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much in need of daily forgiveness as you do of your daily bread; and do you think it an earcess of indulgence, an overstrained degree of tenderness and compassion, that your Maker should pardon you seven times a day, or even seventy times seven P.
2. In the next place I would remark, that this parable is a practical comment on that petition in the Lord's. Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us ;” and it shows what infinite stress our Divine Master lays on this duty of forgiveness, by the care he takes to enforce it in so many different ways, by this parable, by making it a part of our daily prayers, and by his repeated declarations that we must expect no mercy from our Maker, “unless we from our hearts forgive every one his brother their trespasses *.” To the same purpose are those irresistible words of St. Paul: “Be ye therefore kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”.” Let the hard-hearted unrelenting man of the world, or the obdurate unforgiving parent, advert to these repeated admonitions, and then let him, if he can, indignantly spurn from him the repenting offender entreating pardon at his feet in those heart-piercing words, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” And yet it is dreadful to state, as I must do in the last place, what very little regard is paid to this precept by a large part of mankind. No man, I believe, ever heard or read the parable before us without feeling his indignation rise against the ungrateful and unfeeling servant, who, after having a debt of ten thousand talents remitted to him by his indulgent lord, threw his fellow servant into prison for a debt of an hundred pence. And yet how frequently are we ourselves guilty of the very same offence 2 Who is there among us that has not had ten thousand talents forgiven him by his heavenly * Eph. iv. 32.
hath * Matt. xviii. 35.
heavenly Father ? Take together all the offences of his life, all his sins and follies from the first hour of his maturity to the present time, and they may well be compared to this immense sum ; which immense sum, if he has been a sincere penitent, has been all forgiven through the merits of his Redeemer. Yet when his fellow-christian owes him an hundred pence, when he commits the slightest offence against him, he too often refuses him forgiveness, though he fall at his feet
to implore it. In fact, do we not every day see men resenting not only real injuries, but slight and even imaginary offences, with extreme vehemence and passion, and sometimes punishing the offender with nothing less than death P Do we not even see families rent asunder, and all domestic tranquillity and comfort destroyed frequently by the most trivial causes, sometimes on one side, and sometimes on both, refusing to listen to any reasonable overtures of peace, haughtily rejecting all offers of reconciliation, ciliation, insisting on the highest possible satisfaction and submission, and carrying these sentiments of implacable rancour with them to the grave? And yet these people call themselves Christians, and expect to be themselves forgiven at the throne of mercy - " . . . Let then every man of this description remember and most seriously reflect on this parable; let him remember that the unforgiving servant was delivered over to the tormentors till he should pay the uttermost farthing. Let him recollect that all the world approves this sentence; that he himself cannot but approve it; that he cannot but feel himself to be precisely in the situation of that very servant, and that of course he must at the last tremendous day expect that bitterand unanswerable reproach from his offended Judge; “O thou wicked servant 1 I forgave thee all that debt because thou desiredst me; shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant even as I had pity on thee?”
THE passage of Scripture which I propose to explain in the present Lecture, is a part of the 19th chapter of
St. Matthew, beginning at the 16th verse. “ Behold,” says the evangelist, “one came and said unto him (meaning Jesus), Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life 2 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which f Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother :