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him for Mercy! And at the fame Time Nothing can possibly place the great Guilt and Unreasonableness of an hard uncompassionate Temper towards our offending Fellow-Creatures in a stronger Light; nor could any Thing more convincingly shew the Neceflity of our forgiving the Injuries done to us by others, in order to our obtaining the Forgiveness of our own Sins from God; or impress our Hearts with a more lively Sense of the juft Condemnation and Punishment we shall draw upon ourselves from an holy and righteous God by a contrary Conduct.
The Lord grant that the excelleni Instructions, contained in the Parables that have been mentioned, may sink deep into our Hearts: That, according to the Intention of them, we may guard against an inordinate Love to this vain World, and may make a right Use of it's Possessions and Enjoyments; that we may have our Hearts filled with an universal Benevolence towards Mankind, so as to be ready to do Good to ali Men, as far as we have Ability and Opportunity; and that we may exercise any amiable forgiving Disposition towards our offending Fellow-Creatures. By such a Conduct we shall approve ourselves Christ's faithful Disciples, and thall shew that his Vol. IV.
admirable Instructions have had their proper Effect upon us : And then shall we be able to lift up our Heads with Joy in the great Day of his final Appearance, when he shall come in Glory to judge the World, and to complete the Salvation of those that believe and obey bim.
On the Parables of our Saviour.
DISCOURSE XIII. .
MATTHEW xiii. 3.
And be spake many Things unto them in
N my last Discourse I entered upon the
Consideration of those of our Saviour's Parables that are of a religious and moral Nature: And it was observed, that, for the most part, each of these Parables appears to have one principal Point of Instruction in View, which it is the special Design of that Parable to recommend and inforce. I have already considered those Parables that seem to be especially designed to guard us against an inordinate Love to this present World, and to engage us to make a
right right Use of worldly Riches; as also those that are intended to recommend an universal Benevolence, or a Readiness to do Good to all Men, as far as we have Opportunity ; and to engage us to exercise a forgiving, Disposition towards those that have offended. and injured us. I now proceed to observe,
Thirdly, That others of Christ's Parables are particularly designed to engage and encourage Sinners to Repentance, by representing the Mercies of God towards fincere Penitents, and the Complacency he takes in them. It was one principal Design of our Saviour's Coming, as he him. self declareth, to call Sinners to Repentance. Matt. ix. 13. And Nothing could possibly have a happier Tendency this Way, than to make them sensible that, though their Sins might have been many and aggravated, yet, if they really repented and were converted, God would be ready to receive them to Favour, and even delight in them, notwithstanding their past Offences. This therefore is the Design of several of his Parables, especially of the three that are recorded by St. Luke, Chap. xv. We are told, in the Beginning of that Chapter, That then drew near unto him all the Publicans and Sinners for to bear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This Man reçoiveth Sinners, and eateth with
them. On this Occasion therefore he
proposed some familiar Parables, excellently fitted both to encourage Sinners to Repentance, and at the same Time to repress the Murmurings of the Scribes and Pharifees, who blamed him for Conversing with Sinners, though it was in order to the instructing and reclaiming them.
The Images, made Use of in the two first of these Parables, are very plain and familiar, accommodated to the meanest Capacities. The one is of a Man, who, having an hundred Sheep, if be happens to lose one of them, leaves the other ninetynine, and goes after that which was lost, and, having found it, expresseth a more sensible Joy upon the Recovery of that one, than over the rest of the Flock that had not gone astray. The other is of a Woman, that, baving ten Pieces of Silver, and losing one of them, searcheth diligently till she hath found it, and then calleth her Friends and Neighbours to rejoice with her. Our Saviour applieth the first of these Parables thus : I say unto you, that likewise Foy Mall be in Heaven over one Sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just Perfons, that need no Repentance. Ver. 7. This is not to be taken in the utmost Strictness and Rigour, as if, absolutely speaking, one that had hnned and repented