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“Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?”—Luke xxii. 48.

To use a kiss in the ministry of betrayal is like using a sacramental cup to poison a friend. The very worst form of devilry is that which garbs itself in the robes of an angel of light. Evil which wears its own clothes is sufficiently repulsive, but it is not nearly so repulsive as when it counterfeits goodness, and decks itself in adornments stolen from the wardrobe of virtue. If betrayal comes with a curse and a frown we know how to interpret its approach, but when it comes with smiles and kisses it can deceive the very elect. This kiss of Judas wounded the Lord far more deeply than did the nails which fastened Him to the Cross.

And we, too, can do our evil behind appearances of virtue. We can plan mischief on our knees. We can appear unto men to 133pray while all the time we may be busy hatching schemes to wrong our brother. We can even join the Lord’s holy church for a badge of respectability. Our membership appears to throw the light of sanctity over our life, and the soft and mellow beams become a kind of screen behind which we can engage in questionable deeds. “Oh, she is a member of the church, and it must be all right!” And thus does membership act as a screen instead of being a lucid transparency through which we can see into the deepest depths of the consecrated soul. Yes, we can betray the Lord with a kiss!

Let us beware of religious cloaks. Let us beware of borrowing the livery of the saints to hide the devices of the sinner. If we are going to betray the Lord, let us do it openly, and not by assuming the mood and manners of a friend. But why betray the great Friend who sticketh closer than a brother? Let us rather pledge Him a deeper fealty, and conform our evil in ceaseless service and sacrifice.

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