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Luke xv. 11 to 32. “ 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.
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
gave unte 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 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 against 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 a ring 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 elder son was in the field : and as he came and drew nigh 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 safe 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 thce, 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 was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, 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.”
1. What was the Prodigal's first sin ?
Leaving his Father's house, and demanding his property; he who departs from God, will be surely exposed to sin and sorrow. 2. What was his second sin ?
Wasting his substance with riotous living; sinful pleasure destroys property, as well as ruins the soul.
3. What was the Prodigal's first sorrow ?
When he had spent all, a mighty famine arose, and he began to be in want. “ Wilful waste leads to woeful want.” Worldly pleasures produce a mighty fainine" in the soul. 4. What was his second sorrow ?
He was hired as a servant, and sent into the fields to feed swine ; a most base and disgusting employment, especially in the opinion of a Jew. Sin leads to slavery, shame, and degradation.
5. What was his third sorrow ?
He was so oppressed by want, that he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him. The husks could no more satisfy the human appetite, than the pleasures of sense and sin can satisfy the rational soul. Profiligates feel no compassion for the sorrows of those who once were their companions in riotous living.
6. What were the signs of the Prodigal's repentance ? He came to himself-he saw his folly and madness he thought of his Father's house--and he was sensible of his own perishing condition. Thus must we think of the heavenly Father whom we have offended, and meditate on our ways, and mourn over our sins.
7. What was the Prodigal's resolution ? "I will arise, and go to my Father.” Thus, a sense of our sins should lead us to God, and never drive us from him. We at once acknowledge our aggravated offences, and assure ourselves of a gracious pardon, when we considered God as our Father. His love at once makes our sense of guilt deeper, and our hope of pardon greater.
8. What prayer did the Prodigal resolve to present to his Father?
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.
9. What spirit does this prayer show ?
Deep penitence-sincere self-abasement-earnest entreaty-and glimmering hope.
10. Did the Prodigal delay in applying to his Father ?
No: his wants were too pressing-he arose at once, and came to his Father. Thus, a proper sense of our own guilt will urge us to apply, without delay, to Christ, for the pardon of our sins.
11. As the Prodigal appeared, how did his Father receive him?
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.-(ver. 20.)
12. Did the Prodigal now remember his humble prayer ?
Yes, he began it: but his Father would not allow him to finish it; but interrupting him, immediately commanded his servants, “ Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring 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." -(ver. 22, 23, 24.)
13. What should this conduct of the Father teach us?
That God is willing to forgive all returning penitents; and not only to pardon them, but to sanctify them, to support them, and to bless them, for the sake of Jesus Christ, whose blood cleanseth from all sin.
14. What was the scene relative to the elder brother intended to teach?
That the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees were blameable in abusing Christ for receiving publicans and sinners*---that repentance and remission of sins would be granted to sinners of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews--and that we should always rejoice in the return of every penitent, to that God whom he has offended.
* See ver. 1 and 2.