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Considerations on the death

CHAP. I.

and final state of Judas Iscariot.

Messiah, would be a secular kingdom ; and that his own se curable disease : and it came to pass that, after the end of cular interests must be promoted by his attachment to Christ. two years, his BOF ELS FELL OUT, by reason of his sickOf this mind all the disciples seem to have been, previously ness; so he died of sore diseases; Oxynna bethachaluim, to the resurrection of Christ. 2. From long observation of with inflammations, or ulcers. The death of Ilerod was his Master's conduct, he was now convinced, that he intended probably of the same kind, Acts xii. 22. That of Aristo. to erect no such kingdom ; and that consequently the expec-bulus, as described by Josephus, War, book i. chap. 3. is tations which he had built on the contrary supposition, must of a similar nature : having murdered his mother and bro. be ultimately disappointed. 3. Being poor and covetous, and ther, his mind was greatly terrified, and his bowels being finding there was no likelihood of his profiting by being a torn with excruciating torments, he voided much blood, and disciple of Christ, he formed the resolution (probably at the died in miserable agonies. Again, in his Antiq. book xv. instigation of the chief priests) of betraying him for a sum of chap. 10. sect. 3. he thus describes the death of Zenodorus : money sufficient to purchase a small inheritance, on which he “ His bowels bursting, and his strength exhausted by the had already cast his eye. 4. Well knowing the uncontrollable loss of much blood, he died at Antioch in Syria.” power of his Master, he might take it for granted, that though Taking it for granted, that the death of Judas was pro. betrayed, he would extricate himself from their hands; and that bably such as related above; collating all the facts and evithey would not be capable of putting him either to pain or dences together, can any hope be formed that he died within death. 5. That having betrayed him, and finding that he did the reach of mercy? Let us review the whole of these not exert his power to deliver himself out of the hands of transactions. the Jews; and seeing from their implacable malice, that the I. It must be allowed that his crime was one of the most murder of his most innocent Master was likely to be the con- | inexcusable ever committed by man: nevertheless, it has sequence, he was struck with deep compunction at his own some alleviations. 1. It is possible that he did not think conduct, went to the chief priests, confessed his own profli- || his Master could be hurt by the Jews. 2. When he found gacy, proclaimed the innocence of his Master, and returned that he did not use his power to extricate himself from the money for which he had betrayed him ; probably hoping their hands, he deeply relented that he had betrayed him. that they might be thus influenced to proceed no farther in 3. He gave every evidence of the sincerity of his repentance, this unprincipled business, and immediately dismiss Christ. I by going openly to the Jewish rulers, (1.) Confessing his 6. Finding that this made no impression upon them, from own guilt; (2.) Asserting the innocence of Christ ; (3.) Retheir own words, What is that to us ? See thou to that ; and turning the money which he had received from them; and that they were determined to put Jesus to death, seized with then, (4.) the genuineness of his regret was proved by its horror at his crime and its consequences, the remorse and being the cause of his death. agitation of his mind produced a violent dysentery attended But, II. Judas might have acted a much worse part than with powerful inflammation (which in a great variety of cases, he did, 1. By persisting in his wickedness. 2. By slanderhas been brought on by strong mental agitation) and while ing the character of our Lord, both to the Jewish rulers and the distressful irritation of his bowels obliged him to with to the Romans; and had he done so, his testimony would draw for relief : he was overwhelmed with grief and aflic- have been credited, and our Lord would then have been put tion, and having fallen from the seat, his bowels were found to death as a malefutor, on the testimony of one of his own to have gushed out, through the strong spasmodic affections disciples; and thus the character of Christ and his gospel with which the disease was accompanied. I have known must have suffered extremely in the sight of the world; and cases of this kind, where the bowels appeared to come lite- these very circumstances would have been pleaded against rally away by piece-meal.

the authenticity of the Christian religion by every infidel, Now, when we consider that the word atrygato, Matt. in all succeeding ages. And, 3. Had he persisted in his xxvii. 5. which we translate hanged himself, is by the very evil way, he might have lighted such a flame of persecution best critics thus rendered, was choaked ; and that the words against the infant cause of Christianity, as must, without of the sacred historian in this place, falling headlong, he the intervention of God, have ended in its total destruction : burst asunder in tke midst, und all his bowels gushed out, now, he neither did, nor endeavoured to do any of these may be no other than a delicate mode of expressing the things. In other cases, these would be powerful pleadings. circumstance to which I have alluded under observation 6.

Judas was indisputably a bad man; but he might have perhaps this way of reconciling and explaining the evange- been worse : we may plainly see that there were depths of list and historian, will appear not only probable, but the wickedness to which he might have proceeded, and which most likely. To strengthen this interpretation, a few facts were prevented by his repentance. Thus things appear to may be adduced of deaths brought about in the same way stand previously to his end. But is there any room for hope with that, in which I suppose Judas to have perished. The in his death? In answer to this, it must be understood, 1. death of Jehoram is thus related 2 Chron. xxi. 18, 19. And That there is presumptive evidence that he did not destroy after all this, the Lord smote him in his bowels with an in-1 himself; and, 2. that his repentance was sincere. If so, was

Considerations on the death

THE ACTS.

and final state of Judas Iscariot.

it not possible for the mercy of God to extend even to his And whosoever does not attend to the honour of his Creacase? It did so to the murderers of the Son of God; and tor, it were better for him had he never been born.they were certainly worse men (strange as this assertion may

In SHEMOTH RABBA, sect. 40. fol. 135. 1, 2. it is said, appear) than Judas. Even he gave them the fullest proof“ Whosoever knows the law, and does not do it, it had been of Christ's innocence: their buying the field with the money better for him'had he never come into the world.Judas threw down, was the full proof of it; and yet, with In VAYIKRA RABBA, sect. 36. fol. 179. 4. and MIDRASH every convincing evidence before them, they crucified our COHELETH, fol. 91. 4. it is thus expressed, “ It were better Lord. They excited Judas to betray his Master, and cruci- for him had he never been created; and it would have been fied him when they had got him into their power, and there better for him had he been strangled in the womb, and never fore St. Stephen calls them both the betrayers and murderers have seen the light of this world." of that Just One, Acts vii. 52. in these respects they were

In Sonar Genes. fol. 71. col. 282. it is said, “ If any more deeply criminal than Judas himself; yet even to those man be parsimonious towards the poor, it had been better for very betrayers and murderers, Peter preaches repentance, him had he never come into the world.Ibid. fol. 84. col. with the promise of remission of sins, and the gift of the 333. “ If any performs the law, not for the sake of the law, Holy Ghost, Acts iii. 12—26. If then, these were within the it were good for that man had he never been created." These reach of mercy, and we are informed that a great company examples sufficiently prove that this was a common proverb, of the priests became obedient to the faith, Acts vi. 7. then and is used with a great variety and latitude of meaning; certainly Judas was not in such a state as precluded the and seems intended to shew, that the case of such and such possibility of his salvation. Surely the blood of the covenant persons was not only very deplorable, but extremely dangercould wash out even his stain, as it did that more deeply ous; but does not imply the positive impossibility either of engrained one, of the other betrayers and murderers of the their repentance or salvation. Lord Jesus.

The utmost that can be said for the case of Judas is this : Should the 25th verse be urged against this possibility, be- he committed a heinous act of sin and ingratitude ; but he cause it is there said that Judas fell from his ministry and repented, and did what he could to undo his wicked act: he apostleship, that he might go to his own place, and that this had committed the sin unto death, i. e. a sin that involves place is hell: I answer, 1. It remains to be proved that this the death of the body ; but who can say, (if mercy was ofplace means hell; and, 2. It is not clear that the words are fered to Christ's murderers, and the gospel was first to be spoken of Judas at all, but of Matthias : his own place preached at Jerusalem, that these very murderers might have meaning that vacancy in the apostolate, to which he was the first offer of salvation through him whom they had then elected. See the note on ver. 25.

pierced,) that the same mercy could not be extended to To say that the repentance of Judas was merely the effect | wretched Judas ? I contend, that the chief priests, &c. of his horror; that it did not spring from compunction of who instigated Judas to deliver up his Master, and who cruheart ; that it was legal, and not evangelical, &c. &c. is cified him; and who crucified him too as a malefactor, havsaying what none can with propriety say, but God himself, | ing at the same time, the most indubitable evidence of his who searches the heart. What renders his case most despe- innocence, were worse men than Judas Iscariot himself; and rate, are the words of our Lord, Matt. xxvi. 24. Woe unto that if mercy was extended to those, the wretched penitent that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It had been traitor did not die out of the reach of the yearning of its good for that man if he had not been born! I have con bowels. And I contend farther, that there is no positive sidered this saying in a general point of view, in my note evidence of the final damnation of Judas in the sacred text. on Matt. xxvi. 24. and were it not a proverbial form of I hope it will not displease the humane reader, that I have speech among the Jews to express the state of any flagrant entered so deeply into the consideration of this most deplotransgressor, I should be led to apply it, in all its literal rable case. I would not set up knowingly, any plea against import, to the case of Judas, as I have done in the above the claims of justice ; and God forbid that a sinner should note, to the case of any damned soul : but when I find that be found capable of pleading against the cries of mercy in it was a proverbial saying, and that it has been used in many behalf of a fellow culprit. Daily, innumerable cases occur cases, where the fixing of the irreversible doom of a sinner of persons who are betraying the cause of God, and selling, is not implied, it may be capable of a more favourable inter- in effect, Christ and their souls for money. Every covetous pretation than what is generally given to it. I shall produce man, who is living for this world alone, is of this stamp. a few of those examples from Schoettgen, to which I have And yet, while they live, we do not despair of their salva. referred in my note on Matt. xxvi. 24.

tion, though they are continually repeating the sin of Judas, In CHAGIGA1, fol.ii. 2. it is said, “Whoever considers these with all its guilt and punishment before their eyes! Reader, four things, it would have been better for him had he never learn from thy Lord this lesson, blessed are the merciful, for come into the world, viz. That which is above ; that which they shall obtain mercy. The case is before the Judge ; and is below; that which is before ; and that which is behind. ll the Judge of all the earth will do right.

Account of the descent of the

CHAP. II.

Holy Spirit on the day of pentecost.

CHAPTER II. The day of pentecost being arrived, and the disciples assembled, the Holy Spirit descended as a mighty rushing

wind, and in the likeness of fiery tongues sat upon them ; in consequence of which, they were all enabled to speak different languages, which they had never learned, 1-4. An account of persons from various countries who were present, and were astonished to hear the apostles declare the wonderful works of God in their respective languages, 5–12. Some cavil, 13. and are confounded by Peter, who asserts, that this work is of God; and that thereby a most important prophecy was fulfilled, 14–21. He takes occasion from this to preach Jesus to them, as the true Lord and only Messiah, 22-36. The people are alarmed and convinced, and enquire what they shall do, 37. He exhorts them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, that they may receide remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, 38—40. They gladly receive his word, about three thousand are baptized and added to the church in one day; they continue stedfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship 41, 42. The apostles work many miracles ; and the disciples have all things in common, and live in a state of great happiness and christian fellowship, 4347. A. M. 4039.

ND when · the day of Pentecost || ven as of a rushing mighty wind, and 4. M. 4088. An. Olymp. was fully come, "they were all lit filled all the house where they were An. Olymp. with one accord in one place.

sitting 2 And suddenly there came a sound from hea 3 And there appeared unto them cloven

A.D. 29.

AN

CC11. 1.

CCII. 1.

· Lev. 23. 15. Deut. 16. 9. ch. 20. 16. ch. 1. 14.

• Ch. 4. 91.

NOTES ON CHAP. II.

the pentecost, God gave his law on Mount Sinai, accompaVerse 1. When the day of Pentecost was fully come] | nied with thunderings and lightnings. On the pentecost, The feast of pentecost was celebrated fifly days after the pass God sent down his Holy Spirit, like a rushing mighty wind; over; and has its name TEVTEXOSTY, from TEVTIKOVTA fifty, || and tongues of fire sat upon each disciple, in order that by which is compounded of Tevta five, and exorta. the decimal his influence, that new law of light and life might be protermination. It commenced on the fiftieth day, reckoned mulgated and established. Thus, the analogy between the from the first day of unleavened bread, i. e. on the morrow Egyptian bondage and the thraldom occasioned by sin ; the after the pascal lamb was offered. The law relative to this deliverance from Egypt, and the redemption from sin ; the feast is found in Lev. xxiii. 15, 16. in these words : And ye | giving of the law, with all its emblematic accompaniments, shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from and the sending down the Holy Spirit, with its symbols of the day that ye brought the sheaf of the ware-offering ; seven light, life, and power, has been exactly preserved. 4. At sabbaths shall he complete : even unto the morrow after the the Jewish pass-over, Christ was degraded, humbled, and seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days. This feast was ignominiously put to death : at the following festival, the instituted in commemoration of the giving the law on Mount | pentecost, he was highly glorified; and the all-conquering Sinai ; and is therefore sometimes called, by the Jews, and ever-during might of his kingdom then commenced. The nhin nnou shimchath torah, the joy of the law; and fre- Holy Spirit seems to have designed all these analogies, to quently, the feast of weeks. There is a correspondence be shew that through all preceding ages, God had the dispentween the giving of the law, which is celebrated by this feast sation of the gospel continually in view ; and that the old of pentecost, together with the crucifixion of our Lord, | law and its ordinances were only designed as preparatives for which took place at the pass-over; and this descent of the Holy Spirit, which happened at this pentecost. 1. At the They were all with one accord in one place.] It is proba. pass-over, the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bond ble that the all here mentioned, means the 120 spoken of age : this was a type of the thraldom in which the human | chap. i. 15. who were all together at the election of Matthias. race were to Satan and sin. 2. At the pass-over, Jesus With one accord, quodupadov; this word is very expressive; Christ, who was typified by the pascal lamb, was sacrificed | it signifies that all their minds, affections, desires, and wishes for the sin of the world, and by this sacrifice, redemption were concentered in one object, every man having the same from sin and Satan is now procured and proclaimed. 3. On lend in view; and having but one desire, they had but one

the new.

Account of the descent of the

THE ACTS.

.

Holy Spirit on the day of pentecost.

A.M, 1033. tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon | Holy Ghost, and began to speak with A. M. 1038. An. Olymp. each of them.

other tongues, as

the Spirit gave An. Olymp. CCII.1.

4 And a they were all filled with the them utterance.

A. D. 29,

CCII. 1.

a Ch. 1. 5. Mark 16.17. ch. 10.46. & 19.6. |1 Cor. 12.10,28,30. & 13. 1. & 14.2, &c.

they need.

of a

prayer to God, and every heart uttered it. There was no person both the Scriptures, and the Jewish writings amply prove. uninterested; none unconcerned, none lukewarm; all were Thus God manifested himself to Moses, when he appointed in earnest : and the Spirit of God came down to meet their him to deliver Israel, Exod. iii. 2, 3. and thus he manifested united faith and prayer. When any assembly of God's peo- himself when he delivered the Law on Mount Sinai, Exod. ple meet in the same spirit, they may expect every blessing xix. 16—20. The Jews, in order to support the pretensions

of their Rabbins, as delivering their instructions by divine In one place.. Where this place was, we cannot tell : it authority and influence, represent them as being surrounded was probably in the temple, as seems to be intimated in ver. with fire while they were delivering their lectures, and that 46. where it is said they were daily,' quosuu.adov Ev Tw leow, their words, in consequence, penetrated and exhilarated the with one accord in the temple ; and as this was the third hour souls of their disciples. Some of the Mohammedans repreof the day, ver. 15. which was the Jewish hour of morning sent divine inspiration in the same way. In a fine copy prayer, as the ninth hour was the hour of evening prayer, Persian work, entitled Ajaeeb al Makhlookat, or Wonders of chap. iii. 1. it is most probable that the temple was the place Creation, now before me, where a marred account of Abra. in which they were assembled.

ham's sacrifice, mentioned Gen. xv. 9–17. is given, instead Verse 2. A sound from heaven] Probably thunder is of the burning lamp passing between the divided pieces of nicant, which is the harbinger of the divine presence. the victim, ver. 17. Abraham is represented standing between

Rushing mighty wind] The passage of a large portion of four fowls, the cock, the peacock, the duck, and the crow, electrical fluid over that place, would not only occasion the with his head almost wrapt in a flame of lambent fire, as the sound, or thunder, but also the rushing mighty wind; as the emblem of the divine communication made to him of the fuair would rush suddenly and strongly into the vacuum occa ture prosperity of his descendants. The painting in which sioned by the rarefaction of the atmosphere in that place, this is represented, is most exquisitely finished. This notion through the sudden passage of the electrical fluid ; and the of the manner in which divine intimations were given, was wind would follow the direction of the fire. There is a good | not peculiar to the Jews and Arabians ; it exists in all coundeal of similarity between this account, and that of the appear-tries; and the glories which appear round the heads of ance of God to Elijah, 1 Kings xix. 11, 12. where the strong Chinese, Hindoo, and Christian saints, real or supposed, were wind, the earthquake, and the fire, were harbingers of the simply intended to signify, that they had especial intercourse Almighty's presence, and prepared the heart of Elijah to with God; and that his Spirit, under the emblem of fire, hear the small still voice; so, this sound, and the mighty sat upon them and became resident in them. There are rushing wind, prepared the apostles to receive the influences

numerous proofs of this in several Chinese and Hindoo paint. and gifts of the Holy Spirit. In both cases, the sound, ings in my possession : and how frequently this is to be strong wind, and fire, although natural agents, were super- met with in legends, missals, and in the ancient ecclesiasnaturally employed. See the note on chap. ix. 7.

tical books of the different Christian nations of Europe, every Verse 3. Cloven tongues like as of fire] The tongues reader acquainted with ecclesiastical antiquity knows well. were the emblem of the languages they were to speak. The See the dedication of Solomon's temple, 2 Chron. vii. 1-3. cloven fongues pointed out the diversity of those languages; The Greek and Roman heathens had similar notions of the and the fire seemed to intimate, that the whole would be a manner in which divine communications were given : strong spiritual gift, and be the means of bringing light and life to wind, loud and repeated peabs of thunder, corruscations of the souls who should hear them preach the everlasting gospel lightning, and lambent flames resting on those who were obin those languages.

jects of the Deity's regard, are all employed by them to Sat upon each of them.] Scintillations, corruscations, or point out the mode in which their gods were reported to make flashes of fire, were probably at first frequent through every their will known to their votaries. Every thing of this kind part of the room where they were sitting; at last these was probably borrowed from the account given by Moses of flashes became defined, and a lambent flame, in the form of the appearance on Mount Sinai ; for traditions of this event a cloven tongue, became stationary on the head of each dis were carried through almost every part of the habitable ciple ; a proof that the Spirit of God had made each his world, partly by the expelled Canaanites, partly by the temple or residence. That unusual appearances of fire were Greek sages travelling through Asiatic countries in quest of considered emblems of the presence and influence of God, philosophic truth ; and partly by means of the Greek version

The apostles speak various languages;

CHAP. II.

and gainsayers are confounded.

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b

5 And there were dwelling at Jeru- ! multitude came together, and were

| An. Olymp. salem, Jews, devout men, out of every confounded, because that every An. Olymp. nation under heaven.

man heard them speak in his own lan6 Now when this was noised abroad, the guage.

CCII.1.

CCII. 1.

a Gr. when this voice was made.

• Or, troubled in mind.

of the Septuagint, made nearly 300 years before the Chris name of tongue to most things which terminate in a blunt tian æra.

point : so a bay is termed in Josh. xv. 2. yw's lashon, a A flame of fire seen upon the head of any person, was, tongue. And in ver. 5. of the same chapter, what appears among the heathens, considered as an omen from their gods, to have been a promontory is called out nous leshon hayam, that the person was under the peculiar care of a supernatural a tongue of the sea. power, and destined to some extraordinary employment. It sat upon each] That is, one of those tongues like flames, Many proofs of this occur in the Roman poets and historians. sat upon the head of each disciple: and the continuance of the Wetstein, in his note on this place, has made an extensive appearance, which is indicated by the word sat, shews that collection of them. I shall quote but one, which almost there could be no illusion in the case. I still think that in every reader of the Æneid of Virgil will recollect: all this case, the agent was natural, but supernaturally emTalia vociferans, gemitu tectum omne replebat :

ployed. Cum subitum, dictuque oritur mirabile monstrum.

Verse 4. To speak with other tongues] At the building Namque manus inter, mæstorum ora parentum,

of Babel the language of the people was confounded; and in Ecce levis summo de vertice visus lüli

consequence of this, they became scattered over the face of Fundere lumen apex, tactuque innoxia molli

the earth : at this foundation of the Christian church, the Lambere flamma comas, et circum tempora pasci.

gift of various languages was given to the apostles, that the Nos pavidi trepidare metu, crinemque flagrantem

scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one Ercutere, et sanctos restinguere fontibus ignes.

shepherd and superintendent (ST1CXOT05) of all souls. At pater Anchises oculos ad sidera lætos

As the Spirit gave them utterance.] The word at.o¢387Extulit, et cælo palmas cum roce tetendil :

yeogali, seems to imply such utterance as proceeded from im. Jupiter omnipotens

mediate inspiration, and included oracular communications. Da auxilium, pater, atque hæc omina firma.

Verse 5. Devout men, out of every nation] Either by Virg. Ex. ii. v. 679.

these we are simply to understand Jews who were born in

different countries, and had now come up to Jerusalem to be While thus she fills the house with clamorous cries,

present at the pass-over, and for purposes of traffic: or Our hearing is diverted by our eyes ;

proselytes to Judaism, who had come up for the same purFor while I held my son, in the short space

pose : for I cannot suppose that the term ανδρες ευλαβεις Betwixt our kisses and our last embrace,

devout men, can be applied to any other. At this time there Strange to relate! from young lulus' head,

was scarcely a commercial nation under heaven, where the A lambent flame arose which gently spread

Jews had not been scattered for the purpose of trade, merAround his brows, and on his temples fed.

chandise, &c. and from all these nations it is said, there were Amazed, with running water we prepare

persons now present at Jerusalem. To quench the sacred fire, and slake his hair ;

Verse 6. When this was noised abroad] If we suppose But old Anchises versed in omens, rear'd

that there was a considerable peal of thunder, which followed His hands to heaven, and this request preferr'd:

the escape of a vast quantity of electric fluid, and produced If any vows almighty Jove can bend,

the mighty rushing wind already noticed on ver. 2. then the Confirm the glad presage which thou art pleas'd to send.

whole city must have been alarmed : and as various circum. DRYDEN.

stances might direct their attention to the temple ; having There is nothing in this poetic fiction which could be flocked thither, they were further astonished and confounded borrowed from our sacred volume ; as Virgil died about to hear the disciples of Christ addressing the mixed multitude twenty years before the birth of Christ,

in the languages of the different countries from which these It may be just necessary to observe, that tongue of fire, people had come. may be a Hebraism : for in Isai. v. 24. os pous leshon esh, Every man heard them speak in his own language.] We which we render simply fire; is literally a tongue of fire, may naturally suppose, that as soon as any person presented as the margin very properly has it. The Hebrews give the ll himself to one of these disciples, he, the disciple, was in

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