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164 But his Elder Brother rėpinės and resents it : Sect. 123. the House, be heard the Sound of Musick and came and drew nigh to the w Dancing, and was surprized at the Discovery of

f House, he heard Musick and

Dancing. Luke xy. such unusual Joy. And calling one of the Ser26,

26 And he called one of vants, he enquired of him, what was the Meaning the Servants, and asked what of these Things, and what could have occasioned these Things meant. this extraordinary Rejoicing? And be said _.27 And he said unto him, to him. It is because thy younger Brother is come the Father hath killed the

Thy Brother is come ; and Home; and thy Father is fo transported with Joy fatted Calf, because he hath at his unexpected Return, that he has killed the received him safe and sound.. fatted Calf, and made a very splendid Entertainment, because he has received him in good Health again, and found him happily recovered to a Sense of his Duty. And he was very angry at

28 And he was angry, the kind Reception of his Brother, and resolved and would not go in : that he would not go in.

His Father therefore, hearing he was there, and - Therefore came his Fa. being told he had discovered fome Uneasiness, ther out

ther out, and intreated him. came out with great Condescension, and calmly intreated him to be pacified, and to join with

them in the Festivities of the Day. , 29 But instead of rejoicing on so happy an Oc 29 And he answering; casion, and running to embrace his penitent Bro

said to his Father, Lo, these:

many Years do I serve thee, ther, he was still full of Envy and Resentment, neither transgressed I at any and replied to his Father, Behold, I have served time thy Commandment, thee these many Years, and even to this Dav am and yet thou never gavelt as careful of thy Affairs, as if thou wast my merry with my Friends :.

* mea Kid, that I might make Master, rather than my Father ; nor canst thou fay, I have at any time departed from my Duty, or transgressed thy Command; and yet thou hast never given me so much as a kid, to make an EN:, !. . '; i

tertainment with a few of my select Friends :. . 30 But as soon as ever this thy favourite Son was 30. But as soon as this thy

come, wha has, as much as in him lay, devoured Son was come, which hath thy Substance with Harlots Abroad, in a long

– devoured thy Living with

a 108 Harlots, thou hast killed for Course of scandalous Debaucheries, to his own him the fatted Calf. Ruin, and the Infamy of the Family, thou hast killed for him the fatted Calf, and made him as welcome, as if he had been the most dutiful Child upon Earth. . And tho’ his Father justly might have taken 31 And he said unto him,

Son, thou art ever with me, Offence at his unbecoming Reply, yet with great and all that I have is thine. Gentleness ke said to him, Son, thou art always with me, and art every Day receiving fome Token of my Kindness; yea, all that I have is in a man

ner

32.

While his Father acquaints him, how fit it was to rejoice: 165

- ner thine, as thou art Heir to the Bulk of my Sect. 123. 32 It was meet that we Estate (k): But surely, on farther Considera y a should make merry, and be tion, thou must acknowledge, that it was fit we

Luke XV. glad : for this thy Brother Pas dead, and is alíve again: mould feast and rejoice To-day; for this thy poor and was lost, and is found..' Brother (i), who was but lately looked upon as

dead, is as it were miraculously made alive 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 peevithly to
quarrel with my Indulgence to him.

Now you, who have heard this Parable, will
easily fee, how indecent this Conduct was, and
how ungracious a Figure this elder Brother makes
in my Story. And I will assure you, that when
you Pharisees murmur at the Kindness shewn to
the Publicans, or even the Gentiles themselves (m),,
on their fincere Repentance, you act with as ill
a Grace, and are the Objects of still greater Blame,
in Proportion to the Degree in which Men's
Eternal Interests are more important, than those-
that relate merely to the present State. -

(F) All that I have is thine.] This is a material Intimation, and suggests a strong Reason against murmuring at the Indulgence shewn to great Sinners: For as the joyful Welcome that the Father gave this younger Son, did not incline him to disinherit the elder Brother; so neither will God, out of a partial Fondness for remarkable Penitents, raise them to a State of Glory, superior to that of those, who bave on the whole made a greater Progress in Holinefs, and done him more constant and faithful Services.

(1) This thy Brother.] There is a lovely Opposition between this, and the 30th Verse :: The elder Son had there indecently said, This thy Son; the Father in his Reply tenderly fays, This thy Brother. And it is a moving Intimation, that the best of Men ought to look. on the most abandoned Sinners, as in some respect their Bretbren still; and should especially remember the Relation, when there appears any Inclination to return.

(m) To the Publicans, or even the Gentiles themselves.] Many Conamentators have con-sidered this Parable, in a View of peculiar Application to the Jews and Gentiles; and have observed, that the Murmurs of the Jews against the Apostles, for preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, (see Aits xiii. 42, 50. xxii, 21, 22, and i Thef. ii. 16.) are represented by the Conduct of the elder Brother. This was certainly a Case comprehended in our Lord's Design; but he undoubtedly had something more in his Intention. He meant to thew, that had the Pharisees been as eminently good, as they themselves pretended to be, yet it had been very unworthy their Character, to take Offence at the kind Treatment, which any sincere Penitent might receive. Thus does he here, and in many parallel Texts,, condemn their Conduct on their own Principles; tho' elsewhere, on proper Occasions, he lbews the Fallhood of those Principles, and plainly exposes their Hypocrisy and Guilt.Thus the judicious Calvin states the Matter; and it is strange, so many learned Writers thould have puzzled themselves, and their Readers, in so clear a Case.

Which any fincere Penite on their own Principainly expose

IMPROVE,

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Sect. 123. T ET us here behold, with all due Attention, the moving Represen

L tation 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 bis 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 Luke xv, 12. of the most necessary Restraints; thus fondly conceited of their own

Wisdom ; and thus, when enriched by the Bounties of the great common
Father, do they ungratefully run from him, and say unto GOD, Depart

from us, for we desire not 'the Knowledge of thy Ways. (Job xxi. 14.) Ver. 13.

Sensual Pleasures are eagerly sought; and perhaps, all their Earthly Pof

sessions and Hopes are quickly paid, as the Price of them. While the Ver. 14. Means of obtaining these Pleasures continue, not a serious Thought of

God can find a Place in their Minds: And then, perhaps, Afflictions,

heavy and complicated Amictions, come upon them ; yet even under Ver. 15, 16. that Pressure, they will often make very hard Shifts, before they will

be persuaded to think of a Return; till at length Divine Grace, working

in Concurrence with Providence, brings them to a better Temper. Ver. 17. When they see themselves naked and indigent, inslaved and 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 Re

morse; then they remember the Blessings they have lost, and attend to Ver. 18, 19. the Misery they have incurred. And hereupon they are disposed humbly

to confess their Folly, and to prostrate themselves in the Presence of their Heavenly Father : They put the Resolution immediately into Prac

tice; they arise, and go unto him. Ver. 20. But oh, let us behold with Wonder and Pleasure, the gracious Recep

tion they find from Divine injured Goodness. He sees them afar off ; he Ver. 21. pities, he meets, and embraces them; he interrupts their Complaints and

Acknowledgments, with Tokens of his returning Favour. Is Ephraim my dear son? is be a pleasant Child? for fince I fpake against him, I do earnestly remember him ftill: Therefore my Bowels are troubled for him; I will fürely have Mercy upon him, faith 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. Ver. 22, 23. He arrays him with the Robe of a Redeemer's Righteousness, dresses him

in the Ornaments of fančtifying Grace, honours him with the Tokens of adopting Love, and invests him with the glorious Privileges and Immu

er. 24.

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and on the Kindness of GOD to returning Prodigals. 167 nities of his Children. And all this he does, with unutterable Delight : Sect. 123. He rejoices over him with yoy; he rests in bis Love, and, as it were, rejoices m 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 tho they were loft, they are found.

Let Heaven and Earth unite in the Foy, and echo back the Song. Let no Elder Brother murmur at the Indulgence, with which these Pro. Ver.25,-32. digals 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 tranfgreffed bis Commandments.

SECT. CXXIV.
CHRIST delivers the Parable of the unjust Steward, and

reproves the Pharisees for their Covetousness and Hypo-
crisy. Luke XV1,----18.

LUKE XVI. I

LUKE XVI. I. AND he said alfo unto his O U R Lord then spake another Parable, by Sect. 124. A Disciples, There was a

which he intended to convince his Hearers certain rich Man which had a Steward ; and the fame

of the Neceflity of making a right Use of their Luke XVI.. was accused unto him, that Worldly Enjoyments; and having before rebuked he had' wasted his Goods. the Pharisees for their envious and uncharitable

Temper, be said also to bis Disciples, that were
about him, There was a certain Rich Man, who had
a Steward, in whom he had long put great Con+
fidence; and he was at last accused to him, as have

ing wasted his Goods, which had been intrusted to
2 And he called him, and his Care. And calling him, be- faid unto him, 2:
faid unto him, How is it What is this strange Account that I hear of thee?
that I hear this of thee?
give an Account of thy Stew. Can it be true, that

Can it be true, that thou hast acted so base a Part? ardship; for thou mayest be Give an immediate and exact Account of thine Adno longer Steward. ministration and Management in this Office ; for

thou canst be no longer Steward, with any Honour
to thyself, or Satisfaction to me, while thou con-
tinueit under such Imputations and Suspicions as
these.

And

168 . CHRIst delivers the Parable of the unjust Steward, Sect. 124. And upon this, as might be well imagined, 3 Then the Steward faid

the Steward was much alarmed, and laid within within himself, What Thall Luke XVI. himself. in the Reasonings of his own Mind, away from me the Steward.

I do? for my Lord taketh What shall I do, in this unhappy Situation of my ship: I cannot dig, to beg | Affairs? for my Lord is taking away my Steward.

hip, and with it I shall lose my Sublistence. I am
not able to dig, or to apply myself to any other
laborious Work of Husbandry (a); nor can I ex-
pect, under this Load of Infamy, to be trusted
by another in the Business I have been accustomed
to; [and] I am utterly ashamed to beg my Bread,
after having lived so handsomely in the World
thus long. And after a Pause he added, I 4 I am resolved what to
have at length bethought myself, and now know do, that when I am put out
what I will do; an Expedient offers itself to my

mus of the Stewardship, they may

my receive me into their Houses. Mind, by which I may secure myself Friends, so that when I am removed from my Office, they

may receive me into their Houfes. 5 And in pursuance of this Scheme, having called 5 So he called every one every one of his Lord's Debtors to him, whom he of his Lord's Debtors unto

him, and said unto the first, could hope to oblige by so fraudulent a Propo- How much oweft thou unto fal, he determined to lower the several Articles in my Lord ? his Book, which stood chargable to the Account

of each; and said, for Instance, to the first, How 6 much owest thou to my Lord? And he said, An 6 And he said, An hunhundred Baths of Oil (6): And he said to him, Take

dred Measures of Oil. And

he said unto him, Take thy thy Bill, in which thou hast acknowledged the

Bill,

Receipt (a) I am not able to dig, or to apply myself to Husbandry.] Raphelius, (Annot. ex Xen. pag. 104, 105.) and Elsner, (Obferv. vol. i. pag. 251.) have thewn, that the Word oraflew signifies in general, to cultivate the Land, and especially to prepare it for Seed ; which was one of the most laborious Parts of the Husbandman's Work, in which DayLabourers were employed ; and consequently, most fit to be mentioned by this Steward, who having been used to a delicate and luxurious Way of living, would naturally think of such a Change of Life in the most discouraging View. The Expresion, vX 190w, I am not able, or strong enough, to do it, has also a peculiar Beauty in this View, which is lost in our Transation, and in most others.

(b) Ån hundred Baths of Oil.] The Greek Word Bales, is evidently derived from the Hebrew Dina, which we render Baths in the Old Testament. (1 Kings vii, 26. 2 Chron. ii. 10. Ezra vii. 22,) According to Bishop Cumberland, it contained about Seven Gallons, Two Quarts, and Half a Pint. Compare Joseph. Antiq. lib. viii. cap. 2. S. 9. The Measure of Wheat, kopos, mentioned in the next Verse, is the 770, Cor, or Homer of the Hebrews, containing about Eight Bufbels and an Half, Winchester Measure. The Word Homer being familiar to an English Ear, I have retained it in the Version. This Homer contained Ten Ephahs, or Baths; (Ezek. xlv. 11. 14.) and each of these latter Ten Omers. (Exod. xvi. 36.) Twenty Homers, which he allowed the Debtor to deduct, were above I wenty

Quarters of Whiat, and might be as valuable as Fifty Baths of Oil; so that the Obligation conferred on both these Debtor's might be equal.

les in the mort laborionfequently; ms Way of lig ens presion, mis on en is loft in

oyed ; anticate and luxuring View, Tuhy in this views

numberland Tament. Evidently de

(k) Take

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