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Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.— Psalm xli. 9.
And I said unto them, if ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price, thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the House of the Lord.-Zechariah xi. 12, 13.
SURELY every one acquainted with the history of Jesus, as connected with that of Judas, must acknowledge these remarkable verses to be prophetical of the traitorous conduct of that betrayer of Christ. They describe the base deeds of one of his followers. It was his own familiar friend, which did eat of his bread, that lifted up his heel against him. It was not an open enemy that did him this dishonour; it was one with whom, for near three years and a half, he had daily intercourse; during which period he had constant opportunities of witnessing the miracles of Jesus. He heard his divine discourses, he saw him display his power, and, in common with the other disciples, did he receive the kindest treatment from his Master, to whose person Judas publicly professed himself faithfully
attached: yea, "he was numbered with the apostles, and obtained a part in their ministry;" but such was his hypocrisy, that the disciples were not conscious of his real character. To his care they intrusted the slender stock of money-Judas kept the bag. Though under the mask of friendship he artfully concealed his perfidious spirit from the eye of man, yet he could not deceive his Lord and Master. Jesus well knew, amongst the twelve whom he had chosen to be his apostles, one was a devil.* He knew this serpent, fostered in his bosom, would betray him. Yet we behold the meek and lowly Jesus condescending to wash those feet which were so shortly to run on an errand of the basest ingratitude. Judas was unmoved by this act of unparalleled humility; no kindness could soften his heart, by sin made hard as adamant; for it appears he instantly arose, and, though night (a time best suited for such deeds of darkness), went to the Chief Priests, and said unto them, if ye think good, give me my price; so they weighed him thirty pieces of silver. For that paltry sum did this perfidious monster sell his Lord and Master, and engage to
*John vi. 70.
deliver him into the hands of his bitterest enemies; and then, to conceal his base and treacherous conduct, he mingled with his Master's family, and even dared to partake with them, not only of the paschal feast, but of the Lord's Supper, which was instituted immediately after the celebration of the feast of the passover. So callous was the wretch to every feeling of remorse and pity, that he could, unmoved and unrelentingly, even receive from the hands of the innocent victim of his treachery, the symbols of the Lord's bruised body, and blood-shedding. When Jesus
mildly declared that one of them would betray him, the faithful disciples, filled with astonishment and grief at the bare intimation of such an act of perfidy, each eagerly exclaimed, "Lord, is it I? is it I?" The hardened Judas could join in the cry, and with all the effrontery of a child of satan, appeal for a confirmation of his innocence; but Jesus knew his treachery, though hid beneath the garb of friendship. Alas, wretched Judas! how little didst thou enjoy thy ill-gotten wealth! Thou hadst scarcely grasped the price of blood, ere thou didst cast it from thee; before even the victim of thy treachery was crucified, thou didst cut short thy race on earth, and madly rush on the thick bosses of Jehovah's buckler; thou didst
terminate thy wretched course of sin here, to enter on thine awful state of everlasting wo. Matthew the Evangelist informs us that Judas hung himself, but in the Acts of the Apostles we read, that he fell headlong, and all his bowels gushed out. These seeming contradictions are easily reconciled, if we suppose, which is not improbable, that he fell from the place whence he hung himself; and thus a double mark of infamy was affixed to his body. What a remarkable fulfilment of prophecy, in the purchase of Aceldama, that potter's field of blood. Indeed, these verses of Zechariah look more like the descriptions of a contemporary, than the predictions of one who lived at least five hundred and eighty years before the events narrated actually took place.
By the Mosaic law, if a servant was goaded by an ox, the owner of the ox was to pay the master of that servant thirty pieces of silver: * and for that trifling sum it was the blessed Jesus was basely sold; he, whose price is far above rubies, and to whom all the good things thou canst desire are not to be compared. But, while we detest the treachery of Judas, let us be careful that we do not commit the like act. Let us
* Exodus xxi. 34.
not salute Jesus with the kiss of profession, while we are secretly in league with his worst enemy, sin: which, of old, nailed Jesus to the cross. No wounds are considered by him so severe, as those wherewith he is wounded in the house of his friends.*
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.-Psalm xxvii. 2.
THE Psalm from which this verse is selected, was written by David king of Israel, when under the teachings of the Holy Spirit. David unquestionably proved himself a mighty man of valour; and by the help of his God did he overcome troops of foes; indeed, as a warrior, he is surpassed by none. But still these words are not strictly applicable to David; though he slew many by the sword; yet we never hear that any of his unwounded enemies fell before him: and we find but one solitary instance on record, of a body of armed men falling to the ground, only on a single word spoken by their adversary. The instance
*Psalm lv. 12.