The Last Supper

The Last Supper.

This admonition to Iscariot is soon followed by a scene revealing the hall of the Sanhedrin. At first, however, when the curtain rises, Judas has not yet made his appearance before the priestly Council. Caiaphas and Annas occupy the seats of honor above the tables of the scribes. A most exciting debate is being carried on, as to what shall be done with the Galilean, the words uttered being such as must naturally have been spoken on the occasion. In fact, whenever the text of the Passion Play leaves the direct narration of the Gospels, the language is not only simple and dignified, but frequently eloquent. The words of Maier himself are usually only such as are recorded in the New Testament.



The session of the Sanhedrin was presided over by Caiaphas, who, it will be remembered, in private life was the biirgermeister of the village. He was richly attired in a long white robe with silver fringe, while on his breast gleamed the twelve jewels, symbolic of the Israelitish tribes.

The Hall Of The Sanhedrin

The Hall Of The Sanhedrin.

The Debate

The Debate.

It was he who first addressed the Assembly with passionate eagerness. "Fathers of the people," he exclaimed, "our religion is in danger of being overthrown. Did not this Galilean drive out the buyers, traders, and sellers from the Tem-ple? Did ye not see how he entered our city in triumph?

He is carrying the people with him and is teaching them to despise us! Shall we wait quietly here till the last shadow of our power be gone? I, at least, am in favor of his death."

The aged Annas also rises from his seat, and exclaims in tones tremulous with emotion and infirmity: "By my gray hairs, I swear not to rest until our religion is made safe by his destruction!"

By the time that Judas makes his appearance before them, they have decided to put the Nazarene to death; but of this they cunningly say nothing. On the contrary, they only tell Iscariot that they wish to imprison his Master for a short time, to prevent his uttering any more extreme doctrines. Judas stands for some time beside a table in the centre of the hall, listening to the words of the Council and struggling with his feelings. The sight of the money, however, and its ring upon the table, decide him. As if lured on by an irresistible attraction, he clutches the silver, tests each piece with his teeth, and sweeps it eagerly into the bag. Meantime, his evil genius (the agent of the high priest) stands watching him intently, as Mephis-topheles watches Faust, lest at the last moment he may recoil. A very beautiful scene in the Passion Play is that of the departure of Christ from Bethany, on his journey to Jerusalem. His disciples are full of foreboding and urge him not to go thither, but Jesus answers them with the command, "Follow Me," and unhesitatingly bids farewell to His Mother and friends, and even to the village of which He was so fond. The parting of Jesus from His Mother is exceedingly pathetic, the more so, as the spectators are well aware of the fate that awaits the Saviour at the hands of His enemies. He Himself knows perfectly what He is to undergo, for He exclaims: "Dear hospitable Bethany, I shall never again linger in thy quiet valley. Beloved Mother, the time appointed from the beginning has come for me to give myself up as a sacrifice in obedience to the Father's will." At length the last embrace is given, and Mother and Son separate only to meet again on the way to Calvary.

The Judas Of 1890

The Judas Of 1890.

The Betrayer's Kiss

The Betrayer's Kiss. (Sche/fer).

The Parting At Bethany

The Parting At Bethany.

The scene of the garden of Gethsemane, whither Maier leads his disciples from the Last Supper, was to us the most touching portion of the entire Play. One naturally trembles at first with apprehension, lest something be done that may offend; but all such anxiety is needless while Joseph Maier takes the part of Christ. Three times he goes apart to kneel in prayer. Three times he pleads in agony: "Oh, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." But, finally, when he has gained the spiritual victory, there falls from his lips the sublime expression: "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt!" There are some voices that can electrify us like a bugle-call, or thrill us with an overwhelm-