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him, according to the Appearance he made in the World: And this was such as shew'd him to be void of all ambitious and aspiring Thoughts, and to be meek and humble, and perfectly vertuous and holy; his Miracles were wrought without Vanity and Oftentation, and never out of Revenge, or to shew his Power over his Enemies, but always with a gracious and merciful Design: He avoided all Opportunities of Popularity; he would not intermeddle in private Affairs, when he was appeal'd to ; and made his Escape, when the People would have taken him by Force to make him a King, after they had seen the Miracle of the Loaves; by which it appear'd, that he, who was able to sustain so many thousands in the Wilderness, might have rais'd and maintain'd what Army he pleas'd, and might have made himself as great as he would, notwithstanding any Opposition. He suffer'd the Aca clamations, and accepted of the Hosanna's of the People, to fulfil a Prophecy concerning himself; but took so little Delight in these Applauses, that he wept over Jerusalem, when the whole City was moved at his Entrance, and nothing but Joy or Wonder had a place in any other's Thoughts, Matt. xxi. 10. Luke xix. 41.
He dealt freely and generously with his Disciples, not deluding them with vain Hopes, nor promising them great Matters, but checking their aspiring Thoughts, and telling them truly and plainly, that they were to expect nothing but Miseries in this World, from the Profession of his Doctrine ; he put it to their own Choice, whether they would take up their Cross, and follow him; and when he was betray'd by one of these very Disciples, he uses no upbraiding or reproachful Language, but bespeaks him with a Divine Patience and Meekness: No Man ever suffer'd with so much Injustice and Cruelty, nor ever any Man with so great Compassion and Charity towards all his Enemies,
He liv'd a mean and despised Life, and never was in such a condition as could tempt any Man to flatter him, or to conceal any Fault, if he had been guilty of any: and he had always many Enemies, who endeavour'd to faften the worst Calumnies upon him, but their Malice tended only to render his Innocence the more manifest and illustrious.
The person who betrayed him, and delivered him into the hands of his Enemies, was one of the Twelve, one of his own Disciples and Apostles, whom he had fent out to gain Proselytes, and had committed to him a Power of working Miracles, and of doing whatsoever was requisite to gain Reception for his Religion in the world. Judas was one of the Twelve, who were nearest to him, and were admitted to all the lecrets of his Kingdom, and were entrusted with the most hidden Mysteries, and obscure Doctrines of his Religion; whatsoever was spoken to others in Parables, was explained afterwards to them in private: nothing was with-held from them, which it was convenient for them to be acquainted withal, or which they were capable of knowing. Nay, Judas feems to have had a particular mark of Favour placed upon him, in that he was the keeper of the Bag; for it was an Of fice of some Trust and Confidence : however it gave him an opportunity of knowing, whether his Master had any such ambitious designs, as he was accused of. For if he had perverted the Nation, and forbidden to give Tribute to Cæfar, and had endeavoured to set himself up as King of the Feuis, which was the charge laid against him before Pilate, such a Proje& could not have been carried on without amassing a great
a great Treasure, of which therefore if any such thing had been in hand, Judas had been best able to give an account. But when one, who had constantly attended upon him, and was fo intimately acquainted with all the secrets of his Life and Doctrine, had nothing to alledge against him, after he had beprayed him, what
could make more for his Justification, or be a clearer Demonstration of his Innocence? When Men are once prevaild upon to turn Traytors, they seldom do things by halves, but if there be the least pretence or colour to be found, they will be sure to lay hold of it to justifie their Villainy. And it is the most undeniable, proof of our Saviour's Innocence, that Treachery it self could discover nothing to fasten upon him : but tho' Judas had been suborned by the chief Priests to betray his Master for thirty pieces of Silver, yet neither that nor a greater sum, (which we may be confident would not have been denied him) could prevail with Judas himself, to undertake to appear as a witness against him.
When one of his own Disciples was persuaded, or rather had offered of his own accord to betray him, it could not be imagined, but that the Chief Priests would urge him to come in, as a witness to the accusations which they had framed against him ; this had been a much more acceptable service to them, than barely to deliver him up: for what could have brought a greater disgrace upon his Person, or more discredit upon his Religion, than for one of his own Disciples to witness against him, that he had committed things worthy of death ? Men, who were at such a loss for matter to charge Christ with, and at last could not make their Witnesses agree together, would never, we may be sure, have omitted such an opportunity as this of loading him with Infamy, and stifling his Do&trine in his Death. And he who was so ready and forward to betray his Master, would never have stuck at accusing him if he had had any thing to say against him; and no other Reason can be given why he did not do it, but that he was over-awed by that Innocence and Holiness, which he knew to be in him, and was seized with that remorse of Conscience and Terfor of Mind, as not to be able to bear up under the guilt of what he had already done. For Judas, who
had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself
, and brought again the thirty pieces of Silver to the Chief Priests and Elders, saying, I have finmed in that I have betrayed the innocent blood : And they faid, What is that to us, see thou to that; And he cast down the pieces of Silver in the Temple, and went and hanged himself, Mat.xxvii. 3,4. How could the Chief Priests themselves have contrived a better way to vindicate our Saviour's Innocence, if they had never so much endeavour'd it, than for one of his own Difciples, after he had betrayed him, instead of witnesfing against him, which it was natural to suppose he would have done, to be fo far from that, as to come before them all, and fing down the Money in the Temple, which they had given him as the hire of his Treachery, and declare publickly, that he had betrayed the innocent Blood; and then to give a farther proof of all this, out of meer anguish and horror of Mind, to go immediately from them, and hang himself?
If our Saviour had done any thing, whereby he could deserve to be put to Death, Judas must needs have known it; and when he had once betrayed him, it cannot be supposed he would forbear to discover any thing he knew of him. But when on the contrary he was so far from accusing him, that as soon as he saw him condemned at the accusation of other false Witnesses, he could not bear the Agonies of his own Mind, but went and made away with himself; this iş as evident a proof of Christ's Innocence, as any of the other Apostles themselves could ever give; and Judas is so far an Apostle still, as to proclaim his MaIter's innocence in the face of the Sanedrin, and then to seal that Testimony with his Blood.
It has been thought by fome, that Judas, as wicked as he was, had never any design to cause his Master to be put to Death, or to be any way instrumental towards it, but he supposed that Christ would be fecure enough against the Chief Priests in his own Inno
cence' and Holiness, or that they would not dare to hurt him for fear of the People, which had been a restraint upon them in their former attempts; or that he could easily make his escape from them, as he had formerly done, and therefore his coverousness tempted him to believe, that though he should betray his Master, yet he would come to no harm by it. However, it is certain, that Judas himself cleared our Saviour's innocence, by betraying him, more than any other Man could have done, who had not been his Disciple: and his making that confeffion, and then his dy, ing upon that account, and in that manner, may afford us an evidence, which we must have wanted, to certifie us in the Truth of the Christian Religion, if Christ had not been betrayed, or had been betrayed by any but one of his own Disciples.
When he was condemned and crucified, one of the Thieves, who was crucified with him, made an open profession of him ; when there could be no temptation of Flattery, nor leisure or patience for a Man in that condition to speak in that manner, but by the special Providence and Grace of God: And to give an early instance of the great efficacy of his Cross, and of the Mercy, which it reacheth forth to all repenting Sinners, our Saviour assures him, that that very day he should be with him in Paradise. A strange discourse upon the Cross! To speak of Kingdoms, and promise Paradise under so much infamy and torment! That one should have the Faith to ask, and the other the Power to promise so great things in that condition! Who could have had the courage to promise so much upon the Cross, but he, who was able to perform it?
And as no ill could ever be proved against him, but all circumstances concurred to confirm his Innocence; as Herod dismissed him, and Pilate often declared him to have committed nothing worthy of Death : so the Devils themselves, during his Life here upon