There is a wonderfully accurate balancing of the scales of justice in that petition we daily take upon our lips, though perhaps without fully comprehending all that is therein implied. We pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," but would we be satisfied if the Father were to take us at our word? Do we extend to our brother the forgiveness he needs, in a measure to offset our own claim for divine pardon?

Christ Jesus brought home the duty and necessity of forgiveness of our brother very clearly. In the sermon on the mount he points out the uselessness of the burnt offering, the propitiation for our own sins, so long as we are at fault with our brother,—we must seek reconciliation with him ere we ask forgiveness for ourselves. It was to impetuous Peter, however, that he gave the rule which sometimes seems to us so difficult of observance. Peter had asked, "How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?" and possibly he felt he was conceding much when he tentatively asked, "Till seven times?" Then came the Master's sweeping declaration: "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

If we stop to think how many, many times we need to ask forgiveness, we may see more clearly the need of forbearance toward our brother. Would we dare limit our infractions of the Father's will even to the seventy times seven which the Master commanded? Paul, grand apostle of the faith that he was, had to struggle against "the sin that doth so easily beset us," and he humbly acknowledged, "To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." We have need, then, in view of our own fallibility, to remember and be grateful that "Love is reflected in love" (Science and Health, p. 17).

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August 26, 1911

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