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Spiritual Conceit.

Spiritual Conceit.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY HENRY WARD BEECHER



Lesson : Luke xv. 1-32.

" Then drew near unto him all the Publicans and sinners for to
hear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This
man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them."
BY HENRY WARD BEECHER



Lesson : Luke xv. 1-32.

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

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 16, 2014
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SPIRITUAL COCEIT. BY HERY WARD BEECHER Lesson : Luke xv. 1-32. " Then drew near unto him all the Publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." With our manners and customs it would be considered as an impertinence for us to inquire at a hotel table, or restau- rant, or any public gathering, as to the moral character of any person there. So that they observe the ordinary rules of etiquette, to eat with people means very little, except that you simply eat with them; but there was in Christ's asso- ciation with these persons who were considered outcasts that which offended the conscience and the taste and the lelig- ious customs of his time, and brought him under a ban. It was not that he merely preached to wicked people, as any- body might be supposed to be at liberty to do, but there can be no question that he made himseK so manifestly a com- panion with these people, — that he exercised such a sym- pathy for them, that he so recognized their manhood, and so made them feel that, wonderful as he was, a person followed and looked up to, took a personal interest in each one of them, — that he offended the Jews. It was that personality among them, and that putting himself on a level with them, that was so agreeable to them on the one side, and so offen- sive to the Jews on the other ; and the pressure of reprehen- sion became so great that it gave rise to a train of instruction on that subject which is very remarkable. He spoke this parable : " What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them dotli not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go
 
214 SPIBITUAL COCEIT. after that which is lost, until he find it ? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Re-  joice with me ; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repent- eth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." The teacbing here is that a revelation of the divine nature has in itself a healing power, and that the restoration or elevation of men, or their growth toward perfection, is a thousand times more rejoiced in than the fact that any one of the imperfect has attained perfection, or anything like it. " Either what womari having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house and seek dili- gently till she find it ? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying. Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." Thus far the Saviour illustrates the attitude of the divine mind toward those that have fallen below the morals of the age in which they live. 'ow he gives the memorable parable which contained in it a fatal stroke at the Pharisees : " A certain man had two sons : 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. 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. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land ; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country ; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. " And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the
 
swine did eat, and no man gave unto him. 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! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him. Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and 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 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. 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. 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 ; and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it ; and let us eat, and be merry : For SPIRITUAL COCEIT. 215 this my son was dead, and is alive again ; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." Tims far, like the other two parables, this is a recognition of the divine feeling and attitude toward those who have gone wrong, but who are trying to reinstate themselves and to go right again. ow he turns to the Pharisees : " His elder son was in the field ; and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come ; and thy father hatii killed the fatted calf, be- cause he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in : therefore came his father out, and entreated him. 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. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured

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