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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? 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 recon
ciliation, 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
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 bitter and unanswerable reproach from his offended Judge; “O'thou wicked servant ! 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?”
HE 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 dô, that I may have eternal life ? 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? 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 : and, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions."
The conversation here related between the young ruler (for so he is called by St. Luke) and our blessed Lord, cannot but be extremely interesting to every sincere Christian, who is anxious about his own salvation. A young man of high rank, and of large possessions, came with great haste and eagerness; came running, as St. Mark expresses it, to Jesus; and throwing himself at his feet, proposed to him this most important question: “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” This was not a question of mere curiosity, or an insidious one, as the questions put to our Lord (especially by the rulers) frequently were, but appears to have been dictated by a sincere and anxious wish to be instructed in the way to that everlasting life, which he found Jesus held out to his disciples. His conduct had been conformable to the precepts of that religion in which he was born and educated, the religion of Moses ; for when our Lord pointed out to him the commandments he was to keep, his answer was, “ All these things have I kept from my youth up;” and his disposition, also, we must conclude to have been an amiable one; for we are told that Jesus loved him, beheld him with a certain degree of regard and affection. In this state of mind then he came to Jesus, and asked the question already stated; “Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I