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shall be the sense of safety, in the need of supply there shall be the anointing of oil, in the day of wandering there shall be the goodness that shall follow us all the days of our life, and bring us back to and make us dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
We should dwell upon this care of the Good Shepherd in this respect, how he is daily caring, daily reclaiming, daily, hourly pleading with us, sanctifying us, guiding us, purifying us, pitying us as the Shepherd of Israel, whose eyes neither slumber nor sleep, and whose heart never ceases to care for his believing people. In that work we find that it is performed one by one, for where there is one sinner that repenteth, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God.” It is a work upon which heaven has its eyes fixed, and its heart gladdened, because it is the work of Him who is the Shepherd of lost souls, and who is also the Shepherd of heavenly folds.
Lastly, let us consider its results. When that sheep is reclaimed, he bringeth it back to the fold, saying, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. Oh, how glorious a truth is set before us; a truth which is not yet fulfilled, the fulness of which eye
hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive of. To take up the idea with which we began these thoughts, if the lost sheep be this world, it is a reclaimed world that Christ is to bring to its place when his work is ended; it is a glorified church for which Christ is to call in his ninety and nine of the angelic worlds to rejoice with him. The Good Shepherd, when he shall present a world that was once lost; a people that were once ruined, defiled with sin, laden with iniquity, wandering in error, ruined by their own waywardness; when he shall present that world, raised from the depths of corruption, from the shadow of death, from the wanderings of error, from the waywardness of human failings, from the want of all things, raised to the brightness of Divine glory, to the spotlessness of Divine purity, to the gladness of Divine joy, to the completeness of Christ's work, and he shall present his church to himself a glorified church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish. And when he shall not only, in the presence of his Father, but in the presence of the angels of God, say, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which were lost, I have reclaimed that world which I have redeemed by my blood, I have glorified that world which had been defiled with sin, I have completed that work for which I bowed down
my head: rejoice with me, for I have accomplished that work which I came to do : “ The Son of man is come to save that which was lost," and here it is, saved, perfected, glorified : rejoice with me.
Brethren, let us put ourselves continually under the care of that Shepherd of Israel, and let us be able to say in every varying experience of life, “ The Lord is my shepherd : I shall not want.”
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
THE TWO DEBTORS.
St. MATTHEW xviii., v. 34 and 35.—“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him : so likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
Can anything be of greater importance to us than to know the rule of judgment, when we come to stand before the great white throne; in other words, to know the relationship in which we stand to God in our responsibilities to him? Now there are very few have so harmonized the statements of holy Scripture as not to feel themselves constantly confused and perplexed with apparently contradictory statements. In one place we find that our works have nothing to do with our acceptance before God; in another place we find it declared, that when the Lord comes he will render to every man according to his works ; in another we find that pardon is declared to be an unchangeable pardon. In this place we are told that the debtor who was once forgiven had those pardoned sins brought up against him again, and; as it is in our text, he was delivered to the tormentors.
It is, therefore, of the greatest importance, brethren, that we should be able to harmonize these apparently contradictory statements of Scripture ; that we should know clearly what is the relationship in which we stand towards Him with whom we have to do. The reason of the confusion is, that we do not distinguish between the Gospel, as a remedial system, and the relationship in which we stand to God as his creatures. God, our Creator, never could cease to stand in the relationship of Creator to creatures. God, our Redeemer, could not neutralize that unchangeable right in which he stands to us as our Creator and Governor. And it is just in the right adjustment of these two relationships of God to us that consist all the reconciliation and the harmony, and all the glory, order, and beauty, that in reality exist between these two views of God's relationship and God's government of us.
This doctrine of forgiveness is by our blessed Saviour here connected with the doctrine of our mu tual forgiveness one of another; that he who has not learned to be forgiving, will not himself be forgiven at the last day. “So likewise shall
my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” This is the conclusion drawn by our blessed Saviour from his parable of the two debtors: the one, who owed to his lord ten thousand talents, and the other who owed to his fellow-servant three hundred pence, The man who owed ten thousand talents was freely forgiven. He went, according to the parable, and did not forgive his fellow-servant. He was seized upon,-his want of forgiveness brought him into responsibility for his original debt, notwithstanding its having been forgiven, - and delivered over to the tor