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make me as one of thy hired 20 A most affecting picture this, of servants. 20 And he arose, the blessedness which follows a deep and came to his father. But and hearty repentance *. when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 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 22 The prodigal had “confessed his to his servants, Bring forth sin;" and God, his Father, was the best robe, and put it on “faithful and just to forgive him his him; and put a ring on his sins,” according to his word. hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again ; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 The Jew—the elder brother** Now his elder son was in murmured that the Gentile was adthe field ; and as he came mitted with him to all the privileges and drew nigh to the house. of sonship and inheritance. he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in : therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 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 : but as soon as 'this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. "And he said unto him, Son,
31 « From the beginning, Thou hast thou art ever with me, and been with me”_“ 1, too, have been all that I have is thine. It with thee by my prophets and my Was meet that we should spirit. Thou hast ever been with
ake merry, and be glad: me, and called by my name.” (Is. for this thy brother was dead,
Ixiïi. 19.) and is alive again : and was lost, and is found.
In how striking and instructive a manner is God's care for our souls were displayed. Because there is in man a power of destroying by sin that soul which God would fain be preserved in holiness here, and in
So we humbly trust, that as soon as an erring soul resolves by ne grace to return into the way of righteousness, that resolce is tantly met by the Spirit of God, and the very first thought of penince has the blessing of heaven_“Seen yet a great way off.”
happiness for ever, he watches over that power, with unceasing vigilance, even as a shepherd over his flock ; by night and by day, in our darkest sorrow, and our brightest hour of joy. O let us, like the prodigal, feel our own unworthiness, and henceforth serve him in filial love and reverence, till he call us to our inheritance in heaven.
MARCH 5, JULY 4, Oct. 30. And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward ; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord ? And he said, an hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord com- & Observe ! the guilt of injustice in mended the unjust steward, this steward remains : though it is because he had done wisely: impossible not to give him credit for for the children of this world worldly wisdom *. are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 9 And I say unto you, Make 9 What worldly advantages for to yourselves friends of the have—wealth, power, influencemammon of unrighteousness; them to the honour of God, and the that, when ye fail, they may
welfare of your fellow-creatures;
lest, not faithful as a steward of Gods receive you into everlasting bounty for others, you be faithless in habitations. He that is faith- the care of that greater treasur ful in that which is least is wherewith he hath entrusted the faithful also in much; and for thyself—thine own immortal soul he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much. I therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And I
The worldly wisdom which he applied in order to extricate him from temporal difficulties, is instructive, as furnishing us with a uselu lesson, applicable to the means we must adopt in the management of our spiritual concerns-even by a right use of that heavenly wisdom, whiel is free to us all.
ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is 13 You are now serving God in his your own? 13 No servant house of prayer. Lay aside then the can serve two masters : for service of the world. Let not thoughts either he will hate the one of care or pleasure now disturb you. and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot 14 So now the faithful in Christ, serve God and mammon. whether minister or people-how "And the Pharisees also, often are they mocked and derided ! who were covetons, heard all Yet, like their Master, they must go these things: and they de- on, boldly witnessing to the truth. rided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts : for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery : and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. "'There 19 Having reproved the Pharisees, was a certain rich man, which he proceeds with his discourse, was clothed in purple and touching the use of worldly advanfine linen, and fared sump- tages. tuously every day : and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table : moreover the dogs came and 22 If each lead holy and righteous licked his sores. 22 And it lives, “ rich and poor meet together” came to pass, that the beggar in heaven. The poor and afflicted clied, and was carried by the Lazarus rests with the rich and angels into Abraham's bosom: princely Abraham *. the rich man also died and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip
.. The eternal state of Dives and Lazarus is in awful contrast. The difference, however, was caused neither by the riches of the one, nor the poverty of the other ; but by the difference of their lives in their several conditions. Lazarus bore his misery and indigence in a truly religious spirit of patient submission to the will of God. Dives was hardened against the sufferings of others, abused the good gifts which heaven had bestowed upon him, lived to this world, and died reckless of the next.
the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed : so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him 28 Do you set a good, or a bad er. to my father's house : 28 for I ample to your family ?—Pause ; and have five brethren ; that he consider, that a bad example may
bring others also to the place of tor may testify unto them, lest
ment. If you care pot for yourself, they also come into this place you care for them!!- What an affectof torment. Abraham saith ing picture of unavailing remorse unto him. They have Moses have we in this wicked Dives! and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham : but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. ” And he
31 We are apt to fancy, that if we said unto him, If they hear had lived when Christ was upon not Moses and the prophets, earth, and had seen Him ; we should neither will they be per- have had a more lively faith in Himsuaded, though one rose from or if God would permit us to & the
angels which minister to us, that we the dead.
should have a more spiritual, even a heavenly disposition towards Him. But this is self-deception. We have ample testimony for a humble mind-and for a proud mind no testimony is sufficient.
MARCH 6, JULY 5, Oct. 31. ' Then said he unto his dis. Though evil will always prevail ciples. It is impossible but to a certain extent, theirs is a heary
sin, who either by precept or ex. that offences will come: but :
t'ample, by disbelief or cavilling, cause woe unto him, through whom others to go aside from the path of they come! It were better truth. for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to your- 3 This decisive conduct is as wise selves : If thy brother tres- as it is holy. It is by brooding over pass against thee, rebuke him; offence and injury, that anger and and if he repent, forgive him. revenge so often get the mastery. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt
forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6 And the Lord
All spiritual difficulties vanish said, If ye had faith as a before a resolved faith. grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea ; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat ? and will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink ? Doth he thank that servant because 'ne did the things that were commanded 10 As the servant is bound to do his him ? I trow not. 10 So master's will, so are we bound to do likewise ve. when ve shall the will of God : and yet claim neihave done all those things ther merit, nor thanks. which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off : 1 and they 13 The lepers felt the misery of lifted up their voices, and said, their state, and therefore sought reJesus, Master, have mercy on lief. We must first feel the misery us. And when he saw them, of sin—its wages, death. Surely, he said unto them. Go shew then, we shall gladly seek its reyourselves unto the priests.
medy. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks : and he was a Samantan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed ? but where are the nine? 18 If there be one fault of character * There are not found that more base than another, it is that of returned to give glory to God, ingratitude. save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee 20 “ My kingdom is not of this whole. 20 And when he was world : its coming therefore is not demanded of the Pharisees, attended with outward show." when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation :
neither shall they say, Lo 21 It is only when we obey the laws here! or, lo there! for, be- of Christ, that we feel Him to be our hold, the kingdom of God is king.