Ephesians 4:31
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice.
Sermons
Malicious and Revengeful FeelingT. Croskery Ephesians 4:31
Raw Material for Christian UnityR.M. Edgar Ephesians 4:17-32
The Abjured and the Enjoined in Christian LifeD. Thomas Ephesians 4:25-32
VicesR. Finlayson Ephesians 4:25-32
A Christian's ForgivenessEphesians 4:31-32
A Forgiving SpiritJ. Eadie, D. D.Ephesians 4:31-32
A Kind DeedEphesians 4:31-32
Charity to the UndeservingW.F. Adeney Ephesians 4:31, 32
Complete ForgivenessEphesians 4:31-32
Conquered ForgivenessH. T. Williams., Life of Wesley.Ephesians 4:31-32
Defective KindnessG. S. Bowes.Ephesians 4:31-32
Different Kinds of KindnessH. W. Beecher.Ephesians 4:31-32
For Christ's SakeC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 4:31-32
Forgiveness and RestorationHenry Varley.Ephesians 4:31-32
Forgiveness Made EasyC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 4:31-32
Forgiveness, for Christ's SakeEphesians 4:31-32
Forgiving One AnotherJ. Vaughan, M. A.Ephesians 4:31-32
Kindness DefinedC. Buck., Anon.Ephesians 4:31-32
Memory of KindnessH. W. Beecher.Ephesians 4:31-32
Origin of the Word KindnessG. S. Bowes.Ephesians 4:31-32
Power of ForgivenessJ. Pulsford.Ephesians 4:31-32
Power of KindnessEphesians 4:31-32
Remedies for Evil SpeakingEphesians 4:31-32
The Forgiveness of GodH. R. Story, D. D.Ephesians 4:31-32
The Influence of a Kind SpiritChampneys.Ephesians 4:31-32
The Necessity of a Forgiving SpiritPreacher's Lantern.Ephesians 4:31-32
The Power of KindnessJohn Bate.Ephesians 4:31-32
The Priest and the SurgeonEphesians 4:31-32
The Temper for the TimesF. F. Statham, B. A.Ephesians 4:31-32
The apostle commands us to put away five forms of it along with the temper out of which they spring.

I. BITTERNESS. This points, not to mordant speech merely, but to a sour, irritable, splenetic temperament, which places a man in an attitude of constant antagonism with his fellow-men. It argues want of love and consideration for others. Its effects are

(1) to spoil our own comfort;

(2) to excite the hatred of others;

(3) to destroy our influence for good.

II. WRATH. This suggests the fierce mental excitement that springs out of bitterness. It is "a fever in the heart, and a calenture in the head, and a fire in the face, and a sword in the hand, and a fury all over." Wrath is sinful because it springs from want of love, from misunderstanding, and from pride (Proverbs 21:24).

III. ANGER. This is a more settled habit of the spirit. There is an anger that is lawful (ver. 26), so far as it proceeds from a lawful cause, is directed to a lawful object, and is guided to a lawful issue. But the anger here is altogether sinful. It is an anger

(1) that is accompanied with hatred;

(2) that breaks out into curses (Psalm 106:33);

(3) that is excited by the wrong done to ourselves rather than by the dishonor done to God;

(4) that is long cherished;

(5) that unfits us for holy duties.

We ought to put it away from us, because

(1) God forbids it (Colossians 3:8);

(2) because it disturbs both mind and body;

(3) because it is folly as well as sin (Proverbs 14:17, 29);

(4) because it may lead to eternal ruin.

IV. CLAMOR. This is the cry of strife; the noisy, impetuous brawling, which gives outlet to the dark hostility within.

V. EVIL-SPEAKING. This points to the license of speech which wounds the reputation of others. It is an outrage alike upon truth and charity.

VI. MALICE. This marks the rooted enmity out of which all the five forms of evil naturally spring. It has been remarked that their genealogical relationship is manifest in the very order of their mention: "Acerbity of temper exciting passion, that passion matured into strong indignation, that indignation throwing itself off in indecent brawling, and that brawling darkening into libel and abuse, a malicious element lying all the while at the basis of these flagrant enormities." We are commanded to put them all away.

1. They find their true place among the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

2. They are not only inconsistent with but opposite to the nine graces of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; and their indulgence in any degree by Christians has the effect of grieving the Spirit.

3. They are inconsistent with that worthy walk which belongs to the vocation with which we are called (ver. 1). - T.C.







And be ye kind one to another.
I. THE EXTENT OF THE DUTY ENFORCED. It is not enough to abstain from acts of an unfriendly or hostile nature, but we should ever cherish that mild and amiable disposition which looks upon all men as friends till by their ingratitude or moral delinquency they have shown themselves to be unworthy of our friendship or good esteem.

1. One who is kindly disposed, either by nature or by grace, will be at all times ready to do a good action for another, if it should lie in his power.

2. Kindliness of disposition will be evidenced in all classes by a prevailing tone of mind which indisposes us either to think evil, or to speak evil of our neighbours.

3. We may beneficially carry out the precept of the text, by adopting a kind and courteous tone of language in all the relations of daily life.

II. THE PRECEPT OF THE TEXT MAY FURTHER BE URGED.

1. From the consideration of that precious love which our Saviour exhibited in dying for us.

2. From the remembrance of that supreme mercy and compassion which our heavenly Father manifests, when for Christ's sake He freely forgives us all the multiplied sins which we have committed against Him.

(F. F. Statham, B. A.)

The longer I live the more I feel the importance of adhering to the rules I have laid down for myself in relation to such matters.

1. To hear as little as possible to the prejudice of others.

2. To believe nothing of the kind till I am absolutely forced to it.

3. Never to drink in the spirit of one who circulates an ill report.

4. Always to moderate, as far as I can, the unkindness which is expressed toward others.

5. Always believe that, if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter.

The kindness of some is too much like an echo; it returns exactly the counterpart of what it receives, and neither more nor less (Matthew 5:46, 47).

(G. S. Bowes.)

Kindness is civil behaviour, favourable treatment, or a constant and habitual practice of friendly offices and benevolent actions.

(C. Buck.)It may be defined as "lighting our neighbour's candle by our own," by which we lose nothing and impart something.

(Anon.)

One man has kindness deep within him; and when the occasion comes, the rind or shell is cracked, and the kernel is found. Such a man's heart, too long clouded, like a sun in a storm-muffled day, shoots through some opening rift, and glows for a period in glory. But there are other natures that are always cloudless. With them, a cloud is the exception, shining is the rule. They rise radiant over the horizon; they fill the whole heavens with growing brightness, and all day long they overhang life, pouring down an undiminished flood of brightness and warmth.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Among the Alps, when the day is done, and twilight and darkness are creeping over fold and hamlet in the valleys below, Mont Rosa and Mont Blanc rise up far above the darkness, catching from the retreating sun something of his light, flushed with rose colour, exquisite beyond all words or pencil or paint, glowing like the gate of heaven. And so past favours and kindnesses lift themselves up in the memory of noble natures, and long after the lower parts of life are darkened by neglect, or selfishness, or anger, former loves, high up above all clouds, glow with Divine radiance and seem to forbid the advance of night any further.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The very word kindness comes from the cognate word, kinned, that is, one of the same kin or race; acknowledging and reminding us of the fact that all men are brethren — all of the same blood — and therefore they should all act as brethren. All who are of the same kindred should be kind.

(G. S. Bowes.)

A horse passing down the street in a stage suddenly stood still, and refused to go. He put down his forefoot and became as . stubborn as a mule. The driver beat him with great severity, but the animal still refused to go. Finally, a respectable person, a passer-by, picked up a little hay and put it before the horse. He ate it, and the friend kindly patted him on the neck and coaxed him. In a minute or two the stubbornness was gone, and the horse, with driver, were on their way. So let parents, masters, teachers, ministers, try the hand and food of kindness with all stubborn souls with whom they may have to do.

(John Bate.)

I remember once a valued friend of mine, a barrister, now passed away, who spent his Sundays in visiting an hospital. He told me that on one occasion he sat down by the bedside of one of the very poorest, the most ignorant, and, without using the word in any offensive manner, one of the very lowest men he had ever seen in his life — a man whose English, had it been taken down, would have been the most complete and perfect dislocation of the Queen's English that he ever heard. No word seemed to be in its right place. It seemed as if that which should have been a jointed and vertebrated. sentence had been separated at every joint, and thrown together anyhow. My friend was a man of the most tender spirit — a man whose tender spirit radiated from one of the most striking faces I ever saw; and I can well understand how he looked when he sat down by that poor man's bed. He began first, as all should who visit She sick, to break ground on temporal matters, to sympathize with them on that which they can understand so well — their bodily sufferings — to show that we are not indifferent to what they are suffering as men; and then, after speaking a few kind words, he was proceeding to say something further for his Master, whom he so dearly loved, when he saw the man's face begin to work convulsively. The muscles quivered, and at last, lifting up the sheet, and drawing down his head, he threw the sheet over his face, burst into a violent flood of tears and sobbed aloud. My friend wisely waited till this store of grief was passed, and then the poor fellow emerged from under the clothes, his face bearing the traces of tears that had flowed down it. When he was able to speak, my friend asked him — "What is it that has so touched you? I hope that I have not said anything that was painful to you. What can have moved you so much?" And as well as the man could sob out, he sobbed out these words: "Sir, you are the first man that ever spoke a kind word to me since I was born, and I can't stand it."

(Champneys.)

Dupuytren was a famous surgeon, but brusque and unpolished. One day, as he re-entered his house, he found installed in the anteroom an old priest, who had long been waiting his return. "What do you want of me?" growled Dupuytren. "I wish you to look at this," meekly replied the priest, taking off an old woollen cravat, which revealed upon the nape of his neck a hideous turnout. Dupuytren looked at it. "You'll have to die with that," he coolly remarked. "I thank you, doctor," simply replied the priest, replacing his cravat, "and am much obliged to you for warning me, as I can prepare myself, as well as my poor parishioners, who love me very much." The surgeon, who was never astonished at great things, looked upon this priest, who received his death sentence unmoved, with amazement, and said: "Come tomorrow, at eight o'clock, to the Hotel Dieu and ask for me." The priest was prompt. The surgeon procured for him a special room, and in a month's time the man went out cured. When leaving he took out of a sack thirty francs in small change. "It is all I have to offer you, doctor," he said; "I came here on foot from R—, in order to save this." The doctor looked at the money, smiled, and drawing a handful of gold from his pocket, put it in the bag with the thirty francs, saying, "It is for your poor," and the priest went away. Some years later the celebrated doctor, feeling death to be near, bethought him of the good priest, and sent for him. He came, and Dupuytren received from him the "last consolation," and died in his arms.

"Now, boys, I will tell you how we can have some fun," said Charlie to his companions, who had assembled one bright moonlight evening for sliding, snowballing, and fun generally. "What is it?" asked several at once. "You shall see," replied Charlie. "Who's got a wood saw? I have." "So have I," replied three of the boys. "Get them, and you and Freddy and Nathan each get an axe, and I will get a shovel. Let's be back in fifteen minutes." The boys separated to go on their several errands, each wondering of what use wood saws, and axes, and shovels could be in the play. But Charlie was a favourite with all, and they fully believed in his promises, and were soon assembled again. "Now," said he, "Widow M. has gone to a neighbour's to sit up with a sick child. A man hauled her some wood today, and I heard her tell him that unless she got someone to saw it tonight, she would not have anything to make a fire of in the morning. Now, we could saw and split that pile of wood just as easy as we could make a snow man on her doorstep, and when Mrs. M. comes home she will be most agreeably surprised." One or two of the boys objected, but the majority began to appreciate his fun, and to experience that inward satisfaction and joy that always results from well-doing. It was not a long and wearisome job for seven robust and healthy boys to saw, split, and pile up the widow's half-cord of wood, and to shovel a good loath. And when they had done this, so great was their pleasure and satisfaction, that one of them, who objected at first, proposed they should go to a neighbouring carpenter's shop, where plenty of shavings could be had for the carrying away, and each bring an armful. The proposition was readily acceded to; and, this done, they repaired to their several homes, more than satisfied with the "fun of the evening." And the next morning, when the weary widow returned from watching by the sick bed, and saw what was done, she was pleasantly surprised; and afterwards, when a neighbour (who had, unobserved, witnessed the labours of the boys) told her how it was done, her fervent invocation, God bless the boys!" was of itself, if they could have heard it, reward enough.

This is the great argument of awakened sinners, when they seek mercy at God's hands.

I. GOD'S ARGUMENT FOR MERCY. He forgives us "for Christ's sake."

1. Let us consider the force of this motive by which God is moved to forgive sinners.(1) The first thing which will move us to do anything for another's sake is his person, with its various additions of position and character. The excellence of a man's person has often moved others to high enthusiasm, to the spending of their lives; ay, to the endurance of cruel deaths for his sake. In the day of battle, if the advancing column wavered for a single moment, Napoleon's presence made every man a hero. When Alexander led the van, there was not a man in all the Macedonian ranks who would have hesitated to lose his life in following him. For David's sake the three mighties broke through the host, at imminent peril of their lives, to bring him water from the well of Bethlehem. Some men have a charm about them which enthralls the souls of other men, who are fascinated by them and count it their highest delight to do them honour. How shall I, in a fitting manner, lead you to contemplate the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, seeing that His charms as far exceed all human attractions as the sun outshines the stars! Yet this much I will be bold to say, that tie is so glorious that even the God of heaven may well consent to do ten thousand things for His sake. He is Almighty God, and at the same time all-perfect Man. In the surpassing majesty of His person lies a part of the force of the plea.(2) A far greater power lies in near and dear relationship. The mother, whose son had been many years at sea, pined for him with all a mother's fondness. She was a widow, and her heart had but this one object left. One day there came to the cottage door a ragged sailor. He was limping on a crutch, and seeking alms. He had been asking at several houses for a widow of such-and-such a name. He had now found her out. She was glad to see a sailor, for never since her son had gone to sea had she turned one away from her door, for her son's sake. The present visitor told her that he had served in the same ship with her beloved boy; that they had been wrecked together and cast upon a barren shore; that her son had died in his arms, and that he had charged him with his dying breath to take his Bible to his mother — she would know by that sign that it was her son — and to charge her to receive his comrade affectionately and kindly for her son's sake. You may well conceive how the best of the house was set before the stranger. He was but a common sailor; there was nothing in him to recommend him. His weather-beaten cheeks told of service, but it was not service rendered to her; he had no claim on her, and yet there was bed and board, and the widow's hearth for him. Why? Because she seemed to see in his eyes the picture of her son — and that Book, the sure token of good faith, opened her heart and her house to the stranger. Relationship will frequently do far more than the mere excellence of the person. Our God had but one begotten Son, and that Son the darling of His bosom. Oh, how the Father loved Him.(3) The force of the words, "For Christ's sake," must be found deeper still, namely, in the worthiness of the person and of his acts. Many peerages have been created in this realm which descend from generation to generation, with large estates, the gift of a generous nation, and why? Because this nation has received some signal benefits from one man and has been content to ennoble his heirs forever for his sake. I do not think there was any error committed when Marlborough or Wellington were lifted to the peerage; having saved their country in war, it was right that they should be honoured in peace; and when, for the sake of the parents, perpetual estates were entailed upon their descendants, and honours in perpetuity conferred upon their sons, it was only acting according to the laws of gratitude. Let as bethink ourselves of what Jesus has done, and let us understand how strong must be that plea — "for Jesus' sake."(4) If any stipulation has been made, then the terms, "for His sake," become more forcible, because they are backed by engagements, promises, covenants.(5) It tends very much to strengthen the plea "for Christ's sake," if it be well known that it is the desire of the person that the boon should be granted, and if, especially, that desire has been and is earnestly expressed. No, beloved, if I anxiously ask for mercy, Christ has asked for mercy for me long ago. There is never a blessing for which a believer pleads, but Christ pleads for it too; for "He ever liveth to make intercession for us."

2. Pausing a minute, let us enumerate some few other qualifications of this plea by way of comfort to trembling seekers.(1) This motive, we may observe, is with God a standing motive; it cannot change.(2) Remember, again, that this is a mighty reason. It is not merely a reason why God should forgive little sins, or else it would be a slur upon Christ, as though He deserved but little.(3) Then, brethren, it is a most clear and satisfactory, I was about to say, most reasonable reason, a motive which appeals to your own common sense. Can you not already see how God can be gracious to you for Christ's sake? We have heard of persons who have given money to beggars, to the poor; not because they deserved it, but because they would commemorate some deserving friend. On a certain day in the year our Horticultural Gardens are opened to the public, free. Why, why should they be opened free? What has the public done? Nothing. They receive the boon in commemoration of the good Prince Albert. Is not that a sensible reason? Yes. Every day in the year the gates of heaven are opened to sinners free. Why? For Jesus Christ's sake. Is it not a most fitting reason? If God would glorify His Son, how could He do better than by saying, "For the sake of My dear Son, set the pearly gates of heaven wide open, and admit His chosen ones."(4) This is the only motive which can ever move the heart of God.

II. THE BELIEVER'S GREAT MOTIVE FOR SERVICE.

1. We begin with a few hints as to what service is expected of us.(1) One of the first things which every Christian should feel bound to do "for Christ's sake" is to avenge His death. "Avenge His death," says one, "upon whom?" Upon His murderers. And who were they? Our sins! our sins!(2) Then, next, the Christian is expected to exalt his Master's name, and to do much to honour His memory, for Christ's sake. You remember that queen, who, when her husband died, thought she could never honour him too much, and built a tomb so famous, that though it was only named from him, it remains, to this day, the name of every splendid memorial — the mausoleum. Now let us feel that we cannot erect anything too famous for the honour of Christ — that our life will be well spent in making His name famous. Let us pile up the unhewn stones of goodness, self-denial, kindness, virtue, grace; let us lay these one upon another, and build up a memorial for Jesus Christ, so that whosoever passes us by, may know that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of Him.(3) And above all, "for Jesus' sake" should be a motive to fill us with intense sympathy with Him. He has many sheep, and some of them are wandering; let us go after them, my brethren, for the Shepherd's sake.

2. A few words, lastly, by way of exhortation on this point. Clear as the sound of a trumpet startling men from slumber, and bewitching as the sound of martial music to the soldier when he marches to the conflict, ought to be the matchless melody of this word. Review, my brethren, the heroic struggles of the Lord's people, and here we turn to the brightest page of the world's annals! Think of the suffering of God's people through the Maccabean war! How marvellous was their courage when Antiochus Epiphanes took the feeblest among the Jews to constrain them to break the law, and found himself weak as water before their dauntless resolve. Aged women and feeble children overcame the tyrant. Their tongues were torn out; they were sawn asunder; they were broiled on the fire; they were pierced with knives; but no kind of torture could subdue the indomitable spirit of God's chosen people. Think of the Christian heroism of the first centuries; remember Blandina tossed upon the horns of bulls and set in a red-hot iron chair; think of the martyrs given up to the lions in the amphitheatre, amidst the revilings of the Roman mob; dragged to their death at the heels of wild horses, or, like Marcus Arethusa, smeared with honey and stung to death by bees; and yet in which case did the enemy triumph? In none! They were more than conquerors through Him that loved them! And why? Because they did it all "for Christ's sake," and Christ's sake alone. Think of the cruelty which stained the snows of the Switzer's Alps, and the grass of Piedmont's Valleys, blood red with the murdered Waldenses and Albigenses, and honour the heroism of those who, in their deaths, counted not their lives dear to them "for Christ's sake." Walk this afternoon to your own Smithfield, and stand upon the sacred spot where the martyrs leaped into their chariot of fire, leaving their ashes on the ground, "for Jesus' sake." In Edinburgh, stand on the well known stones consecrated with covenanting gore, where the axe and the hangman set free the spirits of men who rejoiced to suffer for Christ's sake. Remember those fugitives "for Christ's sake," meeting in the glens and crags of Scotia's every hill, "for Christ's sake." They were daunted by nothing — they dared everything "for Christ's sake." Think, too, of what missionaries have done "for Christ's sake." With no weapon but the Bible, they have landed among cannibals, and have subdued them to the power of the gospel; with no hope of gain, except in the reward which the Lord has reserved for every faithful one, they have gone where the most enterprizing trader dared not go, passed through barriers impenetrable to the courage of men who sought after gold, but to be pierced by men who sought after souls.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The heathen moralists, when they wished to teach virtue, could not point to the example of their gods, for, according to their mythologists, the gods were a compound of every imaginable, and, I had almost said, unimaginable, vice. Many of the classic deities surpassed the worst of men in their crimes: they were as much greater in iniquity as they were supposed to be superior in power.

I. The first word to think about is, "FOR CHRIST'S SAKE." We use these words very often; but probably we have never thought of their force, and even at this time we cannot bring forth the whole of their meaning. What does it mean?

1. It means, surely, first, for the sake of the great atonement which Christ has offered.

2. God has forgiven us because of the representative character of Christ. God for Christ's sake has accepted us in Him, has forgiven us in Him, and looks upon us with love infinite and changeless in Him.

3. Now go a little further. When we read, "for Christ's sake," it surely means for the deep love which the Father bears Him.

4. God forgives sin for the sake of glorifying Christ. Christ took the shame that He might magnify His Father, and now His Father delights to magnify Him by blotting out the sin.

II. WHAT IT IS THAT HAS BEEN DONE FOR US, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. "God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you."

1. Pardon is not a prize to be run for, but a blessing received at the first step of the race.

2. This forgiveness is continuous.

3. It is most free.

4. It is full.

5. Eternal. God will never rake up our past offences, and a second time impute them.

6. Divine. There is such a truth, reality, and emphasis in the pardon of God as you can never find in the pardon of man; for though a man should forgive all you have done against him, yet it is more than you could expect that he should quite forget it; but the Lord says, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more forever." If a man has played you false, although you have forgiven him, you are not likely to trust him again. But see how the Lord deals with His people, e.g., Peter, Paul.

III. A POINT OF PRACTICE. "Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Now, observe how the apostle puts it. Does he say "forgiving another"? No, that is not the text, if you look at it. It is "forgiving one another." One another! Ah, then that means that if you have to forgive today, it is very likely that you will yourself need to be forgiven tomorrow, for it is "forgiving one another." It is turn and turn about, a mutual operation, a cooperative service.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

God's pardon of sinners is full and free and irreversible, all sin forgiven — forgiven, not because we deserve it; forgiven, every day of our lives; and, when once forgiven never again to rise up and condemn us. Now, because God has pardoned us, we should cherish a forgiving spirit, and be as ready to pardon others as He has been to remit our trespasses. His example at once enjoins imitation, and furnishes the pattern. And thus the offences of others are to be pardoned by us fully, without retaining a grudge; and freely, without any exorbitant equivalent; and when pardoned, they are not to be raked out of oblivion, and again made the theme of collision and quarrel. According to the imagery of our Lord's parable, our sins toward God are weighty as talents, nay, weighty and numerous as ten thousand talents; while the offences of our fellows toward ourselves are trivial as pence, nay, as trivial and few as a hundred pence. If the master forgive the servant so far beneath him such an immense amount, will not the forgiven servant be prompted by the generous example to absolve his own fellow servant and equal from his paltry debt? (Matthew 18:23-35). In fine, as God in Christ forgives sin, so believers in Christ, feeling their union to Him, breathing His Spirit, and doing homage to His law of love, learn to forgive one another.

(J. Eadie, D. D.)

The literal meaning of the words of the text in the original is, "as God, in Christ, hath forgiven you." This is exactly what they say, and this gives us the right idea of the forgiveness of God, of God revealing Himself in Christ. Now, God's forgiveness in Christ does not stand alone; but must be a part of that whole revelation of God which we have in Christ. Christ came to reveal God's fatherhood, God's love, God's righteousness, God's forgiveness — all as parts of one great whole, and all for the one high purpose of reconciling men to God, of bringing back to Him in love and faith those who had sinned against Him. In each part of the whole there is the reconciling element, which gives its character to the whole. In each there is something, the knowledge of which should bring us to God in love and trust. And this in forgiveness can only be its freeness and fulness. This character pervades all that Christ teaches us about forgiveness in His spoken words: it pervades all that He exemplified in His own deeds, down to that last hour when He said, with His failing breath, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." What is the object of all forgiveness? It is not to smooth over the sin, and make it of little account. It is not to remove the natural penalty or consequence from the sin, so that you may sin and yet not suffer. It is to gain the sinner; to win him back from evil to good, from the devil to God. It is for this end God forgives — forgives because of His eternal desire to save men from sin, and lead them to holiness. His forgiveness is not a new power or new aspect of character, evoked in Him by His Son's life or death or sacrifice. It is an eternal element of His Divine nature, revealing itself to us, through Christ, in whom all His will for our salvation was revealed. To anyone capable of amendment of life, in whom the powers of the endless life are not quenched, nothing can appeal so strongly, nothing can exert so quickening an influence, as the consciousness of being freely forgiven for past errors, as the knowledge that these at least are not kept up as a barrier between him and the Father to whom he would fain return. Let us lay hold of this free and full forgiveness, brethren. Let us not be occupied with the mere selfish anxiety to be delivered from the penalty of our sin; but let us rather be filled with the earnest hope to be reconciled to our Father, against whom we have trespassed; and, through the consciousness of His goodwill towards us, to be animated with such gratitude, love, and trust, as shall strengthen us against all temptation, and restrain us from all transgression.

(H. R. Story, D. D.)

"Kindness" and "forgiveness" may be, and often are, natural virtues. But you at once take them out of the natural, and elevate them into the spiritual — you Christianize them, and the old commandment becomes the new — when you make this both the reason of the exercise and the measure of the degree — "as God in Christ hath forgiven you." Now take care that you read this verse aright. I have often heard it quoted — I have read it often in books — "as God for Christ's sake will forgive you." But that is not the basis from which the apostle's argument here, and his argument everywhere, springs. "Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." So that if you are not a "forgiven" man, the argument drops. How can a machine go, if you take out the mainspring? How can love in the heart of a man move aright, without its motive power? And what motive power can move a man to bear all he has to bear, and to do all he has to do, in such a world as this, but love? And where is love if you are not forgiven?" Nobody really knows God till he is "forgiven"; and how shall a man practise love till he knows God? Is not all love, God? Here, then, we take our beginning. As a mathematician claims a certain first principle, and assumes it is granted, and calls it his axiom, so we make it our axiom, "You are forgiven." I cannot carry on my reasoning a single step without that. Now, in the character of this "forgiveness" — which is the elementary principle of all religion — there are three points, which I would ask you to look at in detail.

1. It was originating. I mean, it was not you went forth to it; but it went forth to you. It was ready before you thought of it. It was ready before you were born. It sought you. At the best, you can do nothing but accept it.

2. It is universal. It cannot, in the nature of things, be partial. I mean, there is no such thing as being "forgiven" for one sin, while, at the same time, you are not "forgiven" for another sin. It is all or none. The blood of Christ never washes one sin out. The robe of Christ never covers one part of a man. Everything is "forgiven."

3. The "forgiveness" is absolute. There is not a vestige of displeasure. There is no resurrection of "forgiven" sins. They shall never be mentioned any more. They are "cast into the depths of the sea." O brethren! what an atmosphere of love we ought all to be living in, as many of you as know Christ. What a practical rule and measure we have, by which to draw our line, every day, into thousands of little acts and thoughts. It is simply this — "How did God act to me, when He stood in a corresponding relation to me?" But I ask, Is any one of us living up to that standard? I think not. Therefore let us now look at our measurement. "You see there are three things God tells us to be: kind; tender-hearted; forgiving. I am not sure that I know the exact distinction which is intended between those three words; but, I think it is something like this: — "Kindness," is an affectionate feeling, always going out into action. The Greek word used has something o! "using" or "serving" in it. A "tender heart," is a soft, impressible state, which predisposes to think and act kindly. And "forgiveness" is that loving spirit, which, preferring to suffer rather than to pain, sees no fault in another because it is so conscious of its own. It is important to notice that the "tender heart" is placed between "kindness" and "forgiveness" — the keystone of the little sacred arch. Everything depends upon it — a soft, "tender" state of "heart." Need I remind you, that everything in the world, every day, is tending to brush off the bloom, and leave the substance underneath hardened? But whoever wishes to be a real Christian must, at all times, and in all places, be jealously watchful to keep his heart "tender." The great business of life, it seems to me, is to keep the heart "tender." But how is it that we are not all "kind," "tender," and "forgiving"? There are many causes; but they resolve themselves into one — pride! pride!

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

"What great matter," said a heathen tyrant to a Christian while he was beating him almost to death — "What great matter did Christ ever do for you?" "Even this," answered the Christian, "that I can forgive you, though you use me so cruelly."

In the Middle Ages, when the lords and knights were always at war with each other, one of them resolved to revenge himself on a neighbour who had offended him. It chanced that, on the very evening when he had made this resolution, he heard that his enemy was to pass near his castle, with only a very few men with him. It was a good opportunity to take his revenge, and he determined not to let it pass. He spoke of his plan in the presence of his chaplain, who tried in vain to persuade him to give it up. The good man said a great deal to the duke about the sin of what he was going to do, but in vain. At length, seeing that all his words had no effect, he said, "My lord, since I cannot persuade yon to give up this plan of yours, you will at least come with me to the chapel, that we may pray together before you go?" The duke consented, and the chaplain and he kneeled together in prayer. Then the mercy-loving Christian said to the revengeful warrior, "Will you repeat after me, sentence by sentence, the prayer which our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught to His disciples?...I will do it," replied the duke. He did it accordingly. The chaplain said a sentence, and the duke repeated it, till he came to the petition, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us." There the duke was silent. "My lord duke, you are silent," said the chaplain. "Will you be so good as to continue to repeat the words after me, if you dare to do so: 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us'?" "I cannot," replied the duke. "Well, God cannot forgive you, for He has said so. He Himself has given us this prayer. Therefore you must either give up your revenge or give up saying this prayer; for to ask God to pardon you as you pardon others is to ask Him to take vengeance on you for all your sins. Go now, my lord, and meet your victim. God will meet you at the great day of judgment." The iron will of the duke was broken. "No," said he; "I will finish my prayer. My God, my Father, pardon me; forgive me as I desire to forgive him who has offended me; 'lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.'" "Amen," said the chaplain. "Amen," repeated the duke, who now understood the Lord's Prayer better than he had ever done before, since he had learned to apply it to himself.

(Preacher's Lantern.)

Some years ago a missionary was preaching in a chapel to a crowd of idol-loving Hindoos. He had not proceeded far in his sermon when he was interrupted by a strong native, who went behind the desk, intending to knock him down with his stick. Happily the blow aimed at the minister fell on his shoulder, and did him little, if any, injury. The congregation of hearers were, however, very angry with the offender, and they seized him at the very moment he was attempting to escape. "Now, what shall I do with him?" said the missionary to the people. "Give him a good beating," answered some. "I cannot do that," said he. "Send him to the judge," cried others, "and he will receive two years' hard labour on the road." "I cannot follow your advice," said the missionary again, "and I will tell you why. My religion commands me to love my enemies, and to do good to them who injure me." Then turning to the man, he said, "I forgive you from my heart; but never forget that you owe your escape from punishment to that Jesus whom you persecuted in me." The effect of this scene upon the Hindoos was most impressive. They wondered at it, and, unable any longer to keep silence, sprang on their feet and shouted, "Victory to Jesus Christ! Victory to Jesus Christi"

(J. Pulsford.)

It was said of Archbishop Cranmer, that the way to have him as one's friend was to do him an unkindness.

Samuel Harris, of Virginia, shortly after he had begun to preach, was informed by one of his debtors that he did not intend paying him the debt owed "unless he sued him." Harris left the man's presence meditating. "What shall I do?" said he, for he badly wanted the money. "Must I leave preaching and attend to a vexatious lawsuit. Perhaps a thousand souls may perish in the meantime." He turned aside into a wood and sought guidance in prayer. Rising from his knees, he resolved to hold the man no longer a debtor, and at once wrote out a receipt in full, which he sent by a servant. Shortly after the man met him, and demanded what he meant. "I mean," said Harris, "just what I wrote." "But you know I never paid you," replied the debtor. "True," Harris answered; "and I know you said that you never would unless I sued. But, sir, I sued you at the court of heaven, and Christ has entered bail for you; I have therefore given you a discharge." "But I insist matters shall not be left so," said the man. "I am well satisfied," replied the other; "Jesus will not fail me. I leave you to settle the account with Him at another day. Farewell!" This operated so effectually on the man's conscience that in a few days he came and paid the debt.

(H. T. Williams.)John Wesley had a misunderstanding with his travelling companion, Joseph Bradford, which resulted in his saying overnight that they must part. In the morning Wesley inquired of him, "Will you ask my pardon?" "No," said Bradbury. "Then I will ask yours," said the great preacher. This broke Bradbury down, who melted under the speech and wept like a child.

(Life of Wesley.)

After the death of Archbishop Tillotson a bundle of libels was found among his papers, on which he had written — "These are libels; I pray God forgive the authors, as I do."

I call to mind an occasion when the son of a Christian man was guilty of an act of disobedience in the home. Hearing of it, the father quietly but firmly said, "Son, I am pained beyond measure at your conduct." "How well," said that father, "I remember his return from school at mid-day, his quiet knock at the study door, his clear tremulous utterance, 'Father, I am so ashamed of myself by reason of my conduct this morning.' Refuse to restore him!" said that father. "Unhesitatingly I confess that I never loved my boy more than at that moment, nor did I ever more readily implant the kiss of forgiveness than at that instant. Refuse to restore him: disown him, have him leave the house, take another name, say that he had no place in the family — not my child!" What blasphemy against humanity is this! And shall we dare to attribute such conduct to the Holy Father in heaven, "who spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all?"

(Henry Varley.)

I have read that one of Dr. Guthrie's admirers was an old Scotch judge, who contributed a large sum to build a new church. But when the doctor left the Established Church, with the Free Church party, the judge was so much displeased that he ceased to call on him, and even refused to recognize him in the street. Twice the good doctor lifted his hat on meeting, but the judge gave no sign of recognition. The doctor said cheerily to himself, "One more lifting of the hat, my lord, and then we are quits." One day a woman called at Dr. Guthrie's, begging for a seat in his church. The doctor said it was impossible to obtain one; all were engaged, and more than a score of applicants were waiting for a vacancy. She pleaded hard, but he saw no way to help her. At length she mentioned that she was housekeeper for Judge . "That changes the case," said the doctor. "I would like to do him a favour for all his kindness to me in past days. You shall have a seat in my own pew." The woman left, after a profusion of thanks. The next morning there was a knock at the study door, and the judge entered. He came to thank the doctor for the kindness to his housekeepers after his own shabby behaviour, and to beg pardon for his foolish anger.

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