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king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost bis savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

May our most serious attention be fixed on so important a truth; and may this plain and candid declaration of our Lord be duly regarded by us, as ever we desire to find the advantage of that relation to him in which we are so ready to glory! If we would not be cast out with disdain, and trampled under foot as worthless and vile, let us be solicitous that there may be the salt of Divine grace in our hearts; and let us undertake a religious profession with that deliberate consideration, which becomes a matter of such great importance. A hasty purpose will never bear us through the difficulties we must expect to encounter; and rash vows and thoughtless adventures, in this case, will only expose, us to the derision of others, and the keener remorse of our own minds.

Nor is the nature and evidence of religion such, as to have any reason to fear the severest examination. The demands of Christ are indeed high; that the nearest relatives should bé abandoned, and even life itself sacrificed for his sake; that we be at least martyrs in resolution, and have so much of a reciprocal affection for him, as, shall, like his love to us, be stronger than death. Yet how.reasonable is the demand! Did he leave his Father's bosom for us, and shall we scruple to abandon our houses and our kindred for him? Did he expire on the cross for us, and shall not we be ready to take up our crosses and follow him ? Shall it not be delightful to us to trace his most painful steps, and by the most costly sacrifices to approve our gratitude and our duty ?

Blessed Jesus, lead us! and by thy grace we will follow thee, whatever be the path, whatever be the burden, whatever the terror of the way; knowing that if we partake with thee in thy sufferings, we shall at length share with thee in thy consolation and thy glory! (2 Tim. ii. 12.)

SECTION XLIX.

Luke xv. 1410. Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 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 called 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 joy shall be in heaven Over onę șinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

How graceful and lovely does our Lord appear, while thus opening his compassionate arms and heart, to these wretched outcasts, for whose souls no man cared ! Who can choose but rejoice at this jubilee, which he proclaimed among them, and at the cheerful attention which they gave to these glad tidings of great joy?. May we, who are his followers, never despise the meanest or the worst of men, when they seem disposed to receive religious instruction; but rather exert ourselves with a distinguished zeal, as knowing that the joy of the heavenly world in their recovery will be in some measure proportionable to the extremity of their former danger.

Let us often recollect the charity and goodness of those perfected spirits, who look down from their own glory with compassion on mortals wandering in the paths of the destroyer, and who sing anthems of thankfulness and joy, when by Divine grace they are reclaimed from them. Let every sinner be touched with a generous desire, that he who has been in so many instances the offence and burden of the earth, may become the joy of heaven by his sincere conversion. And let the solicitude with which the little possessions of this world are sought, when they are lost by any accident, engage us more earnestly to seek what is infinitely more valuable, our own salvation, and that of the immortal souls of others. May we in our different stations labour successfully for their recovery; that we may another day share in that higher joy, which angels and glorified saints shall express, when they see them not only reduced to the paths of virtue and happiness, but fixed in abodes of eternal glory!

SECTION L.

Luke xv. 11-32. 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 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 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 killed 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 an

answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, 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 is 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.

Let us here behold, with all due attention, the moving representation which our gracious Redeemer makes of the folly of sinners, and the compassions of God; compassions, which he describes, as one who himself felt them, and who in this respect, as well as others, was the express image of his Father.

We have before us in this parable a lively emblem of the character and condition of sinners in their fallen state. They are thus impatient of the most necessary restraints, thus fondly conceited of their own wisdom; and thus, when enriched by the bounties of the great common Father, do they ungratefully run from him, and say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. (Job xxi. 14.) and who sing anthems of thankfulness and joy, when by Divine grace they are reclaimed from them. Let every sinner be touched with a generous desire, that he who has been in so many instances the offence and burden of the earth, may become the joy of heaven by his sincere conversion. And let the solicitude with which the little possessions of this world are sought, when they are lost by any accident, engage us more earnestly to seek what is infinitely more valuable, our own salvation, and that of the immortal souls of others. May we in our different stations labour successfully for their recovery; that we may another day share in that higher joy, which angels and glorified saints shall express, when they see them not only reduced to the paths of virtue and happiness, but fixed in abodes of eternal glory!

SECTION L.

Luke xv. 11-32. 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 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 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

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