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the sight of God, and never can see his kingdom, till their hearts are changed. I call on the careless, thoughtless, prodigal, sinful of every kind, to repent; because God requires at their hands an unqualified renunciation of sin and application to his mercy. I I call on every unconverted man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, high or low, to repent; because without it they must perish, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. And now is the time, while the Father's arms are outstretched, and he is ready and willing to hear. Long has he called, and long have all classes of you, my hearers, refused; long has he besought, and ye have refused to listen. Put off this all-important business no longer, lest you overstep the limit of divine pleasure, and be given over to eat of the fruit of your own ways. Dear brethren, I see no way of escape but that you all take the method of the Gospel. There is not one of you but who has wandered from God. If you have already repented and returned; if you are now giving up yourselves to God, happy are ye; but if yet there has not passed upon your souls the essential change from sin unto holiness, little as you may be disposed to view the matter in its serious aspect, you are exposed to all the terrible consequences of your alienation. You are as much without hope as without God, and the word of God places you in the awful predicament of condemned and ruined sinners. I beseech you, turn and live; let not your carelessness be the ruin of your souls.
souls. God is ready, but heavy, heavy will be the retribution of love insulted and despised. Soon you must stand where the only prospect will be that of "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.” Now you may
escape it, and God waits to be gracious : let this day be distinguished by some soul determining to seek the shelter of the cross, its pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace: and oh, this day, let there be cause for a song of thanksgiving among the hosts of God who rejoice over repenting sinners.
PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON.
LUKB XV. 32.
I HAVE already stated to you what I believed to be the true interpretation of the parable, and in a previous discourse remarked, that there were two ways in which it might be drawn to practical results. The first was, by deducing from the parable its legitimate practical inferences; and the second was, by making it the basis of a series of practical reflections, which, though not meant as legitimate inferences, might, with the utmost propriety, be grafted in it. The first of these methods was adopted in my last discourse on this text; the second is intended in the present.
Of all the parables spoken by our Lord, this.is, probably, the one which allows the largest scope to practical accommodation. It is so chaste in its style, so beautiful in its conception, so natural in its story, so touching in its details, and so harmonious in its bearings, that it is peculiarly adapted to the purposes of instruction. There are three great leading principles which may be grafted on it; and these, with the minor truths which so happily describe individual character, will render it an adequate subject of large discussion and peculiar interest. We may view it as giving illustration to the following topics.
I. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SINNER IN HIS STATE OF CARELESSNESS AND UNCONCERN.
II. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SINNER IN HIS CONVERSION TO GOD.
III. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD'S GREAT MERCY AND COMPASSION.
I. Observe the minuteness with which it
may be applied to this subject—“And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”
1. The sinner in his worldliness.
2. In his increasing estrangedness from God“And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country.”
3. His reckless unconcern—“And there wasted his substance with riotous living."
4. His entire disappointment—"And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want."
5. His resort to the most wretched expedients“ And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the busks that the swine did eat."
6. His utter desertion—"No man gave unto him.”
1. “And he said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.” In the case of every unconverted individual the world is all; there is nothing above, and nothing beyond it. The practical language of the heart is—“Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” The first, great, paramount, leading desire of every individual whose heart is not right with God, is the accumulation of this world's goods. To this, health, comfort, enjoyment, every thing is sacrificed. There is nothing in the shape of labour which is too hard, nothing in the form of sacrifice which is not willingly endured. Look at your own experience on this subject. Brethren, what is there in this wide world which occupies more waking thoughts, or which receives a greater measure of intense exertion ? Is there
any one feeling which rises more spontaneously in your bosom? Is there one which is indulged with more delight, or pursued with a keener avidity than that which settles on the acquisition of this world's goods ? I am solicitous, under this head, of fixing your attention only on the fact, and would have you to enter within yourselves, and ask yourselves the question, whether there is a single controlling thought which finds a willing place in your minds which may not be comprehended in the brief summary of the Apostle of all that is in the world, viz:-" The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” This, the Apostle tells us, is all that is in the world; and to an unconverted man this is all the