The Fountain of Life
The Fountain of Life opened up: or, a display
of Christ in his essential and mediatorial glory
by John Flavel
The first Preparation for Christ's Death, on
his Enemies Part, by the treason at Judas
"And while he yet spoke, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a
great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of
the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whoever I
shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus,
and said, Hail, master; and kissed him." Matthew 26:47-49
The former sermons give you an account how Christ
improved every moment of his time, with busy diligence, to make himself
ready for his death. He has commended his charge to the Father, instituted
the blessed memorial of his death, poured out his soul to God in the garden,
with respect to the grievous sufferings he should undergo; and now he is
ready, and waits for the coming of the enemies, being first in the field.
And think you that they were idle on their parts? No, no,
their malice made them restless. They had agreed with Judas to betray him.
Under his conduct, a band of soldiers was sent to apprehend him. The hour,
so long expected, is come. For "while he yet spoke," says the text, "lo,
Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude, with swords
These words contain the first preparative act, on their
part, for the death of Christ, even to betray him, and that by one of his
own disciples. Now they execute what they had plotted, ver. 14, 15. And in
this paragraph you have an account, 1. Of the traitor, who he was. 2. Of the
treason, what he did. 3. Of the manner of its execution, how it was
contrived and effected. Lastly, Of the time, when they put this hellish plot
1. We have here a description of the traitor: and it is
remarkable how carefully the several Evangelists have described him, both by
his name, surname, and office, "Judas, Judas Iscariot, Judas Iscariot, one
of the twelve;" that he might not be mistaken for Jude or Judas the apostle.
God is tender of the names and reputations of his upright-hearted servants.
His office, "one of the twelve," is added to aggravate the fact, and to show
how that prophecy was accomplished in him, Psalm. 41:9. "Yes, mine own
familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, has lift up
his heel against me." Lo, this was the traitor, and this was his name and
2. You have a description of the treason, or an account
what this man did. He led an armed multitude to the place where Christ was,
gave them a signal to discover him, and encouraged them to lay hands on him,
and hold him fast. This was that hellish design which the devil put into his
heart, working upon that principle, or lust of covetousness, which was
predominant there. What will not a carnal heart attempt, if the devil suit a
temptation to the predominant lust, and God withhold restraining grace!
3. You have here the way and manner in which the hellish
plot was executed. It was managed both with force and with fraud. He comes
with a multitude, armed with swords and staves, in case they should meet
with any resistance. And he comes to him with a kiss, which was their
signal, lest they should mistake the man. For they aimed neither at small
nor great, save only at the King of Israel, the King of glory. Here was much
ado, you see, to take a harmless Lamb, that did not once start from them,
but freely offered himself to them.
4. And lastly, When this treasonable design was executed
upon Christ. And it was executed upon him while he stood among his
disciples, exhorting them to prayer and watchfulness, dropping heavenly and
most seasonable counsels upon them. "While he yet spoke, lo, Judas, and with
him a multitude, came with swords and staves." Surely, it is no better than
a Judas's trick, to disturb and afflict the servants of God in the discharge
of their duties. This was the traitor and his treason; thus it was executed
and at this time. Hence we observe,
DOCTRINE. That is was the lot of our Lard Jesus
Christ, to be betrayed into the hands of his mortal enemies, by the
assistance of a false and deceitful friend.
Look, as Joseph was betrayed and sold by his brethren;
David by Achitophel, his old friend; Samson by Delilah, that lay in his
bosom; so Christ by Judas, one of the twelve; a man, his friend, his
familiar, that had been so long conversant with him: he that by profession
had lifted up his hand to Christ, now by treason lifts up his heel against
him; he bids the soldiers bind those blessed hands, that not long before had
washed the traitor's feet.
In the point before us, we will,
First, Consider Judas, according to that eminent station
and place he had under Christ.
Secondly, We will consider his treason, according to the
several aggravations of it.
Thirdly, We will enquire into the cause or motives that
put him upon such a dreadful, hellish design as this was.
Fourthly, and lastly, we will view the issue, and see the
event of this treason, both as to Christ and as to himself. And then apply
First, As for the person that did this, he was very
eminent by reason of that dignity Christ had raised him to. For,
1. He was one of the twelve; one retained not in a more
general, and common, but in the nearest, and most intimate and honorable
relation and service to Jesus Christ. There were in Christ's time several
sorts and ranks of persons that had relation to him. There were secret
disciples; men that believed, but kept their stations, and abode with their
relations in their callings. There were seventy also whom Christ sent forth;
but none of these were so much with Christ or so eminent in respect of their
place, as the twelve, they were Christ's family, day and night conversant
with him: it was the highest dignity that was conferred upon any: and of
this number was Judas. The ancients have much extolled the apostolical
dignity. Some stiled these twelve, pedes Christi, the feet of Christ:
because they, as it were, carried Christ up and down the world. Others,
oculi Dei, the very eyes of God; they were his watchmen, that took care for
the concernments of his name and gospel in the world. Others, mammae
ecclesiae, the breasts of the church; they fed and nourished the children of
God by their doctrine. Now, to be one of this number, one of the twelve,
what a dignity was this.
2. Yes, he being one of the twelve, was daily conversant
with Christ: often joined with him in prayer, often sat at his feet, bearing
the gracious words that came out of his mouth. It was one of Austin's three
wishes, that he had seen Christ in the flesh: Judas not only saw him but
dwelt with him, traveled with him, and eat and drank with him. And during
the whole time of his abode with him, all Christ's carriage towards him was
very obliging and winning; yes, such was the condescension of Christ to this
wretched man, that he washed his feet, and that but a little before betrayed
3. He was a man of unsuspected integrity among the
apostles. When Christ told them, One of you shall betray me; none thought on
him, but everyone rather suspected himself; Lord, is it I? says one, and so
said they all; but none pointed at Judas, saying, You are he.
4. To conclude, in some respect, he was preferred to the
rest. For he had not only a joint commission with them to preach the gospel
to others, (though, poor unhappy wretch, himself became a cast-away) but he
had a peculiar office, he bare the bag, that is he was Almoner, or the
steward of the family, to take care to provide for the necessary
accommodations of Christ and them. Now who could ever have suspected, that
such a man as this should have sold the blood of Christ for a little money?
that ever he should have proved a perfidious traitor to his Lord, who had
called him, honored him, and carried himself so tenderly towards him? And
yet so it was; "Lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a
multitude:" O where will not a busy devil and a bad heart carry a man!
Secondly, But what did this man do? and what are the just
aggravations of his fact? Why, he most basely and unworthily sold and
delivered Christ into his enemies hands, to be butchered and destroyed; and
all this for thirty pieces of silver.
Blush, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth, at this! In
this fact, most black and horrid aggravations appear.
1. Judas had seen the majesty of a God on him whom he
betrayed. He had seen the miracles that Christ wrought, which none but
Christ could do. He knew that by the finger of God he had raised the dead,
cast out devils, healed the sick. He could not choose but observe and see
the rays and awful beams of divine majesty shining in his very face, in his
doctrine, and in his life; to betray a man, to sell the blood of the poorest
innocent in the world, is horrid; but to sell the blood of God, O what is
this! Here is a wickedness that no epithet can match! Yes,
2. This wickedness he committed after personal warnings
and premonitions given him by Christ, he had often told them in general,
that one of them should betray him, Mark 14:20. He also denounced a dreadful
woe upon him that should do it, ver. 21. "the Son of man goes indeed, as it
is written of him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed;
good had it been for that man if he had never been born." This was spoken in
Judas's presence. And one would have thought so dreadful a doom as Christ
passed upon the man! that should attempt this, should have affrighted him
far enough from the thoughts of such a wickedness. Nay, Christ comes nearer
to him than this, and told him he was the man: for when Judas (who was the
last that put the question to Christ) asked him, "Master, is it I?" Christ's
answer imports as much as a plain affirmation, "You have said," Matt. 26:25.
3. He does it not out of a blind zeal against Christ, as
many of his other enemies did; of whom it is said, 1 Cor. 2:8. "That had
they known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory:" but he did
it for money to make his market of Christ. He sold Christ as a man would
sell an ox, or a sheep to the butcher for profit. He was fully of the mind
of the Pope, whose motto was "The smell or savor of gain is sweet? let it
arise out of what it will." If he can get anything by Christ's blood, it
shall be a vendible commodity with him. "what will you give me, (says he)
and I will betray him?" Matth. 26:15.
4. He sells him, and he sells him at a low rate too,
which showed how vile an esteem he had of Christ. He is content to part with
him for thirty pieces of silver. If these pieces, or shekels, were the
shekels of the sanctuary, they amounted but to three pounds fifteen
shillings. But it is supposed they were the common shekels, which were
mostly used in buying and selling; and then his price, that he put upon the
Savior of the world, was but one pound seventeen shillings and six pence. A
goodly price (as the prophet calls it) that he was valued at! Zech.
11:12,13. I confess, it is a wonder, he asked no more, knowing how much they
longed for his blood; and that they offered no more for him: how then should
the scriptures have been fulfilled? O what a sale was this! to sell that
blood, which all the gold and silver in the world is not worth one drop of,
for a trifle! still the wickedness of the fact rises higher and higher.
5. He left Christ in a most heavenly and excellent
employment, when he went to make this soul-undoing bargain. For if he went
away from the table, as some think, then he left Christ instituting and
administering those heavenly signs of his body and blood: there he saw, or
might have seen, the bloody work he was going about, acted as in a figure
before him. If he sat out that ordinance, as others suppose he did, then he
left Christ singing an heavenly hymn, and preparing to go where Judas was
preparing to meet him. When the Lord Jesus was in the most serious and
heavenly exercise, the wretch slinked away from him into the city, or else
went under pretense to buy some necessaries. But his design was not to buy,
but to sell, whatever his pretenses were. Nay,
What he did, was not done by the persuasions of any. The
high- priest sent not for him, and without doubt, was surprised when he came
to him on such on errand. For it could never enter into any of their hearts,
that any of his own disciples could ever be drawn into a confederacy against
Him. No, he went as a volunteer, offering himself to this work: which still
heightens the sin, and makes it out of measure sinful.
7. The manner in which he executes his treasonable design
adds further malignity to the fact, He comes to Christ with fawning words
and carriage, "Hail, Master, and kissed him." Here is honey in the tongue,
and poison in the heart. Here is hatred hid under lying lips. This was the
man; and this was his fact. Let us enquire,
Thirdly, The cause and motives of this wickedness, how he
came to attempt and perpetrate such a villany. Maldonate the Jesuit
criminates the Protestant divines, for affirming that God had a hand in
ordering and over-ruling this fact.
But we say, that Satan and his own lust was the impulsive
cause of it: that God, as it was a wicked treason, permitted it; and as it
was a delivering Christ to death, was not only the permitter, but the wise
and holy director and orderer of it, and in the wisdom of his providence
over-ruled it, to the great good and advantage of the church; in respect of
which happy issue, Judas's treason is called foelix scelus, "a happy
wickedness." Satan inspired the motion, Luke 23:3, 4. "Then entered Satan
into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, and he went his way", etc. his own lusts,
like dry tinder, kindled presently: his heart was covetous; there was
predisposed matter enough for the devil to work on, so that it was but touch
and take. Ver. 25. They covenanted to give him money, and he promised, etc.
The holy God disposed and ordered all this to the
singular benefit and good of his people: Acts 4:28. they did whatever "his
hand and counsel had before determined to be done." And by this determinate
counsel of God, he was taken and slain, Acts 2:23. Yet this no ways excuses
the wickedness of the instruments: for what they did, was done from the
power of their own lusts, most wickedly; what he did was done in the
unsearchable depth of his own wisdom, most holy. God knows how to serve his
own ends by the very sins of men, and yet have no communion at all in the
sin he so over-rules. If a man let a dog out of his hand in pursuit of a
hare, the dog hunts merely for a prey; but he that lets him go, uses the
sagacity and nimbleness of the dog to serve his own ends by it. Judas minded
nothing but his own advantage to get money: God permitted that lust to work,
but over ruled the issue to his own eternal glory, and the salvation of our
Fourthly and lastly, But what was the end and issue of
this fact? As to Christ, it was his death; for the hour being come, he does
not meditate an escape, nor put forth the power of his Godhead to deliver
himself out of their hands. Indeed he showed what he could do, when he made
them go back and stagger with a word. He could have obtained more than
twelve legions of angels to have been his life-guard; one of whom had been
sufficient to have coped with all the Roman legions: but how then should the
scriptures have been fulfilled, or our salvation accomplished? No, he
resists not, but Judas, delivering him into their hands at that time, was
And what got he as a reward of his wickedness? It ended
in the ruin both of his soul and body. For immediately a death-pang of
despair seized his conscience; which was so intolerable, that he ran to the
halter for a remedy; and so falling headlong, he burst asunder, and all his
affections gushed out, Acts 1:18. And now he that had no affections for
Christ, has none for himself. As for his soul, it went to its own place, ver.
25. even the place appointed for the son of perdition, as Christ calls him,
John 17:12. His name retains an odious stench to this day, and shall to all
generations: it is a bye- word, a proverb of reproach. This was his end; we
will next improve it.
Corollary 1. Hence in the first place we learn, That the
greatest professors had need to be jealous of their own hearts, and look
well to the grounds and principles of their professions. One of the ancients
would have had this epitaph engraved upon Judas's tomb-stone, "eis eme tis
horaon eusebes ekso", "Let everyone that beholds me, learn to be godly
indeed, to be sincere in his profession, and to love Christ more unfeignedly
than I did." O professors, look to your foundation, and build not upon the
sand, as this poor creature did. That is sound advice, indeed, which the
apostle gives, 1 Cor. 10:12. "Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest
he fall." O beware of a loose foundation. If you begin your profession as
Judas did, no wonder if it shall end as his did.
1. Beware therefore that you hold not the truth in
unrighteousness: Judas did so: he knew much, but lived not up to what he
knew, for he was still of a worldly spirit in the height of his profession.
His knowledge never had any saving influence upon his heart, he preached to
others, but he himself was a cast-away. He had much light, but still walked
in darkness. He had no knowledge to do himself good.
2. Beware you live not in a course of secret sin. Judas
did so, and that was his ruin. He made a profession indeed, and carried it
smoothly but he was a thief, John 12:6. He made no conscience of committing
the sin, so he could but cover and hide it from men. This helped on his
ruin, and so it will your, reader, if you be guilty herein. A secret way of
sinning, under the covert of profession, will either break out at last to
the observation of men, or else slide you down insensibly to hell, and leave
you there only this comfort, that no body shall know you are there.
3. Beware of hypocritical pretenses of religion to
accommodate self-ends. Judas was a man that had notable skill this way. He
had a mind to fill his own purse, by the sale of that costly ointment which
Mary bestowed upon our Savior's feet. And what a neat cover had he fitted
for it, to do his business clearly; Why, says he, "This might have been sold
for three hundred pence, and given to the poor." Here was charity to the
poor, or rather poor charity; for this was only a blind to his base self
ends. O Christian, be plain hearted, take heed of craft and cunning in
matters of religion: This spoiled Judas.
4. Beware of self-confidence. Judas was a very confident
man of himself. "Last of all, Judas said, Master, is it I?" Matth. 26:25.
But he that was last in the suspicion was first in the transgression. "He
that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool," says Solomon, Prov. 28:26. Such
a fool was this great professor. It will be your wisdom to keep a jealous
eye upon your own hearts; and still suspect their fairest pretenses.
5. If you will not do as Judas did, nor come to such an
end as he did, take heed you live not unprofitably under the means of grace.
Judas had the best means of grace that ever man enjoyed. He heard Christ
himself preach, he joined often with him in prayer, but he was never the
better for it all; it was but as the watering of a dead stick, which will
never make it grow, but rot it the sooner. Never was there a rotten branch
so richly watered as he was. O it is a sad sign and a sad sin too, when men
and women live under the gospel from year to year, and are never the better.
I warn you to beware of these evils, all you that profess religion. Let
these footsteps by which Judas went down to his own place, terrify you from
following him in them.
Corollary 2. Learn hence also, That eminent knowledge and
profession put a special and eminent aggravation upon sin. Judas Iscariot,
one of the twelve. Poor wretch! better had it been for him, if he had never
been numbered with them, nor enlightened with so much knowledge as he was
endowed with: for this rent his conscience to pieces, when he reflected on
what he had done, and presently run into the gulf of despair. To sin against
clear light, is to sin with an high hand. It is that which makes a sad waste
of the conscience. That, without doubt, which now torments this poor soul in
hell, is that he should go against his light, against his profession, to
gratify a base lust to his eternal ruin. Had he known no better, it had been
more excusable. Those that had a hand in the death of Christ, through
mistake and ignorance, were capable to receive the pardon of their sin by
that blood they so shed, Acts 3:17,19 compared. Take heed therefore of
abusing knowledge, and putting a force upon conscience.
Corollary 3. Learn hence in the third place, That
unprincipal professors will sooner or later become shameful apostates. Judas
was an unprincipled professor, and see what he came to; ambition invited
Simon Magus to the profession of Christ, he would be "eis megas", "some
great one," and how quickly did the rottenness of his principles discover
itself in the ruin of his profession? That which wants a root, must needs
wither, as Christ speaks, Matth. 13:20, 21. That which is the predominant
interest, will prevail, and sway with us in the day of our trial. Hear me,
all you that profess religion, and have given your names to Christ; if that
profession be not built upon a solid and real work of grace upon your
hearts, you shall never honor religion, nor save your souls by it. O it is
your union with Christ, that, like a spring, maintains your profession. "So
much as you are united to Christ, so much constancy, steadiness, and
evenness, you will manifest in the duties of religion, and no more."
O brethren, when he that professes Christ for company,
shall be left alone as Paul was; when he that makes religion a stirrup to
help himself into the saddle of preferment and honor, shall see that he is
so advanced to be drawn forth into Christ's camp and endure the heat of the
day, and not to take his pleasure; in a word, when he shall see all things
about him discouraging and threatening, his dearest interest on earth
exposed for religion's sake, and he has no faith to balance his present
losses with his future hopes; I say, when it comes to this, you shall then
see the rottenness of many hearts discovered; and Judas may have many
fellows, who will part with Christ for the world, as he did. O therefore
look well to your foundation.
Corollary 4. Moreover, in this example of Judas you may
read this truth; That men and women are never in more imminent danger, than
when they meet with temptations exactly suited to their master- lusts, to
their own iniquity. O pray, pray, that you may be kept from a violent
suitable temptation. Satan knows that when a man is tried here, he falls by
the root. The love of this world was all along Judas' master sin, and some
conjecture he was a married man, and had a great charge; but that is
conjectural: this was his predominant lust. The devil found out this, and
suited it with a temptation which fully hit his humor, and it carries him
immediately. This is the dangerous crisis of the soul. Now you shall see
what it is, and what it will do. Put money before Judas, and presently you
shall see what the man is.
Corollary 5. Hence, in like manner, we are instructed,
That no man knows where he shall stop, when he first engages himself in a
way of sin.
Wickedness, as well as holiness, is not born in its full
strength, but grows up to it by insensible degrees. So did the wickedness of
Judas. I believe, he himself never thought he should have done what he did;
and if any should have told him, in the first beginning of his profession,
You shall sell the blood of Christ for money, you shall deliver him most
perfidiously into their hands that seek his life; he would have answered as
Hazael did to Elisha, "But what, is your servant a dog, that he should do
this great thing?" 2 Kings 8:13. His wickedness first discovered itself in
murmuring and discontent, taking a pique at some small matters against
Christ, as we may find, by comparing John 6 from verse 60 to 70, with John
12 from verse 3 to 9. but see to what it grows at last. That lust or
temptation that at first is but a little cloud as big as a man's hand, may
quickly overspread the whole heaven. It is our engaging in sin, as in the
motion of a stone down the hill, vires acquirit eundo, "it strengthens
itself by going;" and the longer it runs, the more violent. Beware of the
smallest beginnings of temptations. No wise man will neglect or slight the
smallest spark of fire, especially if he see it among many barrels of
gun-powder. You carry gun-powder about you, O take heed of sparks.
Corollary 6. Did Judas sell Christ for money? What a
potent conqueror is this love of this world! How many has it cast down
wounded! What great professors have been dragged at its chariot wheels as
its captives? Hymenaeus and Philetus, Ananias and Sapphire, Demas and Judas,
with thousands and ten thousands, since their days, led away in triumph. It
"drowns men in perdition," 1 Tim. 6:9. In that pit of perdition, this son of
perdition fell, and never rose more. O you that so court and prosecute it;
that so love and admire it; make a stand here; pause a little upon this
example; consider to what it brought this poor wretch, whom I have presented
to you dead, eternally dead, by the mortal wound that the love of this world
gave him: it destroyed both soul and body. Pliny tells us, that the Mermaids
delight to be in green meadows, into which they draw men by their enchanting
voices; but, says he, there always lie heaps of dead men's bones by them. A
lively emblem of a bewitching world! Good had it been for many professors of
religion, if they had never known what the riches, and honors, and pleasures
of this world meant.
Corollary 7. Did Judas fancy so much happiness in a
little money, that he would sell Christ to get it? Learn then, That which
men promise themselves much pleasure and contentment in the day of sin, may
prove the greatest curse and misery to them that ever befell them in the
world. Judas thought it was a brave thing to get money! he fancied much
happiness in it: but how sick was his conscience as soon as he had swallowed
it! O take it again, says he! It griped him to the heart. He knows not what
to do, to rid himself of that money. Give me children, says Rachel, or I
die: she has children, and they prove her death. O mortify your fancies to
the world; put no necessity upon riches. "They that will be rich, fall into
temptations, and many hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition," 1 Tim.
6:9. You may have your desires with a curse. He that brings home a pack of
fine clothes infected with the plague, has no such great bargain of it, how
cheap soever he bought them.
Corollary 8. Was there one, and but one of the twelve,
that proved a Judas, a traitor to Christ? Learn thence, that it is a most
unreasonable thing to be prejudiced at religion, and the sincere professors
of it, because some that profess it prove naught and vile.
Should the eleven suffer for one Judas? Alas, they
abhorred both the traitor and his treason. As well might the High-priest and
his servants have condemned Peter, John, and all the rest, whose souls
abhorred the wickedness. If Judas proved a vile wretch, yet there were
eleven to one that remained upright: if Judas proved naught, it was not his
profession made him so, but his hypocrisy; he never learned it from Christ.
If religion must be charged with all the miscarriages of its professors,
then there is no pure religion in the world. Name that religion among the
professors whereof there is not one Judas. Take heed, reader, of prejudices
against godliness on this account. The design of the devil, without doubt,
is to undo you eternally by them. "Woe to the world because of offences,"
Matth. 18:7. And what if God do permit these things to fall out, that you
may be hardened in iniquity, confirmed in sin by such occasions, and so the
destruction brought about this way: Blessed is he that is not offended at
Corollary 9. Did Judas, one of the twelve, do so? Learn
thence, That a drop of grace, is better than a sea of gifts. Gifts have some
excellency in them, but the way of grace is the more excellent way, 1 Cor.
12:31. Gifts as one says, are dead graces, but graces are living gifts.
There is many a learned head in hell. These are not the things that
accompany salvation. Gifts are the gold that beautifies the temple; but
grace is as the temple which sanctifies the gold. One tear, one groan, one
breathing at an upright heart, is more than the tongues of angels.
Poor Christian, you are troubled that you canned not
speak and pray so neatly, so handsomely, as some others can? but canned you
go into a corner, and there pour out your soul affectionately, though not
rhetorically, to your Father? trouble not yourself. It is better for you to
feel one divine impression from God upon the heart, than to have ten
thousand fine notions floating in your head; Judas was a man of parts; but
what good did they do him?
Corollary 10. Did the devil win the consent of Judas to
such a design as this? Could he get no other but the hand of an apostle to
assist him? Learn hence, That the policy of Satan lies much in the choice of
his instruments he works by. No bird, (says one) like a living bird to tempt
others into the net. Pelagius Socinus, etc. were fit for that work the devil
put them upon. Austin told an ingenious young scholar, "The devil coveted
him for an ornament." He knows he has a foul cause to manage, and therefore
will get the fairest hand he can to manage it with the less suspicion.
Corollary 11. Did Judas one of the twelve, do this? Then
certainly, Christians may approve and join with such men on earth, whose
faces they shall never see in heaven. The apostles held communion a long
time with this man, and did not suspect him. O please not yourselves
therefore, that you have communion with the saints here, and that they think
and speak charitably of you. "All the churches shall know, (says the Lord)
that I am he that searches the heart and reins, and will give to every man
as his work shall be," Rev. 2:23. In heaven we shall meet many that we never
thought to meet there, and miss many we were confident we should see there.
Corollary 12. Lastly, Did Judas, one of the twelve, a man
so obliged, raised and honored by Christ, do this? Cease then from man, be
not too confident, but beware of men. "Trust you not in a friend, put no
confidence in a guide, keep the door of your lips from her that lies in your
bosom," Mica. 7:5. Not that there is no sincerity in any man, but because
there is so much hypocrisy in many men, and so much corruption in the best
of men, that we may not be too confident, nor lay too great a stress upon
any man. Peter's modest expression of Sylvanus is a pattern for us; "Sylvanus,
a faithful brother unto you (as I suppose") 1 Pet. 5:12. The time shall
come, says Christ, that "brother shall betray brother to death," Mat. 10:11.
Your charity for others may be your duty, but your too great confidence may
be your snare. Fear what others may do, but fear yourself more!