And if another motive is necessary, dwell upon the last I now offer, which is—that forgiveness is a virtue which we shall soon have no longer need to exercise. When we have arrived in heaven we shall have reached a world, where we shall no longer need to seek forgiveness from God, nor to ask it from, or to bestow it upon our brother. There we shall never trespass against God, nor our brother trespass against us.
In that region of love, where brotherly kindness, like everything else, will be perfect; there will be no occasion through eternity for one exercise of this part of Christian love. All the inhabitants of that world will be divinely amiable, and never need forgiveness. Everyone will be perfect for others to love, and see in them the perfection which they love in him. No one will ever offend; and none be ever offended.
The understanding will be too clear to offend by ignorance, and the heart too holy to offend by design. The difficult virtue of forbearance will not be called for there; having been performed here on earth, it will be dispensed with in heaven, and nothing remain but the easy and delightful acts of taking delight in the unsullied goodness of all around us. And it is the performance here of that hard and trying duty of forgiveness, which is to prepare us for that future world of love and joy.
It is the conquest of our proud selves in this scene of our discipline and probation, that is to fit us for that blessed state where no foe is ever to be seen, and no battle ever to be fought.
O Christian, it is but a little while before you shall be freed from the conflict, and utter the shout and wear the crown of victory! Every offence you forgive, may be the last you shall ever have to forgive.
And then even amidst the bliss of that glorious state to which the last enemy shall introduce you, yes, even there it shall be a part of your ineffable felicity—to look back and remember that in some humble measure, you were enabled through sovereign grace, "to forgive—even as you were forgiven."