« ZurückWeiter »
done, and drove him into the gulf of despair. To sin against clear light is to sin with a high hand. Those that had an agency in the death of Christ, through mistake and ignorance, could receive the pardon of their sin by that blood they shed. Acts, 3:19. Take heed therefore of abusing knowledge, and wresting conscience.
3. Learn hence, that unprincipled professors will sooner or later become apostates. Judas was an unprincipled professor, and see what he came to! Ambition invited Simon Magus to the profession of Christ, he would be
some great one,” and how quickly did the rottenness of his principles discover itself in the ruin of his profession! That which wants a root must wither. Matt. 13 : 20, 21. That which is the predominant interest will prevail with us in the day of our trial. Hear me, all you that profess religion, and have given your names to Christ; if that profession be not built upon a solid and real work of grace in your hearts, you will never honor religion, nor save your souls by it. Oh it is your union with Christ, that, like a spring, maintains your profession. So much as you are united to Christ, so much constancy, steadiness, and evenness you will manifest in the duties of religion, and no more.
O brethren, when he that professes Christ for company, shall be left alone as Paul was; when he that makes religion a stirrup to help himself into the saddle of preferment and honor, shall see that he is so advanced to be drawn forth into Christ's camp and endure the heat of the day, and not to take his pleasure ; in a word, when he shall see all things about him discourage ing and threatening; his dearest interest on earth exposed for religion's sake; and that he has no faith to balance his present losses with his future hopes; I say, when it comes to this, you shall then see the rottenness of many hearts discovered, and Judas may have many
associates who will part with Christ for the world. Oh therefore look well to your foundation.
4. Moreover, in this example of Judas you may read this truth; that men are never in more imminent danger than when they meet with temptations suited to their besetting sins, to their own iniquity. Oh pray, pray that ye may be kept from a violent besetting temptation. Satan knows that when a man is thus tried he falls by the root. The love of this world was all along Judas' master-sin, this was his predominant lust: The devil found out this, and suited it with a temptation which carried him immediately. This is the dangerous crisis of the soul. Now you shall see what it is, and what it will do. Put money before Judas, and presently you shall see what the man is.
5. Hence, in like manner, we are instructed that no man knows where he shall stop when he first engages himself in a way of sin.
Wickedness, as well as holiness, is not born in its full strength, but grows up to it by insensible degrees. So did the wickedness of Judas. I believe, he himself never thought he should have done what he did : and if any had told him, in the beginning of his profession, Thou shalt sell the blood of Christ for money, thou shalt deliver him most perfidiously into their hands that seek his life; he would have answered, as Hazael did to Elisha, "What, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing ?” 2 Kings, 8:13. His wickedness first discovered itself in murmuring and discontent, taking a pique at some small matters against Christ, as you may find by comparing John 4, from ver. 60 to 70, with John 12, from ver. 3 to 9. But see to what it grows at last. That lust or temptation that at first is but a little cloud as big as a man's hand, may quickly overspread the whole heaven. Our engaging in sin is as the motion of a stone down hill, vires acquirit eundo, " it strengthens
itself by going ;” and the longer it runs, the more violent. Beware of the smallest beginnings of temptation. No wise man will neglect or slight the smallest spark of fire, especially if he see it among barrels of gunpow. der. You carry gunpowder about you, Oh take heed of sparks.
6. Did Judas sell Christ for money ? What a conqueror is the love of this world! How many hath it cast down wounded! What great professors have been dragged at its chariot wheels as its captives! Hymeneus and Philetus, Ananias and Sapphira, Demas and Judas, with thousands and ten thousands since their days, led away in triumph. It " drowns men in perdition.” 1 Tim. 6:9. In that pit of perdition this son of perdition fell, and never rose more. O you that so court and pursue it, that so love and admire it, make a stand here; pause a little upon this example; consider to what it brought this poor wretch, whom I have presented to you dead, eternally dead, by the mortal wound that the love of this world gave him: it destroyed both soul and body. Pliny tells us, that the mermaids delight to be in green meadows, into which they draw men by their enchanting voices; but, saith he, there always lie heaps of dead men's bones by them. A lively emblem of a bewitching world! Good had it been for many professors of religion, if they had never known what the riches, and honors, and pleasures of this world are.
7. Did Judas fancy so much happiness from a little money, that he would sell Christ to get it ? Learn, then, that that wherein men promise themselves much pleasure and contentment in the
the greatest curse and misery to them. Judas thought it was a fine thing to get money; he fancied much happiness in it; but how sick was his conscience as soon as he had swallowed it! Oh take it again! saith he. It griped him to the heart. He knows not what to do to rid him
self of that money. Oh mortify your fancies to the world; count not riches necessary. "They that will be rich, fall into temptations, and many hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition.” 1 Tim. 6:9. You may have your desires gratified with a curse. He that brings home fine clothes infected with the plague, is no great gainer, how cheap soever he bought them.
8. Was there one, and but one of the twelve, that proved a traitor to Christ ? Learn thence, that it is most unreasonable to be prejudiced against religion, and the sincere professors of it, because some that profess it prove vile. Should the eleven suffer for one Judas? Alas, they abhorred both the traitor and his treason. As well might the high priest and his servants have condemned Peter, John, and all the rest, whose souls abhorred the wickedness. If Judas proved a vile wretch, yet there were eleven to one that remained upright: if Judas proved naught, it was not his profession made him so, but his hypocrisy; he never learned it from Christ. If religion must be charged with all the failures of its professors, then there is no pure religion in the world. Name that religion, among the professors of which there is not one Judas. Take heed, reader, of prejudices against godliness on this account. The design of the devil, without doubt, is to undo thee eternally by them. "Wo to the world because of offences.” Matt. 18 : 7. Blessed is he that is not offended at Christ.
9. Did Judas, one of the twelve, do so ? Learn thence, that a drop of grace is better than a sea of gifts. Gifts have some excellency in them, but the way of grace is the more excellent way.” 1 Cor. 12:31. There is many a learned head in hell. Gifts are the gold that beautifies the temple ; but grace is as the temple which sanctifies the gold. One tear, one groan, one breathing of an upright heart, is more than the tongues of angels.
Poor christian, thou art troubled that thou canst not
speak and pray so fluently as some others; but canst thou go into a corner, and there pour out thy soul affectionately, though not rhetorically, to thy Father? trouble not thyself. It is better for thee to feel one divine impression from God upon thy heart, than to have ten thousand fine notions floating in thy head.
10. Did the devil win the consent of Judas to such a design as this ? Could he get no other but the hand of an apostle to assist him ? Learn hence, that the policy of Satan lies much in the choice of his instruments. bird (saith one) like a living bird to tempt others into the net. Austin told an ingenious young scholar, " The devil coveted him for an ornament.” He knows he hath a foul cause to manage, and therefore will get the fairest hand he can, to manage it with the less suspicion.
11. Did Judas, one of the twelve, do this? Then cer. tainly christians may approve and join with such men on earth, whose faces they shall never see in heaven. The apostles held communion a long time with this man, and did not suspect him. Oh please not yourselves, therefore, that you have communion with the saints here, and that they think and speak charitably of you. "All the churches shall know, (saith the Lord,) that I am he that searcheth the heart and reins, and will give to every man as his work shall be.” Rev. 2:23. In heaven we shall meet many that we never thought to meet there, and miss many that we were confident we should see there.
12. Did Judas, one of the twelve, a man so favored, raised, and honored by Christ, do this ? Cease then from man, be not too confident in any. "Trust ye not in a friend, put no confidence in a guide, keep the door of thy lips from her that lieth in thy bošom.” Mic. 7:5. Not that there is no sincerity in any man; but there is so much hypocrisy in many men, and so much corruption in the best of men, that we should not be too con