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reed ;” it must not be overmuch tried : their faith was but that of “smoking flax ;” the spark must not be quenched. Therefore let these be permitted to go their way; that the saying lately spoken might remain true unto the end : Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
Such tenderness may encourage the humble followers of a compassionate Lord, whilst they out their salvation with fear and trembling.”
There was, however, amongst them one who, though weak and unstable, was ardent in his zeal, and eager
66 work 17. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art thou not also one of this man's disciples ? He saith, I am not.
in his Master's cause.
10. Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smole the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
11. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath : the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
12. Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him.
13. And led him away to Annas first ; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
14. Now Caia phas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
15. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
16. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
18. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold : and they warmed themselves : and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
19. The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
20. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world ; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jeu's always resort ; and in secret have I said nothing.
21. Why askest thou me ? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
22. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
23. Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil : but if well, why smitest thou me?
We are shocked, as there is reason to be, at the indignity thus offered to him whom we adore as our Lord and our God. But wise ends have been served by it, on account of which it might be permitted.
1. We are taught the proper way to meet indignities. Jesus, “when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened not.” But he appealed to law and reason. If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil ; but if well, why smitest thou me? He silenced and convicted his oppressor.
If any thing has been done against the ordinances of the state or the rights of individuals,
bear witness of the evil ; I am here to answer it. But if not, why smitest thou me, with no authority of law, and in opposition to all justice and decency ? So St. Paul, following his Master's example, remonstrated with those who were preparing to try him with torture. " Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned ?! God has so ordered human affairs, that the protection which the enmity of the adversary would often deny his servants, is cast around them by the laws which individual interest obliges men to observe.
2. Another and a different purpose is likewise answered by this circumstance. Jesus suffered this harsh and cruel treatment, as one who bore a message from God unto the world. This enmity would not have been displayed towards him, if he had not appeared as “a preacher of righteousness :” —if he had not said to the people, “ Except ye repent, ye shall all perish :"—if he had not testified against them that they knew not God in whom they made their boast ; that they nullified his laws; that “ their deeds were evil.” Many of his followers at different times, have been called to endure a like measure of ill-treatment; and they have had this consolation under injury, “ The servant is not greater than his lord.” If they are despised and rejected, if they are treated as Barabbas was not treated, (“ who for a certain sedition and murder was cast into prison,”6) still let 5 Acts xxii. 25.
6 Luke xxiii. 19 and 25.
them rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for so persecuted they their Master which was before them, and “ if so be that they suffer with him, they shall be also glorified together.”? He“ for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.”
If then any man be called “ to suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Nay, let him “ rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings : that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also, with exceeding joy."
JESUS EXPLAINS TO PILATE THE NATURE OF
John xviii. 24–40.
24. Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
25. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
26. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 7 Rom. viii. 17.
8 1 Pet. iv. 16, and 13.
27. Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock
We are reminded here of the saying of Moses, (Numb. xxxii. 23,) “ Behold, ye have sinned against the Lord : and be sure your sin will find
When the cock crew, and foretold that the morning was approaching, an pierced the soul of Peter, of which no one present but himself was conscious. St. Matthew acquaints us, that he “ remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”
It was happy that his sin did find him out, and was not concealed from himself; that his heart was not “ hardened through the deceitfulness of sin,” but, like David before him, he confessed that he had “ sinned against the Lord :" he went out, and wept bitterly.
28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled ; but that they might eat the passover.
29. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
30. They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.
31. Then said Pilate unto them, Tuke ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death :
1 Matt. xxvi. 75.