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with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, c Matt. xviii. 4 . 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? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth toge
ther his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rea Pet. ii. 10. joice d with me; for I have found my sheep which was
lost. 7 I say unto you, that m likewise joy shall be in . ch. v. 32.
heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
m render, in like manner.
journey ;-or rather, one to another-re- course of seeking and finding which the sponsively. 3—7.) The man having good Shepherd, either by Himself or His the hundred sheep, is plainly the Son of agents, now pursues in each individual case, God, the Good Shepherd. This had been even until he brings the lost sheep home his prophetic description, and that in this into heaven to Himself-not in reality, so very connexion, -of seeking the lost, Ezek. that it should not take place till the death xxxiv. 6, 11 ff. This it is which gives so of the penitent-but by anticipation,peculiar an interest to David as a type of till the name is written in heaven ;-till Christ-that he was a shepherd; ibid. the sinner is penitent. This is clear from ver. 23. Our Lord plainly declares then the interpretation in ver. 7. The friends by this parable-and that I take to be the and neighbours represent the angels (and reason why it is placed first (see below), spirits of just men made perfect ?). that the matter in which they had found my sheep which was lost breathes fault with Him was the very pursuit most a totally different thought from “the in accordance with his divine Office of piece (drachma) which I lost.” There is Shepherd. 4.] It is the Oroner Him. pity and love in it, which, from the nature self who goes to seek, see Ezek. ver. 11- of the case, the other does not admit of. God in Christ. The hundred sheep 7 . I say unto you] In these words are the house of Israel, see Matt. x. 6; the Lord often introduces His revelations but in the present application, mankind: of the unseen world of glory: see Matt. (not, believers in Christ;' see on ver. 7.) xviii. 10. On these just persons, see
The argument is to their self-interest: note at Matt. ix. 12, 13. They are the but the act on the part of the good Shep- subjectively righteous, and this saying herd is, from the nature of the case, one of respects their own view of themselves. (Or Love ; or, as Stier remarks, also human love if it be required that the words should be for his own; for in Him, Love, and His literally explained, seeing that these ninetyglory, are one and the same thing.
nine did not err,-then I see no other way the ninety and nine] These pass altogether but to suppose them, in the deeper meaning into the background, and are lost sight of. of the parable, to be the worlds that have The character of the good Shepherd is a not fallen ;-and the one that has strayed, sufficient warrant for their being well our human nature, in this our world.) cared for. The wilderness is not a barren But we have yet to enquire, what sort of place, but one abounding in pastures sinner this parable represents; for each of (John vi. 10, compared with Matt. xiv. the three sets before us a different type 15). 6.] Not mere self-interest, of the sinner sunk in his sin. Bengel, in but love comes forward here; see Isa. xl. distinguishing the three, says, “ The sheep, 11. No blows are given for the straying - the drachma, the prodigal son,- signify no hard words : mercy to the lost one, respectively, (1) the stupid sinner,-(2) the and joy within himself,--are the Shep- sinner wholly unconscious of the fact and herd's feeling: the sheep is weary with of himself,—(3) the sinner conscious and of long wanderings. He gives it rest. Matt. purpose.” This one is the stupid and beix. 36; xi. 28. 6.] In this return to wildered sinner, erring and straying away His house, must be understood the whole in ignorance and self-will from his Shep
8 Either what woman having ten n pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her o friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I [p had] lost. 10 m Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. 21 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 and the younger of them said to his
a literally, drachmas, and drachma. O the original word is feminine. P omit.
herd, but sought by the Shepherd, and worth ; who is lying, though in reality a fetched back with joy.
8-10.] precious coin, in the mire of this world, THE LOST PIECE OF MONEY. In the fol. lost and valueless, till he is searched out by owing wonderful parable, we have the the blessed and gracious Spirit. And that next class of sinners set before us, sought such a search will be made, we are here for and found by the power and work of assured. 11 -32.7 THE PRODIGAL the Spirit in the Church of Christ. It Son. Peculiar to Luke. •If we might will be seen, as we proceed, how perfectly venture here to make comparisons, as we do this interpretation comes out, not as à among the sayings of men, this parable of fancy, but as the very kernel and sense of the Lord would rightly be called, the crown the parable. The woman cannot be the and pearl of all His parables. Stier. Church absolutely, for the Church herself We have here the glad and welcome reis a lost sheep at first, sought and found by ception of the returning sinner (sinner under the Shepherd. Rather is the house bere the most aggravating circumstances) in the the Church-as will come out by and by, bosom of his heavenly Father: and agree--and the woman the indwelling Spirit, ably to the circumstances under which working in it. Al men belong to this the discourse was spoken, the just men Creator-Spirit; all have been stamped with who murmured at the publicans and sinthe image of God. But the sinner lies in ners are represented under the figure of the dust of sin and death and corruption the elder son :-see below. The parable “wholly unconscious." Then the Spirit, certainly was spoken on the same occasion lighting the candle of the Lord (Prov. xx. as the preceding, and relates to the 27: Zeph. i. 12), searching every corner same subject. Those who for the sake and sweeping every unseen place, finds out of upholding the patristic interpretation the sinner; restores him to his true value deny this, seem to me to have entirely as made for God's glory. This lighting missed the scope of the parable: see and sweeping are to be understood of the below. 11.] A certain man - Our office of the Spirit in the Church, in its heavenly Father, the Creator and Posvarious ways of seeking the sinner-by sessor of all : not Christ, who ever reprethe preaching of repentance, by the Word sents Himself as a son, although freof God read, &c. "Then comes the joy quently as a possessor or lord. two again. 9.] her (female) friends and sons, not, in any direct or primary sense her neighbours are invited—but there is of the Parable, the Jews and the Gentiles : no return home now-nor in the explana that there may be an ulterior application tion, ver. 10, is there any “in heaven," to this effect, is only owing to the parable because the Spirit abides in the Church grasping the great central truths, of which - because the angels are present in the the Jew and Gentile were, in their relation, Church, see 1 Cor. xi. 10:-nor is it illustrations,- and of which such illustra“shall be" (as in ver. 7 at the return of tions are furnished wherever such differthe Redeemer then future), but is—the ences occur. The two parties standministering spirits rejoice over every soul ing in the foreground of the parabolic that is brought out of the dust of death mirror are, the Scribes and Pharisees as into God's treasure-house by the searching the elder son, the publicans and sinners as of the blessed Spirit. In this parable the younger ;-all, Jews : all, belonging to then we have set before us the sinner who God's family. The mystery of the adis unconscious of himself and his own real mission of the Gentiles into God's Church
father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to 1 Mark xii. 44. me. And he divided unto them ‘his living. 13 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 a riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the r husks that the swine did eat: and no
man gave unto him. 17 8 And when he came to himself, he q better, profligate : see note. I see note.
8 render, But. was not yet made known in any such of money. But in this case the search is to manner as that they should be repre- be carried on within him—we are now on sented as of one family with the Jews ;- higher ground than in those two parables. not to mention that this interpretation “ The far-off country represents forgetfulfails in the very root of the parable ; for ness of God.” Augustine. profligate in strictness the Gentile should be the The old English word retchless expresses elder, the Jew not being constituted in his perhaps best the meaning, which is not superiority till 2000 years after the Crea unsparing,' but incorrigible, past hope of tion. The upholders of this interpre- reclaim. 14—15.] His misery is set tation forget that when we speak of the forth in these verses. He soon spends all : Jew as elder, and the Gentile as younger, it there is a fine irony, as Stier remarks, in is in respect not of birth, but of this very the word spent, as compared with wasted return to and reception into the Father's before-he spent his money for that which house, which is not to be considered yet. was no bread. 14. a mighty famine] The objections of these interpreters This famine is the shepherd seeking his do not touch the reasons here given. stray sheep-the woman sweeping to find The relations of elder and younger have a the lost. The famine, in the interpretapeculiar fitness for the characters to be filled tion, is to be subjectively taken ; he begins by them, and are I believe chosen on that to be in want,--to feei the emptiness of account; as Euthymius says, “He names soul which precedes either utter abandonthe sinner the younger, as being childish ment or true penitence. 15.] He sinks in mind and easily led astray.” 12, 13.] lower and lower - becomes the despised The part of the parable relating to the servant of an alien (is there here any hint prodigal himself divides itself into three at the situation of the publicans, who were parts-1. his sin : 2. his misery: 3. his but the servants of wealthy Romans?) who penitence. In these verses his sin is de employs him in an office most vile and scribed. It consists in a desire to depart odious to the mind of a Jew. 16. husks from his Father's house and control, and “These are not the husks or pods of some to set up for himself,- to live a life of other fruit, as of peas or beans, but themwhat the carnal man calls liberty.
selves a fruit, that of the carob for 12.7 Such a request as this is shewn by Ori. caruba, found not only in the East, but in entalists to have been known in the East, South Europe, e. g. in abundance on the though not among the Jews. The Riviera between Nice and Genoa. H. A.7 firstborn had two-thirds of the property, tree. .... They are in shape something see Deut. xxi. 17. The father, as implied like a bean-pod, though larger and more in the parable, reserves to himself the curved, thence called keration or little horn power during his life over the portion of .... they have a hard dark outside and the firstborn, see ver. 31. The parable a dull sweet taste .... the shell or pod sets before us very strikingly the permis alone is eaten.' Trench. His appetite even sion of free will to man. 13.] The drove bim to these for food ;-for (this is images of both the preceding parables are the real sense involved in and) no man gave united here :-in his taking his journey, we (aught) to him. We see him now in have the straying sheep; in his state when the depth of his misery,—the sinner reaphe got into the far country, the lost piece ing the consequences of his sin in utter
R Acts ii. 30.
Eph. ii, 13, 17.
said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I 68 perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and t before thee, 19 u and am no more worthy to be called thy son : make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father R Acts i. 19. saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and v kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and t in thy sight,
88 read and render, am perishing here.
" literally, eagerly kissed : see on Matt. xxvi. 49: Mark xiv. 45: ch. vii. 38, 45: Acts xx. 37. w many ancient authorities read, Bring forth quickly.
literally, first. shame and extremity of need. 17-20.7 sinner now a sure ground of confidence, His penitence. And here we have a weighty that returning to God he shall not be redifference between the perinitted rational pelled, nor cast out? The adoption of free will of man, and the stupid wandering sonship which he received in Christ Jesus on of the sheep, or the inanimate coin lying at bis baptism, and his faith that the gifts till it is picked up,- both these being how and calling of God are without repentance ever true in the case of man, did not God or recall.” Trench. 20.) What he seek and save the sinner: “the grace of God has resolved, he does : a figure not of the by Christ preventing us, that we may have usual, but of the proper course of such a good will, and working with us when we a state of mind when he was yet have that good will.' Article X. of the a great way off] Who can say whether Church of England. 17. when he came this itself was not a seeking ? whether his to himself] See 1 Kings viü. 47. Before courage would have held out to the meet. this, he was beside himself. The most ing? On what follows, see especially dreadful torment of the lost, in fact that Jer. iii. 12; James iv. 8; Gen. xlvi. 29; which constitutes their state of torment, 2 Sam. xiv. 33. 21.] The intended will be this coming to themselves, when too close of his confession is not uttered ;late for repentance. He now recalls there is no abatement of his penitence, the peace and plenty of his Father's house for all his Father's touching and reas
hired servants) For he now was a suring kindness,- but his filial confidence hireling, but in how different a case ! is sufficiently awakened to prevent the re18.) I will arise, see ver. 24, was dead, and quest that he might be as an hired servant. is alive again; it was truly a resurrection
22.] All these gifts belong to his refrom the dead. This resolution is a further ception, not as a servant, but as a son: the step than his last reflection. In it he first robe, for him who came in rags-Isa. nowhere gives up his sonship : this, and Ixi. 10; Rev. iii. 18:- but first must not the word Father, lie at the root of his be understood as meaning the robe which penitence :-it is the thought of having he used to wear his former robe- this sinned against (in the parable itself, Hea would not be consistent with the former ven and) Thee, which works now in him. part of the parable, in which he was not And accordingly he does not resolve to ask turned out with any disgrace, but left as to be made one of the hired servants, but a son and of his own accord: but best, as as one of them :-still a son, but as an in the A.V.:-a robe. (yea) the first and hireling. “And what is it that gives the goodliest. The ring,- a token of a b literally, for so many, naming some number. See Acts v. 8, where the word is the same. distinguished and free person, see James that from his father ; see Matt. xviii. 27, ii. 2; Gen. xli. 42. The shoes, also 30. 25.] in the field- probably the mark of a free man (for slaves went working, in the course of his “sercing," as barefoot), see Zech. x. 12; Eph. vi. 15. he expresses it, ver. 29. He was appaThese are the gifts of grace and holiness rently returning at meal-time. with which the returned penitent is clothed musick and dancing] This is one of those by his gracious Father ; see Zech. iii. 4, 5. by-glances into the lesser occupations and
i ver. 32. Eph
ii. l: v. 14. Rev. iii. 1.
shoes on his feet : 23 and bring hither the fatted calf, and i verir. Eph. kill it; and let us eat, and be merry : 24 i for this my son
was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field : and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of y the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 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. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in : a therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, b these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy com
mandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I y render, his.
z literally, in health. a read, but his father came out.
23. the fatted calf] So Judg. vi. recreations of human life, by which the 25. Gideon is commanded to kill thy Lord so often stamps his tacit approval on father's young bullock of seven years old the joys and unbendings of men. Would (rendered by the LXX thy father's fatted these festal employments have been here calf): some calf fatted for a particular mentioned by Him on so solemn and feast or anniversary, and standing in the blessed an occasion, if they really were stall. No allusion must be thought of to among those works of the devil which He the sacrificing of Christ :-which would came into the world to destroy ? be wholly out of place here,- and is pre. 28—32.] Stier well remarks that this supposed in the whole parable. be elder is now the lost son : he has lost all merry] So ver. 6, “joy in heaven;"-all childlike filial feeling; he betrays the hy. rejoice. Some of these are servants who pocrite within. The love and forbearance have entered into the joy of their Lord: of the father are eminently shewn-the Matt. xxv. 21, 23. 24.] dead, and is utter want of love and humility in the son alive again,-the lost money : lost, and is strongly contrasted with them. found,- the lost sheep : see 1 John iï. 14: 29.] Lo, these many years do I serve thee, Eph. ii. 5: 1 Pet. ii. 25. began, a the very manner of speech of a Pharisee : contrast to the “began" in ver. 14.
as is the continuation. Let us ask with 25-28.] As far as regards the penitent, reference to the differences in the explanathe parable is finished :- but those who tion, Could the Jewish nation be intromurmured at his reception, who were the duced saying, even in the falsest hypocrisy, prond and faultless elder son,— always in that they had never transgressed God's the house and serving, but not, as will commandments ? thou never gavest appear, either over-affectionate or over me answers to the younger son's "give respectful, they too must act their part, me” in ver. 12;- it is a separation of the in order to complete the instruction. As individual son from his father, and, as regards the penitent, this part of the there pointed out, the very root and parable sets forth the reception he meets ground of sin. & kid, of less value with from his fellow-men, in contrast to than a calf. my friends-who are