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All were sleeping, sleeping indeed for sorrow, but not with a sorrow like his, who was suffering for them. It seems to endear the holy angels, that one of their number should have been found, seeking to soften that unutterable bitterness of our Master's grief; and to strengthen him, when forsaken of all help, assailed by Satan, and with the keen prophetic anticipation of all the morrow's torments full on his spirit.
But though only one appeared to help him, many were the angelic spectators of that night's agony. know that Christ was 66 seen of angels;" and we cannot believe that ever, for one moment of time, were their regards withdrawn from him. There is a remarkable passage in the Epistle to the Ephesians, iii. 9-11, where the Apostle speaks of "the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now under the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he proposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." By these principalities and powers in heav enly places, the angels must necessarily be meant: and the making known to them the manifold wisdom of God by the church, seems no less clearly to imply that the contemplation of the adorable mystery of man's redemption by the incarnation, sufferings, obedience, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, brought a vast accession of the knowledge of the glory of God, even to the highest of created intelligences. To the rebellious, the wicked spirits in high places," was
thereby shown forth in dazzling display, the immensity of the mercy and goodness against which they had irretrievably sinned; and of the wisdom that could devise, and the power that could accomplish the restoration of man from the ruin into which Satan had plunged him, in a way perfectly consistent with that solemn declaration, "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," and with every attribute of the Most High. To the holy angels, who have joy in the presence of God over every sinner that repenteth, how inexpressibly beautiful and glorious must be this work of their Divine Master. Theirs was a privilege to behold him throughout every stage of its arduous progress, and we cannot enter into the deep feeling, the full comprehension, with which they pour forth the everlasting song, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain !" It is marvelous how little some excellent people allow themselves to think about the angels, as connected with this theme: the blank left in their system by the omission of so very rich a part of God's revelation would, at least to us, be a very dreary one. We could not afford to forget that the Lord Jesus in all that he did and suffered for us was watched, marveled at, and exceedingly glorified by those with whom we look to be hereafter equal, but to whom we are now so immeasurably inferior, that a single individual among them could, with a movement of his powerful arm, depopulate this land; or by the brightness of his appearance, if fully revealed to our sight, turn, as Daniel expressed it, "our comeliness into corrup tion."
It is impossible to conceive what must have been the emotions with which the angelic host looked on, while the dreadful work proceeded from the moment of our Lord's agony in the garden, to that of his being taken down from the cross. We can hardly read those words, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than ten legions of angels?" without fancying every flaming sword among the listening myriads starting from its sheath, and every countenance blazing with ardour, to receive the command. They had witnessed the detestable act of the mercenary traitor; they had seen Satan enter into him, and lead him to the guilty chief priests, and animate him to grasp with avaricious delight the wretched bribe, a goodly price that they valued Him at, whose is the silver, and whose is the gold, and whose is the round world and all that it contains! and now they beheld the wretched man conducting his midnight band to the garden, the scene of that terrible agony, and that beauteous submission to the Father's will; they beheld him approach and salute his Divine victim; they saw the inconstant Peter, now fully roused from sleep, fighting for him with whom he would not watch; they saw the bands, the cords and fetters, the preparation for such horrors, as surely they could not expect to have beheld their heavenly King subjected to; and they heard those words of conscious power and majesty, in which he named them-them, his own loyal, loving angels, as ready to appear to the rescue. Oh, what a blaze would have burst upon that night of black darkness, had not Omnipotence restrained
the glowing legions! "But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ?" added the meek Saviour, and the thought of deliverance was past. Gabriel could not forget his own message to Daniel; the seventy weeks were accomplished, and Messiah must be cut off. Their intimate acquaintance with all that God has revealed, and the sure confidence they have, that whatever he hath spoken shall come to pass, even as he has said it, are to the angels instead of a foreknowledge that no creature may attain to and if we give the like heed to what God has declared, and with the same simple faith and plain understanding receive it, we should find ourselves far better forewarned than now we are for the changes of this worldly scene, and armed with a more perfect submission to what betides us.
The sad events of that evening in Gethsemane were followed, as we all know, by others more terrible far; and equally in the Jewish sanhedrim, in Pilate's house, and Herod's judgment hall, in the streets of Jerusalem, and on Calvary, was the Lord Jesus " seen of angels." 1 They heard the false witness borne, the infamous sentence given; they saw the scourging, the crowning with a diadem of thorns, the reed placed in that hand, which in its protecting shadow had so long hidden the house of Israel from their foes! They heard the scoffing homage tendered by rude, idolatrous heathen soldiers to Him, whose regal glories filled all heaven with splendour: they saw the heavy cross laid on that shoulder where God has laid the government of all created things; and they were constrained to witness
the payment of that world's ransom in the trickling drops that oozed from those pierced hands and feet. The rocks were rent, but those awe-struck angels could not if they would, have burst the bonds of obedience to the voice that bade them be still: the sun hid himself, but through the darkness of that unnatural night, the bleeding Lamb of God was still " seen of angels." Where were the heavenly hosts, while for the appointed time the dead body of Jesus lay in the sepulchre? It was a Jewish sabbath, and it seems to have become a blank in time, because the light of the world was resting in the darkness of the grave. It was passed over-the ordinance transferred to the next glorious morning; and ever since the first day of the week has been the Sabbath of the Christian world.
But now we shall find the holy angels thronging a spot of earth, with all their glowing characteristics developed in a remarkable manner. The suspicious murderers entertained a fear lest their Victim might yet rise again; and they obtained from the Roman governor permission to seal the stone that covered the entrance of the sepulchre, and to set a watch of soldiers over it. The strict discipline of the Roman army made this a most efficient guard; but the debt was now fully cancelled. He who had died for our sins was to rise again for our justification: death had no more dominion over him. Nothing in the Bible is more splendid than the picture presented to the mind by the very brief recital of that glorious event. “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled