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compared with our transgressions against God? The disparity, in the parable, between the debtor of ten thousand talents, and him of the hundred pence, is immense. The Jewish talent of gold was of the value of five thousand four hundred and seventy-five pounds of English money. Ten thousand talents, therefore, would amount to fifty-four millions seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds. But, perhaps some of you, my hearers, may find a difficulty in forming any just idea of such an enormous sum of money as this. Let us then take another view of the subject. If this sum, in golden sovereigns, were required to be carried in wagons, laden with two tons each, the number of vehicles required for the purpose, would be two hundred and seventy; and allowing a space of thirty yards for each wagon with its horses, they would make a train of nearly five miles. But the hundred pence do not amount to the sum of three guineas. Our blessed Lord seems to have fixed on such an immense sum as the ten thousand talents, in order to point out the magnitude, the number, and the weight of our offences against God; and to intimate our utter incapacity to make any restitution. But, however great the difference between the two sums owed by the debtors in the parable, there is still an infinitely greater disparity between our offences against God, and the offences of a fellow-creature towards ourselves; because, the scripture clearly infers that sin committed against God contains infinite demerit. Shall one man then seize another by the throat, who owes him a trifling sum, when he is himself infinite
millions in debt? And would it not be equally sinful in you to exercise resentment or revenge towards a fellow-mortal who has offended you, when you have committed sins of infinite demerit against God, and stand in so much need of mercy and forgiveness at his hands? Alas! if you should act thus, out of your own mouth the judge will condemn you. You have often professed to pray, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." But you have not forgiven, and therefore you must be delivered to the tormentors, for (said our blessed Lord) "so shall my heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
2. Secondly, this subject should lead us to reflect on the way in which we receive forgiveness of our own manifold offences.
In order to obtain remission of our numerous sins, shall we imitate the language of the debtor of ten thousand talents? Shall we say, "Lord have patience with me and I will pay thee all?" Such language would betray the most gross ignorance, and the most presumptuous folly. For we are "wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." It is altogether out of our power to make the least satisfaction for any of our sins. But God has devised a way in which he can, consistently with all his holy attributes, grant us the forgiveness of all our sins. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Almighty Father is pleased to magnify the riches of his grace, by granting pardon to the penitent and believing sinner through his son Jesus Christ. "In him we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Let us then, my brethren, look for the remission we so much need, through the atonement and mediation of Jesus; deeply impressed that it is only through him that we can receive this or any other spiritual blessing from on high. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; and through him is preached unto you forgiveness of sins. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."
3. Finally, let us learn from this subject to cultivate an amiable and forgiving temper towards all who may offend us.
True believers are delivered from the habitual influence of an implacable and unforgiving disposition of mind; and to suppose that they can remain under the power of a revengeful temper, is opposed to the design of this parable, and of the whole Scripture. Their faith in Christ will work by love, and therefore it will incline them to forgive offences: and their exercise of forgiveness will be an evidence of their faith and regeneration; for our blessed Ix>rd says, "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven;" and again, "if ye forgive men their trefcpaw,et,, your heavenly Father will forgive you." But we Mill have a depraved nature, and then-fore we w'-d the eoiihtant assistance of the Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfil this and all other duties required of us. Hence we need prayer, and watchfulness, and meditation, and "a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us." Let us then think much of the debt we owe, and of the way in which alone we obtain forgiveness, through the atoning sacrifice and the mediation of the Saviour. Resentment cannot long lodge in the bosom of the man who has tasted redeeming love. Let us therefore be ever " looking unto Jesus" for grace to enable us to exercise the same long-suffering which we have so richly experienced. Thus we shall adopt, in faith and hope, the petition which our blessed Lord has taught us,—" forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us;"—thus we shall have a well grounded confidence that this and all our prayers will be heard and accepted; and thus we shall be preparing for the purity and felicity of heaven, where our love will be perfected, and where "wc shall be like God, for we shall see him as he is."
1 Cor. xiii. 8.
CHARITY NEVER FAILETH.*
[it has been customary, in all ages, for men to unite together in the promotion of objects, sometimes praiseworthy and beneficial, but alas! too often both sinful and dangerous. The character of the society which I have been requested to address this morning, happily belongs to the former class. We must however confess with grief and humiliation, that in social compacts, expressly dedicated to works of benevolence, through the depravity of man, disputes, divisions, and animosities may prevail. Indeed, schisms and feuds have too often appeared in the church of God itself. The most desirable of blessings therefore, to any society, is, that its members should continue together in a state of unanimity, peace, and harmony. But what principles can so govern the sinful passions of men, as to bring them into habitual subjection and order? and what motives will influence
* The substance of thii sermon was preached some years ago at Weston in Shropshire, to a benefit society, of which the late Sir Richard Hill, a highly esteemed friend of the author, was the president; and on which occasion he was present. The introductory passage between the bracked it will be observed, has » peculiar reference to such an occasion.