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ever mean the offices which they are called to perform. Let those who are old, and think themselves entitled to respect on account of their years, not deem it beneath them to attend to the wants and to labour for the benefit of children and young persons, but give them seasonable counsels, and such other assistance as their situation may require. Let the rich not disdain the company of the poor, nor decline associating with them, when necessary for their instruction or consolation; nor refuse them such friendly offices as their hands alone may be qualified to perform. Let men of rank, or such as are invested with high authority, be attentive to the wants and wishes of ordinary persons. Let men of knowledge and learning not despise those of their brethren who have not been able to make the like acquirements, but be ready to communicate their superior knowledge to the ignorant; and, for this purpose, study to adapt their instructions to the capacities and weaknesses of those whom they teach. And if any should ask why they stoop so low in performing these services, let them reply that it is an honour to do good, although to the meanest object and in the humblest form, and that they have been taught to think so both by the example and doctrine of their
John xiii. 18-30.
When Jesus was washing the feet of Feter, he had told him that they were clean, but not all. He now explains the reason of his making that exception: it was that he was well acquainted with the characters of his apostles, and knew that one of them had already determined to act the part of a traitor.
18. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen; but that the scripture might be fulfilled; He that
eateth bread with me hath now lift up his heel against me.
That is, agreeably to the language of scripture, he that hath eaten at my table has acted the same ungrateful part towards me, as the brute which kicks at the master by whom he is fed. By the phrase, that the scripture might be fulfilled, no more seems to be here intended than that the words quoted from Psalm xli. 10. were applicable to the present case, and not that they were designed as a prophecy. The word now, with which the nineteenth verse begins in the common translation, belongs to the eighteenth, and I have accordingly introduced it there,
19. I tell you before it come, that when it is come to pass ye may believe that I am he.
I have foretold this act of treachery, that when it shall take place you may be confirmed in your belief that I am the Messiah. Such foresight was a proof of divine inspiration, and therefore of his being intitled to the character which he assumed. To communicate this foreknowledge to his disciples, was also a proof of his attention to their interests. He now adds another proof of his affection, namely, that he should regard the attention paid to them as paid to himself; just in the same manner as what was paid to himself was in reality paid to God.
20. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me; and he that receiveth ́me, receiveth him that sent me.
21. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, "he was inwardly troubled," and declared, saying, Verily, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
This declaration was probably accompanied with a deep sigh, expressive of the pain which he felt at so base an act of ingratitude, which induced the evangelist to observe that he was troubled in spirit, or inwardly troubled.
22. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
They watched to observe whether any one discovered marks of guilt in his countenance. The traitor, however, manifested no signs of shame or embarrassment.
23. Now the disciple whom Jesus loyed lay at the breast of Jesus.
In order to understand this, it is necessary to ob serve that the method of sitting at meals among the ancients was different from ours, as they placed themselves in a half recumbent posture, two or three upon the same couch; so that the head of one guest was opposite to the breast of another above him. In this position was the apostle John in respect to his master; the disciple whom Jesus loved more than the rest, or the favourite disciple; for it is in this modest manner that the evangelist describes himself.
24. Simon Peter, therefore, beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
On this liberty he thought the favourite disciple might presume, although he was afraid to take it himself.
25. He then, lying on Jesus' breast, rather, "leaning back his head on Jesus' breast," in order to whisper in his ear, saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
26. Jesus answered, He it is to whom I shall give a sop, "a piece of
bread," when I have dipped it: and when he had dipped the piece he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
The circumstances related in this and the two preceding verses seem to have been a private transaction between Jesus and these two apostles: for the rest of them do not seem to have understood the meaning of what was done.
27. And after the sop Satan entered into him.
That is, he resolved to execute the dark plan which he had before laid for betraying his master. To suppose that the devil actually enters the minds or the bodies of men, in order to direct their thoughts and actions to some wicked purpose, is to take away criminality from human actions, and to destroy the moral responsibility of man; and is too gross an idea to be admitted for a moment. The truth is that the devil has no real existence in nature, but is an imaginary being, whose attributes are borrowed by the Jews from the mythology of the east, the supposed patron of evil and instigator of all crimes, to whom the sacred writ ers of later times ascribe all opposition to the gospel and all natural as well as moral evil. Their doing so, however, ought not to lead us into the idea of his being a real being, producing such effects; for on other occasions, and when they speak plainly, they ascribe all natural evil to God and all moral evil to man,
Jesus, knowing the resolution of Judas to betray him, desires that he will execute it as soon as possible, in order to free him from the pain which he felt from the apprehension of sufferings, and which was prolonged by every delay.
Then said Jesus unto him, What thou doest do quickly.
28. Now no man at the table knew
for what intent, "for what," he spake this unto him.
The apostle John, who asked Jesus who was the traitor, and saw him give the piece of bread to Judas for the express purpose of pointing out the man, must, I conceive, be excepted from this general declaration : for he would naturally understand Jesus to refer to the design of betraying him, when he said, That thou doest do quickly. But the other apostles, not having heard the question nor the answer to it, which were both delivered in a whisper or low voice, were at a loss to know of what he spoke.
29. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, "the purse," that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the festival, or, rather, "for the festival," for it was already begun; or that he should give something to the poor.
30. He then, having received the sop, went immediately out: and it was night.
Judas, finding that his design was discovered, and being ashamed to remain any longer with Jesus and his fellow disciples, resolved to execute his purpose immediately, and therefore went out. The circumstance of its being night is noticed, in order to show how near it was to the time of the death of Jesus, and to account for the discourses which he held with them in reference to that subject.
The account given of this transaction respecting Judas in some of the other evangelists, is somewhat different from that given here; but as John bore so important a part in the transactions himself, his ac count is most likely to be exact.