Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

. (page 116 of 145)
Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 116 of 145)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


slopes of the hill, and the heavy tread of ap-
proaching feet was heard, and rough voices
broke the quiet of nature; and soon Roman
helmets flashed through the gloom, and swon^s
glittered in the torch-light, and a band of sol-
diers drew up before ** the Man of Sorrows.**
** Whom teek ye 9 ** fell in languid and quiet
accents on their ears. ** Jesus of Nazareth,**
was the short and stem reply. ** / am he" he
answered them, but in tones that had more of
God than man in them — for swords and torches
sank to the earth at their utterance, and those
mailed warriors staggered back and fell like
dead men. It was not the haggard and blood-
streaked face over which the torches shed
their sudden glare, that unnerved them so,
for they were used to scenes of violence
and murder: it was the Grod speaking from the
man.

** But so it must be, that the Scriptures may
be fulfilled;" and the betrayer and his accom-
plices take up their fallen weapons, and freed
from the sudden awe that overwhelmed them,
close threateningly round their unresisting vic-
tim. With their prisoner they clatter down
the declivity of OUvet, cross Kedron, and their
heavy tread resounds along the streets of Jeru-
salem as they hurry on to the house of the
high priest.

The night wanes away — the morning, the last
dreadful morning, approaches, and the scenes
of Mount Olivet are to disappear before the
terrible tragedy of Mount Calvary.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



THE A^ONY.



495



THE AGONY.

Iir the presence of his disciples, ^he began
to be sorrowful and very heavy;'* and he com-
plained ** that his soul was exceeding sorrow-
fill, even unto death." The words used are
most expressive, and denote the greatest de-
jection, amazeipent, anguish, and horror of
mind which can be conccfived — the state of one
surrounded with sorrows, overwhelmed with
miseries, and almost swallowed up with con-
sternation. In this frame of mind, he went a
little way from the disciples; and first kneel-
ing down, but afterwards prostrating himself
on the earth, he prayed to his Father that, **if
possible, that cup might pass from Mm."
Some refer this to the present anguish and
horror which he felt in his soul, and not to
bis approaching crucifixion: but, whatever
we understand by it, it expressed his strong
aversion to suffering, save when the glory of
God and the good of man required it; and it
showed that he had all the innocent feelings
of our nature, in the most exquisite degree;
that had it been " possible**— that b, consistent
with the justice, truth, holiness, and mercy of
God — to have mitigated or remitted his suffer-
ings, he would have desired it, as much as we
should in similar circumstances; and the sub-
sequent retractation showed his perfect resigna-
tion, and williugness to bear that unspeakable
burden, which must otherwise have sunk us
into everlasting destruction. St. Luke records,
that when Jesus was at prayer, an angel was
sent to strengthen his mind for the conflict;
and that, though the night was cold, his whole
frame was agitated to such a degree, ** that his
«jweat became as great drops of blood falling
to the ground.*' It therefore occurs here to
inquire, with difiidence and caution, into the
causes of our Lord's agony. He had, doubtless,
a distinct view of all the sufferings which he
was about to undergo, with all their aggrava-
:ions : but then he had all along had the same;
vet he acted and spoke with the most entire
serenity, even to the very moment of this ex-
raordinrtny scene. Many of his disciples, in
different ages, have met the most excruciating
tortures which human, or rather diabolical,
cruelty and ingenuity could devise, without
any such perturbation; being supported by in-
ward peace, consolation, an J joyful hope : and
doubtless Christ was as much superior to them
all, in fortitude and constancy, as the heavens
are above the earth. We must therefore con-
clude, that there were some ingredients mingled
in his cup which was not in theirs, and some
in theirs which were not in his. To mention the
treachery and fate of Judas, or the misconduct
of Peter and the other apostles, or the uube*
lief of the Jews, as causes of this surprising
effect, must fail to give the reflecting mind the
least satisfaction. We must also exclude many
of those things which cause the most exquisite



misery to the human mind of whioh it is cap-
able : for there could be in the holy Jesus no
horrors of a guilty conscience, no conflict of
sinful passions, no despair as to the final event
of his sufferings. It is not, indeed, possible for
us fully to undeanstand or explain this subject :
yet we may point out the light which the
Scriptures afford us upon it. Christ sastained
the character of our Surety, who undertook to
be answerable for our sins : accordingly ** our
iniquities were laid upon him,*' and ** he was
made sin for us," and ** suffered oaee for sins,
the just for the unjust;" and the Scripture
ascribes the heaviest of his sufferings to the im-
mediate hand of God : " It pleased the Lord to

bruise him he made his soul a sacrifice

for sin." The sword of divine justice was com
manded to awake against the Shepherd, and
smite him;** and " God spared not his own
Son." From the Scriptures we may conclude,
that the human nature of Christ was, on this
occasion, left wholly destitute of all consola-
tory communications from the Holy Spirit;
though supported by its union with the Deity,
to endure Uie unknown anguish without sink-
ing under it : that he had the most distinct
and clear perception of the infinite evil of sin,
and of that immensity of guilt, which he was
to expiate: that he had the most awful view of
the divine justice, and the vengeance deserved
by the sins of men; and tdiat such a sense o^
the divine wrath oppressed his inmost soul, as
no tongue can express or imagination conceive.
At the same time ** he suffered, being tempted;**
and, probably, all kinds of thoughts were sug-
gested by Satan, which tended to despondency,
and every other dreadful conclusion; which
would be the more intolerable, in proportion to
the perfection of his holiness. So that we may
be certain, he endured as much misery, of the
same kind with that of condemned spirits, a«
could possibly conrist with a pure conscience,
perfect love of Grod and man, and an assured
confidence of a glorious event. Probably some
degree of the same darkness and horror ^op-
pressed his mind, during the whole subsequent
scene, till on the cross he said, ** It is finished."
Accordingly we do not read, that he uttered
any complaint about his outward sufferings, but
he most dolefully exclaimed, '* My God, m}

God, why hast thou forsaken mef

* • * * •

While we with thankfulness take the cup
of salvation, let us never forget that cup of
wrath which the Redeemer drank off to the
very dregs, for the remission of our sins. If
we were not sliamefully and surprisingly
drowsy in spiritual things, we never could read
or meditate about Gethsemane, without the
most lively affections and most instructive re-
collections. Here let us look attentively, that
we may learn to distinguish between the suffer-
ings of a martyr and those of our atoning
Sacrifice. View a poor, frail, sinful man, under



Digitized by VjOOQIC



496



THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



the smiles of his reconciled Father, serene and
cheerful in the prospect and endurance of every
possible torture; then behold the incarnate Son of
God,** the holy, undefiled," ** well beloved'* of the
Father, *• in whom he was well pleased,** pros-
trate on the earth, ** exceeding sorrowful, even
unto death,** and ^sweating great drops of
blood, rolling to the ground;** and with this
scene before our eyes, let it be determined,
whether he was not then enduring the wrath
and tremendous frown of Grod, as our surety
and the vicarous sacrifice for our sins. And
let the careless and impenitent ask themselves.
Did 6od*s own hand inflict these insupportable
strokes, in fulfilment of his ancient prophecies,
on his *^ beloved Son,** who was more valued
by him than the whole visible creation; and
will he break his word, in order to spare a de-
termined rebel and enemy, who takes en-
couragement to sin from the very persuasion
v>f God being merciful ! Most vain and destruc-
tive presumption 1 Did the load of imputed
^'uiit so weigh down *he soul of Him concern-
ing whom it is said, that ^ He upholdeth all
things by the word of his power f* Into what
an abyss of misery unknown, then must they
sink, whose iniquities are left upon their own
hea^is, a burden far ** too heavy for them to
bear I** •* How will they escape who neglect so
^eat salvation f * What a forlorn hope must
that of the Pharisee or the Infidel be, who ex-
pects happiness in his own way, despising that
Nvhic'h infinite wisdom has devised, and infinite
love effected, at a price which baffles the
powers of computation itself! Assuredly it
will end in black despair; with the presump-
ion of every one, who perverts the doctrine of a
tree salvation into an excuse for indulged wick*
^ness. But the same scene discovers a cheer-
ul dawn of hope to the trembling, desponding
lenitent; here we see the infinite hatred of sin
»f our holy Lord God, and his infinite love of
^nners; his determination to satisfy his jus-
ice, and his delight in exercising mercy. In
h(jrt, we must resort to Grethsemane, to learn
repentance, hatred of sin, humility, hope, love,
)atience, meekness, and self-denying obedi-
ence; and to find comfort under dejection
ind temptations. Here we see our pattern,
lur motives, our encouragements; here we
learn the vanity of the world, the evil of sin,
iud our obligations to live devoted to him, and
willingly to suffer for his glory, who agonized
and died for our salvation. — Bet. Thomaa ScoU,



SKETCH OF THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
JOHN ROUGH.

BT TUB REV. JOHN FAIBBAIRN, ALLAlfTOK.

John Rough was inferior to many of the Reformers
in natural and acquired gifts; but his labours in the
cause of Christ were abundant, and were made the
means of epiritual good to many. He lived a la-



borious life in the vineyard, and died at the stake, a
witnesi for the truth.

He was bom in the year 1510; but in what part of [
Scotland, and in what circumstances, we do notj
know. When still a very young man, supposing!
himself unfairly dealt by in regard to some property >
to which he considered he had a lawful claim, he left
home, and entered a monastery of the Black Friars,
in the town of Stirlmg. The monasteries were dens
of wickedness, and the monks, in many instances, li-
centious profligates, as is sufficiently proved by con-
temporaneous writers — divines, historians, and poets. I
The entering into a monastery was like the going
down to the grave — ^withdrawment into a place of j
hopeless spiritual night and desolation. The Lord
reigns; into the darkest places he can send his light
and his truth to risit the souls of his chosen, and to
bring them out of the prison-house. Rough remained
in the monastery of the Black Friars during the
period of sixteen years. There is reason to think
that it was during his stay ui it that he was led to
true and saring conrictions regarding divine things,
although Fox states that it was during the time that
he served as chapkun to Arran that he became the
subject of that great change.

He continued in the monastery sixteen years, during
which time he was much famed as a preacher. His
withdrawal from the monastery happened in the fol-
lowing manner : Arran was regent of Scotland during
a portion of the minority of Mary. The report of the
excellence of Rough as a preacher came to his ears,
and he was anxious to obtain his services as one of
his chaplains. In prosecution of this wish he applied
for, and obtained a dispensation in favour of, Rough.
Arran at that time professed and patronised the
principles of the Reformation. This circumstance
makes the first of the above statements as to the time
of Rough's conversion to the truth the more likely.
In his new employment Rough continued but for a
short time, viz., during the course of one year. On
the apostasy of Arran from the principles of the Re-
formation, Rough withdrew from his serrice and
retired into Kyle, in which district, and other districts
of the west of Scotland, the persecuted servants of
Christ have often found a temporary refuge.

After some stay in the above-named district, he
retired to St. Andrews. After the death ot Cardinal
Beaton, the Castle of St. Andrews was kept by those
who had been engaged in that transaction. It was
in those days a place of great strength, and a place o1'
refuge to many who were exposed to the fury of per
secution on account ot their having embraced the
GospeL Rough was appointed chaplain to the
garrison. The garrisuu having command of the town.
Rough's public ministrations were conducted in the
parish church.

An important event took place during Rough's stay
at St. Andrews. Wishart had a short time before
suffered martyrdom. The holy walk of Wishart, his
apostolic labours, the blessing that attended them, his
cmel death, were greatly useful to the opening of tht
public mind to the abominations of Popery, and
hastened its overthrow. The Papists, meanwhile,
were stirred up to the most diligent exsrtioDS against



Digitized by VjOOQIC



SKETCH OF THE LIFE AND DEATH OP JOHN KOUGH.



497



the Qoepel and all who professed it. John Knox had
constantly waited vpon Wlshart during his stay in the
east country, and had been very helpful to him in
carrying out his plans in the preaching of the GospeL
He became in consequence a marked man. In one
ISO stedfast to the truth, so aooompIisHed, and of so
resolved a character, the Papists recognised a most
dangerous enemy to their interests and I:ingdom of
ignorance and darkness. It being no longer safe for
4iim to remain where he was, Knox retired to the
(Jastle of St. Andrews. He took along with him three
young men, his pupils, now ready to enter upon their
studies at the uniTcrsity. The religious part of their
education he conducted publicly, that those within
the Castle who were so inclined might share in the
benefit His inthnate acquaintance with the Scrip-
tures, and admirable gifts for the expounding of
them, became erident An earnest desire was enter-
tained that he should devote hhnself to the labours
of the ministry in the congregation. This being oon-
reyed to him, he could by no means consent to the
proposal, but shrunk back firom labour so solemn and
responsible. These scruples were successfully com-
bated and got over. After very earnest dealing with
him by those who were appointed for that purpose,
he consented to become assistant to Rough. The
details of this solemn transaction we quote from
M^Crie^s Life of Knox: ** These persons were so
pleased with Knox's talents, and his manner of
teaching his pupils, that they urged him strongly to
preach in public, and to become colleague to Rough.
■3ut he resisted all their solicitations, assigning as his
-eason that he did not consider himself as having a
Mill to this employment, and would not be guilty of
ntnision. They did not, however, desist f^m their
ourpose; but having consulted with their brethren,
same to a resolution, without his knowledge, that a
jail should be publicly given him, in the name of
.he whole, to become one of their ministers.

'* Accordingly, on a day fixed for the purpose. Rough
)reached a sermon on the election of ministers, in
. hich he decbired the power which a congregation,
lowever small, had over any one in whom they per-
eived gifts suited to the office, and how dangerous it
was for such a person to reject the call of those who
lesired instruction. Sermon being concluded, the
>reacher turned to Knox, who was present, and
iddressed him in these words : * Brother, you shall
not be offended, although I speak unto you that
which I have in charge, even from all those that are
here present, which is this : In the name of God, and
>)f his Son Jesus Christ, and in the name of all that
presently call you by my mouth, I charge you, that
you refuse not this holy vocation, bufc as you tender
the glory of God, the increase of Christ's kingdom,
the edification of your brethren, and the comfort of
me, whom you understand well enough to be op-
pressed by the multitude of labours, that you take
the public office and charge of preaching, even as you
look to avoid God's heavy displeasure, and desire
chat he shall piultiply his graces unto yon.' Then,
addressing himself to the congregation, he said, * Was
tot this your charfi;e unto me ? and do ye not approve

his vocation ? ' They all answered, * It was : and we



approve it* Overwhelmed by this unexpected and
solemn charge, Kpox, after an ineffectual attempt to
address the audience, burst into tears, rushed out of
the assembly^ and shut himself up in his chamber.
' His countenance and behaviour, from that day till
the day that he was compelled to present himself in
the public place of preaching, did sufficiently declare
the grief and trouble of his heart; for no man saw
any sign of mirth from him, neither had he pleasure
to accompany any man for many days together.' "

Rough left St. Andrews before the surrender of the
Castle in 1547. He was a man of a meek, and al-
most timid spirit, and was not possessed of the quali-
ties necessary for maintaining authority over turbu-
lent minds, and shaping events to a good issue in
troublous times. The dangers to which he ¥ras
exposed in the place he occupied at St. Andrews,
and the grief he experienced in marking the unsuit-
able conversation of some who made a profession of
the truth, led him to resolve upon departing. His
mind leaning to such a course, he would doubtless"
adopt it the more readily, from the consideration
that, in the person of his colleague, he left behind
him a man admirably adapted to the condition of the
place. We next find him engaged in preaching the
GK>speI in Berwick, Newcastle, Carlisle, and in the
neighbourhood of these phices. He was afterwards
appointed to a pastoral charge in the vicinity of
Hull, where he continued till the death of Edward
VL

During the short reign of Edward VL, England
enjoyed a season of great Gospel privile;re. The
sound and faithful preaching of the Gospel was en-
couraged, and many steps towards a thorough refor-
mation in religion set on foot and accomplished.
Many records remain which give insight into the
progress of the truth during that highly- favoured
time. That a very great work of the Gospel went
forward is also manifest flrom the multitudes of per-
sons, in almost every condition of life, who bore
public testimony to the truth, and suffered martyr-
dom for it in the succeeding reign, which was as dark
and bloody as that of Edward had been bright anO
prosperous. The persecution that began shortly
after the accession of Mary to the English throne,
drove out of the kingdom many on whom its best
hopes and interests depended. Incredible numbers
were called upon to seal their testimony with their
blood. At the breaking out of this persecution.
Rough left England and went over to Friesland.
where he maintained himself and his wife by honest
labour, in a very humble employment— the knittinj.
of woollen caps and stockings. Though of a quiet
and timid spirit, yet in the day of trial, when hit
hour came, when he was called upon to witness for
truth at the peril of his life, he was enabled to be a>
bold for the truth as any who, in that dismal time,
went to the stake or the scaffold- He suffered uiai^
tyrdom in December, 1557.

The occasion of his apprehension was as follows :
Having exhausted the materials needful for the carry-
ing on of his trade, and there being no supply of such
where he was located, he, with a view of procuring
>% hat he required in this way, set out upon a journey



Digitized by VjOOQIC



498



THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



io England. On coming to London, h« found n anudl
oengrogation of the Lord"! people, who had kept
themieWee together in that trying time, encouraging
and helping on each other as best they could. He
was inrited bj them to undertake the office of pastor
amongst them. Remembering, perhaps^ the solemn
call and charge which on a former occasion he had
given to Knox, and finding himself placed in circum-
stances like those in which Knox then stood, he found
himself constrained to listen to this call, and accept
of it. He undertook and deroted himself to the work,
waiting upon the Lord*6 will, and committing him-
vl( to the Lord's hand to dispose of him as should
seem best. In that little congregation there was a
Judas— a man of an unfaithful, base, and treacherous
spirit. Upon information given by this person. Rough
sAd others were apprehended, and the congregation
dispersed. In the trrachery of this false brother, and
many instances of the same kind, a solemn warning
is addressed to all professing Christians. We are
called upon rery diligently to examine ourselTes as
to the truth and sincerity in the matter of our re-
ligious profession. If in times when the profession
of discipleship implies the actual sacrifioe of much
worldly comfort, and exposes to the peril of life, those
are found attaching themselves to Christ's persecuted
people who yet are none of Christ's; is there not
reason to fear that, in quieter times, this may be the
case with thousands ? We are called upon by this
consideration to examine whether we are not impos-
ing upon ourselTes, and dealing falsely with our souls,
to the hazard of their everlasting condemnation.

Having been apprehended and examined. Rough
WM sent to Newgate. His examination and answers
were despatched to Bonner, bishop of London, that
he might proceed in the matter as he thoufcht fit
" Bloody Bonner,** say the history, ** now minded
to make quif k despatch, within three days he sent
for Rough out of Newgate, and questioned him on
certain points. Upon giving his answers he vras dis-
missed, and next day brought up again before Bonner
^d others. When they perceived his constancy,
they determined to have him brought next day
before the consistory, that he might there be ad-
judged and condemned as a heretic. This they ao-
:;ompli8hed.**

The reader vrill find in Fox's ** Acts and Monuments**
the points on which Rough was examined. They are
the same in substance as those on which such ex-
aminations in those times generally turned. His
answers were short, and to the following purpose : —
That their Popish orders were nothing at all; that
being a priest, he might lawfully marry ; that touching
the service tiien used, he utterly detested it; that
should he live as long as Methuselah, he would never
come to the church to hear mass and other service,
being as it then was; that he had lived thirty- eight
years, and yet had never bowed his knee to Baal;
that he had been twice at Rome, and there had
plainly seen with his eyes, what he had often heard
before, that the pope was the very Antichrist; that
he had seen the pope carried on men's shoulders, and
ihe false named sacrament borne before him; and
that there was more reverence given to the pope than



to that which they oountedthdr god. '^Hastthoo,'*,
said Bonner, **been at Rome, and seen oar holr
father, the pope, and dost thou blaspheme him afUrj
this SOTt?** ' Having spoken these words, he indeeently
flies upon Rough, plucks him by the beard, snd
makes speedy haste to his death. ** Let him be b vaed
to-morrow morning, by half-past five o'clock. The
land must be cleansed of such.** They proceeded to
the degradation of Rough; exempting him from til
the benefits and privileges of their Church. Having
condemned him as a heretic, they ddivered Urn over
to the secular power, duly to cany out the sentence.)
Many of those who suffered martyrdom bad apie-
sentiment of the kind of death they would die. Ah\
anecdote is reoorded of Rough, which shows he hsd|
an impression of this kind. He had witnessed the!
burning of Austoo, at Smithfield. Returning home
he met an acquaintance, who aaked him where he bad,
been. Rough replied, ** I have been where I hsdi
not for one of my eyes but I had been.** ** Where have'
you been?** "Forsooth, to learn the vray.** He
met his cruel death with Christian fortitude, snd en-
joyed much spiritual comfort.



ETIDENCES OP ENDLESS PUNISHMENT.

Thi principal grounds on which I reet my be-
lief of the doctrine of the eternity of future
punishments, are as follow: —



Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 116 of 145)