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Go, worst of traitors, hated and forlorn,
In the case of Judas Iscariot, we perceive what it is to forsake, and to be forsaken of, God.
The bitterness of self-reproach, and the stings of a guilty conscience were insupportable, and in a paroxysm of despair he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.—Matt. ch. xxvii. v. 5.
How unspeakable is the wretchedness of that man, whose conscience, from a sense of guilt and despair, is writhing under the wrath of God! “Let,” says Bishop South, “the boldest, the hardiest, and the securest sinner know this, that God is able, without touching him either in his estate, his health, his reputation, or any other outward enjoyment dear to him, but merely by letting a few drops of his wrath fall upon his guilty conscience, so to scald him with a lively sense of sin, that he shall live a continual terror to himself, carry about him a hell in his own breast, which shall echo to him such peals of vengeance every hour, that all the wine and music, all the honours and greatness of the world, shall not be able to minister the least ease to his heart-sick and desponding soul.”
And last of all, to that dread torture nailed. We have now to accompany our insulted Lord to Mount Calvary. “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah, ch. liii). But let us not suppose that the same calmness, which marked his outward demeanour, flowed through the channels of his heart.
The inner man, though patient and forbearing, was full of travail and engaged in the most earnest communion with his God. “Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.”—“I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children ; for the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the
; reproaches of them that reproach thee, are fallen upon me.
They that sit in the gate speak against me, and I was the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time. O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear
me, in the truth of thy salvation.”—“Let not the water-flood overflow me; neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.” (Psalm lxix). Whilst suffering on the cross, (88th Psalm): “My soul is full of troubles, and my life drawethnigh unto the grave.”—“I am as a man that hath no strength.”—“Thy wrath lieth hard upon me; and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves." In the bitterness of his torture and destitution, when his human nature could no longer keep silence, he exclaimed, "My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me?"
Christian, ask thyself—for whom were these unspeakable agonies endured? Let the Jew wag his head and mock, and let the infidel deride, the sufferings of thy Lord; but do thou
lament and mourn, stedfastly believe and never cease to be thankful.
The dread example of a faithless land. A circumstantial prophecy by Moses against the Jewish nation in the event of their disobedience to the commandments of God, is to be found in the 28th Chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, which evidently refers to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.
About fifteen hundred years after it was written, the prophecy was literally and awfully fulfilled. The detail of its fulfilment is recorded in the works of Josephus, the Jewish historian, who was an eye witness of the siege.
Our Blessed Lord, predicting the same event, emphatically declared, " For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be.”' (Matthew, ch. xxiv. 21). Accordingly, seventy years after the measure of the iniquities of the Jews had been filled up by their rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah, Titus appeared with his army before the walls of Jerusalem. He besieged it, and became the instrument in God's hands of bringing to pass upon this unhappy city the calamitous accomplishment of this prophecy, the horrors of which are without a parallel in the history of any country. The Jews were barbarously slaughtered by contending factions within, and by a besieging army without; "they suffered the want of all
things ;' they were driven by famine to devour their own offspring; families after families were starved, and found dead in their habitations ; multitudes were dissected alive for the gold which they had swallowed ; and thousands were whipped, tormented, and crucified. “The soldiers,” says Josephus, “out of wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies." These are a few of the tribulations which the Jews suffered during the siege of Jerusalem—and might not the lamentation of Jeremiah on a former calamity be aptly applied here? "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by ? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in his fierce anger." (Lamentations, ch. i. v. 12).
12). It may be answered—it is, indeed, a scene of the deepest importance to all who pass by-it is an awful lesson to every nation to which“ are entrusted the oracles of God." Let the Governments of such nations (it matters not of what form or party) never forget that the Bible is placed in their hands, " that they may observe to do all the words of this law, that are written in this book, that they may fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord their God.”—Let them never forget that the Jewish nation, to whom were originally entrusted the oracles of God, was visited by his fierce anger, “because she hearkened not
unto the voice of the Lord her God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded her.” (See Deut. xxviii.) “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God." (Hebrews, ch. x. v. 31).
The Jews are at this time fufilling the same prophecy, and therefore a standing testimony of the truth of the Scriptures. These are still in judicial blindness (except in comparatively a few instances), and scattered " among all people, from one end of the earth even unto the other.” (Deut. xxviii). There is, however, a feature in their case, very gratifying to every true Christian : viz. that the persecution of them appears to have almost ceased, and that their lives no longer “ hang in doubt before them."
Whether this fact afford any ground for a belief that their restoration is drawing near, it is not for the presumption of man to determine. Such an event remains with the councils of the Most High. Let it be sufficient for the christian world humbly to rejoice that the persecution of the Jews has thus far ceased. Let their restoration be an object of its prayers.
And when in glory thou shalt come again. The stream of time has flowed through a space of nearly six thousand years, and we are now existing in an era that marks the interval betwixt the ascension of our blessed Lord, and his coming again to hold the last grand assize,-an event