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many years, and be highly esteemed by others, we are very far from being lively and animated Christians. Indeed, to be made alive by grace, is an inestimable mercy; but then you must not forget the same God can make you. lively. Go then in secret, humble prayer, and ask for the desired blessing; and let this consideration encourage you, that your Saviour, enthroned in glory, saith, My grace is sufficient for you.
Tuou art the source and centre of all minds,
THE BEST ROBE.
LUKE Xv. 22.
This spotless robe the same appears,
IN this admirable parable of the prodigal són is exhia bited, in the most striking manner, the love of God to repenting transgressors. The order of the compassionate parent to produce the best robe to cover the naked. ness of his son is a lively description of God's abounding goodness in covering the penitent sinner with the best robe of the righteousness of Jesus.
Eor our present improvement, through the medium of this parable, let us contemplate the righteousness of Christ, under the charming emblem of a ROBE;_inquire to whom the order is given to produce it, and the truly interesting purpose for which it was designed.
1. A robe is a long outer garment, which being worrig at once defends, delights, and adorns, and is admirably expressive of that personal, universal obedience to God's law, with which, as rational creatures, we should be: covered, in order to stand with acceptance at the bar of justice. Such a moral robe our first parent Adam, for a time, wore in Paradise ; but, like the prodigal son, by disobedience, he lost his robe, and his righteousness became de filthy rags. Not he alone, but all his posterity were involved in. equal ruin ;. and each individual son, fron.
this corrupt parent, makes himself more prodigal and vile by actual, incessant crimes. In that most depraved state, mankind must have sunk beneath eternal woe, had not the EVERLASTING FATHER provided a new and a better robe, through the obedience and death of Jesus Christ our Lord! Christ, therefore, is called the second. Adam the Lord from heaven--the Lord our righteouse ness. Thus, as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners ; 80 by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. I presume to call this robe an outer garment, as it is chiefly visible to the eyes of God, of Angels, and of men, denominating the justified character of him who wears it, and proving him to be accepted in the Beloved. Likewise, as the robe covers all within, so it is to be distinguished from that inner work of truth, righteous ness, and sanctification, wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost; yet both the outer and the inner form the characteristic garments of a true Christian. . .
Let us also remember, that a robe is formed of many threads, closely woven, and thus made ready for its intended use. Jesus, therefore, according to the prophecy, was to bring in everlasting righteousne88. He came to fulfil the law, that not a jot thereof might fail; and if I may so say, Wrought every thread of the law in his own obedience, so admirably compact in every part of his private and mediatoral life, as to form a complete robe for prodigal sinners. A robe, not unaptly expressed by the garment in which the Saviour appeared to be crucified, which was without seam, woven from the top throughout. This robe, therefore, must be received whole and entire, without the least addition or diminution, by every returning prodigal who seeks justification and eternal life in the mansion of our everlasting Father!
In this instructive parable it is called the best robe: Better than that of Adam's in Paradise, and superior to Angels in glory; for theirs were the righteousness of crea. tures, and therefore mutable; but this is the righteousness of God. It is the best robe that heaven could be stow, and proved to be the best by numberless prodigals who have been covered therewith. It is a wedding robe, provided for the best of purposes; the highest degree of interest, and the most charming union ! Not a perfection of humanity, not a communicative attribute of divinity, but what shine in this robe with inconceivable brilliancy! In it we can happily approach the throne of grace while on earth; and in it, thousands stand before the throne of glory in heaven!
Since this robe is so inestimably precious; how is it that any returning prodigal obtains a sight of it, and is enabled to receive it as his own? This was the next inquiry.
2. The father said unto his servants, Bring forth the best robe. By his servants I presumę is intended the Ministers of the Gospel ; who are truly the servants of the Most High God, for the important purpose of waiting upon returning prodigals, and showing unto them the way of salvation. But is it in the power of man to produce the robe, and to cover the sinner for his justification before God? Is it not God that justifieth? Most assuredly it is. So in this parable, it was the father's robe, deposited in his house, and brought for ward at his command. He might have returned from the field, and brought it forth with his own hand; but it was his pleasure to use means which should issue in his own praise. Thus it
God, by the simplicity, v preaching, to save them that believe. The servant,
therefore, like the Minister of God, obeyed his master's orders; he knew the robe, and where to lay his hand upon it: with animated heart he brought it forth, flowing in his hand, commanding the attention of all! Hence we learn, that it is the indispensable privilege of every Minister of the Gospel, experimentally to know, and to explain the ROBE OF IMMANUEL'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. He finds it ready to his hand in the wardrobe of the Scriptures; and from his own experience commends the fitness and importance of it for others. Indeed, he is never so happy on earth as when ordered by his Lord, in season and out of season, to preach the durable riches and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
However, to return to our question, Whether it be ir the power of a returning prodigal to put on this prepared robe for his comfort and honour? I shall just say, that God bestows his most blessed Spirit, by which faith, like the hand, takes the robe, and enjoys the benefit of it. Therefore Paul said, We are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. We are justified by faith. So that in the application, as well as the preparation of the robe of righteousness, every returning prodigal is indebted to the Lord.
3. The interesting purpose for which the best robe was produced, demands our next inquiry. It is with pleasure that we answer, not to aggravate the wretchedhess of the prodigal, by being held in contrast with his defiled garb; but to cover his misery, to adorn his person, and to introduce him to his father's house. It was, therefore, put upon him; it became his by the free gift of his forgiving father; and he could not but know it. So, the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ, is unto all, and upon all them that believe. And