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for bis disciples; and not for them only, but for all his followers--For us, my brethren, if we are among that happy number.
Such were some of the most striking incidents which marked that interesting scene of our Saviour's parting interview with his disciples. For, alas! soon after this, Judas betrayed him, and they all fled. And now, how true and forcible does the declaration of St. John appear! “ When Jesus knew that his hour was come, that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." It was this affectionate regard of Christ for his disciples which formed the most conspicuous trait of the scene I have just been describing. It was this which led him to utter the words of our text : “ Let not your hearts be troub. led : ye believe in God, believe also in me.” And it is this, my brethren, to which I am anxious to direct your earnest attention, by considering, first, The sources of that anxiety which filled the hearts of the Apostles; and, secondly, The various consolations which our Saviour afforded them.
I. Let us consider the sources of that anxiety which filled the hearts of the Apostles. These were various, and all calculated to overwhelm them with grief and dismay.
During the paschal supper Jesus was “ troubled in spirit," and said, “Verily I sáy unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were ex
ceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say, Lord, is it I ?” « They were exceeding sorrowful ;" trembling, no doubt, each one, at the possibility of being abandoned of God, to the weakness of their own resolution, to the force of powerful temptations, and thus to the dreadful guilt of traitorously delivering up their Lord to his enemies. They were sorrowful thus to learn that their little band contained so hardened and desperate a sinner. What disgrace would it cast on their whole body! How would the world scoff at their Divine Master; impiously questioning, on the one hand, his wisdom in selecting for an intimate friend so base and faithless a miscreant, and, on the other, the truth of his Messiahship, thus to be betrayed by one who had enjoyed the best opportunity of becoming acquainted with his real character! They were exceeding sorrowful at the pain which such treachery would give to Jesus. They mingled their grief with his. To be betrayed by one on whom he had conferred the dignity of an Apostle, to whom he had entrusted the treasury of himself and flock, and whom he had always treated with gracious condescension and love ! How must such diabolical ingratitude have wrung the heart of the mild and affectionate Jesus! no doubt his countenance disclosed the emotions of his troubled spirit. The disciples, sympathising with his affliction, “ were exceeding sorrowful.”
Again ; Christ had told them that Satan had desired to have them, that he might sift them as
wheat. He even predicted their temporary defection in these words—"All ye shall be offended because of me this night : for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.” This, and the certainty of Peter's disgraceful denial of his Lord, no doubt filled them with sorrow. True, they all vehemently protested that they would rather die than deny their Master. But this very vehemence was the ardour of perturbation and anxiety. A moment's coolreflection would lead them to distrust themselves, to tremble and to grieve at the declaration of Christ.
Again; the prospect of our Saviour's speedy and ignominious death was to the disciples a source of fearful dread and sorrow. He had assured them of its certainty in the most explicit manner. They could have no hope of his escape from this awful and distressing scene. It was full in their view ; and its very horror was enhanced by the obscurity which yet hung over it, and by their ignorance of its design and consequences.
It was near at hand, and they must soon feel its bitterness. Gloomy, indeed, were their apprehensions, and painful beyond description the emotions which now filled the breasts of the Apostles. They were about to lose, the protection of an Almighty Friend ; of one who commanded the wave, and it was still ; who said, “ Lazarus come forth,” and the dead burst the bars of the tomb; who had un der bis control all the powers of nature, and even the malevolent passions of wicked men. Beneath
the covert of his wing they had always felt safe and fearless. Left by him, a little flock, timid, forlorn, as sheep without a shepherd, they were about to be exposed to the scoffs and persecution of an insulting world. Yea, even our Saviour had told them,
, " the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” Well might each one exclaim, in the bitterness of his soul, “My heart is sore pained within me : and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” Thus, also, in one hour were to be blasted all their hopes of the establishment of the Messiah's kingdom upon earth : for, in common with their countrymen, they had entertained the thought, even till this time, that the Messiah would be a great temporal prince, the deliverer of their nation, the restorer of its ancient splendor and dominion, and the monarch of the whole earth. They were even looking forward (alas ! such was their weak and wicked attachment to this world,) to posts of authority and honour under Jesus Christ. Even in the very chamber where the passover was celebrated," there was a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Jesus rebuked their unhallowed contest, and afterwards explained to them, more fully than he had ever done before, the nature of his kingdom and the design of his death. Still they were men; and although thus taugh the spirituality of that cause which they had espoused, great must have been their şurprise
and disappointment at thus losing at hopes of what good men are too apt to covet, a share of worldly rank and honour.
Further, they were about to lose the immediate instruction of their divine Teacher. How often had they hung upon his lips, who spake as never man spake! How often had they admired the dignity and majesty with which he spake! How often had they wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and felt astonishment at his understanding and answers ! How had all his precepts been recommended by their purity ; his reasoning by its force ; his parables by their aptness ; his reproofs by their mildness ; his warnings by their solemnity ; his manner of instruction by affability and condescension ;
and his whole eloquence by a beautiful and sublime simplicity! Let it be recollected that to them, too, “it was given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom.” They were thé babes, the ignorant and unlettered men, to whom were revealed those sacred truths which are hid from the wise and prudent. And if there is a sacred satisfaction in having the eyes of the understanding purged from that film which sin hath spread over them, and opened to receive the pure and cheering beains of Divine truth; to look abroad
the moral world thus illuminated by the Light of Heaven, and observe its beautiful order and harmony; then did this satisfaction eminently belong to the disciples of our Lord. How great, then, must have