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“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your
Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”—Mark xi. 26. Putnal
The expression, "an un
forgiving Christian," is Forgiveness. little less than a contradiction in terms. We might almost as well speak of a wise fool, an honest thief, a chaste harlot, a sober drunkard ! And yet there are those who bear the name of the meek and loving Jesus, who live in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
“ Ah !” said a shrewd Indian on one occasion, “English gentleman's book be very good; but English gentleman be not so good as English gentleman's book.” And the testimony is true. It is so concerning many particulars, but especially as regards the spirit to which we are now adverting. In reference to the forgiveness and brotherly kindness we ought to cherish, the love, and peace, and lyrmony we ought to pursue, Eng
lish Christian's book is good indeed ; its goodness in that one department loudly proclaims its heavenly origin, for where besides are such precepts to be found ? Let the treasures of classic lore be searched, the ethics of pagan sages be ransacked, and can any thing worthy of being named the same day be produced from such sources ? But while English Christian's book is thus good, let English Christian take shame to himself that he and his book are so unlike each other. The pages of the one full of love, but how frequently is the other characterized by hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness ! Now, what are we to think of such ? Not merely does “like love like,” but like produces like. “Can a fig-tree bear olive berries ? either a vine figs ?” The gospel is compared by the apostle to a mould: addressing the Romans he says, “ Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you," or into which you were delivered. But when there is in the
one nothing answering, or, at best, but little answering to the other, there is much room for suspecting that the religion of such persons is vain.
Reader! cultivate the important and lovely grace of brotherly forgiveness. No duty is urged more clearly and repeatedly; it is a subject on which we have line upon line, precept upon precept. In the beautiful form of prayer which the Saviour gave His disciples, they were taught to say, "Forgive dur debts, as we forgive our debtors a petition which He enforced by adding, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
“Put on, therefore,” says the apostle, « humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do
ye.” In extending forgiveness to our
fellow-creatures, and especially to our fellow-Christians, we should seek to do it after the divine pattern. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." We are here shewn that God not merely forgives but forgets, and we are required to do the one as well as the other. Let, then, all animosity be buried, and let no tombstone be erected to mark the place of its interment, and serve as a memorial to keep it fresh in mind. Above the grave in which God has laid the sins of His people, no such remembrancer can be put up; for what says the prophet ? “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. They are buried in the fathomless ocean, and thus, if sought for, can never be found. Be
therefore followers of God, as dear children;" yea, “ Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
* That all men should honour the Son, even
as they honour the Father.”—John v. 23. The zabiour There are several ways
in which the Lord Jesus Keurrenced. should be honoured by us. We should honour him with our confidence, our affection, our obedience, and especially with our most devout adoration. The latter is the bighest honour which we can render Him, and that it is proper for us to do so, is clearly shewn in the sacred volume. When He was a man of sorrows in this lower world, He was repeatedly worshipped, and in no instance did He refuse such homage. How was it with the Eastern sages at His birth? Not merely did they present their costly offerings, but they fell down before Him, and worshipped Him. How was it with those who heard Him rebuke the winds and waves, and who saw Him walking upon the boisterous billows, as