Life Of Jesus - Betrayal And Desertion
( Originally Published 1913 )
ONE of the darkest chapters in the history of our Saviour's life is this now before us. Here we see him betrayed into the hands of his enemies by one of his disciples and deserted by all the rest.
In studying this subject, we may look at the history of the betrayal and desertion, and then consider some of the lessons that it teaches.
The man who committed this awful crime was Judas Iscariot. He was one of the twelve whom Jesus chose, in the early part of his ministry, to be with him, all the time, to see all the mighty works that he did, and to hear all that he said in private as well as in public. He is called Judas Iscariot, to distinguish him from another of the disciples of the same name, viz., Judas, the brother of James. Different explanations have been given of the meaning of this name Iscariot. The most likely is, that it was used to denote the place of his birth. If this be so, then it was written at first, Judas-Ish-Kerioth —which means a man of Kerioth. And then this would show us that he belonged to a town in the southern part of Judah, called Kerioth.
We know nothing about Judas before we hear him spoken of as one of the twelve apostles. In the different lists of the names of the apostles, he is always mentioned last, because of the dreadful sin which he finally committed. When his name is mentioned he is generally spoken of as "the traitor "—or as the man "which also betrayed him." Jesus knew, of course, from the beginning, what kind of a man Judas was, and what he would do in the end. But, we have no reason to suppose that Judas himself had any idea of committing this horrible crime when he first became an apostle; or that the other apostles ever had the least suspicion of him. There can be no doubt that he took part with the other apostles when Jesus sent them before his face to "preach the gospel of the kingdom," and to perform "many mighty works." Yes, Judas, who afterwards betrayed his Master, preached the gospel and performed miracles in the name of Jesus. His fellow-disciples, so far from suspecting any harm of him, made him the treasurer of their little company, and let him "have the bag" and manage their money affairs. And this, may have been the very thing that ruined him.
The first time that we see anything wrong in Judas is at the supper given to our Lord at Bethany. We read about this in St. John 12: 1-9. On this occasion, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, brought a very precious box of ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus with it. Judas thought this ointment was wasted, and asked why it had not been sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor. This would be about forty-five or fifty dollars of our money. It is added—" This he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bore what was put therein." None of his disciples suspected Judas of being a thief at this time. These words were added, long after the death of Judas, when his true character was well known.
But, when Jesus rebuked Judas for finding fault with Mary, and praised her highly for what she had done, he was greatly offended. And then, it seems, he first made up his mind to do that terrible deed which has left so deep and dreadful a stain upon his memory. For we read—St. Matt. xxvi : 14-16—" Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests 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." The paltry sum for which Judas agreed to betray his Master was about fifteen dollars of our money—the price of a common slave.
Very soon after this Jesus met his disciples in that upper chamber of Jerusalem, to eat the Passover together for the last time. And Judas came with them. How could the wretched man venture into the presence of Jesus, when he had already agreed to betray him ?
But Jesus knew all about it. How startled Judas must have been when he heard Jesus say before them all—" One of you shall betray me." It is probable that Jesus said this to drive Judas out from his presence, for it must have been very painful to him to have him there. And, after Jesus had given the sop to Judas, to show by this that he knew who the traitor was, we read that—" Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said unto him, That thou doest do quickly." Then he "went immediately out; " and hastened to the chief priests to make arrangements for delivering Jesus unto them.
It is clear, I think, from this that Judas was not present while Jesus was instituting the Lord's Supper. It must have been a wonderful relief to Jesus when Judas left their little company. And we are not surprised to find it written—" When he was gone out Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him," St. John xiii : 31. Then followed the Lord's Supper; and the glorious things spoken of in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of St. John, and the great prayer in the 17th chapter. After this came the agony in the garden of Gethsemane.
Just as this was over, Judas appeared with the band of soldiers and servants of the chief priests "with lanterns, and torches, and weapons." Jesus went forth to meet them, and asked whom they were seeking. They answered, " Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. As soon as he had said unto them I am he, they went backward and fell to the ground." Then Judas came to Jesus according to the signal he had given them, and said, Hail, Master, and kissed him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? Then Peter drew his sword to defend his Master, and struck a servant of the high-priest, and cut off his right ear. Jesus touched the ear, and healed it; and told Peter to put up his sword. Then they came to Jesus and bound him, and led him away to the high-priest; and it is added : "Then all the disciples forsook him and fled." He was betrayed by one of his own disciples and forsaken by all the rest.
Nothing is said about Judas during the time of the trial of Jesus. Some suppose that he expected our Lord would deliver himself out of the hands of his enemies. We have no authority for thinking so. But, when he found, at last, that Jesus was condemned and was really to be put to death, his conscience smote him for what he had done. He brought back the thirty pieces of silver—the beggarly price he had received for betraying his Master—and threw them down at the feet of the chief priests, saying—" I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said—What is that to us? See thou to that. And he went and hanged himself."
This was the end of the wretched man, so far as this world is concerned. And such is the history of the betrayal and desertion of Jesus.
We might refer to many lessons taught us by this sad history, but we shall speak of only four, Two of these relate to Jesus, and two of them to Judas.
One of the lessons about Jesus, taught us here, refers to-THE LONELINESS OF HIS SUFFERINGS.
We all know how natural it is, when we are in trouble, to desire to have one near who loves us. The very first thing a child does when worried about anything is to run to its mother and throw itself into her loving arms. It would almost break the child's heart if it could not have its mother's presence and gentle sympathy at such a time.
And it is the same when we grow older. We naturally seek the company of our dearest friends in times of trouble. And it adds greatly to our suffering if we cannot have those we love near us when we are in sorrow. But, in the history of our Saviour's betrayal and desertion, we see how it was with him. In the midst of his great trouble, when the wrath of God, occasioned by our sins, was pressing heavily upon him, he was betrayed into the hands of his enemies by one of the little band of his own chosen followers. How much this must have added to his sorrow ! And if the rest of his apostles had only stood by him faithfully, as they had promised to do, during that night of sorrow, it would have been some comfort to him. But they did not. As soon as they saw the traitor Judas deliver him into the hands of his enemies, we read these sad, and melancholy words, "Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled!" How hard this must have been for Jesus to bear ! The cup of his sorrows was full before; this must have made it overflow. He knew it was coming. For, not long before, he had told them that "the hour was coming, when they would be scattered, and leave him alone." This shows how deeply he felt, and feared this loneliness. Seven hundred years before he came into our world, the prophet Isaiah represented him as saying--" I have trod-den the wine-press alone," chap. lxiii : 3. And this was what he was doing now. In the midst of the multitudes he came to save he was left—alone. There was not an earthly friend to stand by him—to speak a kind word to him—or to show him any sympathy in this time of his greatest sorrow. The only comfort left to him was the thought that his Father in heaven had not forgotten him.
When he spoke of his disciples leaving him alone, he said, "And yet, I am not alone, because the Father is with me." St. John xvi : 32.
Jesus never forgets how lonely he felt at this time; and he loves to come near and comfort us when we are left alone. We should always remember at such times how well able he is to help and comfort us.
Here are some simple illustrations of the blessing which those find who look to Jesus in their loneliness.
An aged Christian was carried to a consumptives' hospital to die. He had no relation or friend to be near him except the nurse and the doctor. Yet he always seemed bright and happy. The doctor, in talking with him one day, asked him how it was that he could be so resigned and cheerful ? His reply was—" When I am able to think, I think of Jesus; and when I am not able to think of him, I know he is thinking of me."
And this was just the way King David felt when he said, "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me."
"Not Alone." Little Bessie was sitting on the piazza. The nurse came in and found her there. "Ah! Bessie dear, all alone in the dark," said the nurse, "and yet not afraid? "
"No, indeed," said little Bessie, " for I am not all alone. God is here. I look up and see the stars, and God seems to be looking down at me with his bright eyes."
"To be sure," said the nurse, but God is up in the sky, and that is a great way off."
"No," said Bessie; "God is here too; some-times He seems to be clasping me in his arms, and then I feel so happy."
"The Help of Feeling Jesus Near." There was a poor man in a hospital. He was just about to undergo a painful and dangerous operation. They laid him out ready, and the doctors were about to begin, when he asked them to wait a moment. "What shall we wait for?" was the inquiry of one of the doctors.
"Oh, wait a moment," said he, "till I ask the Lord Jesus Christ to stand by my side. I know it will be dreadful hard to bear; but it will be such a comfort to think that Jesus is near me."
One thing we are taught by the betrayal and desertion of Christ, is the loneliness of his sufferings.
Another thing, taught us by this part of our Saviour's history is-HIS WILLINGNESS TO SUFFER.
We often make up our minds to suffer certain things, because we have no power to help it.
But it was not so with Jesus. He had power enough to have saved himself from suffering, if he had chosen to do so. Sometime before this, when he was speaking to his disciples about his death, or, as he called it, laying down his life, he said-" No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take. it again." John x : 18. And he showed plainly what his power was at the very time of his betrayal. When his enemies came to take him, he "went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he." John xviii : 4. But he put such wonderful power into these simple words-"I am he"—that, the moment they heard them, the whole multitude, soldiers, servants, and all, fell to the ground before him. It was nothing but the power of Jesus which produced this strange effect. It seems as if Jesus did this, on purpose to show that the mighty power by which he had healed the sick, and raised the dead, and cast out devils, and walked on the water, and controlled the stormy winds and waves, was in him still. He was not taken by his enemies because he had no power to help himself. The same power which made his enemies fall to the ground with a word could have held them there while he walked away; or could have scattered them, as the chaff is scattered by the whirlwind; or could have made the earth open and swallow them up. But he did not choose to exercise it in any of these ways. He was willing to suffer for us; and so he allowed himself to be taken.
As the Jews were seizing him Peter drew his sword, and smote one of the servants of the high-priest, and cut off his right ear. Jesus touched the ear, and healed it, in a moment, thus showing again what power he had. Then he told Peter to put up his sword, and said—"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels ? " St. Matt. xxvi : 53. A full Roman legion contained six thou-sand men. Jesus had power enough in his own arm to keep himself from being taken, if he had chosen to use it. And more than seventy thousand angels would have flown with lightning speed to his deliverance, if he had but lifted his finger; or said—" come." There was so much power in himself, and so much power in heaven, at his command, that all the soldiers Rome ever had could not have taken him, unless he had been willing to be taken. But he was willing. And when they came to crucify him, all the nails ever made could not have fastened him to the cross, unless he had been willing to be fastened there. But his wonderful love for you and for me and for a world of lost sinners, made him willing to be fastened there, to suffer and to die, that our sins might be pardoned and that we might enter heaven.
And it is the thought of this amazing love of Christ, making him willing to suffer for us, which gives to the story of the cross the marvellous power it has to melt the hardest hearts and win the worst of men to his service. There is a power in love to do what nothing else can do,-to make men good and holy. And this is what we are taught when told that—" Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." I. Peter iii: 18. And when we find people acting in this way towards each other in everyday life it has just the same effect. Here is an illustration of what I mean. We may call it:
"The Power of Love; or, The Just for the Unjust." In a town near Paris, is a school for teaching poor homeless boys who are found wandering about the streets of that city and are growing up in idleness and crime.
When one of the boys breaks the rules of the school and deserves punishment, the rest of the school are called together, like a jury, to decide what shall be done with the offender. One of the punishments is confinement for several days in a dungeon, called "the black-hole." The prisoner is put on a short allowance of food, and, of course, forfeits all the liberties of the other boys.
After the boys have, in this way, passed sentence on one of their companions and the master approves of it, this question is put to the rest of the school: "Will any of you become this boy's substitute? i. e., take his place, and bear his punishment, and let him go free? " And it generally happens that some little friend of the criminal comes forward and offers to bear the punishment instead of him. Then the only punishment the real offender has to bear is to carry the bread and water to his friend as long as he is confined in the dungeon. In this way, it generally happens that the most stub-born and hard-hearted boys are melted down, by seeing their companions willingly suffering for them what they know they deserved to suffer themselves.
Not long ago, a boy about nine or ten years old, named Pierre, was received into this school. He was a boy whose temper and conduct were so bad that he had been dismissed from several schools. He behaved pretty well at first; but soon his bad temper broke out, and one day he quarrelled with a boy about his own age, named Louis, and stabbed him in the breast with a knife.
Louis was carried bleeding to his bed. His wound was painful, but not dangerous. The boys were assembled, to consult about what was to be done with Pierre. Louis was a great favorite with the boys, and they all agreed at once that Pierre should be turned out of the school and never allowed to come back.
This was a very natural sentence under the circumstances, but the master thought it was not a wise one. He said that if Pierre was turned out of school, he would grow worse and worse, and probably end his life on the gallows. He asked them to think again. They then agreed upon a long imprisonment, without saying how long it was to be. They were asked as usual, if any one was willing to go to prison instead of Pierre. But no one offered and he was marched off to prison.
After some days, when the boys were all together, the master asked again if any one was willing to take Pierre's place. A feeble voice was heard, saying-" I will." To the surprise of every one this proved to be Louis—the wounded boy, who was just getting over the effect of his wound.
Louis went to the dungeon and took the place of the boy who had tried to kill him ; while Pierre was set at liberty. For many days he went to the prison carrying the bread and water to Louis, but with a feeling of pride and anger in his heart.
But at last he could bear it no longer. The sight of his kind-hearted, generous friend, still pale and feeble from the effects of his wound, pining in prison—living on bread and water—and willingly suffering all this for him-who had tried to murder him—this was more than he could bear. His fierce temper and stubborn pride broke down under it. The generous love of Louis had fairly conquered him. He went to the master, fell down at his feet, and with bitter tears confessed his fault, begged to be for-given, and promised to be a good boy.
He kept his promise, and became one of the best boys in the school.
And so it is the love of Christ in being willing to suffer for us that wins the hearts and lives of men to him, and gives to the story of the cross all its power.
The willingness of Christ to suffer is the second thing taught us by the history of the betrayal and desertion.
These are the two things taught us about Jesus by this history : his loneliness in suffering, and his willingness to suffer.
But, there are are two things taught us about Judas, also, by this history.
One of these iS-THE POWER OF SIN.
The sin of Judas was covetousness, or "the love of money." The apostle Paul tells us that this-" is the root of all evil." I. Tim. vi : 10. The little company of the apostles made Judas their treasurer. He carried the purse for them. He received the money that was contributed for their expenses, and paid out what was needed from day to day. We may suppose that, soon after his appointment to this office, he found himself tempted to take some of this money for his own use. Perhaps he only took a penny or two, at first, but then he soon went on to take more. Now, if he had watched and striven against this temptation, at the very first, and had prayed for strength to resist: it, what a different man he might have been ! There is an old proverb which says —" Resist the beginnings." Our only safety is in doing this. Judas neglected to resist the beginning of his temptation and the end of it was his ruin. We never can tell what may come out of one sin that is not resisted.
If you want to sink a ship at sea, it is not necessary to make half a dozen big holes in her side; one little hole, which you might stop with your finger, if left alone, will be enough to sink that ship. Judas gave himself up to the power of one sin, and that led him on to betray his Master.
Let us look at some illustrations of the power of one sin.
"Clara's Obstinacy." Little Clara Cole was saying her prayers one evening before going to bed. Part of her evening prayer was the simple hymn—"And now I lay me down to sleep." When she came to the last line she stopped short and would not say it. "Go on, my dear, and finish it," said her mother. "I can't," she said, although she knew it perfectly well, and had said it hundreds of times before. "Oh, yes ! go right on, my child."
"No; I can't." "My dear child, what makes you talk so ? Say the last line directly."
But, in spite of her mother's positive commands and loving entreaties, Clara was obstinate, and would not do it. "Very well," said Mrs. Cole at last: "you can get into bed; but you will not get up till you have said that line."
Next morning Mrs. Cole went into Clara's room as soon as she heard her stir. "Now, Clara," she said pleasantly, "say the line, and jump up.
"I can't say it," said Clara, obstinately, and she actually lay in bed all that day, and part of the next rather than give up. The second day was her birthday and a number of little girls had been invited, in the evening, to her birthday party. That little, strong, cruel will of hers held out till three o'clock; then she said, "I pray the Lord my soul to take," and bursting into tears asked her mother's forgiveness.
How much power there was in that one sin ! No one can tell what trouble it might have caused that poor child if she had not been taught to conquer it. But after that it never gave her much trouble.
"One Drop of Evil." "I don't see why you won't let me play with Willie Hunt," said Walter Kirk, with a frown and a pout. "I know he doesn't always mind his mother. He smokes segars, and once in a while he swears just a little; but I've been brought up better than that; he won't hurt me. I might do him some good."
"Walter," said his mother, "take this glass of pure water, and put just one drop of ink into it."
Walter did so, and then in a moment exclaimed, "Oh ! mother, who would have thought that one drop would blacken a whole glass so! "
"Yes, it has changed the color of the whole. And now just put one drop of clear water in it, and see if you can undo what has been done."
"Why, mother, one drop, or a dozen, or fifty won't do that."
"That's so, my son; and that is the reason why I don't want you to play with Willie Hunt. For one drop of his evil ways, like the drop of ink in the glass, may do you harm that never can be undone."
Here we see the power of a single sin.
"One Worm Did It." One day a gentleman in England, went out with a friend who was visiting him, to take a walk in the park. As they were walking along, he drew his friend's attention to a large sycamore tree, withered and dead.
"That fine tree," said he, "was killed by a single worm."
In answer to his friend's inquiries, he said:
"About two years ago, that tree was as healthy as any in the park. One day I was walking out with a friend, as we are walking now, when I noticed a wood-worm about three inches long forcing its way under the bark of the tree. My friend, who knew a great deal about trees, said-`Let that worm alone, and it will kill this tree.' I did not think it possible, and said—'well, we'll let the black worm try, and see what it can do.' "
The worm tunnelled its way under the bark. The next summer the leaves of the tree dropped off, very early. This year the tree has not put out a single green leaf. It is a dead tree. That one worm killed it.
Here we see the power of one sin. The third lesson taught us by the history of the betrayal and desertion, is—the power of sin.
The fourth lesson taught us by this history is Solomon says, "The beginning of strife"—and the same is true of all sin-" is as when one letteth out water." Prov. xvii : 14. There is a bank of earth that keeps the water of a mill-dam in its place. You notice one particular spot where the bank seems weak. The water is beginning to make its way through. At first, it only just trickles down, drop by drop. By and by, the drops come faster. Now, they run into each other, and make a little rill. Every moment the breach grows wider and deeper, till, at last, there is a roaring torrent rushing through that nothing can stop.
Every sin is like a seed. If it be planted in the heart and allowed to spring up, no one can tell what it will grow into. Suppose, that you and I knew nothing about the growth of trees. We are sitting under the wide-spreading branches of a vast oak tree. A friend picks up a tiny, little acorn, and holding it up before us, says—"This giant tree, under whose shade we are sitting, has all grown out of a little acorn, like this." It would seem impossible to us. We could hardly be made to believe it. But we need no argument to prove this. We know it is so.
But the growth of sin in the hearts and lives of men is quite as surprising as the growth of trees in the forest. We see this in the case of Judas. Suppose that we could have seen him when he first let his love of money lead him to do wrong. Perhaps he only stole a penny or two, at first. That was not much. And then, suppose we had not seen Judas again till the night in which he had made up his mind to commit that greatest and most awful of all sins —the sin of betraying his Master ! what a wonderful change we should have seen in him ! The growth of a river from a rill—of a giant oak from a tiny acorn-would not be half so surprising as the monstrous growth in wickedness that we should have seen in Judas. When we saw him committing his first sin, he was like a little child. When we saw him committing his last awful sin—the child had sprung up into a huge, horrible giant. Jesus said he had become a devil. St. John vi : 70. How fearful it is to think of such growth in wickedness! And yet, if we allow the seed of sin to be sown in our hearts, and to spring up there, we cannot tell but what its growth may be as fearful in us as it was in Judas.
Let us look at some illustrations of the growth of sin.
"The Growth of Lying." Some time ago a little boy told his first falsehood. It was like a solitary little thistle seed, sown in the mellow soil of his heart. No eye but that of God saw him as he planted it. But, it sprung up-O, how quickly! and, in a little time, another seed dropped from it into the ground, and then an-other, and another, each in its turn bearing more and more of those troublesome thistles. And now, his heart is like a field of which the weeds have taken entire possession. It is as difficult for him to speak the truth as it is for the gardener to clear his land of the ugly thistles that have once gained a rooting in the soil.
"The Snake and the Spider." A black snake, about a foot long, lay sunning itself on a garden-bed one summer's day. A spider had hung out his web on the branches of a bush, above where the snake lay. He saw the huge monster lying there, for huge indeed he was compared to the little spider, and he concluded to take him prisoner. But, you ask, is not the snake a thousand times stronger than the spider? Certainly he is. Then how can he take him prisoner? Well, let us see how he did it. The spider spun out a fine, slender thread. He slipped down, and touched the snake with it. It stuck. He took another, and touched him with that, and that stuck too. He went on industriously. The snake lay quiet. Another, and another thread, was fastened to him, till there were hundreds and thousands of them. And, by and by, those feeble threads, not one of which was strong enough to hold the smallest fly, when greatly multiplied, were strong enough to make the snake a prisoner. The spider webbed him round and round, till, at last, when the snake tried to move, he found it was impossible. The web had grown strong out of its weakness. By putting one strand here, and another there, and drawing, first on one, and then on another, the spider had the snake bound fast, from head to tail, to be a supply of food for himself and family for a long while.
And so, if we give way even to little sins, they may make us their prisoner as the spider did the snake, and before we are aware of it, we may be bound hand and foot and unable to help ourselves.
"Sin Like a Whirlpool." The Columbia river, in Oregon, has a great bend in it at one place where it passes through a mountain range. When the water in the river is high there is a dangerous whirlpool in this part of the river. An officer connected with the United States Exploring Expedition was going down this river, some years ago, in a boat which was manned by ten Canadians. When they reached this bend in the river, they thought the water was so low that the whirlpool would not be dangerous. So they concluded to go down the river in the boat, as this would save them the labor of carrying the boat with its baggage across the portage to the place where they would take the river again below the rapids. But, the officer was put on shore, to walk across the portage. He had to climb up some high rocks. From the top of these rocks he had a full view of the river beneath and of the boat in her passage. At first, she seemed to skim over the waters like a bird. But, soon he saw they were in trouble. The struggles of the oarsmen and the shouts of the man at the helm showed that there was danger from the whirl-pool, when they thought there would be none. He saw the men bend on their oars with all their might. But, in spite of all, the boat lost its straightforward course, and was drawn into the whirl. It swept round and round, with in-creasing force and swiftness. No effort they could make had the least control of it. A few more turns, each more rapid than the rest, and at last, the centre was reached; and the boat, with all her crew, was drawn into the dreadful whirlpool, and disappeared. Only one of the ten bodies was found afterwards, in the river below; and that was all torn and mangled by the rocks, against which it had been dashed.
Just such a whirlpool is sin. Judas was drawn into it when he first gave way to his covetousness and began to steal money from the purse with which he was entrusted. Like the men in the boat, he soon lost all control of himself and was carried round and round, till at last he was "drowned in destruction and perdition."
And thus we have considered the history of the betrayal and the lessons that it teaches. Two of these lessons refer to Jesus. They show us the loneliness of his sufferings, and his willingness to suffer. Two of them refer to Judas. They show us the power, and the growth of sin.
There is a beautiful Collect in the Prayer Book which is very suitable to use in connection with such a subject as this. It is the Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, and teaches us to pray thus:
"O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature, we cannot always stand upright; grant to us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."
The blessings asked for in this prayer are just what we need amidst the dangers and temptations that surround us in this evil world. If we only obtain for ourselves "the strength and protection" here prayed for, and which God has promised to give to those who truly seek it, we need not be afraid either of the power or the growth of sin. This strength will be a safeguard to us against the power of sin, and this protection will check the growth of sin in our hearts. It will indeed, "support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations." If Judas had used such a prayer as this, and had earnestly sought "the strength and protection" here spoken of, he would never have been known as "the traitor," and the end of his earthly life would never have been wound up with this shameful sentence—"he went and hanged himself." But, as wrecks along the shore show us where the danger lies, so, when we see the wrecks we should try to avoid the rocks on which they struck and go on our way in safety.
I know not how to finish this subject better than for each of us to say, in the words of the hymn:
"My soul, be on thy guard ;
"0 watch, and fight, and pray;