274. Fourth Sunday after Trinity. I.

Heavenly Father, give us one mind with thee. Amen.

Gospel Lesson, Luke 6, 36-42. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them: Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite! cast out first the beam out of thine own eye. and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

Our heavenly Father shows us mercy unceasingly, though it often seems to be otherwise. His bowels yearn with compassion on us day and night. No mother feels such tenderness for her sick child as does the Lord for us miserable sinners. And he wants to pour out this mercy in our hearts, that we may be minded toward one another as he is toward us. We are to be merciful to friends and enemies, to the wicked and the good, so that we “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Our gospel lesson mentions four things wherein our mercy shall manifest itself. 1) Judge not; judge not, but be kind to one another in every thought and word. Charity bears all things, endures all things, interprets everything as leniently as possible, “excuses and speaks well of others, and puts the most charitable construction on all their actions.” Endeavor to do this at all times and toward all persons; this is God’s will and his gift to us in Christ, and it is a great mercy. He who has this mind has a clear eye, which sees the good and the beautiful where others do not; and he is able to lead the erring ones on the right way; for his love shines into their souls, and “covers a multitude of sins.” He who does not judge is the man who is able to judge; for he can distinguish between falsehood and truth, and help others to judge themselves; while those who have no mercy, and who are censorious, are themselves blind, and lead others into an ever thickening darkness. 2) Condemn not; condemn not, but draw the erring ones to you, and save them. When it becomes your duty to correct the wicked, and tell them that they are on the road to perdition, if they do not repent, be careful to do it with pity and love. Put yourself in their place, pity their unhappy condition, and relieve them. If everything which bewails the number and the misery of the wicked were but genuine mercy, things would wear a different appearance among us. Brethren, do not condemn the unconverted, but save them. 3) Forgive; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; forgive with willing heart whatsoever man sin against you. If we harbor hate and revenge in our soul, the wrath of God rests upon us; for then we are no longer in the kingdom which is called the kingdom of grace. No matter what wrong your neighbor may do you, take it before the Lord; — not with an evil heart which demands revenge; for in that case you will not find your way to God; but in compassion, asking God to forgive and bless him who has wronged you; then you imitate our Lord Jesus, and then mercy shall prevail. 4) Give; give, and it shall be given unto you; give with cheerful heart and open hand, not that you may be called generous, nor that you may be rewarded of God or men; but in such a way as not to let the “left hand know what the right hand doeth.”

Go now, ye Christians, and do these things willingly and gladly! Let your whole life be mercy. Here also the important thing is this: Go and do it! Then shall you also with each passing day gain a clearer understanding of that which the Lord says in regard to the “mote” and the “beam.” It shall be your constant care to cast out first the beam out of your own, and then the mote out of your brother’s eye; and you shall make good progress.

Heavenly Father, give us, we heartily beseech thee, a clear eye and a merciful heart. Let it be seen in our every act that we are thy children. Amen.

Vain are our fancies’ airy flights,
If faith be cold and dead;
None but a living power unites
To Christ, the living head;

Faith must obey our Father’s will,
As well as trust his grace:|
A pardoning God requires us still
To perfect holiness.

275. Fourth Sunday after Trinity. II.

Give us, O God, a sure and living hope. Amen.

Epistle Lesson, Romans 8, 18-23. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit. even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

In this world the children of God are to suffer. Let us familiarize ourselves with this truth, in order that in the midst of tribulations we may rejoice in hope. The church of God, and with it the whole creation, is in travail. However, it lasts but a little while, and is not worthy of mention in comparison with the eternal glory which awaits us. Now our soul is fettered by the flesh, and weighed dow n by its infirmities; but then it shall freely develop all its faculties, and have dominion over all things. Now it is a prisoner in this tenement of death; then it shall receive a glorified body like unto that of Christ. Now we are all the time burdened by our sins: then we shall be pure as the angels of heaven. Now our sight is dim and obscured: then we shall see all things more clearly than did Adam before the fall. Now we are, as it were, riveted to one spot on this earth; then we shall be exalted above all worlds, more untrammeled and free than thought itself. — Sickness, and sorrow, and poverty, and old age, and death; in short, everything which sin has brought upon us, shall then be exchanged for light and life and joy, eternal youth and beauty. The form of the present world shall pass away; but creation itself shall not be annihilated. If it were to be utterly destroyed, Paul could not have used the expressions which we have before us in our text Creation shall not be destroyed, but glorified, regenerated, and renewed on that day when heaven and earth shall pass away. (Matthew 19. 28).

“The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God and the whole creation groans with us. and waits for redemption. From this we may with certainty draw these two lessons; 1) That which we wait for is something unspeakably glorious; for it is the deliverance of all creation “from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” By reason of our sin all things are made subject to the fear of death. We hear this in the cry of the animals, in the sough of the forest, in the splash of the waters. All things flee from death: and yet all things must die. But this law shall be repealed; death shall be annulled, and all shall become life and songs of praise — to the eternal joy of the church triumphant. 2) We may know for certain that these things will come to pass. The waiting and groaning of creation give us the assurance that there arc for us and for it redemption from death, and life everlasting. If there were no such thing as liberty, the prisoner would not sigh for it; if there were no light above the earth, the plant germs down in the darkness would not send their shoots upward. The groanings in us and in all creation are a sure witness, that although sin has made us the prisoners of death, life itself is everlasting. When infidelity declares that all things shall remain as they are, under the law of corruption, and that our bodies shall for ever disappear in death and the grave, it feels in its own heart that this is not true. The whole creation, and all that is in us, says: No; corruption is not eternal; corruption is corruptible; but creation and our bodies shall be transfigured unto eternal glory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

With the holy apostle, then, we “reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Merciful God, let us be found among thy children with the firstfruits of the Spirit. Help us to look forward to the glory in heaven, and to rejoice in it in the midst of all sufferings. Amen.

My Father’s house on high,
Home of my soul, how near
At times, to faith’s foreseeing eye
The golden gates appear.

Ah! then my spirit faints
To reach the land I love,
The bright inheritance of saints,
Jerusalem above!

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