April 1 PDF Print E-mail
"His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." — Luke 22:44.

It is a question whether this sweat was blood comparatively, that is, whether it resembled blood, whose drops are denser, heavier, and larger, than those of common perspiration, or really blood. The latter is possible. There have been instances of the kind well authenticated. Such an opinion early and generally prevailed; and nothing was more common among the Fathers, than to consider this as one of the times when he bled for us, each of his pores, as a kind of wound, flowing with that blood without which there is no remission. It is, perhaps, impossible to determine this absolutely. But even allowing — what we by no means consider as proved — that it was only blood in resemblance, it must have been most extraordinary. For he was abroad in the open air, upon the cold ground, the night far advanced, and the weather chilling; for the High Priest's servants made a fire to warm themselves. Here was enough to have checked perspiration; yet his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

And what could have caused it? Surely not the mere circumstances of dying. Socrates, Seneca, did not sweat thus; they were cool and calm. Look at the martyrs, and even those of the more timid sex; they were tranquil in the prospect, and in many instances came forth from prison smiling, and blessed the instrument of death. What was the reason of this difference? they had not to contend with the powers of darkness; but this was their hour, and the power of darkness. They had not to bear the sins of others, nor yet their own; whereas the Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all.

We indulge here no curious speculations, and we require the definitions of no human creeds; but neither will we be reasoned out of the plain language and meaning of the Scriptures. We believe God; and not as some believe him: that is, as a jury in a court believe the testimony of a suspected, a discredited witness, relying no further upon his deposition than it is collaterally supported; and thus yielding no honour to himself. We do not found our belief on knowledge, but derive our knowledge from belief. We believe in the unerring wisdom and veracity of God; and he has told us, that Christ also suffered for sins, the just for the unjust; that he bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows; that the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and that by his stripes we are healed.

Men think lightly of sin; but an awakened conscience feels it a burden too heavy to bear. It has made the whole creation groan. But see Jesus bearing it in his own body, and his sweat falls as great drops of blood down to the ground! What, then, if you should bear it in your own person, O sinner! Why it will sink thee to the lowest hell. Yet bear it you must, if you reject or neglect him; for there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son of God, hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Yet,

"Each purple drop proclaims there's room,
And bids the poor and needy come."

Oh, let me look on him who suffers thus. Oh, let me mourn over my sins, which caused his anguish.

"T’were you that pull'd the vengeance down
Upon his guiltless head:
Break, break, my heart; and burst, my eyes;
And let my sorrows bleed."

But let me also rejoice. That bloody sweat proclaims my discharge from condemnation, and tells me the law is magnified and made honourable.

And can I help loving him? Love begets love. And what can evince love like suffering? And such suffering; and for such criminals! And not only without their desert, but their desire. "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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