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Then came Peter to him, and said : Lord, how oft shall my 21 brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till seven times ? Jesus saith unto him : I say not unto thee, until seven times, 22 but until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of 23 heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was 24 brought unto him which owed him ten thousand talents. But 25 illustrated by the Rabbinical wri- stood as meaning one of a common ters, who say: “If two men sit faith, or one of the common human down with the law between them, brotherhood. — Till

times? the Shechinah or Divine Presence Seven was called the full or comis with them.” Wherever you are plete number. Peter might have gathered together as my Apostles, been led to specify the particular though it be but two or three, i. e. number, because that was a matter a small number, yet it shall be as in discussion among the Jews, who, though I were personally present according to Lightfoot, pardoned and praying with you, and blessed the third, but not the fourth offence. your devotions and meeting. My So that Peter had doubled the numtruth, my authority, my spirit shall ber, as if to go to the greatest be with you. 1 Cor. v. 3, 4. The length of mercy. wholly unwarranted conclusion has 22. But Jesus would inculcate a been drawn from this text, that Je- far nobler spirit than that of the sus was the omnipresent God, else Jewish schools. - I say not unto his promise would have no signifi- thee, until seven times, but until sev

But even if he were per- enty times seven. Forgive as long sonally present in every Christian and as often as there is need or opassembly in the world, it would be portunity of doing it, and_the offar from proving his infinite presence fender sincerely repents. There is in all worlds and all space. But if no limit to the exercise of a mercihe were God, and known to be God ful disposition ; for so the number by his disciples, it would have been seventy times seven indicates. Luke superfluous for him to have said that xvii. 4. he should be present with them under 23. To produce a deeper imprescertain circumstances; for they would sion of the duty of forgiveness, he have known that he would necessa- relates a striking parable, or moral rily be ever and everywhere pres- fiction. - Then efore.

For. The ent. - It may be remarked here, that kingdom of heaven. The adminisJesus is an Intercessor with the tration of heaven. God deals with Father for his disciples on earth. 1 men as a certain king dealt with John ii. 1.

his servants. Likened. Like. 21. How oft shall my brother sin, Would take account. Would settle fc. Peter may have been prompt- accounts, or reckon with. –His sered to this inquiry, by the remarks vants. Not slaves, but officers, or upon treating one who had injured ministers, who managed the royal us, in verses 15-17, or perhaps by estates or revenues. some indignity which he himself 24. Ten thousand talents. The may have suffered in the dispute sum here stated, if the silver talent between the Apostles, verse 1. The was meant, would be about fifteen expression, brother, is to be under- millions of dollars, but if the gold


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 pay26 ment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and wor

shipped him, saying : Lord, have patience with me, and I will 27 pay thee all. Then the Lord of that servant was moved with 23 compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But

the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence; and he laid hands on him,

and took him by the throat, saying : Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, 30 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 31 pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done,

they were very sorry ; and came and told unto their lord all 32 that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him,

said unto him : 0 thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that 33 debt, because thou desiredst me ; shouldst not thou also have

had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on 34 thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tor

talent, about fifteen times as much. 28. An hundred pence. The RoThe sense is, an immense sum, and man denarius or penny was worth hence a large round number is used about fourteen cents. The sum then to express it.

was fourteen dollars, an insignificant 25. Commanded him to be sold, amount when contrasted with his fc. This was in accordance with own vast debt. Took him by the the Jewish practices, if not law. throat. Or, throttled him. His own The servitude thus produced could, violence appears the more odious, however, last but six years. Lev. as it is set by the side of the lenient xxv. 39 – 46 ; 2 Kings iv. 1; Amos treatment he had received from his viii. 6. The same custom also pre- infinitely larger creditor. vailed among the Greeks and Ro 30. Cast him into prison. This mans, and debtors were often sub- custom prevailed among the Roject to great cruelties by whippings mans, and, barbarous and absurd as and imprisonments from their cred- it is, has existed in most Christian itors. — And payment to be made. lands to this day. But the stain So far as practicable out of the pro- upon civilization and religion is beceeds of the sale.

ginning to be wiped out. 26. Worshipped him. Did him 31. They were very sorry. More obesiance. - Have patience with me. than that, they were very indigTyndale translates, “Give me re nant; they were grieved and prospite."

voked. 27. Forgave him the debt, i. e. 34. Tormentors. Rather, jailors, granted his request, and remitted or prison-keepers, who used torture the debt for the present,

only when occasion required. Im

mentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So like- 35 wise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Conversations of Jesus.

AND it came to pass, that, when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of

66 the

prisonment, in the east, is a great or make payment for the debtor ; punishment; since offenders, par- but, upon his earnest entreaty, ticularly state criminals, are scanti- Lord of that servant was moved ly fed, treated with great severity, with compassion, and loosed him, loaded with clogs and chains, and and forgave him the debt.” Yet we subjected to scourgings and rack are told that the administration of ings, which speedily end their lives. heaven is likened unto this king; The Great Teacher would thus verse 23.

God deals with us as the graphically paint the miserable con- king dealt with his servant. How sequences of a hard and unforgiving totally inconsistent this is with the temper.

popular doctrine of the Atonement, 35. From your hearts. Sincerely which represents God as pardonand honestly. Their. His. This ing no transgression, until a full verse expresses the moral or appli- satisfaction is made by the death of cation of the parable ; " He shall Christ! Can this with any propriehave judgment without mercy, who ty be called forgiveness? Is it not, hath showed no mercy.Revenge rather, stern justice, unrelenting seis the part of a beast, but forgive- verity? Where is there any parness is the part of a man, the part don, if the debt must all be paid, of God. God will treat his children if not by the offender, at least, by as they treat one another; such is some one else? Again, as we are his law. An unforgiving disposi- told to imitate the Divine conduct tion draws upon itself a dreadful in this particular, we must, accordpunishment, not by any arbitrary ing to the above doctrine, exact the enactment, but by the natural ar fuil debt from our fellow-men; never rangement of things. It fills the forgive a transgression against ourheart with bitterness and ashes. selves, until our justice, or revenge, We learn from this parable, ist, be appeased ; in fact, imitate the inThat forgiveness of our sins by exorable creditor. Who does not God, great though they be, depends shudder at such conclusions, which upon the condition that we forgive are the direct inferences from this others, though their offences are prevalent corruption of Christiancomparatively small; according to ity? the petition of the Lord's prayer.

CHAP. XIX. Penitence is another condition, 1-9. Parallel to Mark x. 1-12. though not stated here, as the ob 1. He departed from Galilee. He ject of this parable did not require did not visit Galilee again, till after it. 2d, That God forgives freely. his resurrection. We are told by There was no interposition on the Luke, that he now steadfastly set part of any person to stand surety, his face to go to Jerusalem," as if


2 Judea, beyond Jordan. And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and

saying unto him : Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for 4 every cause ? And he answered and said unto them : Have

ye not read, that he, which made them at the beginning, made 5 them male and female ; and said : “For this cause shall a

man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife ; and 6 they twain shall be one flesh ” ? Wherefore they are no more


he summoned up courage for his ap- connexion, whilst that of Hillel, proaching fate. Coasts of Judea, more lax, permitted the union to be beyond Jordan. An obscurity rests severed on any trivial ground, as upon this sentence, which has long that of dislike or discontent. Deut. perplexed the learned. For Judea xxiv. 1. The answer of Jesus they proper did not extend east of the supposed could not be framed withJordan, or include the Peræa, or out exposing him to the odium of that region beyond the Jordan. It one or the other of these parties. has been suggested, that " beyond From verse 10, we infer that these

or the Jordan, properly questioners belonged to the school speaking, should be rendered upon of Hillel. or by the side of the Jordan. John 4. But the usual wisdom of Jesus i. 28. But the more probable ex- did not desert him. He refers them, planation is, that he came into Ju- beyond the quibbling and jargon of dea, from Galilee, not by the direct the schools, to the authority of the and customary route through Sama- Great Lawgiver, and the purpose of ria, which he had been prevented God, who made the sexes, and infrom taking by the inhospitality of stituted marriage as a connexion not the inhabitants, Luke ix. 52, 53, but to be dissolved for any slight cause. by the more circuitous route through Gen. i. 27, ii. 21, 22. 6. God creatthe Peræa so called, - according to ed at first no more than a single Mark, “ the farther side of Jordan,” pair, one of each sex, whom he and, as Matthew has it, “ beyond united in the bond of marriage, and Jordan."

in so doing exhibited a standard of 3. To put away his wife for every that union to all generations." cause. For any cause or fault what- Male and female. Rather, a male

It is probable, that this, like and a female. other questions proposed by the 5. And said. The nominative to Pharisees, was asked, not for the this verb is doubtful. It may be sake of information, but to involve God, or Moses, or the Scripture, or Jesus in difficulty. Two celebrated the verb may be impersonal. — For schools existed at this time among this cause. On account of the dithe Jews, called by the names of vine purpose, in making them of two great teachers, Hillel and Sham- different sexes.-Twain. Two. The mai,

which held different views upon binding tenure of the relation is ilthe dissolution of the marriage re. lustrated by the two facts, that the lation ; that of Shammai contending most intimate and early connexions, that divorce was unlawful, except in as the filial and fraternal ones, are the single case of infidelity in the given up for this new one; and that


His 10

twain, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. - They say unto him : Why 7 did Moses, then, command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away? He saith unto them : Moses, because 8 of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to puť away your wives ; but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto 9 you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery ; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. disciples say unto him : If the case of the man be so with his two persons thus joined become as them with great cruelty, and even one flesh, one person, one soul, put them to death. Thus civil laws, having like privileges and rights. in all periods, present no perfect The inference is, then, that no triv- standard of right, but are necessariial cause should sunder such a rivet- ly mixed with imperfections, in their ed union.

accommodation to the age and the 6. Hath joined together. The verb people. The civil regulations of in the original signifies yoked to- the great Hebrew legislator, in this gether, by a metaphor taken from respect, shared the common fate of the yoking of oxen. Indeed, in all political institutions. They were, some countries, a yoke or chains are for the time, best suited to the wants put upon the newly married couple, of the Jewish nation, but destined as emblems of their close connexion. to be outgrown and superseded, by Jesus declares that the marriage a jurisprudence more nearly in acbond is sanctioned by God, and not cordance with immutable right. In to be lightly sundered by human saying that “ from the beginning it caprice or folly.

was not so,” Jesus asserts that the 7. They objected to this reason- original purpose, in the Divine ésing, that Moses, in his law, permit- tabīishment of the relation, was, ted divorces. Deut. xxiv. 1-4. that it should be perpetual. The Command to give a writing, fc. influence of his religion has given, The command of Moses related not wherever it has gone, new sanctity to the putting away, which he per- to marriage, and thus elevated womitted for the reason stated in the man and home. next verse, but to the giving of a 9. I say unto you. There is in bill of divorce.

these words a lofty tone of unbor8. Because of the hardness of your rowed and original authority, as if hearts. On account of your intract- he were speaking from heaven, and able disposition, referring to the not of himself. See note on Matt. Jewish people in general. We here v. 32; Luke xvi. 18. According have an explicit admission, that to Mark, these words were uttered some laws and customs among the in private, to the disciples, after they chosen people were in themselves had retired from the crowd. A diimperfect, but were necessary, in vorce is permitted by Christ in the that peculiar and semi-barbarous pe- single case of conjugal unfaithfulriod. Had the Jews not been per- ness. mitted to put away their wives in 10. If the case of the man be so with many cases, they might have treated his wife, fc. If such be the condi

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