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for liberty and enjoyment, with the latent belief that he would succeed well enough if left to himself. At any rate, his conduct, whatever his motives, was most heartless as regarded his father, and sinful as before God. Such a disposition could not prosper. The father had yielded to his demand, and, to be as free as possible from control and restraint, the younger son had gone into a far country. There the natural sequences soon ensued, and his property was wasted in riotous living. Regarding the demand for his inheritance as only a secondary trait in the Parable, designed, on the one hand, to bring out more forcibly the guilt of the son, and, on the other, the goodness, and afterwards the forgiveness, of the Father, we can scarcely doubt that by the younger son we are to understand those 'publicans and sinners' against whose reception by, and fellowship with, Christ the Pharisees had murmured.

The next scene in the history has been misunderstood in the objection, that it represents the young man's misery as the result of Providential circumstances rather than of his own misdoing. To begin with, he would not have been driven to such straits in the famine, if he had not wasted his substance. Again, the main object is to show, that absolute liberty and indulgence of sinful desires and passions ended in anything but happiness. The Providence of God had an important part in this. Far more frequently are folly and sin punished in the ordinary course of Providence than by special judgments-indeed, it is contrary to the teaching of Christ, and it would lead to an unmoral view of life, to regard suck direct interpositions as necessary, or to substitute them for the ordinary government of God. Similarly, for our awakening also we are frequently indebted to what is called the Providence, but what is really the manifold working together of the grace, of God. And so we find special meaning in the occurrence of this famine. That, in his want, “ he clave' (školańon) to one of the citizens of that country,' seems to indicate that the man had been unwilling to engage the dissipated young stranger, and only yielded to his desperate importunity. This also explains how he employed him in the lowest menial service, that of feeding swine. To a Jew, there was more than degradation in this, since the keeping of swine (although perhaps the ownership rather than the feeding) was prohibited to Israelites

under a curse.b 2 And even in this demeaning service he was so evil reference to entreated, that for very hunger he would fain have filled his belly

& St. Luke xii. 2, 3

b Baba K. 82 b, and the

it in the
Midrash on
viii. 1

More literally, 'was glued.' The LXX. translate thus the Hebrew 227,'to cleave.'

? This prohibition was attributed to the Maccabean Sanhedrin.




35, ed.

53 6,54 a

with the carob-pods that the swine did eat.' Yet the same harsh- СНАР. ness, which had sent him to such employment, here met him on the part of all the people of that country: "and no man gave unto him, even sufficient of such food. What perhaps gives additional meaning to this description is a Jewish saying: “When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, they become

* Vajjik. R. It was this pressure of extreme want which first showed to the Warsh., pp. younger son the contrast between the country and the circumstances to which his sin had brought him, and the plentiful provision of the home he had left, and the kindness which provided bread enough and to spare for even the hired servants. There was only a step between what he said, “having come into himself, and his resolve to return, though its felt difficulty seems implied in the expression : 'I will arise.' Nor would he go back in the hope of being reinstated in his position as son, seeing he had already received, and wasted in sin, his portion of the patrimony. All he sought was to be made as one of the hired servants. And, alike from true feeling, and to show that this was all his pretence, he would preface his request by the confession, that he had sinned against heaven'-a frequent Hebraism for against God’2—and in the sight of his father, and hence could no longer lay claim to the name of son. The provision of the son he had, as stated, already spent; the name he no longer deserved. This favour only would he seek, to be as a hired servant in his father's house, instead of in that terrible, strange land of famine and harshness.

But the result was far other than he could have expected. When we read that, 'while he was yet afar off, his father saw him,' we must evidently understand it in the sense, that his father had been always on the outlook for him, an impression which is strengthened by the later command to the servants to bring the calf, the fatted one,'b as if it had been specially fattened against his return. As he ost. Luke now saw him, he was moved with compassion, and he ran, and he fell on his neck, and covered him with kisses.' 3 Such a reception

1 The fruit of the carob-tree is re- food of ascetics, such as Chanina b. Dosa, garded in Jewish and heathen literature &c. (Ber. 17 b), and Simon b. Jochai as the poorest, and, indeed, only fit for (Shabb. 33 b), even as it had been that of animals. See Wetstein ad loc. Accord. John the Baptist. ing to Jewish ideas, it took seventy years occasions to have been used as writing. before the carob-tree bore fruit (Bechor. material (Tos. Gitt. 2). 8 a). It is at least doubtful whether the 2 Other terms were also substituted tree is mentioned in the Old Testament (such as Might,' Mercy,' &c.)—with the (the x32 of 2 Sam. v. 23, 24). In the view of avoiding needless mention of the Mishoah it is frequently referred to Deity. (Peah i. 6; Shabb. xxiv. 2 ; Baba B. ii. : or kissed him much,' katepiano ev 7). Its fruit seems to have been the αυτόν. .

XV. 23

Its leaves seem on

* ver. 21

P. 35 a

BOOK rendered the purposed request, to be made as one of the hired IV servants, impossible—and its spurious insertion in the text of our

Authorised Version & affords sad evidence of the want of spiritual tact and insight of early copyists. The father's love had anticipated his confession, and rendered its self-spoken sentence of condemnation impossible. Perfect love casteth out fear,' and the hard thoughts concerning himself and his deserts on the part of the returning sinner were banished by the love of the father. And so he only made confession of his sin and wrong—not now as preface to the request to be taken in as a servant, but as the outgoing of a humbled, grateful, truly penitent heart. Whom want had humbled, thought had brought to himself, and mingled need and hope had led a suppliant servant-a father's love, which anticipated his confession, and did not even speak the words of pardon, conquered, and so morally begat second time as his son. It deserves special notice, as marking the

absolute contrast between the teaching of Christ and Rabbinism, b siphré, ed. that we have in one of the oldest Rabbinic works a Parable exactly

the reverse, in which the son of a friend is redeemed from bondage, not as a son, but as a slave, that so obedience might be demanded of him. The inference drawn is, that the obedience of the redeemed is not that of filial love of the pardoned, but the enforcement of the claim of a master. How otherwise in the Parable and teaching of Christ!

But even here the story of love has not come to an end. They have reached the house. And the father would not only restore the son, but convey to him the evidence of it, and he would do so before, and by the servants. The three tokens of wealth and position are to be furnished him. “Quickly' the servants are to bring forth the

stola,' the upper garment of the higher classes, and that “the first' —the best, and this instead of the tattered, coarse raiment of the foreign swineherd. The finger-ring for his hand, and the sandals for his unshod feet, similarly indicated the son of the house-and still farther to mark it, the servants were not only to bring these articles, but themselves to put them on’the son, to own his mastership. And yet further, the calf, the fatted one' for this very occasion, was to be killed, and there was to be a joyous feast, for “this' his son

was dead, and is come to life again; was lost, and is found.'' Thus far for the reception of publicans and sinners,' and all in every time whom it may concern. Now for the other aspect of the history. While this went on, so continues the Parable, the elder

1 Thus the text correctly. As it seems as Goebel remarks, they would scarcely to me, the words do not, in the first place, have, in that sense, been addressed to point to a moral change. Dogmatically, The inference is no doubt correct, but,

the servants.




brother was still in the field. On his return home, he inquired of a servant the reason of the festivities which he heard going on within. Informed that his younger brother had come, and the calf long prepared against a feast had been killed, because his father had recovered him 'safe and sound,' he was angry, would not go in, and even refused the request to that effect of the father, who had come out for the purpose. The harsh words of reproach with which he set forth his own apparent wrongs have only one meaning: his father had never rewarded him for his services. On the other hand, as soon as “this ’ his son '—whom he will not even call his brother -had come back, notwithstanding all his disservice, he had made a feast of joy!

But in this very thing lay the error of the elder son, and, per consequence, the fatal mistake of Pharisaism. The elder son regarded all as of merit and reward, as work and return. But it is not so. We mark, first, that the same tenderness which had welcomed the returning son, now met the elder brother. He spoke to the angry man, not in the language of merited reproof, but addressed him lovingly as "son,' and reasoned with him. And then, when he had shown him his wrong, he would fain recall him to better feeling by telling him of the other as his brother. But the main - St. Luke point is this. There can be here no question of desert. So long as the son is in His Father's house, all that is the Father's He gives in His

great goodness to His child. But this poor lost one-still a son and a brother-he has not got any reward, only been taken back again by a Father's love, when he had come back in the deep misery of his felt need. This son, or rather, as the other should view him, this brother,' had been dead, and was come to life again ; lost, and was found. And over this “it was meet to make merry

and be glad, not to murmur. Such murmuring came from thoughts of work and pay, wrong in themselves, and foreign to the proper idea of Father and son ; such joy, from a Father's heart. The elder brother's were the thoughts of a servant :' of service and return; the younger brother's was the welcome of a son in the mercy and everlasting love of a Father. And this to us, and to all time!

XV. 32

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king had made for all the people, but to which he does not bid his special friend. And while the latter seems to fear that this exclusion may imply disfavour, the king has a special feast for his friend only, and shows him that while the common meal was for all, the special feast is for those he specially loves.




(St. Luke xvi.)



ALTHOUGH widely differing in their object and teaching, the last group of Parables spoken during this part of Christ's Ministry are at least outwardly, if not inwardly, connected by a leading thought. The word by which we would string them together is Righteousness. There are three Parables of the Unrighteous: the Unrighteous Steward, the Unrighteous Owner, and the Unrighteous Dispenser, or Judge. And these are followed by two other Parables of the Selfrighteous : Self-righteousness in its Ignorance, and its dangers as regards oneself; and Self-righteousness in its Harshness, and its dangers as regards others. But when this outward connection has been marked, we have gone the utmost length. Much more close is the internal connection between some of them.

We note it, first and chiefly, between the two first Parables. Recorded in the same chapter, and in the same connection, they were addressed to the same audience. True, the Parable of the Unjust Steward was primarily spoken ‘to His disciples,' that of Dives and Lazarus to the Pharisees. But then the audience of Christ at that time consisted of disciples and Pharisees. And these two classes in the audience stood in peculiar relation to each other, which is exactly met in these two Parables, so that the one may be said to have sprung out of the other. For, the disciples,' to whom the first Parable was addressed, were not primarily the Apostles, but those 'publicans and sinners' whom Jesus had received, to the great displeasure of the Pharisees. Them He would teach concerning the Mamon of unrighteousness, and, when the Pharisees sneered at that teaching, He would turn it against them, showing how, beneath that self-justification, which made them forget that now the Kingdom of God was opened to all,' and imagine that they were the

· St. Luke xvi.

b ver. 1

e ver. 15

d St. Luke xv. 1, 2

St. Luke xvi.15

Ver. 16

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