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PRIESTS AND ELDERS.

passed. He might have known too, that if it is with difficulty we arrest our own steps in the ways of sin, much less can we stop those whom we have contributed to impel in the downward career of transgression. Our example may hasten sinners in the descent of crime, but it has not power in itself effectually to prevent their progress towards its disastrous termination. But though Judas had no reasonable prospect of success, he yielded to the prompting of earnest desires, AND BROUGHT AGAIN THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER TO THE CHIEF

This must have assured them, more strongly than any declaration of his, that he regretted what he had done, and was anxious to prevent the evil which he anticipated might result from it. Had he done this previous to the decisive act of betraying the Saviour, it would have yielded him satisfactionnow he could do it only with the horror of a hopeless regret. It was not, however, 100 late to make this public restitution, for it can never be unseasonable to do that which is right in itself, though it was too late to arrest the progress of the evil. But this is not the only proof of his solicitude, that the consequences of his traitorous act might be prevented. He publicly declared in the presence of those who had just condemned the Saviour as guilty, that he was innocent. I HAVE BETRAYED THE INNOCENT BLOOD.

As if he had said, “You, indeed, pronounce him guilty of death ; but I, who have known him from the first; I, who have enjoyed the best means of detecting any thing criminal in his life and character ; I, who have betrayed him, and am, therefore, interested in discovering any thing in him, which might furnish some plausible pretence for my conduct towards him, I, under these circumstances and with a deep sense of my own criminality, declare to you that he is beyond the reach of suspicion—beyond the possibility of doing wrong ; that he is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate in character from sinners !"

Such are some of the particulars in which the repentance of Judas Iscariot resembled that repentance which is unto life.

II. Let us now consider in what respects it differed from it.

1. It differed from it in its origin. It did not arise from just views of sin, but was occasioned by the discovery of a result of his treacherous conduct, entirely contrary to that which he had anticipated. There is reason to suppose that this miserable man expected that Christ, either by his almighty power, would effect his escape from his' enemies, or by his wisdom and knowledge, would have so defended himself before their tribunal as to have secured a release from their custody, and thus the traitor would reap the reward of iniquity, without seriously injuring the Saviour. But, whether this was so or not, it was clearly his surprise at seeing his Master CONDEMNED and his own guilt in the transaction, rather than any just perception of the evil of sin, which produced his repentance. It was not a regret growing out of the discovery of sin as a causeless assault upon

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very throne of God, and as the infliction of a terrible evil on the infinitely precious interests of his moral empire. But HE REPENTED HIMSELF—he was filled with grief, anguish, and indignation, when he perceived how he had erred in this matter and exposed the innocent Immanuel to nameless indignities and sufferings. Again, as his repentance did not proceed from correct views of sin, so neither did it arise from a heart softened, and rendered exquisitely sensible to the odious nature of sin. Had the Saviour escaped, his sin would have remained the same, but he would not have repented of it. He estimated its evil by its present consequences, and not by the divine law.

2. It differed from true repentance in its object. Evangelical repentance relates to sin in general, and especially to that whole series of sinful exercises and actions, which constitute the character of fallen man.

He repented of only one-his betraying the innocent Saviour. He probably felt no uneasiness in view of the whole train of vicious habits and practices, which directly led the way to this. He did not say, nor is it at all likely he felt, that he had signed in that for years he had cherished a spirit of insatiable avarice, had been a thief, and so greedy of gain that he coveted the most trifling expenditure in honor of Christ. He did not repent of his duplicity, long and artful concealment of his ultimate intentions, or of his continued obstinate rejection of Christ as his Saviour.

3. It differed from true repentance in its extent. It was not only confined and limited in its object, but partial and superficial in its extent. It was in none of its branches deep and thorough. He was convicted, but not humbled. He confessed his sin, but it was only to the ear of man. It was not like the prodigal's confession-Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight. He sorrowed, but it was not so much on account of the crime as its consequences. Had the betrayed not been condemned, the traitor would have felt no sorrow; or if he had felt sorrow, it would have been awakened by the apprehension of evils which the guilty act might bring on himself. He was evidently a stranger to those emotions of poignant sorrow which arise in the mind from contemplating the injury done to God and man by a whole life of sin. He condemned himself too, but it clearly was not because he felt himself justly condemned in the sight of God-it was not because he loathed and abhorred himself on account of his treacherous treatment of the Saviour. And his solicitude to prevent the consequences of this guilty conduct, can hardly be regarded as proceeding from feelings of contrition for the act, or of compassion for Christ. It sprung rather from pure selfishness. He saw what would be the consequences to himself, if his Master should be taken away.

He was anxious, therefore, to interrupt the procedure, to retard the progress of transactions towards a crisis, and to prevent a result which would be ruinous to his worldly hopes and selfish plans. Nor can his apparent renunciation of the reward of his crime be considered as indicating any thorough change in his temper and character. He cast it down in a fit of desperation—it was wrenched from him by an agony of despair. He clung to it, until he determined no longer to cling to life. He gave it up only when he gave up life. In a word, bis repentance though it led him to renounce the reward of his iniquity, did not lead him to renounce iniquity itself-though it included the disrelish and hatred of the consequences of sin, it did not include the hatred of sin on account of its very nature—though it filled his heart with sorrow, it did not break and soften his heart. It

gave him all the bitterness, with none of the sweets -all the despair with none of the hopes of true repentance.

4. It differed from true repentance in its issue.True repentance issues in reconciliation to God, faith in Christ, purity of life, hope in death, and the fruition of heaven. The repentance of Judas was unlike this in each of these respects. Although the nature of his sins, probably, was not such as forbid that they should be pardoned, yet he continued to rebel against God and to reject the Saviour, until he was brought to the conclusion, that his iniquity was too great to be pardoned. When he found his previous associates in crime relentless in their murderous purpose against the Saviour ; when he found they had no ear to hear his confessions, and no sympathy with his distress, he at once despaired of help alike from God and man, and suddenly thrust himself beyond the reach of divine mercy. To allay the anguish of the remorse that was kindled up and burning in his own bosom, he plunged himself into everlasting burnings. To escape from the flame, he threw himself into the fire. So wretched was this ruined sinner, that he sought relief in hell!

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Lessons of great practical importance may obviously be derived from this affecting subject, a few of which only can now be particularly noticed. 1. We may very

close resemblance to the true disciples of Christ, and yet belong to the number of his enemies, and perish with them. Long did the unhappy Judas appear

as one of the sincere followers of the Saviour. So nearly did he imitate them in his character and demeanor, that, for a succession of years, no material defect was detected in him. And after he had developed the dark lines in his character by betraying his Master into the hands of bloody men, he even then entertained such views, felt such emotions, and exhibited such features of character as also belong to sincere penitents. Nor are we permitted to conclude, that cases like his are rare. How important, then, is it carefully to discriminate between the marks of true and false repentance. Certainly the distinction between them is clear and decisive. I'he false penitent, like Judas never forms just views of the nature of sin ; never hates it as an evil done to God and his fellow men; never in this view, mourns for it; never frankly and ingenuously confesses it; and never carefully avoids it. He consequently never ceases to be in the attitude of cordial opposition to God; never ceases to despise and reject Christ as his Saviour ; and never experiences the peace and quiet of mind, which result from a state of believing confidence and cheering hope. Shall not as many of us as cannot find these things in our case, immediately come to the conclusion that our repentance is that which worketh death? Shall one of us remain yet longer without the most unequivocal evidence that our repentance is unto life? God has settled the point, that, without such repentance, we cannot be saved. However nearly our exercises may resemble theirs who bring forth fruit meet for repentance, if they be not such views and feelings, we are liable to lie down in

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