Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 22.
( ...continued from File 21)
Sermon 22. The third preparative Act of Christ for his own Death. 
Luke 22:41-44 
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled 
down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this 
cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there 
appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being 
in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were 
great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 
The hour is now almost come, even that hour of sorrow, which Christ 
had so often spoken of. Yet a little, a very little while, and the 
Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. He has 
affectionately recommended his children to his Father. He has set 
his house in order, and ordained a memorial of his death to be left 
with his people, as you have heard. There is but one thing more to 
do, and then the tragedy begins. He recommended us, he must also 
recommend himself by prayer to the Father; and when that is done, he 
is ready, let Judas with the black guard come when they will. 
    This last act of Christ's preparation for his own death, is 
contained in this scripture; wherein we have an account, 1. Of his 
prayer. 2. Of the agony attending it. 3. His relief in that agony, 
by an angel that came and comforted him. 
    1. The prayer of Christ; in a praying posture he will be found 
when the enemy comes; he will be taken upon his knees: he was 
pleading hard with God in prayer, for strength to carry him through 
this heavy trial, when they came to take him. And this prayer was a 
very remarkable prayer, both for the solitariness of it, he withdrew 
about a stone's cast, verse 41. from his dearest intimates, no ear 
but his Father's shall hear what he had now to say; and for the 
vehemency and importunity of it; these were those "iketerias", Heb. 
5: 7. strong cries that he poured out to God in the days of his 
flesh. And for the humility expressed in it; he fell upon the 
ground, he rolled himself as it were in the dust, at his Father's 
feet. And in divers other respects it was a very remarkable prayer, 
as you will hear anon. 
    2. This scripture gives you also an account of the agony of 
Christ, as well as of big prayer, and that a most strange one: such 
as in all respects never was known before in nature. It was a sweat 
as it had been blood, which, [as] is neither an hyperbole, as some 
would make it: nor yet a similitude of blood; as others fancy, but a 
real bloody sweat. For so [as] is sometimes taken for the very thing 
itself, as John 1: 14. And as a worthy divine of our own well notes, 
that if the Holy Ghost had only intended it for a similitude or 
resemblance, he would rather have expressed it, as it were drops of 
water, than as it were drops of blood, for sweat more resembles 
water than blood. 
    3. You have here his relief in this his agony and that by an 
angel dispatched post from heaven to comfort him. The Lord of angels 
now needed the comfort of an angel. It was time to have a little 
refreshment when his face and body too stood as full of drops of 
blood, as the drops of dew are upon the grass. Hence we note, 
    Doct. That our Lord Jesus Christ was praying to his Father in 
    an extraordinary agony, when they came to apprehend him in the 
    To open and explain this last act of preparation on Christ's 
part for our use, I shall at this time speak of these particulars. 
First, The place where he prayed. Secondly, The time when he prayed. 
Thirdly, The matter of his prayer. And lastly, The manner how he 
    First, For the circumstance of place, where was this last and 
remarkable prayer poured out to God? It was in the garden: St. 
Matthew tells us it was called Gethsemane, which signifies, (as 
Pareus on the place observes) "the valley of fatness, viz. of 
olives, which grew in that valley or garden most plentifully". This 
garden lay very near to the city of Jerusalem. The city had twelve 
gates, five of which were on the east side of it, among which the 
most remarkable were the fountain gate, so called of the fountain 
Siloe. Through this gate Christ rode into the city in triumph, when 
he came from Bethany, the other was the sheep-gate, so called from 
the multitude of sheep driven in at it for the sacrifice, for it 
stood close by the temple; and close by this gate was the garden 
called Gethsemane, where they apprehended Christ, and led him 
through this gate, as a sheep to the slaughter. Betwixt this garden 
and the city, ran the brook Cedron, which rose from a hill upon the 
south, and ran upon the east part of the city, between Jerusalem and 
the mount of olives: and over this brook Christ passed into the 
garden, John 18: 1. To which the Psalmist alludes in Psal. 110: 7. 
"He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore he shall lift up 
the head." For this brook running through the valley of Jehosaphat, 
that fertile soil, together with the filth of the city which it 
washed away, gave the waters a black tincture, and so fitly 
resembled those grievous sufferings of Christ, in which he tasted 
both the wrath of God and men. 
    Now, Christ went not into this garden to hide, or shelter 
himself from his enemies. No, that was not his end; for if so, it 
had been the most improper place he could have chosen, it being the 
accustomed place where he was wont to pray, and a place well known 
to Judas, who was now coming to seek him, as you may see, John 18: 
2. "And Judas, which betrayed him, knew the place, for Jesus 
ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples." So that he repairs 
thither, not to shun, but to meet the enemy; to offer himself as a 
prey to the wolves, which there found him, and laid hold upon him. 
He also resorted thither for an hour or two of privacy before they 
came, that he might there freely pour out his soul to God. So much 
for the circumstances of place where he prayed. 
    Secondly, We shall consider the time when he entered into this 
garden to pray: and it was in the shutting in of the evening: for it 
was after the passover and the supper were ended. Then (as Matthew 
has it, chap. 26: 36.) Jesus went over the brook into the garden, 
betwixt the hours of nine and ten in the evening, as it is 
conjectured; and so he had betwixt two and three hours time to pour 
out his soul to God. For it was about midnight that Judas and the 
soldiers came and apprehended him there. So that it being 
immediately before his apprehension, it shows us in what frame and 
posture Christ desired to be found: and by it he left us an 
excellent pattern, what we ought to do, when imminent dangers are 
near us, even at the door. It becomes a soldier to die fighting, 
"and a minister to die preaching," and a Christian to die praying. 
If they come, they will find Christ upon his knees, wrestling 
mightily with God by prayer. He never spent one moment of the time 
of his life idly; but these were the last moments he had to live in 
the world, and here you may see how they were filled up and 
    Thirdly, Next let us consider the matter of his prayers or the 
things about which he poured out his soul to God in the garden, that 
evening. And verse 42 informs us what that was: he prayed, saying, 
"Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, 
not my will, but thine be done." These words are involved in many 
difficulties, as Christ himself was when he uttered them. By the 
cup, understand that portion of sorrows then to be distributed to 
him by his Father. Great afflictions and bitter trials are 
frequently expressed, in scripture, under the metaphor of a cup. So, 
that dreadful storm of wrath upon the wicked, in Psal. 11: 6. "Upon 
the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone and a horrible 
tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup," i.e. the 
punishment allotted to them by God for their wickedness. And an 
exceeding great misery, by a large or deep cup. So Ezek. 23: 32, 33, 
"Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large; thou shalt be 
laughed to scorn, and had in derision; it containeth much. Thou 
shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of 
astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria." 
And when an affliction is compounded of many bitter ingredients, 
stinging and aggravating considerations and circumstances, then it 
is said to be mixed. "In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and 
the wine is red, (noting a bloody trial) it is full of mixture, and 
he poureth out the same but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the 
earth shall wring them out and drink them:" i.e. their shall have 
the worst part of the judgement for their share. Thus afflictions 
and calamities are expressed by the metaphor of a cup; great 
calamities by a deep and large cup; afflictions compounded of many 
aggravating circumstances, by a mixed cup. And from the effect it 
has on those that must drink it, is called a cup of trembling, Isa. 
57: 17. "Thou hast drunken at the hand of the Lord, the cup of his 
fury, the dregs of the cup of trembling." Such a cup now was 
Christ's cup; a cup of wrath; a large and deep cup, that contained 
more wrath than ever was drunk by any creature, seen the wrath of an 
infinite God. A mixed cup, mixed with God's wrath and man's in the 
extremity. And all the bitter aggravating circumstances that ever 
could be imagined; great consternation and amazement; this was the 
portion of his cup. 
    By the passing of the cup from him, understand his exemption 
from suffering that dreadful and horrid wrath of God, which he 
foresaw to be now at hand. For as the coming of the cup to a man, 
does, in scripture-phrase, note his bearing and suffering of evil, 
as you find it, Lam. 4: 21. "Rejoice and be g}ad, O daughter of 
Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass 
through unto thee; thou shalt be drunken, and make thyself naked;" 
which is an ironical reproof at the Idumeans, the deadly enemies of 
the Jews, who wickedly insulted over them, when the cup was at their 
mouths: as if the Lord had said, you have laughed and jeered at my 
people, when my hand was on them; you rejoiced to see their 
calamities: well, make yourselves merry still if you can, the cup 
shall pass through unto thee; thy turn is coming, then laugh if thou 
canst. So, on the contrary, the passing away of the cup, notes 
freedom from, or our escaping of those miseries. And so Christ's 
meaning, in this conditional request, is, Father, if it be thy will, 
excuse me from this dreadful wrath; my soul is amazed at it. Is 
there no way to shun it? Cannot I be excused? Or if it be possible, 
spare me. This is the meaning of it. But then here is the 
difficulty, how Christ, who knew God had from everlasting determined 
he should drink it, who had compacted and agreed with him in the 
covenant of redemption so to do, who came (as himself acknowledges) 
for that end into the world, John 18: 37, who foresaw this hour all 
along, and professed when he spake of this bloody baptism with which 
he was to be baptised, that he was "straitened till it was 
accomplished," Luke 12: 50. How (I say) to reconcile all this with 
such a petition, that now when the cup was delivered to him, it 
might pass, or he excused from suffering; this is the knot, this is 
the difficulty. 
    What! did he now repent of his engagement? Was all he said 
before but a nourish, before he saw the enemy? Does he nor begin to 
wish to be disengaged, and that he had never undertaken such a work? 
Is that the meaning of it? No, no, Christ never repented of his 
engagement to the Father, never was willing to let the burden lie on 
us, rather than on himself; there was not such a thought in his holy 
and faithful heart; but the resolution of this doubt depends upon 
another distinction, which will clear his meaning in it. 
    1st, You must distinguish of prayers. Some are absolute and 
peremptory; and so to have prayed that the cup might pass, would 
have been chargeable with such absurdities, as were but now 
mentioned: others are conditional and submissive prayers, "If it may 
be, if the Lord please." And such was this, If you be willing; if 
not, I will drink it. But you will say, Christ knew what was the 
mind of God in that case; he knew what transactions had of old been 
betwixt his Father and him; and therefore though he did not pray 
absolutely, yet it is strange he would pray conditionally it might 
pass. Therefore in the 
    2d Place, you must distinguish of the natures according to 
which Christ acted. He acted sometimes as God, and sometimes as man. 
Here he acted according to his human nature; simply expressing and 
manifesting in this request the reluctance it had at such 
sufferings, wherein he shewed himself a true man, in shunning that 
which is destructive to his nature. 
    As Christ had two distinct natures so two distinct wills. And 
(as one well observes) in the life of Christ, there was an 
intermixture of power and weakness, of the divine glory, and human 
frailty. At his birth a star shone, but he was laid in a manger. The 
devil tempted him in the wilderness, but there angels ministered to 
him. As man he was deceived in the fig-tree, but as God he blasted 
it. He was caught by the soldiers in the garden, but first made them 
fall back. So here, as man he feared and shunned death; but as 
God-man he willingly submitted to it. 
    "It was (as Deodatus well expresses it) a purely natural 
desire, mere man, by which for a short moment he apprehended and 
shunned death and torments; but quickly recalled himself to 
obedience, by a deliberate will, to submit himself to God. And 
besides that, this desire was but conditional, under the will of 
God, accepted by Christ; but from the contemplation of which he was 
a while diverted by the extremity of horrors; therefore there was no 
sin in it, but only a short conflict of nature, presently overcome 
by reason, and a firm will: or a small suspension, quickly overcome 
by a most strong resolution. Finally, this sacred deliberation in 
Jesus was not made simply, or in an instant, but with a short time, 
and with a counterpoise, which is the natural property of the soul 
in its motions, and voluntary actions." 
    In a word, as there was nothing of sin in it, it being a pure 
and sinless affection of nature; so there was much good in it, and 
that both as it was a part of his satisfaction for our sin, to 
suffer inwardly such fears, tremblings, and consternation: and as it 
was a clear evidence, that he was in all things made like unto his 
brethren, except sin. And lastly, as it serves notably to express 
the grievousness and extremity of Christ's sufferings, whose very 
prospect and appearance, at some distance, was so dreadful to him. 
    If the learned reader desire to see what is further said on 
this point, let him read what the judicious and learned Parker, in 
his excellent book "de descensu", has collected upon that case. 
    Fourthly, Let us consider the manner how he prayed, and that 
    1. Solitarily, He does not here pray in the audience of his 
disciples, as he had done before, but went at a distance from them. 
He had now private business to transact with God. He left some of 
them at the entering into the garden; and for Peter, James, and 
John, that went farther with him than the rest, he bids them remain 
there, while he went and prayed. He did not desire them to pray with 
him, or for him; no, he must tread the winepress alone. Nor will he 
have them with him, possibly lest it should discourage them to see 
and hear how he groaned, sweat, trembled, and cried, as one in an 
agony, to his Father. 
    Reader, there are times and cases, when a Christian would not 
be willing, that the dearest and most intimate friend he has in the 
world, should be privy to what passes betwixt him and his God. 
    2. It was an humble prayer; that is evident by the postures 
into which he cast himself; sometimes kneeling, and sometimes 
prostrate upon his face. He creeps in the very dust, lower he cannot 
fall; and his heart was as low as his body. He is meek and lowly 
    3. It was a reiterated prayer; he prays, and then returns to 
the disciples, as a man in extremity turns every way for comfort: so 
Christ prays, "Father, let this cup pass," but in that the Father 
hears him not; though as to support he was heard. Being denied 
deliverance by his Father, he goes and bemoans himself to his 
pensive friends, and complains bitterly to them, "my soul is 
exceeding sorrowful even unto death." He would ease himself a 
little, by opening his condition to them; but alas, they rather in 
crease than ease his burden. For he finds them asleep, which 
occasioned that gentle reprehension from him, Mat. 26: 40. "What, 
could you not watch with me one hour?" What, not watch with me? Who 
may expect it from you more than I? Could you not watch? I am going 
to die for you, and cannot you watch with me? What! cannot you watch 
with me one hour? Alas! what if I had required great matters from 
you? What: not an hour, and that the parting hour too! Christ finds 
no ease from them, and back again he goes to that sad place, which 
he had stained and purpled with a bloody sweat, and prays to the 
same purpose again. O how he returns upon God over and over, as if 
he resolved to take no denial! But, however, considering it must be 
so, he sweetly falls in with his Father's will, Thy will be done. 
    4. And lastly, It was a prayer accompanied with a strange and 
wonderful agony: so saith verse 44. "and being in an agony, he 
prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was it were great drops of 
blood falling down to the ground." Now he was red indeed in his 
apparel, as one that trod the wine-press. "It was not a faint thin 
dew, but a clotted sweat, "trumboi haimator", clodders of blood 
falling upon the ground. It is disputed whether this sweat was 
natural or preternatural. That some in extremity have sweat kind of 
bloody thin dew, is affirmed. I remember Thuanus gives us two 
instances that come nearest to this, of any thing I ever observed or 
heard of. "The one was a captain, who by a cowardly and unworthy 
fear of death was so overwhelmed with anguish, that a kind of bloody 
dew or sweat stood on all his body. The other is of a young man 
condemned for a small matter to die by Sixtus 5 who poured out tears 
of blood from his eyes, and sweat blood from his whole body." 
    These are rare and strange instances, and the truth of them 
depends upon the credit of the relator; but certainly for Christ 
whose body had the most excellent crests and temperament, to sweat 
clotted blood, or globules of blood, as some render it; and that in 
a cold night, when others needed a fire within doors to keep them 
warm, John 18: 18. I say, for him to sweat such streams through his 
garments, falling to the ground on which he lay, must be concluded a 
preternatural thing. And indeed it was not wonderful that such a 
preternatural sweat should stream from all parts of his body, if you 
do but consider what an extraordinary load pressed his soul at that 
time, even such as no mere man felt, or was able to stand under, 
even the wrath of a great and terrible God, in the extremity of it. 
"Who (saith the prophet Nahum, chap. 1: 6.) can stand before his 
indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His 
fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him." 
    The effects of this wrath, as it fell at this time upon the 
soul of Christ in the garden, are largely and very emphatically 
expressed by the several Evangelists who wrote this tragedy. Matthew 
tells us, his soul was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death," 
Matth. 26: 38. "The word signifies beset with grief round about." 
And it is well expressed by that phrase of the psalmist, "The 
sorrows of death compassed me about, the pains of hell got hold upon 
me." Mark varies the expression, and gives it us in another word no 
less significant and full, Mark 14: 33. "He began to be sore amazed 
and very heavy," "Sore amazed, it imports so high a degree of 
consternation and amazement, as when the hair of the head stands up 
through fear." Luke has another expression, for it in the text; he 
was "en agonia", in an agony. An agony is the labouring and striving 
of nature in extremity. And John gives it us in another expression, 
John 12: 27. "Now is my soul troubled." The original word is a very 
full word. And it is conceived the Latins derive that word which 
signifies hell, from this, by which Christ's troubles are here 
expressed. This was the load which oppressed his soul, and so 
straitened it with fear and grief, that his eyes could not vent or 
ease sufficiently by tears; but the innumerable pores of his body 
are set open, to give vent by letting out streams of blood. And yet 
all this while, no hand of man was upon him. This was but a prelude, 
as it were, to the conflict that was at hand. This bloody sweat in 
which he prayed, was but as the giving or sweating of the stones 
before a great rain. Now he stood as it were, arraigned at God's 
bar, and had to do immediately with him. And you know "it is a 
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." The uses of 
this follow in this order. 
    Inference 1. Did Christ pour out his soul to God so ardently in 
the garden, when the hour of his trouble was at hand? Hence we 
infer, That prayer is a singular preparative for, and relief under, 
the greatest troubles. 
    It is sweet, when troubles find us in the way of our duty. The 
best posture we can wrestle with afflictions in, is to engage them 
upon our knees. The naturalist tells us, if a lion find a man 
prostrate, he will do him no harm. Christ hastened to the garden to 
pray, when Judas and the soldiers were hastening thither to 
apprehend him. O! when we are nigh to danger it is good for us to 
draw nigh to our God. Then should we be urging that seasonable 
request to God, Psal. 22: 11. "Be not far from me, for trouble is 
near; for there is none to help." We be to him, whom death or 
trouble finds afar off from God. And as prayer is the best 
preparative for troubles, so the choicest relief under them. Griefs 
are eased by groans. The heart is cooled and disburdened by 
spiritual evaporations. You know it is some relief if a man can pour 
out his complaint into the bosom of a faithful friend, though he can 
but pity him; how much more to pour out our complaints into the 
bosom of a faithful God, who can both pity and help us; Luther was 
wont to call prayers the leeches of his cares and sorrows; they suck 
out the bad blood. It is the title of Psal. 102, A prayer for the 
afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint 
before the Lord. It is no small ease to open our hearts to God. When 
we are as full of grief, as Elihu was of matter, let us say as he 
did, Job 32: 19. "Behold, Lord, my heart is as wine which has no 
vent, it is ready to burst as new bottles. I will speak that I may 
be refreshed." 
    To go to God when thou art full of sorrow, when thy heart is 
ready to burst within thee, as it was with Christ in this day of his 
trouble; and say, Father, thus and thus the case stands with thy 
poor child; and so and so it is with me; I will not go up and down 
complaining from one creature to another, it is to no purpose to do 
so; nor yet will I leave my complaint upon myself: but I will tell 
thee, Father, how the case stands with me; for to whom should 
children make their moan, but to their Father? Lord, I am oppressed, 
undertake for me. What thinkest thou, reader, of this? Is it 
relieving to a sad soul? Yes, yes; if thou be a Christian that hast 
had any experience this way, thou wilt say there is nothing like it; 
thou wilt bless God for appointing such an ordinance as prayer, and 
say, Blessed be God for prayer: I know not what I should have done, 
nor how in all the world I should have waded through the troubles I 
have passed, if it had not been for the help of prayer. 
    Inf. 2. Did Christ withdraw from the disciples to seek God by 
prayer? Thence it follows, That the company of the best men is not 
always seasonable. Peter, James, and John, were three excellent men, 
and yet Christ saith to them, Tarry ye here, while I go and pray 
yonder. The society of men is beautiful in its season, and no better 
than a burden out of season. I have read of a good man, that when 
his stated time for closet-prayer was come, he would say to the 
company that were with him, whatever they were, Friends, I must beg 
your excuse for a while, there is a friend waits to speak with me. 
The company of a good man is good, but it ceases to be so, when it 
hinders the enjoyment of better company. One hour with God is to be 
preferred to a thousand days enjoyment of the best men on earth. If 
thy dearest friends in the world intrude unseasonably betwixt thee 
and thy God, it is neither rude nor unmannerly to bid them give 
place to better company; I mean, to withdraw from them, as Christ 
did from the disciples, to enjoy an hour with God alone. In public 
and private duties we may admit of the company of others to join 
with us; and if they be such as fear God, the more the better: but 
in secret duties, Christ and thou must whisper it over betwixt 
yourselves; and then the company of the wife of thy bosom, or thy 
friend, that is as thine own soul, would not be welcome. "When thou 
prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, 
pray to thy Father which is in secret," Mat. 6: 6. It is as much as 
if Christ had said, See all clear; be sure to retire in as great 
privacy as may be; let no ear but God's hear what thou hast to say 
to him. This is at once a good note of sincerity, and a great help 
to spiritual liberty and freedom with God. 
    Inf. 3. Did Christ go to God thrice upon the same account? 
Thence learn, that Christians should not be discouraged, though they 
have sought God once and again, and no answer of peace comes. Christ 
was not heard the first time, and he goes a second: he was not 
answered the second, he goes the third and last time, yet was not 
answered in the thing he desired, viz. that the cup might pass from 
him; and yet he has no hard thoughts of God, but resolves his will 
into his Father's. If God deny you in the things you ask, he deals 
no otherwise with you than he did with Christ. "O my God (saith he) 
I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not; and in the night, and 
am not silent." Yet he justifies God, "but thou art holy," Psal. 22: 
2. Christ was not heard in the thing he desired, and yet heard in 
that he feared, Heb. 5: 7. 
    The cup did not pass as he desired, but God upheld him, and 
enabled him to drink it. He was heard as to support, he was not 
heard as to exemption from suffering: his will was expressed 
conditionally; and therefore though he had not the thing he so 
desired, yet his will was not crossed by the denial. But now, when 
we have a suit depending before the throne of grace, and cry to God 
once and again, and no answer comes; how do your hands hang down, 
and your spirits wax feeble! 
    Then we complain with the church, Lam. 3: 8. "When I cry and 
shout, he shutteth out my prayers; thou coverest thyself with a 
cloud, that our prayers cannot pass through." Then, with Jonah we 
conclude "we are cast out of his sight." Alas! we judge by sense 
according to what we see and feel; and cannot live by faith on God, 
when he seems to hide himself, put us off, and refuse our requests. 
It calls for an Abraham's faith, to "believe against hope, giving 
glory to God." If we cry, and no answer comes presently, our carnal 
reason draws a headlong hasty conclusion. Sure I must expect no 
answer: God is angry with my prayers: The seed of prayer has lain so 
long under the clods, and it appears not; surely it is lost, I shall 
hear no more of it. 
    Our prayers may be heard, though their answer be for the 
present suspended. As David acknowledged, when he coolly considered 
the matter, Psal. 31: 22. "I said in my haste, I am cut off from 
before thine eyes; nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my 
supplication, when I cried unto thee." No, no, Christian; a prayer 
sent up in faith, according to the will of God, cannot be lost, 
though it be delayed. We may say of it as David said of Saul's 
sword, and Jonathan's bow, that they never returned empty. 
    Inf. 4. Was Christ so earnest in prayer, that he prayed himself 
into every agony? Let the people of God blush to think how unlike 
their spirits are to Christ, as to their prayers-frames! 
    O what lively, sensible, quick, deep, and tender apprehensions 
and sense of those things about which he prayed, had Christ? Though 
he saw his very blood starting out from his hands, and his clothes 
died in it: yet being in an agony, he prayed the more earnestly. I 
do not say Christ is imitable in this; no, but his fervour in prayer 
is a pattern for us, and serves severely to rebuke the laziness, 
dullness, torpor, formality, and stupidity, that are in our prayers. 
How often do we bring the sacrifice of the dead before the Lord! how 
often do our lips move, and our hearts stand still! O how unlike 
Christ are we! his prayers were pleading prayers! full of mighty 
arguments and fervent affections. O that his people were in this 
more like him! 
    Inf. 5. Was Christ in such an agony before any hand of man was 
upon him, merely from the apprehensions of the wrath of God, with 
which he now contested? "Then surely it is a dreadful thing to fall 
into the hands of the living God; for our God is a consuming fire." 
    Ah, what is divine wrath, that Christ staggered when the cup 
came to him! Could not he bear, and dost thou think to bear it? Did 
Christ sweat clots of blood at it, and dost thou make light of it? 
Poor wretch, if it staggered him, it will confound thee. If it made 
him groan, it will make thee howl, and that eternally. Come, sinner, 
come; dost thou make light of the threatening of the wrath of God 
against sin? Dost thou think there is no such matter in it, as these 
zealous preachers make of it? Come look here upon my text, which 
shows thee the face of the Son of God standing as full of purple 
drops under the sense and apprehension of it, as the drops of dew 
that hang upon the grass. Mark how he cries, "Father if it be 
possible, let this cup pass." O any thing of punishment rather than 
this. Hear what he tells the disciples; "My soul, (saith he,) is 
sorrowful even to death: amazed, and very heavy." Fools make a mock 
at sin, and the threatening that lie against it. 
    Inf. 6. Did Christ meet death with such a heavy heart? Let the 
hearts of Christians be the lighter for this, when they come to die. 
The bitterness of death was all squeezed into Christ's cup. He was 
made to drink up the very dregs of it, that so our death might be 
the sweeter to us. Alas! there is nothing now left in death that is 
frightful or troublesome, beside the pain of dissolution, that 
natural evil of it. I remember it is storied of one of the martyrs, 
that being observed to be exceeding jocund and merry when he came to 
the stake, one asked him, What was the reason his heart was so 
light, when death, (and that in such a terrible form too) was before 
him? O said he, my heart is so light at my death, because Christ's 
was so heavy at his death. 
    Inf. 7. To conclude, what cause have all the saints to love 
their dear Lord Jesus with an abounding love? Christian, open the 
eyes of thy faith, and fix them upon Christ, in the posture he lay 
in the garden, drenched in his own blood; and see whether he be not 
lovely in these his dyed garments. He that suffered for us more than 
any creature could or did, may well challenge more love than all the 
creatures in the world. O what has he suffered, and suffered upon 
thy account! it was thy pride, earthliness, sensuality, unbelief; 
hardness of heart, that laid on more weight in that day that he 
sweat blood. 

(continued in file 23...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-22.txt