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Christ himself administered the Lord’s supper to Judas, whom he knew at the same time to be graceless; which is a full evidence, that grace is not in itself a requisite qualification in order to coming to the Lord’s supper; and if it be not requisite in itself, a profession of it cannot be requisite.
Answ. 1. It is to me apparent, that Judas was not present at the administration of the Lord’s supper. It is true, he was present at the passover, and dipped with Christ in the paschal dish. The three former evangelists do differ in the order of the account they give of this dipping in the dish.—Luke gives an account of it after his account of the Lord’s supper, Luke xxii. 21.. But Matthew and Mark both give an account of it before. (Matt. xxvi. 23.. Mark xiv. 20.) And the like might be shown in other instances of these three evangelists differing one from another in the order of their narratives; one places those things in his history after others, which another places first. These sacred historians do not undertake to declare precisely the date of every incident, but regard more the truth of facts, than the order of time. However, in the present case, the nature of the thing speaks for itself, and shows, that Judas’s dipping with Christ in the dish, or his hand being with Christ on the table, or receiving a sop dipped in the dish, must be in that order wherein Matthew and Mark place it in their history, viz. at the passover, antecedent to the Lord’s supper. For there is no such thing in the Lord’s supper as dipping of sops, and dipping together in the dish; but there was in the passover, where all had their hands together in the dish, and dipt their sops in the bitter sauce. None of these three evangelists give us any account of the time when Judas went out: but John—who is vastly more particular as to what passed that night, and is every where more exact as to the order of time than the other evangelists—is very precise as to the time, viz. that Jesus when he gave him the sop, at the same time sent him away, bidding him do quickly what he intended to do; and accordingly when he had received the sop, he went immediately out, John xiii. 27-30.. Now this sop being at the passover, it is evident he was not present at the Lord’s supper which followed. Many of the best expositors are of this opinion, such as Van Mastricht, Dr. Doddridge, and others.
Answ. 2. If Judas was there, I deny the consequence. As I have observed once and again concerning the Lord’s dealings with his people under the Old Testament, so under the New the same observation takes place. Christ did not come to judge the secrets of men, nor did ordinarily act in his external dealings with his disciples, and in the administration of ordinances, as the Searcher of hearts; but rather as the Head of the visible church, proceeding according to what was exhibited in profession and visibility; herein setting an example to his ministers, who should stand in his place when he was gone, and act in his name in the administration of ordinances. Judas had made the same profession of regard to his Master, and of forsaking all for him, as the other disciples: and therefore Christ did not openly renounce him till he himself had destroyed his profession and visibility of saintship, by public scandalous apostacy. Supposing then the presence of Judas at the Lord’s supper, this affords no consequence in favour of what I oppose.
Answ. 3. If they with whom I have to do in this controversy, are not contented with the answers already given, and think there is a remaining difficulty in this matter lying against my scheme, I will venture to tell them, that this difficulty lies full as hard against their own scheme; and if there be any strength at all in the argument, it is to all intents of the same strength against the need of those qualifications which they themselves suppose to be necessary in order to an approach to the Lord’s table. For although they do not think renewing saving grace necessary, yet they suppose moral seriousness or (as they variously speak) moral sincerity in religion to be necessary. They suppose it to be requisite, that persons should have some kind of serious principle and view in coming to the Lord’s table; some intention of subjecting themselves to Christ, and of seeking and serving him, in general; and in particular some religious end in coming to the sacramental supper, some religious respect to Christ in it. But now did not Christ at that time perfectly know, that Judas had none of these things? He knew he had nothing of sincerity in the christian religion, or of regard to Christ in that ordinance, of any sort whatsoever; he knew, that Satan had entered into him and filled his heart, and that he was then cherishing in himself a malignant spirit against his Master, excited by the reproof Christ had lately given him, (compare John xii. 8.. with Matt. xxvi. 8-16.. and Mark xiv. 4-11..) and that he had already formed a traitorous, murderous design against him, and was now in the prosecution of that bloody design, having actually just before been to the chief priests, and agreed with them to betray him for thirty pieces of silver. (See Matt. xxvi. 14, 15, 16.. Mark xiv. 10, 11.. Luke xxii. 3-6.. and John xiii. 2..) Christ knew these things, and knew that Judas was utterly unqualified for the holy sacrament of the Lord’s supper; though it had not yet been made known to the church, or the disciples.—Therefore it concerns those on the contrary part in this controversy, to find out some solution of this difficulty, as much as it does me; and they will find they have as much need to take refuge in the solution already given, in one or other of the two preceding answers to this objection.
469 By the way I would observe, that Christ’s not excluding Judas from the passover, under these circumstances, knowing him to be thus unqualified, without so much as moral sincerity, &c. is another thing that effectually enervates all the strength of the objection against me, from the passover. For Judas did not only in common with others fall under God’s strict command, in the law of Moses, to keep this feast, without any exception of his case there to be found; but Christ himself, with his own hand, gave him the sop, a part of the paschal feast; even although at the same instant he had in view the man’s secret wickedness and hypocrisy, the traitorous design which was then in his heart, and the horrid conspiracy with the chief priests, which he had already entered into, and was now prosecuting. This was then in Christ’s mind, and he intimated it to him, at the same moment when he gave him the sop, saying, “What thou doest, do quickly.” This demonstrates, that the objection from the passover is no stronger argument against my scheme, than the scheme of those whom I oppose; because it is no stronger against the necessity of sanctifying grace, the qualification for christian sacraments, which I insist upon, than it is against the necessity of moral seriousness or sincerity, the qualification which they insist upon.
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