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But do I know that my adversary is really as penitent as he professes to be? Shall I unsay my anger at his first word? Yes, at his first word, judging not.
So may we learn to pray, so may we plead the promise, that our heavenly Father will also forgive us.
Therefore we forgive. And yet the forgiving is but begun. The forgiveness that has begun in conquering impulsive resentment, and has advanced to such abnegation of self as to leave in the mind only pitying love for the offender so intense as gladly to declare itself at the earliest opportunity, this forgiving has yet a higher work to do. We must aid the offender, now an offender no more, in all his endeavour to triumph over the evil or error which has misled him once. must help to supply him with motive, and aid him with such strength as our sympathy and example can give, and we must never be content till he has triumphed, and we have welcomed him as a tried and valued friend.
Then, then fully can we pray-Father, our Father in heaven, forgive as we forgive.
And as we offer this prayer let us remember that in Him is no resentment that we should dread Him, but love boundless and free; that the only obstacles in ourselves are our selfishness, which we are by His help conquering; and our ignorance of Him, which He is slaying by His love.
Relying on this we receive a forgivenes, which is calm, and peace, and life, and yet is but a beginning of mercies.
Thus therr do we in part learn the meaning of these seemingly awful, really comforting words.
Let us learn from our brief meditation the grand lesson that our prayers for forgiveness and every other grace are to be prepared in our life, and in the conduct of our life are to meet their answer. Then praying we shall find life, for we shall meet with Him who is the Light indeed
THE CHILDREN OF THIS WORLD, WHO MARRY AND ARE GIVEN
IN MARRIAGE, AND THE CHILDREN OF THE RESURRECTION, WHO NEITHER MARRY NOR ARE GIVEN IN MARRIAGE.
“And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry and are given in marriage; but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead neither
marry nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrectien” (Luke xx. 34-36). The circumstances under which Jesus gave this memorable answer are well known. The question asked by the Sadducees was, “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife” (ver. 33). “And Jesus answering, said unto them, The children of this world marry and are given in marriage.” Who are meant here by the “children of this world ?" Their character is declared in Luke xvi. 8: “And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely ; for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Here the words “ children of this world” are evidently spoken of the unjust-of such as the unjust steward. Consequently the words under consideration must also refer to the unjust. It is evident that the “children of light” are the just. In the Proverbs of Solomon, iv. 18, are these words : “ But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day;" and in 2 Samuel xxiii. 34 will be found the following: “The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even à morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” From this passage it will be seen that the “children of light” mean the just, and the “children of this world” the unjust.
“The children of this world marry and are given in marriage.” Whom do they marry, and to whom are they given in marriage ?
Similar expressions to the above are found in the following places : “For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. xxiv. 38, 39). “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke xvii. 26, 27). From these it would appear that “marrying and giving in marriage" are the bad actions of wicked men, such as lived at the time of the flood; of whom it is said, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. vi. 5). Such was the character of those who then married and were given in marriage; and such is now the character of the children of this world. The question, Whom do they marry? shall now be answered.
The tie of marriage is a very strong one: none other so closely binds two persons as that which unites man and woman, husband and wife. Marriages are contracted in this world for many differing reasons. Some marry for love, others for money; some for rank, others for power; some again for beauty of person ; others for loveliness of character and purity of life. In all cases, whatever the man or woman chiefly regards in the tie, is what he or she really marries; and, in an abstract sense, some may be said to marry love, others money, some rank, others power, and so on. This is generally recognised ; and, in common parlance, one is said to have married for love, another for money, these being the primary objects in view by those who marry. The man who loves himself most marries one who will minister to his wants; he marries self-gratification, his wife being only tolerated for her power to increase his comfort. The woman to whom fashion is everything marries one whose means are adequate to meet her requirements, and looks on her husband as a necessary incubus, to be put up with for the sake of the end she has in view. Each marries what he or she loves most. The children of this world—that is, the unjustlove injustice above all else : they are, to use a familiar expression, wedded to injustice. But they not only marry, they are "given in marriage,” that is, possessed by, governed by, and subordinate to injustice. It has such a powerful hold on their affections, that they can think none but unjust thoughts, can do none but unjust actions —“every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts is only evil continually.” In this state the mind is dragged down constantly—is deterred from all that is just in thought, word, or deed. The language of the unjust in refusing the repeated invitations of Jesus is always, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
“But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage." These words, “But they," imply a distinction between those who are now treated of and "the children of this world," similar to that between “the children of light” and “the children of this world." And the grounds of this distinction lie in the fact that one class “marry and are given in marriage," but the other “neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Who accounts the latter worthy ?
6 God is the Judge. He putteth down one, and setteth up another.” This
is the test, that they do not love injustice, nor allow it to govern their actions in the smallest degree. They are not wedded to it; they are not given to unjust thoughts or actions; they neither marry nor are given in marriage. They are just, and love justice; are made free
“ from sin," and become “the servants of righteousness” (Rom. vi. 18). These are accounted worthy to obtain that world—that is, to gain heaven in the sense of being animated by heavenly principles-to have the kingdom of God within them. It is said in Psalm lxxxix. 14, “ Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne;" which plainly shows that God's throne is with the just, and where He is there is heaven.
The just are not only accounted worthy to obtain thut world, but also “the resurrection from the dead." What is that resurrection which only the just are accounted worthy to obtain ? It is this : “That we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness” (1 Peter ii. 24). “That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. vi. 4). This resurrection from the dead is referred to in other places as follows : “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and
your life is hid with Christ in God” (Coloss. iii. 1-3). The words, “If ye then be risen" do not refer to the natural resurrection, nor these, “ye are dead,” to natural death. They indicate the nature of the resurrection from the dead which only the just are “ accounted worthy to obtain ;" that it is a resurrection from evil to good ; from the life of sin to the life of justice; from darkness into marvellous light. The affections, before set on earthly things, are now raised to things above, where also is laid up all their treasure. For passages bearing on this subject see also Coloss. ii. 3 ; Eph. ii. 4-6 ; Rom. vi. 13, 5; Philip. iii. 10, 11. “Neither can they die any more." “To be carnally minded is death” (Rom. viii. 6). - The love of Christ con. straineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. v. 14, 15). Those who cannot“ die any more the just, who are made “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. viii. 2); their conscience is purged "from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. ix. 14). They can never again take delight in those things whereof they “ are now ashamed; for the end of those
things is death” (Rom. vi. 21). They hold them in aversion, having
. ). now set their affections on things above; on them “ the second death hath no power" (Rev. xx. 6).
“ For they are equal unto the angels.” The just are equal unto the angels-equal in the love and adoration of the Lord Jesus, equal in charity, equal in faith, equal in the works of charity. For the angels are all“ ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. i. 14). And the just are men and women who, having " received the gift, minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Thus they are equal to the angels, which means, of similar character and disposition; in : word, they are angelic, "and are the children (sons) of God.” The just honour their father, not doing their own ways, nor finding their own pleasure, nor speaking their own words (see Isaiah lviii. 13). They are the sons of God. “ As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John i. 11-13). Those who are born of God receive Him, believe on His name, and receive from Him power to become the sons of God. Their character is thus stated : “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; . . . and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest,' and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John iii. 9, 10). “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. viii. 14).
· Being the children (sons) of the resurrection.” The just are the "children of God, being the children of the resurrection;" that is, they do not“commit sin,” “do righteousness," “love the brethren,” “cannot sin," and "are led by the Spirit of God," because they are the children of the resurrection. Are these not they who are elsewhere.called the “children of light”? Are they not the just, the righteous, the pure, the lovjpg, the holy? They must do all these ere they can be the sons of God. They are “dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God,” having left behind them their old life, having “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Gal. v. 24); “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" and been "renewed in the spirit of” their mind; and “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. iv. 22-24). “ Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God