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Chapter XXV.

We have mentioned in the preceding pages that there are some of the declarations of Jesus which refer to that Being in Him which was the “first-born of every creature,” such as, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” and such like; and others, again, which belong to that in Him which is understood to be man, such as, “But now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth which I have heard of the Father.”32853285    John viii. 40.  And here, accordingly, he describes the element of weakness belonging to human flesh, and that of readiness of spirit which existed in His humanity:  the element of weakness in the expression, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me;” the readiness of the spirit in this, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”  And since it is proper to observe the order of our quotations, observe that, in the first place, there is mentioned only the single instance, as one would say, indicating the weakness of the flesh; and afterwards those other instances, greater in number, manifesting the willingness of the spirit.  For the expression, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,” is only one:  whereas more numerous are those others, viz., “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt;” and, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass from Me except I drink it, Thy will be done.”  It is to be noted also, that the words are not, “let this cup depart from Me;” but that the whole expression is marked by a tone of piety and reverence, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.”  I know, indeed, that there is another explanation of this passage to the following effect:—The Saviour, foreseeing the sufferings which the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem were to undergo in requital of the wicked deeds which the Jews had dared to perpetrate upon Him, from no other motive than that of the purest philanthropy towards them, and from a desire that they might escape the impending calamities, gave utterance to the prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.”  It is as if He had said, “Because of My drinking this cup of punishment, the whole nation will be forsaken by Thee, I pray, if it be possible, that this cup may pass from Me, in order that Thy portion, which was guilty of such crimes against Me, may not be altogether deserted by Thee.”  But if, as Celsus would allege, “nothing at that time was done to Jesus which was either painful or distressing,” how could men afterwards quote the example of Jesus as enduring sufferings for the sake of religion, if He did not suffer what are human sufferings, but only had the appearance of so doing?


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