Chapter VII.-The Sixth Clause.
It was suitable that, after contemplating the liberality of God,49 we
should likewise address His clemency. For what will aliments50 profit us,
if we are really consigned to them, as it were a bull destined for a victim?51
The Lord knew Himself to be the only guiltless One, and so He teaches that
we beg "to have our debts remitted us." A petition for pardon is a full
confession; because he who begs for pardon fully admits his guilt. Thus,
too, penitence is demonstrated acceptable to God who desires it rather
than the death of the sinner.52 Moreover, debt is, in the Scriptures, a
figure of guilt; because it is equally due to the sentence of judgment,
and is exacted by it: nor does it evade the justice of exaction, unless
the exaction be remitted, just as the lord remitted to that slave in the
parable his debt;53 for hither does the scope of the whole parable tend.
For the fact withal, that the same servant, after liberated by his lord,
does not equally spare his own debtor; and, being on that account impeached
before his lord, is made over to the tormentor to pay the uttermost farthing-that
is, every guilt, however small: corresponds with our profession that "we
also remit to our debtors; "indeed elsewhere, too, in conformity with this
Form of Prayer, He saith, "Remit, and it shall be remitted you."54 And
when Peter had put the question whether remission were to be granted to
a brother seven times, "Nay," saith He, "seventy-seven times; "55 in order
to remould the Law for the better; because in Genesis vengeance was assigned
"seven times" in the case of Cain, but in that of Lamech "seventy-seven
49 In the former petition, "Give us this day our daily
50 Such as ""daily bread."
51 That is, if we are just to be fed and fattened by them
in body, as a bull which is destined for sacrifice is, and then, like him,
slain-handed over to death?
52 Ex. xviii. 23, 32, xxxiii. 11.
53 Matt. xviii. 21-35.
54 Luke vi. 37.
55 Matt. xviii. 21-22.
56 Gen. iv. 15, 24.