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FOR THE HOPKINSIAX MAGAZINE.
and they that are upright in the MR. EDITOR,
way, are his delight. But, when
any of his intelligent creatures lar In your No. for July, p. 450, your transgress his law and rebel against par Correspondent, IGNOSCENDOS, proposes
pro several questions, on the subject of For. his government, while He still 1 giveness of Injuries. Viewing the sub- values their interest, and feels ject, as he does. to be very important, benevolent regard to their welfare, I bave waited for some abler pen, than mine, to discuss it in such a manner, as
He ceases to take delight in their your Correspondent desires. I now send characters and feels a disposition you the following thoughts, which you to punish them for their iniquities may publish, if you have received noth. Hence forgiveness, as exercised ing better on the subject. Yours, by the Sovereign of the universe,
respects both the punishment ON FORGIVENESS OF INJURIES, which sinners deserve, and the
I shall endeavour to answer the feelings which He has towards questions of Ignoscendus, in the them. When God forgives, He order, in which he thus clearly and remits the penalty of his law, and properly states them:
renewedly feels complacency to61. "What is it to forgive? wards his offending creature.
2. Whom are we bound to for- Men ought to be the children give?
of their Father who is in heaven.' 3. When are we bound to for- Holiness is essentially the same in give them?
God and in rational creatures. 4, To what extent? And, Every holy exercise in men, is a
5. Why must we forgive them, branch or modification of disinterin order to be forgiven of God?" ested love, and of the same nature
I. The first question to be con- with the benevolence of God. sidered, is, “ What is it to for- Forgiveness, as exercised by give?
men towards each other, is similar Forgiveness, as it is expressed to that, which God exercises to- u by our Heavenly Father towards wards his sinful creatures. It his offending creatures, includes implies, two things, a remission of the pun- First. A remission of the penalishment, which they deserve, and ty, which one has incurred by his which He has threatened to inflict, offences. Though men have not and a renewal of the exercise of the same authority over each othcomplacency towards them, upon er, which God has over all; yet, their return to their duty. God in various instances, they have exercises benevolence, or disinter- more or less authority over one ested love, towards all the intelli- another, and have a right to inflict gent creatures, whom He has made. punishment upon one another for He ever feels perfect good will to their offences and crimes. wards them, and values and desires rent has a right to punish his chilthe happiness of each one, in itself dren; a master has a right to punconsidered, in exact proportion to ish his servant; and a ruler has a its worth. He is good'unto all.' right to punish his subject. And While his intelligent creatures feel when a parent forgives his child, a and conduct as they ought, and as master his servant, or a ruler his his holy law requires, God takes subject; he remits, or forbears to delight in them, and loves them inflict the punishment deserved. with the love of complacency. In those cases, in which men This is the peculiar sense, in which have no authority over each other; the Lord loveth the righteous-l it is doubtless proper to treat those
who injure us in person, name, or to forgive. What evidence is estate, differently from those who there, that we are bound to forgive have always used us well. It is those, whom God does not? proper and right to express a Whenever our fellow-men trespass marked disapprobation of those against us, they also sin against who abuse us, to seek redress by God. And unless God forgives lawful means, for the injuries they them; why should it be our duty have done us, and, some in- to forgive them? Have we any stances, to endeavour to procure right to forgive those, whom God their condigo punishment by law- does not forgive? Not unless it is ful authority. Forgiveness im right for us to express our appro- .. plies a discontinuance of this se- bation of those with whom God is verity towards such as have offend- angry; and to take complacency ed and injured us. But, forgive in those, whom the Lord abhors. ness implies more than merely this But, in this, as well as in other change of external conduct to respects, we ought to be followwards offenders. It implies, ers of God as dear children.' It
Second. The renewed exercise is manifest, that God does not of complacency towards those who forgive all, who by trespassing have trespassed against us. When against their fellow-creatures, sin others injure and abuse us, though against Himself. we ought not to feel ill will, or re
How, then, shall we discrimivenge towards them, yet we ought nate between those, whom to feel disapprobation and dis- ought to forgive, and those, whom placence. But, when we forgive we ought not? Our Lord furnishes them, we cease to feel this displa- | the answer, Matth. xviii. 35. “So cence; we receive them again to
likewise shall my heavenly Father our esteem and affection; and re
do also unto you,
your newedly exercise towards them
hearts forgive not every man bis the love of complacence. This is
BROTHER their trespasses.” This what our Lord calls (Matth. xviii. our Lord said in answer to Peter's 55) forgiving from the heart.' This is the principal part of that question, “ Lord, how oft shall
, forgiveness, which he requires us
I forgive him?" It is those only, to exercise, and, without which whom we may and ought to esteem He assures us, we shall not be brethren in Christ, that we are forgiven.
bound to forgive, when they have The next question is, II. Whom are we bound to for trespassed against us. But are
we bound, at all times, to forgive give?
our Christian brethren, as soon as Some seem to imagine, that we
they commit a fault? This quesare bound to forgive all, who in
tion is near akin to the next any way trespass against us. But
asked by Ignoscendus; to which I is this correct? It is not found
now proceed : that our Lord any where commands us to forgive every person,
III. - When are we bound to who is guilty of an offence. It is forgive them p" true, He says in one place, Without controversy, it will be "If ye forgive not men their admitted, that we ought always trespasses, neither will your Fath- to feel a forgiving spirit, i. e. a er forgive your trespasses.” But, benevolent spirit. Forgiveness,
appears from other passages, so far as respects the heart, is a that it is only men' of a certain branch of that disinterested love, description, wbom we are bound which fulfils the law, and which we ought always to exercise to his offences are often repeated ; wards God and man.
we must, nevertheless forgive him; But, how can we be under ob- if he confesses them and asks ligation to forgive our brethren, forgiveness.
“ If he trespass while they continue insensible of against thee seven times in a day, their faults, or presume to justify and seven times in a day turn them, or persist in the repetition again to thee, saying, I repent; of them. God does not forgive thou shalt forgive him.” Luke, them, while they pursue this xvii. 4. And again we read, course; and why should we ? How Matthew sviii., 21, 22, “ Then can we forgive them, while re- came Peter to him, and said, Lord, maining in their trespasses, if how often shall my brother sin forgiveness, as we have seen, against me, and I forgive him? implies complacency and cordial Until seven times ? Jesus saith esteein? Our Lord does not require unto him, I say not unto thee, unsuch inconsistency.
til seven times; but, until sevenIt is only when our brethren, ty times seven. who have trespased against us, We come now to the last ques. manifest repentance for what they tion proposed, viz. have done, that we
V. "Why must we forgive our to forgive then. Accordingly, repenting brother, in order to obour Lord and Master says (Luke taio forgiveness of our heavenly xvii. 3) “ If thy brother trespass Father?" against thee, rebuke him; and if In reply to this question, It he repent, forgive him.”
may be observed, A brother, who has trespassed, 1. That in order to obtain forgives evidence of repentance, giveness of God, we must exercise when he appears sensible of his repentance for sin, Repentance sin, is willing to confess his is the indispensible condition of faults as publickly as they were pardon. “Except ye repent, said committed, and does all in his Christ, ye shall perish.” The power to repair the injury he has lexhortation of the Apostles, is done. Until he does this, he does “ Repent and be converted, that not act the part of a brother, and your sins may be blotted out." we are not bound to receive and 2. Repentance is a holy exertreat him as such. Until he does cise of heart. That is but a false this, after suitable admonition, and counterfeit repentance, which we are to treat him as a heathen consists in selfish sorrow for the man, and a publican. But, when a evil and bitter consequences of trespassing brother gives signs of sin, or for the Divine purpose and repentance; it becomes a question, agency which brought it into the
IV. To what extent we ought world. The sorrow, comprised to forgive him po
in true repentance, is godly sorThe answer to this question row, such as follows from su. may be short.
Our forgiveness !preme love to God, approbation of ought to keep pace with his signs his law and reconciliation to his of repentance.
no justice. The true penitent hates limits to be set, either as to de- | sin itself, and loathes himself on gree or number.
Whether the account of it. Disinterested love Offences of the offending brother, is the essence of repentance as it be small or great ; we must for- is of faith, and of every other give him; if he exhibits evidence Christian grace. of genuine repentance. And if
S. All those who exercise true re- Forgive us our debts, as we forentance toward God and become give our debtors?" he objects of his forgiving grace, 3. Men are not bound to fort the same time feel good will give their enemies. This has oftr kind, benevolent affection to- en been supposed; and the supvard their fellow creatures:
position has often troubled the Feeling thus, they cannot fail to hearts and clouded the hopes of forgive those who trespass against humble Christians. Men may inthem as soon, and as often, as they deed be bound to forgive those, profess and manifest sincere re- who have been their enemies; but pentance. Those who will not not those, who continue to be their forgive, from the heart, their re
enemies. Those, who continue penting fellow-men, are selfish, to be their enemies, exhibit no evrevengeful creatures, without love idence of repentance, and are not, to God, without repentance for therefore, proper objects of forsin, without faith in Christ: and giveness. There is no evidence: so, altogether uufit to be forgiven that Christ ever forgave his eneThe following Reflections arise
mies, while they continued such. in view of the preceding obser- It is true, he prayed for his murvations,
derers, Father, forgive them, for 1. A forgiving spirit is an ex- they know not what they do; but cellent spirit. It is a benevolent, this prayer implied a petition, that disinterested spirit. It is the God would give them repentance, very spirit of Christ. It assimi- and so fit them for forgiveness; lates men to God. Well did the otherwise the prayer wouid have poet say,
set aside the term of the gospel, “To arr is buman, to forgive, divine."
Christ loved his enemies with a 2. Between the spirit of Christ, love of benevolence; and so ought and the spirit of the world, there all men. But Christ did not love his
is a perfect contrast. The spirit persevering enemies with the love i of Christ, which all real Christians of complacence; nor is this the du
possess, is a spirit of forgiveness: ty of men. While we ought ever to but the spirit of the world, is a feel a forgiving spirit, i. e, a bespirit of revenge. Impenitent sin-pevolent spirit, towards all men; ners never exercise forgiveness to- we are required to forgive our ward any of their fellow-creatures, brethren only, when they repent. however humble and penitent.
4. It is uncharitable to repreThey may indeed, perform the sent those, as destitute of a forexternal part of forgiveness, which , giving spirit, who do not forgive consists in remitting the penalty all their brethren, Those are to incurred by offenders and discon- be treated as brethren, who are in tinuing that severity with which regular standing in the same it is sometimes proper to treat church with us.
But there may them: but impenitent sinners nev- be such, who give no evidence of er from the heart, forgive those piety, and never manifest any true who have trespassed against the in. repentance for their offences. We They feel enmity towards such, are not bound to forgive such false as have injured and offended them, brethren. Nor are we bound to and are disposed to render evil forgive such as appear to be brethfor evil. None but Christians who ren indeed, except when they aphave learned of Him, who is meek pear penitent, and duly confess and lowly of heart, can truly and and forsake their sins. sincerely say the Lord's prayer, 5. It may be wholly the fault of
offenders themselves, that they | and support such as will not conare not forgiven. There may be fess, or who refuse to pardon the a-want of a forgiving spirit in the penitent; that the commission of church towards those who suitably offences distúrbs, divides, and humble themselves for their of sometimes destroys' a' visible fences. But, when those who church of Christ. have been convicted of offences,
may be happy to refuse to acknowledge their faults, gether in heaveu, notwithstanding and manifest do sincere repentance all their dissentions upon earth. for them, they put it out of the | Those have become Christians, power of their Christian brethren who were, previously in a state to forgive them. They have no of the most irreconcilable enmireason to complain of the church, i ty
hateful, and hating
one fur excluding them from their fel- 1 another." Real Christians some lowship.
times fall out by the way,' and 6. Disorders in the church of for' a season, offend one another. Christ, are owing to false brethren. But, when they arrive at heaven; " It must needs be that offences all, who bave given occasion of come.” But, offences would not offence, will be perfectly penioceasion disorders and divisions tent; and all, who have been in in the churches, if they did not | jured, will feel the spirit of forcomprise false brethren. If all giveness. No former animosities, the members of our churches were therefore, will prevent their per what they profess to be; all of- , fect esteem and mutual complafences would be humbly confess
Their hearts will be knit ed, and all offenders cheerfully together in love. Finally. The forgiven. It is because there are terms of the Gospel are sufficientfalse brethren, who will not con- i ly low. It is only to forgive; and fess their faults, or who justify you shall be forgiven.
Q&cligious Antelligence. :
From Israel's Advicate. pondence with landholders, and PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN having visited, in person, certain SOCIETY.
sites offered them, reported, at We congratulate our friends on an extra meeting on the 14th of the information we are now able April last, that in their opinion to communicate, as extracted from the most eligible place which
could the following proceedings of our be procured, was a farm, herein Board of Directors. The site for after described, in the town of a settlement is obtained; and the Harrison, in West Chester CounBoard are industriously engaged ty, State of New York, containin arranging the details of the ing about 400 acres of good land, plan, for conducting it in the most and within three miles of the economical and efficient manner. landing at Saw-Pits; whence an The Land Committee, who de outlet is provided for surplus proserve the thanks of the Board, for duce from the farm, and for arthe vigilance, industry, and pa- ticles which may be made by any tience they have exhibited in the l of the converts engaged in medischarge of their duties, having chanical operations. oarried on an extensive corres- The farm was accordingly ta.