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have been good for Judas, if his lot had been appointed with those who never saw the light; or we may suppose, that he meant, it would have been good for Judas if he had not been born until after that period of time; or we inay suppose that Jesus ineant, it would have been good for Judas if he had not at that time been born of the spirit of truth; for Peter says of those that fall away; “It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy cominandments delivered unto them.' Either of these suppositions is within the possible meaning of the words of Jesus, but the supposition that Jesus meant, that it would have been good for Judas not to have had an existence is not within the possible meaning of his words ; for if he had not existed he could have received no good in any way. Whoever will carefully read what Job says concerning his being born, in his 3d chapter, and likewise what Jeremiah says of his own birth in his 20th chapter will surely find as much proof of the misery of these men in an other world, as they can find in the words of Jesus respecting the misery of Judas in the future state.
According to the words of Jesus in the 19th of Matthew, Judas had followed him in the regeneration. And we learn by the account we have in the 10th chapter, that Judas, as well as the rest of the twelve Apostles was endowed with power to heal the sick, to cleanse lepers, to raise the dead, and to cast out devils; he was also commissioned to preach the gospel. In the labours of this miraculous ministry we have no account that Judas was not as faithful and as successful, as the rest of the twelve. But he was a fallible man like the rest ; satan entered into him, and he committed one act that was base in the extreme; he betrayed his master. Peter also denied him, and confirmed his denial with oaths. Judas was called a devil and Peter was called satan: Our tradition has placed Judas in hell, in the eternal world, and Peter in heaven.
The exclamation that Judas made when he repented and brought back the money, (O that all, who profess to repent, would do likewise, to the chief priests is worthy of observation; “ I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.This shows the high estimation in which this unhappy man held innocence. It seems that the pain of bis heart was occasioned by his having betrayed the innocent.
Now if he had had no love nor regard for innocence, but if entire opposition to all good had possessed his heart be surely would not have repented and brought back the money ; he would not have exclaimed, “I have singed in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.”
My friends, the scriptures give no account that this man was miserable in another state ; but the distress his soul was in, in consequence of having betrayed the innocent Jesus, should be a solemn warning to every one of us, that we never violate our duty to the innocent.
To conclude ; God took away the Sodomites, Pharaoh and his host, Korah and his company, the inhabitants of the old world, Judas who betrayed his master, and many others, as he saw good. His designs are all the designs of goodness. And if the Holy Ghost had intended to inform us that all those people were miserable in the invisible world, we should have found it so recorded in the faithful testimony. But we have reason to be thankfnl, and to praise the name of him, who gave himself a ransom for all, who is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. We have great consolation in believ- , ing, that was in Adain all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. In opposition to the doctrine of future, endless misery, we present the unchangeable goodness of that God, who is good unto all and whose tender mercies are over all his works.
DELIVERED AT THE
SECOND UNIVERSALIST MEETING, IN BOSTON,
MAY 9, 1819.
BY HOSEA BALLOU, PASTOR.
Published Semi-Monthly by Henry Bowen, Congress-street.
ISAIAH xxviii. last of 19.
And it shall be a vexation only to understand the report."
The prophet in this chapter, contemplates the house of Israel in a state of great seeming security, into which they had introduced themselves, by making a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell, and by preparing for themselves a refuge of lies.
As is perfectly natural with those, who, by their own wisdom, frame for themselves partial systems, this people exulted in their confidence, and raised their expectations of seeing the destructions and calamities, from which they fancied
themselves secure, fall like an overflowing scourge on those who had neglected to enter into their covenant, to avail themselves of their agreement, and to take shelter in their refuge.
According to their confidence and expectation they said; “ We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves."
Thus an overflowing scourge was expected; but it was to come on others, they were safe. They
had made due preparations for security, and had nothing to anticipate but their own safety and the destruction of others, who had neglected to get an interest in their means of defence.
But the wisdom of man is foolishness with God. When he thinks himself secure, and is looking out for the destruction of others, he is frequently subjected to the vexation of seeing his confidence fail, his hope expire, and his expectations die.
Such was the lot of that people whoin the prophet addressed in this chapter. For in reply to their boasting, the Lord says; “ Behold I say in Zion for a foundation 'a stone, a tried stone; a precious cornor stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overftow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. Froin the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night; and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.” This was widely different from their expectations. All their calculations failed. Their covenant with death disannulled; their agreement with hell disolved; and the waters overflowed the hiding places composed of lies. The bed prepared for repose is found to be too short ; and the covering designed for defence from the cold, is too
Thus their labour is lost: and in room of security they find trouble, and in room of beholding the distruction of others, they are vexed with the report of their own.
That the spirit of prophecy spake in this chapter concerning Christ and the gospel day seems evident from the 16th verse which has been quoted.
“ Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone; a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.” Compare this with the following words of St. Peter; “ Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, behold I, lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” Also Acts 4. 11. « This is the stone which was set at naught by you builders, which is become the head of the corner.' Likewise Psalm 118. 22, 23. “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes;" compared with Mat. 21. 42. 6 Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the bead of the corner; this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes ?” To this stone St. Paul alludes in the 9th of Romans where he speaks of the stumbling of the house of Israel, as follows; “ But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore ? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law : for they stumbled at the stumbling stone ; as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone, and a rock of offence : and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
By the light shed on our subject, by this comparison of scripture testimony, we are assisted to make the following conclusions.
I. The doctrine and religion of the old Jewish church, were represented by the prophet, as a covenant with death, an agreement with hell, and a refuge of lies.