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may be that for a time he thought he loved him, but afterwards found that he had deceived himself. Perhaps he only followed him with the hope of worldly gain. We know not how it was, but we know, because Jesus said it, that he had better never have had any life, though he once had many things to enjoy, than to have lived to betray the Son of man. Judas never was a christian, though he had professed to be one of the Saviour's warmest friends. When he heard that the chief priests were seeking to destroy Jesus, it seems he was all ready to assist them. We cannot tell what motive led Judas to commit this vile act, unless it was the base passion of avarice, or love of money. The chief priests agreed to give him thirty pieces of silver, about fifteen dollars of our money, and for this paltry sum he was induced to betray Jesus, the friend of sinners, into the hands of those who thirsted for his blood.
Do not suppose that this wicked man ever deceived the Saviour. No, he might deceive himself, and all his fellow-beings who knew him, but Jesus he could never deceive. He knew from the first that one of his professed friends was a hypocrite, and would become a traitor; but he suffered it to be so. Perhaps it was allowed to be so to teach the disciples, and us who read of them, what wicked hearts men have, and how easy it is to deceive our fellow-beings.
Now look again at the verses at the beginning of the chapter. In the twenty-fifth, it is said Judas at length asked the same question that the others had, "Master, is it I?" We know not why he should ask this question, when he must have re
membered what he had already agreed to do. Perhaps he hoped by this means still to deceive the disciples, and it is possible he even hoped to deceive the Saviour, but when Jesus answered, "Thou hast said," which means yes, he must have felt that he was dealing with one who could look into his heart. From the account that John gives of this transaction, we may conclude that Judas went out immediately after this.
Before the chapter closes, from the forty-sixth to the fifty-first verse, you will find an account of his coming with a multitude of men sent with him by the chief priests, armed with swords and staves. As these men did not know Jesus when they saw him, Judas agreed to give them a sign that they might take him, and that sign was a kiss. This false friend went up to the holy Saviour, and said, Hail Master, and kissed him, and then the armed men laid hold on him.
After this, Matthew mentions Judas but once. In the next chapter, from the second to the sixth verse, you will find the last account of him. It appears that he could not enjoy, nor even keep, the money for which he had sold his Saviour. He brought it back to the priests, saying, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." As they did not choose to take the money, or trouble themselves about the Saviour's innocence, he threw down the silver and went out-went out to what, my reader? Could that man find any place of happiness on this fair earth which God has given to his children, after he had betrayed the Son of God? Could he find any peace after he had declared himself the enemy of his Maker?
No. No place of happiness, no peace, and therefore he added another to his awful list of sins. "He went out and hanged himself." After the struggles of death were over, could his spirit find any place of happiness or rest? No. The eye of that God whom he had offended was still upon him, and among those who are for ever lost, we must think of Judas as one of the most wretched. Let his history teach us to examine our own hearts, and to ask God to "search us, and try us, and see if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting."
Now turn your thoughts away from the unhappy Judas to think of the merciful Saviour. He came to live in our sinful world on purpose to save lost men. He pitied all our infirmities, and spent his life in doing good; but in the midst of his selfdenying labors, while the sick and needy still pressed around for his aid, while thousands of children still needed his blessing, the envious priests "sought how they might destroy him;" and there was one among those who well knew how merciful and good he was, one who had professed to love him, ready to betray him into their hands.
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
MATT. xxvi. 26-30.
26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it tó them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
30. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.
THE verses above are immediately following those at the head of the last chapter. If Judas left them at that time he was now probably making arrangements with the chief priests, and preparing to carry out his wicked plan; while Jesus still sat at the table surrounded by a few real friends, who he knew did indeed love him. This was the time, and these the circumstances, in which our blessed Saviour first taught his disciples to take bread and wine in memory of him. "He took bread, blessed and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat; this is my body." Not that the bread was made into the real body of Christ, but that it was an emblem of his body, that is, a thing which represented it. This emblem of his body he broke and divided among all his disciples. After this he took the cup, or the vessel which contained the wine,
blessed it, and gave it to them, saying, “ Drink ye all of it." Wine is the emblem of the Saviour's blood, which freely flowed for sinners. "This is my blood which is shed for many." Not for the disciples only, who were seated around the table, but for many in all ages since that time, and in all ages yet to come; for many who are now living around us, and I hope for many who shall read this little book, and think with me on the love and pity of the compassionate Saviour. "For the remission," that is, the forgiveness, "of sins." The Bible says, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission." Sins cannot be forgiven in any other way. After this, Jesus informs his disciples that he should not again partake of this supper with them. It was for them to celebrate after his death, and these emblems were to remind them, when they could see him no more, that he so loved them as to leave the bosom of his Father, and come to earth to die on the cross for them; and that he would always love them, and watch over them, and at some future day, when they had done their duty on earth, he would receive them to dwell with him in heaven. The meeting was closed by singing a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Perhaps the most of my readers have been present at what is called the communion, or celebra on of Lord's Supper, but it may be many of you have never inquired or thought what was meant by it. I will attempt to tell you, and if you have ever looked on this ordinance with a gay and careless mind, I hope you will never allow yourself to do it again. You observe the congre