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I will repay
all this there is not the least ap- III. IN WHAT MANNER, AND proach to any thing like ge
WHAT EXTENT, IS THIS nuine repentance ?
FORGIVENESS But a serious and candid reader CISED ? To which it is replied, may also bere be disposed to ask, 1. Instantaneously. The Fa* And is all this required before ther of mercies is represented as we ought to exercise forgiveness ? waiting to be gracious, as ready Must we restrain our feelings of to forgive. In like manner, we pity and atfection ? Must we ap- should manifest that we stood. pear resentful and so teuacious prepared, with the blessing in of injury, as to retain a sense of our band, as it were, which we it in all our future dealings to- were anxious to communicate, wards the offender? Or ought we and impatient of every delay. pot rather to remember who hath Upon repentance, forgiveness is said, “ Vengeance is mine, and our instant duty: there must be ?""
no hesitation, no intervening con. To this amiable and plausible siderations. Repentance and forprotest it is replied: There are giveness, though the duties of duties which we owe to our ene. different individuals, are inti. mies--we are commanded to love mately and invariably united in them, but we are not commanded the word of God; and “ what to forgive an offence unrepented God has joined together, let no and unacknowledged. Doubtless man put asunder,” even for a mowe ought, even previously to any ment. concession, to cherish pity, and 2. It must be communicated a disposition to exercise kindness cheerfully. " He that showeth towards the offender. We ought mercy, let him do it with cheere to pray for him, that he may re-fulness.” Forgiveness is a duty, ceive Divine forgiveness; and but it must not be communicated we ought to remove every impe- merely as a duty. We must show diment to a frank acknowledg that we esteem it a privilegea ment of his offence; especially if luxury. “ Forgiving iniquity, we perceive symptoms of a re- transgression, and sin," is the turning mind, we ought to en- grand characteristic of Jehovah. courage them, to meet them, to Let us, then, by the cheerfulness make it manifest that we stand with which we exercise this grace, ready to forgive. But all this is show that it constitutes a propot forgiveness. To exercise minent feature in our characters; forgiveness of injuries unlament that instead of an awkward, ed, is to abandon justice and uneasy, unusual act, it is that sanction crime. Mercy is an without which we cannot feel amiable feeling; but mercy at happy. the
expense of justice, is no 3. It must be exercised fully longer mercy, but sinful conniv- and universally. The magnitude
of the offence must not be any “ If he repent, forgive him," obstacle. The greatest offence is, however, a command ema. against us will not bear a comnating from the highest authority, parison with the least of our sins the neglect of which involves the against God. Yet he hath said, most tremendous consequences. Though your sins be as scarlet, It remains, therefore, now to they shall be white as snow ; inquire,
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.” Jehovah is very striking, and will forny is represented as rich in mercy, an appropriate conclusion to and plenteous in redemption. these remarks. “His Lord called And our forgiveness should be bim, and said unto him, Othou full, without any reserves. wicked servant, I forgave thee
4. Our forgiveness must be all that debt, because thou definal. To adopt a common siredst me: shouldest not thou adage, we must forgive and for also have had compassion on thy get. Respecting his people, the fellow-servant, even as I had Lord says, “I will forgive their pity on thee? And bis lord was iniquity, and their sins will I re wroth, and delivered him to the member no more." A recurrence tormentors, till he should pay to past offences, indicates that all that was due unto him. So we have never yet fully forgiven likewise (adds the compassionate them. Genuine forgiveness in- Saviour to the disciples) shall my cludes a blotting-out, an erasure, Heavenly Father do also unto an entire cancel,—that shall pre. you, if ye, from your hearts, clude a re-appearance at any forgive not every one his brother future time, when some new of their trespasses.' fence presents itself to our no- Christian readers! We have all tice.
sinned, and have each need daily 5. Our forgiveness must be and hourly to cry, “ God, be exercised frequently. To the merciful to me, a sinner!” Well: Lord our God belong mercies and through Christ, mercy can be forgivenesses." He is represented communicated: he is the source not only as førgiving, but as mul- of communication ; but do not tiplying pardons.* Indeed, were forget the condition. “ Blessed it not so, what would become of are the merciful; for they shall us? Shall we then be weary in obtain mercy.” this good work? Shall we, who
PETER. have received ten thousand pardons, refuse to forgive the com
DIRECTIONS paratively few offences that are committed against us? Our Lord said to his disciples,
READING THE SCRIPTURES brother trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, Of all the books which have saying, I repent; thou shalt for- engaged the attention of the hugive him.” « Then came Peter
man mind, there is no point of to him, and said, Lord, how oft view in which the Bible is not shall my brother sin against me, pre-eminent. If we understand and I forgive him? Till seven its doctrines, exemplify its pretimes ? Jesus saith unto him, I
cepts, and find spiritual enjoysay not unto thee, until seven
ment in reading it, we shall adore times, but until seventy times its author for condescending to seven.”
give such a revelation to fallen The parable of the unforgiving man, and causing it to be transservant, who bad received mercy, lated into our native language,
and circulated throughout our * This, the writer is informed, is a cor
happy land. rect translation of Isaiah, lv, 7.
In the days of Henry V. it was
" If thy
enacted, " that whosoever they sion of the pearl of great price, were, that should read the scrip- which the Bible contains. ture in the mother tongue, they 1. Always remembering that should forfeit land, cattle, life, the scriptures are the words of and goods, from their heirs for God, let that reverence and ever, and be condemned as here-esteem be cultivated for them tics to religion, enemies to the which their high authority and crown, and arrant traitors to the excellence demand. Without the land." A glorious revolution has sacred volume, darkness and untaken place since that period ; certainty would fill our minds and we have reason to believe the in reference to a future state. time not far distant, when every Without light to our feet, or lamp people upon earth shall read in to our path, we should stumble their own language the wonderful on the obscure mountains of anworks of God. The generality of cient heathenism; but from the their expressions form no objec Bible, a child may, in a few tion against the scriptures them- hours, learn more of a future selves, for how could every man's state, than ancient philosophy ascase have a particular revelation? certained without it in thousands We ought wisely to consider how of years. We can never be suffifar their cautions, instructions, and ciently thankful, that God, in vapromises, are applicable to our rious ways, and with gradually individual cases. God has dealt increasing clearness, continued with us as we deal with our child to reveal eternal things, till at dren: in things of inconsiderable length life and immortality were importance, we give them general fally made known by the gospel; directions; but those, upon the and the message of salvation from knowledge of which their happi- sin and misery was sent by Him, ness depends, we endeavour to whose dignity gives importance impress deeply on their minds, to his injunctions, and certainty by frequent repetition. In the to his promises. To read the Word of God, things of minor im- scriptures therefore with inattenportance are so connected with tion, must be highly offensive to what is of greater, as to form a him. Many, into whose hands beautiful and useful whole: yet they come, scarcely ever meditate truths, a knowledge of which is on their interesting contents, but inseparable from our present and satisfy theiaselves with that, as a future felicity, sometimes occur service to God, which only inrepeatedly in the same chapter. creases their guilt; and hence, Happy are they, who, by Divine instead of being benefitted by the gráce, possess a' sincere desire to reading of the scriptures, these onbe instructed by them, and who ly prove to them a savour of death submit their sentiments and prac- unto death. The man of piety, tice to the control only of their however, while he reveres the auinfluence
thority of the sacred volume, and We intend, in this paper, to esteems its contents better than give our readers a few direction's thousands of gold and silver, feels for reading the sacred oracles that it instructs him in what bewith advantage ; which, properly longs to his everlasting peace. followed, under the blessing of He finds himself full of darkness, heaven; will put them in posses- and the world full of contradicVOL. X.
tions : but from the Bible, light to administer comfort to the and truth break forth, whose saints of the former dispensation, cheering beams shine on the wild and to give support to the first derness, and turn it into a fruitful Christians under their trials and field. Here we learn the cha- afflictions for Christ's sake ; it racter of God, and the nature of should answer similar purposes his law; that we have transgress. to us, that our faith being strengthed from the womb, and that in- ened by the illustration and confinite love hath provided a Savi- firmation of the New Testament, our for the guilty, able to save, to we might have lope full of imthe uttermost, all that come unto mortality and eternal life: yet the God, by him. The cross of light of the former economy was Christ is discovered, in which the in comparison of the present, perfections of the Deity harmo- only as the rays of the moon to nize, mercy and truth meet toge- the mid-day's sun. Revelation is ther, righteousness and peace em- now completed, “that we might brace each other, the dreadful believe that Jesus is the Christ, malignity of sin is depicted, the the Son of God; and that believworth of the soul displayed, the ing we might have life through his vanity of the world, and the ex. name.” The benevolence which ceeding riches of divine grace, are runs through the sacred writings, illustrated. Beholding the “Lamb properly considered, will endear of God, who taketh away the sin them to our minds, and incline us of the world,”and possessing eter- to read them with more than ornal life through him, afford more dinary interest. On the contrary, joy than the increase of corn and if this be lost sight of, our reading wine can possibly excite; dis will be a mere matter of course, cerning the glory and grandeur of and these lively oracles will prothe gospel, we say with David, duce in us no good effect. “If “O how I love thy law ! it is my our gospel be hid, it is hid 10 meditation all the day!" The them that are lost; in whom the man who thus knows the value of god of this world bath blinded the Bible, esteems it as the best the minds of then that believe article of furniture in his house, not, lest the light of the glorious and if put to his choice, would gospel of Christ, who is the image rather be deprived of all his of God, should shine unto them.” goods and chatiels, than part with If this be your case, your condithat. Learn, readers, if you
tion is far worse than the heaihen, would gain improvement from to whom the glad tidings of salthis book, to revere its authority vation were never sent. While, as divine, and its communications therefore, you rejoice that the as more valuable than all that providence of God hath placed earth contains.
you in a land of Bibles, rejoice 2. In reading the scriptures, with tremblivg, lest you be found never lose sight of the ends they among those, who, for the abuse were designed to answer. “What- of so, distinguished a privilege, soever things were written afore will be plunged into everlasting time, were written for our learv- misery. The positions of human ing, that we, through patience and authors you may doubt; their comfort of the scriptures, might conclusions you may question ; have hope.” The Old Testament and their reasonings you, may, was intended by the Holy Spirit if you please, reject, without dangerous consequences; but the state of your animal spirits, and Word of God demands your full partly from the intluence the enebelief and obedience. If you re- my of your souls has obtained ject it, you have nothing left that over you, they require that you can do you any good, no refuge should rouse yourself to activity. in the storms of life, nor source Perhaps you can call to your reof happiness in the hour of death. collection seasons of similar dis"He that believeth not shall be tress, from which you have been damned." Let us intreat you to delivered by the blessing of read the holy scriptures, as one God, applying some promise of who considers them able to make his word to your minds ; let him “wise unto salvation, by faith, such recollections have their prowhich is in Christ Jesus," and as per influence. When, by sinning intended by their Divine Author against God, you have brought for that very purpose.
darkness over your souls, it will 3. Read the Word of God fre- be difficult for you to read what quently, and by no means suffer brings condemnation to your conyour minds to be diverted from a sciences, and you will be strongly constant attention to it. You will tempted to forbear this exercise, meet with temptations to neglect especially in private. The longer it, particularly if you are placed this temptation is effectual, the in business, which requires per- more palpable will be your darksevering diligence. It Satan can- ness, and heavier your distress. not prevail with you entirely to “ Take with you words, and turn omit this duty, he will try to per- to the Lord, say unto him, take suade you to read but little, and away all iniquity and receive us to drive that little into a corner. graciously, so will we render the When you are weary in body,
alves of our lips." and when your spirits are
It is not an uncommon thing hausted, by application to the for Satan to assault the people of world; he will permit you to God, by telling them that the hurry through a short chapter, or scriptures are a "cunningly dea shorter psalm, to quiet your convised fable;" that to read them, sciences. But you must guard persuaded they are divinely inagainst this, by redeeming time, spired, is the greatest weakness. for the perusal of the sacred vo- This is a trying temptation, but lume, for deliberation on what genuine faith will overcome it. you have read, and for prayer, * He that believeth hath the witthat a divine blessing may attend ness in himself.” What he has you in reading the scriptures. If experienced he knows is of God, you are not exposed to the con- and finding the counterpart of his tinual run of business, other own feelings in the sacred wri. temptations will be tried to pre- tings, he can no more be argued vent your attention to the Word out of their inspiration than of of God. The dulness and stu- his own existence. When thus pidity of your minds, will some- attacked, let the believer rememtimes be such as to induce you to ber what God has wrought in say, “Of what avail is it that I him, and hold fast the word of study the Bible; I have often read truth. This "sword of the Spiit to no purpose; I am soinsensible rit" must eventually overcome the as to understand nothing.", Such adversary. ideas may arise partly from the 4. Never forget to accompany