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His father kindly receives himn.
SECT. Providence taking care for his subsistence,
cxxiii, though he was obliged to beg bis way; and at
Luke

length he came to the neighbourhood of the
XV. 20. house in which his father dwelt.
But while he was yet at a considerable distance,

-But when he was his father, who happened to be then looking that you a great way off, way, suw him, and presently knew him, diz- and had compassion, grised as he was; and his bowels yearned over and ran, and fell on him, to see him in so wretched a condition: and his neck, and kissed

him.
immediately, as if he had forgot the dignity of
his own character, and all the injuries he bad
received, he ran to his child, and fell on his neck

with an eager embrace, and tenderly kissed him 21 with tears of joy. And the son began to inake

21 And the son said his humble acknowledgments, as he before had

unto him, Father, I

have sinned against purposed, and said unto him, O my abused and heaven, and in thy injured father, I am ashamed to appear in thy sight, and am no more presence ; for such has been my vileness, that withy to bç called

thy son,
I have sinned against the God of heaven, and
before thec, and am no more worthy to be called

and owned as thy son, or to receive any token of 22 thy favourable regards. But, before he could 22 But the father

möke an end of the speech he intended, the com- Bring forth the best
passionate father turned, and said to his servants, robe, and put it on
who were now gathered round them, Go im- him, and put a ring
mediately into the house, and bring out the best on his hand, and shocs

on his feet.
robe that is theres, and clothe him with it, and
put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet,

that my dear child may appear like himself : 23 And let others of you run to the stall, and 23 And bring hither bring hither the faited calf that is there, and it; and let us eat and

the fatted call, and kill kill ith for a festival entertainment; and let us be merry: 2 t eat and be cheerful : For I esteem this as one

24 For this my son of the happiest days of my life, and more joyful again; he was lost,

was dead, and is alive than the birth-day of one of my children ; since

and this my son, that was so long considered by me as dead, is restored to life'; and he who was

concluded

said to

& The best robe.] It is obserred by Fer a sacrifce at the birth, and sometimes at rarius (de Re Vestiar. lib. iii. cap. 24.) the unexpected recovery, of a child. (Sce that the soàn, or long rohe, was a garment Eisner. Observ. P 249, 250.) But no which servants never wore; so that his fa- such sacrifice was appointed among the Jeu's, ther's ordering any such garment, and espe- nor could any have been lawfully offered cially the best, to be brought, was declaring, but at Jerusalem, which does not appear in the most moving manner that can be to have been the scene of this parable : so imagined, how far he was from intending to that I can sce no just reason for such a treat him like a sprcant.-His mentioning rendering. the ring and shoes spake the same language; i That was dead, is restored to life.] It as many learned writers have observed. is by a very common and beautiful emblem See I'olfus in loc.

that vicious persons are represented as h The fatled calf, and kill it.] Elsner dead, both by sacred and profane anthors would render the word Ivoces, sacrifice it; (compare 1 Tim. v. 6. Eph. ii, 1. v. 14. truly urging that it was customary to ofer and Wolfius in loc.); and the natural denthe

of

сxxiii. .

drew

nigh

to

TIis elder brother repines, and resents it.
and is found. And they concluded to be irrecoverably lost, is found, so sect.
began to be merry.

that I have renewed hope of comfort in him.
And the whole house was filled with joy, and, Luke
having made the entertainment ready they began XV. 2%

to be cheerful.
25 Now his elder But while the younger son was thus received 25
son was in the field; into his father's house, his elder son was abroad
and as he came and

the in the field ; and as on his return he approached house, he heard mu- the house, he heard the sound of music and dancsick and dancing.

ing, and was surprised at the discovery of such 26 And he called unusual joy. And calling one of the servants 26 one of the servants, to come to him, he inquired of bim what was and asked what these things meant?

the meaning of these things, and what could bave 21 And he said occasioned this extraordinary rejoicing? And 27 unto him, Thy bro, he said to him, It is, because thy younger brother thy father bath killed is come home; and thy father is so transported the fatted calf, be- with joy at his unexpected return, that he has cause he i-ath received killed the fatted calf, and made a very splendid him safe and sound.

entertainment, because he has received him in

good health again, and found him happily re28 And he was covered to a sense of his duty. And he wus very 28 angty, and would not angry at the kind reception of his brother, and

resolved that he would not go in.
Therefore came His father therefore hearing he was there, and
his father out, and being told he had discovered some uneasiness,
entreated him.

came out with great condescension, and calmly
entreated him to be pacified, and to join with

them in the festivities of the day.
29 And he answer. But, instead of rejoicing on so bappy an occa-29
ing, said to his father, sion, and running to embrace his penitent bro-
Lo, these many years ther, he was still full of envy and resentment,
ther transgressed I at and replied to his father, Behold, I have served
any time thy com: thee these many years, and even to this day am
thou never gavest me as careful of thy affairs as if thou wast my mas-
a kid, that I might ter, rather than my father ; nor canst thou say
make merry with my I have at any time departed from my duty, or
friends :

transgressed thy command ; and yet thou hast ne-
ver given me so much as a kid, that I might
make an entertainment with a few of my select

friends : But as soon as ever this thy favourite 30 this thy son was come; son was come, who has, as much as in him lay, which bath devoured

devoured thy

substance with harlots abroad, in a thy living wit lots, thou hast killed long course of scandalous debaucheries, to bis for him the fatted calf. own ruin, and the infamy of thy family, thou

hast

go in :

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30 But as soon as

har

of their children would be less grievous - condemned a disobedient and rebellious to pious parents, than to see them aban son to death on the prosecution of his donel to such a course as this young sinner parents, would in this case be most unna. thuk.-But to suppose an allusion bere twal, and utterly spoil the tenderness and to that statute, (Deut. xxi. 18-21.) which grace of this speech,

k All

40

He is told by his father how fit it was to rejoice.
SECT: hast killed for him the fatted calf, and made him
cxxiii.

as welcome as if he had been the most dutiful
Luke
child
upon

earth.
XV. 31. And, though his father justly might have

31 And he said un.
taken offence at his unbecoming reply, yet, with to him. Son, thou art
great gentleness, he said to him, Son, thou art al- that I have is thine.
ways with me, and art every day receiving some
token of my kindness; yea, all that I have is in

a manner thine, as thou art heir to the bulk of 32 my estatek : But surely, on farther considera 32 It was mect that tion, thou must acknowledge that it was fit

we should make merwe should feast and rejoice to-day ; for this thy this thy brother was

and be glad: for

ry,
poor brother', who was but lately looked upon dead, and is alive again,
as dead, is, as it were, miraculously made alive and was lost, and is

found,
again and he who was lost to us all, is now
happily found ; and it will much better become
thee to join with us in joy for his return, than
thus peevishly to quarrel with my indulgence to
him.

Now you, who have heard this parable, will
easily see how indecent this conduct was, and
how ungracious a figure this elder brother makes
in my story. And I will assure von, that when
you Pharisees murmur at the kindness shewn
to the publicans, or even the Gentiles them.
selves m, on their sincere repentance, you act
with as ill a grace, and are the objects of still
greater blaine, in proportion to the degree in
which men's eternal interests are more impor-
tant than those that relate merely to the present
state.

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IMPROVE

* All that I have is thine.) This is a considered this parable in a view of peculiar material intimation, and suggests a strong application to the Jews and Gentiles; and reason against murmuring at the indulgence have observed that the murmurs of the shewn to great sinners ; for as the joyful Jews against the apostles for preaching the welcome that the father gave this younger gospel to the Gentiles (see Acts xiii. 42 son did not incline him to disinherit the 50; xxii. 21, 22; and 1 Thes. ii. 16) elder brother, so neither will God, out of a are represented by the conduct of the elder partial fondness for remarkable penitents, brother.-This was certainly a case comraise them to a state of glory superior to prehended in our Lord's design; but he une that of those who have on the whole made doubtedly had something more in his ina greater progress in holiness, and done tention. He meant to shew, that had the him more constant and faithful services. Pharisees been as eminently good as they

1 This thy brother.] There is a lovely themselves pretended to be, yet it had been opposition between this and the 30th verse : very unworthy their character to take of. the elder son had there indecently said, This fence at the kind treatment which any sinthy son; the father in his reply tenderly cere penitent might receive. Thus does be says, This thy brother. And it is a mov here, and in many parallel texts, condemn ing intimation that the best of men ought their conduct on their own principles ; to look upon the most abandoned sinners though elsewhere, on proper occasions, he as in some respect their brethren still; and shews the falsehood of those principles, and should especially remember the relation, plaivly exposes their

hypocrisy and guilt. -when there appears any inclination to re Thus the judicious Calvin states the matturn.

ter ; and it is strange so many karned m To the publicans, or even the Gen- writers should have puzzled themselves tiles themselves.] Many commentators have and their readers in so cicar a case,

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Reflections on the

folly of sinners, and the kindness of God.

41

IMPROVEMENT.

SECT. cxxiii.

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Let us here behold, with all due attention, the moving representation which our gracious Redeemer makes of the folly of sinners, and the compassions of God; compassions, which he describes, as one who himself. felt them, and who in this respect, as well as others, was the express image of his Father.

We have before us in this parable a lively emblem of the character and condition of sinners in their fallen state. They are thus impatient of the most necessary restraints, thus fondly con- Ver. ceited of their own wisdom; and thus, when enriched by the 12 bounties of the great common Father, do they ungratefully run from bim, and say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways; (Job xxi, 14.) Sensual pleasures are 13 eagerly sought; and perhaps all their earthly possessions and hopes are quickly paid as the price of them. While the means of obtaining these pleasures continue, not a serious thought of God can 14 find a place in their minds: and then, perhaps, afflictions, heavy and complicated afflictions, come upon them; yet even under that pressure they will often make very hard shifts before they will 15, 16 be persuaded to think of a return; till at length Divine grace, working in concurrence with Providence, brings them to a better temper.

When they see themselves naked and indigent, enslaved and 17 undone; when they come to themselves, and recover the exercise of their reason, improving it to the only purposes for which it would have been worth while to have received it ;-then they feel the pangs of penitential remorse ; then they remember the blessings they have lost, and attend to the misery they have incurred. And hereupon they are disposed humbly to confess their 18, 19 folly, and to prostrate themselves in the presence of their heavenly Father : they put the resolution immediately into practice; they arise and go unto him.

But oh, let us behold with wonder and pleasure the gracious 20 reception they find from Divine injured goodness! He sees them afar off ; he pities, he meets, and embraces them; he interrupts 21 their complaints and acknowledgments with tokens of his returning favour. `Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord; (Jer. xxxi. 20.) Thus does God welcome the humble penitent; thus does he open the arms of his love to embrace him, and the treasures of his bounty to enrich

him.

cxxiii,

22,

42

Christ delivers the parable of the unjust sleward, SECT: him. He arrays him with the robe of a Redeemer's righteousness,

dresses him in the ornaments of sanctifying grace, honours him 23 with the tokens of adopting love, and invests him with the glori

ous privileges and immunities of his children. And all this be 24 does with unutterable delight: he rejoices over him with joy; he

rests in his love, and, as it were, rejoices over him with singing (Zeph. iii. 17); and this is the joyful language of the song, My children that were dead, are alive again ; and though they

were lost, they are found. 25, 32

Let heaven and earth unite in the joy, and echo back the song. Let no elder brother murmur at the indulgence with which these prodigals are treated ; but rather welcome them back into the family, and even encourage every thing that looks like a disposition to return to it. And let those who have been thus received, wander no more ; but rather let them emulate the strictest piety of those, who for many years have served their heavenly Father, without having in any notorious instances transgressed his commandments.

SECT. CXXIV.

Christ delivers the parable of the unjust steward, and reproves the

Pharisees for their covetousness and hypocrisy. Luke XVI. 1-18.

SECT. .

same was accused un

LUKE XVI. 1.

LUKE XVI.1. 0 UR Lord then spake another parable, by AND be said also

unto his disciples, cxxiv, which he intended to convince his hearers There was a certain

of the necessity of making a right use of their rich man which had Luke XVI. 1.

worldly enjoyments; and, having before rebuked a steward; and the the Pharisees for their envious and uncharitable to him, that he had temper, he said also to his disciples that were wasted his goods. about him, There was a certain rich man who had a steward, in whom he had long put great confidence; and he was at last accused to him, as having wasted his goods which had been intrusted 2 to bis care.

And calling him, he said unto 2 And be called hini, him, What is this strange account that I hear of low is it that I hear

and said unto him, thee? Can it be true that thou bast acted so this of thee? give an unjust and base a part ? Gire an immediate and account of thy stewexact account of thine administration and manage ardship; for thiou may

est he no longer stew. ment in this office; for thou canst be no longer aru. steward, with any honour to thyself, or satisfaction to me, while thou continuest under such imputations and suspicions as these. 3 And upon this, as might be well imagined, 3 Then the stoward the steward was much alarmed, and said within said within lineself

,

W ba; himself,

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