MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION: THE XII MEDITATION Of The Apprehension Of Christ Our Lord.
The Arrest of Christ
Of the apprehension of Christ our Lord.
Then they drew near and laid hands on Jesus and held him. And they that that were about him seeing what would be: said to him. Lord, shall we strike with the sword? and behold one of the standers about, Simon Peter, which had a sword, drew it our, and smote the servant of the high Priest, and cut of his right ear: but Jesus answering, said: suffer ye thus far: & having touched his ears he healed him and then Jesus said unto Peter, return thy sword into his place: for all that take the sword, the Chalice which my Father hath given me shall not I drink it? and at the same time Jesus said to the multitudes and to the Chief Priests and Magistrates of the Temple: as to a thief are you come out with swords & clubs to apprehend me: when I was daily with you in the Temple teaching, you did not lay hands upon me: but this is your hour and the power, of darkness. Then the Disciples all leaving him, fled: and the Tribune together with the band, and the ministers of the Jews apprehended Jesus and bound him.
A Multitude of men of the tribe of Juda coming unto Sampson said anthem, we are come for to bind thee, and to give thee into the hands of the Philistines, and so binding him with two new cords they carried him away.
1. Many bullocks have compassed me about, and fat bulls have besieged me, they have opened their mouths against me as a ravening and roaring Lion.
2. They laid snares for me and they prevailed, & there was none to help me: & even as if the wall were broken & the gate open, they violently rushed upon me.
3. The Spirit of our mouth (Christ our Lord) is taken for our sins.
4. O son of man, chains are bent over thee, & they shall bind thee in them.
5. Strike the Pastor & the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.
6. Thou hast placed my brethren far from me, and my acquaintance like strangers have departed from me.
7. My neighbors have abandoned me, and they that know me, have forgotten me.
1. Consider how that hellish multitude approaching unto Jesus, with fierce countenance, with threatning eyes, and with most cruel mind, compass him about and lay their wicked hands upon him. See how that Lord which in Heaven is beset served with troops of Angels, as it were depriving himself of such honor and glory, suffereth himself to be environed and taken of vile and wicked men, and this for our love, for to deliver us from the hands of our enemies, who with manifest danger of our salvation had strongly besieged us, and to conduct us with himself into Heaven, where together with his Angels we may serve and praise him forever.
2. The Disciples being desirous to defend our Lord, the most meek Jesus would not permit them, but even amidst the hands of his enemies it being I’mpossible that he should forget his wonted benignity, healeth the wounds of those which came to put him to death: on the other side those men more fierce then any wild beasts, and more hard harted then the stony rock, would not be converted by the power of Christ when as with his only word they through fear fell to the ground, neither could they be modified by his most sweet charity, which was so beneficial unto them rendering them good for ill neither could they be any whit mitigated by the benignity of his words, but rather became more fierce and ungrateful towards him.
3. With reason our Savior lamented that they came to apprehend him in like manner as if he had been a thief for that the office of a their is to fly, and hide himself, likewise to do hurt and to take other mens goods: but he did not hide himself, but voluntarily gave himself into their hands, he never hurt any one, but did infinite benefits to all, neither yet did he take any other mens goods which in this world never had any thing proper: Yea what soever he had, his doctrine, his grace, his travails, his life and himself, he liberally bestowed in the service and salvation of others.
4. On the other side truly as a thief he would be taken & bound, because that he came to satisfy for that theft which the first man committed in Paradise, wherefore as a thief he would be imprisoned together with Barabas, between two thieves he would be Crucified: And finally for thieves he would suffer Death, paying with the price of his Blood that which he never took as inches person the Prophet before he said. Quod non rap tunc exoluebam. That which I had not taken, I then paid.
5, This is your hour and the power, of darkness. Consider how much the Son of the highest did humble & embrace himself for our Pride. Seeing that he was not contented being the Lord of Angels and of men, to make himself lesser then the self same Angels, & the most vile & abject amongst men, even as he himself had said by his Prophet. Ego autem vermis sum & non homo. I am a worm, and no man. But he would also in respect of pain, humble and submit himself to the infernal powers. Where thou maist see how that true light of the world, that brightness of glory he to whom the Father gave all power in Heaven and in earth, is now given into the power, not only of wicked men, but also of the very Princes of darkness. It is red of Job that by divine permission he was given unto the power of Satan with this condition that he should not take away his life, but you O good Jesu without any exceptions, were given into the power of the infernal Potentates, to the end that they should breath forth against your fame and your life all their rage and fury: unto us sinners guilty of a thousand deaths,you gave tribulations with measure and mercy, but on your own innocent person you would take both pains and torments with our all measure and with all mercy.
6. Our Savior therefore being taken after this sort, his Disciples being assaulted with great fear, took their flight and abandoned their beloved Master, But what grief was if afterwards unto their sorrowful hearts when as returning again unto themselves, they perceived how shamefully they had forsaken their faithful Master and Lord in his greatest necessity. In what lamentable case did they find themselves, what abundance of tears did they shed, with what comassionable words did they express the sharpness of their sorrow? The comfortless Disciples went in manner of wandering sheep, now in one coast, now in another, not knowing themselves whither to go, and sometime weeping outright and knocking their breasts said, O most benign Master, O Father most loving, O Lord most sweet, who with such love didst nourish us, and with such care didst instruct us, how have we fled from you our only good our refuge, & our life> wherefore have we abandoned you? why have we not followed you until death as constantly we promised?O how oftentimes did they stand in doubt, fear and love striving within their breast, whether they should turn back and follow again their Master? but divine providence had disposed & ordained otherwise, that the scriptures should be fulfilled.
7, Consider how our Lord Permitted that those most divine hands which created, ruleth, & conserveth all things be bound of them which have received of them their being, their life, & all their good.See with what manner of hungry wolves assault this most meek Lamb, and how all of them together some on one side, and some on the other do bite and hale him, but he most willingly suffereth all this for our sins. O with how great inhumanity do they utter against him, and with what extreme injuries and dishonor, do they lead him away? who is able to explicate the blasphemies, the opprobrious speeches and the reproachful names, which sweet Jesus was enforced to heat with his most perceived ears? but the modesty of that most gracious Face & serenity of those most divine eyes, amongst all these injuries and in the midst of such discourtesies could never be obscured nor diminished.
Thou shalt pray unto Christ our Lord, by that benginity wherewith he healed the wounds of his enemies and by that meekness whereby he suffered himself to be so cruel bound of them that he will bind thy soul with the chains of his love, & heal the wounds of thy disordinate affections & desires, that being perfectly united unto him, and captivating thy powers and senses in the service of his Magiesty, neither the Devil nor the World, nor the flesh nor yet all the adversaries of this life, may any more hereafter separate thee from his sweet charity.
1. We must not defend ourselves against our persecutors with any other weapons, then with prayer: and we ought to the imitation of Christ render good for evil, not only with words but also with deeds: We must not strike our neighbor with the sword of rash judgment, to the extent that we be not likewise wounded with the same as it is written in the Gospel, Judge not, that thou be not judged.
2. Since that Christ for our love willingly yield himself prisoner to the Jews, we ought likewise for his love, to captivate all our senses in his service, the eyes from seeing unlawful sights, the ears from hearing hurtful things, the tongue from speaking idle words, or preijudical to others, the hands from doing evil works, the heart from admitting naughty desires, and the mind from consenting unto wicked thoughts.
3.They bind the hands of Christ, who have not trust and confidence, that God will provide for them things necessary, or else deliver them in their tribulations and temptations: Secondly they which make resistance unto the divine inspirations, by not suffering God to works in them that which he desireth. Thirdly the ungrateful who give not correspondence to the grace which they have received, and therefore make themselves unworthy of it. Likewise the cold and negligent, for that they keep the grace of God idle not helping themselves therewith. Finally they which glory in themselves of the grace which they have received, or else make vaunt thereof unto others, not keeping it in secret, for such persons make themselves unworthy to receive new favors.
4. Christ would be bound for us, that he might bind us unto him with the links of charity. Let us therefore procure to be so strongly united unto him with charity, that we be not easily separated from him.
5. They fly from Christ who shun to suffer with Christ: In like sort they forsake Christ, who for som human fear, or for some devilish temptation, or inordinate passion forsake justice or truth.
6. The Disciples followed Christ until the time office Passion, and then they all forsook him. Even so the friends the kindred, and the goods of this life, will serve thee whilst thou livest, but in the end when the ministers of death shall assault thee, thou shalt be forsaken of them all. Let us therefore learn, not to repose our trust in men, or in human things, but only in God who is a most constant and faithful friend.
7. They are like unto the Disciples who serve Christ as long as things go prosperously or as they feel no tediousness or troubles: but when temptations or troubles come, or they must leave some commodity, or their own will, or else suffer some thing in the service of Christ, then presently they retire themselves and forsake him.