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which owed him ten thousand talents." What are talents? Sums of money. What might be the value of one talent? Nearly two hundred pounds (but its value differed in different countries). Was the sum of ten thousand talents a large debt? Yes; very large. Have we ever contracted any debts to divine justice? Yes; sins are heavy debts. Why are sins called debts? Because every sin is a failure in the obedience which we owe to God. Do you know the number of your sins? No; they are more than the hairs of mine head.* Ought we to examine into the amount of the debts which we have contracted by sin ? was Job's prayer on this subject? mine iniquities and sins?-make my transgression and my sin.t

Yes. What

How many are

me to know Why should we

be thus solicitous to know the worst of ourselves? Because, if we do not find out our sins, we may be sure our sins will find us out. What is meant

by our sins finding us out? That the punishment, which we deserve on account of them, will overtake us.

25. When a man is able to pay his debts, what is said of him? He is solvent. And, when a man cannot pay his debts, what is then said of him? He is insolvent. Was the debtor, in this parable, solvent Insolvent. Is it a bad thing to Yes. When is it especially so When the individual who cannot pay his debts is a

or insolvent?

be insolvent?

so?

* Ps. xl. 12.

+ Job xiii. 23.

Numb. xxxii. 23.

professor of religion.

Why is it particularly grievous when a professor of religion becomes insolvent? Because it brings a reproach upon the How may such a misfortune be

Christian name. avoided? By neither spending, nor risking more What was the ancient law in

than we possess. cases of insolvency? all that he had.*

The debtor might be sold, and Did the creditor in the parable

How

enforce his claim, according to law? Yes. does that appear? "Forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and all that he had, and payment to be made." Are we able to discharge our debts to divine justice? No; we are in the condition of the servant who had nothing But can we not offer some excuse for

to pay. our sins? No; we cannot answer Him one of a thousand.† What then must we expect, if the righteous law of God were to take its course upon us? Everlasting punishment. Considering this,

what does it behove us to do? To make supplication to our Judge.§

26 Did the servant, in the parable, make supplication

to his lord and judge? Yes; "The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." What kind of worship was this? The homage due to an earthly superior.]|| What brought the unfaithful servant to so humble and distressed a frame of mind? A sense of his ruined condition. And

Matt. xxv. 46.

*Exod. xxii. 3.

+ Job ix. 3.

ý Job ix. 15.

|| See ii. 2.

what is it that brings sinners to their knees, with fervent cries for mercy? A conviction of their great need of forgiveness.* If our Divine Master have

patience with us, may we hope to pay Him what we No; we can never make atonement for our

owe? sins. Do the demands of divine justice remain in force against all mankind? No; the debts of believers are cancelled. What is the meaning of cancelled? Blotted out.t How are the sins of believers blotted out? Lord Jesus Christ.

By the atoning blood of the If the debts of any one are blotted out, or effaced from the book in which they were written, what is the consequence? The debtor is no longer liable to be called on for payment. Is the debtor then as free as if he had paid all? Yes.

27. How was the lord affected by his servant's earnest petition? "Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt."

Was it any goodness, or merit in the servant, that prompted his master to forgive the debt? No; it was his own pure benevolence. And is there any thing in us, on account of which the Lord our God extends to us his pardoning mercy? No; we cannot merit his compassion. What, then, is the cause of divine mercy being exercised towards you, or me, or any other sinner? The sovereign favour of God. What do you mean when you speak of the favour of God being sove

Ps. xxv. 11.

+ Isa. xliii. 25.

reign? See xiii. 11. Is all the favour shown to us by the Most High free and unmerited? Yes. How have the kindness and love of God toward man appeared? God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.* When the mercy of God cancels our debts, and sets us free-from what are we discharged? From the penalty of a debtor, but not from the duty of a servant. Would a pardoned sinner wish to be freed from the obligation to serve God? No; the language of his grateful heart is, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?t

28. What was the conduct of the servant in the pa

rable, after he had been so kindly dealt with? "The same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, who owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest."

Was the sum of

No; it was very

an hundred pence a large debt? small, compared with the debt which his lord had forgiven him. What money passed in Judea in our Lord's time? Roman money. How much was one Roman penny? About seven pence halfpenny. What do you think of this man's conduct to his fellow-servant? was revengeful and

It

cruel.

John iii. 16.

+ P. cxvi. 12.

29. How did the poor man behave, when he was thus arrested? He "fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay Were these two servants equal in rank?

thee all." Perhaps so.

Why, then, did this servant fall down at the feet of his fellow? Because he knew

that he owed the money, and was, therefore, at the mercy of his creditor.

30. How was the humble petition of the poor man re

garded by his fellow-servant?

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"And he would Would not have pa

tience, and give him time to pay. Did the proud creditor proceed to extremity? Yes; "he went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt." Was the servant to blame for demanding what was justly his due? Certainly not. Wherein, then, did the harshness of his conduct consist? In taking his debtor by the throat, which showed malice; and casting him into prison immediately, which showed revenge. 31. Who witnessed this unmerciful proceeding? The other servants of the family. Did they sympathize with the sufferer? Yes. What is sympathy? Fellow-feeling. How is their sympathy expressed? "They were very sorry." What is the cause why we feel so little sympathy for those who suffer pain and oppression? Because sin has blunted our sensibilities. Is sympathy a Christian duty, as well as a Christian grace? Yes; we are commanded to rejoice with them that do rejoice, and to weep with

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