On that sad, that solemn night, when he was sold and delivered into the hands of sinful men, he retired, for the last time before he suffered, into the garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives.

That garden, to which he had oft times resorted, both alone, and with his disciples, for the purposes of secret prayer, and religious conversation. That garden, in which he had enjoyed so many delightful seasons of fellowship with God. That garden, every spot, perhaps, of whose distinguished ground had been consecrated by the footsteps of a meditating, and the knees of an adoring Saviour. Yet here, alas, were his dying sorrows to begin.

Angels, who had, just before, seen him institute and celebrate the mystic supper, attended him in his last retreat to this once delightful, but now tremendous place. Well might a good man say, “All places are happy, or miserable, in proportion as God vouchsafes or denies his gracious presence therein.”

In Gethsemane, where Jesus had so often experienced the ravishing consolations of his heavenly Father’s countenance; in this very Gethsemane, must the same blessed Jesus experience the first outpourings of his Almighty Father’s wrath. Here it was, that his righteous soul became exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Here it was, that the spotless victim began to feel the dreadful weight of imputed guilt, and the terrors of avenging justice.

—Augustus Toplady


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