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The hearts of the Eleven tremble. Simon Peter beckons to the disciple who leaned on Jesus' bosom to inquire who it is of whom their Master is speaking. John then ventures, though timidly, to ask, “ Lord, who is it ?" The Master now tears away the last shred of the mask from thetr aitor's face, and says, “ He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon," The disciples shudder, and Judas stands, pale as a corpse, trembling, his eyes wandering, and completely unmanned. “O Judas, there is still time! The sounds that have hitherto smote thy ear were all intended to call thee to repentance. Bethink thee ; cast away thy disguise ; confess and cry for mercy!" “But shall I confess ??? -thinks Judas to himself. “Shall I give honour to Him who has so mercilessly exposed me?-condemn myself, in the presence of my comrades, to eternal disgrace, and show myself before all the world as a miserable coward? No, I'll be a man, and act accordingly.”
Such was probably the language of his soul, and with a mixture of horrible boldness and profound perturbation, whilst swallowing the sop, in hypocritical indifference, notwithstanding the unmistakable words of the Master, he still ventures to stammer out the question, “Master, is it I?” The Lord now giving up the son of perdition, with infinite grief of heart replies, “Thou sayest it."
Then said Jesus unto him in conclusion, "That thou doest, do quickly!" thereby giving him to understand, that he was fully aware of his intention. He intimated to him at the same time, that he henceforth regarded him as the instrument by which his heavenly Father would deliver him up to the sufferings to which he was on the point of submitting from voluntary love to sinners. The Eleven knew not how to explain the words, “ That thou doest, do quickly.” Some of them thought, in their simplicity, that because Judas carried the bag, the Lord had said to him, “Buy those things we have need of against the feast;" while others imagined their master had given Judas a hint to distribute something to the
poor-so far were they from having any idea of the crime which one of their number was about to commit. The latter, however, understood the Lord Jesus better, But let us not overlook the circumstance, that Jesus, whilst saying " That thou doest, do quickly!” dismissed the traitor from the circle of his confidential followers, and from the chamber in which they were assembled. And probably those expositors are in the right who, on the testimony of the beloved disciple, consider that Judas was no longer present when the sacrament was instituted.
Scarcely had the son of perdition left the room, on the hint he had received, and the Lord Jesus saw himself alone with his eleven faithful disciples, when the burden was removed from his heart. It seemed as if the whole atmosphere had suddenly changed, and been purified from some noxious and oppressive element. The Saviour breathes more freely, and then begins with sublime elevation of soul to say, “ Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.”
Judas went out. With awful significancy, the narrative adds, " And it was night.” Yes, night externally and internally. We see the deplorable being now entirely sold under the influence of the powers of darkness, and fitted for committing the most horrible crimes. The gloomy power, to which he has submitted himself, hurries him away in its whirl, and he is no longer able to direct his steps as he pleases.
O Judas, Judas ! happy would it have been wert thou the only one of thy kind! But the name of thy brethren, even in the present day, is “ Legion.” They were not indeed at any time thy like-minded apostles ; but, like thee, they once inhaled the pure air of the gospel, and were shone upon, like thee, by the rays of the eternal Morning Star. They were baptized like thee; they grew up, nourished by the views of divine truth; and devoted themselves, more or less sincerely, in the most solemn manner, to the Lord and his cause. But, unfaithful to their sacred vows, they revolted with the inmost tendency of their hearts to the god of this world; and instead of the kingdom of divine light and peace, the idea of another presented itself to their minds, in which the flesh should have its unrestrained and complete gratification, And they who would gladly elevate their lusts to be the world's law, feel, more or less, in their consciences, the weight of his requirements as the sting of their condemnation; and without confessing it, are inwardly constrained, even against themselves, to justify the warnings and teachings of Christ's religion, as absolute and irrefutable truth. But this fills them with bitterness and enkindles in them the infernal spark of enmity against the gospel, and against the Lord as its author. Thus they become enemies of God, and join in Satan's colossal attempt to war against the power and majesty of God in the Christian religion, and to bury the whole world of religious and moral sentiments in the gigantic grave an atheistic materialism, which denies the existence of a future state, They prepare for Jesus the cross of an enthusiast; for his gospel the sarcophagus of what they profanely call antiquated ideas; for his whole Church, the stairs of Pilate, on which, in their view, it descends from the scene of reality into a kingdom of shadows; and thus renew the treachery of Judas to his Lord for the wretched reward of an expected state of things, in which, in a short time, every consciousness of a superior fate for mankind would perish by the poisonous nutriment of a base and transitory lust.
Only open your ears, and you will hear from the camp of the world the infernal war-cry, “ Away with Jesus and the doctrine of his cross!" Phenomena, such as those which meet us in the present day, never before seen in the world in such anti-christian atrocity and massiveness. Let every one beware of being baptized with such a baptism! He that does not decide for the Lord to-day, may to-morrow be found opposed to him, and carying the banner of Satan. Neutrality
is a forlorn position. He that enters but half-way into the prevailing tendency of the present day, finishes his course before he is aware, and in spite of his best resolutions, in the hatred of Judas, that is, in the snare of the devil. And he who reaches the spirit of the times only the tip of his finger, may rest assured that soon his whole hand will be taken.
Let us therefore hasten to the Lord Jesus, and devote ourselves, with body and soul, unto him as an entire offering, which is but our reasonable service. Recourse to his wounds is still open to-day, but may perhaps not be so to-morrow. Rise up, therefore, and secure your souls, and
preserved from the snares of Satan, and from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the inhabitants of the earth.—Krummacher.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. JOHN SKEVINGTON,
MISSIONARY TO NEW ZEALAND.
(Concluded.) The business followed by Mr. Skevington was that of a lace maker in the Nottingham trade. At that period, steam had been applied to only a very limited extent in the working of lace machinery. The machines were generally worked by hand in small factories, and were kept at work day and night, each machine having two hands-some of them three-who took their "shifts" or turns at work, alternately, changing the hours weekly, so that each hand should take his turn of night work. This was toilsome employment, and wearisome to both body and mind. A great weight of machinery had to be kept in constant motion, and the eyes had to carefully watch many thousand pieces of moving mechanism, and as great or a greater number of distinct threads, interlacing each other at every motion of the machine, and liable to break or get wrong with any one of the movements. This was John Skevington's employment.
Deeply sensible of his mental destitution, he felt the need of close application to study. His educational privileges had been most precious, so far as regarded their moral and religious elements, but in letters and literature they had not gone beyond the mere rudiments supplied by a village Sunday school. Great principles-the most important part of education-had got hold of his mind and heart, and exerted a mighty power in him and over him; but of the instruments with which mind works, he possessed next to none, and how to make use of those he had, he had yet to learn. He resolved, however, to set himself diligently to the work of self-culture. He began to keep a diary, and formed a plan of study. Books were indispensable. Some were lent him, and some he bought. These he endeavoured to master, but often lamented that he did not make greater progress, and sometimes reproached himself as dull, cold, heartless, irresolute, and idle, because his success was not equal to his desires and aims. Fain would he have filled up
the intervals between his “shifts” with study, and then have robbed his weary body and mind of the rest they required, by rising earlier in a morning than nature could bear: and when he failed to effect what he wished, he upbraided himself and mourned.
In October, 1835, after deploring the little improvement of time that he seemed to make, he writes, “I now resolve to read once a day an extract from Dr. Blair's sermon on the importance of order of conduct; which treats of the importance of order in the disposal of time: and may God make it useful to me! To day I have done twenty racks,* and have been studying a sermon on prayer.
I have begun to prepare for my trial sermon, and for my examination. The Lord enable me to do it in a proper manner, and with a single eye to his glory. Amen."
Under date of March 9th, 1836, he writes, “I have this morning, through divine mercy, obtained a victory over myself. I have been enabled to rise at five o'clock, after a considerable struggle. I trust this day will be the commencement of a new era in my life.”
Shortly afterwards, he writes, “ At present I must study theology and book-keeping, and endeavour to cultivate the habits recommended in the “Visitor.' May the Lord enable me to do all with a single eye to his glory, knowing that this is the great end of my being."
For some time after this, John Skevington passed through a series of exercises that were evidently of a very painful character, arising partly from an attachment he had formed to a young person of the other sex, and partly from certain convictions in reference to devoting himself to the full work of the ministry. The conflicts of his mind will be best seen in the perusal of the following extracts from his diary:
“I seem almost irresistibly led to take a step to which there certainly appear strong objections, and which will, I fear, greatly displease my dear parents.
However, I have committed it into the Lord's hands, trusting that He will direct me.
I intend to talk the matter over with my father and mother at the first opportunity."
“I have passed my examination and the quarterly meeting. I was not examined on the quarter day, but by a committee on the following Wednesday evening, at St. Ann's chapel. I have had many painful exercises of mind on this and other subjects. The machine altering has caused me much anxiety: but the circumstance to which I referred in some of
my last entries has especially been a cause of mach mental agony."
“ I feel unutterable distress. Oh! that I could take up some pathetic strain and dwell upon it !-But my bursting heart found relief in a flood of tears. I feel that the language of the prophet Jeremiah well expresses the feelings of my heart. “My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me: I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.' -O my soul thou hast been pierced to the very quick. The voice of slander and of calumny has caused lover and friend to be put far from
But Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art * A rack is 240 holes of lace net in length. He had made twenty times this length in the day. It would measure about seven yards of medium quality.
thou disquieted within me ?' Has not God promised to deliver thee, and said that all these things work together for thy good ? He has. O that I could trust in Him! for He is good. O that I could so live to Him that every moment of my time might be spent to His glory! I give myself entirely into the Lord's hands: let Him do with me what seemeth Him good. He knows I would be His entirely. O my God, take my body, spirit, soul; only thou possess the whole ! Thou knowest I would be entirely Thine. Even so let it be, Lord Jesus. Amen and Amen.”
“ When I think of my own character, I abhor myself. What am I but a sluggard and an idler? If I had improved my time, I might have been an honour to the family, and a blessing to the world. With the means I have had, I am quite certain I might have made considerable progress in learning.
How shall I release myself from my present degrading slavery to bed and sloth ? If I be released, it must be by divine assistance. I this morning vowed not to waste my moments this day; and, so far, I have been enabled to perform my vow.”
“ This has been a week of trials. I have had many painful sensations, many temptations, many powerful struggles with my inward corruptions, I feel my heart so prone to wander from the living God, so fixed on earth and earthly objects, that I often find myself unawares caught in the snares of the devil. The cry of my soul is, O Lord, cleanse me entirely.”
“ May 29th, Sabbath.–Folly, madness, and infatuation still mark my conduct. This morning I lay till after seven o'clock: not because I was not awake ; for I lay awake more than two hours, intending to get up; but this habit of putting off-procrastination-kept me in bed this morning. I now resolve, in divine strength, that for the future I will make it a practice to do everything that I know must be done, at the first opportunity. O my Heavenly Father, do thou enable me to abide by my resolution.
I make but
little progress studies: but if I can abide by my present resolution, I have no doubt of making progress.
I spent an hour and a half with Mr. S-last night, and I think it was not altogether unprofitable : but it might have been more profitable if we had been more careful about improving the time.”
66 Sabbath.--I now retire to rest with the full determination to rise between four and five o'clock in the morning, and to rise as soon as I awake.”
“ 30th.-Rose at five o'clock, went to the garden for forty minutes, to work till breakfast, then read a chapter; work till dinner; read D'Oyley; work till dark; out in the evening.”
“ June 9th.--I still have to deplore my own folly and madness in the waste of my time. O God, when shall I be delivered from my bondage? Rose this morning at six o'clock: shall work till breakfast, then read a chapter or two, work till dinner, ac:ounts in the afternoon, read Young at tea, work till half-past seven, out in the evening. I resolve not to trifle away my moments to-day.
“10. p. m.-Praise the Lord for the mercies of another day! He has preserved my life, unworthy as I have been of the least of His mercies. I have felt unwell in body, but comfortable in mind. I have abided by my plan to-day, except at dinner time, I intend to rise between four and five in the morning, if possible: an hour to accounts, an hour to D'Oyley, work till breakfast, read a chapter or two, work