The Epistle for this service is 1 Corinthians 10:6-13, the passage directly following the Epistle for Septuagesima. The Gospel is Luke 16:1-9, widely known as the Parable of the Unrighteous Steward. The tune is ST. ALBINUS by Henry J. Gauntlett, 1852.
At His bidding pledge remission,
Dare we doubt what we have heard
Or despise their sacred mission?
Lord, have mercy!
Though they be but sinful men,
Christ has called them for our blessing
To rebuke our sins, and then
Cover them beneath the dressing
Of God's mercy.
God's forgiveness they pronounce,
And as here so too in heaven
What in His name they announce
Is securely sealed and given:
Oh, what mercy!
What God speaks is always done,
Though through angel or apostle;
His name as the Holy One
Marks His promise with colossal
Truth and mercy.
Though His love they spend in haste,
As imprudent stewards acting,
God will not recall their waste
Nor rescind His word, detracting
From His mercy.
Sealed to us when Jesus died,
Borne to us in blood and sighing,
God's forgiveness is applied
By His mighty, never lying
Word of mercy.
Though they speak with lips unclean,
His called stewards speak with warrant
As though Christ Himself were seen,
Pouring out a drenching torrent
Of His mercy.
Jesus' risen breath we thank
For this promise, never broken!
We confide, as in a bank,
In His valid steward's spoken
Act of mercy.
We are thus in debt to those
Who commit God's pardon to us,
That to them He may disclose
Ample means of living through us
Heirs of mercy.
We have tasted such great love;
God forbid we should so harden
As to think ourselves above
Granting one another pardon,
Rather, let us more and more
Count it, Lord, our sweetest pleasure
One another to restore,
For we have no higher treasure
Than Your mercy!
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