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and repeating and illustrating this joyful truth by no less than three parables, spoken before the l'harisees, for the encouragement of the greatest sinners to come to thee.

sinner that repenteth, more than over uinety and nine-just persons which need no repentance. 8. Either 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? 9. And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her

3. And he spake this parable | unto them, saying, 4. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6. And when he cometh home, he call-neighbours together, saying, Reeth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one

joice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10. Likewise, I say unto you, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Lord Jesus, give us true repentance, for it is thy gift. Our souls are like lost sheep; and thou hast come to seek that which was lost. Didst thou long seek us, Lord? And didst thou not find us at last; and carry our souls home to thy Father? Yea, when long without food, and worried by the beasts of prey, they were not able to go, thou carriedst them on thy shoulders.

But

if it was so, alas! some of us have wandered away and `lost ourselves again. O seek and find us. O give us true repentance in the full extent of it. Let not our Lord be angry when we plead for our lives. Take a divine joy in saving these souls. Say to thy saints and angels in heaven, "This night rejoice with me. for I "have found this and that soul which was doubly lost." Immortal souls are very precious in thy sight. O let our Saviour have infinitely more joy in the salvation of us and ours, than the men of this world have in finding treasures which they had lost. And deliver us, O Lord, from the envious disposition of the Pharisees. May we rejoice in the conversion of sinners, the greatest sinners, and in their advancement to be the most eminent saints; VOL. I.

S

like those loving spirits of heaven, who rejoice when the basest and vilest of men are raised to an equality with themselves.

SECT. LXIII.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son.

fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23.

11. And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riot-And bring hither the fatted calf, ous living. 14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat and no man gave unto him. 17. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and

and kill it; and let us eat and
be merry:
24. For this my
son was dead, and is alive again;
he was lost, and is found. And
they began to be merry. 25.
Now his elder son was in the
field: and as he came and drew
nigh to the house, he heard mu-
sic and dancing: 26. And he
called one of the servants, and
asked what these things meant.
27. And he said unto him, Thy
brother is come; and thy father
hath killed the fatted calf, be-
cause he hath received him safe
and sound. 28. And he was
angry, and would not go in:
therefore came his father out,
and entreated him. 29. And
he answering, said to his father,
Lo, these many years do I serve
thee, neither transgressed I at
any time thy commandment:
and yet thou never gavest me a
kid, that I might make merry
with my friends: 30. But as
soon as this thy son was come,

which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32. It

was meet that we should make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Heavenly Father, we will confess our own folly and wretchedness, and thy adorable mercy. We were like the prodigal son, who, not content with the happiness of his father's house, took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance in riotous living. Some of us wasted and abused our health, and youth, and leisure, and attention, and memory, and whatever other talents and opportunities thou gavest us, and well nigh ruined both our souls and bodies. Our condition was as poor and wretched as his who was sent into the fields to feed swine, and would fain have filled his belly with the husks which the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him. But didst not thou, oh compassionate Saviour, bring us to ourselves, and make us sensible that there was bread enough in our Father's house, and to spare, while we perished with hunger? Didst thou not reveal thy Father to us, as our Father, and determine us to go to him, and say, "Father, we have sinned against heaven " and before thee, and are no more worthy to be called thy sons; make us as thy hired servants?" And before we had done these things, while we were yet a great way off, didst not thou, oh heavenly Father, pity us, and run to meet us? Didst thou not receive us into thy house, and clothe us with the best robe of thy Son's righteousness, and give us the earnest of thy Spirit in our hearts, crying, “ Abba Father?" If it has been so with us, blessed be thy name for evermore. Yea, it will be blessed, and ought to be blessed, though we should perish; but we have peculiar reason to do it if thou hast dealt thus with us. But if we have been deceiving ourselves; if we are yet feeding on husks, and beside ourselves; oh, Father, Father, let our wretchedness move thy pity. In every lucid interval we would cry to thee, " Father, "we have sinned against heaven and before thee, and

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are no more worthy to be called thy sons; make us as any of thy hired servants, the meanest and the sorest "toiled of them all. Only do not banish us from thy "house, oh our Father. What profit is there in our "blood when we go down to the pit? Shall the dust "praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O our "Father, and have mercy upon us for Christ's sake." We hope thou wilt for though indeed we do not deserve it, thou knowest he deserves ail; and he hath put these words in our mouths; he hath furnished us with these arguments in this gracious parable.

We rejoice also to find in the sequel, that when the elder son murmured that the returning prodigal had been better treated than him, thou didst patiently bear this unkind reflection, and overcamest his evil with good, saying, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have "is thine. It was meet that we should make merry and "be glad; for this thy brother was dead, and is alive "again; and was lost, and is found." This also is very encouraging: Glory to thee for the exceeding riches of thy grace, displayed in thy kindness towards sinners through Christ Jesus.

SECT. LXIV.

The Parable of the unjust Steward.

CHAP. XVI.

ardship? I cannot dig; to beg

AND he said also unto his I am ashamed. 4. I am re

disciples, There was a cer- solved what to do, that, when tain rich man which had a I am put out of the stewardsteward; and the same was ac- ship, they may receive me into cused unto him that he had their houses. 5. So he called wasted his goods. 2. And he every one of his lord's debtors called him, and said unto him, unto him, and said unto the How is it that I hear this of first, How much owest thou thee? give an account of thy unto my lord? 6. And he said, stewardship; for thou mayest An hundred measures of oil. be no longer steward. 3. Then And he said unto him, Take thy the steward said within himself, bill, and sit down quickly, and What shall I do, for my lord write fifty. 7. Then said he to taketh away from me the stew-another, And how much owest

ful in that

10. He that is faithwhich is least, is faithful also, in much: and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much. 11. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12. And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

thou? And he said, An hun- | bitations.
dred measures of wheat. And
he said unto him, Take thy bill,
and write fourscore. 8. And
the lord commended the unjust
steward, because he had done
wisely for the children of this
world are in their generation
wiser than the children of light.
9. And I say unto you, Make
to yourselves friends of the
mammon of unrighteousness;
that, when ye fail, they may
receive you into everlasting ha-

Thou thyself hast directed us what improvement to make of this parable. Are the children of this world so wise in improving their wealth and opportunities, and providing for futurity? Save us, Lord, from being thoughtless and negligent about heaven, and the means of grace, and the day of salvation, and the eternal state of our souls. Oh, make us wise with respect to these great and necessary things; and give us to make to ourselves friends of the mainion of unrighteousness, that, when we fail, Thou, O Lord Jesus, mayest receive us into those everlasting habitations, which thou art preparing; and mayest send thy friendly angels to carry our souls thither, who perhaps will be attended with some of thy saints, to whom we have been helped to do any good. Oh, what a joyful day will that be! Blessed be thy free grace.

Lord, grant we may be faithful in disposing of whatever thou hast given us, according to thy will. Save us from being careless how we bestow it, because it is little. But may we remember thy words:" He that is faithful in "that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he that "is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much." Lord, give us not the riches of this world, but give us true riches; and give us to be faithful to thee as stewards, as servants, in the perishing things of this life; in the hope of that gracious promised reward in the possessions of eternity purchased and made sure by thy blood.

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