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of address to inculcate the same truth. The infinite mercy of God to sinners, and the kind reception they will find, when they are enabled to repent and return, is the great doctrine which runs through his gospel, and this is the great design of all his undertakings; to accomplish this, to remove every difficulty which attended it, to overcome and subdue every power which opposed it, and to publish the glad-tidings to a sinful world, he left the glories of the heavenly regions, he veiled the dignity and glory of his heavenly nature and condescended to become man; he was a partaker of the evils consequent on sin, that sinful men might be delivered from them; he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that we might be partakers of substantial and eternal joy ; and he died that we might live. To publish this great truth, and to prevail on the world to receive it, was the whole design of his ministry; every doctrine he advanced, every miracle which he wrought, had a natural tendency to promote this benevolent design; and this great end, in various forms of instruction, and various methods of address, he invariably pursued during the time of his abode on earth. And that no method of address, no form of instruction, might be omitteil, which would powerfully operate on the mind and prepare it for the reception of a truth, so worthy of God, so friendly to man, our Lord condescended to appeal to the feelings of humanity; and from the natural affection which an offended father feels for a repenting son, he urged the certainty and the extent of divine forgiveness.

The parable which our great Redeemer proposed with this view, is the finest picture of nature; it contains all the beauties of just description, and is particularly calculated to engage the attention and affect the heart: the evangelist Luke hath given it in the following words: A certain man had irvo sons : And the younger of them said to his Father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he di

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vided unio them his living. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land ; and he began to be in want. 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 husks that the swine did eat; and no man gave

unto him. And rihen he came to himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father's have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger ! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him, father, I hure 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 ugainst 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 uring 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. And they began to be merry. Now his eldest son was in the field; and as he came and drew nign to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant, And he said unto him, thy brother is come : and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him sufe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in; therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering, said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve ther, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment, and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends : but as soon as this thy son ze'us come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots,

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thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, son, thou art ever with ine, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again ; and was lost and is found. Luke xv. 11. to the end.

The design of this parable is manifested at first sight, and stands a beautiful and unfading memorial of the fullness, the freeness, and extent of divine mercy, to the greatest of sinners; it not only declares that it is the fixed determination of heaven to forgive, and that mercy is an essential attribute of deity, the brightest star in the eternal crown; but it shews that this glorious disposition of heaven to forgive, entirely coincides with the feelings of humanity; for the eternal God condescends to appeal to that paternal tenderness which he hath planted in the human breast, in vindication of his own conduct in pardoning sinners, and in explanation of the nature and extent of his mercy.

If this parable be applied to the particular case with which it stands connected, it contains a reproof which the blessed Jesus directed to the Pharisees for their murmuring at his condescending kindness to publicans and sinners; and hereby they are taught that if they would resemble the holy and happy inhabitants of the celestial regions, they would not murmur and complain, and look down with envious pride, and suilen contempt while he conversed with those who were noted for being habitually and prevailingly wicked, but would rejoice to see such persons pursue those methods which might tend to their reformation and final salvation ; nor would the gladness of heart they might express on this occasion, be any reproach to ihat strictness and purity which they value themselves upon; ' for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.

Our Lord having thus vindicated his own conduct, in his condescending kindness to publicans and sinners, by shewing the vast extent of divine mercy, and the pleasure which the happy inhabitants of the heavenly regions take in the pardon of the worst of sinners, and their restoration to divine favour ; he then delivered a parable to impress on the minds of his hearers the necessity of attending to the concerns of futurity. This he exemplified in the case of the unjust steward, who being warned by his lord to give up his stewardship, took such measures as were likely to procure him a subsistence when he had lost his present employment : ' There was,' said our great Redeemer, a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest Le no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do ? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship; I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, how much owest thou unto my Jord? And he said, an hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, and how much owest thou ? And he said, an hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation, than the children of light. The scope of our Lord's argument

' in this passage, is apparently this: as a prudent thought for futurity, and a steady pursuit of those means which tend to prevent apprehended evils, though those means may not be approved as lawful in themselves, are sufficient to denominate a person wise : with what earnest attention, and unremitting application ought those

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who have eternity in view, to pursue the precepts of heavenly wisdom, and to make all lesser events subservient to the greater end of obtaining eternal happiness : “And I say unto you, added our great Redeemer, ' make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.'

The Pharisees, whose hearts were set upon the things of this world, and who had but very feeble and contracted views of eternal things, derided this doctrine of our great Redeemer; but he after giving them a seasonable reproof, produced by a striking and most remarkable parable, to shew the vanity of riches, and the vast importance of eternal things : • There was, said he,' a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom : the rich man also died, and was buried : and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeth Abra

, ham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, father Abraham have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue ; for I am tormented in this fame. But Abraham said, son, remember that thou, in thy lite-time receivedst thy good things,and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you, there is a great gulph fixed : so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot: neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee, therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house ; for I have five brethren ;

2 that he may testify unto them, Jest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him,

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