her brother from the dead; He had opened out to her wondering thought a view of joys to come. How could she show some token of her deep love to Him who first loved her? She had by her1 a box of costly ointment.2 Too precious for her own use, it could not be too precious for Him. She would go and anoint Him with it in token of reverence and of love.3 She arose and went. She brake open the vase of alabaster, and poured the precious balm upon His head,* till it ran down to the skirts of His clothing; sparing nothing that she had; thinking nothing that was in her power too much to show her love to Him who loved her and her sister and Lazarus. But the transaction seems to have excited other feelings in the minds of the Disciples; and Judas Iscariot, Simon's son (let him not be confounded with any other of that name), who was about to betray his Master, now almost ripe for that deed of shame, shows already what manner of spirit he was of, and becomes the ready spokesman for the rest. The other Disciples were displeased, and their displeasure arose from their then narrow conceptions, and as yet inadequate idea of their Lord; but the objection of Judas arose from covetousness, which he hypocritically concealed under cover of caring for the poor. He would have had the money for which this rare and costly unguent might have been sold put into the bag or purse which contained the common fund of our condescending Lord and His poor Disciples; out of which they paid for their daily bread, and gave to those who were yet poorer than themselves; of which Judas, so we are twice told,10 was himself the keeper. He would have had this money added to the common stock, that he might be able to pilfer the more. Three hundred pence 11 (almost ten pounds of our money) must have appeared a great thing to him who for thirty pieces of silver 12 (little more than three

1 V. 7.

2 Ointment of nard, or spikenard (spica nardi) expressed from a plant of that name.-Plin. Nat. Hist. xii. 12. 3 Cant. i. 12.

St. Mark xiv. 3.

5 Ps. cxxxiii. 2.

6 See the 32nd Canto of In Memoriam.


St. Matt. xxvi. 8.


There is nothing of necessity implied in the original.

9 St. John xiii. 29.

10 V. 6 and ch. xiii. 29.

11 Three hundred denarii =

£9 168. 5d.

12 Thirty shekels, estimated at about £3 108. 8d.

pounds) was ready to betray his Lord. "Judas who had betrayed his trust, soon after betrayed his Master." Let those who are intrusted with any monies of others take warning here.



St. John xii. 7, 8.

Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Judas, we find,2 was not singular in his objection; and all, we might learn from our Lord's remonstrance even if it had not been recorded elsewhere,3 murmured against Mary. But He "to whom all hearts be open" took her part. They did not venture to remonstrate with Him for accepting, though they attacked her for offering, this. But "He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? She hath wrought a good work upon me." Thus He throws the shield of His charity over this holy and mis-interpreted Mary, and explodes the false and shallow objection which a traitor and hypocrite had started. The poor, it had been predicted, should never cease out of the land. They had plenty of opportunity, had they been so disposed, to do good to these." And how much in the pathetic contrast, "Me ye have not always!" Soon He was to be withdrawn from them;-no more opportunity then of personally testifying their love. Soon He is to be laid in His grave;-shall He reject this appropriate anointing? It was the custom in those countries so to anoint the corpse of one much loved and honoured. This tribute He accepts as paid beforehand to his mortal

1 Henry.

2 St. Matt. xxvi. 8; St. Mark xiv. 4.
a St. Mark xiv. 5.


St. Matt. xxvi. 10.

5 Deut. xv. 11.

St. Mark xiv. 7.

body, anointed by anticipation. Nor was it possible that He who once saw fit to bid a rich young man sell all that he had and give to the poor, and who said, "Sell that ye have and give alms," and who had directed this very man to be His almoner, could ever overlook these. The suggestion was superfluous, as it was insincere. Nor may we interpret any like act of love otherwise than He. Only love can understand what love intends. "She hath done," He says, "what she could."3 Have we always done our possible? No longer therefore need they censure her whose praise is in all the Churches. For the world is filled evermore with the fragrance of her deed as that house was with the odour of the ointment. So He adds, "Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her." This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.

"The holocaust of love," so Jer. Taylor (Life of Christ, sec. xv.) calls it. "Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore

Of nicely calculated less or more.”-
Wordsworth, Sonnet on King's
Coll. Chapel.

See 2 Sa. xxiv. 24.

2 St. John xiii. 29.

3 St. Mark xiv. 8.

See Aug. in S. Jo. Tr. i. 7. On the obvious lesson, Baxter observes in his Paraphrase, "that as Piety is oft pretended by hypocrites against Charity, so is Charity here by Judas against Piety; and there is no work so good but may be opposed by very fair pretences." We sometimes hear it used as an argument against the improved feeling in the matter of church architecture, &c. (a species of argument which those who use it never think of applying to their own


personal or domestic economy), that God can be worshipped anywhere. It is true. God may be worshipped in a barn; and so we may live in a barn; but this is no reason why, if we can afford better, better should not be given or had. Bare utility is not the only measure of a thing. The rule, judging from David's just reflection (2 Sa. vii. 1, 2) would seem to be that we must do according to our opportunities. "When a Roman gentleman invited Augustus Cæsar to supper, and provided him but a mean entertainment, Cæsar very properly took him up with... Friend, pray how come you and I to be so familiar?' Great persons think themselves entertained with respect, when they are entertained with splendour."-South, Post Ser. Iviii.

5 St. Matt. xxvi. 13.



St. Luke xxii. 3, 4. St. Matthew xxvi. 15, 16.

St. Luke xxii.-Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

St. Matt. xxvi.—And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Satan, the adversary of God and man, finds in Judas a willing victim. It is as if the commander of a place should admit the enemy into the garrison. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you;"-but this traitor seems to have invited him to enter. This was to "give place to the devil." He is called Iscariot from Kerioth, the place of his unhappy birth, and to distinguish him from another Disciple of the same name. Let no other Judas be ever mistaken for this. It is noted again that he was of the number of the Twelve; the twelve who had special privileges and opportunities. This marks his ingratitude, and aggravates his sin. Let us not be scandalized at offences even in those who are admitted to be nearest to their Lord. There was a traitor even among the Twelve. How deliberate and cold-blooded was this crime ! Judas seems to have indulged his appetite for money till it overcame every other consideration. We must embrace every opportunity of opposing, as some do of encouraging, a besetting sin.' He seems to have made overtures to the chief among the Priests, and to those officers

1 "When any evil temper of any kind is gaining the mastery in any character, it naturally puts itself into all those conditions of life which afford the greatest indulgence to its inclinations. . . By grace, on the contrary, men seek to avoid those places and shares of their weakness.

Thus do men, as they advance in grace, not only grow out of the infirmities of their former nature, but also become freed from those occasions, which combined with those infirmities to draw them away from God. And it may be the devil ceases to tempt them at length in those points, which


among the Levites who had charge of the Temple, and to have talked the matter over with them. Their object was to get Jesus into their hands without the danger of a rescue or a tumult. That by friendly Galilæans they thought not impossible, this in the then crowded and excited state of the city likely enough. Judas offers to effect the matter for them for a little money. They appear to have haggled over the unholy bargain, and at last to have come to terms. He wanted to get as much as he could; they to give as little as they might. Finally they agree together for thirty pieces of silver, which they weighed out3 to him on the spot. There was something providential in this. It was the exact fulfilment of a precise prophecy. It was the price of a slave. So He "took upon Him the form of a servant." This does not make their crime less that God, foreseeing it, overruled it for His own wise purposes. Joseph's unnatural brethren were not the less guilty of manstealing because in the end benefit accrued to any. The crime is in the intent, not in the issue. If God brings good out of evil, this does not alter the character of the evil. They were consciously indulging their own passions, while they were unconsciously fulfilling Divine prophecies. Judas is henceforth on the watch for an opportunity. He has received his retaining fee, and hopes for more. What will not some men do for money? What will not others do for envy' or some other base passion? What a spectacle of depravity we have here! He who should have defended His Lord offering to betray Him! Those who should have been the first to receive the Christ, the very ones to procure His condemnation !

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