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fifty pence. The woman, as he thonght, had sinned much, and she was the debtor who owed five
To the question, which would love most, when both were freely forgiven ? he answered, he to whom most was forgiven. This was the case of the woman according to Simou's view of her; and therefore lie hin:self had decided, that she loved more than he. Jesus pointed out to him, that this was really the case ; and that the woman's couduct jistified the conclusion. Simon answered not a word. He stood self-condemned and sell-upbraided before Jesus.
The lesson here taught Simon is a humiliating lessou for every Pharisee, and one that they all ought to learn.
• Turn Pharisee, thine eyes within,
Nor longer look abroad for sin.' People of this class can sie sins in others, but they liever can see any in themselves; and it is often necessary to present their characters, so that they shall not recognize them as their own, in or. der to procure from them a correct judgment thereon. When Nathan wished David to piss sentence on himself, he showed him his real character, as thongh it belonged to some other person; and David said iimmediately, the man that hath done this shall surely die. Simon decided, by the help of the parable, that the outrageous sinner, as he regarded the woman, had, in fact, more love to God than 'he, and acknowledged the justice of Jesus in receiving her to his presence, and forgiving her sins. Reader, let us really be on our guard, lest we imbibe the spirit of the Pharisees. If we are really better than others, we shall love thein, and pity them, and be grateful to God that he hath made us to differ; and we shall not claim a reward for this, but feel that the debt lies on us, a debt of gratitude--eternal gratitude, love-eternal love.
Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
MATT. XVIII. 23–34.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him a hundred pence; and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done,they were very sorry,and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 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: Shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.”
The object of this parable was to shew the obligation under which men are laid by the kindness and mercy of God to them, to exercise the spirit of forgiveness towards one another; and also to show
that God will not permit the sin of ingratitude and unforgiveness to go unpunished.
The parable was introduced in the following manner : Jesus had been giving directions to his apostles how they should proceed in the cases of those who'trespassed against them. Vers. 15–17. After this instruction had been delivered, Peter came to Jesus, and said, “how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till seven times?" 21. The reply of Jesus was, “I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven, i. e. without any limits,-a proverbial expression. And thus the Saviour introduces the parable. The dealings of God with men, in the kingdom of the gospel, are like those of a certain king, who would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him who owed an immense sum—ten thousand talents. But because he could not pay, bis lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. This part of the parable is founded on an ancient Hebrew custom, of selling a man, and his family, to make payment of his debts. Exod. xxii 3. Lev. xxix. 39, 47. 2 Kings iv. 1. The servant fell down, and entreated his lord to have patience and he would pay him all, whereupon the lord was moved with compassion and forgave him the debt. Here was a lesson which ought not to have been lost upon him. The king granted his request; i. e. for the present he forbore to demand the payment, and put it off to a future time. This was all which the servant desired, vers. 26, 32, and all which is represented as being done, ver. 34. But instead of following the compassionate example of his master, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him an hundred pence, a trifle to what he owed his lord, and he took him by the throat, and demanded payment. His fellow servant inade the same request of him, that he had made of his lord, and which had been granted him ; but he refused to grant it, and imprisoned him, till he should pay the debt. This act of injustice and ingratitude was reported to his lord, who called him, and said unto him, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldst not t}.ou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was Wroth, and delivered him to the torvientors, till he should
all that was due untu him." Jailors, in that age, Ilsed torture to obtain the confession of crime, or the payment of debts, if the debtor was supposed to have any properly concealed; and sometimes, by the cruelty, to induce the relations of the prisoner to pay the debt for him.
6. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts, forgive not every one his brother their trespasses ;" i. e. God will punish you justly, for ingratitude and for a want of forgiveness. Cruelty is a greater sin in those who feei and know that they have had much forgivell, and such deserve a severer retribution, than those who are not sensible of the benefits which have been confered on them. We are not to suppose however, that Jesus meant that the conduct of the divine being towards the unforgiving, was, in all respects, like that of the lord who thrust his servant into prison, and delivered him to the tormentors, i. e. we are not from this to attribute any cruelty to God. For first, nothing is more foreign to his nature; and second, nothing is more foreign to the nature of Christ, the author of the parable; and third, this would be charging upon God the very conduct which was so highly disapproved in the unforgiving servant. The great sin charged on him was, that he refused to forgive, and treated his debtor with cruelty; and from this to charge the same conduct on God, would be to subvert the very design of the parable, which was to i!:culcate the virtue of forgiveness.
It is plainly to be perceived, that Jesus intended, by this parable, to make the divine charac'er the great foundation of human rectitude, and to shew men what they ought to do, by refering them to the conduct of the divine being. When he inculcated the duty of benevolence, in his sermon on the mount, he predicated the obligation of men to exercise this spirit towards one another, of the fact that God exercised the same spirit toward all inankind. See Matt. v. 44–48 and Luke vi. 32–36. He exhorted men to love their enemies, to bless such as cursed them, to do good to such as hated them; and to encourage them in such a course of conduct, he pointed to the dealings of God with men. “He inaketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” “ He is kind unto the unthankful and to the cvil.” And to shew that he made the divine conduct the foundation or criterion of human rectitude, he closed that beautiful moral lesson by say. ing, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." The object of the parable before us, was to teach that men ought to reflect on the dealings of God with them, and discharge their obligations for his kindness to them, by a tender and compassionate conduct towards their fellow creatures. This parable Jesus carried out, and ended, according to the prevalent habits and cus