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Measured Service.

Measured Service.

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Published by glennpease
BY JOHN HAMPDEN GUENEY


MATTHEW xviii. 21.

Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall
my brother sin against me, and I forgive him; till seven
times ? "
BY JOHN HAMPDEN GUENEY


MATTHEW xviii. 21.

Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall
my brother sin against me, and I forgive him; till seven
times ? "

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 22, 2013
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MEASURED SERVICE.BY JOH HAMPDE GUEEYMATTHEW xviii. 21.Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shallmy brother sin against me, and I forgive him; till seventimes ? "all of us understand what is the direct lessoninculcated by the whole passage which is thus introduced. We have a question and an answer,and then a parable which speaks very plainly toevery conscience but the hardest and the dullest.Ours, we know, is the debt of ten thousandtalents. God reckons with us, and, instead of exacting what we could not pay, remits the debtfor the sake of Him who died that we might live.He is The Lord God, merciful and gracious, keepingmercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. Ours, also, is too often the spiritof the man who, after receiving so great a gift,could show neither generosity nor pity to hisfellow-servant, but demanded the last penny of the trifling sum which was owing to himself, andMEASURED SERVICE. 273had the heart to send another, unfortunate, perhaps, and unoffending, to the prison from which,by an act of forbearance, he had just been respitedhimself. The obvious lesson, lying on the surface,is one of patient forbearance, and generous forgiveness, towards our brethren of every degree ; and
 
very shaming and convicting are these words,Seventy times seven, when we think of our oft-repeated sins against the Law of Charity.But we may use this passage in another way,and get from it a lesson of equal value. If ourLord s answer shows us what our duty is as Christians, Peter s question shows us what men sthoughts and feelings are, so long as they remainuntaught in heavenly wisdom, and are left toframe a code of morals for themselves. Thosewords, How oft, are most significant. It is thelanguage of corrupt human nature wishing toserve God as cheap as it can, making obedience athing of rule and measurement, willing to bebound up to a certain point, if it may be free, andfollow its own humour, beyond it. Homage isgiven to the Supreme Ruler ; tribute, in someform or other, must be paid ; but till the heartis won, and man loves what the Holy Onecommands, he wants to drive a bargain, and keepon terms of friendship with the Holy One, at smallcost.This is the spirit and meaning of all fakeReligions. The idol- god is always feared, neverloved. He is to be pleased with gifts, or propi-T274 MEASURED SERVICE.tiated with sufferings. The dim, uncertain lightof Heathenism reveals to the poor wanderers someheights of Virtue beyond the current practice of teachers and neighbours ; and the inquiry amongall but the utterly reprobate is how far they mustclimb. If through weakness they fail and come
 
short, another question arises, What will betaken by the Divinity, or the Priests who represent him, so that the evil, naturally consequent ondisobedience, shall be escaped or mitigated ? Thewhole apparatus, which fills the temples of superstition, and binds such heavy fetters on its victims,is created and sustained by this spirit of compromise, prayers or sacrifices being the current coinof the devotees, and liberty to sin, or exemptionfrom threatened punishment, being the treasurewhich they purchase. Under such a system,what is done in a right direction is done by tale.The more virtuous part of the community aim atpurity only up to a certain point, and are hardlyconscious of the obligations of Justice and Charitywhere much of self-denial is involved. o veryhard service is imposed by men who are consciousof their own infirmities at every point, and yethard enough generally, to make the teachersrich with what is exacted from delinquents anddevotees in the shape of penalties.eed we say that what is true of false religionsis true also of the corrupted forms of Christianity ?On this bargaining disposition Popery, with all itstrain of unscriptural doctrines and vicious prac-MEASURED SERVICE. 275tices, lives and thrives. It grew up, in fact, tomeet the craving appetite of mankind for a cheapreligion, and became consolidated, by slow degrees,into the portentous system of priestcraft whichimposes on one portion of Christendom, and excites the wonder and indignation of the rest." How often shall I pray ?" a natural question forone who loves not prayer, or who thinks thatwords shall prevail with God, is met by the

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