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him, according to the Appearance he made in the World: And this was fuch as fhew'd him to be void of all ambitious and afpiring 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 fhew his Power over his Enemies, but always with a gracious and merciful Defign: 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 feen the Miracle of the Loaves; by which it appear'd, that he, who was able to fuftain fo many thoufands 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 Oppofition. He fuffer'd the Acclamations, and accepted of the Hofanna's of the People, to fulfil a Prophecy concerning himfelf; but took fo little Delight in these Applauses, that he wept over Jerufalem, 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 Difciples, not deluding them with vain Hopes, nor promifing them great Matters, but checking their afpiring Thoughts, and telling them truly and plainly, that they were to expect nothing but Miferies in this World, from the Profeffion of his Doctrine; he put it to their own Choice, whether they would take up their Crofs, and follow him; and when he was betray'd by one of thefe very Difciples, he ufes no upbraiding or reproachful Language, but befpeaks him with a Divine Patience and Meeknefs: No Man ever fuffer'd with fo much Injuftice and Cruelty, nor ever any Man with fo great Compaffion and Charity towards all his Enemies,
He liv'd a mean and defpifed Life, and never was in fuch 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 manifeft and illuftrious.
The perfon who betrayed him, and delivered him into the hands of his Enemies, was one of the Twelve, one of his own Difciples and Apoftles, whom he had fent out to gain Profelytes, and had committed to him a Power of working Miracles, and of doing whatfoever was requifite 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 secrets of his Kingdom, and were entrusted with the most hidden Myfteries, and obfcure 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 fome Truft and Confidence: however it gave him an opportunity of knowing, whether his Mafter had any fuch ambitious defigns, as he was accused of. For if he had perverted the Nation, and forbidden to give Tribute to Cafar, and had endeavoured to fet himself up as King of the Jews, which was the charge laid against him before Pilate, fuch a Project could not have been carried on without amaffing a great Treafure, of which therefore if any fuch thing had been in hand, Judas had been beft able to give an account. But when one, who had conftantly attended upon him, and was fo intimately acquainted with all the fecrets of his Life and Doctrine, had nothing to alledge against him, after he had betrayed him, what
could make more for his Juftification, or be a clearer Demonstration of his Innocence? When Men are once prevail'd upon to turn Traytors, they feldom do things. by halves, but if there be the leaft pretence or colour to be found, they will be fure to lay hold of it to juftifie their Villainy. And it is the most undeniable, proof of our Saviour's Innocence, that Treachery it felf could difcover nothing to faften upon him: but tho' Judas had been fuborned by the chief Priests to betray his Master for thirty pieces of Silver, yet neither that nor a greater fum, (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 perfuaded, 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 accufations which they had framed against him; this had been a much more acceptable fervice to them, than barely to deliver him up: for what could have brought a greater difgrace upon his Perfon, or more difcredit 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 fuch a lofs for matter to charge Chrift with, and at laft could not make their Witneffes agree together, would never, we may be fure, have omitted fuch an opportunity as this of loading him with Infamy, and ftifling his Do&rine in his Death. And he who was fo ready and forward to betray his Mafter, would never have stuck at accufing 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 feized with that remorfe of Confcience 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 faw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of Silver to the Chief Priefts and Elders, faying, I have finned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood: And they faid, What is that to us, fee thou to that; And he caft 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 fo much endeavour'd it, than for one of his own Difciples, after he had betrayed him, inftead of witneffing against him, which it was natural to fuppofe he would have done, to be fo far from that, as to come before them all, and fling down the Money in the Temple, which they had given him as the hire of his Treache ry, and declare publickly, that he had betrayed the innocent Blood; and then to give a farther proof of all this, out of meer anguifh and horror of Mind, to go immediately from them, and hang himself?
If our Saviour had done any thing, whereby he could deferve to be put to Death, Judas muft needs have known it; and when he had once betrayed him, it cannot be fuppofed he would forbear to difcover any thing he knew of him. But when on the contrary he was fo far from accufing him, that as foon as he faw him condemned at the accufation of other falfe Witneffes, he could not bear the Agonies of his own. Mind, but went and made away with himfelf; this is as evident a proof of Chrift's Innocence, as any of the other Apoftles themselves could ever give; and Judas is fo far an Apoftle ftill, as to proclaim his Mafter's innocence in the face of the Sanedrin, and then to feal that Teftimony with his Blood.
It has been thought by fome, that Judas, as wicked as he was, had never any defign to cause his Mafter to be put to Death, or to be any way inftrumental towards it, but he fuppofed that Chrift would be fecure enough against the Chief Priefts 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 reftraint upon them in their former attempts; or that he could easily make his escape from them, as he had formerly done, and therefore his covetoufnefs tempted him to believe, that though he fhould betray his Ma fter, 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 Difciple: and his making that confeffion, and then his dying upon that account, and in that manner, may af ford us an evidence, which we must have wanted, to certifie us in the Truth of the Chriftian Religion, if Christ had not been betrayed, or had been betrayed by any but one of his own Difciples.
When he was condemned and crucified, one of the Thieves, who was crucified with him, made an open profeffion of him; when there could be no temptation of Flattery, nor leifure or patience for a Man in that condition to speak in that manner, but by the fpecial Providence and Grace of God: And to give an early inftance of the great efficacy of his Crofs, and of the Mercy, which it reacheth forth to all repenting Sinners, our Saviour affures him, that that very day he should be with him in Paradife. A ftrange difcourfe upon the Crofs! To fpeak 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 fo great things in that condition! Who could have had the courage to promife so much upon the Crofs, but he, who was able to perform it?
And as no ill could ever be proved against him, but all circumftances concurred to confirm his Innocence; as Herod difmiffed him, and Pilate often declared him to have committed nothing worthy of Death: fo the Devils themselves, during his Life here upon