« AnteriorContinuar »
Saint Paul, to know no man after the flesh," and never more to boast of any worldly connexions. Nay, if you could claim any carnal relation to the Saviour himself, you should place no dependence upon it*: but pray, that, being joined to him by his Spirit, you may now be conformed to his image, and finally behold his face in righteousness.
JUDAS THE TRAITOR,
Judas, appointed an epostle--dishoneft-cenfured Mary
for waste of ointment-warned by Jesus—betrayed him for money--destroyed himself.
HAVING concluded the history of the Saviour, we may now pay a more minute attention to some of his chief companions. Twelve persons were lelected to be his intimate associates, the men of his counsel, and appointed to the high and important office of the Apostleship. All these were upright, and eminent in holiness, excepting one: an indelible mark of infamy is left upon the name of Judas Iscariot. The eleven others had their failings, but Judas possessed nothing truly good: he was wrong throughout, unround from first to last, a finished hypocrite, who, under the cloke of religion, concealed the baseft principles. Though a follower, a preacher, and an Apostle of Christ, he felt no fincere regard for him, but sought only to make gain of godliness.
This is a tremendous subject, and ought to excite great searchings of heart. The character before us ftands as an awful admonition, not to trust in any favourable appearances or reputation for fanctity. Even in a facred function, with admired gifts, and acknowledged usefulness, we may act as traitors to the cause of Christ, and finally perish. Sooner or later the dillembler with God will be detected, and receive his just reward. “Every plant, which our
heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up Thus also the Saviour declares, “ Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord; have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many
wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from me, ye that work iniquity t." Let us judge ourselves; and surrender up our whole hearts to God, “ without partiality and without hy
So fhall we be preserved from the fatal apoftasy of Judas.
Very few particulars of his life are recorded; but his distinguishing features are clearly drawn. From the beginning, he seems to have been under the influence of that base principle, the love of money." Probably, he assumed a religious profession from se-, cular views. He might be ftruck with the miracles of Jefus, and led to expect confiderable advantage from the service of a Master, who had all nature at: his command. Or, under the fuppofition of our Lord's erecting a temporal dominion, his grand in-, ducement might be, the hope of obtaining a large share in its honours and emoluments. A poor and sordid motive for pretending a regard to the Gospel !,
Judas was intrusted with the ministry of the word, and appointed to be an Apoftle, by Christ himself. Nay, he appears to have received as full and extena: five a commiilion, as the other eleven, and to have been furnished with the same miraculous powers I. According to his charge, then, we may conclude, that he went forth to preach the kingdom of God from town to town, and testified of that falvation, which he understood not' for himself. He healed all manner of sickness, without any principle of bene
* Matt. XV 13.
+ vii. 22, 23.
I Matt. X. 4. Mar. iii. 19.
Luke vi. 16.
volence, and even cast out devils, while he himself remained the slave of Satan.
In the designation of Judas to this sacred office, our Lord was not imposed on. He well understood, what were the miscreant's motives and purposes, and foresaw the whole of his future conduct. seem wonderful therefore, that he should choofe him. We confefs, those are most awful dispensations, by which hypocrites and persons of base characters are brought forward to minister in holy things, and pofsess power in the Church. Yet these cases every where occur, and the Lord does not prevent them; nay, he so orders things in his providence, that they must infallibly take place. He does not influence any man to do wickedly; but, though he continueth holy, he is pleased to allow finners full opportunity for pursuing and accomplishing their own plans. Thus he dealt with Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and thus he deals with many, who are of the worst disa. position, at this very time. He raises them to situa-. tions, in which they are capable of doing extensive mischief, disgracing, opposing, or corrupting the Gofa. pel, which they profess to patronise or preach. Yet wife ends are answered: the extreme depravity of hu.. man nature is more clearly demonstrated, the faith and patience of the faints are tried and improved, and God himself manifests both his forbearance and, his justice.
Jesus and his disciples, in their various removals had one common stock for their support. This money was committed to Judas: be carried the bag, which contained chiefly the charitable contributions : of others, who ministered unto them. He was intrufted, then, with the secular affairs of this little, houshold, and bought in their provisions. It was not much which they possessed; yet Judas took care to embezzle something for himself. Probably, be.
had fought and obtained the office, with a view of practising his dishonesty.
Out of their small fund, it should seem, a part was designed for the poor. But Judas made his advantage of the kind intentions of his Master : while he. was ready to second every proposal of relieving the necessitous, he contrived to appropriate the alms to his own use. Just before the last passover, when Mary, Lazarus's fifter, anointed the feet of her dear Lord with costly perfumes, out of the warmth of her affection, Judas raised the objection, and complained with the greatest vehemence, “ Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" We might have con cluded, that he was a man of extreme tenderness and liberality: but this was a base pretence. He felt not for the miseries of his fellow-creatures; he. wished only for the opportunity of securing to himself the three hundred pence.
Hypocrites are generally very cenforious, and forward to condemn the fervour of zeal as extravagance. Many, likewise, gratify their own penurious disposition, while they allege their intentions of making a reserve for charitable purposes. They would be thought compaffionate and kind, and yet consult chiefly, how they shall enrich themselves. Alas! with a heart enfiaved to covetousness, it is difficult, to be strictly honest. The strongest barriers are insufficient to restrain such a temper, and hence it isz. that the most facred trusts are frequently betrayed. Men break through every solemn obligation, in order to obtain a paltry sum: and they hoard up gold and filver, “ the rust of which shall be a witness against them, and shall eat their flesh, as it were fire +."
Let not that, therefore, be censured as a sinful or needless expense, which is laid out in the cause of
* John xii. 1-. xiii, 29.
+ James V. 3.