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CHAPTER XI.

HOW WE ARE TO CONCEIVE OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, DURING THAT CLOSING PERIOD OF WHICH SUFFERING WAS THE DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER.

THE sufferings of Christ during the hour and power of darkness have been dealt with in two quite opposite ways.

I. They have been regarded in their simply physical aspect; and aid to the imagination and the heart in realising their terrible amount has been eagerly sought in pictured representations or picturing words; and thus a lively feeling of the pain endured by our blessed Lord, under the hands of wicked men, has been cherished as a help in measuring the evil of our sins and our obligations to the Saviour. I am not afraid to regard all that was attained of knowledge of the sufferings of Christ in this way as only a knowing Christ after the flesh, and therefore what had no virtue to accomplish any spiritual development in men,--no virtue to impart a true knowledge of sin, or to raise the spirits of men into the light of what our sins are in the sight of God,--what they are to the heart of God. Feelings of a strong and solemn, as well as tender character, have, doubtless, been thus cherished; and, doubtless, the element of gratitude has been present: yet there was not, for there could not be, in images of physical suffering anything of the nature of spiritual light,--however such light may have been present along with them, being received otherwise.

II. But there has been manifested also, and this especially recently, a tendency to deal with the detailed 254 sufferings of Christ, as these were endured at the hands of wicked men, in the quite opposite way of making as little account of them as possible; I do not mean denying their reality,--denying that our Lord's flesh was suffering flesh--but rashly admitting the justness of a comparison of them with other cases of suffering inflicted by man on man.

Of such other cases it is not difficult to find many recorded that would bear the comparison; cases in which the cruellest tortures have been submitted to with such fortitude and patience of endurance as, if this way of viewing the subject had been admissible, would excuse the sneer of the infidel. Indeed, dealing with the sufferings of the Saviour on this principle, those who have done so have escaped from justifying that infidel sneer only by referring the language of our Lord, in relation to the cup given Him to drink, to an apprehension of what the cup contained, altogether unrelated to His being delivered into the hands of sinful men. Nay, because of its seeming to shut us up to the view which they have taken of what that cup contained, viz., that it was filled with the wrath of God, the concession has been willingly made of the alleged disproportion between our Lord's agony in the garden of Gethsemane, in looking forward to the coming hour and power of darkness, and those sufferings which the history of that hour records.

And here let me say that I entirely feel that our Lord's physical sufferings viewed simply as physical sufferings, and without relation to the mind that was in the sufferer, could not adequately explain the awful intensity of the feelings which accompanied His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. But, on the other hand, apart altogether from the insuperable objection that presents itself on other grounds to the conception that 255 the cup which was the subject of Christ's prayer contained the Father's wrath, it seems impossible, without putting aside the record, not to connect that cup with these minutely detailed sufferings, foretold, as they had been, to the disciples on the way up to Jerusalem, and having their commencement immediately after the answer of His prayer in the garden was revealed to the Lord; being also, as we have seen, met and submitted to by Him, with words which identified them with the cup as to which He had prayed.

While John records the words already quoted as addressed to Peter, "The cup which my Father gives me to drink shall I not drink it." Matthew gives these--"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" words which, as well as all else, suggest, not a wrath coming forth from the Father, but a power of evil which the Father permitted to have its course. We cannot indeed doubt what the impression on the disciples as to that to which their Lord was subjected, must have been; and accordingly, after our Lord's resurrection, in that interview of touching tenderness with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, when He joined Himself to them and said, "What manner of communications are these which ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?"--their sad thoughts were "concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to death, and have crucified Him." On these events were their minds going back, and on these events did He give them light. "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets,

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He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke xxiv. 17, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27.

But both the errors now noticed,--the minute dwelling on the physical suffering as such, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the turning away from it altogether, for the explanation of the intensity of our Lord's agony in the garden, and seeking that explanation in the assumption that the wrath of the Father was the bitterness of the cup given to the Son,--both these very opposite errors have alike originated in the root error of regarding our Lord's sufferings as penal, and so being occupied with their aspect as sufferings merely, when they were truly a moral and spiritual sacrifice, to which the sufferings were related only as involved in the fulness and perfection of the sacrifice.

In St. Matthew xvi. 21, we have the record of an intimation to the disciples of the sufferings to which the Lord looked forward, earlier than that quoted above. And both the outburst of natural feeling in Peter at the thought of his Master s suffering such things, and our Lord's rebuke, that in so feeling he savoured not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men, connected with the teaching that is immediately added,--"Then said Jesus unto them, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me: for whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it"--illustrate to us the relation of the sufferings foretold to the life which the Son of God was presenting to the faith of the disciples, and to the fellowship of which He sought to raise their desires and their hopes.

The later occasion of His speaking of His anticipated sufferings to His disciples already quoted, is also 257 marked by an incident which is in its teaching to us entirely to the same effect, I mean the request of the two sons of Zebedee. They, with Peter, were the three privileged to be present with our Lord during His agony of prayer in the garden; as they had also been to be with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, when, "as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And behold there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem." Whether the scene on the Mount, along with the words with which their Lord's intimation of His approaching suffering, had concluded,-—" And the third day He shall rise again,"--though not fully understood, had carried their thoughts at once beyond the sufferings to the glory that should follow, and so moved the desire which the request to "sit the one on His right hand, the other on His left in His kingdom," expressed, we know not; but nothing can be more conclusive as to the relation --the abiding relation of the sufferings which the Lord foretold, to the development of the life that was in Him, than His reply to this request. First, in accordance with the awful impression of what He looked forward to, which it was His intention to convey. He says,--''Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" But when they reply, "We are able," He adds, "Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with:" plainly preparing them for that fellowship in His anticipated sufferings which His words on the former occasion, as to the necessity of "bearing His cross," had equally implied.

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For, indeed, although this period of which the distinctive character is suffering in connexion with a permitted hour and power of darkness, is so clearly marked off to us; yet had the disciples been, as we have seen, before this time taught to see their Lord as bearing the cross, and to understand that they were called to take up the cross and follow Him. And now, when they were taught to associate a deeper meaning than it had yet to them, with their Lord's cross, it was still as that cross which they would have themselves to bear in following their Lord, that they were to contemplate it.

The continuity of the life of sonship, therefore, is unbroken in the transition to this third and last period, the character of the Father's dealing with the Son as what related to the development of that life, is unchanged, and the interest of the progress of that development to us as the development of the life given to us in the Son of God, and which we are ourselves to partake in, is unaltered. We are to meditate on the details of our Lord's sufferings with that personal reference to ourselves, and, therefore, with that expectation of light as to their nature, which is justified by the words, "Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with." If we ponder these words well, they will indeed give a peculiar character to our consideration of the cup given the Son of God to drink; and realising in their light something of the depth of our calling as a call to fellowship in Christ's sufferings,--as in the light of the transfiguration we may realise something of the high hope set before us,--we shall, in our ignorance of the forms of trial which our Father's love may yet take in accomplishing in us the good pleasure of His goodness, feel it needful to fall back, as we may peacefully do, on the 259 faith that " the height and the depth and the breadth and the length of the love of God in Christ passeth knowledge; "for that its end is, that we may be "filled with the fulness of God."

The faithfulness of our Lord's personal ministry and the unclouded light of His life, had been already the realisation in humanity of a loving trust in the Father, and a forgiveness towards men, which were a victory of sonship and brotherhood in the sight of God of great price. But the extent to which sonship could trust the Father, the extent to which the true brother could exercise forgiving love, had to be further manifested,--or, rather, this life of love had to be further developed; and if we enter into the reason for Christ's suffering at all through being exposed to the enmity of the carnal mind to God, instead of being protected from its malice by "twelve legions of angels," we can see how it should please the Father to bruise Him, and put the Son of His love to grief, such as the restraint put upon the power of the wicked up to a certain point had not permitted. We can see how it was fit that He should be exposed to suffer at the hands of wicked men, what would be a measure at once of man's rejection of God, "This is the Son, let us kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours," and of the forgiving love of Him who could die for His enemies; and we can see how as a revealing of the Father this must take place in the power of the life of sonship, that is to say, in the strength of the Son's conscious oneness of mind with the Father, in the strength of the life which is in the Father's favour.

Therefore, in following the path of the Son as the Father orders it, and keeping our ear open to the voice which says, "This is my beloved Son," we can, without feeling it a contradiction to that voice, contemplate the coming to the Son of "the hour and power of darkness."

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But we should feel very differently if called to believe in any outcoming of the Father's mind towards the Son, or any aspect of His countenance towards Him that did not accord with the words, "This is my beloved Son." For this we should feel quite unprepared. When Satan was permitted to try Job, it was with this reservation, "but save his life." In our Lord's case, it is the higher life, the life in the Father's favour, that we are prepared to see untouched. That He should die, by the grace of God tasting death for every man,--so dying as through death to destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, we can understand, seeing in this the triumph of the eternal life. Whatever can have been contained in the permission of an hour and power of darkness, we can believe to have entered into the divine counsel, because anything that these words can express could only prove the might of the eternal life;--for nothing simply permitted--nothing external to God Himself--nothing that was not in the divine aspect towards Christ, could reach that life to touch it as a life in God's favour, or suspend its flow from God. But the wrath of God as coming forth towards Christ, would be indeed the touching of that very life in the Father's favour, whose excellence and might was to be proved at so great a cost. Accordingly we have seen that it was as a cup from the Father's hand that Christ received the cup given Him to drink, and that the unbroken sense of the Father's favour was expressed in the rebuke to the unbelieving, though affectionate zeal of Peter, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me twelve legions of angels?" And, most conclusive of all, we have the revelation of the nature of the strength in which the anticipated trial was met, and in which doubtless it was victoriously borne, in the express 261 words of our Lord in reference to one most bitter element of its bitterness,--"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."

We can understand, then, the permission of an hour and power of darkness, as what could only prove the might of the eternal life presented to our faith in the Son of God. We do not so easily understand the measure of the proof which such an hour was fitted to be. And it is here that the error and shortcoming have been, which have permitted the comparison of our Lord's sufferings during the hour and power of darkness, with the ordinary case of man's suffering at the hands of man.

The actual treatment to which our Lord was subjected is but one of two elements in His suffering; and it has surely been a grave error to leave the other element, which, is indeed, the important element, out of account. We may find cases where the physical infliction and the indignities offered have been as great or greater, but how shall we calculate the infinite difference that the mind in which Christ suffered has made? That mind, indeed, made Him equal to what He had to bear, for its might was the might of the eternal life which is in God's favour; but this great might was not the might of mere power, nor was it that the life of sonship imparted an insensibility to His humanity, or that because of the light of God which belonged to it, it made all that He had to encounter to be to Him as nothing. On the contrary, the very opposite of all this was the truth. It was not a might of power at all, but the might of realised perfect weakness, whose only strength was the strength of faith. It was not a bearing of the things that came upon Him 262 in insensibility. The most tender sensitiveness proper to humanity, as possessed and lived in in the truth of humanity, was there open to all that came to wound it. It was not that in the light of God, and in the knowledge that He came from God and went to God, there was a raising of the Lord above His circumstances, making them to Him as nothing. In the light of God, which is the light of love, all these circumstances as they were indeed the form taken by an hour and power of darkness had their true import and magnitude, and awful substance of sin and enmity as these are estimated by the divine love. In truth, we are to judge that according as was the love which, in the strength of love to God and man, was able to drink that cup, so was the bitterness of that cup. And that according to the measure of the true sense and consciousness of humanity, in Christ, was the sensibility to that bitterness, the capacity of suffering through it. And that according to the absolute felt weakness of the flesh to which no strength at all remained, was the need of sustaining faith, as the need of one believing in "the dust of death."

If we are not turned away from meditating on this subject in the light of the life itself which we are seeing tried and triumphing, and do not unwisely occupy ourselves with the record of physical sufferings, as if we were called on to look at what could be known according to the flesh,--until the unsatisfactory result cast us upon the opposite error of supposing that our Lord's agony in the garden could not really have its explanation in His anticipation of what the hour and power of darkness would be to Him,--we shall find even our ordinary experience of human suffering as connected with man's inhumanity to man, giving a right direction to our thoughts.

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We are familiar with the fact, that unkindness affects quite differently a meek, gentle, loving spirit, and a proud, independent, self-relying spirit. The comparative ease with which some men encounter all manner of ungracious and unbrotherly treatment at the hands of others in the conflict of life, is because they meet pride and unbrotherliness in the strength of pride and unbrotherliness. This too often passes for manliness;--and it would be unjust to say that it may not often be combined with, and upheld by, the instinctive feeling of manhood, and of what is due to oneself. But assuredly the state of mind, as a whole, tends to make the apparent victory not so much a victory as an insensibility. The evil treatment experienced does not really, in these cases, cause the pain it would cause to that brotherliness in which it should be met, and which, being recognised, has always a witness in men's consciences as the right and highest way of meeting injuries; though the pride that hinders a man from feeling it himself, makes him slow to give another credit for it. But it is surely not difficult to see that, if our feeling of what is due to ourselves be free from pride, and only commensurate with our feeling of the love due from us to others,--if our sense of manhood be in harmony with the true and pure feeling of the oneness of all flesh, and if the claim of others on love from us be felt to be altogether untouched by failure in love on their part,--being discharged by us in the reality of a love that, notwithstanding such failure, loves them still,--loves them as we love ourselves, making their sin our burden, as well as also their unkindness to be felt as the disappointing response of hatred to love; then must unkindness be to us, so minded, a suffering and trial just commensurate with the measure of the unkindness to which we are subjected, on the one 264 hand, and the measure of this life of love in us, on the other.

But it is not alone the amount of suffering implied in the treatment to which our Lord was subjected, that we must fail to estimate aright, unless we see that suffering in the light of the life that was in Him. It is still more as to the nature of that suffering that we shall err. This we feel the moment we turn from contemplating it as physical infliction on the part of men, and physical endurance on the part of Christ, to contemplate it in its spiritual aspect as the form of the response of enmity to love.

There is surely very special instruction for us here in the fact that shame--indignity--is so marked a character of the injuries inflicted on Christ. I need not illustrate this point. The Apostle speaks of "the shame of the cross," as if the great victory through the faith of the joy set before our Lord was victory over that shame: and, both in the historical narrative, and in the related Psalms, indignity and contumely, that is to say, all that would most touch that life which man has in the favour of man, and which strikes more deeply than physical infliction, because it goes deeper than the body,--wounding the spirit,--is the most distinguishing feature of the evil use made by sinful men of the power that they received over the Son of God when He was betrayed into the hands of sinners.

All along, the relation of the cross to shame was ever present to our Lord's mind. It is against the consequences of being "ashamed of Him and of His words," as the opposite of "confessing Him before men," that His warnings are given. He knew in His own honouring of the Father as bringing upon Him, as its consequence, dishonour to Himself from men, the shame of which He spake, according to the words,

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''The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell upon me."

How related the shame, against which He warned men; was to their laying down their life in this world, so that, being content to bear it, was identical with being contented to lay down that life, our Lord plainly declares, when preparing men for the sacrifice that would be implied in becoming His disciples. So the desire of the honour which is the correlative of that shame, is represented by Him as hindering the faith to which He called men,--"How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" (John v. 44.)

What are we taught by all this in relation to the cup of suffering which our Lord received from His Father's hand? For the shame that was an ingredient in that cup would not have the place it has if it were not peculiarly the occasion of suffering to the suffering Saviour.

Here we feel that, notwithstanding all our great, our sinful bondage, to what others think of us, a bondage of which the measure is never known until we attempt to assert our freedom, as the strength of an iron fetter is not known until the attempt is made to break it, still we little realise what the shame to which our Lord was subjected was to His Spirit. And this is the case partly because our own bondage in this matter, however real, and however excused by us to ourselves because of its universality all around us, never has the sanction of conscience, never is what we can confess before God, or confess to ourselves without a certain sense of degradation. How different the feeling with which a man says, "I must do as others do," from that with which he says, "This is the will of God. I must do it." The former obedience is, I say, felt to 266 be a degradation, even while it is rendered, while the latter, being rendered, is felt to exalt and ennoble. But because of the sinful and polluted form of that reference to the thoughts of others regarding us, to which we are conscious in ourselves, we have the more difficulty in entering into "the shame of the cross" as an element in Christ's sufferings. And yet the importance assigned to it is, as I have said, undeniable.

I have already had occasion to quote that which is said in reference to our Lord's early life at Nazareth, that He grew in favour with God and man. In the book of Proverbs iii. 4, the virtues commended are commended with this promise annexed, "So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man." The first and great commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and mind, and soul, and strength," and the second is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." As our life in God's favour is related to the first commandment, and our capacity of that life is the preparation of our being for our having that command addressed to so is there a life like unto that life related to the second commandment, having also preparation made for it in the constitution of humanity, viz., a life in man's favour,--a life like, I say, to the life which is in God's favour, in that it is a life in favour, i.e., a life not in possessions, but in the feelings of a heart towards us. As, then, it is proper to the life of sonship,--the perfect love to God as the Father of our spirits,--to desire His favour, and know that favour as the light of life, so it is proper to the life of brotherhood, which is the perfect love to our neighbour, to desire our brother's favour, to desire that living oneness with Him which is only possible in unity of Spirit, such as ''favour," if a spiritual reality, implies. Therefore our

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Lord, the true brother of every man, desired this response of heart from every man; and the refusal of it, the giving of contempt instead of favour, and scorn instead of that accord of true brotherhood, which would have esteemed Him, as was due to Him, as "the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely," was as a death to that life which desired the favour thus denied.

No doubt, as it was, that favour was withheld on grounds that quite strengthened the Son of God, to submit to the loss of it. He "came in His Father's name, and they received Him not." No doubt it was thus peculiarly an ingredient in His bitter cup, which He was enabled to drink in the strength of sonship; but it was not the less on that account bitter to the heart of perfect brotherhood. He was able to bear the loss of the life that is in man's favour, in the strength of the higher life which is in the Father's favour. But in itself that loss was bitter in proportion to the pure capacity of life in brotherhood, which was in Him.

God is not the author of confusion, but of order. In giving us two commandments, He has not placed us under two masters. The first commandment is absolute, and its requirements reach to the whole extent and circle of our being, leaving nothing to the man that it does not claim for God; the second our Lord says is like unto it, and, coming after so extensive a first commandment, would be what we could not meet with obedience, had not "likeness" amounted to such a relation to the first, as that obedience to the second commandment must flow out of obedience to the first. Therefore, as the strength to obey the second commandment must be in that love to God which is the obeying of the first commandment, when the obedience of that second commandment is not followed by its due response from those in relation 268 to whom it is fulfilled, the consciousness that pertains to obeying the first commandment must still sustain the spirit. But that second commandment has not been really obeyed, the love it calls for has not been truly cherished, unless the refusal of that due response, and the return of enmity for love in that most trying form of scorn and contempt, be painful. And painful it must be in the measure of the love that is thus put to grief.

As to our fleshly experience in this matter,--our experience of life in the favour of others,--it is but too clear, that, though the desire of that favour has a true root in humanity, yet not love, but selfishness, renders that desire the occasion of the bondage to which we are conscious. But in Christ's case the love to men to which men made so evil a response--that very love itself was what demanded that coming to them in His Father's name because of which they refused Him. His so coming to them was true love to them, as well as faithfulness to His Father,--the true brotherhood, which, while seeking men's favour, seeks their good still more than their favour. Therefore, if we would understand the forgiveness which, by giving occasion for its exercise, our Lord's sufferings during the hour and power of darkness developed in Him, we must see that His love was forgiving injuries which were, in the strictest sense, injuries against itself,--injuries sustained by the love as love, and not merely touching Him against whom they were directed in some more outward and lower part of His being, some inferior capacity of suffering.

But still more, even the element in our Lord's sufferings that is most purely physical, is not what our own physical experiences prepare us to understand. There is no doubt that it was part of the perfect truth of our Lord's consciousness in humanity, to have felt 269 what was physical in His suffering with a pure and simple sense of what it was in itself; which we in suffering physical pain escape in various ways, either in the way of nerving ourselves to bear, or in the way of forcibly turning our minds from the pain to other considerations. Nor does our Father see it necessary, even when He subjects us to physical suffering, to leave us to prove its fulness.

President Edwards, in speaking of the elements of our Lord's sufferings,--and in this others have followed him,--speaks of that vision of evil which he supposes to have pressed on our Lord's spirit, as "unaccompanied by counterbalancing comfortable considerations and prospects." His object being simply to inquire what elements of suffering could accord with our Lord's holiness, in trying to conceive to Himself what God could use to fill full a cup of penal suffering, he was led thus to suppose holiness in Christ subjected to what would give it pain, and that pain left unmitigated by the presence to His spirit of what would, to the holiness thus pained, be counterbalancing comfort. That for the joy set before Him our Lord endured that which He endured, does not accord with this conception. While, as I have already said, 1 do not believe that the question was at all as to the way in which most suffering could be accumulated on the sufferer.

But there was a reason, though not this, why our Lord, having taken suffering flesh, and being subjected to suffer in it under an hour and power of darkness, should prove its full capacity of suffering. For He was to manifest to the utmost the power and courage of love, refusing the favour of man when that follows not the favour of God; as well as the forgiveness of love, when those who can kill the body, but after that have no more that they can do, put forth that power in enmity;

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Among the comparisons which have been so unwisely permitted of our Lord's sufferings under this hour and power of darkness, with what others have suffered, the sufferings of His own martyrs have been mentioned. As to the sufferings of martyrs, suffering in His spirit and sustained by His strength, they are obviously a part of the fulfilment of the word, "Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with:" but, unless we are prepared to claim for them the life of love, in the fulness in which it was present in Him from whom it has flowed in them, we cannot conclude as to the comparative amount of their sufferings from the external circumstances of suffering in which we see them.

But, apart from this, though His church be called to fill up what is behind of Christ's sufferings, and though the counsel of God in that Christ is the vine, we the branches. He the head, we the members, implies that, in a sense, and an important sense, there is that behind which remains to be filled up; yet in suffering, as in all else, there was a fulness and perfection in Christ Himself, of which we severally receive but a part. Accordingly, measures of comfort under sufferings, even to the extent of partially neutralising these sufferings, have been often granted to martyrs, though not to their Lord. Nay, even in more ordinary cases of physical suffering, as a cup which our Father may give us to drink, while it is good for us, though children, to learn obedience by the things which we suffer, yet it is sometimes our Father's will, in seasons of suffering, to reveal in the spirit so much of His glory in Christ as neutralises the physical suffering. Thus David Brainerd, to whom a very unusual measure of physical pain was appointed, sometimes when that pain was most acute, had granted to him, along with it, a 271 joy in the Holy Ghost, which so counterbalanced that pain, that on the whole he judged that condition far happier than an ordinary measure of religious joy, with ordinary health. But as to our Lord's experience during that hour and power of darkness, it would seem inconsistent with the purpose of subjecting Him to the experience of the weakness of suffering flesh at all, to conceive of this experience as other than, so to speak, perfect. In this view, the reason that has been assigned for His refusing the drink offered to deaden pain, commends itself to us.

I believe these thoughts as to the elements of our Lord's sufferings as suffered at the hands of men, and as to the weakness of suffering flesh in which He bore them, are true, and will help us to realise the trial to which forgiving love in the Son of God was put, and the mind of love in which He endured the trial, the manner of the victory of love. This it concerns us to know, because it is with this same love as in Him towards ourselves, and as, alas! tried by our sins, that we have to do. This it concerns us to know, also, because it is this same love as in us through participation in Him as our life, that we are called to manifest towards others, and for the developing of which in us, it may be the Father's will that we shall have a personal experience of drinking of our Lord's cup and being baptized with His baptism even in outward form of trial, which, if it comes to us, we, without this light, are ill prepared to welcome. In thinking of what has been, and may yet be, of literal conformity to the sufferings of Christ, and in considering the probable history of any attempt to persecute for Christ's name, or to constrain men to deny Christ,--an hour and power of darkness coming to the church towards the close as to her Lord,--it is a solemn thing to think that of the 272 many who would be found prepared to die rather than deny Christ, few might be found so partaking in the life of Christ as that dying would be to them the true fellowship of His cross,--the fellowship of His love to those who crucified Him,--of that love as in itself the deepest capacity of suffering,--of that love as in its deepest experience of suffering, proving its fountain to be in God by being forgiving love. And yet such a victory of love would be but what Christ is daily calling us to prove in measure, in calling us to take up our cross daily and follow Him.

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