"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Forgiveness by Richard Challoner, 1807

by Richard Challoner, 1807
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us."

Consider first, that in this fifth petition, our Lord has furnished us with a daily remedy for those many evils into which we daily fall. "We all offend in many things," James iii. 2, and not a day passes, in which we are not contracting fresh debts to our great master, either by omission or commission, in thought, word, or deed. 

Therefore we ought daily to sue for a discharge, and to call for mercy and forgiveness, with a truly penitent heart; and this is the design of this petition of the Lord's Prayer, which when recited with fervour, readily obtains the remission of those daily debts, and reinstates us in the good graces of our master. These lesser faults into which we daily fall, if neglected and suffered to grow and multiply upon us, are of worse consequence to our souls than we can well imagine; the water that comes into the ship by small chinks, if not daily pumped out, may in time, increase in such manner as to sink the vessel. That the like may never happen to our souls, we must be daily repenting for these daily sins, and offering up daily for them the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart, as often as We repeat this petition of the Lord's Prayer.

Consider 2dly, that besides the obligation of daily labouring to procure the discharge of these daily debts, we must see if we have not reason to apprehend a more heavy load of debt lying upon our souls, on account of our past sins; more especialy if, in any part of our life, we have lived in mortal sin. Alas! the load of such debts of these is immense, a sum of ten thousand talents, which we are utterly unable to discharge of ourselves: and whether our repentance has been suflicient to apply to our soul the discharge purchased by the blood of Christ, we cannot tell. And therefore our best security is to be always repenting for our past sins, and to beg daily of God to forgive us all the sins of our youth and our ignorance, to cleanse us from our hidden sins, and to be merciful to us, with regard to the sins we may have any way occasioned in others. And with this penitential spirit, for all our past sins, known or unknown, we ought to recite this petition of the Lord's Prayer; and with it daily present ourselves like Magdalene, at the feet of our Redeemer, imploring his mercy, both for ourselves, and for all poor sinners.

Consider 3dly, that in this petition we beg of God to "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." Which words were added by our Lord, to put us in mind, that we must not look for forgiveness from God of the offences we commit against him, if we do not forgive from our hearts the offences which our neighbours commit against us. See, Christians, how much our Lord takes to heart our forgiving one another, and loving our very enemies; since, not content with frequently inculcating this duty on all other occasions, He was pleased to insert in the very prayer He would have us daily to say, to the end we might never forget it. Let us then examine well our dispositions in this regard, and lay aside all rancour and animosity against our neighbours, when we go to sue for mercy from God; otherwise we shall never obtain the mercy we ask.

Conclude to take occasion, from this petition of the Lord's Prayer, to practise daily these three lessons: first, of a hearty repentance for thy daily sins; 2dly, of daily renewing thy sorrow and contrition for thy past offences; and lastly, of daily exercising charity and mercy, in forgiving from thy heart all that have offended thee.