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lime, eternal, and ever increasing; fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.

For this good, we are here taught, the sinner has in this situation begun to entertain a relish. The prodigal no longer would fain fill his belly with the husks which the swine did eat. His palate began to relish the bread of his father's house, and turned a longing eye toward the solid sustenance which was there so amply furnished. The sinner, in the case supposed, begins to hunger and to thirst after righteousness.

Third, The sinner in this situation begins, also, to cherish a realising hope that this good may be his. Such a hope the prodigal plainly cherished. The remembrance, that even the hired servants in his father's house had bread enough and to spare, was accompanied with a prevailing hope, that, upon his return, the same blessing would be imparted to him. Accordingly, he determines immediately to arise and go to his father. Without such a hope he would have continued where he was, and perished on the spot.

The promises of the Gospel contains, and proffer to returning sinners, all the blessings which they need. In this situation the sinner begins to make the case his own, and to hope, and in some degree to believe, that these promises are addressed to him. His hopes are well founded and evangelical. The promises of the Gospel are directed to just such persons as he is. They were intended to encourage, allure, and support, sinners in this very situation; to keep them from despair, and to strengthen and uphold them in the mighty concern of turning to God. Every such sinner will find every such promise fulfilled to himself.

Thus have I followed the progress of a sinner through the several stages of his corruption and ruin to the commencement of his return to God, exhibited in so interesting a manner in this most instructive and beautiful parable. I will now conclude the discourse with a single remark. It is this, How happily adapted is the salvation of the Gospel to the circumstances of sinners!

Had this salvation not been offered freely, it would have

(1 Gal3110

been offered in vain. We owe ten thousand talents, and have nothing to pay. Unless, therefore, the debt be forgiven, we must be sent to the prison of punishment. But this forgiveness is in its nature free and sovereign.

In plainer language, we are sinners, have broken the law of God, and are rebels against his government. But the law, of

which not a single jot or tittle can possibly fail, has said, kommuns 6:23 The soul that sinneth shall die ;” and “Cursed is every one

“ who continueth not in all things written in the book of the “ law to do them.” Every sinner, therefore, is absolutely condemned by this most holy law; and, if left to himself, must perish

In this miserable situation, Christ, with wonderful love, with divine compassion, has interposed in behalf of our race; made an end of sin; finished transgression ; made reconciliation for iniquity; and brought in everlasting righteousness. The expiations which he has accomplished may become ours by faith in him, and repentance towards God. Thus we are introduced to the glorious hope of immortal life, and are called upon by a voice from heaven to return, repent, and live. Here every reason is furnished for comfort which in such a state can exist; every reason to bless God; every inducement to seek salvation.

But no hope is here presented to him who is quiet in his sins, and satisfied with his own righteousness. He is the prodigal in the text, in his most forlorn situation. He may be, and often is, not less at his ease, not less gay, not less riotous,

not less unconscious of his situation. He may say, as others krusiin

before him have said, “ I am rich, and increased with goods, s and have need of nothing." Still he is not the less wretched and miserable, and in want of all things. All within him is beggary, all without is famine. His only food is husks, and his only destiny to perish with hunger, and that while bread enough and to spare is prepared for his enjoyment, and ready for his acceptance. God is waiting to be gracious to him. Christ holds out to him the bread of life. Heaven opens its gates for his reception. Angels are prepared to

welcome the forsaken wanderer to its immortal blessings, and saints to see him added to their number, increasing their happiness, and mingling in their praise, while he, poor, starving, famishing wretch, clings to his misery, hugs his ruin, and wiser in his own eyes than the God who made him ; glories in the wisdom which plans and executes the eternal destruction of his soul.




LUKE xv. 18—24.

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him,

* Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son ; make me as one of thy hired servants.' 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 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.' 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; 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.'"


In the preceding discourse from the former part of this parable, after explaining its general nature, I observed, that we are taught by it the following doctrines.

I. Sinners regard God no farther than to gain from him whatever they can.

II. Sinners waste the blessings which they receive from his hands, and reduce themselves to absolute want.

III. Afflictions are very often the first means of bringing them to a sense of their condition.

IV. When they first acquire this sense they usually betake themselves to false measures for relief.

V. This situation of a sinner is eminently unhappy.

VI. The repentance of the Gospel is the resumption of a right mind.

Under this head I observed, that among the things which the sinner realizes, when he first comes to himself, are the following:

First, His own miserable condition.

Second, That in the house of his heavenly Father there is an abundance of good.

Third, A hope that this good may be his.

I shall now proceed in the consideration of the progress a sinner towards his final acceptance with God as it is exhibited in the text. With this design, I observe,


I. True repentance is a voluntary exercise of the mind. “I will arise, said the prodigal, and go to my father.”

The determination expressed in this language was spontaneous, and flowed from the present state of his heart as naturally as any effect from any cause ; for example, as his former determination to leave his father flowed from the disposition which he possessed at that time.

There are those who believe that God creates, immediately, all the volitions of the mind. There are others who reject the doctrine, and who nevertheless appear, at least, to admit, that he created all its volitions. Both


in my view, erroneous. The Scriptures appear to me everywhere to speak of man as an agent in the true and proper sense. When angels were created they were furnished with all the powers of such an agent, and with a disposition, propensity, (or what in the Scriptures is called heart,) to use them in a virtuous manner. Such a disposition is communicated to the human soul by the



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