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table. The contrast of the situation of those within the house, and enjoying its plenty, was too great for him to suffer the weakened energies of his scarcely recovered mind to rest upon. He dismissed that, as far beyond what he dared to contemplate; but his eye of imagination settles on the little circle of the menials; he sees them as fed from the family table, and enjoying their portion provided by the kindness of the master. He contemplates them as they move in the decent habiliments of service, and then he looks on the rags with which his emaciated and hunger-stricken frame was clad, and he feels their situation, even servants, hired servants, of his father, preferable to his own. They did their work and eat the bread of their industry, and they were content and happy in the daily dispensation of the master whom they served. He had possessed his large advantages; had thrown them away, and was now starving, and an object of contempt. And he saw this, and he felt it. It was truly an evidence of returning intellect, for he now saw real things through a true and perfect medium; and what he saw did humble him, for he saw that the most abject servant of his father was better off than he. And there, my brethren, he points out to you the condition of an awakened sinner. The sinner just roused to a sense of his condition, scarcely ventures to cast his eyes upwards to contemplate the extatic character of that enjoyment which belongs to those who are admitted alreadyinto the free and full communion of the celestial household. It were folly for him, if he did not wish to be driven back again to madness, to contrast his situation, poor and naked and starving, with that of those who were eating of “the tree of life, and drink of

those rivers of pleasure which make glad the city of God.” This were a contrast too entirely appalling; too exquisitely painful. But he takes a rapid glance even at the humblest follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is willing to confess that there is no human being that can claim an interest in the reconciling love of God, by faith in Jesus Christ, who is not happier far than he.

Yes, my friends, this must be the conviction of every sinner who comes to a knowledge of himself. He knows that he himself is poor, and naked, and starving, and friendless, and forlorn, and he feels; it is his sensibility that is touched; he feels that every soul beneath the roof of the Father from whom he had wandered is fed, and sustained, and comforted, by the bounty of the Father's hand. Take the awakened sinner, and let his earthly circumstances be what they may; let him possess all that this world can give, and yet feel himself destitute of the reconciling mercy and the grace of God, and consequently perishing with hunger, and then place him by the side of the humblest follower of God who may be pining in earthly poverty and want, and yet, with the peace of God in his heart, and his hopes of heaven, high and holy, and he will feel, and as soon as his pride has been sufficiently humbled to allow him to acknowledge it, he will confess, that between that poor man's happiness and his, there is a gulf wide as heaven and hell; and it will be a decided evidence of his return to mental soundness, when he takes

up the language, having imbibed the feelings of the prodigal—“How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger.”

Oh, brethren, when will sinners, careless and unconcerned, when will they learn the true character of their condition? perishing for lack of that spiritual food which alone can nourish their souls unto life eternal. Happier far, is the brute that perishes, than the sinner who remains in his unconcerned and unconverted situation; for the brute that perishes fulfils the condition of his being; he eats and drinks and roams the verdant fields, or wanders upon the mountains, and then dies and passes away. He has enjoyed all, and he has done all that were appropriate to his being, and he has no account to render. And even while he filled up the short measure of a probationless existence, he went as far beyond the unconverted sinner in his gratitude, as he did in his mere brute enjoyments; for God tells us, what expeperience has proved, that “the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” But the unconverted sinner has less real enjoyment of his mere animal nature, than the brute he despises, because the enjoyment of his animal nature is never meant to be the condition of his being. He never can be happy without God, because he was made to be happy only in God, and that law of his nature never can be violated. What plenty is there in religion, the true heart-felt religion of the Gospel, to feed the strongest spiritual appetite! What a dearth is there of provision in all that the world can offer! In God's house, there is enough and to spare, and all who desire, eat and are satisfied. There is the bread that came down from heaven; there is the feast of fat things; there is a table spread in the wilderness of all that is choice, and there is the hope of glory,

and on these feed, freely, without money and without price; on these feed fully all who have taken the Lord for the portion of their inheritance. Why should you perish with hunger, while there is bread enough, and to spare? Brethren, when once the mental hallucination which is now upon you

shall be dispelled, then will you see it, and then will you feel it, and never till you know your desolate and hopeless condition, contrasted even with the lowest of the children of God, will you have learned the lesson taught you in the exclamation of the prodigal, which I again repeat—"How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger ?

3. We have the condition of an awakened sinner represented as one conscious of the prostration of his condition, and just coming to the determination to retrieve, if possible, his circumstances—“I will arise and go to my father.” Any one who has noticed the previous process which appears to have passed in the mind of the prodigal, will be at no loss to understand the shifts and expedients which he tried, in order that, if possible, he might avoid the dreadful necessity of going back to his father. In the midst of famine and destitution, we may well imagine that he held some soliloquy with himself of a character like this: What shall I do? Here I am stripped of every thng. I have no means of indulgence now; my associates have forsaken me; my very appetites are gone; what shall I do? There is my father's house! No; I can never demean myself by going back there a beggar; if I do, I must humble myself. I cannot; I will not do that. But I am starying. Shall I beg? I have tried it, and, like a



worthless wretch, they turn me from their doors. There is my father's house! No; I will not go

back. But I am starving. What shall I do? I must be humbled; but if I must, I will be humbled when my friends and relatives know it not. I'll go and hire myself a servant, a slave; I am too proud to look my father in the face, and ask his forgiveness, and so I'll do any thing but return to my forsaken home. In this state of mind he hired himself to a citizen of that country, and that citizen, if he had known all that passed in the proud mind of the unhumbled prodigal, could not have adopted a more effectual means of bringing him to the depths of degradation—“He sent him into his fields to feed swine." It was there, in this prostrate condition, that he began to look upon himself, and just try to see what he was. And when he saw the utter degradation of his condition, a condition to which he had reduced himself, and when he found that lower he could not go, it was enough to make him think seriously ; and it was while contemplating the wretchedness of this situation, that the determination of returning reason came over him—“I will arise and go to my father.” My dear brethren, it is the case of almost every sinner that ever comes to a state of true conversion, that he fights against the humility of a return to God. To get rid of the necessity of humbling himself before God, he humbles himself ten thousand times more in his own, and in the estimation of others; and he tries if this plan will not answer, and then another and another. Repent, turn to God as a poor, lost sinner; I cannot consent to it; I am unhappy; I know I am unsafe; but to repent, and do it now; to go back to God, and let it be seen that I am poor, and

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