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material covering a large proportion of the New Testament and much of the Old. His seminary teaching work is giving to the world the results of his fifty years of study and Christian conquest.

It is my hope to follow the present volume of sermons with the publication of another on themes and doctrines peculiar to the Baptists, and later and as quickly as possible to issue in book form his commentaries on the Bible.

I consider it a highly fortunate circumstance that we have been able to arrange with the present publishers to issue all of these volumes. They will come from the press as rapidly as the material can be properly formulated and assembled.

And now, as this new volume of sermons is given to the world, I invoke upon its blessed pages the richest benedictions of our common Lord. The works of the great Christian heroes and thinkers of past ages still abide; let us hope that these sermons and the several books that are to follow may live to strengthen, to encourage, to edify, and to bless the oncoming millions of our fallen race till Jesus

comes.

J. B. CRANFILL.

DALLAS, TEXAS.

I

THE PRODIGAL SON

“But when he came to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare and I perish here with hunger. I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight: I 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 while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with 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: I am no more worthy to be called thy

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry, for this my son was dead, and is alive again ; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry."-Luke 15:17-24.

son.

T

HE explanation of this parable is to be found largely in the occasion of it. This occasion is

clearly stated in the first two verses of the chapter. Jesus received publicans and sinners and ate with them and taught his doctrine to them. You understand that publicans and sinners were Jews, two classes of the Jews. The publicans were Jews who had taken office under the Roman power and who collected the revenue for the oppressors of the country. The sinners constituted that class that neglected the temple service and whose lives were externally evil. The Pharisees and Scribes represented the respectable portion of the Jewish nation. They constituted its intelligence largely, and its patriotism and its wealth. They answered very well for what may be called the respectable moralists of the present time. The sinners of the text correspond largely to those who are outrageous and outbreaking sinners.

Now the objection made by these respectable Scribes and Pharisees was that Jesus Christ consorted with two very unrighteous classes of people; one of them had turned away from the love of the nation and taken office under the Romans; and the other was an outlawed, sociallybanned class of people. In his justification of his conduct he says that in going out to seek these people to do them good it was as if a man had lost one sheep of a hundred and went out after that lost sheep, and in further vindication of his conduct he represented the joy, the approbation of heaven in what he was doing; that while indeed these Pharisees and Scribes murmured and complained, in the high and holy heaven there was very great joy; that whenever any one of these publicans and sinners turned from his sins and accepted the mercy of God heaven was glad

over it.

And over and over and over again, he brings out that thought, his own joy, the Father's joy, the joy of the angels, over one sinner that repents. So that we find as the second occasion of the parable the necessity of repentance. He is not here discussing faith in himself, but repentance towards the Father and the attitude of the Father towards the penitent, his mission being to reveal

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