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self the utmost force of temptation that human nature is liable to, he might thereby be touched with a more tender sympathy with it, or, as the author to the Hebrews expressed it, that having suffered himself being tempted, he might be able to succour them that are tempted, chap. ii. 17, 18. But then, secondly, if we consider the woful circumstances of his agony,

it is evident that it was the effect of some far more powerful cause than merely a natural fear of his ensuing death and bodily torment; for no sooner was he entered on that tragic stage, but he began to be sorrowful, said St. Matthew, chap.

, xxvi. 37. or to be sore amazed, as St. Mark, chap. xiv. 33. or to be very heavy, as both; which words, according to their native signification, declare him to have been all on a sudden oppressed with some mighty damp, which, arising from some fearful spectacle or imagination, overwhelmed his soul with an unknown and inexpressible anguish, an anguish that sunk and depressed him into as deep a dejection as it was possible for an innocent mind to endure; causing him to groan out that said complaint, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death, Ilepáλυπός εστιν η ψυχή μου, i. e. My soul is encompassed with grief, and, like a desolate island, surrounded on every side with an ocean of sorrows, and that even unto death: as if it had been struggling under some mortal pang, and the pains of hell had got hold upon it. And so intolerable was his passion, that though he liberally vented it both at his eyes and lips, in tears, and sighs, and sorrowful complaints ; yet that was not a sufficient discharge for it, but through all the innumerable pores of his body it poured out itself as it were in great drops of blood, Luke xxii. 44. All which considered, I can by no means think that that which occasioned this bitter agony was merely the prospect of what he was going to suffer from the hands of men, since not only some martyrs, but some malefactors have suffered much more with less dejection; and if you consult the history, you will find that he bore his death far better than his agony: from whence we have just reason to believe that the latter was more grievous to him than the former, and that the crucifixion of his body on the cross was nothing near so painful to him as the crucifixion of his mind in the garden; and since his sufferings in his agony are described with more tragical circumstances than his sufferings on the cross, we have just reason to conclude they were inflicted on him by more spiteful and powerful executioners, and consequently that he endured the tortures of men only on the cross, but of devils in the garden; where being left all alone, naked, and abandoned of the ordinary supports of his godhead, and having only an angel to stand by and comfort him, (i. e. to represent such considerations to him of the benefits and advantages of his death, as were most proper to fortify him against the temptations which the devils were then urging, to deter him from it,) he was in all probability surrounded with a mighty host of devils, who exercised all their power and malice to persecute his innocent soul, to distract and fright it with horrid phantasms, to afflict it with dismal suggestions, and vex and cruciate it with dire imaginations and dreadful spectacles. Thirdly, If we consider that strange unaccountable drowsiness which seized his disciples, whilst he was in his agony, it seems to have been the effect of a

diabolical power; for before he entered into the garden, he had expressly told them that the hour was come, wherein he was to be taken from them by an untimely death : so that one would have thought the dear love which they bore him, together with the infinite concern they had in him, might have been sufficient to have kept them awake for a few hours; yet, notwithstanding he desired them to watch with him, (being loath, it seems, to be left alone, in the dark night, among a company of horrid and frightful spectres,) upon his return to them he found them fast asleep, and though he gently upbraided them with their unkindness, What, could ye not watch with me one hour ? yet he no sooner left them, but they fell asleep again; for, as the text tells us, their eyes were heavy; heavy indeed, that could not hold up for a few hours upon such an awakening occasion. It is true, indeed, St. Luke attributes this prodigious drowsiness of theirs to their sorrow, and so it is usual in scripture to put the apparent cause for the real, when the real cause is secret and invisible. But how can we imagine that mere sorrow should necessitate three men to fall asleep together under the most awakening circumstances, all things considered, that ever happened to mortals? Why did it not as well force them to fall asleep again afterwards, when their Lord was apprehended, condemned, and crucified ? at all which times they were doubtless rather more sorrowful than they were in the garden. And therefore it seems very probable, that there was a much more powerful cause than sorrow in the case, viz. a preternatural stupefaction of their senses, by some of those malignant spirits that were then conflicting with our Saviour; who, perhaps, to deprive him of the solace of his disciples' company, did, by their diabolical art, produce that extraordinary stupor that oppressed them ; that so having him all alone, they might have the greater advantage to tempt and terrify him. Fourthly and lastly, if we consider the warning our Saviour gave his disciples, when they entered the garden with him, of the extraordinary danger they were in of falling into temptation, it seems very probable that he expected and found there an extraordinary concourse of tempters, or evil spirits : for as soon as they were entered with him into the garden, St. Luke tells us that he bade them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation, Luke xxii. 40. and when, notwithstanding this admonition, they fell asleep the first time, he bids them, Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation, Matth. xxvi. 41. which words plainly imply our Saviour's apprehension of some extraordinary danger they were in of being tempted in the very time and places of his agony. And what more probable account can be given of this apprehension of his than this, that he found vast numbers of evil spirits there, by whom he himself at that very time was furiously tempted and assaulted, and that therefore, having experienced their power and malice in himself, he thought meet to admonish his disciples (who were much less able to resist them than he) to stand upon their guard, lest they should tempt them, as they had tempted him.

For these reasons it seems highly probable that this last agony of our Saviour was nothing else but

a mighty struggle and conflict with the powers of darkness; who having, by God's permission, mustered

up all their strength against him, intending once more to try their fortune against him, and if possible to tempt or deter him from prosecuting his design of redeeming the world, were in the end gloriously repulsed by his persevering resistance, and forced to flee before him: and of this his glorious victory over them he made an open show upon the cross, where, in despite of all those terrors and temptations they had exercised him with, if possible to divert him from laying down his life for the world, he freely and voluntarily poured out his blood as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. And hence the apostle tells us, Col. ii. 15. that on his cross he spoiled principalities and powers, viz. in that victorious act of laying down his life to ransom us from their power, in despite of their most exquisite temptations to the contrary, and made an open show of them, triumphing over them. And by this glorious victory he finished his conquest of those infernal powers, so that from thenceforth they never durst assault him more; but like vanquished slaves, were forced to yield their unwilling necks to the yoke of his empire, and (though with infinite reluctance) to obey his will, and execute his orders: and hence we are told, that by his death our Saviour has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil, Heb. ii. 14. so that now at his powerful name every knee must bow, or every being yield obeisance, not only of things in heaven, and of things on earth, i. e. of angels and men, but of things under the earth too, i. e. of devils, who, notwithstanding they are incensed with an implacable animosity against

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