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the case, and search the heart of each ; and so we must suppose that these gracious words were such as would, not only comfort the penitent, but tend to show the Pharisee also his error. For when he was told that, al. though he might be, as he proudly supposed himself to be, good and righteous, yet it was clear that he had not the love which the poor woman had : surely if he had any goodness of heart he must have been affected by this, that the person he so despised had ten times the love he had ; shame and sorrow must have arisen in his heart, in place of the pride and contempt he had just expressed: this would have turned his thoughts a little more upon his own life, and if he would but seriously have looked


his own condition in God's sight, and in the holiness of Jesus Christ's presence, then, certainly, he would have been ready to cry out with the holy Paul, that he was the chief of sinners—then, instead of receiving Jesus Christ so coldly and proudly, he would have fallen at his feet, like the poor woman, and feeling that he had very much to be forgiven, he would have loved much. So gently and so mercifully were the words of our Lord calculated to have influenced this man, at whose table he sat at meat.

But to this penitent woman herself, and to all other distressed penitents to the end of the world, how much gracious consolation is contained in these words, “her sins that are many are forgiven, for she loveth much." And also “he to whom he forgave most loveth most." For when people are much cast down and oppressed with the thoughts of their past sins, which all sincere Christians must doubtless often be, when at such times (and indeed it were to be hoped at all times) nothing in the world appears to them of any consequence compared with the hopes of forgiveness, they look very much to any expressions of consolation in Scripture : they eagerly take hold of them, they dwell upon them, and find repose and confidence in them. Now to such persons there is a peculiar force and propriety in these words; had it been said, “he that hath sinned little loveth much,” then they would say there is no room for

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them in such promises, for they have sinned much; the more they love God the more will they feel they have offended him; he that has injured a dear friend, whom he sincerely loves, feels such an offence very much more than if it had been committed against an indifferent per: son, and indeed the offence is very different, and, there. fore, he who has the highest and truest notion of God's holiness and goodness has the deepest sense of his own sins. And, therefore, when such persons read that “he who is forgiven much loveth much,” then, indeed, they feel that this is applicable to their case.

And such are many other merciful assurances of the gospel, such as are understood by humble and sincere penitents; for the best of Christians are in fact nothing else but the lowest of penitents. A good man, among Christians, only means a thorough and earnest penitent, his righteousness consists in feeling himself most deeply a sinner; inasmuch as he is least of all hardened and deadened by sin, and, therefore, is most alive to his own danger.

Such expressions therefore as these,“ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will refresh you,” and, “ Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” these meet their condition, for of this they feel assured, that they are indeed heavy-laden, that they do indeed mourn, and therefore they cannot doubt but that these words were spoken to them. And so it is by the blessing of God, that even that which appeared to them the greatest and most real of all calamities the magnitude of their sins, and the deep affliction which they feel in consequence-becomes to them a matter of exceeding comfort. For feeling that they have much forgiven, they love much; and mourning much, they are much comforted.

Now we know that there is nothing which will stand at the last day but love; for charity, as St. Paul says, that is, love, never faileth. If we have faith without love, though it remove mountains, yet it will not profit us nothing, and though we have works of the best kind, giving our goods to feed the poor, and our body to be burnt,



yet without love, it will be of no avail. And here we have the assurance, that he to whom much is forgiven loveth much.

This, therefore, must be our labor, to have much forgiven—to this we must devote our lives, to have more and more a sense of our sins, and thoroughly to repent and amend them with sincere sorrow, that, so thoroughly and heartily repenting, we may be forgiven and love much. For, doubtless, we have all much, very much, which needs forgiveness, and many of us sins which must be forgiven before we die, if we would enter into life. The whole of a Christian's life must be a continual study to find out his sins, to confess and acknowledge them, and, fully to get the better of them, to pr ctise ways of humiliation. For the same person who, in seasons of fasting and mourning, or under some heavy affliction, sees and acknowledges that he has many and great sins which need forgiveness, will soon after, when in prosperity, or under the excitement of business, or company, or politics, forget that he has any sins that need forgiveness at all. And many pass through their whole lives in this state, full of a careless confidence even to the last, love ing little or not at all, because they feel that they have but little, or nothing at all, to be forgiven ; and therefore passing out of life with a load of unrepented sins upon their minds unforgiven.

But it is necessary that they who have much to be forgiven should love much, in order that they may be forgiven. Three times did our Savior ask this question of St. Peter, “Simon, lovest thou me ?" after he had thrice denied him; as if it had been love only that could seal his forgiveness and pardon and again restore him. And this love, when Christ departed from him, was to be shown by feeding his flock. And in this and in many other expressions, he has told us, that until his coming again, our Christian brethren, and especiclly the poor and all who are in need, stand to us in his stead; that what we do to these we do to him.

Surely works of charity to the poor will be accepted of him, like that precious box of ointment by which his feet were anointed ; and surely acts of mourning, and grief, and sincere confession of our sins, though in secret, will be received by him, who seeth in secret, as much as the tears of the poor woman; and works of self-abasement and humiliation, lowering ourselves to the dust, and walking, as it were, near the ground, will render us in his sight like her who wiped his feet with the hairs of her head.

Such are the actions that become the penitent sinner; and he who thus lives, loving much because he feels he has much to be forgiven, and showing his love of God by the love of his neighbor, may receive to himself the consolation given to this penitent, rather than to the self-satisfied Pharisee. For if he loves much because he has much forgiven, then great will be his reward in heaven: for it will be according to the greatness of his love.

To such the absolution of the church, pronounced by Christ's ministers, and his blessing and peace, and above all things, his holy sacraments, are full of consolation ; because in them they hear, as it were, Christ's own voice pronouncing their forgiveness, as to this poor woman.

Indeed, to them who live a life of repentance, an active and diligent life of Christian love, the holy services of the church are full of profit and comfort in a way that they cannot be to others. It is like coming into Christ's presence. For now, as of old, when he was present in the flesh, all may come into his presence ;

but some sit unconcerned, like the Pharisee, not acknowledging Christ, not conscious of his infinite holiness; not feeling, therefore, that they have much to be forgiven. Some kneel down more with the feeling of the poor penitent, and they alone depart with the blessing of Christ, having a quiet hope, that in his name and for his sake their sins are forgiven.



2 SAMUEL vii, 1, 2. “And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had

given him rest round about from all his enemies, "'That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, see now, I dwell in an house

of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains."

One would think that scarce a stronger reason could be adduced to prove the approach of that time when the “ love of the many shall wax cold,” than the present state of churches.

It is now more than eighty years since Bishop Butler referred to and confirmed an expression of Bishop Fleetwood's, who had observed at the beginning of the last century, that “ unless the good public spirit of building, repairing, and adorning churches prevails a great deal more among us, and be more encouraged, a hundred years will bring to the ground a huge number of our churches.”

Whether or not this has been literally fulfilled, I will not stop to inquire. No one will

, I suppose, maintain that “this good public spirit”—ör rather sacred spirithas revived among us since that time.

In our metropolis, or any of our large towns, one cannot but be struck with the fact, that, as we proceed from the ancient to the more modern parts, the sacred buildings become less numerous and less magnificent, while the abodes of private individuals vastly increase upon us both in number and in expense. To which it may be added, that in appeals that are made for subscriptions for building churches, and indeed in a regulation which

• Preached in the year 1834.

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