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THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF FORGIVING

THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF FORGIVING

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Published by glennpease
By Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D


Matthew vi. 1-/5. Ephesians iv. 22-32. Colossiansiii. 8-17.

By Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D


Matthew vi. 1-/5. Ephesians iv. 22-32. Colossiansiii. 8-17.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 02, 2013
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THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF FORGIVINGTHOSE WHO INJURE US.By Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D
Matthew vi. 1-/5. Ephesians iv. 22-32. Colossiansiii. 8-17.Perhaps the superiority of Christianity to allworldly philosophy shines out clearer at this pointof forgiveness of injuries than almost anywhereelse. Cultivated, worldly people have the silverrule which enjoins that we shall treat other peopleas they treat us ; but it is only Christianity whichhas the golden rule of love which requires us to dounto others as we would like to have them do untous. Even the religion of Moses held to "an eyefor an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." But Christsoars far higher into the realm of love and forgive-ness. Christianity is high- water mark in humanliving. It is an extra height of goodness. Christsays that unless our righteousness shall exceed therighteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, we haveno right to be called after his name. We mustclimb up out of the foggy atmosphere of holdinggrudges and wreaking vengeance, to bask in the190trbc 2)uti5 anD privilege of ^forgiving, 191sunshine wliich is reflected in the face of JesusChrist.But John told the truth when he said that thecommandments of Christ are never grievous. Thisduty of forgiving those who injure us is not onlynot a heavy burden added to the weary load of life,but it is the only sure way to happiness.It is the sure indication of a noble soul to over-look slights and refuse to revenge injuries. SirThomas Browne says: "Hath any wronged thee?Be bravely revenged. Slight it, and the work's be-gun; forgive it, 'tis finished. He is below himself that is not above an injury."In the course of Gladstone's great speech on thesecond reading of the historic Home Eule Bill, hewent out of his way to pay a graceful complimentto the son of Joseph Chamberlain, who had deliv-ered his maiden speech in that debate. "Thespeech was one," said Gladstone, "that must havebeen dear and refreshing to a father's heart."The effect of these generous words on Chamber-lain, who had of late lost no opportunity to affront
 
the great Premier, was very marked. He coveredhis face with his hands while the tears ran downhis cheeks for many minutes.Many a silly enemy has been turned aside bythe refusal of the one attacked to retaliate.While Spurgeon was still a boy preacher, he was19!^ B l^ear's ipraiser^/IReetlng XTalfts.warned about a certain virago and told that she in-tended to give him a tongue-lashing. " All right,"he replied, " but that's a game that two can play."Not long after, as he passed her gate one morning,she assailed him with a flood of billingsgate. Hesmiled and said: "Yes, thank you, I am quitewell; I hope you are the same." Then came an-other burst of vituperation, pitched in a yet higherkey, to which he replied, still smiling: "Yes, itdoes look rather as if it might rain; I think I hadbetter be getting on." "Bless the man!" she ex-claimed, "he is as deaf as a post. What's theuse of storming at him?" And so her railingsceased and were never again attempted.There is no grace which more adorns human na-ture than the grace of forgiveness and mercy.When the young Queen of the Netherlands re-cently visited Paris, the ladies of Paris were de-lighted with a necklace that she always wore, what-ever might be her costume. This ornament con-sisted of a gold chain with a very original clasp, itbeing composed of a snake whose body partly en-circled the neck and chain. The head of the snakewas a single huge diamond, of wonderful fire andbeauty, while the body of the reptile was com-posed of smaller diamonds, rubies, and other pre-cious stones. But I know of a necklace morebeautiful and enduring than that, and one whichXlbc 5)utB anD privilege ot jfotQiving. 193every one of us may wear. It is the one spokenof by Solomon when he says: "Let not mercyand truth forsake thee: bind them about thyneck."The grace of forgiveness is not only ornamental,but it is a grace which can flourish only wherethere is warm personal fellowship with the heartof Christ. Did you ever see a watercress-pond inthe midst of winter? It is a very attractive sight.
 
With the thermometer far below the freezing-point,and with deep snow covering the ground and thebranches of the trees, the patch of watercress standsout in striking contrast — a spot of vivid green likea carpet on the surface of the pond. That theplants are able to grow and flourish under suchapparently impossible conditions of weather is dueentirely to the warm springs which feed the pond.The water welling forth from the warm heart of theearth saves them from freezing. So the only waya generous, forgiving spirit can be always main-tained in the midst of the freezing selfishness of the world is to have the fountain which Christ haspromised — the fountain of living water — evermorespringing up in the heart.A forgiving spirit absorbs and takes out of oursocial fellowships many of the poisonous hurtsthat would otherwise cause sorrow. It is like atamarack tree which, growing in a swamp, will ab-13194 B l)ear'5 pra^er^/Reetfng Ualfts.sorb all the microbes of malaria and save the wholecommunit}' from ague and fever. And so healthyis the tree itself that in purifying the water and at-mosphere it seems to grow all the more vigorouslyand gracefully. No one ever lost in graciousnessof spirit or beauty of soul or peace of heart by for-giving an injury.God has so made the world that every such gen-erous, Christlike deed shall have its influence notonly now and here, but evermore and everywhere.In Gray's famous "Elegy" there is a line whichbemoans the fate of flowers that waste their sweet-ness on the desert air. But modern scientists as-sure us that the poet was wrong in his conception,and that no flower ever yet thus wasted its sweet-ness. They explain to us that all the flowers inthe world— whether they be the laurels and the rho-dodendrons of the lofty mountains and the deepforests, or the palms of India and Africa, or thegorgeous century- plants of the American desert, orthe roses of the valleys — are perpetually enrich-ing the atmosphere and making the earth a health-ier and sweeter plac^ in which to live. Manyof these great gardens of God grow and flourishhundreds of miles from any human habitation, butGod causes the winds to catch up their fragrance,and the air is sweeter in Cleveland because thereare flowers growing in South America and China.

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