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Justly might Jesus have said concerning that traitor, What could I have done more! But instead of reaping advantage, or being bettered by such privileges, he grew worse and worse. Asp like, he drew venom from the finest flowers, and converted the heavenly manna into poison. While Christ turned water into wine, Judas converted the wine and milk of the Gospel into a cup of destruction. In this course he continued, till at length he formed the hellish design of betraying his gracious Master, and executed it. All who are unprofitable under the precious means of grace are fast ripening for destruction. Sin is cherished and advances to maturity. The Gospel purely dispensed is never without some effect. It either kills or cures. Where it is not the savour of life unto life, it will be the savour of death unto death. While the other disciples had spiritual life cherished under the beams of the Sun of righteousness, and were ripening for glory, Judas cherished the most deadly lusts, and ripened for destruction.
3. Under his profession, he allowed and indulged a secret predominant lust. This was the dead fly that hurt him. They who name the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. Like Nathanael, they should be free from allowed guile. An honest profession is incompatible with the wilful indulgence of any sin. While other crimes destroy their hundreds, a predominant lust indulged ruins its thousands. In vain do men wait at the posts of wisdom's doors, while sin is cherished in the heart. It grows worse by restraint, and gathers strength from the outward opposition; but will at last break out. Judas
had a covetous heart; and the indulgence of this evil and idolatrous principle proved fatal to him in the end.
4. He entered into temptation. This is most dangerous for a professed disciple of Christ. It is much easier to enter into temptation than get out of it. Nothing can be more hazardous than to tamper with sin. Judas's covetous heart was always meditating mischief, and devising every method to gratify itself. So violent was the principle of avarice that no mode of gratification seemed too gross. He said to the chief priests, "What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" This was a question which he should never have asked. The thought of selling his Master for money never should have entered his mind; or if it did, it should have been immediately rejected with the greatest indignation. Had he sought an hundred times more than he did, the chief priests would have cheerfully given it. Their malice was equal to his covetousness; and both were insatiable. We may easily conceive what they would have given to Judas, if we consider their cursed liberality to the watch which guarded the sepulchre. We are told, Matth. xxviii. 11, 12, that when the guard showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done, who being assembled with the elders, took counsel, and gave LARGE money unto the soldiers to bribe them to say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while they slept. This money is not specified, but it is expressly called a large quantity. From their conduct in this instance,
we are sure that however high Judas had made his terms, they would have heartily agreed to them, and finished the hellish bargain.
The dangerous consequences of entering into temptation are inconceivable, and almost innumerable. The Lord is provoked, and Satan encouraged; the mind is blinded, and the heart ensnared; sin is strengthened, and a temporary vail drawn over the fatal effects. While Judas is a signal instance of the danger of entering into temptation, Gehazi is another. The love of money is the root of all evil. It hurried him on till the leprosy, which Jordan lately washed away from the Syrian, "cleaved to him and his seed for ever; and he went out from Elisha's presence a leper as white as snow." In believers too, who have the root of the matter in them, we see the danger of entering into temptation. David got his bones broke; and Peter entering into the high priest's hall, denied his Master. With amazing propriety did Christ teach his disciples to conclude their petitions to their heavenly Father, with this important address, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
5. He was awfully hardened. We can never enough wonder at the hardness of his heart. It was surely hard as the nether millstone. He would have appeared hardened enough had he been only in company with Christ once or twice, and then betrayed him; but how shocking to have attended him all the time of his public ministry, and sell him for thirty pieces of silver! It was wicked beyond conception
to betray one whom he had often witnessed making the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dead to arise! How could he forget that the winds and the waves obeyed him; that the devils were subject to him, and were dispossessed at his pleasure! How could he be unmindful that at different times, a few loaves were so multiplied as to feed thousands! How could he dare to form the plot in his heart, and once think to conceal it from his Master, who had given so many evidences that thoughts and words were equally intelligible unto him! But, though Judas had never had another proof of Christ's omniscience, the warning given him in the text was conclusive. His treacherous plot till then was a profound secret. He had never revealed it to a single person. None entertained the least suspicion of him. But Christ gave him satisfying evidence that he knew all that was in his heart. To hear his Master announce before all the disciples that one of them would betray him-to be an eye-witness of that great sorrow which filled the hearts of the eleven-to be conscious that the charge was just, and that his heart had devised the plot-to persist in it without the least remorse, evinces an hardness of heart inconceivable, and, if we had not the best testimony, almost incredible! One would have thought that the very discovering his design would have prevented his persisting, and that his being warned at a love-feast would have made him abandon it with abhorrence. But, as all things respecting duty or trial, are possible to him that believeth; all things in the way of sinning seem
possible to him that believeth not. Nothing is too criminal or atrocious for the heart of a treacherous hypocrite and malignant apostate. What will not sin do when left to itself, and the influence of the devil! What a wretch must the traitor have been, when neither the unparalleled kindness of his Master, nor the awful wrath which he incurred by such conduct, in the least affected his heart, nor made him change his purpose! While his connexion with Christ, his distinguished office, and peculiar privileges aggravated his guilt; they rendered the Redeemer's sufferings more exquisite, as he had long before foretold, when he said, Psal. lv. 12-14, "For it was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me, that did magnify himself against me, then I would have hid myself from him but it was thou, a man, mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance: we took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company."
Surely hardness of heart was brought to the highest pitch in Judas. His heart was obstinate, his neck was an iron sinew, and his brow brass: or if any thing can be more inflexible than these metals, his heart was as an adamant stone. When we consider his sin and his end, never were these words of the wise man more signally verified or better applied, "He that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."
This hardness is not brought to such a degree all at once. The natural obduracy of the heart makes great progress under the Gospel; and when hypo