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worthless wretch, they turn me from their doors. There is my father's house! No; I will not go back. But I am starving. What shall I do? I must be humbled; but if I must, I will be humbled when my

l friends and relatives know it not. I'll go and hire myself a servant, a slave; I am too proud to look my father in the face, and ask his forgiveness, and so I'll do any thing but return to my forsaken home. . In this state of mind he hired himself to a citizen of that country, and that citizen, if he had known all that passed in the proud mind of the unhumbled prodigal, could not have adopted a more effectual means of bringing him to the depths of degradation—“He sent him into his fields to feed swine.” It was there, in this prostrate condition, that he began to look upon himself, and just try to see what he was. And when he saw the utter degradation of his condition, a condition to which he had reduced himself, and when he found that lower he could not go, it was enough to make him think seriously; and it was while contemplating the wretchedness of this situation, that the determination of returning reason came over him—“I will arise and go to my father.” My dear brethren, it is the case of almost every sinner that ever comes to a state of true conversion, that he fights against the humility of a return to God. To get rid of the necessity of humbling himself before God, he humbles himself ten thousand times more in his own, and in the estimation of others; and he tries if this plan will not answer, and then another and another. Repent, turn to God as a poor,

lost sinner; I cannot consent to it; I am unhappy; I know I am unsafe; but to repent, and do it now; to go back to God, and let it be seen that I am poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked—it is too much. I'll think about it; perhaps some time I may. Poor soul, you must humble yourself before God. You are starving; you are the servant of Satan; you are doing the meanest offices to him; you are working for the wages of death, and in the mean time you get nothing but husks. You are afraid of humbling yourself before God. Look at yourself, as an unconverted sinner; can you be lower in the eyes of God than you are ? As an unconverted sinner, angels pity, and the devil scorns yousends you to feed his swine, and scorns you. The awakened sinner becomes a little softened ; as he looked on himself, one tear found its way to his eye. I am destitute, poor, forlorn. God despises and chastises me. What shall I do? There is my Father's house, but I cannot go there. What shall I do? I am perishing by famine. My Father's house ! I am humbled; I am subdued—“I will arise and go my

Father.” There is another characteristic of the character of an awakened sinner in the progress of his conversion, his determination of mind. Here is repentance begun; this is its living principle—“I will arise and go to my Father," and I will tell him all. Let me gain his love once more. I am determined.

Brethren, I advise every unconverted sinner among you thus to come to himself, and, with the prodigal, to return to God. The completion of this determination we will consider in another discourse.

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SERMON X.

PAR ABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON.

LUKE XV. 32.

In illustrating the character of an awakened sinner, by the history of the prodigal son, we left him when just come to the determination to retrieve, if possible, his prostrate condition—“I will arise and

go to my father.” But there is still a difficulty in the way. The very determination suggests the necessity of a suitable humiliation. The state of the prodigal's mind appears to have been this: I have taken my determination now to return to my father; but in leaving the kindness of his care and protection I was both ungrateful and presumptuous, as in all my subsequent conduct I have been grossly wicked. I will return; I have made up my mind to that; but it is due to my kind and compassionate father, to make the very humblest acknowledgments of my guilt and unworthiness. And this I will do—“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 here again we observe the characteristics of an awakened sinner. The man who is brought from a state of mental derangement to see his lost and perishing condition, and in whose mind, suggested by the Spirit of God, there springs up the determination to retrieve, if possible, his condition, knows and feels that there is the most clear necessity for a deep and full confession of his unworthiness and guilt. The man whose mind is awakened to a sense of his condition, sees, and sees clearly, that every part and parcel of his unconverted life has been beyond the possibility of excuse. It is a bad sign when an indi

a vidual seeks, by any means whatever, to excuse himself. I have been placed in such and such situations. I have had such and such duties. I have been deterred by such and such embarrassments. I would have turned to the Lord, I wished to have done it, but found so many difficulties in the way. All these and such like excuses are the marks of an yet unhumbled soul. No man truly awakened by the Spirit of God ever makes them. They are suggestions of the devil, and lies put into the mouth by the grand destroyer. The truly awakened man will say-I ought to have given my heart to God. I have been a most ungrateful wretch that I have not done it. I know that it has been my duty every day that I lived, and I feel that I have been not only ungrateful, but presumptuous. I have slighted the mercy and loving kindness of God. I have, in effect, trampled on his goodness, and while I knew better, I have wilfully gone on in "treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.” I do not pretend

to excuse myself; I have no excuse. God's command ought to have been obeyed, and I have not even the shadow of an apology. I am entirely naked and destitute. I have sinned against light and knowledge, love and mercy. There is no language appropriate to me but the language of David“ Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight;" the language of Job—“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes;” the language of the publican—“God be merciful to me a sinner;" the language of the prodigal—“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee." It is thus that the truly awakened sinner shuts himself up from excuse, and he makes up his mind that as this is his real condition, he must and he ought to confess it to God. What would be the benefit of his efforts to conceal it? My dear brethren, yet unconverted, God sees and knows that you have no

I am aware that Satan is busy in suggesting to your minds, that had you been in other situations you would have been more disposed to turn to repentance and live. But you may depend upon it, that God is perfectly acquainted with the whole matter, and no delusions of self-justification can be practised upon Him who reads the heart. You have no excuse. Your life has been one series of ingratitude and presumption; trampling on love, despising mercies. You might as well be humbled and confess it. If you are ever savingly awakened you will confess it; and if ever a real and sincere determination of repentance settles on your minds, it will be accompanied with a most perfect disposition to ac

excuse.

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