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prediction, that before the cock crew he fliould deny \Sm thrice. And it is very remarkable that there are in this same chapter no less than four other prophecies of our Lord, which were all punctually sulsilled, some of them like this, within a sew hours after they were delivered.

The next observation resulting from the sall of Peter is the melancholy proof it asfords us of the insirmity of human nature, the weakness of our best resolutions, when left to ourselves, and the extreme danger of considing too .much in our own strength. • .

That St. Peter was most warmly attached to Jelas, "that his intentions were upright, and his prosessions at the moment sincere, there can be no doubt. But his temper was too hot, and his -considence in himself too great.— When our Lord told him, and all the other apostles, that they would desert him that night, Peter was the sirst to lay to him, "though all men should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." And when Jesus again assured him, that before the cock crew he should deny him thrice, Peter insisted with still greater vehemence on his unshaken sidelity, and declared, " that though he should die with him, he should never deny him." Yet deny him he did, with execrations and oaths; and left a memorable lesson even to the best of men, not to entertain too high an opinion of their own constancy and sirmness in the hour of temptation. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he sall."

And hence in the last place we see the wisdom and- the necessity of looking beyond ourselves, of looking up to heaven for support and assistance in the discharge of our duty. If, when Peter was sirst forewarned by our LorJ of his approaching denial of him, instead of repeating his prosessions of inviolable sidelity to him, lie had with all humility consessed his weakness, and implored his divine Master to strengthen and fortisy him for the trial that awaited him, the event probably would have been very different. And it is surprizing that he had not learned . this lesson from his former experience. For when, considing as he did now in his own courage, he entreated Jesus to let him walk to him upon the sea, and was permitted to do so; no sooner did he sind the wind boisterous than he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him." This was a plain intimation to him, {as I remarked in a former Lecture) that ifWas . not his own arm that could help him, but that Almighty hand, and that outstretched arm, which then preserved him; and to which, when in danger, we must all have recourse to preserve us from sinking. "Trust then in the Lord," (as the wise king advises), "with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths*." LECTURE XXII. . <

* Prov, iii. J.

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MATTHEW xxviL

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1 N the preceding chapter we saw that the chiefs priests and elders had, in their summary way, without the shadow of justice, without any consistent evidence, decided the sate of Jesus, and pronounced him guilty of death. Their next care was how to get this sentence consirmed and carried into execution; for under the Roman government they had not at this time the power of the sword, the power of lise and death; they could not exec ute a criminal, though they might try and condemn him, without a warrant from the Roman governor; they determined therefore to carry him before Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judaea at that time. But then, to ensure success iir that quarter, it was necessary to give their accusations against Jesus such 3 colour and shape, as should prevail upon the governor to put him to death. For this purpofe they found it expedient to change their ground, for they had condemned him for blasphemy; but this they knew would have little weight with a pagan governor, who, likeGallio, would "care for none of thofe things" which related solely to religion. They therefore resolved to bring him before Pilate as a state prifoner, and to charge him with treasonable and seditious practices; with setting himself up as a king in oppofition to Cæsar, and persuading the people not to pay tribute to that prince. Accordingly we gj-e told in the beginning of this chapter, that «'when morning was comej all the chief priests and elders of the people took council against Jesus to put him to death; " that is, to obtain permission to put him to death; "and when they had bound him they led him away, and dilivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor."

The evangelist, having brought the history of this diabolical transaction thus sar, makes a short digression, toinsorm ns of the sate of that wretched traitor Judas, wfa> had by his persidy brought his Master into this situation.

"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he sawthat he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I hare sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent Wood. And they said. What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and went and hanged himself.''

From the expression made use of In the third verse, "when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented Himfelf," some commentators have thought that he did not imagine or expect that Jesus would be condemned to death; but supposed either that he would convey himself away from his persecutors, or that he would prove his Innocence to the satissaction of his judges; or that at the most some slight punishment would be inssicted upon him. One would not wish to load even the worst of men with more guilt than really belongs to them; but, from considering the character of Judas, and comparing together all the circumstances of the case, it appears to me more probable that the acquittal or condemnation of Jesus never entered into his contemplation. All he thought of was gain. He had kept the common purse, and had robbed it; and his only object was, how to obtain a sum of money, which he determined to have at all events, and left consequences to take care of themselves. But when he saw that his divine Master, whom he knew to be persectly innocent, was actually condemned to death, his conscience then flew in his sace; his guilt rose up before him in all its horrors. The innocence, the virtues, the gentleclefs, the kindness of his Lord, with a thousand other circumstances, rushed at once upon his mind, and painted to him the enormity of his crime in such dreadsul colours, that he could no longer bear the agonizing tortures that racked his soul, but went immediately and destroyed himself.

The answer of the chief priests to Judas, when he brought back to them the thirty pieces of silver, and de

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