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have been placed in circumstances, by which it was manifested; and it is not impossible that the position in which he was placed among the apostles, carrying the bag, was the very circumstance which led to the drawing forth, and developing those peculiar features of his character, which terminated in his act of treason; which as it were cherished and brought to fatal maturity those tangling weeds which were to choke, and destroy the productiveness of the seed of Divine Truth. That the deceitful leaven was working rapidly and destructively in his spirit, before the consummation of his wickedness, we have the proof, in what is recorded of him by the inspired historian, who tells us that, on the occasion of the box of ointment being poured on the feet of Jesus, when Judas objected and said, “Why was not this sold, and given to the poor, he did not say this, because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bore what was therein.”

But it may be said, if this were the ruling principle in his mind, growing with his growth, and strengthening with his strength, and if it was this which induced him to betray his master, how is this reconciled with the fact of his being content with so small a bribe for his treachery; thirty pieces of silver, or between three and four pounds of our money, would seem to present no sufficiently strong motive to his mind to commit the act, especially as he might probably be able to acquire that sum, or even more, by the opportunities he had of pilfering from the common store of the disciples.

It may, I think, be answered to this, that he had an ulterior end in view, to effect which, his act of treason was only the means. We know that even among the devoted and faithful followers of Christ, their views concerning the Messiah's kingdom were of a worldly and carnal character. These, however, must have been peculiarly seductive in their operation on the mind of the avaricious Judas; and, doubtless, the golden dream before him, by day and by night, was the splendour, and the riches, and the honour he should enjoy, when the temporal sovereignty of his master was at length asserted and established. That his treason was based on some calculation connected with this great object, and not on the acquisition of so paltry a sum, I think, must be manifest; he probably expected to hasten that which his carnal heart longed for, he expected that by betraying his master into the hands of his enemies, he would induce him to manifest his authority and power in such a manner, as at once to put down opposition; and then he might also expect, that when the kingdom of Christ was thus actually declared, he would be taken into favour again ; nay, advanced to high honour and dignity as the instrument who had hastened on this result.

One thing is quite clear, he was evidently unprepared for the termination of his treachery, for St. Matthew in the 27th chapter and third verse, tells us, “Then Judas who had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.” Things then had taken a turn which he did not anticipate. He had no idea that Jesus would have permitted himself to become a victim in the hands of his enemies. When he saw " that he was condemned, when the actual state of the case was manifested, then all his bright prospects vanished, he beheld the frustration of his scheme for worldly honour and advancement, and he brought back the “ thirty pieces of silver.” This was not indeed the full price he expected—it was nothing to him, in comparison of what he had looked forward to acquire—and therefore now that his highest


hopes were disappointed, he cared not for this, he threw it back to the accomplices of his treason,—with deep repentance, not indeed the repentance of a godly heart, or the sorrow of a truly broken spirit, but the repentance of a worldly mind, that had missed its object, the sorrow of a carnal heart, which had made a venture and failed.

In regarding the treason of Judas in this light, it is instructive to notice, how every circumstance which one might expect would have tended to turn him from his wickedness, seemed but to urge him on more rapidly to his ruin, under the power of him, who had caught him in his toils. Thus during the time when the disciples were sitting at the table with their Master, and when one and another had anxiously put the question, in abhorrence at the thought, that one of them should betray him, “ Master! is it I?” our Lord appears to have clearly made known the fact that it was Judas. By collating the accounts of Matthew and John, it appears most probable that the answer to the question of John, “Lord, who is it?” was given publicly by the Saviour, “ He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.”

" And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.” Thus publicly singled out, Judas was compelled to put a similar question with the rest of the disciples, from which he had at first refrained, “ Master, is it I?” And Jesus answered, “ Thou hast said,” that is, “ You have mentioned the person who shall betray me."

This disclosure of his treason we might suppose would have caused him to shrink from its execution; but no, it only hurried him onwards, “ He went immediately out,” his heart was set on his covetousness, and in the utmost dread lest his plans should not succeed, and being completely blinded by his own carnal lusts and Satan's suggestions, he hurried forth, not to lose another moment for the accom. plishment of his designs.

And let me here remark that, considering the motive under which he acted to be as we have described, and not the mere possession of the sum of thirty pieces of silver, yet is not the guilt of the action in the least affected by this. The amount of the expectation of the traitor is in this respect of no moment. The iniquity of his conduct is under both suppositions the same. This iniquity was the love of money more than the love of his master, the readiness to engage in any transactions, by which his avarice might be gratified, to the utter and godless contempt of the true riches. In either case he made his profession of religion a speculation for his temporal benefit, and sold his master, to promote his schemes of worldly advancement.

What a living commentary does this character of Judas afford us of that declaration of the Apostle -—"They that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root

. of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred (or been seduced) from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Judas is called by our Lord himself “the son of perdition," and in his fatal history we observe how the indulgence of his besetting sin led him into those foolish lusts which drowned him “in perdition." The love of money, in spite of all he saw and all he heard, led this man, step by step, from one degree of wickedness to another, till he completed all by the betrayal of his Lord.

We feel that the character of Judas bears with fearful weight on many nominal Christians of this and other periods of the Church's history. They are associated by profession with the Saviour—they partake of the external ordinances of his Gospel—they eat and drink at his table --and they have their seasons of merely natural emotion, in connection with what the Saviour has done and suffered. But with all this “their heart goeth forth after its covetousness;”-the world has their heart, though the lip is some

; times heard giving utterance to the glowing language of devotion ;-they are cherishing their besetting sin, as Judas did; and it only needs the occasion of the world calling them one way and their profession another, for the hollowness, the hypocrisy, the treachery of their character to be manifested. Alas, how many thus cloak the worldly spirit under the habit of religion, who have this condemnation, that when light has come into the world they love darkness rather than light; who are not only ready to sell, but who are ever actively engaged in selling their birthright for a morsel of bread like Esau, and bartering the interests of him whom they call Master, for a piece of money.

If there is one feature more than another in the Church of Christ in these days, calculated to excite alarm, it is perhaps the spirit of worldliness which pervades every degree and rank and age of professing Christians. Money, wealth, show, ostentatious expenditure—“these be thy gods, O Israel !" and the true riches of the Gospel, where are they? Are they esteemed, are they sought after, are they gathered into the treasury of the soul ? Alas, no ! The riches which the moth and rust corrupt, are the supreme objects of desire; the joining field to field—the calling of lands after their own names—the laying up in store, and saying, “Soul, take thine ease, thou hast much good laid up for thee.” Yes, the cares and the deceitfulness of riches are choking the good seed in the Church—the love

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