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duty you have deserted. Even whilst you are yet a great way off, they have compassion on you, and wish most earnestly to fall on your neck and kiss you Deny them not, therefore, by à continuance in your follies, só great and transporting a pleasure; büt return back tờ the protecting arms of your natural guardians and most assured friends, before it be too late. It is yet in your power to give joy and comfort to their declining age: it is yet in your power to gild the evening of their days with light and warmth, and to make them set in peace and pleasure. Bút should you neglect the present opportunity, you will soon have much to burden your conscience and embitter your future hours: you will bring down their grey hairs with sorrow,--the sharpest of all human sorrow,-to their grave: and when their eyes are closed in death, with what anguish will you reflect on your past undutifulness; with what earnestiress will you wish that you could recall thein back to earth, to testify your repentance to them, and to wipe away the tear of sorrow from their afflicted cheeks --And should it be your own tot hereafter to have the honourable name of parent, think, with what anguish must you for ever look down upon your own children: for should they prove disobedient and ungrateful, how must you feel the just punishment of your voL. it:
own disobedience inflicted by their hands; and should they, on the contrary, prove virtuous and amiable, how must it wound your heart to reflect, that you cruelly deprived your own parents of so unspeakable a satisfaction as you now, feel, that of seeing a beloved child grow up in the fear of God, in dutiful obedience to his parents, and in the love and esteem of mankind.
Lastly, Let us all remember, that in the same manner our Father which is in heaven will act to every returning sinner: he will forget their former provocations, and their iniquities he will remember no more: whilst they are yet a great way off, he will draw nigh to them, and prevent. them with his grace: he will have compassion on their weakness, and receive them with every mark of fatherly kindness and forgiveness : he will honour them in the sight of men and angels, and call forth all those expressions of joy, which are in heaven over one sinner that repenteth: lastly, his will be the affectionate language of the father in the parable," it was mect " that we should make merry and be glad; for " this my son was dead, and is alive again; he " was lost, and is found.”
When much people were gathered together, and
were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable : A sower went out to sow his seed : And as he sowed, some fell by the way-side; und it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it and choaked it.
THE leading characteristics of the stile of
the sacred writings are majesty and simpli: city: the one suited to the dignity of their divine author and the importance of the subjects contained in them, the other adapted to the temper and understanding of men, of all degrees, for whose advantage and instruction they were written.
These great characteristics are no where more conspicuous, than in those parables, which were made use of by our Saviour, to convey to the assembled multitudes, in a more striking and forcible manner, the weighty and interesting truths of religion. The subject of them is lofty and sublime, becoming the lips of him, who spake as never man spake: but the stile of them is simple and familiar; peculiarly fitted to engage the attention and reach the hearts of those, to whom they were addressed. We cannot, there fore, wonder, that “ all the people' were very " attentive to hear him,” or, as it is expressed in another place, that “ the common people “ heard him gladly.”
The short stories too, on which our Saviour's parables are grounded, are no less engaging, than the style of them is happily pleasing and instructive. Does he wish to represent to us the unavoidable confusion of good and evil men, in the present life, and the different fates which await them hereafter; how naturally does he set before our eyes the iningled tares and corn, the necessity of suffering both to grow together till the harvest, when the wise husbandman will order the one to be gathered into his barn, and the other to be burnt with unquenchable fire ! Does he wish to describe to us the miraculous
propagation of the Gospel, in the hands of a few fishermen, and under every possible seeming disadvantage; how fitly does he compare it to a grain of mustard-seed, in appearance small and contemptible, yet soon springing up into a tree, and affording shelter to the birds of the air in its wide and umbrageous branches ! Does he wish to impress upon the minds of his hearers, the rashness, and precipitancy of youth, the misery ever consequent upon sin, and the readiness of his divine father to receive returning criminals to his favour ; how pathetically does he paint to us an inconsiderate youth, quitting the protection of a kind father, rushing into the snares of ungoverned passions, languishing under the necessary.consequences of his vices, and, at length, on his repentance, received back by his indulgent parent with open arms, and every demonstration of sincere joy! Thus also in the words of the text, under the allegory of a sower, scattering his seed on various soils; how admirably does he represent the different effects, which the doctrines of christianity would produce in the world, according to the different temper and disposition of those who heard them!
Should it be thought any objection to what has . been now advanced in relation to the perspicuity of the parables used by our Saviour, that he ex