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rejoiced in seeing their lost outcast brethren, the Gentiles, restored to the privileges they once enjoyed in common with them. And now observe, my children, though this parable beautifully describes the full, free forgiveness of a tender loving father; yet does it shew with equal force, the deep humility, the heartfelt penitence of the erring child, and the degradation and misery to which the devil reduces his unhappy victims; strongly expressed by the prodigal's trying to fill himself with the husks, the food of swines. And remember what it was that caused this degradation, this extreme misery; it was a departure from his father's house, a casting off the authority of an earthly parent. How often have we all disobeyed the commands of a heavenly Father! How have we wasted the gifts he has bestowed upon us! What
delight have we taken in the vain idle pleasures of the world, wasting upon them time and money which might have been bestowed upon our suffering fellow-creatures!
GEORGE. I ought to have thought of
that, mamma, when I threw away so much money upon that foolish ornamented knife, while a plain one would have cut just as well.' MRS. M. We have all many such causes of self-reproach, George; and let us remember, that though we may not be stained with so many crimes as this poor prodigal, yet we all stand in need of the mercy of a loving Father; and let us humbly implore that Father to blot out our trangressions; and if there should arise in our hearts any of the self-righteous murmuring of the elder brother, when we see the gifts of our heavenly Father bestowed upon those whom we may deem unworthy of them, let us recollect that we too are by nature unworthy of the smallest gift he bestows upon us, either spiritual or temporal; and that it is He alone" who maketh us to differ," and enables us to avoid those crimes and failings which we condemn in others. And oh! may we all be amongst the flock of the faithful Shepherd, who will not suffer even his weakest lamb to perish! may we be received with joy among the angels in
heaven, restored to the favour of our heavenly Father, clothed in the spotless robe of our Redeemer's righteousness, and sealed with his Holy Spirit; may we all be guests at the "marriage supper of the Lamb;" all together share in that happiness which can never be taken away, in that joy which is from " everlasting to everlasting." Amen.
EMILY. Mamma, I am afraid you have fatigued yourself; our conversation has been longer than usual, and you have spoken with such energy.'
MRS. M. 'I am a little tired, but this subject animates me so, I cannot restrain my feelings; there is something so cheering, so beautiful in the picture drawn in this parable, of the merciful forgiveness of our heavenly Father, which is so touchingly depicted in the tenderness of a father towards a long lost repentant child, that I could dwell upon it much longer.'
GEORGE. • But dear mamma, you look very pale; do not speak any more; and
Emily and I will try to think of what you have been saying, till papa comes in.'
MRS. M.Thank you, my boy; and I will offer up a mental prayer, that, not my weak words, but the full meaning of this beautiful parable may sink deep into your young hearts and be remembered and cherished there, long after these lips shall have ceased to speak, or this heart to beat; even when the spirit that now animates this poor weak body shall have ascended to the God who gave it.'
THE UNJUST STEWARD.-THE
AND LAZARUS.-Luke xv. 1–9, 19 to
MRS. MANSFIELD. Well, George, I suppose you and Emily found your walk very pleasant, as you staid so late.'
EMILY. • We did indeed stay too late, mamma, and I beg your pardon for not being ready to attend you before dinner.'
GEORGE. 6 But, mamma, Emily was not like the prodigal son wasting her father's gifts, she was making a good use of them; do not blush Emily, you need not be ashamed. You may remember, mamma, papa gave her a little pocket-money the day I came home, and I foolishly thought she was a stingy