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let us all apply for succour to Him who alone can enable us cheerfully to receive it.; and let me entreat you, with humble and penitent hearts, to join with me in prayer.

Assist us mereifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attaiyment of everlasting salvation ; that amidst all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy most gracious and ready help, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

SERMON X V.

ST. LUKE xxiii. 34.

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

FORGIVENESS of injuries has always been

considered as one of the strongest proofs of a truly Christian disposition. It is the glory of our religion, that it has carried this exalted virtue to a height which never before was known in the world. Revenge is no longer allowed on any pretence whatever. Resentment is no longer to be called courage. To return evil for evil, is no longer to be called justice. The Christian must forgive, if he hope to be forgiven. His courage must be shown in nobly enduring sufferings or injuries. His justice must be displayed in an humble acknowledgment, that as we have all

sinned, we should all show that mercy to each other, which we hope to receive from God.

. Convinced of the weakness of human nature, he pities, he prays for the unhappy offender; to whom he hopes God will forgive much greater sins than he can commit against his fellow.creatures.

On this subject, my beloved brethren, our blessed Master has left us the most glorious and striking example that is to be found in the history of the whole world. All mankind had offended him, yet he died for all. During the course of his life, we see him continually practising this noblest of virtues. When his disciples would have called fire from heaven to consume those who would not receive him, he mildly answered, “ Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. And he went to another village."* When Judas, who had been his chosen friend, betrayed him to his murderers, what was his language to this greatest of criminals ? " Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss ?" + When one of his followers rashly wounded a soldier who came to take him, Jesus said, “Put up thy sword.” “Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”I When Peter, whom he so

Luke ix. 55.

+ Luke xxii. 48.

& Luke xxii. 51.

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much loved, and who had promised such faithful attachment, fell into the temptation, of which his kind Master had given him warning; when before the cock crew he had denied him thrice, how did he treat this unhappy man? the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter."* It was a look which touched him to the heart, a look no doubt of kindness and compassion, for he went out and wept bitterly.

Every feeling heart must be struck with the particular attention shown to this penitent and reconciled friend after our Lord's resurrection when the Angel says to the pious women,“ Tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see him.”+ Our Saviour seems impatient that Peter should know, not only that his Lord was risen indeed, but that he was himself forgiven, and still the object of his love. But above all, my text displays such a proof of this exalted virtue, as was never given by any other man. None ever felt such torments, none ever received such injuries, no other man therefore ever had so much to forgive; yet at that dreadful moment of almost insupportable agony, amidst the insults of those who

a

+ Mark xvi. 7.

* Luke xxi. 61.

inflicted these torments, of those for whose sake he endured them, what is the language of our dying Saviour? Father, forgive them !"

With such an example before our eyes, it is strange that any Christian should find it difficult to forgive. It is strange that it should still be necessary to say, Avenge not yourselves.

Consider, I entreat you, our situation in this world with regard to each other. We are all weak, frail, sinful creatures. The best of us seldom passes through one day, without feeling that he requires forgiveness from his God, and too often from his fellow creatures also. Mercy is all our hope ; forgiveness is our constant prayer. In such a state should we not pity and assist each other? Does not mutual weakness call for mutual forbearance? But weak, and frail, and sinful as we are, yet through the merits of Christ we all hope to attain the happiness of Heaven. And can creatures, who, after a few short

years, expect to be for ever united in the presence of their God, to be set free from allunruly passions, and to live together for ever in heaven, in peace, and joy, and everlasting love; can such creatures hate each other on earth ? Can they add to the sorrows of this state of trial, and spread more

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