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offenses of men against us seem great, and are long remembered; our sins against God seem light, and are soon forgotten. The mystery of the malice of sin and the mystery of hell are cognate. If we could once understand the malice of sin, we could better understand why God punishes sin by endless hell. The saints who live close to God have received a greater influx of divine light to understand better the nature of sin, and this explains their severe condemnation of themselves, and their severe penances.

Man's selfishness and cruelty are well exemplified by the act of the king's debtor. He seizes by the throat the fellow servant who owes him the comparatively small sum, and demands payment, and when he finds that the fellow servant is unable to pay, he throws him into prison.

It is to be observed that the fellow servant uses the same prayer that his creditor had used to the king; but the prayer has no effect, for now the petitioner is not dealing with a merciful God, but with a hard selfish man.

The poor debtor does not ask to be forgiven the debt, but to have time to make payment, and his hard creditor will not concede him even an extension of time. A man is forgiven ten thousand talents, and that same man will not concede to a poor fellow man an extension of time for the payment of a hundred pence. Thank God, not all men act in the manner in which this creditor acted, but there is much of it in the ways of men. Every time that we refuse to show mercy to a man, we imitate this hard, unforgiving servant. Our souls are stirred with indignation at the mere reading of the account. We feel as did David when Nathan the prophet told him of the rich man who took away from his poor neighbor the one pet ewe lamb which he possessed. And yet often it could be said to us as said Nathan to David: “Thou art the man."

The relation which the other servants made of the whole affair to the king has no direct moral signification. It forms a mere part of the historical setting by which the moral theme is presented.

The stern rebuke of the king brings into greater relief the ingratitude of the servant. The thought ought to be sufficient to soften human hearts, that God makes the manner of our

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dealings with our fellow men the measure of his dealings with

It is a terrible thing to live a moment with unforgiveness of any one in the heart. If one should die in that state, the judgment is already passed. Judgment without mercy to a man who has not shown mercy.

The declaration that the king being angry delivered the unmerciful servant up to the torturers till he should pay the debt has led some Fathers and commentators to a belief that by conduct like to that of the unforgiving servant, the pardon of God is revoked, and that the former sin revives. This is certainly erroneous, and opposed to Catholic theology: "For the gifts and calling of God are not repented of.”—Rom., XI. 29.

When God forgives a sin, he forgives it absolutely, as far as eternal punishment is concerned. Subsequent ingratitude can not, and does not cause a revocation of the pardon. It is true that the king in the parable recalled his forgiveness, and caused the unforgiving servant to be punished for the debt that had already been remitted; but in these figurative illustrations of moral issues there is not an absolute correspondence of part to part. Details are thrown in which are necessary for the building up of the parable, but which only in a large sense have a bearing on the moral issue.

So here the anger of the king illustrates God's displeasure at our lack of mercy to our fellow creatures; and the punishment of the unmerciful servant by the king illustrates God's punishment of every man who refuses to forgive, and to show mercy.

Not that God punishes sins that he has already forgiven, but that the ingratitude and hard-heartedness of a man are in themselves sins which merit and which shall receive the severest punishment of God. The contrast of these sins with the ready mercy of God shows them forth in their real character.

Though the doctrine of eternal punishment is not directly promulgated here, it is implied in the fact that the unforgiving servant is delivered to the torturers till he should pay the whole debt. Now we are to be treated in the same way, if we forgive not our brothers from our hearts; and inasmuch as our debt is infinite, it follows that we shall be detained in punishment always, if we by our lack of mercy, incur the anger of the Great King.

There is perhaps no command of God wherein Christians fail more frequently than in their treatment of those who have offended them. Two mighty forces always operate on our souls, pride and selfishness, and as personal offenses disturb these two tendencies, the offenses arouse one of the fiercest of demons within us. As the thirsty man pants for drink, so the proud selfish man longs for revenge. The anticipation of revenge delights him. He thinks it over; he discusses it with his friends. He seems to consider it a noble achievement, a winning in the game of life. He seems to think that in no other way can he rehabilitate himself. The old unredeemed nature within the man glories in the thought of a victory over an opponent. The man nurses the thought, broods over it. If opportunity is immediately at hand, he strikes the blow at once. He gluts his wrath, and then rejoices that he has “got even.

Or in the defect of a fitting opportunity, he bides his time, dissembles his anger, and waits for the turn in the tide. And thus the man who has been forgiven all, the man who has been redeemed by the death of Christ, mocks Christ by calling himself a Christian, while black hatred harbors in his heart. Not long ago in one of our large railroad yards, an official of the railroad passed by a laborer who was faithful at his labor. Moved by unreasonable spleen the official grossly insulted the poor laborer. The laborer respectfully protested, and as his just appeal was heard by those who stood by, the official flew into a violent fit of anger. He was humbled there before men by the just words of the poor man.

The official must leave at once to visit another portion of the road; his train was about to move. Turning to the laborer he hissed between clenched teeth: "When I come back I will see that you will never again do a day's labor for this company.” The laborer was not angry; he was the one offended, and yet he was calm. He was about to lose his means of livelihood by the injustice of a more powerful

The poor are used to these things. Without expressing a wish or hope, but, as it were, wondering if perhaps God would not intervene, he said: "Perhaps you will not come


back.” The laborer toiled on with a heavy heart, through the laboring hours of the day. He finished the day's course, and prepared to go home.

But as he turned his face towards the exit of the station, he saw an excited throng about some object that had been taken from a train. By the common instinct of humanity he drew near, and saw the mangled, lifeless form of the official who, with a curse and a threat, had left him earlier in the day. He had come back, but his power to injure his fellow man was over: he was dead, instantly killed in a railroad fatality. We shudder when we think of that man standing for judgment before God. He had gone forth gloating in the thought of crushing a poor, helpless brother; and now he must hear the sentence: “Depart from me, thou cursed, into the eternal fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."

Let inen call this event a coincidence, a contingency, it matters not. No man can deny that the summons of God may come to us at any time. No man ean deny that Christ often comes as a thief in the night. Let the man who harbors hatred in his heart think of the fate of this man thus cut off "even in the blossoms of his sin," and sent to his account without a moment's warning. Moreover, the thunderbolt of God's chastisement may not strike here. God is a longsuffering God: “La spada di quassu non taglia in fretta.”

Those who despise the forbearance and longsuffering of God, who thus endeavors to lead us to repentance, treasure up for themselves wrath in the day of "wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”—Rom. II. 4, 5.

The sin of unforgiveness is aggravated by the Pharisaical pretense sometimes alleged that a man's official station demands that he be firm with offenders. The surest means to unmask this hypocrisy is to observe that such men are ready to pass over crimes against the common good, but they show no mercy to the one who offends them in person. The most merciful man may be the most just judge.

“Earthly power doth then show likest God's,

When mercy seasons justice." No man should inflict a punishment upon an offender, even in defense of the public order and common good, without a feeling of pity that punishment is necessary.

Christ is not speaking of the crimes of which society for its own good must take cognizance. . In such cases an official even while forgiving the private offense may exact penalty in the name of the state. Christ is speaking of a lodged hate caused by the personal offense in itself considered, and such a state of mind is always most hateful to God. It is the vice of mean, little, narrow souls, shrunk by their egotism and selfishness, so that they are never moved by the noble love of their fellow men.

JOHN VΙΙ. Ι-13 And after these things Ι. Και μετά ταύτα περιεπάτει Jesus walked in Galilee: for he 'Ιησούς εν τη Γαλιλαία: ου γάρ would not walk in Judea, be- ήθελεν εν τη 'Ιουδαία περιπατείν, cause the Jews sought to kill ότι εζήτουν αυτόν οι Ιουδαίοι αποhim. .

κτείναι. Now the feast of the

"Ην δε εγγύς η εορτή των Jews, the feast of tabernacles, Ιουδαίων, η σκηνοπηγία. was at hand.

brethren therefore 3. Είπον ούν προς αυτόν οι said unto him: Depart hence, αδελφοί αυτού: Μετάβηθι εντεύθεν, and go into Judea, that thy και ύπαγε εις την Ιουδαίαν, ίνα disciples also may behold thy και οι μαθηταί σου τα έργα θεωρήworks which thou doest.

σωσιν & ποιείς. 4 For no man doeth any- 4. Ουδείς γάρ τι εν κρυπτώ thing in secret, and himself ποιεί, και ζητεί αυτός εν παρρησία seeketh to be known openly. είναι. Εί ταύτα ποιείς, φανέρωσον If thou ,

doest these things, σεαυτόν τω κόσμω. manifest thyself to the world.

5. For even his brethren did 5. Ουδε γάρ οι αδελφοί αυτού not believe in him.

επίστευον εις αυτόν. 6. Jesus therefore saith unto 6. Λέγει ούν αυτοίς ο Ιησούς: them: My time is not yet “Ο καιρός και έμός ούπω πάρεστιν, come; but your time is always ο δε καιρός ο υμέτερος πάντοτε ready. .

πάρεστιν έτοιμος. 7. The world cannot hate 7. Ου δύναται ο κόσμος μισείν you; but me it hateth, because υμάς, έμε δε μισεί, ότι εγώ μαρτυρώ



3 His

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