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Where Two or Three are assembled in his Name, he is with them. 29

on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven. (See Note (b) Sect. 94.

on Mat, xvi. 19. Vol. i. pag. 546.). - Mat. XVIII. 19 Again I say unto you, And further, as a convincing Token and De- taat: that if Two of you shall

monstration of this, I say unto you, that this agree on Earth, as touching any Thing that they thalt Authority and Power not only shall attend the alk, it Ihall be done for them Actions of your whole united Body, but even if of my Father which is in

any Two of you shall agree together here on Earth (g) Heaven.

concerning any Thing which they shall think it pro-
per to as in Prayer, for the miraculous Confirma-
tion of any of their Determinations, it shall be im-

mediately done for thern by my Father in Heaven (h).
_20 For where Two or For where but Two or Three are assembled in my 20
Three are gathered together Name, with a Regard to my Authority, and to
in my Name, there am I in
the Midst of them.

the Purposes of my Glory, whatever the peca-
liar Occasion be, I am there by my special, tho'
invisible Presence, in the Midst of them, and will
Thew by all proper Interpofitions of my Divine
Power, the Regard I have to their Interest and
their Prayers.

I M P R O V E M E N T. T HUS happy are the meanest Servants of Christ, in the Care and Mat, xviño

1 Favour of their Heavenly Master, and in the Angelic Guard 10. which by his high Command are continually attending even the Lambs of bis Flock. So condescending are the Blessed Spirits Above, that even the greatest of them do not disdain to minister unto the Heirs of Salvation. (Heb. i. 14.) Let not the wiseft and greateft Men despise those, whom Angels honour with their Guardianship and Care; especially since the Son

that merciful Shepherd, has come forth into this Wilderness, to save Ver. 11, 12. that which was lost, and even to seek and recover us, when we were gone astray, and should otherwise have wandered on to our eternal: Ruin.

What could have been more happy for the Church of Christ, than the
Observation of this plain and easy Rule, which he has given for
Disputes among his Followers! And yet who, that sees the Conduct of

. the

(2) If any Two of you fall agree together here on Earth.] The Text so expressly refers to agreeing in a Petition, that I wonder the learned and judicious Editors of the Prussian Tefiament should render it, If any Two of you fall live on Earth in a good Understanding with each other. Perhaps there may be a Reference to the Norion the Jews had, that it was necessary at least Ten should concur in social Prayer, if any extraordinary Success was expected. See Trigland. de Sectâ Karæorum, cap. x. pag. 172.

(6) It shall be done for them, &c.]. That this refers to a miraculous Answer of Prayer, may appear from comparing Mat. xxi. 21, 22. Mark xi. 23, 24. John xiv. 13, 14. 1 John. iii.. 22. V, 14, 15. and Jam. v. 16. See Tillotson's Works, vol. iii. pag. 307.

30 Reflections on the Management of. Church Genfures. .. Sect. 94. the Generality of Christians, would imagine, they had ever heard of such m a Rule? Instead of this private Expoftulation, which might often bring a

Debate to a speedy and amicable Conclusion, what publick Charges! what passionate Complaints! what frequent and laboured Attempts to take, if the least scandalous, yet not the least pernicious kind of Revenge, by

wounding the Characters of those, whom we imagine to have injured us?" Ver. 17. As for Church Censures, how lamentable is it, that they have been fo

little conformable to this Rule, and in many Instances so contrary to it, in almost every Christian Nation under Heaven! Is this the Form, in which Eccleßastical Fudgments do appear, in the Popish, or even in the Protestant World? Are these the Maxims, by which they have been, or by which they are determined, even by those, who claim the largest Share in the Promises made to the Apostles, and boast with the greatest Confidence of the Presence and Authority of Christ with them, to confirm their Sentences, and to fanctify, perhaps, Rapine and Murther? Vain wretched

Confidence ! Let us earnestly pray, that this Dishonour to the Christian - Name may every where be wiped away; and that true Religion, and even

common Humanity, may not with such folemn Mockery be destroyed in

the Name of the Lord. Ver. 18. Let humble Submission be always paid to Apostolical Decisions in every

Difficulty; and let the Promises made to these Leaders in the Christian
Church, be some Encouragement even to us, on whom the Ends of the World

are come. None but an Omnipresent, and consequently a Divine Person, Ver. 20. could say, Wherever Two or Three are gathered together in my Name, there

am I in the Midst of them. His Power, and his Goodness, can never be impaired; let it therefore be an Encouragement to Social Prayer, and let the Remembrance of our Redeemer's continued Presence and Inspection, engage us to behave ourselves agreeably to the Relation that we claim to him, and to those Expectations from him which we boast.

S E C T. xcv.
Our LORD cautions bis Disciples against a revengeful Spirit,

and inculcates mutual Forgiveness, by the affečting Parable
of the Unmerciful Servant. Mat. XVIII. 21, to the End.

MAT. XVIII. 21. Sect. 95. THEN when Jesus had given this Advice, for THEN came Peter to w I the Accommodation of Differences among his 21.

Disciples, Peter, imagining it might be abused by
ill disposed Persons, as an Encouragement to offer





How often an offending Brother poould be forgiven. 31 how oft Thall my Brother Injuries to others, came to him and said, Lord, Sect. 95. fin againft me, and I forgive how often must I forgive my Brother, if be offendy him? till seven Times ?

against me? mur I go on to do it, until he has xa

repeated the Injury seven Times?
22 Jefus faith unto him, And Jesus in Reply says to him, I do not 22
I say not unto thee, Until merely say to thee, Till seven Times, but even till
seven Times; but until fe- feventy Times feven: In short, the Precept is un-
venty Times seven.

bounded, and you must never be weary of for-
giving your Brethren, since you are so much
more indebted to the Divine Mercy, than they

can be to yours.
23 Therefore is the King- For this Reafon, or with Respect to this 23
dom of Heaven likened unto Matter, I may properly say, that the Kingdom of
a certain King, which would

Heaven, in its Constitution and final Process, may take Account of his Ser.

be likened to, or be illustrated by the Instance of a
certain King that ruled over a large Country (a),
who, as he had a great Number of Officers under

him, was determined at length to settle an Account
24. And when he had be- with his Servants. And when he began to reckon 2
gun to reckon, one was with them, there was brought to bim one, who had
brought unto him, which

fo abused the eminent Station in which he had
owed him Ten thousand
Talents :

been placed, and the high Confidence which his
Prince had repofed in him, that he owed him a.

most immense Sum; and stood accountable for 25 But forasmuch as he Ten thousand Talents (6): And as he had 25; had not to pay, his Lord nothing to pay, which could be any Equivalent for commanded him to be fold, and his wife and Children,

the Debt, or any considerable Composition for it, and all that he had, and his Lord, according to frequent Custom in such Payment to be made. Cases, (Exod. xxii. 3. Lev. xxv. 47. and 2 Kings

iv. 1.) commanded him to be sold for a Slave, and
also his Wife and Children, and all the Goods that

be bad, and Payment to be made with the Price of 26 The Servant therefore them, as far as it would go. The Servant 26; fell down and worfhipped therefore falling down in helpless Consternation, him, saying, Lord, have Pa. tience with me, and I will proftrated himself at bis Master's Feet, and said, pay thee all.

Lord, I beseech thee to bave Patience with me for

(0) May be likened to, or be illustrated, &c.] See Seel. 58. Note (i), Vol. i. pag. 355.

(6) Owed him Ten thousand Talents. According to Dr. Prideaux's Computation, if these were Talents of Gold, this would amount to Seventy-two Millions Sterling ; which is so immenfe a Sum, that it seems strange, Antiochus the Great should be able to pay it, as Eutropius tells us he did, to purchase a Peace with the Romans. (Eutrop. lib. iv. cap. 2.) If they were Taluuts of Silver, it muft have been 4,500,ccol. See Prid. Connect. Vol. i. Pref. pag. 20.-Our Lord seems to have used it, on purpose to intimate the Number and Weight of our Offences against God, and our utter Incapacity of making him any Satisfaction,

(c) On




The Parable of the unmerciful Servant. .' Sect. 95. a while longer, and I will endeavour to pay thee y , all. Then the Lord of that unhappy Servant, 27 Then the Lord of that

whose Affairs were so utterly desperate. being Servant was moved with melted with Compafion, graciously discharged him; and forgave him the Debt.

5 Compassion, and loosed him, and knowing how vain it was to expect he Mould ever pay him, declared, that on Condition of his future good Behaviour (c), he frankly forgave him all the Debt.

But just as that Servant went out from the 28 But the same Servant Presence of his generous and indulgent Sovereign, his Fellow-Servants, which

went out, and found one of be met with one of his Fellow-Servants, who owed owed him an Hundred Pence: him but a very inconsiderable Sum of Money, no and the laid Hands on him, more than an Hundred Pence (d); and laying holda

and took him by the Throat, af him by the Throat, and almost strangling him (e), owelt.

saying, Pay me that thou Be faid, in a furious and outragious Manner, Pay

me that which thou owest me immediately, or I will 29 detain thee as my Prisoner. And his poor 29 And his Fellow-Ser. Fellow-Servant fell down at his Feet, as he had

get a behad vant fell down at his Feet,

and besought him, saying, done at his Lord's, and intreated him, saying in the Have Patience with me, and very Words, which he himself had used but just I will pay thee all. before on the like Occasion, Have Patience with

me for a while longer, and I will endeavour to pay 30 thee all. And be would not be prevailed upon 30 And he would not:

to forbear him any longer ; but went away with but went, and cast him into him before a Magistrate, and cast him into Pri- Debtor's

Prison, till he lould pay the fon, protesting he should lie there, till be should pay even the last Farthing of the Debt.

And when his other Fellow-Servants Saw 31 So when his Fellowwhat was done, they were exceedingly grieved at sery

ose of Servants saw what was done,

they were very sorry, and such an Instance of unexampled Cruelty from a came and told unto their Man in his Circumstances, and came and gave Lord all that was done. their Lord the King an exact and faithful Account

of the whole Matter (f), who was highly incensed 32 at fo inhuman an Action. Then bis Lord 32 Then his Lord, after baving called him again, said unto him with just that he had called him, said

unto Indigna


(c) On Condition of his future good Behaviour.] This is a Circumstance exceeding natural, and by the Revocation of the Pardon afterwards, it seems strongly implied.

(d) An Hundred Pence.) Reckoning the Roman Denarius at Seven Pence Halfpenny of our Money, it amounted to Three Pounds and Half a Crown.

(c) By the Throat, and almost strangling him.] This is the proper Import of the Word envige, which yet more strongly expresses his Cruelty.

(f) Gave their Lord an exact and faithful Account.] This is the Meaning of the Word Drodontav, as Albert has fewn; Observ. pag. 116.

(8) Thora


If we forgive not our Brethren, we shall not be forgiven. 33 unto bin, Othou wicked Indignation, Thou wicked and barbarous Slave (8), Sect. 95. Servant, I forgave thee all thou knowest that I frankly forgave thee all that w that Debt, because thou de

thou de- valt Debt which thou owedst'to me, because thou fireuft me :

32 Siouluft not thou also didlt intreat my Pity : And Mouldt not thou Mat, XVIII. baie had Compassion on thy also have had compassion on thy Fellow-Servant, 33: Fcilow-Servant, even as 1 : isad Pity on thee?

when in thy Power, even as I but just before had
Compassion on thee? Thou art most inexcusable in
what thou hast done, and I will treat thee accord-


34 And his Lord was And his Lord being justly incensed, revoked the 34 wioth, and delivered him Grant of Remission he had just before made, as to the Tormentors, till he forfeited hi

forfeited by so vile a Behaviour ; and not only put
Thould pay all that was due
unto him,

him in Prison, but delivered him to the Tormentors
there, to fetter and scourge him (b), till be Nould
pay all that was due to him ; which was equivalent
to condemning him to perpetual Confinement,

and painful Imprisonment during Life.
35 So likewise fall my And Jesus concluded the Discourse with saying, 35
Heavenly Father do also uri- Thus also will my Heavenly Father deal with you,

to you, if ye from your . Hearts forgive not every if you do not every one of you from your very

one his Brother their Trel Hearts forgive his Brother bis Trespaljes; and I

leave it to your own Consciences to judge, whe-
ther it be safe for you to tempt the Strictness of
his inexorable Justice, by the Severity of your
Conduct toward your offending Brethren.

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IJOW unreasonable, and how odious, does a severe and uncharitable N1 Temper appear, when we view it in the Light of this Parable ! Yet what Light can be more just than this? We are indebted to GOD Mat. xviii. more than Ten thousand Talents ; from our Infancy we begin to contract 24. the Debt, and are daily increasing it in our ripening Years : Justly there


(2) Thou wicked Slave.] The Word daag is not always a Term of Reproach, nor does it necessarily imply more than Servant : (Compare Mat, xxv. 21, 23.) Yet in this Connection, I thought it would well bear the Version I have given it, and would best express the Indignation with which his Lord is supposed to speak.

(b) Delivered him to the Tormentors, &c.] Imprisonment is a much greater Punishment in the Eastern Parts of the World, than here ; State Criminals especially, when condemned to it, are not only forced to submit to a very mean and scanty Allowance, but are frequently loaded with Clogs, or Yokes of heavy Wood, in which they cannot either lie, or fit at Ease ; and by frequent Scourgings, and sometimes by Racking, are quickly brought to an untimely End. (See Samedo's China, pag. 225.) To this there is probably a Reference here. Compare SeEl. 32. Note (b), Vol. i. pag. 192.

Vol. II.

and by frequentesor Tokes or miesto a very meanta ciri

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