Imatges de pàgina

3. There had been a particular confidence placed in Judas. He had the care of the common property of Christ's family, and he knew the place to which his Lord resorted with his disciples for their family devotions. He was therefore guilty of profaning a sacred place, and of violating the obligations of intimate friendship. The Psalmist, speaking prophetically in the person of Christ concerning the treachery of Judas, aggravates it from these circumstances. "It was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me, who did magnify himself against me, then I would have hid myself from him; but it was thou, a man, mine equal and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in company. Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, and who did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

4. He had been repeatedly warned of this crime in terms, which might lead him to suppose, that his intention was known to his master. After he had been with the Jewish rulers, Christ, in his presence, said to the disciples, " One of you shall betray me. The Son of man goeth indeed, as it is written of him; but wo to that man, by whom the Son of man is betrayed. Good were it for him, that he had never been born." Such a warning, one would think, should have struck him with conviction, and diverted him from his design. But far from this, when all the disciples, confounded at this general premonition, asked, one by one, "Lord, is it I?" Judas had the impudence to ask the same question, to whom Jesus replied, "Thou hast said." Immediately on this warning, he went out from Christ's presence to perpetrate the villainy.

5. This crime was committed deliberately. He went and consulted with the priests and elders concerning the time, place and manner of effecting it. He returned, and continued his attendance on his master. He was reminded once and again of the design which he had formed, and he was solemnly premonished of its dreadful consequence. His conscience had full time to rebuke him, and ample occasion to enter its remonstrance.

He was not drawn into this wickedness by the importunity of others, but he conceived it in his own heart and proposed it of

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his own motion. And what was his temptation? He hoped to get thirty pieces of silver, or thirty shekels, the price of the meanest slave. That blood which is more precious than silver and gold, he betrayed for so contemptible a reward—and his own soul, the loss of which could not be compensated by the whole world, he sold for a thing of nought.

6. He betrayed his Lord. too, at a time when, and place where he was engaged in the solemnities of devotion, and by the sorrows of his soul, and the fervor of his prayers, was seeking the salvation of a guilty race. Neither the sacredness of the place to which his master was retired, nor the solemnity of the duty in which he was employed, nor the sharpness of the distress with which his soul was wounded, could awe the hardened wretch from his premeditated crime. And,

7. With what detestable dissimulation he executed it? He betrayed his master by a solemn profession of love and respect. As he had before appointed to the soldiers a token, saying, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he; hold him fast;" so when he drew near, he forthwith came up to Jesus, and said, "Hail, master, and kissed him." In the trepidation of haste, he went forward of the company; and gave the signal before they were near enough to discriminate the person in the night. Hence John tells us, that after the salute, Jesus went forth, and asked the soldiers, "Whom seek ye?" They said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus answered, "I am he. If ye seek me, let these," my disciples, "go their way."

In this transaction of Judas, there was a complication of various sins, such as ingratitude, perfidy, hypocrisy, avarice, profaneness and malice, together with a settled resolution to do evil, which no advice, or warnings could controul.

The view we have taken of Judas' conduct will suggest to us several useful reflections, to which it will be proper for us here to attend.

1. We see, that some, under the best means, remain impenitent and finally perish in their guilt.

What excellent advantages Judas enjoyed! He lived in the company of the Son of God, daily conversed with him, beheld

his works, heard his instructions, saw his example and retired with him for devotion; and yet he retained his corruptions, and became more hardened in wickedness. How inexcusable must he have been? What an awful condemnation must he have deserved?

Are there not others, who will fall under the same condemnation? You enjoy great privileges. While you condemn him look well to yourselves.

You are not allowed, like him, to live in company with the Son of God; but perhaps your advantages may be equal to his. You have Christ's gospel in your hands, and may daily see what doctrines he taught, what works he performed, and in what manner he lived. You have repeated calls and admonitions, and the most powerful motives to a holy life. If Christ were personally with you, what could you learn from his mouth, more than you may now learn from his word?

Come then, enquire of yourselves how you have profited by these advantages. You are astonished at the impenitence of Judas. Have you repented of your own sins? Have you mortified every lust, and subdued every passion? Have you renounced satan and the world, and yielded yourselves servants to your divine Master? Does love to him reign in your hearts and influence your conduct? Do you grow in knowledge and goodness under the means you enjoy? You see, that there is such a case as men's continuing in wickedness under the best means. Be afraid, lest this, which is no uncommon case, should unhappily prove to be your's.

2. We see, that great gifts are no evidence of saving grace. Judas possessed miraculous gifts in common with his brethren. He was one of the twelve, whom Christ ordained to preach the gospel, cast out devils and heal all manner of diseases ; and yet he was a stranger to the temper of that gospel, which he preached, and in the confirmation of which he wrought miracles. Our Saviour says, Many of those, whom he will reject as workers of iniquity, will be able to plead, "We have prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils and done many wonderful works." St. Paul supposes, that one may speak with the tongue

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of angels, exercise the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries, and have faith to remove mountains, and yet not have charity. If there was no connexion between these miraculous gifts and sanctifying grace, surely it is presumptuous to conclude ourselves in a state of grace, merely because we possess superior natural abilities, or acquired accomplishments; such as uncommon knowledge in religion, great skill in defending the truth, and a happy freedom of thought and pertinence of expression in prayer. These gifts are useful and much to be desired; but will not avail to men's salvation. The apostle says to the Corinthians, "Covet earnestly the best gifts, and yet I shew unto you a more excellent way." The more excellent way is that charity, which suffers long and is kind; envies not and is not puffed up; rejoices not in iniquity, but in the truth; thinks no evil; but believes, endures and hopes all things. The meanest christian possessed of a meek, humble, peaceable temper, filled with love to God and benevolence to men, and acting under the influence of that faith which realizes invisible things, is far more excellent than the man, who, void of these dispositions, is distinguished by the most eminent and shining gifts.

Whatever gifts we may possess, let us not glory in them, but humbly and thankfully improve them to real holiness and extensive usefulness. Otherwise, instead of bringing us to heaven, they will only aggravate our final condemnation.

3. We see, that men may make a fair show of godliness, and yet be corrupt in heart.

Judas was a man of unreproached morals among the Jews, as well as of an unsuspected character among his brethren. Had his morals been notoriously vicious, the Jews, who often condemned Christ for conversing with publicans and sinners, would certainly have censured him for taking so bad a man into the number of his special friends. When Christ warned his disciples, that one of them would betray him, Judas was unsuspected. He was a man, not only of sober conversation, but of plausible address. He had great influence among his brethren. When he complained of a woman for pouring ointment on Christ's head, and urged the importance of applying it to the benefit of the poor

they were carried away with his dissimulation. He was wont, not only to plead for the poor, but also to treat his Lord with tokens of great respect. When he betrayed Jesus with a kiss, had this been an unusual address, Peter would probably have suspected treachery, and drawn his sword on Judas rather than on Malchus.

But under all these disguises there lurked a wicked heart. Under the colour of piety to God, charity to the poor, and reverence for his master, he was carrying on the most vile and detestable purposes.

Who is there, but must abhor this character? The most vicious man living detests the designing wretch, who, under an affected. show of sanctity, or benevolence, or friendship, or public spirit, sacrifices his religion, his conscience, his friend, or his country, to his own private interest.

When we see and loathe hypocrisy in another, let us take care to avoid it ourselves. Let us act, not as pleasing men, but as pleasing God, who searches the heart. Let us be the same men in reality, as we would appear to be in the view of the world.

4. We see the dangerous influence of covetousness. This led Judas on, from sin to sin, till it had completed his ruin. “The love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some have indulged, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. They have fallen into temptations and snares and many foolish and pernicious lusts, which have drowned them in destruction." Important therefore is the caution given by our Saviour, "Take heed and beware of covetous



5. We see that one sin indulged naturally leads to another.

Judas made as good a profession as his brethren. But he was under the dominion of covetousness. He believed Jesus to be the Messiah, but expected he would erect a temporal kingdom; and he followed him with a view to the honors and riches, which, under that kingdom, he hoped to enjoy. Upon a particular occasion Christ explained the spiritual nature and design of his office in the hearing of the twelve, and of others who frequently attended on his preaching. On hearing that his kingdom was not of this world, many of his hearers left him in disgust. Judas, though

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