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 her a box of costly ointment. Too precious for her own use, it could not be too precious for Him. She would


and anoint Him with it in token of reverence and of love. 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 8 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" (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


i St. Matt. xxvi. 8. 2 Ointment of nard, or spikenard * There is nothing of necessity im(spica nardi) expressed from a plant plied in the original. of that name. Plin. Nat. Hist. xii. 12. 9 St. John xii. 29. 3 Cant. i. 12.

10 V. 6 and ch, xiii, 29. St. Mark xiv. 3.

11 Three

bundred denarii = s Ps. cxxxiii. 2.

£9 168. 5d. 6 See the 32nd Canto of In Memo- 12 Thirty shekels, estimated at riam.

about £3 108. 8d.

IV. 7.

[ocr errors]

pounds) was ready to betray his Lord. “Judas who had

. betrayed his trust, soon after betrayed his Master.” 1 Let those who are intrusted with any monies of others take warning here.



St. John xii. 7, 8.

Then said Jesus, Liet 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.


" 4

Judas, we find, was not singular in his objection; and all, we might learn from our Lord's remonstrance even if it had not been recorded elsewhere, 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

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

• St. Matt. xxvi. 10.
• 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

a 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.”5 This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.


1 “ The holocaust of love," so Jer. personal or domestic economy), that Taylor (Life of Christ, sec. xv.) calls it. God can be worshipped anywhere. “Give all thou canst; high Heaven

It is true. God may be worshipped rejects the lore

in a barn; and so we may live in a Of nicely calculated less or more.”- barn ; but this is no reason why, if we CCCCLXXII.

Wordsworth, Sonnet on King's can afford better, better should not be
Coll. Chapel,

given or had. Bare utility is not the See 2 Sa. xxiv. 24.

only measure of a thing. The rule, 2 St. John xiii. 29.

judging from David's just reflection 3 St. Mark xiv. 8.

(2 Sa. vii. 1, 2) would seem to be that • See Aug. in S. Jo. Tr. i. 7. On we must do according to our opporthe obvious lesson, Baxter observes tunities. “ When a Roman gentlein his Paraphrase, “ that as Piety is man invited Augustus Cæsar to supper, oft pretended by hypocrites against and provided him but a mean enterCharity, so is Charity here by Judas tainment, Cæsar very properly took against Piety; and there is no work him up with . . . 'Friend, pray how so good but may be opposed by very come you and I to be so familiar?' fair pretences.” We sometimes hear Great persons think themselves enterit used as an argument against the tained with respect, when they are improved feeling in the matter of entertained with splendour.”-South, churcb architecture, &c. (a species of Post Ser. Iviii. argument which those who use it 5 St. Matt. xxvi. 13. never think of applying to their own


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

I “When any evil temper of any Thus do men, as they advance in kind is gaining the mastery in any grace, not only grow out of the infircharacter, it naturally puts itself into mities of their former nature, but also all those conditions of life which become freed from those occasions, afford the greatest indulgence to its which combined with those infirmities inclinations. By grace, on the con- to draw them away from God. And trary, men seek to avoid those places it may be the devil ceases to tempt and suares of their weaknees... them at length in those points, which

[ocr errors]


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 out 3 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 !



become to them only the occasions of superseded the original custom of greater vigilance and prayer, and con- paying a certain weight of precious sequently of increasing strength. For metal. that which is to him who lives by 4 Zech. xi. 12. nature the occasion of sin, is to him 5 Exod. xxi. 32. who lives by grace only an oppor

6 Gen. xxxvii. 28. “ The difference tunity of victory.” — I. Williams, of the sum may have arisen out of the Thoughts on the Gospel, vii. 6.

difference of the age of the victim in · St. Luke xxii. 6.

either case.”-A Plain Commentary. ? St. Luke xxii. 59.

See Lev. xxvii. 5. 3 The phrase continued long after

· St. Mark xy. 10. the introduction of a regular coinage

« ElőzőTovább »