Matthew 6:12. And forgive us our debts, &c. The suffering of punishment for transgressing God’s laws is a debt which sinners owe to the divine justice; and “when we ask God, in prayer, to forgive our debts, we beg that he would be mercifully pleased to remit the punishment of our sins, particularly the pains of hell; and that, laying aside his displeasure, he would graciously receive us into favour, and bless us with eternal life. In this petition, therefore, we confess our sins, and express the sense we have of their demerit, namely, that they deserve condemnation and wrath from God, than which nothing can be more proper in our addresses to him. The condition on which we are to ask forgiveness is remarkable. Forgive us, as we forgive. We must forgive others in order to our being forgiven ourselves, and are allowed to crave from God only such forgiveness as we grant to others; so that if we do not pardon our enemies, we, in this fifth petition, seriously and solemnly beg God to damn us eternally!” Macknight.
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