We analyze. You decide!
"No lie can live forever." Thomas Carlyle

An Analysis of the Literary Dependency
of The Desire of Ages, Chapter 74

      Some critics have accused Ellen White of plagiarizing the contents of The Desire of Ages from the writings of various authors. But, did she really? Below is an analysis of one chapter of The Desire of Ages for which examples of alleged plagiarism are given. This particular one is from Walter Rea found online at (Click here). In this case, Rea simply claims that Ellen G. White was "paraphrasing" pages 397-410 of Daniel March's Night Scenes in the Bible when she wrote this chapter.* But, since the evidence was not actually presented the claim could not be evaluated.

      * He also claims that pages 377-94 were used in the composition of chapter 73 and through page 694 of this chapter. However, a close reading of March's text fails to find any possible linkage and thus is not given here. March's text will be given in a separate file so you can check it for yourself (Click here).

      Since Rea failed to actually present the evidence to support his claim it is now presented here. What we want to do here is to determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted the real situation. Accordingly, we have color-coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion.

Color Key

Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact, word-for-word match to her alleged source.

Material in Ellen G. White that is similar to her alleged source.

Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact match to Biblical material.

      Typical author's caveat: all errors are, of course, mine. If you find any errors please let me know and I'll fix them.

March, Night Scenes in the Bible.
(Zeigler, McCurdy & Co., 1868)
Desire of Ages. (1898)
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The Night of Agony

      The approach to Jerusalem most frequented in modern times by pilgrims and travelers from the west lies across the fertile plain of Sharon and up the rugged pass of Beth-horon. The path, after leaving the plain,is a perpetual climb over rocks that are sometimes smooth and slippery, sometimes lying loose in huge angular blocks, and sometimes standing edgewise in successive strata, with deep furrows yawning bewteen the crevasses in the glacier. Down this stony staircase the host of Joshua chased the Canaanites, while the heavens shot forth hail to help the spears of the pursurers, and the sun waited over Gibeon for the victors to complete the triumphs of the day. Up this rough mountain road the armies of the Philistines came many times to gather the harvests and garrison the towns and drive off the flocks of Ephraim and Benjamin.

      Up this wild ravine the Christian traveler climbs, reading the book of the wars of the Lord all the way, till he emerges on the high place of Gibeon, and Jerusalem, with the Mount of Olives on the east, lies before

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him. Nowhere on earth have wilder shouts of enthusiasm burst from human lips than on that spot, where pilgrims from many lands for more than a thousand years have caught the first sight of the Holy City. Nowhere have so many hearts passed so suddenly from the memories of war and the inspirations of conflict to emotions of the deepest tenderness and to the silent expression of tears. There stood the mail-clad knights of the Crusade, their ranks thinned by battle and plague, their faces bronzed by long exposure to wind and storm, yet with mighty hearts throbbing beneath corslets of steel as they joined in the wild cry of their followers, Jerusalem! Jerusalem! And there still the more enlightened and less enthusiastic travelers of modern times from the cold North and the far West take up the shout that has come down without interruption from other ages, Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Every year peasant and prince, Christian and Moslem, Gentile and Jew, stand and gaze with unutterable thoughts from the heights of Gibeon, across the bare and broken waste of rocks and rounded hills upon the one city which is sacred for all time and the source of attraction to the whole earth.

      There is little in the landscape itself to please the eye. No silvery streams winding between flowery banks, no green woods climbing gentle hills, no grassy plains cropped by herds of cattle, no lines or clusters of shadowy trees, no scattered houses embowered in foliage along roadsides, no smiling gardens in the

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valleys, but far as the eye can see a blank and lifeless reach of rounded and desolate hills and naked rocks and bleached, sunburnt earth. But it is enough that in the midst of the desolation lies Jerusalem, the city of the Great King. Zion itself has indeed been ploughed as a field, according to the word of prophecy, and all her streets are piled with ruin. The paved courts and marble steps on which David stood in the new capital of his kingdom have been covered high as the house-tops with the ruins of ages. The engines of destruction have so many times been set against the towers of Zion, and the storm of war has so many times rolled over the sacred hill, that now we cannot trace the lines of the ancient city--we cannot tell the form of her bulwarks or find the polished stones of her palaces.

      But the swelling ridge of Olivet is the same to-day that it was when trodden by the blessed feet of the Son of God. It is near the eastern wall of Jerusalem that the little cluster of houses on the top seems in the distance to be part of the city itself. The eye of the observer, dimmed with deep emotion from seeing that great sight for the first time, wanders involuntarily from the dark, ruinous aspect of naked walls and stone houses to the long green ridge with its central swelling summit and its slopes sprinkled with olive trees and lined with footpaths, on the east. After all the changes and devastations of ages, that sacred hill lifts the same outline to the sky, it casts the

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same morning shadows upon the city. It gathers around its summits and sides the most tender, the most hallowed associations that the human heart has ever cherished, or ever will cherish in all time.

      The Jewish Targums say that Noah's dove plucked the olive leaf from this mount, and bore it to the imprisoned patriarch as a sign that the avenging waters had passed away and peace was restored to the smitten earth. The Rabbins affirm that when the Shechinah, the visible symbol of the Divine presence, forsook the Holy Place of the temple, it rested three years upon Olivet to see whether the Jewish people would repent, all the while proclaiming, "Return unto me, and I will return unto you; seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near," and then it went up to the holy place in the heavenly Zion. The Mohammedans declare that the immutable oath of the Almighty is sworn by the olive and the fig of this mountain. Both Jews and Mohammedans maintain that all nations will be gathered for the final judgment in the valley at the foot of Olivet, and that it is the greatest privilege the dying believer can ask to be buried on the slope of the sacred mount to be in readiness to meet the Judge at the resurrection of the just.

      But Olivet has no need of fables or fanciful traditions to make it sacred and interesting to all believers in the inspired history of the Bible. Over this height the morning sun looked down upon the rocky platform of Moriah when Abraham had made it an altar,

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and stood ready to offer his beloved Isaac in sacrifice at the Divine command. To the top of this mount the devout David was wont to go forth from Jerusalem to worship. Up the steep ascent of its northern path the old king went weeping barefoot, and with his head covered, and the whole country wailing with a loud voice around him when Absalom rebelled. On the top of the mount he paused and took farewell of his beloved Zion with bitter weeping and a broken heart. From this consecrated ground the restored children of the captivity gathered myrtle and olive and palm branches for the celebration of the feast of tabernacles. These three bare mountain paths, which have been worn by human feet for near three thousand years, were trodden many times by the Son of God. In all Jerusalem as it now is, a city ten times captured and devasted since the days of Christ, there is no street, no house where we can stand and say, "Here we can be sure that Jesus of Nazareth passed by." But we can climb the sides of Olivet with the certainty that our feet are upon the footsteps of the incarnate Son of God. Up and down its bare and travel-worn paths he went and came, again and again. Just over the eastern side of the ridge he stood by the grave of Lazarus and called back the dead to life. Round the southern shoulder of the hill he rode in triumph, with the rejoicing multitude strewing garments and palm branches in the way, and thousands shouting with rapturous voices, "Hosanna! blessed is he that cometh

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in the name of the Lord." On some green terrace or bare ledge of rock, over against the temple, he sat, as the setting sun gilded the towers and domes and colonades beneath him, and told the doom that should come upon the proud city. In some humble dwelling among the olive trees, just like the stone houses that now cling to the face of the hill, he rested many a night. Somewhere along this central path to Bethany stood the fruitless fig-tree whose luxuriant leaves withered at the reproachful word of Jesus. The crimson flowers that fringe these paths every spring, and which are now called the blood-drops of Jesus, were here in all their bloom at his feet when he paused to weep over Jerusalem, and when the sweat of his agony fell like great drops of blood at the foot of the mount. Far more than Jerusalem, this sacred hill was the daily walk and the chosen home of the Son of God. It gave him the resting-place which he loved most of all on earth, and it was the scene of his most awful and mysterious sufferings and sorrows.

      Upon this most hallowed scene, at the foot of the sacred mount, it becomes us to look with tender hearts and tearful eyes. The inspired record tells us that Jesus, at a late hour on the night of his betrayal, went out of the city, over the brook Kidron to the Mount of Olives. Somewhere just under the brow of the hill, in sight of the whole eastern wall, was a place where he was wont to go for retirement and midnight prayer. After spending the whole day in the excited and

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stifling crowd of the city, healing the sick, comforting the afflicted and reasoning with adversaries, he would go out to this quiet spot to pour out his soul in supplication and to commune with his Father alone. He mingled prayer with work, and he combined the most active public toil with the most complete retirement and devotion. His favorite spot at the foot of Olivet was a garden, and its name, Gethsemane, indicates that it contained a grove of olive trees.

      The Passover moon shone from a sky which at that season seldom has a cloud. The lights in the city had gone out, the streets were silent, the voices were hushed in the tents of pilgrims on the hill-sides. The air was cold enough for soldiers and weather-beaten fishermen to seek the fire. The day and evening had been spent in excitement and sacred festivity, and all needed rest. The voice of Jesus had joined with his disciples in the upper chamber in singing the Passover psalm: "The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation." He had spoken the last words of comfort and peace to the sorrowing band. He had told them of his Father's many-mansioned house, and of his future coming to bring them home to see and to share his glory. He had poured forth his soul in the great intercessory prayer for them and for the penitent and believing of all time.

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[This chapter is based on Matt. 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-50;
Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-12.]

      In company with His disciples, the Saviour slowly made His way to the garden of Gethsemane. The Passover moon, broad and full, shone from a cloudless sky. The city of pilgrims' tents was hushed into silence.

      And now at this late hour he comes out at the eastern gate with his disciples, descends the steep path to the dry bed of the Kidron, passes over the still

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moonlight, and goes up the ascent of Olivet a little way to the gate of the garden. The disciples are amazed and deeply troubled at the unusual silence of their beloved Master. They have seen him wear the shade of sorrow many times, but never have they seen him look as he does to-night. And the strange sadness grows heavier and heavier upon him as he leads the way, and they dare not ask the cause. They think he is going, as he was wont, to find some place of rest for the night on the favorite mount, and that in the morning his sadness will have passed away.

      Jesus had been earnestly conversing with His disciples and instructing them; but as He neared Gethsemane, He became strangely silent. He had often visited this spot for meditation and prayer; but never with a heart so full of sorrow as upon this night of His last agony. Throughout His life on earth He had walked in the light of God's presence. When in conflict with men who were inspired by the very spirit of Satan, He could say, "He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." John 8:29. But now He seemed to be shut out from the light of God's sustaining presence. Now He was numbered with the transgressors. The guilt of fallen humanity He must bear. Upon Him who knew no sin must be laid the iniquity of us all. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father's love. Feeling how terrible is the wrath of God against transgression, He exclaims, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." [Matthew 26:38]

      As they approached the garden, the disciples had marked the change that came over their Master. Never before had they seen Him so utterly

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sad and silent. As He proceeded, this strange sadness deepened; yet they dared not question Him as to the cause. His form swayed as if He were about to fall. Upon reaching the garden, the disciples looked anxiously for His usual place of retirement, that their Master might rest. Every step that He now took was with labored effort. He groaned aloud, as if suffering under the pressure of a terrible burden. Twice His companions supported Him, or He would have fallen to the earth.

      But when he reaches the open gate of the garden alongside the familiar path, he says, "Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder." They are not surprised to hear him say so. For he knew that in the great struggles and conflicts of his work his constant resort was prayer. And now, silently selecting three from the rest to go a little farther with him into the thicker shade of the olive trees, he becomes more deeply agitated and bowed down under the weight of some mighty and mysterious sorrow. He feels that he must be still more alone, and he tears himself away from the favorite three disciples, and goes a stone's throw further into the recesses of the garden and casts himself upon the ground in an agony of weeping and prayer.

      Near the entrance to the garden, Jesus left all but three of the disciples, bidding them pray for themselves and for Him. With Peter, James, and John, He entered its secluded recesses. These three disciples were Christ's closest companions. They had beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration; they had seen Moses and Elijah talking with Him; they had heard the voice from heaven; now in His great struggle, Christ desired their presence near Him. Often they had passed the night with Him in this retreat. On these occasions, after a season of watching and prayer, they would sleep undisturbed at a little distance from their Master, until He awoke them in the morning to go forth anew to labor. But now He desired them to spend the night with Him in prayer. Yet He could not bear that even they should witness the agony He was to endure.

      "Tarry ye here," He said, "and watch with Me." [Matthew 26:38]

      He went a little distance from them--not so far but that they could both see and hear Him--and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.

      We cannot fully understand the cause or the depth of the grief and agitation that came upon the Man of sorrows in Gethsemane. But the sacred narrative, when carefully examined, discloses a very strange and startling

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significance. The words of the evangelists imply that Jesus was seized and possessed by a terrible and over-powering fear--a shuddering and quaking horror--a confused and distracting amazement. The sorrow that came upon him was so overwhelming and crushing that it pressed him down to the earth and penetrated soul and body with insupportable anguish. Usually so calm, so self-possessed, he now seemed utterly beside himself with consternation and anxiety. At other times meeting all his conflicts with an exalted and divine serenity of deportment, now he is weighed with some strange and dark dejection, some restless and irresistible disquietude of soul. In the utter lonelieness and desolation of this mysterious conflict he is ready to utter the bitter cry of the cross itself: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

      Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet, "Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." Zech. 13:7. As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.

      As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness. In the wilderness of temptation the destiny of the human race had been at stake. Christ was then conqueror. Now

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the tempter had come for the last fearful struggle. For this he had been preparing during the three years of Christ's ministry. Everything was at stake with him. If he failed here, his hope of mastery was lost; the kingdoms of the world would finally become Christ's; he himself would be overthrown and cast out. But if Christ could be overcome, the earth would become Satan's kingdom, and the human race would be forever in his power. With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ's soul was filled with dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan's kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God.

      The first paroxysm of agony, with its strong crying and many tears, lasted, it would seem, a full hour. Then he rose up and came to his disciples and found them sleeping. And while he stood all tremulous and exhausted, with the bloody sweat upon his brow and his face changed and furrowed with pain, gently rebuking them for their failure to watch, the mysterious anguish came upon him even more mightily than before, and he turned from them the second time to hide himself in the deeper recesses of the garden. Even the poor boon of their watching and sympathy failed him, and he must meet his great conflict alone. He could only pour out his soul again in the same

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supplicating, submissive cry, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done!" Calmed and strengthened a little by that prayer, he hurries back a second time to get some word, some look of sympathy from his disciples to comfort him, and again he finds them sleeping. Before they could recover from their bewilderment enough to answer him when he sought to rouse them, the third and final onset of his great agony came upon him, and he turned away from his helpless human comforters to meet the conflict alone; and this time a heavenly messenger brought him the strength which man could not give. And now the battle is fought and the victory won. The Man of Sorrows has drained the cup of agony to the very dregs. He has conquered by submission, and he comes forth from the garden with his wonted serenity to enter upon the closing scene of mockery and death. It was meet that the Divine Sufferer should complete his great and mysterious conflict with the powers of darkness and gain the victory before his human foes began the cruel work of mockery and death. If the strange fears and shuddering amazement of Gethsemane had come upon him when he stood before Pilate's bar, or when he was nailed to the cross, the world would have said that his soul was shaken with the fear of death. So much we may venture to say concerning the order of events in the mighty passion which extended through all the years of Christ's humiliation from Bethlehem to Calvary.

      And what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of Your own disciples, who has listened to Your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray You. One of Your most zealous followers will deny You. All will forsake You. Christ's whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God's wrath against sin was crushing out His life.

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      But I dare not attempt to explain this mysterious and awful night scene in Gethsemane. It seems to me as if it would be irreverent and unfeeling for me to enter this sacred garden, even in imagination, and calmly look on with a critic's eye while my Redeemer is bowed down to the earth with bloody sweat and bitter agony, and the anguish of his soul is expresssed in strong crying and many tears. But one thing I know, and that I will say--Jesus suffered for you and me, dear friend--for you and me. It was not because he was afraid of death; it was not because he shrank from the shame of the cross; it was not from any fear or weakness of failure that he prayed in Gethsemane, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" This Holy One of God had no sins or sorrows of his own to bear. He was not to shrink from bodily suffering. He could not be surprised by any sudden form of danger. It is impossible to explain his amazement and agony in Gethsemane except by admitting that he bore the sorrows of others, and that on him were laid the iniquities of a lost world.

      Behold Him contemplating the price to be paid for the human soul. In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as if to prevent Himself from being drawn farther from God. The chilling dew of night falls upon His prostrate form, but He heeds it not. From His pale lips comes the bitter cry, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." Yet even now He adds, "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." [Matthew 26:39]

      This is the awful and most affecting lesson of Gethsemane. The holy and mighty and loving Son of God consents to have our sins laid upon him. He draws himself so near to us by his Divine sympathy and his desire to save that he consents to be taken as one of us and to be treated as a transgressor. He looks into the abyss of despair opened for us by our own sins, as if its darkness were destined to cover him for ever.

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In the dread conflict of Gethsemane the power of evil which he had undertaken to destroy appeared so malignant and mighty, the hell of sin so deep and black, the peril of man so imminent and awful, the work of remption so difficult to accomplish, that his soul was troubled and amazed, his spirit fainted within him, and his anguish came forth in bloody sweat and in the cries of infinite sorrow. When his hour came and the burden of our sins was upon him, it seemed as if it were greater than he had thought it to be. He trembled in every limb. He was crushed to the earth by the weight. He cried out in agony of tears and supplications.

      The human heart longs for sympathy in suffering. This longing Christ felt to the very depths of His being. In the supreme agony of His soul He came to His disciples with a yearning desire to hear some words of comfort from those whom He had so often blessed and comforted, and shielded in sorrow and distress. The One who had always had words of sympathy for them was now suffering superhuman agony, and He longed to know that they were praying for Him and for them-

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selves. How dark seemed the malignity of sin! Terrible was the temptation to let the human race bear the consequences of its own guilt, while He stood innocent before God. If He could only know that His disciples understood and appreciated this, He would be strengthened.

      Such a dreadful thing was it for the mighty Son of God to stand in the sinner's place for an hour! How much more dreadful a thing must it be for a feeble mortal to stand in the sinner's place for a whole lifetime! How much more dreadful a thing it must be to stand in the sinner's place forever! We are not now amazed and agonized by our sins, as Christ was in the garden, just because we do not see and feel what a dreadful thing it is to sin against God. But if we were now perfectly holy, and all our present sins were laid upon us as if they were our own, we should feel ourselves crushed down by a mountain of agony as high as heaven and as deep as hell. It was because Jesus was holy that it made his mighty soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, only to be numbered with transgressor, while as yet he knew no

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sin. And if you and I, dear friend, were perfectly pure in heart as Jesus was, and the tempter should raise one impulse of rebellion against God in our souls in such a way as to make us think for the moment that it were our own, it would be like the agony of death to us until we could thrust it out.

      Rising with painful effort, He staggered to the place where He had left His companions. But He "findeth them asleep." [Matthew 26:40] Had He found them praying, He would have been relieved. Had they been seeking refuge in God, that satanic agencies might not prevail over them, He would have been comforted by their steadfast faith. But they had not heeded the repeated warning, "Watch and pray." [Matthew 26:41] At first they had been much troubled to see their Master, usually so calm and dignified, wrestling with a sorrow that was beyond comprehension. They had prayed as they heard the strong cries of the sufferer. They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.

      Come, then, O man of the world--you who are careless about sinning against God, you who are content to live on year after year without any assurance in your own soul that your sins are forgiven--come and look reverently and thoughtfully upon this awful scene in Gethsemane. If I could take you to the bedside of one dying in great torture for his own sins, your feelings would be deeply touched. If I could show you one suffering indescribable pain from wounds incurred in saving your life, your heart would be melted with sympathetic anguish. Come, then, stand by this garden gate in the dread silence of midnight. See the holy and mighty Son of God prostrate upon the bare earth, writhing and trembling ground with bloody sweat. Hear that voice from heaven which says, "He is smitten of God and afflicted for your sake. The Lord hath laid on him all your iniguities." Can you see that great sight and hear that heavenly voice and not bemoved? Can you see how dreadfully your Divine Redeemer suffers in an agony, which is all of the soul and all for your sake,and not feel that the ransom of your soul is exceedingly precious? Can you believe the sacred

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story of Gethsemane and not be ready to say in an agonty of earnestness, "Oh, what must I do to be saved from sins which are so terrible and crushing when laid upon the mighty Son of God?"

      Just before He bent His footsteps to the garden, Jesus had said to the disciples, "All ye shall be offended because of Me this night." They had given Him the strongest assurance that they would go with Him to prison and to death. And poor, self-sufficient Peter had added, "Although all shall be offended, yet will not I." Mark 14:27, 29. But the

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disciples trusted to themselves. They did not look to the mighty Helper as Christ had counseled them to do. Thus when the Saviour was most in need of their sympathy and prayers, they were found asleep. Even Peter was sleeping.

      And then again once more let me lead you to this garden gate, that you may see and hear the fullest expression of the Divine love to man. This suffering of Jesus in Gethsemane is not because he is already scourged or crowned with thorns or crucified. His soul is in agony with the desire to save sinners. He is agitated and anxious and amazed just because he finds men upon the brink of perdition, and he must save them or they will be lost. He must prevail on them to take his hand or they will sink to rise no more. He is troubled and aginized because it is so hard to make men willing to be saved. And shall not such unspeakable, such Divine sympathy draw the most reluctant heart to Jesus? Shall the bloody sweat and the exceeding great sorrow and the crushing agony and the thrice-repeated prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane plead with men in vain to accept so generous, so mighty, so compassionate a Saviour?

      And John, the loving disciple who had leaned upon the breast of Jesus, was asleep. Surely, the love of John for his Master should have kept him awake. His earnest prayers should have mingled with those of his loved Saviour in the time of His supreme sorrow. The Redeemer had spent entire nights praying for His disciples, that their faith might not fail. Should Jesus now put to James and John the question He had once asked them, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" they would not have ventured to answer, "We are able." Matt. 20:22.

      The disciples awakened at the voice of Jesus, but they hardly knew Him, His face was so changed by anguish. Addressing Peter, Jesus said, "Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." The weakness of His disciples awakened the sympathy of Jesus. He feared that they would not be able to endure the test which would come upon them in His betrayal and death. He did not reprove them, but said, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." Even in His great agony, He was seeking to excuse their weakness. "The spirit truly is ready," He said, "but the flesh is weak."

      Again the Son of God was seized with superhuman agony, and fainting and exhausted, He staggered back to the place of His former struggle. His suffering was even greater than before. As the agony of soul came upon Him, "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." [Luke 22:44] The cypress and palm trees were the silent witnesses of His anguish. From their leafy branches dropped heavy dew upon His stricken form, as if nature wept over its Author wrestling alone with the powers of darkness.

      A short time before, Jesus had stood like a mighty cedar, withstanding the storm of opposition that spent its fury upon Him. Stubborn wills, and hearts filled with malice and subtlety, had striven in vain to confuse and overpower Him. He stood forth in divine majesty as the Son of God. Now He was like a reed beaten and bent by the angry storm. He had approached the consummation of His work a conqueror, having at each step gained the victory over the powers of darkness. As

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one already glorified, He had claimed oneness with God. In unfaltering accents He had poured out His songs of praise. He had spoken to His disciples in words of courage and tenderness. Now had come the hour of the power of darkness. Now His voice was heard on the still evening air, not in tones of triumph, but full of human anguish. The words of the Saviour were borne to the ears of the drowsy disciples, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." [Matthew 26:42b]

      The first impulse of the disciples was to go to Him; but He had bidden them tarry there, watching unto prayer. When Jesus came to them, He found them still sleeping. Again He had felt a longing for companionship, for some words from His disciples which would bring relief, and break the spell of darkness that well-nigh overpowered Him. But their eyes were heavy; "neither wist they what to answer Him." [Mark 14:40] His presence aroused them. They saw His face marked with the bloody sweat of agony, and they were filled with fear. His anguish of mind they could not understand. "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." Isa. 52:14.

      Turning away, Jesus sought again His retreat, and fell prostrate, overcome by the horror of a great darkness. The humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed not now for His disciples that their faith might not fail, but for His own tempted, agonized soul. The awful moment had come--that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." [Matthew 26:42b]

      Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world's Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending

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fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: "If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." [Matthew 26:42b]

      Having made the decision, He fell dying to the ground from which He had partially risen. Where now were His disciples, to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their fainting Master, and bathe that brow, marred indeed more than the sons of men? The Saviour trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.

      But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour's agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.

      The worlds unfallen and the heavenly angels had watched with intense interest as the conflict drew to its close. Satan and his confederacy of evil, the legions of apostasy, watched intently this great crisis in the work of redemption. The powers of good and evil waited to see what answer would come to Christ's thrice-repeated prayer. Angels had longed to bring relief to the divine sufferer, but this might not be. No way of escape was found for the Son of God. In this awful crisis, when everything was at stake, when the mysterious cup trembled in the hand of the sufferer, the heavens opened, a light shone forth amid the stormy darkness of the crisis hour, and the mighty angel who stands in God's presence, occupying the position from which Satan fell, came to the side of Christ. The angel came not to take the cup from Christ's hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it, with the assurance of the Father's love. He came to give power to the divine-human suppliant. He pointed Him to the open heavens, telling Him of the souls that would be saved as the result of His sufferings. He assured Him that His Father is greater and more powerful than Satan, that His death would result in the utter discomfiture of Satan, and that the kingdom of this world would be given to the saints of the Most High. He told Him that He

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would see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied, for He would see a multitude of the human race saved, eternally saved.

      Christ's agony did not cease, but His depression and discouragement left Him. The storm had in nowise abated, but He who was its object was strengthened to meet its fury. He came forth calm and serene. A heavenly peace rested upon His bloodstained face. He had borne that which no human being could ever bear; for He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man.

      The sleeping disciples had been suddenly awakened by the light surrounding the Saviour. They saw the angel bending over their prostrate Master. They saw him lift the Saviour's head upon his bosom, and point toward heaven. They heard his voice, like sweetest music, speaking words of comfort and hope. The disciples recalled the scene upon the mount of transfiguration. They remembered the glory that in the temple had encircled Jesus, and the voice of God that spoke from the cloud. Now that same glory was again revealed, and they had no further fear for their Master. He was under the care of God; a mighty angel had been sent to protect Him. Again the disciples in their weariness yield to the strange stupor that overpowers them. Again Jesus finds them sleeping.

      Looking sorrowfully upon them He says, "Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners." [Matthew 26:45]

      Even as He spoke these words, He heard the footsteps of the mob in search of Him, and said, "Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me." [Matthew 26:46]

      No traces of His recent agony were visible as Jesus stepped forth to meet His betrayer. Standing in advance of His disciples He said, "Whom seek ye?" They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus replied, "I am He." [John 18:4-5] As these words were spoken, the angel who had lately ministered to Jesus moved between Him and the mob. A divine light illuminated the Saviour's face, and a dovelike form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.

      The angel withdrew, and the light faded away. Jesus had opportunity to escape, but He remained, calm and self-possessed. As one glorified He stood in the midst of that hardened band, now prostrate and helpless at His feet. The disciples looked on, silent with wonder and awe.

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      But quickly the scene changed. The mob started up. The Roman soldiers, the priests and Judas, gathered about Christ. They seemed ashamed of their weakness, and fearful that He would yet escape. Again the question was asked by the Redeemer, "Whom seek ye?" They had had evidence that He who stood before them was the Son of God, but they would not be convinced. To the question, "Whom seek ye?" again they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." The Saviour then said, "I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way" [John 18:7-8]--pointing to the disciples. He knew how weak was their faith, and He sought to shield them from temptation and trial. For them He was ready to sacrifice Himself.

      Judas the betrayer did not forget the part he was to act. When the mob entered the garden, he had led the way, closely followed by the high priest. To the pursuers of Jesus he had given a sign, saying, "Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast." Matt. 26:48. Now he pretends to have no part with them. Coming close to

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Jesus, he takes His hand as a familiar friend. With the words, "Hail, Master," he kisses Him repeatedly, and appears to weep as if in sympathy with Him in His peril.

      Jesus said to him, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" Matthew 26:50a] His voice trembled with sorrow as He added, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" [Luke 22:48] This appeal should have aroused the conscience of the betrayer, and touched his stubborn heart; but honor, fidelity, and human tenderness had forsaken him. He stood bold and defiant, showing no disposition to relent. He had given himself up to Satan, and he had no power to resist him. Jesus did not refuse the traitor's kiss.

      The mob grew bold as they saw Judas touch the person of Him who had so recently been glorified before their eyes. They now laid hold of Jesus, and proceeded to bind those precious hands that had ever been employed in doing good.

      The disciples had thought that their Master would not suffer Himself to be taken. For the same power that had caused the mob to fall as dead men could keep them helpless, until Jesus and His companions should escape. They were disappointed and indignant as they saw the cords brought forward to bind the hands of Him whom they loved. Peter in his anger rashly drew his sword and tried to defend his Master, but he only cut off an ear of the high priest's servant. When Jesus saw what was done, He released His hands, though held firmly by the Roman soldiers, and saying, "Suffer ye thus far," [Luke 22:51] He touched the wounded ear, and it was instantly made whole. He then said to Peter, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?" [Matthew 26:52-3]--a legion in place of each one of the disciples. Oh, why, the disciples thought, does He not save Himself and us? Answering their unspoken thought, He added, "But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" [Matthew 26:54] "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" [John 18:11]

      The official dignity of the Jewish leaders had not prevented them from joining in the pursuit of Jesus. His arrest was too important a matter to be trusted to subordinates; the wily priests and elders had joined the temple police and the rabble in following Judas to Gethsemane. What a company for those dignitaries to unite with--a mob that was eager for excitement, and armed with all kinds of implements, as if in pursuit of a wild beast!

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      Turning to the priests and elders, Christ fixed upon them His searching glance. The words He spoke they would never forget as long as life should last. They were as the sharp arrows of the Almighty. With dignity He said: You come out against Me with swords and staves as you would against a thief or a robber. Day by day I sat teaching in the temple. You had every opportunity of laying hands upon Me, and you did nothing. The night is better suited to your work. "This is your hour, and the power of darkness." [Luke 22:53b]

      The disciples were terrified as they saw Jesus permit Himself to be taken and bound. They were offended that He should suffer this humiliation to Himself and them. They could not understand His conduct, and they blamed Him for submitting to the mob. In their indignation and fear, Peter proposed that they save themselves. Following this suggestion, "they all forsook Him, and fled." [Mark 14:50] But Christ had foretold this desertion, "Behold," He had said, "the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." John 16:32.

Longest Phrase Index
(only three words or more are included)

      The Passover moon, page 685
      shone from a, page 685
      they dared not, page 686


      In his chapter Daniel March has 17 paragraphs (one of which is two pages long). Ellen G. White's chapter has 34 much shorter paragraphs. Of these only three can be thought of as being parallel to each other with their descriptive and, in one case, Biblical material. We should also note that Ellen G. White sticks closer to the Biblical text and more fully develops the story line of those texts.

      Given the far greater amount of dissimilarity in thought and the very little similarity of thought it is highly unlikely that Ellen G. White paraphrased any of the above material from Daniel March in the writing of this chapter. The little verbal similarity that we can find can be an artifact of what they called in those days "unconscious plagiarism" but which we now call "cyrptomnesia".

David J. Conklin (December 16, 2005)