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at the foot of our Redeemer's cross, and behold Him, who was suspended upon the accursed tree that He might bear the curse due to our sins, who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, that by His stripes we might be healed." Let us listen to His voice of mercy, which says, Thy sins are forgiven, 45 sin no more. 46 He will give to the humbled penitent pardon for the past, and grace for the future.
And let the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ pray earnestly, not for himself only, but also for others, for his household, for his relatives and friends, for all who are connected with him in life, that they may likewise obtain the blessings which He is exalted to bestow upon the sinful children of men. If we were more earnest for the spiritual welfare of those who are around us, we should be more blessed in our own souls. Here appears
the benefit of intercession on behalf of others, as well as of ourselves. Enlargement of heart to the Lord Jesus Christ in all our concerns is pleasing to Him, whether it be with regard to ourselves, our immediate connexions, or to His church and people. He invites us to cast all our care, every cause of anxiety and uneasiness upon Him, under the assurance that He careth for us, and will with
44 Isaiah liji. 5.
45 Luke vii. 48.
46 John v. 14.
hold no good thing from those who walk humbly with Him, and uprightlyar before Him. Did we fully believe the word that Jesus hath spoken, and rely upon Him for its fulfilment, we should find that the prayer of faith is assuredly heard, and that it receives an answer of peace. Let this be our encouragement to besiege the throne of grace with our humble and fervent supplications, in submission to the Divine will; being persuaded that as not one good thing hath failed hicherto, of all that the Lord our God hath promised; so none shall ever be ashamed who wait for Him. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him, He also will hear their cry, and will save them.48 Let us ask humbly, let us ask importunately for the blessings which we need both for ourselves and for others, and we may be assured that as we read of the people of God of old that their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling-place, even unto heaven ;49 so we likewise shall obtain an answer of peace from the God of all grace to our humble and earnest supplications. It is only as we continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving, 50 praying for ourselves, and for all around us, that we can expect the blessing of God to rest upon us. This is the means which He has appointed for main
47 Ps.lxxxiv. 11, 49Ps.cxlv. 19. 492 Chron. xxx. 27. 50 Coloss.iv.2.
taining intercourse with Himself. Let us, believing His word, thus walk humbly with our Godsi in prayer and praise, and He will order all things for us; He will bless us in our own souls, in our families, and in our connexions ; He will guide us with His counsel through this life, and afterward receive us to glory, so to rejoice in His salvation for evermore.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, Three Persons in One Jehovah, be ascribed all honour, glory, and praise, for evermore. Amen.
51 Micah vi. 8.
52 Psalm lxxiii. 24.
TWENTY SECOND SUNDAY AFTER
THE UNGRATEFUL SERVANT.
Matthew xviii. 32, 33.
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: SHOULDEST NOT THOU ALSO HAVE HAD COMPASSION ON THY FELLOW SERVANT, EVEN AS I HAD PITY ON THEE?
The mutual forgiveness of offences on the part of mankind one to another is a duty which was continually enforced by our blessed Saviour; so much so, that it may be said to have been a peculiar feature in the religion which He came to introduce into the world. The human
systems that prevailed among men had not attempted to inculcate it; and even the Jewish nation, notwithstanding the advantage of a Divine revelation, had rejected it. The doctrine which was taught by our Lord Jesus Christ on this subject, induced Peter to come to Him, and ask, as we are informed in the Gospel for this day, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times ? Jesus had been giving directions to His disciples as to the manner in which an offending brother should be treated, in order that strife and enmity might be avoided. Peter was desirous to know how often such conduct should be repeated, and inquired if it should not be limited to seven times ; thinking doubtless that so frequent a repetition of forgiveness was a proof of very great forbearance. It is said that the Jewish Doctors directed that an offender should be pardoned three times and no more.
Our blessed Saviour in reply showed His Apostle how very different the doctrine which He taught was from that which was inculcated by the traditions of the elders. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, until seventy times seven; or a number which could not be counted. For he must have a very tenacious memory indeed, who could reckon up so great a number of faults which he had forgiven his brother on professions of repentance