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obedience to God in time. Though the wicked in this world live and see length of days, as well as the righteous, yet are their lives without profit; on the contrary, their temporal success is their eternal ruin. And we may take this as an unfailing axiom of religion, that doing what God commands should be done is the only way to secure the fulfilment of the promise made by Christ “unto all who come unto God through him.” “ And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." If it were not for our advantage to do what the Almighty desires should be done, he would not have commanded us to pray that his creatures may be obedient subjects rather than rebellious children. To

pray therefore that God's will may “be done in earth as it is in Heaven," whilst we continue disobedient, is decidedly the most audacious of mockeries. We shall do well then, whilst we pray for such a dispensation of divine grace, to have our own hearts right in the sight of God, “to commit the keeping of our souls unto him in well-doing as unto a faithful Creator,” so that we may, both in this life and the life everlasting, glorify our father which is in Heaven,” where that we may all finally meet at the resurrection of the just,” among the blessed community of “ saints made perfect,” may God of his infinite mercy grant, through Jesus Christ !

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SERMON XVIII.

ON FORGIVING INJURIES.

MATTHEW, CHAP. XVIII. VERSE 35.

“So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, from your

hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

if ye

In the parable which closes with these words, Christ gives a most comprehensive illustration of the fifth petition of his own prayer, wherein we supplicate forgiveness of our trespasses, “ as we forgive them that trespass against us.” The Apostle Peter, though of a warm heart and generous spirit, seems to have taken a very narrow view of the obligations of this important doctrine. His divine Master, in his discourse upon private offences, had probably urgently insisted

upon the necessity of mutual forgiveness of injuries among men; and had, it is likely, expressed some certain number of times that these were to be forgiven. · Peter, hearing a doctrine so uncommon, promulgated by such infallible authority, but not understanding how it could be consistent with the laws of social life, asks the Saviour if he really meant that a person was to forgive another, who had injured him, so many as seven times. Christ, in his reply, signifies that he did not intend to restrict the obligation of forgiveness to any definite number of times, but that pardon was in no case to be denied how frequent soever the injury.

In order to set the moral necessity of forgiving injuries in its most obvious point of view, our Saviour propounded to his disciples the parable of the unmerciful servant. “Therefore," said He,“ is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king which would take account of his servants, and when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord have patience with me, and I will

pay

thee all. Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out and found one of his fellow-servants who owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt."

When this conduct was reported to the master, having severely reproved the unmerciful servant, he ordered him to be a delivered to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due unto bim. So likewise,” concludes the divine instructor, “shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

In this parable we shall observe that there are three things set in opposition : namely, a King to a servant, an immense sum to a comparative trifle; the most signal clemency to the most odious cruelty. The King and the servant, we are to consider here, as the two extreme degrees in human society. The distance therefore between them being so great, the benevolence of the former and the guilt of the latter become the more remarkably conspicuous. The menial incurred a vast debt which he knew he never could repay. His Lord, upon his earnest supplication, forgave him and set him free. Here we have at once a lively picture of the presumption of man and the mercy of God. Let us only consider how immeasurable the distance between the two; how great the ingratitude of the former,

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