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that eateth broad with me, hath lift up his heel against nie."
As our blessed Saviour was now to be but a short time with his disciples, he thought proper to take his farewel of them, which he<lid in the most afFectionate manner. These melancholy tidings greatly troubled them. They were unwilling to part with so kind a friend, so dear a Master, so wise a guide, and so profitable a teacher; especially as they thought they should be left in a forlorn condition, a poor and helpless prey to the rage and hatred of a blind and malicious generation. They seemed willing to die with their Lord, if that might be accepted. Why cannot I follow thee? I will lay down my life for thee! was the language of one, and even all of them; but they could not support the thoughts of a disconsolate separation.
Their great and compassionate Master, seeing them thus dejected, endeavoured to cheer their drooping spirits: "Let not your hearts be troubled." Listen attentively to what I am going to deliver for your consolation: "I am going to prepare a place for you; I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also." A reviving admonition! They wore one day to meet again their dear, their affectionate Master, in a place where they should live together to all eternity.
But death makes so vast a distance between friends, and the disciples then knew so little of a future state, that they seemed to doubt, whether they should, after their parting, meet their great Redeemer. They neither knew the place where he was going, nor the way tlrat led to his kingdom. "Lord (said they) as we know not whither thou goest, how can we know the way?'' Iti answer to this question, he told them, that he was *' the way, the truth and the light;" as if he had said, through the propitiatory sacrifice I am about to offer; the sacred truths I have delivered, and the
divine assistance which I shall hereafter dispense, you are to obtain that happiness which I go to prepare for yoq.
But, lest all these arguments should not be sufficient to quiet their minds, he had still another, which could not fail of success; "If ye love roe, (says he) ye will rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father:" intimating, that he would consider it as a proof of their love to him, if they ceased to mourn. They doubtless thought, that by grieving for his death, they expressed their love to their Master; and it might seem strange that our Saviour should put so contrary an interpretation on their friendly sorrow, or require so unnatural a thing of them, as to rejoice at his departure. What! (might they think) shall we rejoice at so amiable a friend's removal from us; or can we be glad, that he retires, and leaves us in this vale of misery? No, it is impossible; the human heart, on so melancholy an occasion, can have no disposition to rejoice.
Our blessed Saviour, therefore, adds his reason, to solve the seeming paradox; because he was going to the Father: that is, he was going to ascend to the right hand of infinite power, from whence he would send them all the assistance they could desire. It must not, however, be supposed, that he meant by these words, that his disciples should not be concerned at his death, or that they could not love him unless they expressed a visible joy on this occasion. That would, indeed, have been a hard interpretation of their grief: he knew their grief flowed from love; and that if their love had not been strong, their sorrow had been much less. Indeed, their Master was fully convinced that leve was the occasion of their sorrow; and, therefore, he used these arguments to mitigate it, and direct it in a proper course.
Nor did our Lord intend to intimate that all sorrow for so worthy a friend was unlawful, or an unbecoming expression of their love; doubtless be was not displeased to see his disciples so tenderly affected at bis removal from them. He who shed tears at the grave of Lazarus, blended with sighs and groans, cannot be thought to forbid them wholly at his own. He therefore did not chide his disciples with angry reproaches, as though they bad been entirely in the wrong, but gently reasoned with them by kind persuasion, "Let not your hearts be troubled," as rather pitying than condemning their sorrow.
Soon after Jesus had spoken these things, his heart was greatly troubled, to think that one of his disciples should prove his enemy; he complained of it at the table, declaring that one of them should betray him. This moving declaration greatly affected thedisciptes; and they began every one of them to say to their Master, "Lord, is it I?" But Jesus giving them no decisive answer, John, that beloved disciple, whose sweet disposition and other amiable qualities, are perpetuated in the peculiar love his great Master bore him, and was now reclining on his bosom, asked him, who among the disciples could be guilty of so detestable a crime? Jesus told him that the person to whom he should give the sop, when he had dipped it, was he who should betray him. Accordingly, as soon as he bad dipped the sop in the dish, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, saying to him, at the same time, " what thou doest, do quickly."
Judas received the sop, without knowing any thing of what his Master had told the beloved disciple; nor did any of the disciples, except St. John, entertain the least suspicion that Judas was the person who would betray their Master.
The innocent disciples were, indeed, so deeply affected with this declaration, that one of them should betray him, that they did not remark the words of Jesus io his apostate disciple; but continued to ask him, who wa« the person that should be guilty of
so unnatural a crime? Willing at last, to satisfy their importunity, the blessed Jesus declared, that the person who dipped his hand with him in the dish, should betray him.. This to the eleven was a joyful declaration, but confounding in the highest degree to Judas. Impudent as he was, it struck him speechless, pointing him out plainly, and displaying the foulness of his heart.
While Judas continued mute with confusion, the blessed Jesus declared that bis death should be brought about according to the decrees of heaven, though that would not, in the least, mitigate the crime of the person who betrayed him, adding, "it had been good for that man if he had not been born." Judas having now recovered himself a little, asserted his innocence by a question which implied a denial of the charge. But his master soon silenced him, by positively affirming that he reaily was the person.
As various conjectures have been formed concerning the motives which induced the perfidious Judas cruelly to deliver up his innocent Muster into the hands of his enemies, it may not be improper to cite those which appear to us most probable, though the decision must be entirely left to the reader.
Some are of opinion, that he was induced to commit this villainy by the resentment of the rebuke given him by his Master, for blaming the woman who came with the precious ointment, aud anointed the head of Jesus as he sat at meat, in the house • of Simon the leper. But though this had doubtless, its weight with the traitor, yet it could not, we think, be his only motive, because the rebuke Whs in general given to all the disciples, who had, perhaps, been equally forward with him in censuring the woman. Nor can we imagine, even if he had been rebuked alone, that so mild a reproof could provoke anv person, however wicked, to the horrid act of murdering his friend, much less Judas, whose covetous disposition must have disposed him to bear every thing from his Master, from whom he expected the highest preferment when he openly declared himself the Messiah, and took the reins of government into his own hands.
Others think that Judas betrayed his Master through covetousness. But if we understand by covetousness the reward given by the priests, this opinion is equally defective; for the sum was too small for the most covetous wretch to think equivalent lo the life of a friend, especially when he expected from him the highest posts and advantages.
Others attribute the perfidy of Judas to his doubting whether his Master was the Messiah ; and that he betrayed him in a fit of despair. But of all the solutions, this is the worst founded. For if Judas believed his Master to be an impostor, he must have observed some thing in his behaviour which led him to form such an opinion of him; and in that case he would doubtless, have mentioned it to the chief priests and elders, when he made the contract with them; which it is plain he did not, as they would have reminded him of it, when he came back and expressed his remorse for what he had done.
It should always be observed, that had Judas given them any intimation of this kind, they would doubtless have urged them against our blessed Saviour himself, in the course of his trial, when they were at so great a loss for witnesses to support their accusations; and against the apostles, afterwards when they reproved them for speaking in the name of Jesus. Besides, had Judas thought his Master an impostor, and proposed nothing by his treachery, but the price he put upon his life, how came he to sell him for such a trifle, when he well knew that the chief priests aud rulers would
have given him any sum, rather than not have gotten him into their hands?
In fine, the supposition that Judas believed his Master to be an impostor, is directly confuted by the solemn declaration he made to the priests, when he declared the deepest conviction of the innocence of our great Redeemer, "I have sinned, said he, in betraying the innocent blood."
It must be remembered, that the remorse he felt for his crime, when he saw his Master condemned, was too bitter to be endured ; so that he fled even to the king of terrors for relief.
The evangelist, St. John, tells us, that he was of so covetous a disposition, as to steal money out of our Lord's bag; and hence we have sufficient reason to believe, thai he first followed Jesus with a view of obtaining riches, and other temporal advantages, which he expected the Messiah's friends would enjoy.
It likewise authorizes us to think, that as he had hitherto reaped none of these advantages, he might grow impatient under the delay: and the rather, as Jesus had lately disencouraged all ambitious views among his disciples, and neglected to embrace theopportunity of erecting that kingdom which was offered him by the multitude, who accompanied him into Jerusalem, with shouts, and crying Hosanna, to the Son of David. His impatience, therefore, becoming excessive, inspired him with the thought of delivering his Master into the hands of the council, firmly persuaded that he would then be obliged to assume the dignity of the Messiah, and consequently be able to reward his followers. For as this court was composed of the chief priests, elders, and scribes, that is, the principal persons of the sacerdotal order, the representatives of the greatest families, and the doctors of the law; the traitor did not doubt but his Master, when brought before so august an assembly, would assert bis pretensions to the title of Messiah, prove his claim to their full conviction, gain them over to his interest, and immediately enter to his regal dignity. And though he must be sensible that the measures he took to compass this intention were very offensive to his Master, yet he might think the success of it would procure bis pardon from so compassionate a Master, and even recommend him to favour. In the mean time his project, however plausible it may appear to one of his turn, was far from being free from difficulty: and, therefore, while he revolved it in his own mind, many things might occur to stagger his resolution. At length, thinking himself affronted by the rebuke of Jesus, at the time when the woman anointed the head of his Master, he was provoked to execute the resolution he had formed of obliging him to alter his measures. Rising therefore, directly from the table, he went immediately into the eity, to the palace of the high priest, where he found the council assembled, consulting how they might take Jesus by subtilty, in the absence of the multitude.
To them he made known his intention of delivering his Master into their hands; and undertook, for a small sum of money, to conduct a band of armed men to the place where the Saviour of the world usually spent the night with his disciples, where they might apprehend him without the least danger of a tumult.
Some reasons may be offered in support of this opinion concerning the motives which induced Judas to betray Ins Master. First, From the nature of the contract, "What will ye give me (said he) and I will deliver him unto you?" He did not mean that he would deliver him up to be put to death; for though the priests had consulted among themselves, how they might destroy Jesus, they had not been so abominably wicked as to declare their intention publicly; they only proposed to
bring him to trial, for assuming the character of the Messiah, and to treat him as it should appear he deserved. The offers, therefore, which Judas made them of delivering him up, was in conformity to their declared resolutions. Nor did they understand it in any other light; for, had the priests thought that his design in this was to get his Master punished with death, they must also have thought he believed him to be an impostor; in which case they would, doubtless, have produced him as one of their principal evidences, no person being more proper. Also when Judas returned to them with the money, declaring that he had sinned, in betraying the innocent blood, instead of replying, " What is that to us, see thou to that?" It was the most natural thing in the world to have upbraided him with the stain he had put upon his Master's character, by the contract they had made with him.
It is true, they called the money they gave him, "the price of blood:" but they did not mean this in the strictest sense, as they had neither hired Judas to assassinate his Master, nor can they be supposed to have charged themselves with the guilt of murdering him. It was only the price of blood, consequently being the reward they had given to the traitor, for putting it in their power to take away the life of Christ, under the colour and form of public justice. Now it may be doubted, whether Judas asked the money as a reward of his service. He covetously, indeed, kept it i and the priest, for that reason, called it the price of blood.
In short, Judas knew that the rulers could not take away the life of any person whatsoever, the Romans having deprived them of that power, and therefore could have no design of this kind in delivering: him up: not to mention that it was a common opinion among the Jews, that the Messiuh could never die: an opinion that Judas might easily embrace, having seen his Master raise several persons, and among the rest one who had been in the grave no toss than four days.
Another reason which may be assigned, rn confirmation of this opinion, is the traitor's hanging himself, when he found him condemned, not by the governor, but by the council, whose prerogative it was to judge prophets. Had Judas proposed to lake away the life of his Master, the sentencoof condemnation passed upon him, instead of filling him with despair, must have gratified him, being the accomplishment of his project, whereas the light wherein we have endeavoured to place his conduct, shews this circumstance to have been perfectly natural.
lie knew him to be thoroughly innocent, and expected that he would have wrought such miracles before the council as should have constrained them to believe. Therefore, when he found that nothing of this kind was done, and that the priests had passed the sentence of condemnation upon him, and were carrying him to the governor to get it executed, he repented of his rash and covetous project, came to the chief priests and elders, the persons to whom he had betrayed him, offered them their money again, and solemnly declared the deepest conviction of his Master's innocence, hoping that they would have desisted from the persecution. But they were obstinate, and would not relent; upon which his remorse arose to such a pitch, that, unableto support the torments of his conscience, he went and hanged himself.
Thus it is probable, that the traitor's intention in delivering up his Master, was not to get him punished with death, but only to lay him under a necessity of proving his pretentions before the grandees, whom he had hitherto shunned; thinking that if they had yielded, the whole nation would immediately have been raised forthwith to the summit of their expectations.
This account of Judas' conduct is by no
means calculated'to lessen the foulness of his crime, which was the blackest imaginable. For even in the light above mentioned, it implied both au insatiable avarice, and a wilfnl opposition to the counsels of Providence, and rendered the actor of it a disgrace to human nature. But it is calculated to set the credibility of the traitor's action in a proper light,' and to shew that he was not moved to it by any thing suspicious in the character of his Master: because, according to his view of it, his perfidy, instead of implying that he entertained suspicions of his Master's iutegrity, plainly proves that he had the fullest conviction of his being the Messiah. Nor was it possible for any one, who had been present at the miracles which Jesus wrought, and the doctrines which he delivered, to admit ot a doubt of his being the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind; unless blinded by the most obstinate prejudice.
Jesus institutes the Sacrament in Commemoration of his Death and Sufferings. Set ties a Dispute which arose among fit's Disciples, Predicts Peter's Cowardice in denying his Master. Fortifies his Disciples 'against the approaching Shock. Foreiels Peter's Cowardice again. Preaches to and prays with his Disciples, for the last Time. Passionate Address of our Lord to his Father, in the Garden.
THE great Redeemer, ever mindful of the grand design of his mission, even the salvation of lost and perishing sinners, was not in the least affected by the treachery of this apostate disciple. For knowing that he must become a sacrifice for sin, &c. be instituted the sacrament of his supper, to perpetuate the memory of it throughout all ages. Accordingly as they were eating the paschal supper, "Jesus took bread, and