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THE PRODIGAL SON. Luke xv. 34, to


the end.


Mother, let us have the Pro

digal Son, to-night.'

MRS. M. 'I admire your choice, George; but why should we pass over the two parables that precede it in the same chapter?' GEORGE. 'I did not recollect them, mamma, but I will read them now, if you please. "And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? and when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he cometh home,

he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me: for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance.' Luke xv. 3-8. MRS. M. “This parable is addressed to the Pharisees who murmured at our Lord for eating with publicans and sinners. They proudly fancied they needed no repentance; and our Lord here designs to shew them that much as they boasted of their outward observance of the Law, yet would the repentance and conversion of one of these publicans and sinners, whom they so much despised, be more acceptable to God, than all their hypocritical professions. Our blessed Saviour often speaks of himself as a shepherd. I am the good shepherd that giveth his life for the sheep, John x. 11. the careful loving shepherd, who diligently with toil and labour seeks his lost or straying sheep, and ceases not till he finds it; and when he has found it, rejoices

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over it with exceeding great joy." His object seems to be here to point out to the Pharisees, that among these despised persons there may be some of God's flock whom the faithful shepherd will seek out and find; will call and convert; while the "ninety and nine," the larger number of self-righteous pharisees, secure in their own imaginary righteousness will remain unsought by the shepherd, unconverted, unsanctified.'

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EMILY. Mamma, shall I read about the woman and the piece of silver that she searched for so diligently?'

MRS. M. 'Do, Emily, George ought to have read it, I believe, before we came to speak of the other.'

EMILY. "Either what woman, having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and search diligently till she find it; and when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost." Does not that seem as if she was very covetous, mamma?'

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MRS. M. But, Emily, consider what is meant by the piece of silver, and the searching for it. It intimates the value of a soul in the eyes of God. He wishes not that one should be lost. "He wishes not that any should perish." The woman lighted the candle." The Lord lights the candle of the gospel, making it to shine on the sinner's heart and understanding. The woman "swept the house." The Lord by his Holy Spirit sweeps out the corrupt desires and evil tempers of the natural man. The woman 66 searches diligently. " The Lord uses various means. The woman finds the piece, and rejoices. So does the Lord joyfully welcome the pardoned, converted sinner, into his Heavenly mansions, and "there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.'


EMILY. Now, mamma, I see the meaning of it, and I think it is quite beautiful; it is a pleasure to think how God loves our souls, and that though he may please to kill our bodies, still he will take care of our souls.'

GEORGE. 'Now mamma, my Parable, I

will read myself. sons and the younger of them said to his Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey and went 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 the 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 when 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 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 us one of thy hired servants. and came to his Father.

"A certain man had two

And he arose,


when he was

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