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it would be inconsistent with his designs and his justice, to grant him the privileges of a child? No, not a word like it. What did he say? Do you recollect the first words his father uttered on this occasion? “But the father said to the 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." All this was in. tended as a demonstration of the joy of the father, on that happy occasion. Now what do you see in this? You see that grace abounded much more than sin. Sin had abounded on the part of the son; but on the part of the father, grace abounded much
more.—The questión now comes up, namely, what Les effect had this superabundance of grace on the feel
ings of the son? Did he say, “Father, I am surprised at your kindness; I did not expect this. You are very imprudent. I shall certainly go away again. I will dishonour you more than ever; for I perceive that all my sin has not alienated your
afC2 fection. You seem to love me more than before, =14 and I find that where sin abounds, grace much more
abounds; so that I may as well commit all the sin I can!” He did not say so, did he? No. Now I ask you this question, Why did he not? Your candid answer is, “ Because he could not-he was dead to sin, and did not desire to leave his father's house."?, And why did he not? Because the grace flowing from his father's heart produced an equilibrium of love and affection. He and his father enjoyed the society of each other-they sat down and supped: together. This was the pleasure grace was capable
of producing in the heart of a transgressor then, and it will do the same now. And I presume you are ready to allow, that the abounding of grace had not any tendency to lead this youth into a repetition of his sins.
I will ask your attention to another circumstances illustrative of the same subject.--You remember that Simon the pharisee invited the Saviour to dine with him, and Jesus accepted the invitation. What it was that induced Simon to give this invitation, we are not informed. But probably it was, that Simon had heard of the fame of the Saviour;, and the question arose, whether Jesus was a true prophet, or an impostor; and he thought if he could get him to his house, he could decide the question. Jesus went. And a woman who was a sinner-(you will observe, that the pharisees used the same terms that are now in use, sinner and saint)-a woman came in with an alabaster box of very precious ointment, to anoint the head of our Lord. She also washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. Simon stood a silent spectatorHe looked on and reflected, and came to the conclusion in his own mind, that if this man were a prophet, he would know what manner of woman this. was; and she being a sinner, he thought that Jesus was also a sinner, and an impostor. He made up his mind, I suppose, to permit the thing to pass off quietly, and to allow his guest to depart as soon as he pleased. But the matter concluded differently. Jesus said, “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he said, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor, which had two debtors: the
one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered, and said, I suppose-[he said he supposed, but he knew all the time]--I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, thou hast rightly judged. And he turned unto the woman,
and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?' I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: [oil is a much cheaper article than ointment, ]—but this woman hath anointed
feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." Here closed the interview on this occasion. And what do you see in all this? -“Why I see the very dangerous doctrine, that grace abounds much more than sin." According to the logie of some people, it was remarkable that Simon was speechless, and did not reply. They marvel that he did not say to Jesus, “ It is a pity that I was not as great a sioner as this woman! I do not love you as much as she does, because I am not so great a sinner. [For this is the conclusion which it led to.] If I had only been as great a sinner as she, I would love you as well. I will now go on, and commit as many sins. as she committed, and then I will be as great a faYourite as she appears to be!" My hearers, this
would have been just as sound an argument as we are ever favoured with by our opposers.
What did Mary do? Did she say, “Lord, I am astonished at such grace; it is beyond all calculation, and if I had known all this, I would have been a greater sinner! I will now go on, and commit more sin, that I may receive more from thy kindness.
" Well, is not this a good argument? “It is good for nothing,” says the hearer. Does the text give a reason why she did not talk in this way? Yes, and I desire you to notice it. Mary was dead to sin. Her sin was killed and destroyed by the affection and forgiveness of her Lord; and sin was overcome, and she loved the Lord Jesus from that very moment. She did not forsake him. She went to his trial and condemnation; she was with him at the cross; and she was the first to witness that the stone had been removed from his sepulchre!
My friendly hearers, whether you are professors of religion or not, you have not washed your Saviour's feet with the tears of penitence, if you speak in the manner which your humble servant has just alluded to. Before you bring forward this argument again, I humbly pray you to make yourselves acquainted with that divine grace which abounds much more than sin; and then say, “How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
May I, without too severely taxing your patience, ask you to look at St. Paul's case. Behold him as a persecutor going from Jerusalem to Damascus, to punish all who believed on the name of Jesus.. He says he was mad, and persecuted the saints unto death. He made havac of the church, entering
every house, taking men and women, and immuring them in dungeons and prisons; and he acknowledges, that when Stephen was stoned, he himself kept the clothes of the persons who stoned him. Now see him engaged in this wicked work of persecution. Hear what he says. As he was on his way, he heard a voice, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And he said, “Who art thou, Lord?” Hear the answer I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." What did Paul say then? “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Then Christ says, “Rise, and stand
upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this
purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee; to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith which is in me."
Let us pause and reflect. What! all his sins forgiven in a moment! Well, did he go on, and commit more sin? No, my hearers; but he said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" He is the author of the text; and what is his argument? “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
My brethren and friends, it is with the warmest affection of my heart, and with the strongest solicitude, that I exhort you to take this subject into se