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And so much concerning Mary's Action : So much I mean as I shall say of it in this place ; but there will be occasion of speaking a little more of it anon, when I come to speak of our Saviour's Apology for her.
I now go on to the Second Thing considerable in the words, namely, the Offence that Judas took at Mary's Action, and the Exception which he made against it : Then saith one of his Disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which jould betray him, Why was not this Oynt. ment sold for Three Hundred Pence, and given to the Poor ? This he said, not that he cared for the Poor, but because he was a Thief, and had the Bag, and bare what was put therein.
In these words we have several Things.
First, A Description of the Person that took Offence at what Mary had done. Then faith one of his Disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him.
Secondly, The Exception that he took at Mary's Action, and the pretended Ground or Reason thereof : Why was
hot this Oyntment fold for Three Hundred Pence, and given to the Poor?
Thirdly, The true Reason of his excepting against her Action : This be faid, not that he cared for the Poor, but because he was a Thief, and bare the Bag, and what was put therein. I shall speak a little of every of these.
And First, of the Description of the Person that took Offence at Mary's Action, and excepted against it. In the Description there are four Characters by which he is set forth.
1. He is said to have been one of Christ's Disciples. A Disciple he was that had learnt little from his Master's Teaching and holy Example. And such Disciples of Christ there are, and ever will be, in the visible Church. No Congregation or Society of Christians is without such as professing themselves to be Followers and Disciples of Chrift, refuse to be taught or governed by him ; such as would have a name that they live, but are dead, Rev. 3. 1. who profess that they know God; but in their works they deny him, Tit. I. 16. If there were one such in Christ's own retinue that consisted but of Twelve Persons, what Society of Christians can pretend to that Purity, as to have no such Mixture. The Church Triumphant consists of such only as are true Saints, but the Church Militant is made up of sincere Christians and Hypocrites, Wise Virgins and Foolish, Matth. 25. 2. Good and Bad, Tares and Wheat, Matth. 13: 29, 30.
But how is it that St. John here Reports one of Christ's Disciples to have taken this offence at Mary, whereas St. Matthew chargeth more of them with it. When his Disciples saw it, saith he, they had Indignation, saying, to what purpose is this waste ? Matth. 26. 8. And so St. Mark much to the same effect, Mark 14. 4. There were some that had Indignation within themselves. But this difference of the Evangelists is easily reconciled. Judas it seems was he that first began to take offence at Mary, and then fome of the rest of the Disciples did the like : and Judas from a wicked Principle; from his Covetous and Thievish Disposition; but the other Disciples as we may Charitably suppose, in the simplicity of their Hearts, and with no ill meaning. Wherefore though the с с
Two other Evangelists mention the Difciples, yet St. John names Judas, and him only, because he was the principal Offender, and chiefly to be blamed.
The next Character of the Person that took offence at Mary, follows ; Judas Iscariot ; Iscariot is added no doubt to distinguish him from another Judas, namely Judas the Brother of James, another of the Twelve Disciples, Luke 6. 16. who was the same with Lebbeus firnamed Thaddeus, Matth. 10. 3. But why this Judas should be called Iscariot is uncertain. I might be large in rehearsing the several conjectures of Learned Men concerning it, but it would scarce be worth the while to do it, and therefore I forbear to trouble you with them.
The third Character given him is, that he was Simons Son; and by this again he was distinguished from the other Judas. What is here said of him · was ignominous and reproachful, and therefore by all these Characters the Evangelist provides that the reproach miglit stick to the Person to whom it did belong, and not by any mistake light upon another. Whence we may learn how careful we ought to be, as at any time there may be just
cause of reporting things of a reproachful Nature, so to distinguish Persons, as the innocent may not suffer. Through want of the Evangelists exact care this way, it often comes to pass that the miscarriages of one Person are ascribed to another, and in common Fame which stays not to enquire into things, and a examine them, he often suffers most that least deserved it, or perhaps that did not at all deserve it.
The Fourth and Last Character is; that it was he that should betray Christ, and afterwards did. A Character very pertinently and seasonably added in this place; to intimate to us by what fteps and degrees of Wickedness he at length proceeded to act that horrid and execrable Villany. The Devil made Choice of a fit Instrument to be imployed in that his Service ; he made use of one whom he had been long a Training up for such a Diabolical imployment. He had taught him to play the Thief already, and that qualified him to play the Traytor in the end. For the same bitter Root of Covetousness that disposed him to the one, put him upon the other. Had it not been for his inordinate Love of Money, he had