Monday, February 4, 2013

The Crown of Thorns

And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. Luke 22:43 

The Agony in the Garden, Antonio da Correggio, c. 1524
Under the dark shadows of the trees, amid the interrupted moonlight, it seems to the disciples that there is an angel with Him, who supports his failing strength, who enables Him to rise victorious from those first prayers with nothing but the crimson traces of that bitter struggle upon His brow. Correggio's "Agony in the Garden" is one of his most admired pictures. It is a triumph of chiaroscuro. The figure of the Christ us lighted from heaven, and the angel is illuminated by light reflected from Him. The angel points upwards with one hand, and with the other points to the cross and the crown of thorns which are lying on the ground.--Farrar.

An angel ministered to our Lord when in Gethsemane He wrestled with His great and bitter sorrow. What a benediction to the mighty Sufferer was in the soft gliding to His side of that gentle presence, in the touch of that soothing, supporting hand laid upon Him, in the comfort of that gentle voice thrilling with sympathy as it spoke its strengthening message of love! Was it a mere coincidence that just at that time and in that place the radiant messenger came? No, it is always so. Angels choose such occasions to pay their visits to men. --J. R. Miller, D. D.

But in the Olive Mount, by night appearing
'Midst the dim leaves, your holiest work was done.
Whose was the voice that came, divinely cheering,
Fraught with the breath of God, to aid His Son?
Haply of those that, on the moonlight plains,
Wafted good tidings unto Syrian swains.
--Felecia Dorothea Hemans.

'Tis midnight: and from ether-plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior's woe.
--William B. Tappan.

God only, and good angels, look
Behind the blissful screen
As when, triumphant o'er His woes,
The Son of God by moonlight rose,
By all but heaven useen.

Not cloud was visible, but radiant wings
Were coming with a silvery rush to earth,
And as the Savior rose, a glorious one,
With an illuminated forehead, and the light,
Whose fountain is the mystery of God,
Encalm'd within his eye, bowed down to Him
And nerved Him with a ministry of strength.
--N. P. Willis.

And the wearied heart grows strong
As an angel strengthened Him,
Painting in the garden dim,
'Neath the world's vast woe and wrong.
--Johann Rist.

In the garden of Gethsemane,
They say an angel waits
To watch beside the stricken souls
That enter in the gates.
--Susie E. Best.

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