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in which case they certainly would have produced him as one of their principal -evidences, no person being more fit to bear witness against any criminal than his companion. Or, though Judas had repented before the trial came on, and had withdrawn himself, the priests might have argued with great plausibility, both in their own court and before the governor, that for a man's disciple to require the judges to bring him to condign punishment, branded him with such a suspicion of guilt as was equal to a full pronf. Likewise, 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 bargain he had entered into with them. It is true, they called the money they gave him “ the price of blood.” (Mat. xxvii. 6.] But they did not mean this in the strictest sense, as they neither had hired Judas to assassinate his Master, nor can be supposed to have charged themselves with the guilt of murdering bin. It was only the price of blood consequentially, being the reward they had given to the traitor for putting it in their power to take away Christ's life under the colour and form of public justice. Nay, it may be even doubted whether Judas asked the money as a reward of his services. He, covetously indeed, kept it, and for that reason called it the price of blood. But he demanded it, perhaps on pretence of gratifying and encouraging the people that were to assist him in apprehending Jesus. To conclude : Judas knew that the rulers could vot take away the life of any person whatever, the Romans having deprived them of that power, John xviii. 31. ì 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 Messiah would never die, [John xii. 34.] an opinion which Judas might easily embrace, having seen his Master raise several persons from the dead, and among the rest one who had been in the grare no less than four days.
“ Second, That the traitor's intention in betraying his Master was what I have said is probable from his hanging himself when he found him condemned, not by the governor, but by the council, whose prerogative it was to judge prophets. Had Judas pro: posed to take away his Master's life, the sentence of condemnation passed upon him, instead of filling him with despair, must have gratified him, being the accomplishment of his project: whereas, the light wherein I have endeavoured to place his conduct, shews this circumstance to have been perfectly natural. Judas, having been witness to the greatest part of our Lord's miracles, and having experienced the certain truth of them in the powers that had been conferred upon himself, could never think that the council would have condemned him as a false Christ, far less as a blasphemer. He knew him to be perfectly 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 prosecution. But they were obstinate, and would not relent, upon which his remorse arose to such a pitch, that, unable to support the torments of his conscience, he went and hanged himself. Thus I think it probable that the traitor's intention in delivering up his Master was to lay him under a necessity of proving bis pretensions before the grandees whom he had hitherto shunned, thinking that if they had yielded, the whole nation would have immediately submitted, and the disciples bøye been raised førthwith 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. Vor even in the light above mentioned, it implied both an insatiable avarice and a wilful opposition to the counsels of providence, and so 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 this view of it, his perfidy, instead of implying that he entertained suspicions of his Master's integrity, plainly proves that he had the fullest conviction of his being the Messiah. And, to say the truth, it was not possible for any one intimately acquainted with our Lord, as Judas was, to judge otherwise of him, having seen his miracles, which were great and true beyond exception ; and having experienced his power in the ability of working miracles, which, along with the rest of the apostles, he, had received from him, and no doubt exercised with extraordinary pleasure. However, as the motives of men's actions at such a distance of time must needs be intricate, especially where history is in a great measure silent concerning them, we ought to be very modest in our attempts to unravel them ; for which cause the above account of Judas' conduct is proposed only as a conjecture worthy of farther inquiry.
THE DISCOURSES AND TRANSACTIONS OF OUR LORD AT HIS LAST PASSOVER.
Peter and John are sent to prepare the passover in a room to which they arc miracu- :
lously guided---Jesus washes his disciples' feet, and inculcates similar conduct in them towards each other---while they are partaking of the passover, he declares who should betray him--the Lord's supper is instituted---the disciples contend about the chief posts in the kingdom---Peter's denial foretold the first time---after delivering a consolatory discourse, he walks to mount Olivet, and again foretels the fall of Peter---he sheu's forth the intimate union which there subsists materially between his Father, himself, and his people---he prays with his disciples at considerable length, and undergoes inerpressible sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane.
THROUGHOUT the whole survey which we have hitherto taken of the life of Jesus, we have found a character developed to our view more beautiful and interesting than that of any of the sons of men. Descending from the bosom of the Father, and Jaying aside the splendour of his eternal glory, he was found in the fashion of a man, took upon himself the form of a servant, and became acquainted with the bitterness of grief. With patient and indefatigable zeal he sought out and saved those that were Jost, fecding the hungry, curing the diseased, cleansing the lepers, giving sight to the blind, and commanding back the spirit to its recently forsaken clay : but while he was thus doing good, he was pursued with the most unmerited reproaches, marked out as a sheep for the slaughter, and at length betrayed by one of his most intimate associates. The darker the shades of sorrow, which are collecting round the head of Immanuel, the more delightful will be those rays of divine beneficence which we shall see bearning forth in the day of his deepest distresses. It is not, therefore, too much to affirm, that our attention will henceforth be directed to scenes more highly gratifying to the best feelings of human nature, than any other which have been exhibited in the theatre of the universe.
It was now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, when our Lord gave orders to Peter and John, two of his most intimate friends, to make preparation for the passover. This preparation, we may conclude, consisted in the providing a room ready furnished for the occasion, the purchasing a lamb, getting it killed and roasted, and procuring the bread, wine, and bitter herbs, which were made use of at this solemnity. When they requested to know where he would keep the feast, he informed them, that, on their entering the city, they should meet a servant of a certain man, whom hic vamed, carrying a pitcher of water, him they were to follow, as they would
be thus guided to his Master's house. They were directed, then, to tell the head of the family, that their Master wished him to point out a guest-chamber where he might eat the passover with his disciples. They did so; and were directed to a large upper room ready furnished for the purpose, as many rooms were at this time, which were disposed of without hire to the strangers who came up to Jerusalem.
Whe the evening approached, Jesus lett Bethany ; and every thing being prepared by the time he came into the city, they all sat down at the appointed hour. Christ, now feeling his love to his disciples very strongly excited by the certain apprehension of his approaching sufferings, expressed to them the fervent desire which he had experienced to partake of this last solemn and social feast with them, before his more weighty sufferings commenced. For, saith he, I will not eut (ny more thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven, by the deliverance of perishing men from the bondage of sin ; a deliverance typified by that of the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage, to preserve the memory of which the passover was instituted. Having thus spoken, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hand ; and, having given thanks to almighty God for his great goodness to mankind, began the solemnity by delivering the cup to bis disciples, saying, take this and divide among yourselves. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come by the commencement of the gospel dispensation. '
Supper being now ended, or, as others more properly translate it, being now come, Jesus, being possessed of the most perfect knowledge of the awful circumstances in which he was placed, determined to teach his disciples and mankind the lovely virtue of humility by his own example. He, therefore, though he was the only begotten Son of God, rose from the table, and, girding himself with a towel after the manner of a servant, poured water into a bason, and began to wash his disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. But when it came to Peter's turn to receive that favour, he, at first, modestly, and then resolutely, declined it. At once to subdue his resistance, Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me : if thou dost not submit to all my orders implicitly, thou art not my disciple ; or, as others understand it, unless I cleanse thee from the pollution of sin, emblematically represented by washing thee with water, thou art none of inine. Peter, therefore, understanding bim literally, and desiring to enjoy the glories of his temporal kingdom, replied, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith unto him, he that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit. This sentence, probably, refers to those who came out from a bath, and were therefore perfectly clean, unless their feet, which might be dirtied by immediately walking on the ground; but it has evidently a spiritual meaning, and it is understood to teach, that those who are once converted need no more a thorough change, but have only to cleanse themselves from the particular sins which they happen to commit through infirmity. Ye are clean, but not all; referring to the traitor Judas.
After having performed this kind and humiliating office, he sat down and asked them whether they knew the intent of what he had done to them. I am what you stile your Lord and Master ; but I have now washed your feet, that I might the more deeply impress upon your minds the duty of mutual condescension. The servant is not greater than his lord, neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him; and therefore, knowing your duty in this particular, ye are happy if you diligently practise it. I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen ; but that the scripture inay be fulfilled, [Psalm xli. 9.] he that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. I have foretold this distressing event, that when it is come you may believe that I am the Messiah of God, and rest assured of your share in my protecting
favour ; for he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that reochet nie, receiveth him that sent ine.
Jesus having thus openly denounced the treachery of one of the company, the eleven who were innocent were every one of them exceedingly anxious to know for himself that he was not the person to whom this heavy charge applied. Peter, therefore, beckoned to John, who lay next to Jesus on the couch, and, consequently, was leaning in his bosom, that he would enquire of their Master who it was that should be guilty of this enormous wickedness. Christ immediately answered, probably, in a whisper, he it is, to whom I shall give the sop when I have dipped it. This sop we may understand to be a morsel of meat dipped in a thick bitter sauce, which they made use of, by divine appointment, in the celebration of the passover. Judas, perhaps, conceiving this to be a reproach for his gluttony, found his indignation rising ; 30 that Satan took a still deeper possession of his soul. Christ, who know the state of his mind, and was anxious to complete his dreadful labour of love, requested him to perform quickly that which he knew it was his intention to do. The other disciples, knowing that Judas kept the bag, suspected no harm of him in particular, but supposed that he had orders to prepare something for the succeeding days of the feast, or to make some charitable donation to the poor. Their perplexity, therefore, still increasing, they could no longer keep silence, but every one of them exclaimed earnestly, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, probably, of bitter sauce, the same shall betray me. Thc Son of man gocth to suffering and death, as it is written of him : but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed, it had been good for that man if he had not becn born. Upon this, Judas, recovering himself a little, asserted his innocence by a question, which implied a strong negation of the charge. But Jesus silenced him, with positively affirming that he was the person of whom he spake. Thus were the eleven acquitted to their infinite satisfaction, while the wretched traitor was saved from confusion only by the impenetrable hardness of his heart.
Judas, having receiyed the sop, appears to have left the company ; and Jesus, whose mind was supported by the divinity within, proceeded to institute the Lord's supper as a memorial of his love, to be preserved throughout all succeeding generations. The fullest description of it is given by the apostle Paul, in the eleventh chapter of the firet epistle to the Corinthians, 23.. 26 verses. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread : and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eut, this is my body, the type and representation of my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he hal supped, saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood ; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of ine. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's death till he come. Thus was this blessed institution appointed, not as a sacrifice to the offended Deity, nor as an expedient to prepare the unconverted soul for heaven, but as an imperishable memorial of that most wonderful of all events, the voluntary suffering of the Son of God on mount Calvary.
So slow is the mind in receiving the impressions of truth and holiness, that even at tliis late period of the ministry of Christ, and while he was visibly agitated by the most distressing sensations, the disciples were carrying on a contest, who should be esteemed the greatest. And he said unto them, the kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over then, and they that exercise authority upon them assume pompous titles, and are called benefactors, us was literally the case with several kings of Egypt and Syria, But yc shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let hiin be as the younger ;