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Praying for His Enemies Upon the Cross.

Praying for His Enemies Upon the Cross.

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Published by glennpease

Luke xxiii. 34.
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Luke xxiii. 34.
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PRAYIG FOR HIS EEMIES UPO THE CROSS.BY REV HERY KOLLOCK, D. D.Luke xxiii. 34.Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.Who does not admire in the Saviour that union of firmness and charity, which makes him forget his ownsufferings, to attend to the woes of others ; which ap-pears to extinguish every personal feeling, in orderto concentrate all his sensibility upon those whomhe came to save ? In the moments which precedehis sufferings, his soul is affected only by the calami-ties which his death will produce upon the nationthat has inflicted it ; and beholding in the future thecalamities of Judea, he turns the attention of the af-flicted females who lamented his sorrows, to theirown woes ; and the last address which he makes tothem, the last adieus which he utters, are containedin these touching words: " Daughters of Jerusalem,weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and yourchildren."This same temper was displayed when extendedypon the cross. The sufferings which he enduresvol. ii. 47370 SERMO LIX.do not make him insensible to the interests of thoseungrateful men who inflicted them. The voice of charity is alone heard from him, and the first wordsthat proceed from those lips, ready to breathe theirlast sigh, are words of peace, of love, of intercession :" Father, forgive them ; for they know not what
they do."Whence shall I derive ideas, expressions, properto paint with any energy the sublimity of that mo-ment ? Ah ! the language of men, that even of an-gels, here fails. All that I can hope, or dare at-tempt, is to inspire you with a desire of imitating thissublime example. To accomplish this, let us,I. View the prayer of the Saviour in itself. And(hen,II. In relation to ourselves, as a model and objectof imitation.I. To this prayer of the Saviotir is to be attachediio sense unworthy of the Son of God, incompatiblewith the doctrine which he came to teach men, oropposed to the divine attributes. The blessing thathe asks, then, evidently is this, that God would sus-pend the strokes of his justice which these guiltymen had deserved ; that he w r ould grant them lei-sure to see their criminality, and grace to inspirethem with repentance ; that he would then blot outtheir iniquities in that blood which they were shed-ding. " Father, forgive them." He graciouslypleads their ignorance as an extenuation of their of-fence. They see not his divine glory ; they knownot his excellence ; they think that they render Godservice by persecuting, by nailing the Messiah to thecross. " They know not what they do."And was not this prayer heard? The destructionof Jerusalem and the temple, the dispersion of theLIFE OF CHRIST. 37 1nation, which had denied the Holy One and the Just,
and nailed the Prince of Life to the cross, were sus-pended in consequence of it. Forty years of delayand long-suffering are still granted; and during thistime the apostles passed through Judea, announcedthe gospel of peace to the crucifiers of their DivineMaster, published the doctrines of salvation, andscaled their testimony with their blood. The con-version of a vast multitude of Jews, among whomwere many of the most ardent persecutors of Christ,was the happy fruit of this delay, and of the effusionof the Spirit granted to the intercession of the Sonof God. At the foot of the cross, the Roman centu-rion avows him to be the Son of God. The troopswho are present, moved with compassion, smite upontheir breasts. On the day of Pentecost, three thou-sand are converted. Five thousand shortly afterprofess him as their Lord, whom they had crucified.The cross every day had new triumphs in Judea.May we not also add, as a proof of the efficacy of this prayer, the miraculous preservation of the Jew-ish people for more than eighteen centuries, and theassurance that they will finally return, and be con-verted to the Prince of Life, whom their fathers hadslain.But I hasten to consider this prayer,II. As a perfect model for our imitation.To love our enemies, to wish well to them, to ren-der them good for evil, is one of the very first dutiesof Christianity. In order to engage us to the per-formance of it, we have the most tender and impres-sive example that can be given. He who, by themost astonishing mercy, engages us to obey his laws ;He, from whom we expect our salvation, and whosedeath seals to us the remission of our sins, teaclie*

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