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of Satan, from which there will be no deliverance for ever.
When the King had pronounced this dreadful sentence upon the man who had so grossly abused his trust; it is said, The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. By this promise of repayment, the man pretended that he had laid out his lord's money in such a way, that it might be again recovered, although he was unable to pay it at that time.
Then the lord of that servant, having heard his promise of repayment in case of a delay being made in the execution of the sentence pronounced upon him, was moved with compassion, at the sight of his distress, and loosed him from the bonds which had been put upon him, in token of his being reduced to slavery, and forgave or remitted him the debt; that is, granted his request, or expressed his willingness to wait with patience for some time longer, and thus to give his debtor an opportunity of fulfilling his promise. For had it been an entire or unconditional forgiveness, the man could not have been called to account afterwards; although in every other respect the language imports that the remission of the debt was complete, or, that it would have been so, had not the unfeeling conduct of the debtor afterwards evinced that he was unworthy of having such
kindness shown to him. This our Saviour proceeds to describe.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence, a very small sum indeed in comparison of that which he had owed to his lord, and he laid hands on him violently, and took him by the throat, in the most barbarous manner, saying, Pay me that thou owest. One would have thought that the kind treatment which he had himself just experienced would have melted his heart in gratitude, and made him forbearing and gentle in his conduct towards his fellow servants, since their mutual lord and master had shown such compassion to him. But it seems to have had a contrary effect; as if he had thought himself disgraced by being called to account, instead of being thankful for the lenity which had been shown to him.
And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. He acted just as the other had done, used the same argument, and made the same promise as he himself had made. But as if it were to demonstrate the deceitfulness of his own promise, and that what he had said was merely a false pretence, by which he had imposed upon his master; and he therefore imagined that his fellow servant was practising a similar deception upon himself; he would not comply with the petition,
but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt; and thus by his own conduct pointed out what was the treatment which he ought himself to have received. The manner in which this man acted towards his fellow servant excited the grief and indignation of all around him. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. They represented the who could treat his
unworthiness of a man,
fellow servant so cruelly, to receive the great benefit that had been granted to him.
Then his lord, after that he called him to appear again in his presence, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? If the payment of a debt of great magnitude had not been enforced by a king with regard to his servant; surely a fellow servant should be treated with humanity and kindness, and not with cruelty and oppression, by one who had experienced so much lenity from his lord and master.
The hypocrisy of this man's behaviour being now fully manifested, his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, to make him discover what he had done with the property which had been entrusted to him, that he might be compelled to pay all that was due unto him.
So that the wickedness of his conduct was visited upon himself in just judgment, his treatment of his fellow servant showing his own sense of what were his deserts.
The inference which our blessed Saviour drew from this parable, points out the object which He had in view by relating it; and the reason of the reply that He had given to His Apostle Peter in the first instance. So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. It was as much as to say, that they whose conduct is unforgiving and hard hearted towards their fellow creatures, are deceiving themselves if they imagine that they are partakers of Divine forgiveness. If we are
sensible that much has been forgiven us, gratitude for the mercy which we have received will constrain us to show kindness and forbearance towards those who need our compassion, although they may not have any claim upon it. We shall rather be disposed to forego our just rights, than to act with cruelty and oppression towards those who are indebted to us.
But let us consider more particularly the subjects to which the text directs our attention. observe here,
First, A debt spoken of, of large amount;
Thirdly, An obligation consequent upon it.
The debt which we owe to Divine goodness is truly one of large amount, which we are quite unable to pay; a debt of ten thousand talents; the amount of which is variously computed from about a million and a quarter to three millions and a half of our money. How vast is the debt of gratitude which we owe to our gracious Benefactor, who created us, and daily loadeth us with benefits. He has given us life and breath and all things.58 Life is a talent which demands our utmost devotion to Him, who has called us into being, and sustains us in existence. For this every thing that hath breath should praise the Lord.59 The enjoyment of our rational faculties also demands that they should be employed to His glory. Health likewise is a blessing for which we cannot be sufficiently thankful; a blessing of which it has been frequently observed that few are sensible of its value but those who by painful experience are made acquainted with its loss. Food and raiment, and the various comforts and convenience of this life are benefits which call for gratitude to Him, who giveth food to all flesh, because His mercy endureth for ever. 60 But how little is God considered in all these things by the children of men! How many, while they are receiving good things from God, make no acknowledgment to Him! To acknow
57 Ps. lxviii. 19. 58 Acts xvii. 25. 59 Ps. cl. 6. 60 Ps. cxxxvi. 25.