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that the ideas of benevolence and wisdom are necessary ideas, making the real existence of absolute wisdom and benevolence necessary.
It may be that there is a position where every perfection, natural and moral, shall be seen to be necessary, and investing the idea of them with as clear a necessity as in the case of eternity or immensity, but it is not too much to say that no human mind, while in the flesh, has stood in this position, or, perhaps, that there never will be such an attainment. Yet until that position is found and taken, the simple a priori argument will fail, from the limited powers of those who use it, to give the full demonstration of every attribute essential to the absolutely perfect God.
3. A greater difficulty still remains that of attaining to a necessary idea, so comprehensive as to include every necessary perfection in the existence of a necessary, absolute UNITY of being.
A priori, it can be demonstrated that there can be but one eternal being, and but one omnipresent being, and but one self-existing being; and it may be, and probably is true, that there is a position where the necessity of all these attributes, having one common ground for their existence, is plainly and necessarily perceived. It is probably true that there cannot be an eternal being, existing separately and in a different ground from an omnipresent being, or an omnipresent from a selfexistent being, and so on for every divine perfection. There would thus be a position for the necessary idea of the necessary unity of all perfection in one absolute ground of being; and thus, in that position, the conclusiveness of an a priori argument would be full and clear. But it is not probable that any human, and perhaps not probable that any angelic intellect ever occupied that awfully sublime position. It would be to fix the full gaze upon the great centre of all being and perfection, and seeing how every necessary truth, in full circle and sphere, hung, immutable and eternal, on that one absolute, primary, and elementary point of all existence.
The a priori argument therefore for the being of God is perfect in its nature, and valid and conclusive in its ground of argumentation, but limited and circumscribed from the limited powers of the human mind in its application. “We are not straitened in” it, but we are straitened in our own powers.
THE AGONY IN GETHSEMANE. Matth. 26: 36 46, Mark 14: 32442, Luke 22: 39–48, Heb. 5:7, 8.
By Rev. Lewis Mayer, D. D. York, Pa. None of the passages above referred to contains a full history of our Savior's agony: each of the three Evangelists has omitted some things which the others have recorded; and all are very brief. The passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews is but an incidental notice of that mournful scene, introduced for another purpose; namely, to show how Jesus was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, being tempted like as we are, before he was made perfect by the things which he suffered, in order that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
From Matthew we learn that Jesus prayed three several times. “ He went a little farther, and fell upon his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father," etc.-"He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father,” etc.“ And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words." Mark makes mention only of two successive acts of prayer; but indicates that he knew of a third, where he says: “And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest,” etc. Luke considers all these three acts as one prayer, inasmuch as the subject matter of them all was the same, and speaks as if Jesus had prayed once only. The three Evangelists appear to have had the same design; namely, to convey to their readers an idea of the intensity of the Lord's distress; but they compass it in different ways. Luke alone notices the agony, the bloody sweat, and the appearance of an angel from heaven strengthening him; Matthew and Mark alone record the change which appeared in his countenance and his manner, the complaint which he uttered of the overpowering sorrow of his soul, and his repetition of the same prayer. All agree that he prayed for the removal of what he calls this cup, and are careful to note, that he qualified his earnest petition by a preference of the Father's will to his own. In Matthew he is made to say:
“Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt;"—in Mark: “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt;" - in Luke: “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” In the several accounts which they give of his prayer there are verbal differences; but the prayer is substantially the same in all. This difference in words shows that they were intent only on substantial, and not on verbal accuracy; and that, in our interpretation of them, their language must not always be closely pressed.
The first two Evangelists have laid the scene of this deeply interesting event in a place called Gethsemane. In Luke it is at the Mount of Olives. John passes over the agony, but speaks of the Lord's arrest, which immediately followed it in the same place, and describes it as taking place in a garden to which Jesus had often resorted.* From all these we learn that Gethsemane was a garden situated at the Mount of Olives, within a short distance from Jerusalem, where Jesus was accustomed often to spend the night with his disciples.
The season of the year was in the full-moon, after the vernal equinox, which, in Judea, immediately preceded the harvest. The occasion of the Lord's presence in Jerusalem was the festival of the Passover. It was the practice of Jesus to repair to Jerusalem with his disciples, at each of the three great festivals,--the Passover, the Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles, in obedience to the law of Moses, which made it the duty of every man in Israel to spend these sacred seasons in the holy city, and to join in the solemnities which were there celebrated. We find him also in the temple at the feast of Dedication, which was not of divine, but of human institution,-being appointed by Judas Maccabeus to commemorate the dedication of the temple after the recovering of it from the Gentiles. I Upon which we may observe, by the way, that a sacred season which serves a pious end, though appointed only by human authority, may have the Lord's approbation.
During these festivals it was the custom of Jesus to spend the day within the city, and at the temple, in teaching the people, whose instruction in rational pietv their ordinary teachers the
or to some other place in the vicinity of the city; but he chose, it seeins, most frequently, to spend the night in the solitude of Gethsemane. Here, remote from the noise and pressure of a crowded city, he could enjoy, without disturbance, the communion which he sought with his heavenly Father, and give the freest indulgence to the pious feelings which the recollections of the day inspired, in meditation and prayer. To him these duties came as a relief from his daily employments; and nowhere does he appear to have found so much enjoyment as in solitary intercourse with God. In the morning he returned to his labors in the city at an early hour; and, sometimes at least, he came fasting and hungry, and willing to content himself with any thing for a meal which Providence threw in his way.*
It was now the night in which the Jews ate the paschal lamb, to commemorate their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, when the destroying angel passed through the land, and slew the first-born of every family, but spared the dwellings which were marked with the blood of the lamb upon which the inmates were feasting within: an institution that was designed, at the same time, to prefigure a greater salvation by the intervention of a nobler blood. In the earlier part of this night, Jesus also ate the passover lamb with his disciples; and, at the close of that solemnity, he instituted the new sacrament of the bread and wine, as a memorial of himself, and of his love in laying down his life for the salvation of men. It was here that his grief began. The traitor sat with him at meat, polluted with the basest ingratitude, meditating his dark design, yet, with bold hypocrisy, sitting among his friends. When Jesus beheld him, “he was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, That one of you shall betray me.” † Judas perceived that his treason was known, and withdrew. After his departure, Jesus, knowing the errand on which he went, and the manner in which he would return, took the bread, and brake it, and gave it to them, and said, “ Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you.
die by the shedding of his blood: so certain was it, that they might regard the deed as though it were done: “My body, said he, " is broken; my blood is shed.” What Jesus felt when he uttered these words, we cannot tell; but we have no doubt that his heart was full, and though he maintained his self-possession, more than ordinary feeling was visible in his countenance and in all his manner.
His disciples did not apprehend his meaning, though his words were plain, because their minds were prepossessed with the belief that Christ abideth forever,"* and, consequently, that Jesus could not die: but they understood that he meditated a separation from them, that some mysterious and dreadful catastrophe was approaching. This apprehension distressed them, and sorrow filled their hearts. It was, therefore, the purpose of Jesus to comfort them, and to fortify their minds against the coming trials: and with this design he addressed to them those discourses which John has preserved in the latter part of his gospel, and which are so full of the most precious consolation to every child of God, when perplexed with doubts, or alarmed by fears. In these discourses, his attention appears to have been absorbed by the situation and wants of the disciples, who loved him, and who were in distress; his thoughts and his affections are wholly turned to them, and he speaks of himself only so far as their safety and their comfort demanded it: it is here that his heart is opened to us, and that we have a view of its tenderness, its compassion, and all its kind affections.
After these addresses, when he saw that his disciples were composed, and were settled in the belief “ that he was come forth from God,” he considered his work on earth as finished. He closed his ministry, therefore, with a most solemn, and tender, and filial prayer, in which he besought the Father to vindicate his honor as the Son of God under the dark clouds of reproach that were soon to cover him, and, commending to his care and protection those whom he would leave in the world : “He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee.” The hour is come. It was the hour of his great conflict with death, and hell, and all the powers of darkness: an hour that was franght with infinite interests to the human race: when