Luke 7:42
When they were unable to repay him, he forgave both of them. Which one, then, will love him more?"
A Bruised ReedH. W. Beecher.Luke 7:36-50
A Great Sinner and a Great SaviourJ. Irons.Luke 7:36-50
An Unfeeling ReligionistTrench.Luke 7:36-50
At His FeetC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 7:36-50
Faith and ForgivenessPhillips Brooks, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
Influence of Christ's LoveLuke 7:36-50
Jesus and the WomanW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
Jesus Anointed by a Weeping Penitent in the House of Simon the PhariseeJ. Grierson.Luke 7:36-50
Jesus Attracting SinnersAmerican Sunday School TimesLuke 7:36-50
Jesus in Simon's HouseD. Longwill.Luke 7:36-50
Jesus in the House of the PhariseeM. G. Pearse.Luke 7:36-50
LessonsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
Love Produces RepentanceJ. Hamilton, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
Love the Proof of PardonR.M. Edgar Luke 7:36-50
Loving and ForgivingW. Clarkson Luke 7:36-50
Much Forgiveness, Much LoveA. Bruce, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
Oriental FeastsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
Representative CharactersPreacher's Lantern.Luke 7:36-50
Self-Righteous MurmuringAmerican Sunday School TimesLuke 7:36-50
She is a SinnerArchbishop Thomson.Luke 7:36-50
The Nun and the PenitentS. C. Hall.Luke 7:36-50
The PenitentB. Beddome, M. A.Luke 7:36-50
The Penitent CitizenN. Rogers.Luke 7:36-50
The Pharisee's MistakeJ. Ker, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
The Secret of DevotionC. S. Robinson, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
The Weeping PenitentJ. Dobie, D. D.Luke 7:36-50
The Woman that was a SinnerC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 7:36-50
The Woman that was a SinnerJ. Burns D. D.Luke 7:36-50
A Generous CreditorArvine.Luke 7:42-43
Bankrupt Debtors DischargedC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 7:42-43
Free ForgivenessW. Hay Aitken.Luke 7:42-43
God Seen in Little LoveN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
LoveN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
Love's ForemostC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 7:42-43
Pardon Requires Increased Care for the FutureN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
Released from DebtLuke 7:42-43
Remission and Forgiveness of Sins is AttainableN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
Small Love not to be Despised If it be GrowingN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
The Parable of the Two DebtorsS. Cox, D. D.Luke 7:42-43
The Parable of the Two DebtorsT. Gibson, M. A.Luke 7:42-43
The Two DebtorsJames William, M. A.Luke 7:42-43
The Two DebtorsM. Dods, D. D.Luke 7:42-43
The Two DebtorsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 7:42-43
Them BothLuke 7:42-43
Two Ways of Discharging a DebtH. Clay Trumbull.Luke 7:42-43
We are not Only Debtors But BankruptsN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
When They Had Nothing, to PayN. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43
Which of Them Will Love Him MostN. Rogers., N. Rogers.Luke 7:42-43

There were some good points about Simon.

1. He was an eminently respectable man; he was so in the true sense of the word, for as a virtuous man he could respect himself, and his neighbours could rightly respect him; he conformed his conduct to a high standard of morality.

2. He was an open-handed, hospitable man.

3. He was an open-minded man. It was not every Pharisee that would have invited Jesus Christ to supper, or would have given him such freedom to speak his mind without resentment. But he was a much-mistaken man. He was quite wrong in three important points.

I. HIS ESTIMATE OF JESUS CHRIST. When he found that Jesus did not resent the attention of "this woman," he came to the conclusion that he could not be a prophet, or he would have known that she was a sinner, and, knowing that, he would have repelled her. Here he was wrong in his conclusion; and he was also wrong in his reasoning. His argument was this: a man as holy as a prophet would be certain to repel such guilt as is present here; when the Holy Prophet comes, the Messiah, ha will be more scrupulously separate from sin and from sinners than any other has been. Here he was completely mistaken. The Holy One came to be the Merciful One; to say to guilty men and women, "Your fellows may despair of you and abandon you. I despair of none, I abandon nobody. I see in all the possibilities of recovery; I summon you all to repentance and to life. Touch me, if you will, with the hand of your faith; I will lay my hand of help and healing upon you."

II. HIS VIEW OF THAT WOMAN.. A sinner she had been; but she was more, and indeed other than a sinner now. That word did not faithfully describe her state before God. She was a penitent. And what is a penitent? A penitent soul is one who hates the sin that had been cherished, who has cast out the evil spirit from him, in whom is the living germ of righteousness, who is on the upward line that leads to heavenly wisdom and Divine worth, on whom God is looking down with tender grace and deep satisfaction, in whom Jesus Christ beholds a servant, a friend, an heir of his holy kingdom. This is not one to turn away from in scorn, but to draw nigh unto in kindness and encouragement.


1. He thought himself a very long way on in the kingdom of God as compared with that poor woman; he did not know that, she being poor in spirit and he being proud in spirit, she was much nearer to its entrance-gates than he.

2. He thought himself in a position to patronize Jesus Christ, and consequently withheld some of the usual courtesies from his Guest; he did not know that it was on himself the distinction was conferred.

3. He supposed himself to be possessed of all the cardinal virtues: he did not know that he lacked that which is the crowning excellence of all - love, the love that can pity, that can stoop to save. We draw two main lessons.

1. That Christ makes much of love. Dwelling on the various manifestations of this woman's feeling, he declares they are the signs of her love, and he then traces her love to her deep sense of forgiven sin. God wants our love, as we want the love of our children and of our friends, and cannot accept anything, however valuable, in its stead: so Christ wants the pure, deep, lasting affection of our souls. No ceremonies, or services, or even sacrifices, will compensate for its absence (see 1 Corinthians 13.). And the measure of our love will depend on the depth of our sense of God's forgiving love toward us. Hence it is of the first importance that we

(1) should understand how much God has forgiven us, how great and serious our guilt has been (see preceding homily);

(2) should recognize how great and full is the Divine forgiveness, how much it includes - how much in the sense of overlooking the past, and in the way of granting us present favour and of promising us future blessedness. Our wisdom and our duty, therefore, is to dwell on the greatness of God's mercy to us in Jesus Christ, to rejoice much in it, to let our souls bathe in the thought of it, be filled continually with a sense of it. For they who are (consciously) forgiven much will love much; and they who love much will be much beloved of God (John 14:23).

2. That we should be ready to receive Christ's correcting word. Simon was wholly wrong in his estimate of men and of things; but he was not unwilling to hear Christ's correcting word. "Master, say on," he replied, when the great Teacher said, "I have somewhat to say unto thee." Let us see to it that this is our attitude. Our Lord may have something very serious to say to us, as he had to those seven Churches in Asia Minor, which he addressed from his heavenly throne (Revelation 2., 3.). When, through his Word, his ministry, his providence, he does thus correct us, calling us to a renewed humility, faith, love, zeal, consecration, are we ready to receive his message, to bow our head, to open our heart, and say, "Speak, Lord; thy servants hear! Master, say on"? - C.

He frankly forgave them both.
There is one thing that is needful in all true religion — there is no religion without it — and that is love towards God. It is quite true that some Christians love God more than others. Cannot you fancy what those two men went through? They would not each go through the same experience. There was a great difference between their cases. Take the first man. You can fancy his saying to himself: " Well, it is a nasty thing, this little debt of mine; I wish I had not got so much behindhand; I do not quite know how I am going to clear it off, but I must try: perhaps my creditor will be content with a few instalments; if I pay him half a crown a week for such a time I shall begin to make a hole in the debt, and, ultimately, he may get it all: I must cast myself on his forbearance." The other can indulge in no such hope. Let one of you — a poor, labouring man, earning fifteen or eighteen shillings a week — put himself in that man's position. Just imagine yourself encumbered with a debt of a hundred pounds. How hopeless a thing it would seem to you; all your efforts to clear it off must fail; you might work almost to death, and yet the debt would be there still. We can fancy what took place in that man's house as the reckoning day drew near. The debt laws in those countries, you know, were terribly severe. His feeling is one of hopelessness. The prison looms up in view; he will be sold, and all that he hath, his children will be torn from him; his little home will be broken up. How desolate the man feels! Try to make him happy if you can. Go and talk cheerfully to him. Tell him to have good hope, to keep up his courage, .and that sort of thing. You cannot bring a smile to the man's face; he looks as miserable as he can be. On his way he meets the other man, and he asks him what his business is. "Well," says he, "I have got an awkward affair — not very serious, but still awkward; I have a nasty little debt that I cannot settle; I am sure I don't know how the creditor will treat me; there are those fifty pence that I owe him; I know he has a right to exact them to the very last farthing, and I have 'nothing to pay'; I do not know how he will deal with me." "Well, what are you going to do?" "Oh, I am going to make a few proposals to him, and see if I cannot get him to take a few instalments, so that I may pay him off by degrees. What is your case, my poor fellow? You look very sad." "Oh, mine is a far more serious case than yours." At last the great man stands before them. "Well," he says, "have you got your money?" They both hang down their heads. Turning to one he says, "Have you got your fifty pence?" "No, sir, I have not got it." "Why have you not got it?" "Well, sir, the truth is, I have got no money — I am a bankrupt — I have nothing to pay." Then, turning to the other, he says, "What have you got to say for yourself? Have you got your five hundred pence?" His head hangs down; tears come into the strong man's eyes; his body quivers with emotion; he can hardly control himself. The next moment the mystery is solved. "He frankly forgave them both." The one man rises to his feet, and says, "Sir, I thank you." "The other drops on his knees, and buries his head in his hands. He cannot thank his benefactor, he is too much overpowered. The one man feels, "Well, he is very kind in his dealing with me." The other feels," He has saved me from ruin; I should have been utterly lost if this man had not acted such a generous part towards me." The one man goes out of the house with a kind of respectful feeling towards his benefactor. The other goes away with the feeling that he has been bought over, so to speak, by the benefactor's goodness: that all that he has, and all that he is, belongs to that man who has stretched out his hand of forgiveness, and done him so unexpected a favour. Now, my dear friends, among the many figures which bring before us some idea of our sin, there are very few more suggestive than this figure of debt. Now, is there any difference between us in this respect? Yes, doubtless, there are shades of difference. Some owe more than others. Some have been more prodigal in wasting the Master's substance than others; but there are none of us who can say that they owe an inconsiderable debt. Friends, have you come to the point which these debtors reached? Have you discovered, that all your life, you have been heaping up debt, and that you have "nothing to pay?" What! will you tell me that these debtors did not know that they were forgiven? There are plenty of nominal Christians in our day who say, "Ah! but then we cannot know that we are forgiven; we may have a faint idea about it, but we cannot know it." Did not these debtors know it?

(W. Hay Aitken.)

This parable suggests a grave question, a question the answer to which branches out into many forms of practical truth. In the parable, the debtor who owes five hundred pence seems to have the advantage over the debtor who owes fifty. More is forgiven him, and he loves more; he is quit of the larger debt, and proves the better man. In the narrative, the Roman who is a sinner seems, in like manner, to have the advantage over the man who is a Pharisee — the harlot over the devotee. She is more open to the words of Christ, and, once forgiven, shows incomparably the warmer love. Now, if this parable and narrative stood alone, we might not care to raise the question, whether or not it is well to have sinned much — whether the greatest love springs from the most heinous transgressions, just as the fairest flowers and most fruitful trees spring from a plentifully manured soil? But they do not stand alone. The impression they make is deepened as we listen to other parables, as we turn to other narratives. (The two sons; the prodigal; the Pharisee and publican.) Is it, then, an advantage to have offended much, to have gone far and deep into sin? To suppose that to be the case is to utter a monstrous libel against God and man. Nevertheless the parables which seem to support this view subserve a most useful purpose; they contain truths which we are very apt to neglect, and suggest warnings of which we stand in constant need.

1. Observe that flagrant sinners are much more likely to discover that they are sinners than moralists and ritualists.

2. The much and the little of sin are for the most part measures of conscience, not of iniquity.

3. Christ does not teach us to run into sin, but to hate hypocrisy — the worst of sins.

4. Christ specially warns us against forming those hard judgments of our brethren, which of all men the "unco' guid" are apt to form.

(S. Cox, D. D.)


1. All are in debt; we must heartily own this to be our case.

2. None have anything to pay; we must confess this, without reserve, as being our own personal condition.

3. The loving Lord forgives in each case; personally we have exceeding great need of such remission. We must feel this.

4. In each case He forgives frankly, or without any consideration or recompense; it must be so with us. We must accept free grace and undeserved favour.

5. Out of this arises love. By a sense of free grace we begin to love our Lord; and in the same way we go on to love Him more.


1. It was the consciousness of great indebtedness which created the great love in the penitent woman. Not her sin, but the consciousness of it, was the basis of her loving character.

2. Where sin has been open and loud, there ought to be this specially humbling consciousness; for it would be an evidence of untruthfulness if it were not manifest (1 Corinthians 15:9).

3. Yet is it frequently found in the most moral, and it abounds in saints of high degree (1 John 1:8).

4. It is to be cultivated.


1. We shall desire to be near Him, even at His feet.

2. We shall make bold confession, and shall do this at all risks.

3. We shall show deep humility, delighting even to wash His feet.

4. We shall exhibit thorough contrition, beholding Him with tears.

5. We shall render earnest service; doing all in our power for Jesus, as this woman did.

6. We shall make total consecration of all that we have; our tears, our choicest gifts, our hearts, ourselves.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. The anointing.

2. The woman.

3. The manner in which the Jews sat at meat.

4. The woman's conduct.

(1)Her deep humility.

(2)Her ardent affection.

(3)Her grateful sacrifice.

5. The presumption which led Simon to his surmisings respecting Christ.


1. That sins against God are justly denominated debts.

(1)Because they imply the withholding from God what is due to Him.

(2)Because they render us liable to be cast into the prison of hell.

2. That all mankind are debtors to God, but in different degrees.

3. That no debtor to God is capable of paying the debt he owes.

4. That the forgiveness of our sins, or debts, is of the utmost importance to us.

5. That a consciousness of our own insolvency must precede our pardon.

6. That forgiveness may be confidently expected, when sought in the way of God's appointment.


1. Just reproof wisely given. The evils reproved in the Pharisee were various and marked; including

(1)His unbelief in the Saviour's mission.

(2)His self-esteem.

(3)His censoriousness.

(4)His want of respect for Christ.

2. Seasonable consolation graciously administered.

3. Divine instruction kindly suggested.

(1)That Christ is truly God. This is evident from His knowledge of Simon's thoughts, and from the blessings He conferred.

(2)That forgiveness is certain to all true believers.

(T. Gibson, M. A.)

I. MAN IS HERE REPRESENTED AS A DEBTOR. God as our Creator has an undoubted right to the universal obedience of His creatures. To Him we owe the consecration of every power and faculty, whether of mind or body. .As moral Governor of the world, it is for Him to propound the rule of our duty; and accordingly He has given us a law, the transcript of His own Divine perfections, immutable in its demands, universal and perpetual in its obligations. But where is the individual who has kept it? There is none who has. Consider, each one, the vast number of your debts. They are too many to be told. God's Book is full of them.

II. AMPLE PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE FOR THE FREE REMISSION OF THE UNTOLD DEBT. AS man is entirely ruined by sin, so he is entirely saved by the free grace of God. The debt is paid, justice is satisfied, God is glorified, and the sinner is saved. But by what mighty process has this been effected? God in the person of His Son appears as the Substitute for offenders. And it is a complete forgiveness, extending to the five hundred as well as to the fifty pence.

III. NOTICE ALSO THE GRATEFUL LOVE WHICH INVARIABLY FOLLOWS A SENSE OF PARDONING MERCY. DO not, however, imagine that the penitent women was forgiven because "she loved much." Her love was not the procuring cause, but the effect, fruit, and evidence of the pardon she had received. Much had been forgiven her, therefore she loved her Saviour much in return.

(James William, M. A.)

Our Lord's immediate object in this parable was to defend the woman and justify His own allowance of her presence and expressions of affections. This defence and justification are accomplished when it is shown that the very familiarities which the Pharisee thought Jesus should have rebuked are the proof that the woman is forgiven, cleansed, and pure.

1. Christ points to the woman's demonstrations of love to Him as proof that her sins are forgiven. His argument is, that she has been forgiven a debt, and therefore loves her creditor. It is Christ Himself she loves, and He therefore is the creditor who has forgiven her; but her debt was sin, transgression against God, and it is therefore God who is her true creditor. Christ thus identifies Himself with God, and in the simplest manner accepts love to Himself as if it were love to God, and as decisive evidence regarding the woman's relation to the Highest. Love to Christ, therefore, is the measure and the pledge of purity.

2. Love to Christ is the result of forgiveness, and varies with the amount of debt forgiven. It is not, however, simply the amount of sin, but the sense of it, which is the measure of gratitude to Him who forgives it.

(M. Dods, D. D.)

There are aggravated sinners who have no deep sense of sin, and there are great saints who regard themselves as the chief of sinners. The measure of one's gratitude for forgiveness is the conception which he has of his sin. He who makes light of his sin will make light also of salvation. But he who has a profound conviction of the evil of sin as the abominable thing which God hates, will have an overwhelming sense of God's love in granting him forgiveness. The deeper an apprehension of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the greater will be our love to Him who gives us deliverance from it. And where there is that sense of the hatefulness of sin, there will be no disposition to go deeper into it.

1. Let sinners of every name and degree be encouraged by this narrative to go at once to Christ. He will in no wise cast them out. "A bruised reed" was not deemed worthy of the shepherd's trouble when he was piping in the field; and so he flung it away, and got another. "Smoking flax" gives an offensive odour; and rather than be annoyed with it, the housewife will take it out of the lamp, and tread upon it. But it was otherwise with Jesus. That which others would cast away, He sought to retain, and turn to good account. That which others would give up as hopeless, Be would not abandon.

2. If we would be successful in raising the fallen, and reclaiming the abandoned, we must be willing to "touch" them, and to be "touched" by them. In other words, we must come into warm, loving, personal contact with them. What an uplift Christ gave to the soul of this poor woman, when He, the pure and holy, let her thus approach Him! And this was His way all through His ministry. Contact is needed, if virtue is to go out. When the Lord wished to save the human race, He touched it by taking on Him our nature, without our nature's pollution. So we must take the nature of the degraded, without its impurity, if we would help him. We must stoop to take him by the hand, or to let him grasp our hand, if we would lift him up.

3. If we wish to love God much, we must think much of what we owe to Him. Low views of sin lead to a light estimate of the blessing of pardon, and a light estimate of the blessing of pardon will lead to but a little love of God. This cuts deep, my brethren. Your love to God will be but the other side of your hatred of sin; and there, as it seems to me, is the radical defect in much of the religious experience of the day. Men make light of their obligation to Christ because they have first made light of sin. Low views of the evil of sin are at the root of all heresies in doctrine and all unholiness in life. Get rid of all such minimizing ideas of sin, I beseech you; and to that end come near the cross, for nowhere does sin seem so vile as it does there.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. First, let us think of THEIR BANKRUPTCY. This was their condition. They were unquestionably in debt. If they could have disputed the creditor's claim, no doubt they would bare done so. If they could have pleaded that they were never indebted, or that they had already paid, no doubt they would have been glad to have done so; but they could not raise a question; their debt could not be denied. Another fact was also clear to them, namely, that they had nothing to pay with. No doubt they had made diligent search; they had turned out their pockets, their cash-boxes, and their lockers, and they had found nothing: they had looked for their household goods, but these had vanished piece by piece. Now there are certain temptations to which all bankrupt sinners are much subject. One of these is to try and forget their spiritual estate altogether. Another temptation to a man in this condition is to make as good a show as he can. A man who is very near bankruptcy is often noticed for the dash he cuts. There are some men of like manners; they have nothing that they can offer unto God, but yet they exhibit a glittering self-righteousness. Another temptation which lurks in the way of a bankrupt sinner is that of making promises of what he will do. And thus do sinners too. Another temptation is, always to ask for more time — as if this was all that was needed. Settle this business before you attend to anything else. Take care that you face it, like an honest man, and not as one who makes the best of a bad story. One thing more: it will be your wisdom give up all attempts to pay, because you have nothing to pay with.

II. Our second head is, THEIR FREE DISCHARGE. "He frankly forgave them both."

1. In this free discharge I admire, first of all, the goodness of the great Creditor. What a gracious heart He had! What kindness He showed! He said, "Poor souls, you can never pay Me, but you need not be cast down because of it, for I freely cancel your debts." Oh, the goodness of it; Oh, the largeness of the heart of God! I was reading of Caesar the other day. He had been at fierce war with Pompey, and at last he conquered him, and when he conquered him he found among the spoil Pompey's private cabinet, in which were contained letters from the various noblemen and senators of Rome who had sided with him. In many a letter there was fatal evidence against the most eminent Romans, but what did Caesar do? He destroyed every document. He would have no knowledge of his enemies, for he freely forgave them and wished to know no more. In this Caesar proved that he was fit to govern the nation. But look at the splendour of God when He puts all our sins into one cabinet, and then destroys the whole.

2. Then, observe the freeness of it. They did not stand there and say, " Oh, good sir, we cannot pay," and plead and beg as for their lives; but He freely said to them, "You cannot pay, but I can forgive."

3. Furthermore, this debt was fully discharged.

4. A very effectual forgiveness too.

5. An eternal discharge.

III. I now beg your very special attention to the last point, and that is THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THIS BANKRUPTCY AND THIS FREE DISCHARGE. It is said, "When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both." There is a time when pardon comes, and that time is when self-sufficiency goes. A sense of spiritual bankruptcy shows that a man has become thoughtful; and this is essential to salvation. Next, when we come to feel our bankruptcy, we then make an honest confession, and to that confession a promise is given — "he that confesseth his sin shall find mercy." The two debtors had owned to their debts, and they had also openly confessed, though it must have gone against the grain a bit, that they could not pay. Under conviction a poor soul sees the reality of sin and of pardon. My dear hearer, you will never believe in the reality of forgiveness till you have felt the reality of sin. I do believe that the Lord will give us our quittance when we have got to our last farthing, and not till then, because only then do we look to the Lord Jesus Christ. Ah, my dear friends, as long as we have anything else to look to, we never will look to Christ. That blessed port into which no ship did ever run in a storm without finding a sure haven is shunned by all your gallant vessels: they will rather put into any port along the coast of self-deceit than make for the harbour which is marked out by the two lighthouses of free grace and dying love. We are emptied to be filled. When we cannot give, God can forgive.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

— A debt may be paid, or it may be pardoned. If it is paid, the debtor owes no thanks to his creditor. If it is pardoned, gratitude for the grace is a duty. A man under a burden of debt ought to know whether he can pay what he owes, or whether his only hope is of being forgiven. If he has anything to offer, he ought to proffer it. If he has nothing to offer, he ought to say so, and implore forgiveness as an unmerited favour. These two ways of wiping out a debt ought never to be confounded. In the one case, a man looks for a receipt; in the other for a pardon. It is the same in the moral world as in the material. A man can either meet and discharge his moral obligations, or he cannot. It is the one thing or the other. Apologies or excuses are not a payment. Yet how common it is for one who has nothing to pay with to thrust forward an excuse or an apology in place of a request for forgiveness. This is always evasive and unmanly. Instead of saying, "I forgot," or "I didn't mean to," or "It was a mistake," or "It was an accident," we ought to come out frankly and unequivocally with the admission, "I was wrong. Forgive me"; or "I failed to do as I agreed to do. Forgive me"; or "I did not do as I was directed to. Forgive me." Don't let us shirk our duty of asking forgiveness when we have nothing to pay with.

(H. Clay Trumbull.)

One Reuben Rouzy, of Virginia, owed the general about one thousand pounds. While President of the United States, one of his agents brought an action for the money; judgment was obtained, and execution issued against the body of the defendant, who was taken to gaol. He had a considerable landed estate, but this kind of property cannot be sold in Virginia for debts, unless at the discretion of the person. He had a large family, and for the sake of his children preferred lying in gaol to selling his land. A friend hinted to him that probably General Washington did not know anything of the proceeding, and that it might be well to send him a petition, with a statement of the circumstance. He did so, and the very next post from Philadelphia after the arrival of his petition in that city brought him an order for his immediate release, together with a full discharge, and a severe reprimand to the agent for having acted in such a manner. Poor Rouzy was, in consequence, restored to his family, who never laid down their heads at night without presenting prayers to Heaven for their "beloved Washington." Providence smiled upon the labours of the grateful family, and in a few years Rouzy enjoyed the exquisite pleasure of being able to lay the one thousand pounds, with the interest, at the feet of this truly great man. Washington reminded him that the debt was discharged; Rouzy replied, the debt of his family to the father of their country and preserver of their parent could never be discharged; and the general, to avoid the pressing importunity of the grateful Virginian, who would not be denied, accepted the money; only, however, to divide it among Rouzy's children, which he immediately did.


There is a story of a rich Eastern master whose most skilful artizan began to fall off in his work. The master spoke to his steward about it. The steward replied: "It is no wonder that the poor fellow cannot turn out good work. His hands tremble so that he cannot manage his tools; his eyes are so full of tears often that he cannot see what he is about. A heavy debt is pressing him, so that he even drinks to drown his sorrow. While that debt remains, you need not expect him to produce any more good work." "Then," replied the generous master "go and tell him that his debt is paid." From that hour the artizan was a changed man. His tears were dried and he plied his tools with a happy heart; his work was done better than ever before.

1. Had man any ability left, and were able to do something towards the payment of the debt due; yet if he cannot do all, how is the debt paid? Let but twelve pence be wanting in the payment of a £100, the bond, you know, is not discharged; let light gold be tendered, will it be accepted? Our best works are full of imperfections (Isaiah 64:6).

2. All the good a man can do, though he do more then ever any man did, is itself a due debt, and how shall that go for a discharge of former debts? One debt will not discharge another, nor the payment of this year's rent discharge the last year's forfeiture.

(N. Rogers.)

1. A bankrupt makes great show of what he hath not; so doth a sinner (Proverbs 13:7).

2. A bankrupt will be borrowing of every, one, but pay none to whom he is indebted; thus the sinner borrows of all. Of God, of man, of the creatures; but that love, duty, service, that is expected, he performs not. Promises, vows, bonds, all are broken (Romans 1.).

3. A bankrupt will take up at high rates, and put off at low; buy dear, but sell cheap; so doth the sinner. Ahab takes up land, Naboth's vineyard; Achan, a wedge of gold; Gehazi, a bribe; Esau, Jacob's pottage; Judas, thirty pence. All these took up their wares at dear rates, as do the sinners of these days. But one day will be forced to cry out with Lysimachus, "How great a kingdom for how small a pleasure have I lost l"

4. A bankrupt will be offering composition to his creditors; but it shall be very little, three or four shillings in the pound — it may be not so much. Thus deals the sinner; he will be offering a composition as Pharaoh did (Exodus 8:25).

5. A bankrupt cannot be trusted of any one that knows him, no more a sinner; God will not trust him (Job 4:18, 19); Christ will not trust him (John if. 24); nor will the godly, if they be wise (Jeremiah 9:14; Micah 7:2; Job 19:14, 15). We may expect love and duty from them, but how can they pay who have nothing?

(N. Rogers.)

There is a possibility for a stoner to have his debts pardoned and remitted (Acts 3:19; Acts 10:43; Acts 26:18).

1. The sacrifices under the law prefigured as much (Hebrews 5.).

2. The grounds are two:(1) Mercy in God, who "desireth not the death of a sinner" (Ezekiel 33:11). It is His name to be merciful; an attribute as infinite as Himself, it suits with His nature.(2) Merit in Christ. By His sacrifice He satisfied God's justice, and paid the debt of sin (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 9:26). But whence is it that men are so careless in seeking after this one thing necessary?Divers reasons may be rendered of this great neglect.

1. An erroneous judgment about the thing itself. Some think it is that which cannot be had, or if it be feasable, yet it is not so necessary as other blessings, which lies them more in hand to seek after. The error of which opinions what hath been said before, discovers.

2. This great neglect ariseth from want of due consideration of men's present states, they spend no thoughts this way; like bankrupts, they love not to cast up their accounts.

3. This ariseth in some through a bold presumption of God's mercy, conceiting that God will forgive us our sins, though we take no pains about it.

4. God in forgiving sin, fully forgives it, no part of the debt is reserved to be exacted of us.

(N. Rogers.)

And, to conclude, be careful that we lay up safe our discharge and pardon, having once obtained it. How careful men are to lock up a general discharge from some pecuniary debts, we know well enough; but no discharge to this, so lay it up, that you may not have it to seek in the hour of temptations and trial. Such times you must expect, and then your acquittance, sealed with Christ's blood, will stand you in much stead. Our carelessness this way often causeth God to hide from us the comfort of it, to the end that we may seek it up and keep it better. Thus we lay some piece of plate aside for a while to teach a careless child or servant to be more careful of it after it is returned. And thus much of the fulness of God's pardoning. Come we now to the freeness of it. He frankly forgave them both. Whence observe we — Remission is of free grace and mercy; whom God forgives He forgives gratis. The pope indeed sells pardons; God sells none — what God doth this way He doth freely.

(N. Rogers.)

1. Forgiveness and pardon is general to all that cast themselves on God's free mercy for it.

2. God forgiveth great debts as well as small, hundreds as well as tens.

3. He who owes least stands (as well) in need of mercy and forgiveness as he who owes most.

God is truly loved of all those whose sins are pardoned. This is a truth granted and unquestioned. If need were, it might be further strengthened from sundry other texts (Psalm 116; Psalm 118:1; Song of Solomon 3:2, 5; Philippians 3:8, 9; Psalm 119:132). How can it otherwise be? For every act of God's special favour begets another in the heart of the godly like it. He choosing them, they choose Him again; He calls them, they call on Him; He loving them, they must needs again love Him. "We love Him," saith St. John, "because He loved us first." The cold stone cannot cast forth heat, as you know, till it be warmed by the sunbeams: being warmed by them, then it reflecteth back some of the heat which it received; thus is it with our cold hearts.

(N. Rogers.)I might use many arguments to put you on upon this pursuit. There is no duty hath more reasons to speak for it than this hath. I will name only two, which St. Bernard hath; the one is in respect of God, the other in regard of ourselves.

I. IN RESPECT OF GOD, and so nothing is more just and equal than that He should be loved of us.

1. This is that He doth require both in law and gospel (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:38). It is the first and great commandment, and that on which all other acceptable services are grounded.

2. This is that He doth deserve, for hath not He placed in us that affection of love? Is it not a stream of that living fountain who is love itself (1 John 4:8)? Now "he that plants a vineyard should drink of the wine thereof," saith the apostle (1 Corinthians 9:7). And God who hath planted this affection in us, should chiefly taste of it Himself.

3. God hath manifested His love to us in giving His only beloved son for us (John 3:16). He hath begun to us in the cup of love (1 John 4:10). Is it not fit that we should pledge Him? It is an elegant observation of St. Bernard upon the Canticles; of all the motions and affections of the soul, none is so reciprocal as love.

4. Besides, there is nothing in God but deserves love; "I will call upon God," saith David, "who is worthy to be praised" (Psalm 18:3). So may we say truly, "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be loved." But if in case we set our love on any other object than the Lord, we become losers and not savers. By loving Him we are made better both in grace and glory. You know love assimilates the heart to the thing loved; so love of honour makes the heart proud; love of pleasure makes the heart vicious and loose, &c. And the love of God makes us to conform unto His image, and be like Him in holiness; thus we become better through our loving God in grace.


(N. Rogers.)

They do not well to forget that Caesar's image is not only seen in his coin of gold, but in his silver penny; and that this degree of love, though weak, is also the gift of God, and not to be despised (Zechariah 4:10; 1 Corinthians 1:11; 1 Corinthians 3:1). He that made the elephant made the ant; the fly as well as the eagle; the poorest worm which creeps on the earth, as well as the most glorious angel, is the work of God's hands, and He looks to be glorified in His least works as well as greatest.

(N. Rogers.)

Give the humble daisy leave to grow, though it sprout not up to that height as doth the marigold. And let not him that joineth the frame despise him that heweth the timber or makes the pins; who so hath greatest degree of grace, let him use it to God's glory, but no way despise his weak brother, who comes far short of his scantling. Let it serve for an encouragement to those whose hearts are newly warmed with the beams of love, though they find it not kindled to that height that others of God's children have attained unto, It is not every one's portion to attain to that height of passion, so as to be sick of love. God takes in good part a growing and increasing love which maybe attained.

1. By enlarging our communion with God both in public and private duties. Strangeness, you know, breeds an overliness with men; so with God. The nearer the fire, the greater the heat; speak often to God by prayer, hear Him again speaking unto you by His Word and Spirit.

2. By weaning our hearts more and more from this world. You know superfluous branches draw the sap from the top boughs, and the love of the world draws the love of God out of our hearts, as we find in Demas (2 Timothy 4:9).

3. Carefully observe and call to mind the many and sweet experiences you have of God's love and favour. The more plentiful our apprehension is of God's love to us, the more will our hearts be enlarged to love Him again.

(N. Rogers.)

1. Inflamed or burning love will not be easily quenched; much water, many floods cannot do it (Song of Solomon 8:7). It is firm and invincible, so that neither force nor fraud, promises nor persecutions, height nor depth, things present nor things to come, shall be able to prevail against

2. Love inflamed is still ascending. It hath earnest and affectionate longings after God, and to enjoy Him.

3. Inflamed love gives great light. It is like a fired beacon on a hill, all the country take notice of it. Such cannot forbear but they must be speaking in God's praise, and admiring everything that is in Him. "The tongue is the pen of a ready writer" (Song of Solomon 5:9).

(N. Rogers.)

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