« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the deadly nature of covetousness. Here was a man, a follower of Christ, a friend of Christ, to whom He must often have spoken, whose hand the Lord had grasped, turned to be a betrayer of that Lord, and all for money, for three pounds ten shillings. Can we have stronger witness to the truth of those words of St. Paul, “ They that would be rich fall into temptation and a snare,'' and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, that bring men to destruction and perdition-" For the love of money is the root of all evil." It led an Apostle to betray his Lord, his conscience, his duty, all his affection, and friendship, through the force of that master passion !
We see it so still; we see how when once the love of money gets rooted in a man it changes him for the worse. It shuts up his compassion. It withholds his hand from doing good. It tempts him to mean and tricky ways in order to increase his hoard. It stops the flow of natural affection, makes him unkind to his children, hard to his dependants, exacting to his debtors. It deadens religion in his soul. It causes him to leave God's word unread, God's worship forsaken, God's ministers unheeded, they will not leave him at ease in his miserliness. That is a noticeable result of the love of money.
Oh ! let me bid you be on your guard against it. Be sure it is one advantage the poor man has over the rich, that he is not so beset by this passion of hoarding money. Oh! remember what that Apostle says whose words I have already quoted, “ Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, and having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
But observe what that sin was of which Judas was guilty: he betrayed his Master. Now can we be guilty of that sin? Aye, we are, I fear, often guilty of it: we betray Christ when from fear or any other motive we shrink from confessing Him openly before men-when we stand by, and see our Master denied, and dishonoured, and have not the courage to show our colors-when for what the world would give us, its thirty pieces of silver, its praise, its good opinion, its honour, its support, we hold our tongue, and keep dark our disapproval of its evil ways; we betray Christ when we side with the enemy, when we fall away from His side, when we turn our backs upon His ordinance, when we seě Him dishonoured and denied, and have not the courage openly to confess Him before the world. That is the sin of betraying Christ, and which of us has not been guilty of it ? To our conscious heart's cry, “Lord, is it I ?” “ Lord, is it I" that hath betrayed Thee, been ashamed of Thee, given Thee up into the hands of Thine enemies, what answer, think you, must He give but this— It is thou !-and thou !-and thou !
If we say that we have not done this, we do but deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Shall we therefore despair ? shall we imitate Judas also in this? Oh, surely no, for our sin is not of the same deadly line, nor is it beyond the reach of pardon.”
For, brethren! be assured of this, all sins will be forgiven unto men, who through faith and repentance seek to be forgiven. Even Judas might have obtained mercy had he sought it in the right quarter, had he cast himself on God's pity, had he been able to say, “Lord be merciful to me a sinner." The blood which he was instrumental in shedding-the blood of Jesus Christ-cleanseth from all sin, yea ! even from sin dark as his, the sin of the betrayer and murderer. Bear this in mind, that we may be kept sound in our faith, and loyal in our obedience, true servants and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a word, true Christians.
Let us draw one further lesson from Judas' end. Let us note, and remember what happened in his case, that all repentance is not true repentance, is not repentance unto life. He sorrowed, he sought to make restitution, he brought back the thirty pieces of money, he confessed his sin, “ I have betrayed innocent blood." And yet we cannot think
that he was saved, for he departed, and went out, and hanged himself--he committed that last sin which admits of no repentance, he cut short his day of grace with his own hand, his sorrow, bitter and sharp as it surely was, was not to him that godly sorrow that worketh salvation. It was the sorrow of the world that worketh death. It was despair. And what causes despair ? I answer, in most cases it is want of faith, not having power to look up to God, and to trust to His goodness and pity amid the clouds and darkness that envelop our soul. Could Judas have had this power, could he have believed that God is gracious and mighty, even in his terrible situation he might have sought and obtained pardon : the blood that he was the chief agent in shedding, the blood of Jesus Christ, cleanseth from all sin.
Bear this in mind, and when your heart is heavy, as one day may happen, and you are goaded to the edge of despair, oh, recall what Scripture tells you of God's infinite mercy to the penitent. Be sure that He does not desire your death, but that you should be saved from your sins, and the proof of this, the proof that God desires in no case a sinner's death, but in every case his life, is that He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that all should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so is the Son of Man lifted up, that whosoever"