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Are such resolutions then wrong? Are they useless ? No, they are neither wrong, nor useless. But let us in future do this—let us remember how utterly weak we are, and let us make all our resolutions, God helping us. Let us throw ourselves on the Lord, and beg of Him to give us grace and strength to carry them out. And most assuredly He will give us the desired help. His strength will be made perfect in our weakness.
And here we must leave the Prodigal for the present-having come to himself-having reflected on his deplorable condition--and having resolved at once to go, and implore forgiveness from him whom he had so long forsaken.
Now, some one who is reading this may perhaps be ready to exclaim, “That thoughtless Prodigal is just the very likeness of myself. My Saviour has painted that picture, as it were, for me. In that mirror I see no other than myself. I have been seeking my happiness away from God-far off from my proper Home. And I have indeed suffered for my folly. I am without God, and without grace. I am destitute. The husks of this world afford no nourishment to my soul. I long for better
Believe me, a time of hunger will come to every soul, whether we now feel it or not. And oh the misery of feeling it, when it is too late to satisfy it. There is spiritual food in abundance, suited to our wants. And God loves to “ satisfy the empty soul, and fill the hungry soul with goodness.” . Or, it may be, you are one who has “ tasted
the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come”; but you have fallen back, and are now minding earthly things. I do not ask if you are happy: I know you cannot be. No swine's food, nor anything of this world, can satisfy a soul that has been awakened. Go at once, and cast yourself at your Father's feet. Seek again the happiness you once enjoyed in His blessed service. Christ is the only real food. He is the Bread of life-the Bread of Eternity. Take Him for your true support, and you will hunger no more. “Your soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and your mouth shall praise him with joyful lips.”
“ 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 musick 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 intreated him. And he 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 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.
LET us now examine the remainder of this Parable. We left the Prodigal with the firm resolution in his mind to go and throw himself at his Father's feet, and implore his forgiveness.
He had come to himself. He had seen his folly. He had felt his wretchedness. He had resolved to return home, if indeed one so utterly undeserving could find acceptance. He is already on his way. His face is turned towards his Father's house; and his mind is probably filled with many an anxious thought
-“ How will my Father receive me? What will be his feelings towards his rebel Son ? I remember how kind he was to me in days gone by-how tender-how loving. I remember the treatment I used to receive from him. But since then he may be changed towards me. I have so long abused his goodness, and so often thwarted his wishes. Ah, if I have my deserts, I shall be rejected. His door will be shut, and his heart closed, against me."
On he goes however towards the wellknown spot of his earlier days. Every field, every house, every tree reminds him of the happiness he once enjoyed. But can that happiness be ever again his portion ? He probably sends forward a message to say that he is on his way. And before he gets within sight of home, he sees in the distance his Father coming forth to meet him. This encourages him; and as he draws near, he judges from his Father's countenance that he has the same heart towards him that he ever had that the same feeling of love still dwells within him—and that years of waywardness and ingratitude have not quenched it. And as his Father runs towards him, and falls on his neck, and embraces him, he seems to say, “Father, I deserve not all this. I have sinned