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not beyond this world; it is ourselves alone SERM. that can cast both body and soul into hell,

You remember the treatment of the servant in the parable, who, after having received from his lord a generous forgiveness of a large debt, went and used the utmost severity against one of his fellowservants, who owed him a small debt."O thou wicked servant (said his lord). "I forgave thee that debt because thou

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desiredst me: shouldest not thou also "have had compassion on thy fellow. ❝ servant, even as I had pity on thee? "And the lord was wroth, and delivered

him to the tormentors, till he should "pay all that was due unto him." Precisely in the same case stands the unmerciful, unforgiving man. If God were extreme to mark what is done amiss, which of us should live another day, to be of fended or to offend? He created us, he preserves us, and he redeemed us; yet we are constantly

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SERM. constantly injuring-perpetually provoking him. Of what ingratitude towards us can our earthly brother be guilty, in comparison of what we are guilty towards our heavenly Father!

Let us beware, then, lest by our own rigours we create a precedent against ourselves. With what judgment we judge, "we shall be judged; with what measure "we mete, it shall be measured to us "again." When we are inclined to be unforgiving, let us remember the menace to which we expose ourselves: after our Saviour had related to his disciples the severity which was exercised against the unmerciful servant, he immediately added"So likewise shall your heavenly Father "do unto you, if ye from your hearts for

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I give not every one his brother their trespasses."

If example have any sway with us, all that there is of great or good in the uni

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verse is on the side of mercy and forgive- SERM. ness. Though his majesty be so daringly violated, though his commands be so rebelliously disobeyed, though we are continually provoking him by our insults and iniquities, yet is the Great Governor of heaven and earth slow to anger, and eager to forgive; time, warning, assistance to repent and regain his favour, are all amply bestowed on ungrateful man. "God de"sireth not the death of a sinner, but " rather that he should turn from his "wickedness and live." Hostile as he is to every species of iniquity, and boundless as is his power to punish it, his most favourite title is-the Father of Mercies. If we look to the conduct of the Son of God, the virtue of forgiveness is also eminently conspicuous; his whole life indeed was one continued instance of it: - in return for reproaches he bestowed instruction, in return for personal insults he put up peti

SERM. tions for the insulter, in return for death

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reviled, he reviled not again; when he "suffered, he threatened not." Nor did his amiable disposition forsake him when in his dying agonies - his last prayer was for his murderers-" Father, forgive them, "for they know not what they do." The same virtue has also in general made a part of the character of those illustrious persons, whom history hath handed down to us as most worthy of her encomiums; clemency and reconcileableness have added a lustre to all their other virtues.

Since there are so many motives to forgiveness, since our quiet in this world, and our happiness in the next, depend upon it, since it is recommended to us by the example of holy and illustrious men, of our Saviour Christ, and of God himself, it seems extraordinary that any should be found, who will give a place in

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their breasts to those bad passions, resent- SERM. ment and revenge: the truth is, that however inclined to forgive, they pusillanimously suffer themselves to be deterred from it from a fear of being despised by the world, from a dread of sinking in the opinion of their fellow mortals, of beings, whose superiority they are under no obligation to acknowledge, and who, when courted with the utmost attention, can confer no valuable or lasting reward; of beings, who ignorantly judge what they have never examined, or partially determine what they do not understand. He that can descend to sue for the favour of such frail creatures at the price of his innocence, who can suffer their praises to induce him to disobey the great Governor of the world, has little reason to be proud of the greatness of his mind, and must surely, when he awakens to reflection, VOL. II. become

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