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Or, shall we so insult him, as to cry," Hail, Master,” very
time when we entertain the balet in. tentions against hiin? What have we found in his decided adversaries, which thould induce us to espouse and promote their interests? Are these the men, with whom we would associate, and whose hands we would strengthen? Can we, then, prove, that our former professed principles are false, or that Jesus will not make good his engagements? Or what emolument do we expect from the opposite party? Alas! it is not possible, that they should offer any equivalent, any proper compensation for the immense loss, we shall incur by our perfidy.
Judas, perhaps, considered not what would follow. He might imagine, that his Master would escape out of the hands of his enemies, as he had done before. But be that as it may, when he faw him condemned, and about to be nailed to the cross, his confcience was alarmed, and he felt inexprellible 'horror for the atrocious deed which he had cominitted *. Ah! what would he then have given, to have revoked his bargain? What comfort did he receive from the thirty piecss of silver, the wages of his unrighteousness? He could not bear to retain the money in his poffeffion, but immediately restored it to the Jewish rulers, declaring his heinous guilt, and the anguish of his foul, for delivering up an innocent person to fall by their violence.
And did not those furious persecutors relent, when they heard so striking a confession? Did they not tremble for themselves, and endeavour to rescue the holy fufferer? No: they remained obdurate. But the traitor, unable to support himielf under the convictions and terrors of his inind, cast down before them the bribe which he had accepted, and instantly fied away, that he might put an end to his wretc ed life. “ He went and hanged himself.” Probably, the place which he chose for his own execution, was
& Matt. xxvii. 3-10.
on a precipice, and the rope, by which he was fulpended, failed: for “falii g headlong, he burst asunder in the midit, and all his bowels gushed out *." Thus, it should seem, he lay a miserable spectacle, and a public monument of God's vengeance; as the fact excited general notice at Jerusalem.
What an ignominious and lainentable death for a folloier and Apostle of Christ ! How foolish, as well as wicket, the expedient, by which he attempted to release himielf from his acute anguish! He went to his own place t,” the place, for which alone he was fitted by his disposition and conduct, where his accusing conscience will continue to torment him with inconceivably great and uninterrupted horrors, and where he will be exhibited as an example of divine justice for ever. « It had been good for that man, if he had not been born."
But is it not faid, that he repented? Yes; on some accounts he was sorry for what he had done. Shocked with the dread of confequences, he made confession of his guilt, and restored his impious gain. But he poffeíTed not that “godly forrow,” which worketh repentance to falvation not to be repented of I." He discovered no proper humiliation; he offered up no petition for mercy. Under extreme misery, his heart remained full of vile affections and rebellion against God: and this will be the case of every one, who “ suffers the vengeance of eternal fire.” The manner of his death proved, that he was not a penitent: he died in the actual commission of fin, and of that fin, which, from its nature, excludes repentance. He died as a murderer; “ and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him g.”
Fron fuch a precedent, will any undertake to plead for fuicide? We observe, that Satan generally tempts aien, who are a burden and terror to them
* Asi. :8, 19. 1. 25. I 2 Cor. vii. 10. § 1 John iii. 15.
felves, to seek relief by this expedient. We therefore warn then to consider, whither it will lead. You with to fly from present pain; but you are rushing into that, which is infinitely more intolerable and eternal. This the Devil tries to conceal, or persuades you to disbelieve, till your ruin be unavoidable and remediless. O liften not to his suggestions; for “he is a liar !” O lift not up against yourselves the hand of violence, which would render your salvation impoffible! Cry to God with incessant importunity, that he would extend his mercy, and communicate peace to your souls. Though you fear it is too late, we would encourage your application : many, whofe cases seemed desperate as your's, have obtained forgiveness and comfort. Only consent to make the trial, and wait upon the Lord. At any rate, dare not to meditate your own destruction : surely it will be foon enough to enter upon a state of never-ending torment, when God himself shall give you the summons.
That we may be impressed with an abhorrence of departing from the faith, let us contemplate, more minutely, the tremendous consequences of the apostasy of Judas.
1. He involved the faithful disciples of Jesus in deep distress. Those, who had been attached to the Gol pel, would be ready to suspect the truth of their own principles, when they observed a zealous preacher totally renounce then, and even fell his Master to his enemies, " for filthy lucre's fake.” This circumstance, probably, staggered the Apostles themselves, and increased their confufion, when they all forfook their Lord. You, who love the Saviour, cannot but grieve more than for any temporal calamities, for such instances as this. You lament, that the Saviour is «.wounded in the house of his friends.” You bewail the persons, who thus “ draw back unto perdition," and in whom all your fond hopes are disap
pointed. You are ready to fear, that the work of
2. He afforded the enemies of Jesus cause of tri-
a pretext for oppoing that truth, which they hate.
* Matt. xviii. 7.
Will you hear, what may be said in reply? Ask those very persons, who have deserted Christianity, ask them seriously, Who are in the right? In general, they are constrained to bear a decisive testimony in favour of that religion, which they have relinquilhed, and to condemn themselves. This Judas did. Many, also, like him, have shewn the greatest horrors for their sin, and perished miserably. Their case, therefore, loudly proclaims the folly and madness of forsaking the ways of God. That some, that numbers of those, who profess the faith, have never felt its influence, we confess and lament. But still « the foundation of God ftandeth sure.” If, indeed, it be fair to judge of a whole society from certain indivi. duals, there is no such thing as fincerity in the world, Then all the Apostles were vile impostors; and Judas acted the most honest part, when he threw off the malk. But this, we suppose, will not be afferted.
Let us view the apostate once more, and observe
3. He brought upon himself aggravated misery and ruin. We have seen, that he received no comfort from the money, which he so eagerly desired. “ Riches prost not in the day of wrath *:" when procured by unrighteousness, they frequently fill the minds of their poffessors, even in this life, with anguish and dismay. Thus, also, Saint Paul testified, “ The love of money is the root of all evil : which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many for-rows +." In various ways God can afflict and punith finners, while he suffers them to accomplish their wishes. He can render them so much a terror to themselves, that they shall “choole strangling, and death rather than life I,” But the most tremendous display of his justice, in the perdition of ungodly men, is reserved for another worid, where they shall
* Prov. xi. 4. t 1 Tim. vi. 10. Job vii. 15. Vol. IV.