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Christ the Lord,67 through whom is preached th forgiveness of sins6s to all them that believe in His name. It states that He became the surety for sinful man, and paid the debt contracted by sin; that He suffered the penalty due to transgression; that He fulfilled all righteousness in His own sacred person ; and that He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth69 in His name. For God hath made His beloved Son, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.70 The greatness of our debt, which we were unable to pay, brought the Lord Jesus from the throne of His glory to assume our nature, and to become the propitiation for our sins. In order to satisfy Divine justice, to magnify the law, and make it honourable, He gave His body to be broken, and His blood to be shed on the cross. He endured the wrath of God in His own person, that it might be removed from those whom He came to redeem. His love to man, His pity for our lost state, was the cause of His great humiliation. Let us meditate upon it with thankfulness. Let us commemorate it, whenever the opportunity presents itself, with grateful hearts to the God of our mercies. Let us pray that the love of Christ may be shed abroad in our hearts by the power of the Holy Ghost," and may constrain us to every good word and work. The text shows us,
67 Luke ii. 10, 11, 68 Acts xiii. 38. 69 Rom. x. 4. 70 2 Cor. v. 21. 71 Romans v. 5.
Thirdly, That it is incumbent upon those who have been made partakers of the compassion of Christ, and of His great salvation, to show kindness and compassion to their fellow creatures. The man whose heart has been humbled before God on account of his sins, and who has earnestly sought and obtained pardoning mercy, will be humble and kind in his deportment to all around him. The proud and haughty, the angry and passionate, have great reason to question whether their own sins have been forgiven them. The spirit of Christianity is totally different from that of all other religions. Christianity alone can enforce its exhortations with the powerful motive for obedience which the Apostle Paul employs, Be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you. Who then that has received unmerited pardon, through faith in Christ, can be unkind, hard hearted, unforgiving? Surely, if such conduct be manifested by professors of Christianity, their profession is vain, or they are acting very inconsistently with it. If it be not the desire and aim of those who call themselves Christians, to act according to the Apostle's
72 Ephesians iv. 32.
exhortation, from love to Christ, through whose merits and death alone sin is forgiven; they are yet in their sins, in an unpardoned state, whatever their profession may be; and they can have no good hope of eternal happiness. How can any sinners say, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,73 when they cannot and will not forgive their brethren their trespasses ? What hypocrisy do they manifest in their daily prayers, while they discover such unchristian dispositions in their lives?
The design of this parable of our blessed Saviour seems then to be, to point out the close connexion that subsists between faith and practice in the Christian life. It testifies that they who have truly repented of their sins, who have humbled themselves before God on account of their transgressions of His holy law, and have obtained pardoning mercy through His compassion and grace, will prove their gratitude to Him by being imitators of His conduct. And it shows on the other hand, that those who, while they make a profession of believing the humbling doctrines of the gospel of Christ, do not exhibit the power of Divine truth in their life and conduct, have neither part nor lot in the salvation of Christ. The difference between those who have only the form of godliness,74 and those who are also under the power of it, may be collected from this parable. May we be enabled, while we name the name of Christ, also to depart from all iniquity,75 and thus to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things, 16 that approving ourselves as the children of God, His name may be glorified in us and by us, and we may be blessed by Him both in time and in eternity.
73 Matthew vi. 12. Luke xi. 4.
74 2 Timothy iii. 5.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, the One living and true God in Three Persons, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all honour, glory, might, majesty, dominion and praise, for evermore. Amen.
75 2 Timothy ii. 19
7 6 Titus ii. 10.
THE TWENTY THIRD SUNDAY AFTER
THE TRIBUTE MONEY.
Matthew xxii. 21,
THEN SAITH HE UNTO THEM, RENDER THEREFORE UNTO CESAR THE
THINGS WHICH ARE CESAR's; AND UNTO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE God's.
In the Gospel for this day an account is given of a crafty plan formed by the Pharisees, who were bitterly opposed to our Lord Jesus Christ, for the purpose of making Him obnoxious either to the people, or to the Government, and of having Him, in the latter case, put to death. The account is introduced in the following manner : Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. St. Luke says,