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CHAPTER XXI.

JESUS TEACHING AGAIN BY PARABLES.

And now I think you will be glad to hear that I have some more very sweet parables

to teach you.

:

One day, when Jesus was dining in a Pharisee's house, He taught the people who were there in this way: “A certain man made a great supper, and invited many people to come to it. At supper-time he sent out his servants to tell them that all was ready. And now these people found out that they had other things to do, so that they could not find time to go to the feast. One of them had bought a piece of ground, and he said he must go and look at it; another had bought six yoke of oxen, and was going to prove them : so he could not

he was.

room.

go; another had married a wife, and therefore he could not go. Do you not think the master would be very angry when he found that none of those men would trouble themselves to go to his supper ? Indeed

He desired his servants to go quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and to bring in the most needy and wretched creatures they could find. When they had done this, there was still plenty of

The lord then sent them into the highways and hedges, to bring in any poor travellers or strangers whom they could find, that his house might be filled.

Now I hope you know what is meant by this feast : it is the Gospel of the grace of God. I think Jesus meant to teach the Jews that this Gospel had been offered to them. They had been invited to the feast; but they would not receive Him, nor believe his word, so they would not come. Therefore the Gentiles would next be invited.

There is something, too, for us to learn from this parable. We are all invited to the feast spoken of. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah lv. l.) The ministers of Christ are his servants, sent out to tell us that all things are ready. But many begin to make excuses. Some say they are too young ; some say they are too busy. But this is very, very sad, and if people go on trifling with God's mercy in this way, they cannot wonder if He should say at last, that they shall not taste of his supper.

But now you shall hear how gracious God is to those who are willing to turn to Him. There are three beautiful parables on this subject. Many publicans and sinners drew near to hear Jesus. The proud Pharisees murmured against Him, for having anything to do with such people. Then it was that Jesus spoke these parables :

1. If a man had a hundred sheep, and one of them be lost, would he not leave the ninety-and-nine, and go in search of that one,

until he found it? And when he did find it he would lay it on his shoulders, and and carry it home. All his friends would come and rejoice with him over the lost sheep.

2. If a woman had ten pieces of silver, and lost one piece, what would she do? Why, she would light a candle, and sweep the house, and look until she found it. She, too, would call all her friends and neighbours together, saying unto them, “ Rejoice with me, for I have found my piece which

, was lost.” Just so, Jesus says, “ There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” How wonderful it seems, does it not, dear children, that bright and holy angels in heaven should rejoice over one poor sinner on earth ?

Listen to another parable. It is called the Parable of the Prodigal Son. A certain good and kind father had two sons. The younger son could not make himself happy in his father's house, so he wickedly asked his father to give him all the money that was to come to his share. Then he left his home, and went away into a far country. Oh, how hard his heart must have become, before he could make up his mind to leave such a good father! Now I dare say he thought he should be very happy; he could do just as he liked, for no one was there to control him. Very soon he had spent all his money in his wicked pleasures, and now what must he do? A famine arose in the land, and none but those who were very rich could afford to buy proper food, it was so dear. When he was nearly starved, he went to keep swine for a man who lived in those parts. So little food was allowed him that he would have been thankful to have eaten some of the husks which were given to the swine: but no one gave even

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