do it. Thou art not
   able to bring up all this great people; they will perish yet. See, are
   not the sheep scattered now that the Shepherd is smitten? They will
   all forget thee. Thou wilt never see of the travail of thy soul. Thy
   desired end will never be reached. Thou wilt be for ever the man that
   began to build but was not able to finish." Perhaps this is more truly
   the reason why Christ went three times to look at his disciples. You
   have seen a mother; she is very faint, weary with a heavy sickness,
   but she labors under a sore dread that her child will die. She has
   started from her couch, upon which disease had thrown her, to snatch a
   moment's rest. She gazes anxiously upon her child. She marks the
   faintest sign of recovery. But she is sore sick herself, and cannot
   remain more than an instant from her own bed. She cannot sleep, she
   tosses painfully, for her thoughts wander; she rises to gaze
   again--"How art thou, my child, how art thou? Are those palpitations
   of thy heart less violent? Is thy pulse more gentle? "But, alas! she
   is faint, and she must go to her bed again, yet she can get no rest.
   She will return again and again to watch the loved one. So, methinks,
   Christ looked upon Peter, and James, and John, as much as to say, "No,
   they are not all lost yet; there are three left," and, looking upon
   them as the type of all the Church, he seemed to say--"No, no; I will
   overcome; I will get the mastery; I will struggle even unto blood; I
   will pay the ransom-price, and deliver my darlings from their foe."

   Now these, methinks, were his temptations. If you can form a fuller
   idea of what they were than this, then right happy shall I be. With
   this one lesson I leave the point--"Pray that ye enter not into
   temptation." This is Christ's own expression; his own deduction from
   his trial. You have all read, dear friends, John Bunyan's picture of
   Christian fighting, with Apollyon. That master-painter has sketched it
   to the very life. He says, though "this sore combat lasted for above
   half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent, I never saw
   him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived
   he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword; then indeed, he did
   smile and look upward! But it was the dreadfullest sight I ever saw."
   That is the meaning of that prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." Oh
   you that go recklessly where you are tempted, you that pray for
   afflictions--and I have known some silly enough to do that--you that
   put yourselves where you tempt the devil to tempt you, take heed from
   the Master's own example. He sweats great drops of blood when he is
   tempted. Oh! pray God to spare you such trial. Pray this morning and
   every day, "Lead me not into temptation."

   III. Behold, dear brethren, THE BLOODY SWEAT.

   We read, that "he sweat as it were great drops of blood." Hence a few
   writers have supposed that the sweat was not actually blood, but had
   the appearance of it. That interpretation, however, has been rejected
   by most commentators, from Augustine downward, and it is generally
   held that the words "as it were" do not only set forth likeness to
   blood, but signify that it was actually and literally blood. We find
   the same idiom used in the text--"We beheld his glory, the glory as of
   the only-begotten of the Father." Now, clearly, this does not mean
   that Christ was like the only-begotten of the Father, since he is
   really so. So that generally this expression of Holy Scripture sets
   forth, not a mere likeness to a thing, but the very thing itself. We
   believe, then, that Christ did really sweat blood. This phenomenon,
   though somewhat unusual, has been witnessed in other persons. There
   are several cases on record, some in the old medicine books of Galen,
   and others of more recent date, of persons who after long weakness,
   under fear of death have sweat blood. But this case is altogether one
   by itself for several reasons. If you will notice, he not only sweat
   blood, but it was in great drops; the blood coagulated, and formed
   large masses. I cannot better express what is meant than by the word
   "gouts"--big, heavy drops. This has not been seen in any case. Some
   slight effusions of blood have been known in cases of persons who were
   previously enfeebled, but great drops never. When it is said "falling
   to the ground"--it shows their copiousness, so that they not only
   stood upon the surface and were sucked up by his garments till he
   became like the red heifer which was slaughtered on that very spot,
   but the drops fell to the ground. Here he stands unrivalled. He was a
   man in good health, only about thirty years of age, and was laboring
   under no fear of death; but the mental pressure arising from his
   struggle with temptation, and the straining of all his strength, in
   order to baffle the temptation of Satan, so forced his frame to an
   unnatural excitement, that his pores sent forth great drops of blood
   which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have
   been the weight of sin when it was able so to crush the Savior that he
   distilled drops of blood! This proves too, my brethren, the mighty
   power of his love. It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac
   Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is
   always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices
   when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by
   the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when
   there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness
   of Christ's sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely.
   No need to put on the leech, or apply the knife; it flows
   spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry "Spring up, O well;" of
   itself it flows in crimson torrents. Dearly beloved friends, if men
   suffer some frightful pain of mind--I am not acquainted with the
   medical matter--apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks
   are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward, as if to
   nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our
   Savior in his agony; he is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead
   of his agony driving his blood to the heart to nourish himself, it
   drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as
   it pours him out upon the ground, pictures the fullness of the
   offering which he made for men.

   Do you not perceive, my brethren, how intense must have been the
   wrestling through which he passed, and will you not hear its voice to
   you?--"Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." It
   has been the lot of some of us to have sore temptations--else we did
   not know how to teach others--so sore that in wrestling against them
   the cold, clammy sweat has stood upon our brow. The place will never
   be forgotten by me--a lonely spot; where, musing upon my God, an awful
   rush of blasphemy went over my soul, till I would have preferred death
   to the trial; and I fell on my knees there and then, for the agony was
   awful, while my hand was at my mouth to keep the blasphemies from
   being spoken. Once let Satan be permitted really to try you with a
   temptation to blasphemy, and you will never forget it, though you live
   till your hairs are blanched; or let him attack you with some lust,
   and though you hate and loathe the very thought of it, and would lose
   your right arm sooner than indulge in it, yet it will come, and hunt,
   and persecute, and torment you. Wrestle against it even unto sweat, my
   brethren, yea, even unto blood. None of you should say, "I could not
   help it; I was tempted." Resist till you sweat blood rather than sin.
   Do not say, "I was so pressed with it; and it so suited my natural
   temperament, that I could not help falling into it." Look at the great
   Apostle and High Priest of your profession, and sweat even to blood
   rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls. Pray that ye
   enter not into temptation, so that when ye enter into it ye may with
   confidence say, "Lord, I did not seek this, therefore help me through
   with it, for thy name's sake."

   IV. I want you, in the fourth place, to notice THE SAVIOR'S PRAYER.

   Dear friends, when we are tempted and desire to overcome, the best
   weapon is prayer. When you cannot use the sword and the shield, take
   to yourself the famous weapon of All-prayer. So your Savior did. Let
   us notice his prayer. It was lonely prayer. He withdrew even from his
   three best friends about a stone's cast. Believer, especially in
   temptation, be much in solitary prayer. As private prayer is the key
   to open heaven, so is it the key to shut the gates of hell. As it is a
   shield to prevent, so is it the sword with which to fight against
   temptation. Family-prayer, social prayer, prayer in the Church, will
   not suffice, these are very precious, but the best beaten spice will
   smoke in your censer in your private devotions, where no ear hears but
   God. Betake yourselves to solitude if you would overcome.

   Mark, too, it was humble prayer. Luke says he knelt, but another
   evangelist says he fell on his face. What! does the King fall on his
   face? Where, then, must be thy place, thou humble servant of the great
   Master? Doth the Prince fall flat to the ground? Where, then, wilt
   thou lie? What dust and ashes shall cover thy head? What sackcloth
   shall gird thy loins? Humility gives us good foot-hold in prayer.
   There is no hope of any real prevalence with God, who casteth down the
   proud, unless we abase ourselves that he may exalt us in due time.

   Further, it was filial prayer. Matthew describes him as saying "O my
   Father," and Mark puts it, "Abba, Father." You will find this always a
   stronghold in the day of trial to plead your adoption. Hence that
   prayer, in which it is written, "Lead us not into temptation, but
   deliver us from evil," begins with "Our Father which art in heaven."
   Plead as a child. You have no rights as a subject; you have forfeited
   them by your treason, but nothing can forfeit a child's right to a
   father's protection. Be not then ashamed to say, "My Father, hear my

   Again, observe that it was persevering prayer. He prayed three times,
   using the same words. Be not content until you prevail. Be as the
   importunate widow, whose continual coming earned what her first
   supplication could not win. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same
   with thanksgiving.

   Further, see how it glowed to a red-hot heat--it was earnest prayer.
   "He prayed more earnestly." What groans were those which were uttered
   by Christ! What tears, which welled up from the deep fountains of his
   nature! Make earnest supplication if you would prevail against the

   And last, it was the prayer of resignation. "Nevertheless, not as I
   will, but as thou wilt." Yield, and God yields. Let it be as God
   wills, and God will will it that it shall be for the best. Be thou
   perfectly content to leave the result of thy prayer in his hands, who
   knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to
   withhold. So pleading, earnestly, importunately, yet mingling with it
   humility and resignation, thou shalt yet prevail.

   Dear friends, we must conclude, turn to the last point with this as a
   practical lesson--"Rise and pray." When the disciples were lying down
   they slept; sitting was the posture that was congenial to sleep. Rise;
   shake yourselves; stand up in the name of God; rise and pray. And if
   you are in temptation, be you more than ever you were in your life
   before, instant, passionate, importunate with God that he would
   deliver you in the day of your conflict.

   V. As time has failed us we close with the last point, which is, THE

   The cloud has passed away. Christ has knelt, and the prayer is over.
   "But," says one, "did Christ prevail in prayer?" Beloved, could we
   have any hope that he would prevail in heaven if he had not prevailed
   on earth? Should we not have had a suspicion that if his strong crying
   and tears had not been heard then, he would fail now? His prayers did
   speed, and therefore he is a good intercessor for us. "How was he
   heard?" The answer shall be given very briefly indeed. He was heard, I
   think, in three respects. The first gracious answer that was given him
   was, that his mind was suddenly rendered calm. What a difference there
   is between "My soul is exceeding sorrowful,"--his hurrying too and
   fro, his repetition of the prayer three times, the singular agitation
   that was upon him--what a contrast between all these and his going
   forth to meet the traitor with "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a
   kiss?" Like a troubled sea before, and now as calm as when he himself
   said, "Peace be still," and the waves were quiet. You cannot know a
   profounder peace than that which reigned in the Savior when before
   Pilate he answered him not a word. He is calm to the last, as calm as
   though it were his day of triumph rather than his day of trouble. Now
   I think this was vouchsafed to him in answer to his prayer. He had
   sufferings perhaps more intense, but his mind was now quieted so as to
   meet them with greater deliberation. Like some men, who when they
   first hear the firing of the shots in a battle are all trepidation,
   but as the fight grows hotter and they are in greater danger, they are
   cool and collected; they are wounded, they are bleeding, they are
   dying; yet are they quiet as a summer's eve; the first young flush of
   trouble is gone, and they can meet the foe with peace--so the Father
   heard the Savior's cry, and breathed such a profound peace into his
   soul, that it was like a river, and his righteousness like the waves
   of the sea.

   Next, we believe that he was answered by God strengthening him through
   an angel. How that was done we do not know. Probably it was by what
   the angel said, and equally likely is it that it was by what he did.
   The angel may have whispered the promises; pictured before his mind's
   eye the glory of his success; sketched his resurrection; pourtrayed
   the scene when his angels would bring his chariots from on high to
   bear him to his throne; revived before him the recollection of the
   time of his advent, the prospect when he should reign from sea to sea,
   and from the river even to the ends of the earth; and so have made him
   strong. Or, perhaps, by some unknown method God sent such power to our
   Christ, who had been like Samson with his locks shorn, that he
   suddenly received all the might and majestic energy that were needed
   for the terrific struggle. Then he walked out of the garden no more a
   worm and no man, but made strong with an invisible might that made him
   a match for all the armies that were round about him. A troop had
   overcome him, like Gad of old, but he overcame at last. Now he can
   dash through a troop; now he can leap over a wall. God has sent by his
   angel force from on high, and made the man Christ strong for battle
   and for victory.

   And I think we may conclude with saying, that God heard him in
   granting him now, not simply strength, but a real victory over Satan.
   I do not know whether what Adam Clarke supposes is correct, that in
   the garden Christ did pay more of the price than he did even on the
   cross; but I am quite convinced that they are very foolish who get to
   such refinement that they think the atonement was made on the cross,
   and nowhere else at all. We believe that it was made in the garden as
   well as on the cross; and it strikes me that in the garden one part of
   Christ's work was finished, wholly finished, and that was his conflict
   with Satan. I conceive that Christ had now rather to bear the absence
   of his Father's presence and the revilings of the people and the sons
   of men, than the temptations of the devil. I do think that these were
   over when he rose from his knees in prayer, when he lifted himself
   from the ground where he marked his visage in the clay in drops of
   blood. The temptation of Satan was then over, and he might have said
   concerning that part of the work--"It is finished; broken is the
   dragon's head; I have overcome him." Perhaps in those few hours that
   Christ spent in the garden the whole energy of the agents of iniquity
   was concentrated and dissipated. Perhaps in that one conflict all that
   craft could invent, all that malice could devise, all that infernal
   practice could suggest, was tried on Christ, the devil having his
   chain loosened for that purpose, having Christ given up to him, as Job
   was, that he might touch him in his bones and in his flesh, yea, touch
   him in his heart and his soul, and vex him in his spirit. It may be
   that every devil in hell and every fiend of the pit was summoned, each
   to vent his own spite and to pour their united energy and malice upon
   the head of Christ. And there he stood, and he could have said as he
   stood up to meet the next adversary--a devil in the form of
   man--Judas--"I come this day from Bozrah, with garments dyed red from
   Edom; I have trampled on my enemies, and overcome them once for all;
   now go I to bear man's sin and my Father's wrath, and to finish the
   work which he has given me to do." If this be so, Christ was then
   heard in that he feared; he feared the temptation of Satan, and he was
   delivered from it; he feared his own weakness, and he was
   strengthened; he feared his own trepidation of mind, and he was made

   What shall we say, then, in conclusion, but this lesson. Does it not
   say "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall have."
   Then if your temptations reach the most tremendous height and force,
   still lay hold of God in prayer and you shall prevail. Convinced
   sinner! that is a comfort for you. Troubled saint! that is a joy for
   you. To one and all of us is this lesson of this morning--"Pray that
   ye enter not into temptation." If in temptation let us ask that Christ
   may pray for us that our faith fail not, and when we have passed
   through the trouble let us try to strengthen our brethren, even as
   Christ has strengthened us this day."

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