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15. Parables and Teachings

Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

3And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 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 together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

8 Either what woman having ten 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 friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

11And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to 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 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 husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 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 saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 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. 22 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: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 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 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: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 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: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 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.

31. Son, 544544     “Mon enfant;” — my child.” thou art always with me. This answer consists of two parts. The first is, that the first-born son has no reason to be angry, when he sees his brother kindly received without any loss to himself; 545545     “Veu qu’il n’y perd rien;” — “since he loses nothing by it.” and the second is, that, without paying any regard to his brother’s safety, he is grieved on account of the rejoicing occasioned by his return. All my property, says he, is thine: that is, “Though thou hast hitherto carried nothing away out of my house, it has been no loss to the for all is reserved for thee undiminished.” 546546     “Ta condition n’en est pas pire; car ie te garde tousiours ton droict entier;” — “thy condition is not the worse for it; for I always preserve thy rights entire.” Besides, why art thou offended at our joy, in which thou oughtest to have shared? for it was proper that thy brother, who we thought had been lost, should now be congratulated on his safety and return. Those two reasons deserve our attention; for, on the one hand, it is no loss to us, 547547     “Nous n’y perdons rien;” — “we lose nothing by it.” if God graciously receives into favor those who had been at variance with him on account of their sins; and, on the other hand, it is wicked hardness of heart not to rejoice, when we see our brethren returned from death to life. 548548     “Voyans nos freres estre tirez de la mort, et ramenez au chemin de vie;” — “perceiving our brethren to be drawn from death, and led into the way of life.”

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