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8. And when the disciples saw it. This also is not unusual with the Evangelists, when a thing has been done by one, to attribute it to many persons, if they give their consent to it. John says that the murmur proceeded from Judas, who betrayed Christ, (John 12:4.) Matthew and Mark include all the disciples along with him. The reason is, that none of the others would ever have dared to murmur if the wicked slander of Judas had not served for a torch to kindle them. But when he began, under a plausible pretext, to condemn the expense as superfluous, all of them easily caught the contagion. And this example shows what danger arises from malignant and envenomed tongues; for even those who are naturally reasonable, and candid, and modest, if they do not exercise prudence and caution, are easily deceived by unfavorable speeches, and led to adopt false judgments. But if light and foolish credulity induced the disciples of Christ to take part with Judas, what shall become of us, if we are too easy in admitting murmurers, who are in the habit of carping wickedly at the best actions?
We ought to draw from it another warning, not to pronounce rashly on a matter which is not sufficiently known. The disciples seize on what Judas said, and, as it has some show of plausibility, they are too harsh in forming a judgment. They ought, on the contrary, to have inquired more fully if the action deserved reproof; more especially when their Master was present, by whose decision it was their duty to abide. Let us know, therefore, that we act improperly, when we form our opinion without paying regard to the word of God; for, as Paul informs us,
And though there was a wide difference between Judas and the others — because he wickedly held out a plausible cloak for his theft, while the rest were actuated by foolish simplicity — still we see how their imprudence withdrew them from Christ, and made them the companions of Judas.