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Verses 31-35

Matthew 18:31-35. When his fellow-servants saw what was done When they beheld such inhumanity, in such circumstances, and from such a man; they were very sorry Exceedingly grieved at such an instance of unexampled cruelty from a man who had himself experienced such mercy; and came and told their lord Gave their lord the king an exact and faithful account of the whole matter. Then his lord said, O thou wicked servant Hard-hearted and unmerciful; I forgave thee all that debt The vast sums due to me; because thou desiredst me Didst acknowledge the debt, fell down at my feet, and humbly begged me to have patience with thee; shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant

Who in like manner acknowledged his debt, and promised payment, showing thee, in his supplication, though thine equal, as much respect as thou showedst to me, thy lord and king? And his lord was wroth Was exceedingly enraged; and delivered him to the tormentors Not only revoked the grant of remission which he had just before made, as forfeited by so vile a behaviour; but put him in prison, commanding him to be there fettered and scourged; till he should pay all that was due unto him That is, without any hope of release, for the immense debt which he owed he could never be able to pay. Instead of tormentors, here, Dr. Campbell reads jailers, observing that “the word βασανιστης , here used, properly denotes examiner, particularly one who has it in charge to examine by torture. Hence it came to signify jailer, for on such, in those days, was this charge commonly devolved. They were not only allowed, but even commanded, to treat the wretches in their custody with every kind of cruelty, in order to extort payment from them, in case they had concealed any of their effects; or, if they had nothing, to wrest the sum owed from the compassion of their relations and friends, who, to release an unhappy person for whom they had a regard from such extreme misery, might be induced to pay the debt; for the person of the insolvent debtor was absolutely in the power of the creditor, and at his disposal.” But it must be observed that imprisonment is a much severer punishment in the eastern countries than in ours. State criminals especially, when condemned to it, are not only confined to a very mean and scanty allowance, but are frequently loaded with clogs or heavy yokes, so that they can neither lie nor sit at ease; and by frequent scourgings, and sometimes rackings, are brought to an untimely end. How observable is this whole account; as well as the great inference our Lord draws from it! 1, The debtor was freely and fully forgiven; 2, He wilfully and grievously offended; 3, His pardon was retracted, the whole debt required, and the offender delivered to the tormentors for ever. And shall we still say, that when we are once freely and fully forgiven, our pardon can never be retracted? Verily, verily I say unto you, So likewise will my heavenly Father do to you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

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