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a favourite disciple* who was next to JESUS, to inquire whom he meant. Even the traitor hiniself, who, not long before, had been bargaining with the chief priests, and had covenanted that they should give him thirty pieces of silver, as the price of his treachery; even he, who was then seeking an opportunity to betray him ; who had just heard the woe denounced against that man by whom the son of man should be betrayed, that it had been good for that man, if he had never been borne even he hypocritically demanded, Master, is it I ? JESUS having before given him the sop, which was a private sign by which he intimated to his favourite disciple the guilty person, now publickly declared, in answer to the question which Judas himself had so boldly asked, that he was the person. This discovery, instead of restraining Judas, made him more obdurate : which JESUS perceiving said unto him, That thou doest, do quickly : at which although the disciples made several conjectures, yet no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this
* John whom Jesus loved with a peculiar tenderness, and honoured with the most intimate friendship, sate next him at the table, on his right hand.--Doddridge.
unto him. Judas however having received the sop, immediately went out, and it was night, the time agreed upon between him and the chief priests for putting his abominable design in execu
The story itself cannot but suggest to you, my Brethren, many very pertinent reflections: time will not permit me to dwell longer at present on this depraved character; of which it will be necessary to have another view, as we advance further in the melancholy history of the sufferings of our blessed LORD.
From this unworthy character we are led in the course of the history to another instance of human frailty ; melancholy indeed, but not of such an abandoned dea gree; as that which we have just been considering,
As soon as the traitor Judas, had left the room, the blessed JESUS speaks to his disciples of the completion of the great design of God by the sufferings and death of the son of man, which should redound greatly to his own glory in his subsequent resurrection and ascension : and, ever awake to their welfare, having informed them that he should be with them only a little time longer, and that they could not follow him now, as he had before said
unto the Jews; he exhorted them by a new commandment, that is, by new motives and a new example, to love one another, as he had loved them, and to consider this love as the distinguishing mark of their being his disciples. Peter, distressed with the idea of not being able to follow his Master, with an eagerness peculiar to himself, demanded, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now ? I am willing to undergo any difficulties and hardships, and I will even lay down my life for thy - sake.
Observe now the tender anxiety with which Jesus answered him, well knowing the danger of too great confidence, and low ignorant Peter was of his own weakness. Wilt thou, said JESUS, lay down thy life for my sake ? O Simon, Simon, I must tell thee that a dreadful hour of temptation awaits you all; for behold, Satun hath desired to have you, my disciples, that he may sift you as wheat : but I have prayed for thee, Peter, that thy faith fail not; and when that shall be returned and established, strengthen and comfort thy weaker brethren. Peter not at all alarmed at this warning from his Lord, that he should yield in the hour of trial, asserted his confidence more eagerly, and said, Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death. But JESUS checking his great forwardness said, Verily I say unto thee, Confident as thou now art, and I believe sincerely So, yet, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. i
Alas! my Brethren, how dangerous is. that confidence which a man places in his own strength! Peter was confident, that he should not fall, notwithstanding the warning he had from him, who knew what was in man*. As we proceed we shall see the result of it. But the history first directs our notice to another occurrence which demands a very particular attention. It is that of the institution of the Lord's supper: with which I intend, by God's blessing, to begin my lecture to-morrow evening.
And now having mentioned the Lord's supper, I am called upon by my duty, to remind you of the notice which has been given, that it will be administered to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed, on Good-Friday, and on Sunday next, being Easter-Day; and that you are invited to partake of it. Do not absent yourselves from it with any of those
John ii. 25.
various excuses, with which too many persons are apt to deceive themselves. Sacraments are generally necessary to salvation*: that is, necessary where they can be received. On this head you have no excuse. Do not misinterpret the word, generally, as if it were left to your own choice, whether you would receive it, or not. Where it is administered, you are positively enjoined to partake of it, and that by him who instituted it, even your Saviour himself, who has commanded us to do this in remembrance of himt,-in remembrance of all that he did and suf'fered for us sinful men.
May God make us willing to comply with this, and all other instituted means of grace here, that the hope of glory which they hold forth to us, may not be vain hereafter. Amen.