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cheus : to mix with the crowd of men, using no affected singularity, content to be creatures not too bright or good for human nature's daily food : and yet for a man amidst it all to remain a consecrated spirit, his trials and his solitariness known only to his Father,-a being set apart, not of this world, alone in the heart's deeps with God : to put the cup of this world's gladness to his lips and yet be unintoxicated: to gaze steadily on all its grandure, and yet be undazzled, plain and simple in personal desires: to feel its brightness, and yet defy its thrall : this is the difficult and rare and glorious life of God in the soul of man. This, this was the peculiar glory of the life of Christ, which was manifested in that first miracle which Jesus wrought at the marriage-feast in Cana of Galilee.'
We make no apology for so many extracts, inasmuch as they serve as the best introduction of the author to the reader. In reading these sermons we have often been reminded of two
both of whom have exerted a deep influence on the religious culture of the present day—John Foster and Thomas Carlyle. There is the deep solemnity of thought and feeling which you find in Foster, and the same stern rebuke of fashionable sins and follies. But in Robertson the great intellectual feats are performed with more facility and grace than in Foster. And, on the other hand, in Foster's lectures you
find passages which are like volcanic eruptions of thought-grand and fearful, illuminating the horizon far and wide. If Foster had had Robertson's early and university education, he might have added more of the latter's dexterous strength to his own depth and original might. But we are more frequently reminded of Thomas Carlyle. Though there is not a particle of affectation, nor a trace of imitation, to be found in these sermons, you cannot help feeling how much unconscious influence the great Pagan has exercised upon the mind of this great Christian clergyman. Carlyle worships intellect, and strength, and beauty, like his great idol, Goethe. But Robertson worships Christ as the incarnation of God and goodness, Christianizes all the influence he has received from the Titan at Chelsea, reposes upon the grand faith of the New Testament, and enjoys the sublime triumph over Sin and Death, which Christ, and Christ alone, can impart to erring man. That pure and lofty spirit, after a brief sojourn here amid the toils of thought and action, has gone-gone where doubt receives its solution, and faith its bright reward.
Christian Doctrine and Controversy.
“There is no learned man but will confess he hath much profited by reading controversy, his senses awakened, his judgment sharpened, and the truth more firmly established. Being permitted, falsehood will appear more false, and truth the more true.'-Milton: On True Religion.
• Nor is it at all incredible, that a book which has been so long in the possession of mankind, should contain many truths as yet undiscovered. For all the same phenomena, and the same faculty of investigation, from which such great discoveries in natural knowledge have been made in the present and last age, were equally in the possession of mankind several thousand years before.' Bishop Butler: Analogy of Religion.
Was Judas insane? This is a question more frequently put than settled by any satisfactory reply. To those who look upon the entire and shallow policy of the whole of this man's discipular life, which he undoubtedly regarded as a profound act of self-concealment, his parting with so grand a chance of gold for thirty pieces of silver, or his supposing that the return of the blood-money would bring his bad associates to their senses, as proofs of a lack of ordinary reason, the belief in Judas's want of adequate rational powers is inevitable. It does, indeed, to us appear incredible that the betrayer, if sound, could persuade himself that he was able to conceal the genuine state of his soul from that Divine Master of his, whom he daily witnessed to be giving proof with what promptitude he read all souls. But if Judas was insane, how came he among the disciples of Christ, who, on other occasions, showed how sensitively he declined the attendance of a healed maniac? (Mark v. 19.) When insanity begins there is an
(. end of responsibility; and whatever might have been the mischievous conduct of Judas Iscariot, he could not have been justly liable to the imputations of Christ, who accused him of betrayal, and said, 'It had been good for that man if he had not been born. If the conduct of Judas in sundry of its aspects presented itself to us as actions without adequate reasons, or purposes impossible of fulfilment, or motives that, however labouring to conceal themselves, must become known, this is only in harmony with any sinful course reviewed by right reason; for what but madness is the self-destroying progress of the drunkard, the thief, or the unclean, who are all the time laying the flattering unction to their souls how cleverly they have managed their affairs, and what extraordinary exceptions they are to the rule of equal-handed punishment? All sin is a species of moral madness; but because it is only
The Editor inserts this paper, not by any means as expressing the opinions of the Christian Spectator' on this subject, but as presenting an able and original statement of that side of the question which the writer has adopted. While it is probable that no reader will be able to give his assent to the author's opinions, there will be very few, we are sure, who will not be glad to have had an opportunity of knowing and weighing them.
moral, it retains its culpability: and it is this moral madness which, to the review of adjusted reason, becomes that fierce element of remorse, of which
everyone has too much conscious knowledge. Had it been the design, however, of Judas Iscariot, by his betrayal, to have injured Christ or his cause, he would certainly have adopted a different plan of proceeding. He might not be learned, nor have in him any of that believing foresight which would have enabled him to prefigurate his own conduct a thousand years afterwards; but it required neither to have convinced Judas, that whatever fate might attend the names of Caiaphas, Pilate, or Nicodemus, the name of Christ would survive that generation, and that his story would be read by remote nations. Now, if the traitor only thought of injuring Christ by his malevolent communication with his sacerdotal accomplices, he would have concocted some story plausible enough to secure it credence with the court parties. He might have launched against his private character some of the inuendoes in which modern scepticism occasionally indulges; or he might have weakened the proofs of his celestial commission by denying that his miraculous power was always efficacious; or have attempted to criminate Christ either in the sincerity of his patients, or the honest intentions of his disciples. Had any of these accusations been brought by Judas Iscariot against Jesus Christ, or others as imaginable, they would have shown a deeper baseness of purpose, and a heart more maliciously antagonistic to his Master. Bad enough, indeed, was Judas Iscariot, but he was not thus far lost to every sense of propriety as to take a pleasure, apart from his own interest, in the degradation of his Master. It may be a hopeless, and even a thankless, employment to show that Judas was not a tithe as guilty as many of our quasi religious writers, who, with vastly more evidence of the Saviour's power before them, rise against it all, reverse the maxims of common sense, set all historic proof at defiance, treat with contumelious scorn the brief annals of his disciples, and dare to proclaim that if Jesus Christ were not an ordinary man, he was an impostor! And yet these men mix among us without being signalized by any mark of scorn, while every nominal Christian child mentions the name of Judas with a feeling which belongs only to the chief of sinners. As we are not the final judges of each other, it is only an exercise of that charity which we hope future ages will show to the present, not to make men greater sinners than they really were; and above all things, by a discriminating judgment in these qualities and circumstances that so materially modify the value of all human actions to avoid the Sultan's rule, that all bad acts are superlatively evil. The conduct of Judas was a perfidy of a rare order, but it was not as perfidious as it might have been, or he would have attempted to blacken the character of Christ, and to blast the designs of his apostles, or have originated such slanders of both, of the end of which the most critical acumen could have never dared to predict. Had Judas hated Christ or despised his apostolic brethren, he would have made such efforts, and as he did not, there is room to believe that he in reality respected his Master and his disciples, and treated them ultimately as thoroughly honest; though, in the hour of temptation, bis besetting weakness got the better of his convictions, or his inad and presumptive fondness for his own policy overthrew his heart, his intellect, and his life. If we could suppose that the previous discipular life of Judas had been one of genuine conviction that Christ was the Messiah, viewed from one point of view, his betrayal of Christ was not much worse than the conduct of Peter, who uttered deliberately three falsehoods, and cursed and swore that he knew not the man! But there must be charged to the fault of Judas a premeditation which did not belong to the sins of the apostle Peter.
What, then, is the present condition of Judas Iscariot? Is it one of interminable misery, or of happiness consequent on his being forgiven? or one capable of conditional improvement? We are aware how little evidence we possess in favour of the latter opinions; but there are many eminent interpreters of the sacred records, to whose opinion and piety the Christian Church do well to defer, who evidently incline to the belief, that though the sin of Judas admits of no apology, his crime was pardoned as an instance of our Lord's sovereign mercy, though it did not comport with Divine wisdom to insert in Christian history the fact. It is to be admitted that one expression of our Lord's appears to favour the conclusion that Judas was excluded from participation in Divine clemency: 'It had been good for that man not to have been born. If the Evangelical history, as is most probable, will live for ever, the story of Judas's infamy will form a part of it, and will, of course, never expire. Is not that of itself, then, a ground on which Jesus might have very naturally rested this tremendous censure? It were surely penalty enough to stand for ever as the one man marked out by infamous ascendency over all others of the mortal race, who had betrayed his Lord, sold him for thirty pieces of silver, and after he had completed the crime declared his own denunciation by asserting that he had betrayed innocent blood! But if Judas had acted unwittingly, or was overborne by temptation, or had only sinned after the measure of other violators of the law, however energetically he might have denounced himself, that would not be a reason why he should be excluded from mercy. But as well as backward into the history of this dark transaction, let us glance at the bearings of Judas's crime in its future relations. If our analogies bear any rule for those of the Divine government, is it not possible that many are now in heaven, the greater part of whose earthly life was signalized by as bad, or even worse, displays of sinfulness than the whole life of Judas Iscariot? "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin,' we are assured by that apostle who is commonly thought to have enjoyed the most intimate of our Saviour's earthly friendship; and we can, therefore, conceive of Judas being forgiven as one of the most triumphant proofs of our Saviour's clemency. The knowledge of that forgiveness, definitively made known in the present condition of human nature, would have weakened the deterrent force of Christian law, and, therefore, the question is left in its present undetermined state.
We must, however, look a little further into the facts as recorded
in the Scriptures. We are told by Luke, in the initial chapters of the Acts, that Peter opened the apostolic ministry by preaching salvation to the murderers of Christ : Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ . . . But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of Life . . . Be it known unto you all, and to all ye people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, doth this man stand here before you all ... The God' of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree ;' and in chap. vi. we are told, a great company of the priests were obedient unto the faith.' Here, then, in five distinct quotations, we have proof that the murderers of our Lord were frequently addressed by the apostles with offers of his forgiveness, and several additional proofs that by a portion of the audiences these offers were accepted. It is true that those priests may not have known so well our Saviour's Messiahship as Judas did, or have seen by near so many of the infallible demonstrations of his innocence. Yet it cannot be denied that the murderer is certainly more guilty at a human tribunal than an accomplice, who, though he might have initiated the danger, yet boldly protests the innocence of the victim. And these offers of mercy to his murderers were made by the apostles in pursuance of the strict injunctions of Christ himself, after he had risen from the dead. Now, if we thus find that greater criminals received the conditional offers of divine pardon for the share they had in the detestable tragedy of crucifying Christ against all evidence, and even the evidence of that fellow-disciple, whose case we are considering, it is surely no great presumption to hope that even Judas, in his more lamentable self-lothing, might also be admitted to the bliss of heaven.
We are, however, sensible that it may be alleged against this view, that the apostles themselves, who offered terms of reconciliation for the actual murderers, have determined the present position of Judas in Acts i. 25. We doubt very much whether the apostles have done any such thing, as others will who carefully consult the quotation, which is the following :- And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.' The words in italics may as grammatically apply to Matthias, the successful candidate for the apostolic vacancy, in our opinion, and we cannot avoid thinking that he might go to his own place' is a form of expression more appropriate to a living man occupying a vacant seat, or one for which he was presumably qualified, in the apostolate, than to the transfer of a guilty soul to the regions of remediless sorrow. The expression is not Judaically theological at all, at least so far as we read the whole passage.
What are we to do, meantime, who incline to the belief that Judas