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crites have long abused their privileges, God, after long waiting and much pains, often gives them up to judicial hardness. There cannot be a more awful situation than this out of hell. Then sinners are filled with their own ways, and walk in the counsel of their own heart. God, long tempted and provoked, lets them alone, and often swears in his wrath that they shall not enter into his rest. All who make a profession of religion should guard against the least beginnings of hardness of heart, and above all, they should seek with unremitting ardour the accomplishment of that precious promise, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh and I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them: and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
6. Judas parted with his Master and profession for a thing of nought. The want of any due proportion between the article parted with, and the value received greatly aggravates the guilt. A man makes a poor bargain who gives his soul in exchange for the whole world, but a poorer still when he parts with it for thirty pieces of silver. Had Judas lived to enjoy his money, it would have gone but a small length, and soon been expended. When he returned it under the power of strong conviction, and fastened the halter about his neck; it was of no use at all. So it will be with all who throw up their profession.
Whatever advantages may apparently accrue to them, the curse of God is on their basket and store as long as they live; and at the hour of death, their supposed advantages will be of no avail at all. In the wretched course of parting with the blessing for a thing of nought, Esau went before Judas, and set him an example; and thousands have followed him. It would be well if Gospel hearers would count the cost before they take up a profession; and, when about to cast it off, they should carefully consider if there is any proportion between it and the temptation. They should weigh matters in the balance of the sanctuary.
7. During the whole of his profession unbelief reigned in his heart. He neither believed, nor was affected with his lost situation by nature. The Divine testimony in the Scriptures was discredited and disregarded. Salvation from the guilt and power of sin he never sought. Christ as the sent of God and Saviour of sinners he never implored. The Divine testimony about Christ in the Scriptures, and Christ's about himself, he entirely rejected. Eternal concerns were never the chief object. Duties were superficially performed, and he had no complacency of heart in them. In his whole conduct he was actuated by sinister motives. Unbelief in its full and unbroken power added strength to every part of the body of sin, and invigorated the old man. Present and seen objects had more influence on his heart, than the great unseen objects exhibited in the promises. What Peter said in hurry, confusion, and without thought,
with some variation, expressed the habitual language of Judas's heart, Depart from me, O Lord, for I desire to be a sinful man. Powerful as the principle of covetousness was, without unbelief, it could neither have led him to betray his Master, or murder himself.
We only add, that he actually betrayed his Master. He had not that knowledge of Christ which is necessary to a believing on him for salvation; but he had enough to enable him to betray him. He was so little acquainted with his real worth and true character, as made him prefer every other object to Christ. Unconcerned about his own salvation, and destitute of love to the Saviour, he proceeded the awful length of betraying him. While in this world, we have but faint ideas how any sinner, who has heard the Gospel, can meet Christ, and appear at his judgmentseat: but how Judas could appear before him, and so soon after he betrayed him, surpasses all conception! To the believing mind it opens a scene at once tremendous and pleasing, awful and delightful, -to figure the chief priests and scribes, Pilate and Herod, Judas and his band, the Sanhedrim and soldiers, and the whole group of enemies standing at the tribunal of that Person whom a little ago they summoned, and maltreated, condemned and crucified between two malefactors.
Did it enter into our plan, it might be both pleasing and profitable to contrast the conduct of the eleven with that of Judas. In them we would find faith a prevailing principle. It made them cleave to their
Master, and continue with him in his temptations. It opened their hearts to attend to his precious instructions, and, though not so strong as it should have been, filled them with good hope of a comfortable issue to his trials and theirs, though they knew not how. We would discover in them unfeigned love to their Master. They trembled at the thought of his suffering, but unspeakably more at the thought of being active or instrumental in betraying him. Greatly ignorant of the design and end of his death, they would rather have heard of their own sufferings than his, and rather endured death than witnessed his crucifixion. Instead of indulging lust in the heart, and seeking opportunities of gratifying it, they were filled with the most bitter and genuine sorrow for sin. Their grief flowed from the best principle. They hated sin as against their Master; and what dishonoured or injured him, greatly wounded their hearts. It is justly reckoned an evidence of genuine sorrow when it flows, not from views of the danger of sin as destroying the soul; but from the evil of it as dishonouring to the Saviour. The disciples evidenced much self-diffidence, and some sense of the unknown mystery of iniquity in their hearts. Asking, “Lord, is it I?” was a frank acknowledgment that they had not seen to the bottom of that sin which was within them. Unlike the self-applauding spirit of the hypocrite, they preferred every one the other to himself. Instead of that suspicious and censorious temper characteristic of nominal professors, they had great charity for one another, and of that genuine kind which
thinketh no evil. In place of that hardness of heart which ruined the traitor, their hearts were soft, susceptible of impressions, and melted immediately at the intimation of such a charge as their Master being betrayed by a disciple. Their hearts to intimations of this kind were as wax before the fire. They had followed Christ, and professed him with that truth and sincerity in the inward part in which he delights, They were bettered and greatly improved by the advantage of being with him, and had made considerable progress since their first acquaintance. Instead of rushing deliberately into temptation, the first hint of danger was sufficient alarm, and stirred up all that was within them to watch and guard against it.
We now go on, as was proposed, to the next thing in the method, which was,
III. To open up Christ's conduct on this memorable occasion.
One scarcely knows whether the conduct of the Redeemer, or that of the traitor is most astonishing. -the one for a superabundance of patience, and the other for the consummation of iniquity. There are two mysteries which occupy the believer's attention while here, and will find him employ to all eternity, namely, the mysteries of grace and corruption.
1. Christ dealt plainly with Judas. He did not merely insinuate that he knew or suspected his wicked intentions, but told him explicitly. Dreadful as the