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SERMON VIII.

JUDAS ISCARIOT, OR THE BETRAYAL.

(Lent.)

ST. JOHN VI. 70, 71. "Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”

The occasion on which the Lord spake this of Judas was as follows, and we have heard it read in the second lesson for this evening :-Jesus had been reproving the people who flocked to hear Him, as coming only for what they got_“Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled.” And He went on to speak of the highest matters. He declared Himself to be the Bread of Life to the believer. Whoso

also go

eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” The words that He spake gave offence," and many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him.” The Lord, touched at their desertion, appealed to His chosen twelve-The Twelve--" Will

ye away? St. Peter answered with promptness, “ Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words of Eternal Life, and we are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It was a noble answer. It must have comforted our Lord's heart to hear it-to be assured that some at least of His followers were staunch and firm-and yet for all that Peter spoke so bravely, the Lord knew that even out of that select few, (those twelve whom He had chosen), there was one at least who would become a traitor : He answered, “Have I not

, chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ?”

Now that was a very strong term to come out of the mouth of the gentle Jesus, and to be applied by Him to a man who was of the number of the Apostles; but it was deserved; no word could be too strong, no language too undignified, to characterize the man who should betray his Master. And that was he of whom He spake. Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for he it was who should betray Him, being one of the twelve. Now it is of Judas Iscariot that I would speak more at length. Of his

treachery, and that which led to it: of his remorse, and of his miserable end; and of the instruction and warnings which his history has for ourselves.

And first let me remind you of the relation of Judas and Jesus Christ. He was one of the twelve selected Apostles, he had all the privileges, all the opportunities, of Christ's near and dear companions, never forget that-he was chosen, as were Peter, and John, and James, and Matthew, out of the increasing number of disciples, to be the chief companions and chief messengers of Jesus Christ. Like the other Apostles, Judas had power given him to heal the sick, to cleanse the leper, to cast out devils : like the other Apostles, Judas enjoyed the intimate fellowship of our Lord : he was one of them to whom it was given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, one of those who heard Christ explain His parables, who did eat at the same table with Him, was the companion of His walks, and beheld His miracles : and yet one so privileged was a traitor. He, Christ's own Apostle, own familiar friend," lifted up his heel against his Master. It is awful to think that an Apostle was a betrayer, that a man so fenced about with safeguards should make shipwreck of his soul.

Who are we, the best among us, the most tried and proved in our religion, the most regular communicants, the most fervent in our use of the words

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of love, the most constant readers of Christ's Gospel, the most devoted to His cause, that we should feel sure that in no case, at no time, under no circumstances, could we ever be guilty of a sin like that of Judas ? If an Apostle was a traitor, how much more may we be traitors ? God give us the Spirit of watchfulness and prayer and distrust of ourselves, God cleanse our hearts from the lodgment there of any sin which, if not rooted out, may get the dominion over us, and push us on to a deed as deadly to the soul as that of Judas. God, when we hear those words of Christ at His last evening meal, one of you shall betray Me," he that dippeth with Me in the dish, that same shall betray Me," God, I say, write these searching words in our hearts, and cause us to cry inwardly, “ Lord, is it I ?” “ Lord, is it I."

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But, again ; what was it in Judas' case that made him a traitor ? what lay at the root of the mischief? for he could not all at once have turned out so bad. The root of the mischief, the little seed which grew up and brought such a harvest of evil in Judas was this: he was fond of money, and unhappily for him, he had in his office of purse-bearer to the company an opportunity of indulging his love for money. Many a little act of pilfer, many a dishonest appropriation of the funds entrusted to him, must have preceded the final act of wickedness.

His covetous disposition broke out in an incident not long before the betrayal. Six days only before the Passover our Lord was at Bethany, in the home of Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. “ Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped them with her hair.” Judas was by, and this was his remark, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor ?" “This he said, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” We see by this, long before the great crime, Judas was pressing towards it; he had let covetousness enter into his heart and dwell there, and that brought about all that followed. It sapped all honesty, all generous feeling, all respect and reverence, all affection and love in his soul. The chief priests and others, bitter enemies of our Lord, were consulting how they might take Him by subtlety, and kill Him. Judas was aware of this, and he came to them secretly, like a thief by night, and asked, “What will ye give me ? and I will deliver Him unto you.” They covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver (about three pound ten of our money), the price at which a slave was valued in the slave market. That was a paltry sum for which Judas betrayed his Master, for which he gave his immortal soul in exchange: a terrible proof of

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