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would accept it: for "I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen." Hypocrites are the same in every age. They always treat the King of heaven and Governor of the world as they neither would, nor durst a fellowworm, who is governor in their native land. Wo unto you, hypocrites!
If communicants would desire to know whether they have betrayed the Son of man at his table last Sabbath* or not, they might attend to these things. These are the most likely to have betrayed him who have neither suspected, nor examined themselves, since they sat at his table. Owing to custom and exhortation, many have a kind of seriousness, a superficial self-examination, and a cursory review of their conduct before they communicate; but, when the solemn ordinance is over, they consider themselves delivered from these exercises of course. This conduct proves their previous exercise both unscriptural and unprofitable; and makes it evident that they had wrong views of the sacrament, and are unacquainted with the power of sin and devices of Satan. Though self-examination, at certain times, should be practised with greater care and punctuality, yet it should be habitual, as well as actual. It is peculiarly fit and proper after communicating. After we have been at the Lord's table we should review, and notice what our exercises were. We should observe our graces, and see if they have been vigorous or languid. We should take particular notice if we have had any comfortable additions to our attainments. Frequently all the benefit of solemn ordinances is neither ob
Preached the Sabbath immediately after the celebration of the supper.
tained, nor enjoyed at the time of communicating; and the advantage of the ordinance should never end with it. Inspecting ourselves after such distinguished profession and solemn privilege, would tend to maintain the impression that God's vows are upon us, and that we have opened our mouths to the Lord. It would be eminently calculated to prevent declension and apostacy. If these, and such meditations and exercises, have not been in some degree familiar to your minds, since you were favoured with the solemn ordinance, the symptoms are unfavourable. The Christian life is that of a warrior, and wayfaring man, The supper furnishes the saint with armour, and teaches him to wield it. It is also a meal to strengthen him for his journey.
We would insist with the greater earnestness for watchfulness after communicating, because sin and Satan never exert themselves more vigorously than after times of special privileges. The hour and power of darkness immediately succeeded the first celebration of the supper. The great Head was condemned, and crucified. Judas betrayed and sold him. Peter denied him. The rest forsook him and fled. Professing Christians are often off their guard after the sacrament. Satan is never more vigilant. Watch and be sober. Inspect your hearts. Cry for momentary supplies. Never forget that he, and he only, who endures to the end shall be saved. Fight
the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Pray without ceasing. So doing, instead of coming to such a miserable end as Judas, you will have the highest reason to rejoice evermore.
MATTHEW XXVI. 20-25.
And when the even was come, Jesus sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
OFTEN the clearest day ends in a cloudy and stormy night. Many, enjoying the richest privileges, and making the purest profession, have cast the Lord's cords from them, and apostatized from the good cause they had espoused. Their lamps, not fed by the oil of grace, are extinguished by the wind of temptation. The naughtiness of their hearts, long latent, breaks forth, and discovers their true character. We have a striking instance of this in Judas. Having long followed Christ, and professed an unfeigned attachment to his interest, at last he betrayed him. The same causes produce the same effects. The dreadful treachery and fatal end of Judas are recorded to warn nominal professors to the end of
Having made some observations to explain the passage, we now proceed,
II. To inquire more particularly what brought Judas to such heinous iniquity. On this we observe the following things.
1. He was insincere in taking up his profession. Insincerity is the source of many ills, and was his radical error. At his entry, he gave Christ the hand and Satan the heart. This error is seldom rectified. It is a critical period with the sinner when he takes up a profession of Christ. There is commonly some stirring of affections. Then Christ does much to win the heart, and Satan makes strong exertions to retain it. If he is successful then, he is less afraid afterward. He considers it of the last importance to his cause, if he can keep the sinner from being thoroughly awakened, and make him settle on his lees. If the heart is not surrendered to Christ at the outset, any little love which the sinner appeared to have soon waxes cold. A work properly begun is well advanced and half ended. This holds true both with the real Christian and nominal professor. The true Christian in commencing a disciple of Christ has given him his whole heart, and the important business of working out his own salvation is greatly advanced. He is in Christ. To him there is no condemnation. He has the Holy Spirit in him. The spiritual life is begun, and his path is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The power of sin is broken, and though it
should make lively exertions, it shall not have dominion. His enemies have got a fatal wound, and he shall be more than a conqueror. He is possessed of grace which is glory begun, and he shall appear before God in Zion. On the other hand, the hypocrite, taking up a profession with insincerity, has greatly advanced the interest of sin. In the language of the parable, Satan saith about such an one, "I will return to my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." The man who sets to sea in the Christian life without a vessel, commonly goes to the bottom. But he who embarks in and with Christ, though storms should assail, though he should reel and stagger, and be at his wits' end, shall certainly see the desired haven.
2. He was unprofitable in the progress of his profession. Never had any a fairer opportunity to make progress. He heard the glad tidings of salvation spoken by the Lord himself. He walked up and down in company with the Saviour and salvation. He was admitted in common with the other disciples to the places where Christ poured out his heart to his heavenly Father. He could not be altogether ignorant of the Redeemer's groanings and wrestlings, his strong cries and tears. He had the best instruction, and the purest pattern. He heard the heavenly doctrine of the Saviour, and saw it exemplified in his