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and Blood, yet still needed conversion, and a change from selfconfidence to greater humility.” Is it not, then, a comfort to know, that as we need, so we may receive daily conversions; nor are without place in our Lord's love and favour, because still needing them afresh?
Neither let it be forgotten, that to all returning penitents there is ground for cheering comfort in those words which our gracious Lord addressed to His Apostle: “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” They may be applied to all' who, having fallen, turn again with true penitent hearts, desiring opportunity to test the sincerity of their own sorrow, and their grateful thankfulness to Him, Who hath raised them up. They may strengthen their brethren. They have known the snares and stumbling-blocks of sin ; let them endeavour to remove them from others' paths. They have known the surprises of sin ; let them warn others of their danger. They may have encouraged others to sin, by taking off their fears, and hardening their conscience; let them endeavour, so far as in them lies, to undo the mischief they have done. They know, to their own cost, how it is an evil thing and bitter to forsake the LORD their God; they, better than others, who have not been so overcome, may oftentimes point out the coming danger, and the evil consequence of a fall: let them study to use their sadly-earned experience for the deterring and recovery of others. Let them endeavour to profit their brethren in these ways, in a spirit of meekness and penitence, in the fear of God, and in love to their neighbour; so may they, in some small measure, bear a part in the work so affectionately committed to the restored Apostle. As they water, they may themselves be watered; as they strengthen, be themselves strengthened ; as they guide and lead others in the right way, be themselves also guided and led onwards, and at length receive “ the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.”
6 Holy Week, p. 444.
OUR LORD'S FORBEARANCE AND CONSIDERATENESS
PREACHED ON WEDNESDAY IN PASSION-WEEK.
John xiii. 1. "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was
come that He should depart out of this world unto the FATHER, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”
We come now to review our Lord's manner and conduct towards the traitor Judas-him who, even from among the chosen band of Apostles, one of His companions and familiar friends, having "eaten bread with Him," nevertheless “ lifted up his heel against Him.” Not upon sudden surprise, nor under influence of fear, but deliberately, with concert and contrivance, subtilly and by stealth, Judas first framed the plan, then watched the opportunity for betraying his Master to those who were plotting against Him, and finally executed it with almost every circumstance of hardened treachery and ingratitude, that could be imagined. Towards this wretched man, the thoughts of whose heart HE exactly read, we shall find our Blessed Lord observed the same mindfulness and consideration for his good, that has been already pointed out in the other cases we have gone through. Herein He gives “a pattern and evidence of that long-suffering and forbearance which surpasses the thought of man ; of Him who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For on Judas, as on the other twelve, shone the light of Christ's heavenly instruction, and the rain came down of His gentle, but continued warnings and reproofs ?.”
The Apostle St. John lets fall a few words concerning Judas, in his account of Mary's anointing our Lord's Feet, which it may
Holy Week, p. 14.
be well to notice first of all, because they lay before us what had corrupted the traitor's heart, brought it to such an obstinate and blunted hardness, and made an opening for the Tempter to get possession of it. They seem also to bring out more fully before us our Lord's wonderful long-suffering and forbearance towards him. Numberless gentle warnings, by which, long before, HE had sought to draw out the evil from his heart, had been unheeded; yet, to the last, His loving-kindness and pity was unwearied, using all occasions for his good.
St. John, remarking upon the observation of Judas about the sum for which the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor, says, “ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was therein.” It had been, then, it would appear, this unhappy man's custom, to purloin from the common stock of money, which he was entrusted with for purchasing the necessary provisions for his Master and fellow-disciples. Not that he was tempted to do this from want of things needful for his sustenance; for though our Lord was poor, yet He took care that sufficient for their daily needs should never fail them. For He asks them HIMSELF, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing.” But it was a covetous spirit, the love of money, which tempted him to this dishonesty.
Covetousness, then, was the sin of Judas, beginning in small pilferings, though such as showed a very bad heart; for he purloined from what was entrusted to him in confidence by his MASTER's friends, with whom he was living, and with whom he daily took his meals. And as he carried the bag or purse to provide for their daily wants, his thefts straitened those from whom he was receiving daily marks of love and friendliness. Thus beginning, the sin of covetousness gradually quite gained possession of his heart, so that he could keep back nothing that might minister to its indulgence.
And yet, how must he have shut up his heart against his MASTER's words and pattern! how often must he have resolutely turned a deaf ear to His instructions, before the evil could have so won the mastery over his better knowledge! For perhaps there is no sin against which a follower of JESUS Christ must
3 Luke xxii. 35.
have seen and heard so much. Was not the every-day life of HIMSELF and Apostles a putting off of all covetousness ? a showing that a man's life“ does not consist in the abundance of the things that he has,” and that it would profit a man' nothing to “gain the whole world, if he lost his own soul;” and that, to be His disciple, a man “must deny himself,” and leave all for His Name's sake? And how many and solemn were His lessons against fondness for riches and good things of this world! “Woe unto you that are rich”-“how hardly shall a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven”-“it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”—"take heed of covetousness”— “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”—“sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven"—the rich man in torment had “fared sumptuously every day," and was then told, “Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things”—the rich man, who built barns and stored his produce, is set forth as an example of short-sighted folly—“riches of this world choke the good seed” in the parable of the sower3.
All these, and other such sayings of our Lord, and, moreover, His whole manner of life, were a continual warning against the sin to which he was giving way. He must have been, day by day, shutting his ear to one subject of His Master's repeated instructions. And this may account for his bold effrontery to the last, and his seeming indifference to the many gentle warnings given, during these last days, to turn him aside from his purpose. For it would appear that vexation about the ointment, out of which he would have made his gain, and some offence, perhaps, taken at his Master's words reproving the complaint against the woman, determined him to seek opportunity to betray Him.
I say, Judas having so long steeled his mind to give no heed to his Master's lessons against the love of money, and so used himself to listen, without attention or thought of complying, may account for his deadness to all warnings at last. For to live with a person, whom we feel we ought to respect, whose instructions we know to be for our good, yèt settling with ourselves, that, on such and such points, we will not listen to or be advised by him, has a very injurious effect upon the conscience. It makes a kind
3 Luke xii. 15; Matt. xvi. 26. 24; Luke vi. 24; Mark x. 23. 25; Matt. vi. 19; Luke xvi. ; xii. 18; Matt. xiii. 22.
of deceit and concealment almost necessary—a pretence that we think that right and best for us, which we have no thought of endeavouring at. It raises a kind of ill-tempered self-will, a dogged dislike to hear the subject touched on, and sets us on making light of what we hear ; besides, that it is accustoming us to act against our own secret sense of what is good, and so tends to dim and quench the light within us upon other matters also.
And this explains how it often comes to pass, that persons of good abilities, and well instructed, do not seem to perceive or feel the force of truth. They have tampered with their conscience in the matter of some sin, which they habitually indulge; and this has dimmed the eye of their soul in the discernment of all moral truth.
The first thing to be remarked in all our Lord's dealings with the traitor, is His wonderful forbearance in concealing him. He knew Judas' covetousness-He knew his dishonesty–He knew his hypocrisy-He knew when worse thoughts than even of these sins took possession of his heart-He watched his treachery–HE knew when he first conceived, when he matured, and when he executed his plot for betraying Him; yet He made not his sin known to the rest. Or, rather, He screened the sinner from their knowledge, even when he spoke openly of the sin. He told what should be done, but not who should be the doer of it. He gave him warnings, which he alone could take to himself, and in which Judas might have supposed, that though his MASTER foresaw what was coming to pass, He knew not by whom. And when Jesus made it plain to Judas that he was not hidden, still the rest were kept in ignorance. Nay, and which seems more wonderful, he suffered Judas to exercise a mischievous influence over the minds of the other Apostles, and draw them into error, without exposing the base wicked motive which prompted his pretended charity. For his pretence, that the ointment should be sold and the money given to the poor, carried away some of the other Apostles to his part; for we read in St. Mark, that “some had indignation within themselves” and “murmured against her.” But had they been taught what manner of man he was that suggested this, they would have mistrusted him, and not so easily been led away to disapprove what their MASTER permitted to be done to Him.
Or, perhaps, this very thing might have been for their good, as well as out of long-suffering towards Judas. It might be good