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The chief scope of the parable was to reprove the envious spirit of the Pharisees,
And what could so forcibly condemn it as the contrast here exhibited?· Does Christ' rejoice at the return of a sinner, and shall we repine?-
Do all the angels in heaven exult at such a sight, and shall we make it an occasion of offence?--is. : Are we then indeed better judges of what is good than they?
Or do we well to oppose what they so desire to see accomplished?
· Let us take heed lest we be found at last to have “ fought against God”
Let us rather encourage others both by precept and example ,
Let us adore our Saviour for his condescension and grace toward sinful man
And let that, which was urged as an objection against him, be the greatest commendation of him to our souls'] ADDRESS
[While some are turning unto God, others are striving to draw them back
But let those, who have scoffed at religión, confess their folly
And those who have discouraged repentance in others, repent of their iniquity-.
On the other hand, let the humble penitent go to God with confidence
Who can read this parable and doubt Christ's willingness to save him?-
If there were but one penitent amongst us all, the angels would rejoice over him
How then would they shout for joy if we all began to im. plore mercy! -:
Our past iniquities would rather enhance than diminish their glorying on our accountm is i n . 'I .
Let not those therefore, whose cases appear most hopeless, despond : - Let them forbear to trample any longer on the Saviour's lovem
Let it be their ambition to give joy to those whom they have so often grieved
Thus also shall they join in the general chorus at the last day
And ascribe the “glory to him who loved them, and gave himself for them"- --- - "
1 Ver. 2, . m Not because they take pleasure in sin, but because they regard us as brands plucked out of the fire. Rev. i. 5, 6.
CCLVI. THE LOST PIECE OF SILVER.
Luke xv. 8-10. What woman having ten pieces of silver, if
she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise I say unto you, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth.
THERE is nothing in which we are so deeply interested as the extent and riches of the Redeemer's grace- His familiar converse with Publicans and sinners affords the richest encouragement to us, when we are bowed down under a sense of guilt
His condescension towards them indeed excited only disgust in the proud Pharisees
But Jesus was the more careful to vindicate the conduct which they condemned .
And in repeated parables assured them, that it was the joy of his heart to save even the vilest of mankind
The parable of the lost piece of money very nearly resembles that which precedes it
Nevertheless it suggests many useful thoughts which are appropriate to itself
Its import may be unfolded under the following ob·servationsI. There are none so worthless but the Lord is deeply
concerned about them The woman expressed very great anxiety about the piece of silver she had lost
[The piece of silver was but a very trifling value in itselfa
Yet she felt much solicitude about it in her mind
Nor was she content to lose it, notwithstanding she had several others left]
Thus is our blessed Lord concerned about the souls of men
[In some points of view the soul is undoubtedly of great value
Nor can the whole world itself be put in competition with
But to Jesus the souls of men are not of the smallest inportance
If they were righteous, their goodness could not extend to himb
They could never profit him, nor add to his happiness .
If all that ever existed were annihilated, he would suffer no loss
If men were necessary to his honour or happiness, he could create millions in an instant
But the souls of men are inexpressibly vile and guilty in his sight
Till they had been washed in his blood, they are exposed to his wrath and indignation
Nor is it any thing but his marvellous compassion that preserves them from everlasting destruction.
Nevertheless he is greatly concerned about the loss even of one amongst them
Though he has myriads that are now safely lodged in his hands, he cannot rest satisfied about those that are yet in danger · By the prophets he expressed his deep regret for those that perishede
In the days of his flesh he wept over the most abandoned of the human race
And to this hour he is grieved at the thought of any dying in their sins ]
Nor is his concern for them expressed only by inactive wishes II. There are no exertions, however great, which he
will not use for their recovery The woman is represented as doing every thing which could be devised for the recovery of her lost piece of silver
[She instantly lighted a candle that she might search in every dark corner of her house
She moreover swept her house, that, if it were hid under any dirt or rubbish, she might find it
Nor did she relax her endeavours till they were crowned with success
What more could she have done if the lost money had been of the greatest value?-) :
Thus our Lord uses all possible means for the recovery of lost souls.
[Were we lying in utter darkness? he has brought the light of his gospel
This light he has sent into all the darkest corners of the earthh
In the days of his flesh he used all diligence himself
Since that time he has commissioned his servants to go into all the world
He has enjoined them to “be instant in their work, in season and out of season” . "He has even threatened that, if one perish through their negligence, he will “ require his blood at their hands”
He has moreover sent his Spirit to aid them in their endeavours
And to search the very inmost recesses of our benighted souls
However fruitless their exertions may have been, they are never to give up any for lost, as long as there is a possibility of their being found
May he not well say, “ What could I have done more for them than I have done?”..
If he appeals to us about the conduct of a woman who had lost her money, how much more may he appeal to us respecting his own conduct!] .
When his labours are successful, then his kindness appears in its brightest colours III. There is nothing so pleasing to him as the recovery
of one from his lost state The woman is represented as inviting all her neighbours to rejoice with her : [The cause of her joy seems very inadequate to such expressions of it
But women are apt to be strongly affected with small things. Her whole property also being small, she may be supposed to feel the more at the recovery of that part which had been in danger . And the circumstance of its having been lost would render the subsequent possession of it more pleasant-]
Thus our Lord and all the angels in heaven rejoice over' a repenting sinner .
[This is the main scope of this parable, as well as that which precedes, and that which follows it
Hence it is strongly marked in every one of the parables
We must not therefore omit it, or think the repetition of it tedious .
! Our Lord well knows the misery of a soul that perishes in sin
The angels too are doubtless well informed on this subject Were it never to be sensible of its loss there would be the less reason to regret it . .
But if not put among the treasures of God it must be for ever miserable
To prevent this is the joy and delight of our blessed Saviour
For this he came down from heaven, assumed our nature, and died upon the cross
For this he is dispensing to us continually his word and spirit
The effecting of this the consummation of all his wishes and purposes
Hence, however inadequate a cause of joy this may seem, he accounts it his highest honour and happiness
He is “ satisfied with the travail of his soul”, when one that was lost is found
And all the angels that surrounded his throne rejoice together with him
As all hell is moved with triumph at the condemnation of one sinner,k so does all heaven exult in the exaltation of one to happiness and glory-] INFER
1. How strange is it that men should have so little regard for their own souls!
[The generality of men are as careless of their souls as if they were of no value
But should we disregard that which the Son of God seeks with so much anxiety?
Should we be so indifferent about our own happiness, when all the angels of heaven would shout for joy at the prospect of it?
Let us never be satisfied with being immersed in darkness and wickedness
Let us rather be ambitious to have a place among the Lord's treasures
And let us be thankful that, though lost, we are not yet lost beyond recovery-]
2. How blessed are the effects of a faithful admini. stration of the gospel!