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stick at the giving a little o; and he that desires to be like P God, and comes to be united to him, should do like him; that is, rejoice in remitting offences, rather than in punishing them. In this, as in all other things, we must follow God's example; for in this alone he else will follow ours. In imitating him, it is certain, we are innocent; and if in this he follows us, though we be wicked, yet he is holy; because revenge is his, and he alone is to pay it. If, therefore, we will forgive, he will; if we will not, neither will he: for he makes his spear as long, and his angers as lasting, as we do
But this duty, and the great reasonableness and necessity, I shall represent in the excellent words of the Talmudists 9, recorded also by the famous Bensirachr; “ He that revengeth, shall find vengeance of the Lord, and he will surely keep his sins in remembrance. Forgive thy neighbour the hurt, that he hath done unto thee; so shall thy sins also be forgiven, when thou prayest. One man keepeth anger against another; and doth he seek healing from the Lord ? He showeth no mercy to any man that is like himself; and doth he ask forgiveness for his own sins? If he that is but flesh, nourish hatred, who will entreat for pardon of his sins ?” The duty is plain, and the reason urgent, and the commandment express, and the threatening terrible, and the promise excellent. There is in this no more to be said, but that we consider concerning the manner of reducing it to practice, in order to our preparation to a worthy communion : and consider the special cases of conscience relating to this great duty.
1. Therefore we are bound to forgive every man that offends us.
For concerning every one of our brethren it is equally true, that he is an excellent creation, that he is thy
• Det ille veniam facile, cui venia est opus.
Ρ "Οστις oύν έoικέναι βούλεται θεούς, αφιείς τιμωρίας χαιρέτω μάλλον, ή λαμβάνωνLibanius.
9 Si repetes, repetet; si durus és, ille rogantem
Abjiciet; fusas conteret atque preces.
Præbet : at hic sequitur quod prior ipse facis :
brother, that he is heir of the same hopes, born to the same inheritance, descended of the same father, nursed by the church, which is his mother and thine ; that there is in him God's image, drawn by the same hand, described in the same lines; that there are in him many good things for which he can be loved, and many reasons in him for which he ought to be pardoned ; God hath made many decrees for him, and the angels minister to him, and Christ died for him, and his soul is very precious in the eyes of God, and in heaven itself; the man whom thou hatest, is very considerable; and there, there are great desires for his temporal and eternal happiness: and why shouldest thou despise, and why shouldest thou stand out against all this?
2. Not only every man, but every offence, must be forgiven. The wise man
says, 6 That for some things there will be no returning again :" a blow, indeed, or an evil word, may be pardoned; but for “ upbraiding and pride, and disclosing secrets, and a treacherous wound, every friend will depart, and never return again.” But he only tells how it will be, not what ought to be; what it is likely to be in matter of fact, not how it should be in case of conscience : and he means this of societies and civil friendships; but in religion we go higher, and even these also, and greater than these, must be pardoned, unless we would prescribe a limit to God's
mercy, in the remission of our own sins. He will pardon every sin of ours, for the pardon of which we can rightly pray; but yet we must pray for it, and hope it upon no measures, but those of our forgiveness.
60 Jupiter," said the distressed princet, “ hear our prayers ; according to our piety look upon us; and as we do, so give us help.” And there is no instance that can be considerable to the lessening or excusing of this duty. We must forgive, not only injuries in the matter of money; but in all errors and crimes whatsoever, in which any man can sin, and thou canst be offended u.
s Ecclus. xxii. 22.
+ Jupiter omnipotens, precibus si flecteris ullis,
Da deinde auxilium. - Æneid. lib. ii. 689. u Dimittenda sunt debita, non pecuniæ solum, sed omnium causarum cul. parum, criminum, quicquid homo incurrere poterit ; in his, tibi quum incurrerit alter, ignosce.
3. Although, in these things, there is no difficulty, yet, in the intention and expressions of this duty, there is some. For if it be inquired what is meant by forgiving,-many men suppose it is nothing but saying, “I forgive him with all my heart; and I pray God forgive him:' but this is but words, and we must have more material significations of it than so; because nothing can commute for the omission of the necessary parts of this duty. It is, therefore, necessary that we observe these measures.
1. Every man that hath received injuries, be they ever so great, must have a mind perfectly free from all intentions of revenge, in any instance whatsoever.
instance whatsoever. For when the question is concerning forgiving him that did the wrong, every man can best answer his question, by placing himself in the seat of him that did the offence, and considering to what purposes, and by what significations, and in what degrees, and to what event of things himself would fain be pardoned, if he were in his case, and did repent the injury, and did desirex pardon. That is the measure and the rule; and we learn it from Chrysologus y, “ Thou art a sinful man, and thou wouldest that God and man should always forgive thee. Do thou forgive always: so much, so often, so entirely, as thou wouldest be pardoned thyself,--so much, so often, and so entirely give pardon to thine enemy.” And this, together with the reason of it, is well expressed in the Gospel of the Nazarenes; “ If thy brother sins against thee in words, and offers thee satisfaction seven times in a day, receive him. Simon, his disciple, saith unto him, “Seven times in a day?' The Lord answers, “ Yea, I say unto you, seventy times seven times. For even amongst the prophets also, after they were anointed with the Holy Ghost, there was found the word of sin, that is, they also offended in their tongues.'
Against this there is no objection, but what is made by the foolish discourses of young men, fighters and malicious, who, by the evil manners of the world, are taught to call
* Qui, ne tuberibus propriis offendat amicum
Postulat, ignoscat verrucis illius ; æquum est,
Florat. 1. Serm. 3, 73. 3 Homo sine peccato esse non potes: et vis semper tibi dimitti? dimitte semper. Quantum vis tibi dimitti, tantum dimitte. Quoties vis dimitti tibi, toties dimitte : imo quia vis totum dimitti tibi, totum dimitte.
revenge gallantry, and the pardoning of injuries to be pusillanimity and cowardice. For this devil that dwells in tombs, and cannot be bound with chains, prevails infinitely upon this account, amongst the more glorious part of mankind; but (as all other things are, which oppose the wisdom of God) is infinitely unreasonable, there being nothing in the world a greater testimony of impotency and effeminacy of spirit, than a desire of revenge.
Who are so cruel as cowards ? and who so revengeful as the weakest and the most passionate women ? Wise Chrysippus, and gentle Thales, and the good old man, who, being to drink his poison, refused to give any of it to his persecutor ; these men did not think revenge a pleasure, or a worthy satisfaction”. For what man is so barbarous, as to recover his leprosy by sucking the life-blood from dying infants ? A good man would rather endure ten leprosies, than one such remedy. Such a thing is revenge, it pretends to cure a wound, but does it with an intolerable remedy. It was the song of Cyclopsa to his sheep, “ Feed you upon the tender herbs, -I mean to feed upon the flesh, and drink the blood of the Greeks:" this is a violence, not only to the laws and manners, but even to the very nature of men. Lions, indeed, and tigers, do, with a strange curiosity, eye and observe him that struck them, and they fight with him above all the hunters; to strike again is the return of beasts; but to pardon him that smote, is the bravest amends, and the noblest way of doing right unto ourselves; whilst in the ways
of a man, and the methods of God, we have conquered our enemy into a friend. But revenge is the disease of honour, and is as contrary to the wisdom and bravery of men, as dwelling in rivers, and wallowing in fires, is to their natural manner of living. And he who, out of pretence of valour, pursues revenge, is like to him, who, because fire
Accusatori nollet dare.-Juvenal. xiii, 184. a Pascite vos herbas, socios ego pascor Achivos.
is a glorious thing, is willing to have a St. Anthony's fire in his face.
2. He that is injured, must so pardon, as that he must not pray to God to take revenge of his enemy. noted as a pitiful thing of Brutus, that when his army was broken, and himself exposed to the insolencies of his enemies, and that he could not revenge himself, he cried out most passionately, in the words of the Greek tragedyb, to Jupiter, to take revenge of young Octavius.' But nothing is more against the nobleness of a Christian spirit, and the interest of a holy communion, than, when all meet together to pray for all, and all for every one, that any man should except his enemy,--that he who prays for blessings to the whole mystical body of Christ, should secretly desire that one member should perish. If one prays for thee, and another prays against thee, who knows whether thou shalt be blessed or accursed c?
3. He that means to communicate worthily, must so forgive his enemy, as never to upbraid his crime any more. For we must so forgive, as that we forget it; not in the sense of nature, but perfectly in the sense of charity. For to what good purpose can any man keep a record of a shrewd turn, but to become a spy upon the actions of his enemy, watchful to do him shame, or by that to aggravate every new offence? It was a malicious part of Darius, when the Athenians had plundered Sardis, he resolving to remember the evil turn, till he had done them a mischief, commanded one of his servants, that every time he waited at supper, he should thrice call upon him, “Sir, remember the Athenians d.” The devil is apt enough to do this office for any man; and he that keeps in mind an injury, needs no other tempter to uncharitableness but his own memory.
He that resolves to remember it, never does forgive it perfectly, but is the underofficer of his own malice. For as rivers that run under ground, do infallibly fall into the sea, and mingle with the salt waters, --so is the injury that is remembered; it runs
Ζεύ, μη λάθοι σε των δ' ος αίτιος κακών. • Quid enim prodest, si unus pro te oret ad Dominum, et alius adversum te Deum interpellet ?--S. Chrysost. in Matth. v.
d AGOTOTA, Méuveo tão 'Agnvaíwr. Herod. Terps. cap. 105, Schweigh. vol. ii.