« PoprzedniaDalej »
come. His hour was now come, and he did not shrink. Instead of endeavouring to defeat the design of his enemies, he said to the traitor, “ What thou doest do quickly;" and to his disciples, “ As the Father gave me commandment even so I do: Arise, let us go hence:" and he went out and met the cursed band. How glorious does the Redeemer appear that night! Instead of shifting, he prepared himself for the bloody scene. He preached that precious discourse, John xiv., &c. to comfort and solace his disciples; and sent up
prayer, chap. xvii. that their hope and trust might be in God. He abrogated the passover, and instituted the Supper. The one was celebrated for the last time by him and his disciples, and the other for the first. He did all this with the greatest composure. When the traitor actually came, instead of attempting to make his escape, he said, “ I have told you that I am he, if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.” Often did he assert that his sufferings were voluntary. He said, " I lay down my life for the sheep.” And again, “ Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” If his sufferings had not been voluntary, they could neither have been acceptable to his Father, satisfactory to Divine justice, nor meritorious of eternal life. But of his own will he laid his life down; and when his gracious purpose was accomplished he took it again.
5. He gave full proof that it is vain for his enemies to indulge the least thought that they can conceal their sin from him. The thickest cloak the hypocrite can put on is too thin to hide the heart from those eyes which are as a flame of fire. Well could Judas deceive the disciples, They suspected themselves. They did not entertain the least suspicion of him. But he could not deceive Christ. The Redeemer could well say with him to whom he had imparted a prophetic spirit, Went not mine heart with thee" in every stage of thine atrocious crime? All who profess to believe that there is a God, affect to believe that he is omniscient; but how superficial are the impressions produced on their minds by this consideration. They are neither deterred from sin, nor allured to duty. As God now knows the secrets of all hearts, sooner or later he will give certain evidence that there is not a thought, “ but he knoweth it altogether.” The cxxxixth Psalm deserves the serious consideration both of Christ's friends and enemies. There David speaks in a very affecting manner respecting the omniscience of God. Could the hypocrite or other sinners act in the manner they do, if they were impressed with the omniscience of the Redeemer? An habitual impression that God is witness to, and well acquainted with, every thought that passes
in the heart, would be calculated to produce the happiest effects. But what shall we say? Christ told Judas that he knew the device of his heart; and Judas, though well warned, waxed worse and worse; and betrayed him. The devil firmly
believes that God knows all his thoughts; and though he trembles, his malice is unrelenting, and his assiduity in sinning is unremitting! Though he knows that God sees him every moment, he never, for the shortest space, desists from sinning-no, not though his chains hourly put him in mind that he will be called to an account, and receive everlasting punishment! Sinners are of their father the devil. Possessed of the same image, and actuated by the same spirit, they do his works. Ah sin, what a thing art thou! Will neither the inspecting eye of Jehovah, nor his mighty arm lifted up in his threatenings, nor hell fire, and chains of darkness, stop thy mad career, and deter thee from rushing on the thick bosses of God's buckler? Will nothing stop thy rapid torrent or change thy wandering course ? Nothing—but the grace and love of that Redeemer whom Judas betrayed.
6. On this occasion the Redeemer exercised and displayed infinite patience. We can never enough admire his long-suffering in allowing such a perfidious wretch and monster of iniquity to sit at the table with him and his disciples, and warn him with such mildness of his treacherous design. To think that the Saviour, within a few hours of his condemnation and being crucified in the room of sinners, should allow the traitor to sit and eat with him at a sacred feast, fills the heart with astonishment! But such is his patience that we have similar wonders every day. Christ has now died. He is set forth a
propitiation in his blood. All his merit is made over to sinners in the Gospel. Though invited and urged to receive him, sinners always reject, and often betray him. In this aggravated conduct, Christ is as really present with them as he was with Judas. As the God in whom they live, he supports them in the very act of refusing him. How shall we accoant for such long-suffering and patience ?
and patience? While the whole creation could give no satisfying answer to this ques. tion, the Redeemer himself has done it in the following words, “I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, for I am God and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye the sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Indeed the conduct of hypocrites and other sinners would soon exhaust any patience, but that which is DiviNE. It too has a period. The Lord will neither bear, nor strive always with his enemies, and when his long-suffering is exhausted and comes to an end, his wrath will begin to burn! And when will this burning come to an end!
Having already, as you will recollect, applied this subject at considerable length, we shall only subjoin a very few sentences.
What has been offered from this text shows us that we are in great danger of deception. Whether Judas deceived himself or not, he deceived such as knew him. To be deceived in matters of eternal moment is awful beyond expression. We should compare ourselves frequently and habitually with the Lord's
word. The law and the testimony are the true criterion. There we have the character and conversation of the saints. If we have an account of their failures, their repentance is also recorded. The genuine operations of the new man are marked with infinite wisdom and propriety. They are written for our learning. We should search the Scriptures, and compare our hearts and lives with them.
Aiming at searching ourselves with the strictest scrutiny, we should put the work into God's hand. He has promised to work all our works in and for us. With David the saints have often employed him to search their hearts, saying, “ Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts ; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God cannot be deceived, and he will not deceive us. Above all, we should close with Christ by faith. Doing this at first is the radical cure of hypocrisy, and the renewed actings of faith prevent its increase, and gradually banish it from the heart.
I persuade myself you would not wish to come to Judas's end. Beware of his beginning. Consider all the steps which led him on, and avoid them. Enter not into the way of the wicked. Their way goes down to the chambers of death, and leads to hell beneath.
You who have communicated for the first time should not be strangers to your own hearts. You have been already warned, that if professors are