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- most tenderly loved. Let us not wonder if some of our friends prove false ; and others seem to forget us when we have the greatest need of their assistance. When we deserve so much less friendship than Christ did, let us not think it strange if we find but little more. Nor can we reasonably be so much amazed, as we might otherwise have been, to sce sinner's going on under the inost awful rebukes of providence ; when we consider that these wretches, who had been struck down to the ground by one word of Christ's mouth, should immediately rise up and stretch forth their impious hands against him, to seize and bind him ; though they might well have known that they lived only by his indulgence and forbearance, and that the same word that struck them down to the ground, could have laid them dead there. Touch our hearts, O Lord, by thy grace; or it will be in vain that we are smitten with thy rod!
In all the remainder of this story, let us remember that Jesus voluntarily gave himself up to sufferings, which he circumstantially foreknew ; even though he could have commanded to his assistance whole legions of angels. His Father's will was an answer to all that nature could plead in its own cause; and the good hand from which this cup of his severest sufferings came, reconciled him to all the bitterest ingredients it contained. How reasonable then is it that we who, having had fathers of our flesh that corrected us, submitted to the rod, and gave them reverence, should much rather, after the example of our innocent and holy Redeemer, be in subjcction to the Father of our spirits, and live:
Jesus is conducted to the palace of Caiaphas : Peter follows him thither, and
denies him thrice. Matt. xxvi. 57, 58, 69, &c. MARK xiv. 53, 66, &c. LUKE xxii. 54-62. JOHN xviii. 13—27.
THUS the officers and people apprchended Jesus. And they led him
1 away first to Annas; for lie was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was high-priest that year. (Now Caiaphas was he who gave it as his advice to the Jews, that it was fit that one man, though innocent, should die for the people.) And Annas sent him bound* to the palace of the high-priest, where all the chief priests and the elders were assembled with him, waiting for Jesus.
And Simon Peter and another disciplet followed Jesus. But Peter followed him afar off. That other disciple was known to the highpriest, and went into the palace o with Jesus. But Peter stood without at the door. That other disciple therefore, who was known to the
* MATTHEW, “ And they who had apprehended Jesus took and led him “ away."-LUKE, “ and brought him to the palace." Every intelligent reader who looks at the original work, will see the propriety of omitting this clause, and of transposing another.
† John himself, who modestly declines, mentioning his own name. N. B. All. the other Evangelists say of Peter that he followed afur off, but not of John, as he would appear to have done from the author's disposing of the words. What follows is a proof to the contrary. Vol. 1.
high-priest, went out of the room into which Jesus was taken to be examined, and spake to her that kept the door, and brought Peter [into the hall.] And when [the servants and officers had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall (for it was cold and were set down together, Peter sat down among them, to see the end of this affair, ar:d warmed himself at the fire. And as Peter was thus sitting without in the hall below, there came to him one of the maid servants of the high-priest (the damsel that kept the door) and seeing Peter as he sat warming himself by the fire, she fixed her eyes earnestly upon him, and said to some that stood near, This man was also with him: And turning to him, Art not thon also one of this man's disciples ?* And he denied him before them all, and said, Woman, I am not, I do not know him, nor do I understand what thou sayest. And he went out into the portico, and the cock crow.t
And when he was gone out into the portico, after a little while another maid servant saw him again, and said to them that were there, This man was also with Jesus of Nazareth. They therefore said to him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? And another man saw him and said, Thou art also one of them. And Peter again denied it with an oath, and said, Man, I am not, I do not know the man.
And o about the space of one hour after, [Peter being returned into the hall] another man confidently affirmed, saying of a truth this man was also with him, for he also is a Galilean. And upon this they that stood by came to Peter, and said to him again, Surely thou art also one of them; for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech ( which agrees) discovers thee. And one of the servants of the high-priest (being a relation of his whose ear Peter had cut off) said to him, Did not I see thee in the garden with him ? Then Peter denied it again, and began to curse and swear, saying, I do not know this man of whom you speak. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew the second time. And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.** And Peter
* MARK, “ Yea thou wast also with Jesus the Nazarene.” Matt. of , " Galilee.”
Í JOHN xviii. 18. “ And the servants and officers stood there, who had made “ å fire of coals (for it was cold) and they warmed themselves : and Simon “ Peter stcod with them, and warmed himself.” v. 25. This seems improperly inserted here, and wholly superfluous, excepting the words in italic.
I“ And when he had been gone out." D. “And as he went out into the “ porch.” C. When he had gone in again is not mentioned, and therefore it should be left as uncertain; but that he did return is plain from our Lord's looking upon him when the cock crew, and its being sail that lie then went out.
|| MARK, “ And she began to say to them that stood by, Surely this is one “ of them."
LUKE, “Man, I know not what thou sayest, [D. meanest.”] It is not to be supposed that Peter used all the precise words which the several evangelists have given, but chat each records the substance of what he said, with some little variation in the expression. Ed.
Some have supposed that this was not the voice of the animal, but the sound of a Roman trumpet, which was called the Cock-crowing.
** The author suggests in the paraphrase, that Jesus was now brought out of the inner room into the hall, while the council were consulting wbat they sliould do with him.
recollected the word of the Lord Jesus, how he had said to him, that very evening, Before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and covering his head with his mantle, * he wept bitterly when he thought on his heinous crime, in all ils aggravaling circumstances.
REFLECTIONS. How loudly does this affecting story speak to us in the words of the apostle, Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. Peter professed the warmest zeal; and gave his Lord repeated, and, no doubt, very sincere assurances of the firmest resolution in his cause ; and yet, except Judas the traitor, none of his brethren fell so low as best But a few hours before, he had been with Christ at the sacreci table, and had heard from his own lips those gracious discourses which, as echoed back from his word, do still strike so strongly on the heart of every true believer. He had just seen those words remarkably, and even miraculously, verified, that Jesus having loved his own that were in the world, loved them to the end. How reasonably then might it have been expected that his own should also have continued their most zealous and constant affection to him! But Peter, who, if possible, was more than doubly his as a disciple, as an apostle, as a distinguished intimate, most shamefully denies him; and that not only once, but a second, yea, and a third time, even with oaths and curses, as if he would, by that diabolical language, give a sensible proof that he did not belong to Christ : and who indeed, that had heard it, would have imagined that he did? Nay, to aggravate it yet further, it was done in the presence of the other disciple, and even of Christ himself, who surely was much more painfully wounded by this perfidiousness of Peter than by all the rage and fury of his enemies. Lord, what is man! What is our boasted strength but weakness! and, if we are left unto ourselves, how do our most solemn resolutions melt like snow before the sun! Be thout surety for thy servants for good!
The Lord turned and looked upon Peter, So may he graciously look upon us if we at any time make any approach towards the like sin ! May he look upon us with a glance which shall penetrate our hearts, and cause floods of penitential sorrow to flow forth ! Peter went out, and wept bitterly. He quitted that dangerous scene where temptation had met and vanquished him; and chose retirement and solitude to give vent to his overflowing soul. Thus may we recover ourselves; or rather, thus may we be recovered by divine grace, from those slips and falls which in this frail state we shall often be making! Let us re
* “When he thought thereon.” C. T. But it doth not appear from any passage in antiquity that Embaroy ever has such a signification. Elsrier: and others therefore render it, “ covering,” the head, which was a token of mourning and shame, well becoming Peter on this cccasion. Sce 2 Sam. xv. 30, &c.
† Dr, Clarke conjectures that Peter was suffered to fall fouler than any of the rest of the apostles (except Judas the traitor) and to make more remarkable mistakes in his conduct, that we might thus be cautioned against that extravagant regard which would afterwards be demanded to him and his pico iended successors. Clarke's 17 Sermons, No. X.
tire from the business and shares of life; that we may attend to the voice of conscience, and of God speaking by it; and may so taste the qvormwood and the gall, that our souls may long have them in reniem, brance. To conclude ; let us express the sincerity of our godly sorrow by a more cautious and resolute guard against the occasions of sin, if we would not be found to trifle with God when we pray that he would not lead us into temptation, but would deliver us from evil.
Jesus examined at the high-priest's hall, and afterwards condemned by the sanhedrim. Matt. xxvi. 59–68. MARK xiv. 55–65. LUKE xxii. 63, &c. John xviii. 19-23, 28.- .
N O W to return to the examination of Jesus before the council.IV The high-priest therefore asked Jesus concerning his disciples and concerning his doctrilie. Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world : I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews continually resort, and have said noth. ing in secret Why dost thou ask me? Ask those that heard me, what I have spoken to theni : behold they know what I have said. But when he had spoken these things, one of the officers who stood by, gave Jesus a blow, saying, Dost thou answer the high-priest thus? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear testimony concerning that evil; but if well, why dost thou strike me? -Now the chief priests and the elders and the whole sanhedrim souglit for false evidence against Jesus that they might put him to death ; but they found none; for though many false witnesses came, and faļsely testified against him, yet they found none sufficient, for the testimonies did not agree. At last there came two o [others) who rose up and falsely testified against him, saying, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it up again in three days. Yea, one of them designing to aggravate the matier, confidently affirmed, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, made without hands. Yet neither thus did their testimony exactly agree; so that they could not for shame proceed upon such evidence to condemn Jesus. They resolved therefore to try him in full council.
And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people, and the chiefpriests and the sçribes, who made up the sanhedrim, assembled together; and they lcd Jesus away from the house of Caiaphas to their grand council-chamber. And, producing what imperfect evidence they had, the high-priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? What is it that these men testify against thee? But Jesus was silent and made no reply. And they said to him, If thou art the Messiah, tell us plainly.. And he said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe. And if I ask you wherefore it is that you persist in your infidelity, you will neither answer nor dismiss me. And again the high-priest answered and said to himn, I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou be the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God, or not, And Jesus boldly said to him, Thou hast said: I am the Messiah, Moreover I declare to you all, That hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right-hand of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. And they all said, Art thou then really the Son of God? And he said to theni, Ye say right, and may be assured that I am,
Then the high-priest rent his clothes and said, He has spoken blas. phemy: what further need have we of witnesses ? Behold now you have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. What need have we of any other testimony ? for we vurselves have heard it from his own mouth. And they all condemned him as guilty of a capital crime-Then the men that had Jesus in custody insulted him, and began to spit in his face, and to buffet him; and others beat him. And having covered his eyes, the officers struck him on the face with the palms of their hands, and in a contemptuous manner asked him saying, r Who is he that smote thee? Now prophecy to us, thou Christ. And many other things they blasphemously spake against him,
REFLECTIONS. Thus was the patient Lamb of God surrounded by his blood-thirsty · enemies: Thus (as David speaks) did the dogs encompass him, and the strong bulls of Bashan beset him on every side : Thus was he brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth : He was taken from judgment, and suffered the worst kind of murder, even that which had the appearance of being legal. But those gentle words, which he dropped in the midst of all the injuries which were offered him, are surely worthy ever to be recorded and remembered. It had always been his care to provide things honest in the sight of all men: and as he answered with a most graceful and courageous appeal to all that heard him, as to the innocence and usefulness of his doctrine; so it is well worthy our observation and reflection, that God so far restrained the rage and malice of hell, that no such false witnesses arose against him, as could on the whole asperse his character, or bring it under any brand of public infamy; though Judas, as well as others, might have sought a reward, or at least an indemnity, for their own villany, in accusing him. And ina deed it is no inconsiderable instance of God's providential government of the world, that wicked men are restrained by this one remainder of reverence for the divine omniscience, and dread of his vengeance, from destroying the reputations and lives of his children ; especially in countries where (as in our own) the punishment which human laws inflict on perjury is so much below its viesert.
When Jesus was examined on oath he witnessed a good confession, and cited those that were now his judges to appear at his bar. Nor was it a vain boast! The Son of man is now sitting at the right hand of power, and will ere long come in the clouds of heaven; and then they That condemned, and insulted, and pierced him, shall mourn because of