Wright - BT300 W8 1788

and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, and his APOSTLES, &c. 167 fazo him, and had compa zon, and ran, and fell on his neck and kpd him. And the fon faid unto him, Father, I have finned againft heaven, and in thy fight, and am no more worthy to be called thy fon. But the father faid to his fervants, Bring forth the be/t robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and.ffioes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it: and let us eat, and be mercy : for this my fon was dead, and is alive again; he was loft, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his eldell fon was in the field; and as he cameand drew nigh to the houfe, he heard mufic and dancing. And he called one of the fervants, and afked what thefe things meant. And helaid unto him, Thy brother is -come; and thyfather hath killed the fatted calf, becaufe he hath received him fafe andfound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreatedhim. And he anfwering, faid to hisfather, Lo, the( many years do I ferve thee, neither trapfgrefd' I at any time thy commandment, and yet thou never gav me a kid, that I might maki merry with my fryiends: but as foon as this thy fon was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou halt killed for him the fatted calf. And hefaid unto him, Son, thou art ever with, me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that wefhould make merry, and be glad: for this thy brither was dead, and is alive again; and was loft, and isfound. Lukexv. i i. to the end. The defign of this parable is manifeft at firft fight, and Hands a beautiful and un- fading memorial of the fulinefs, the free- nefs, and extent of divine mercy to the greateft of finners ; it not onlydeclares that it is the fixed determination of heaven to forgive, and that mercy is an effential attri- bute of deity, the brighten {tar in the eter- nal crown; but it [hews that this glorious difpofition of heaven to forgive, entirely coincides with the feelings of humanity: for the eternal God condefcends to appeal to that paternal tendernefs which he hath planted in the human breaft, in vindication of his own conduel in pardoning finners, and in explanation ofthe nature and extent of his mercy. If this parablebe applied to the particular cafe with which it flando conneeled, it con- tains a reproof which the bleffed Jefus' di- reeled to the Pharifees for their murmuring at his condefcending kindnefs to publicans and finners; and hereby they are taught that if they would refemble the holy and happy inhabitants of the cceleftial regions, they wouldnot murmur and complain, and look down with envious pride and fullen contempt while he converted with thofe who were noted for being habitually and prevailingly wicked, but would rejoice to fee fuch perlons purfue thofe methods which might tend to their reformation and final falvation; nor would the gladnefs of heart they mightexprefs on this occafion, be any reproach to that firiélnefs and purity which they value themfelves upon ; for there is joy in heavers over one (inner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine juft perfono which needno repentance. Our Lord havingthus vindicated his own conduit, in his éondefcending kindnefs to publicans and finners, by [hewing the vafl extent of divine mercy, and the pleafure which thehappy inhabitants of the heavenly regions take in the pardon of the work of finners, and their reftoration to divine fa- vour; he then delivered a parable to im- prefs on the minds of his hearers the ne- ceffity of attending to the concerns of fu- turity. This he exemplified in the cafe of an unjuft leeward, who being warned by his lord to give up his ftewardfhip, took fuch meafures as were likely to procure him a fubfiftance when he had loft his prefent employment: There was, faid our great Redeemer, a certain richman, which hada fteward ; and thefame was accufedunto him that he hadwafted his goods. And he called him, andfaiduntohim, How is it that Ihear this of thee? give an account of thyfteward- fhipi; for thou mays be no longer / leward. Then thefiezcard faidwithin hìmfelf, What /Ball I do_?for mny Lord taketh away from me