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breaker, our mercy must ever be within call; and it may help us against an indignation too strong to be pure, to remember that when any man is reviled for righteousness-sake, then is he blessed.


'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' 'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.'-Matthew v. 7, 10, 11, 12.

MERCY cannot get in where mercy goes not out. The outgoing makes way for the incoming. God takes the part of humanity against the man. The man must treat men as he would have God treat him. 'If ye forgive men their trespasses,' the Lord says, 'your heavenly father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses. And in the prophecy of the judgment of the Son of man, he represents himself as saying, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'

But the demand for mercy is far from being for the sake only of the man who needs his neighbour's mercy; it is greatly more for the sake of the man who must show the mercy. It is a small thing to a man whether or not his neighbour be merciful to him; it is life or death to him whether or not he be merciful to his neighbour. The greatest mercy that can be shown to man, is to make him merciful; therefore, if he will not be merciful, the mercy of God must compel him thereto. In the parable of the king taking account of his servants, he delivers the unmerciful debtor to the tormentors, 'till he should pay all that was due unto him.' The king had forgiven his debtor, but as the debtor refuses to pass on the forgiveness to his neighbour-the only way to make a return in kind—the king withdraws his forgiveness. If we forgive not men their trespasses, our trespasses remain. For how can God in any sense forgive, remit, or send away the sin which a man insists on retaining? Unmerciful, we must be given up to the tormentors until we learn to be merciful. God is merciful: we must be merciful. There is no blessedness except in being such as God; it would be altogether unmerciful to leave us

unmerciful. The reward of the merciful is, that by their mercy they are rendered capable of receiving the mercy of God—yea, God himself, who is Mercy.

That men may be drawn to taste and see and understand, the Lord associates reward with righteousness. The Lord would have men love righteousness, but how are they to love it without being acquainted with it? How are they to go on loving it without a growing knowledge of it? To draw them toward it that they may begin to know it, and to encourage them when assailed by the disappointments that accompany endeavour, he tells them simply a truth concerning it-that in the doing of it, there is great reward. Let no one start with dismay at the idea of a reward of righteousness, saying virtue is its own reward. Is not virtue then a reward? Is any other imaginable reward worth mentioning beside it? True, the man may, after this mode or that, mistake the reward. promised; not the less must he have it, or perish. Who will count himself deceived by overfulfilment ? Would a parent be deceiving his child in saying, 'My boy, you will have a great reward if you learn Greck,' foresceing his son's delight in Homer and Plato-now but a valueless waste in his eyes?

When his reward comes, will the youth feel aggrieved that it is Greek, and not bank-notes?

The nature indeed of the Lord's promised rewards is hardly to be mistaken; yet the foolish remarks one sometimes hears, make me wish to point out that neither is the Lord proclaiming an ethical system, nor does he make the blunder of representing as righteousness the doing of a good thing because of some advantage to be thereby gained. When he promises, he only states some fact that will encourage his disciples-that is, all who learn of him-to meet the difficulties in the way of doing right and so learning righteousness, his object being to make men righteous, not to teach them philosophy. I doubt if those who would, on the ground of mentioned reward, set aside the teaching of the Lord, are as anxious to be righteous as they are to prove him unrighteous. If they were, they would, I think, take more care to represent him truly; they would make farther search into the thing, nor be willing that he whom the world confesses its best man, and whom they themselves, perhaps, confess their superior in conduct, should be found less pure in theory than they. Must the Lord hide from his

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