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appear that we are true christians,“ born of the Spirit, members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven,” by our faith and our practice. Now, my dear brethren, let me entreat you to examine yourselves on the subject now before us. As christians you expect forgiveness of all your sins through Jesus Christ. You say, forgive us trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against
Do you then forgive all who offend, or trespass against you? If not, oh beware of self-deception. Hear what Jesus Christ says,
- With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Hear also, the declaration of the Holy Ghost by the apostle James :-“He shall have judgment without mercy, who hath shewed no mercy.” But we proceed :
“So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their Lord all that was done.”
When they beheld the unmerciful conduct of the man to whom the Lord had shewn so much compassion, they were deeply affected with sorrow, and in pity to their afflicted fellow-servant, they went and gave their Lord a faithful account of all the circumstances.
If, dear brethren, you live in the fellowship of Christ's religion, you will be grieved at the cruelty of those who afflict and oppress others. You will pity the oppressor, and sympathize with the oppressed; and if you cannot remedy the evil, you will bewail it before God. Observe with what an eye Solomon looked
upon both the tears of the oppressed, and the
power of the oppressors. “So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power :—but they had no comforter.”
In the next verses it is said, "Then his Lord after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt because thou desiredst me; shouldst thou not also have had pity on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee ?"
How must this expostulation of the Lord with his unmerciful servant, for his acting in such direct opposition to his own compassionate example, have struck the conscience of the unfeeling man with conviction and terror!
And will not this be the case with every impenitent sinner, when he is called to stand at the tribunal of God? May we not consider the omniscient Judge as expostulating with the sinner on the particular and aggravated circumstances of his guilt? Will he not reprove him, and set in order before him the things which he has done? And will not a sense of the unmerciful conduct of the cruel and unforgiving remain in their breast as so the worm that dieth not?”' Consider then, brethren, the tremendous guilt of living and dying under the power of a cruel and revengeful temper of mind. If
should now be under the influence of such an unholy disposition, may the God of all
from the dominion of the sin, and from the punishment
vated. It must be exercised not only to seven times, but to seventy times seven.
Therefore, said the Lord, the kingdom of heaven is likened to a certain king, who would take an account of his servants.”
Jesus, in order to explain the duty of forgiving offences by a striking similitude, remarks farther to Peter, that the kingdom of heaven, in its present constitution and its final process, may be illustrated by the proceeding of a certain king, who ruling over a large country, and having under him a great numher of officers, came to the determination of calling them to an account for their conduct.
And is not this an affecting representation of the manner in which God, the judge of all, will deal with men, who are the subjects of his moral government? Will he not call every one of us to account? Has he not said, that he will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil? Our Lord has here shewn us, what we are elsewhere taught, that the Omniscient Judge will call all men to an account for the use they have made of the talents committed to their trust. hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." Let us proceed with the parable.
“And when the king had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him who owed him ten thousand talents."
opinion that the subjects of God's grace may be alternately in the two different states of justification and condemnation, cannot, by any means, be admitted. It stands in direct opposition to many express declarations of the Word of God, as well as to those above cited. “Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin is covered.” But where would the blessedness be, if the pardon might be revoked ? * There is no condemnation,” says St. Paul, “to those who are in Christ Jesus.” And our blessed Lord himself asserts, “He that heareth my words and believeth in him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." How then is this apparent difficulty to be obviated ? It should be borne in mind that the parable describes the proceedings of a ruler invested with despotic authority; and is thus natural and probable. We are not, however, warranted in strictly applying it to the dealings of God with man, or to consider the language to his Lord, of the unforgiving servant, as proper to be addressed by a sinner to his offended judge. And let it be observed that Jesus, in his parables, intends to impress upon our minds some one great and important truth. But he never meant that every circumstance in them should bear strict and minute application to his general subject; and much less that every circumstance should be applied to establish or illustrate a doctrine of religion. The infinite mind of Him, who spake as never man spoke, overlooked those nice points which a common author would have considered necessary in the con
dren, to be sold for slaves, and his property to be confiscated, that payment, as far as possible, might be made.
Here we have a representation of the strictness of the divine law, and of the severity of the divine justice. For although God has manifested himself
" the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin ;” yet he has likewise declared that he will “ by no means clear the guilty.” He will therefore inflict everlasting punishment upon those who transgress his law and reject his gospel. Let the impenitent sinner fear and tremble. If
you now sell yourself to work wickedness, you must (to use the imagery of the text) be hereafter sold to make satisfaction. Those who are captives to sin, must be captives to divine justice. To speak without a figure—if you continue in sin, and die without repentance, without a change of heart, and an interest in Jesus Christ, it would have been good for you if
you had never been born. As truly as the Scripture cannot be broken, if
die in your sin—if you “know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, you will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” May Almighty grace prevent your knowing by dreadful experience, what it is for an impenitent sinner “to fall into the hands of the living God.”
In the next verse it is said, 66 That the servant