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another was raised against him from without. For the chief priests" took crafty counsel against Jesus," and called a consistory, to contrive" how they might destroy him :" and here was the greatest representment of the goodness of God and the ingratitude of man, that could be practised or understood. How often had Jesus poured forth tears for them! How many sleepless nights had he awaked, to do them advantage! How many days had he spent in homilies, and admirable visitations of mercy and charity; in casting out devils, in curing their sick, in correcting their delinquencies, in reducing them to the ways of security and peace; and, that we may use the greatest expression in the world, that is, his own, " in gathering them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings," to give them strength, and warmth, and life, and ghostly nourishment! And the chief priests, together with their faction, use all arts, and watch all opportunities to get Christ; not that they might possess him, but to destroy him; little considering, that they extinguish their own eyes, and destroy that spring of life, which was intended to them for a blissful immortality.
10. And here it was that the devil shewed his promptness, to furnish every evil-intended person with apt instruments, to act the very worst of his intentions. The devil knew their purposes, and the aptness and proclivity of Judas; and, by bringing these together, he served their present design, and his own great intendment. The devil never fails to promote every evil purpose; and, except where God's restraining grace does intervene and interrupt the opportunity, by interposition of different and cross accidents to serve other ends of Providence, no man easily is fond of wickedness, but he shall receive enough to ruin him. Indeed, Nero and Julian, both witty men and powerful, desired to have been magicians, and could not: and although, possibly, the devil would have corresponded with them, who yet were already his own, in all degrees of security; yet God permitted not that, lest they might have understood new ways of doing despite to martyrs and afflicted Christians. And it concerns us not to tempt God, or invite a forward enemy: for as we are sure the devil is ready to promote all vicious desires, and bring them out to execution; so we are not sure, that God will not permit him; and be that desires to be undone, and cares not to be pre
vented by God's restraining grace, shall find his ruin in the folly of his own desires, and become wretched by his own election. Judas, hearing of this congregation of the priests, went and offered to betray his Lord, and made a covenant, the price of which was "thirty pieces of silver;" and he returned.
11. It is not intimated in the history of the life of Jesus, that Judas had any malice against the person of Christ; for when, afterwards, he saw the matter was to end in the death of his Lord, he repented: but a base and unworthy spirit of covetousness possessed him; and the relics of indignation, for missing the price of the ointment which the holy Magdalen had poured upon his feet, burnt in his bowels, with a secret, dark, melancholic fire, and made an eruption into an act, which all ages of the world could never parallel. They appointed him for hire thirty pieces, and some say, that every piece did in value equal ten ordinary current deniers; and so Judas was satisfied, by receiving the worth of the three hundred pence, at which he valued the nard pistic. But hereafter, let no Christian be ashamed to be despised and undervalued; for he will hardly meet so great a reproach, as to have so disproportioned a price set upon his life, as was upon the holy Jesus. St. Mary Magdalen thought it not good enough to anneal his sacred feet; Judas thought it a sufficient price for his head: for covetousness aims at base and low purchases, whilst holy love is great and comprehensive as the bosom of heaven, and aims at nothing that is less than infinite. The love of God is a holy fountain, limpid and pure, sweet and salutary, lasting and eternal: the love of money is a vertiginous pool, sucking all into it to destroy it; it is troubled and uneven, giddy and unsafe; serving no end but its own, and that, also, in a restless and uneasy motion. The love of God spends itself upon him, to receive again the reflections of grace and benediction: the love of money spends all its desires upon itself, to purchase nothing but unsatisfying instruments of exchange, or supernumerary provisions, and ends in dissatisfaction, and emptiness of spirit, and a bitter curse. St. Mary Magdalen was defended by her Lord against calumny, and rewarded with an honourable mention to all ages of the church; besides the "unction from above," which she shortly after received, to consign her
to crowns and sceptres: but Judas was described in the Scripture, the book of life, with the black character of death; he was disgraced to eternal ages, and presently after acted his own tragedy with a sad and ignoble death.
12. Now, all things being fitted, our blessed Lord sends two disciples to prepare the Passover, that he might fulfil the law of Moses, and pass from thence to institutions evangelical, and then fulfil his sufferings. Christ gave them a sign to guide them to the house, " a man bearing a pitcher of water;" by which some, that delight in mystical significations, say was typified the sacrament of baptism: meaning, that although, by occasion of the Paschal solemnity, the holy eucharist was first instituted, yet it was afterwards to be applied to practice according to the sense of this accident; only baptized persons were apt suscipients of the other more perfective rite, as the taking nutriment supposes persons born into the world, and within the common conditions of human nature. But, in the letter, it was an instance of the Divine omniscience, who could pronounce concerning accidents at distance, as if they were present: and yet also, like the provision of the colt to ride on, it was an instance of Providence, and security of all God's sons for their portion of temporals. Jesus had not a lamb of his own, and possibly no money in the bags to buy one: and yet Providence was his guide, and the charity of a good man was his proveditore, and he found excellent conveniences in the entertainments of a hospitable good man, as if he had dwelt in Ahab's ivory house, and had had the riches of Solomon, and the meat of his household.
O holy King of Sion, eternal Jesus, who, with great humility and infinite love, didst enter into the holy city, riding upon an ass, that thou mightest verify the predictions of the prophets, and give example of meekness, and of the gentle and paternal government which the eternal Father laid upon thy shoulders; be pleased, dearest Lord, to enter into my soul with triumph, trampling over all thine enemies and give me grace to entertain thee with joy and adoration, with abjection of my own desires, with
lopping off all my superfluous branches of a temporal condition, and spending them in the offices of charity and religion, and divesting myself of all my desires, laying them at thy holy feet, that I may bear the yoke and burden of the Lord with alacrity, with love, and the wonders of a satisfied and triumphant spirit. Lord, enter in, and take possession; and thou, to whose honour the very stones would give testimony, make my stony heart an instrument of thy praises; let me strew thy way with flowers of virtue, and the holy rosary of Christian graces : and, by thy aid and example, let us also triumph over all our infirmities and hostilities, and then lay our victories at thy feet, and at last follow thee into thy heavenly Jerusalem with palms in our hands, and joy in our hearts, and eternal acclamations on our lips, rejoicing in thee, and singing Hallelujahs in a happy eternity to thee, O holy King of Sion, eternal Jesus. Amen.
O blessed and dear Lord, who wert pleased to permit thyself to be sold to the assemblies of evil persons for a vile price by one of thy own servants, for whom thou hadst done so great favours, and hadst designed a crown and a throne to him, and he turned himself into a sooty coal, and entered into the portion of evil angels; teach us to value thee above all the joys of men, to prize thee at an estimate beyond all the wealth of nature, to buy wisdom, and not to sell it, to part with all, that we may enjoy thee: and let no temptation abuse our understandings, no loss vex us into impatience, no frustration of hope fill us with indignation, no pressure of calamitous accidents make us angry at thee, the fountain of love and blessing, no covetousness transport us into the suburbs of hell, and the regions of sin; but make us to love thee as well as ever any creature loved thee, that we may never burn in any fires but of a holy love, nor sink in any inundation but what proceeds from penitential showers, and suffer no violence but of implacable desires to live with thee, and, when thou callest us, to suffer with thee, and for thee.
Lord, let me never be betrayed by myself, or any violent accident and importunate temptation; let me never be sold for the vile price of temporal gain, or transient pleasure, or a pleasant dream; but, since thou hast bought me with a price, even then when thou wert sold thyself, let me never be separated from thy possession. I am thine, bought with a price; Lord, save me; and in the day when thou bindest up thy jewels, remember, Lord, that I cost thee as dear as any, and therefore cast me not into the portion of Judas: but let me walk, and dwell, and bathe in the field of thy blood, and pass from hence, pure and sanctified, into the society of the elect apostles, receiving my part with them, and my lot in the communications of thy inheritance, O gracious Lord and dearest Saviour, Jesus. Amen.
Considerations upon the Washing of the Disciples' Feet by Jesus, and his Sermon of Humilitya.
1. THE holy Jesus went now to eat his last Paschal supper, and to finish the work of his legation, and to fulfil that part of the law of Moses in every of its smallest and most minute particularities, in which also the actions were significant of spiritual duties: which we may transfer from the letter to the spirit in our own instances, That as Jesus ate the Paschal lamb with a staff in his hand, with his loins girt, with sandals on his feet, in great haste, with unleavened bread, and with bitter herbs; so we also should do all our services according to the signification of these symbols, leaning upon the cross of Jesus for a staff, and bearing the rod of his government, with loins girt with angelical chastity, with shoes on our feet, that so we may guard and have custody over our affections, and "be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace," eating in haste, as becomes persons "hungering and thirsting after righteousness," doing the work of the Lord zealously
a Ad. Num. 16.