صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of blood should be put into the treasury. The priests, therefore, though they gathered up the pieces which the traitor had thrown down before them, were unable to appropriate them to the uses of the temple, and after consulting together, agreed to purchase with them a field in the vicinity of Jerusalem, called the Potter's Field, to bury strangers in. The piece of ground thus purchased, acquired the significant and fearful name of The Field of Blood.

When the tragedy of the crucifixion was over, and the eleven, comforted and reassured by the appearance of their risen Lord, had assembled together in Jerusalem, with the other disciples, to the number of about an hundred and twenty, Peter proposed to the company that a disciple should be chosen by lot to take “the ministry and apostleship, from which Judas, by transgression, fell.” In the address which he made on this occasion, he gives an account of the death of Judas, which differs somewhat from the relation of Matthew. “ Now this man,” he says, “purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.” Several explanations have been given to reconcile this discrepancy, either of which is sufficiently probable to answer the purpose.

meritorious action, or actions, did Judas deserve so great a favor ? Our author answers, he gave just the same quantity of linen cloth to a certain poor family for shirting. It had been impossible that this gentleman should hit on such a conceit as this, but from our natural opinion of the value and merit of charity ; it seems to us a virtue so excellent, that it may excuse even Judas from some part of his punishment. I can hardly afford to ask the reader's pardon for this tale ; I incline to think, that divers others may be as well pleased with the wit of it, and the moral implied in it, as I have been, who remember it after above forty years' reading, without remembering either the author, or argument of the book.”

The most common one is, that Judas hung himself, as Matthew relates, and afterwards, by some accident, fell from the place where he was suspended, and was mangled in the shocking manner described by Peter.

According to the apostle's recommendation, his brethren proceeded to fill the traitor's forfeited place; and the lot fell upon Matthias, who had long been a disciple of Jesus, and is conjectured to have been one of the seventy. Thus was the miserable Judas, the apostate, the suicide, rejected from the apostolic company, even after his death, and his name and his memory blotted out, as entirely as was possible, from the records of the faithful. With the passages of Scripture which were applied on this occasion by Peter, we will conclude his mournful biography. “ For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein ; and, His bishopric let another take."

MATTHIAS.

For all the holy and spiritual purposes of apostleship, and for all the purposes of honorable remembrance in the Christian church, the place of Judas Iscariot is vacated, as we have seen, and must be supplied by another, in order that the apostolic number may be complete. The name of Matthias must be joined to the foregoing list, though his name is not once mentioned in the Gospels. We shall then have thirteen names, but only twelves apostles still; twelve authorized founders of the Christian church; twelve commissioned teachers of Christianity to the world; twelve judges of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The early determination of the eleven apostles to fill the spiritual throne from which Judas had fallen, is proof of one or two interesting points. It proves, that, having recovered from their temporary panic, they were fully resolved to set about the work of their Master, and had no other idea but that of proclaiming his name, and planting

his religion, according to his behest, and with the holy certainty of divine assistance and protection, and of final success. - It proves that their zeal and confidence were not confined within the limits of their own number, but were shared by many others, who stood ready to fill the vacant post of honor and danger, and to join in the cares and perils of the new and marvellous enterprise. — It proves, moreover, the regard of the apostles for the integrity of the original number of their company; the number which the appointment of their Master had established and sanctified ; the patriarchal number of twelve. Though two individuals were judged worthy of the forfeited station, only one could be received to it.

It was necessary that the candidates for the apostleship should be personally acquainted with the main events of the life of Jesus, in order that they might bear direct witness thereto. “ Wherefore of these men,” said Peter, in the assembly of one hundred and twenty disciples, “ who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrec

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »