And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
Startling tales are sometimes related around the fire, on a winter's night, of the dead who have come to life again. I remember being told in my youth that the mother of two eminent ministers bad been buried in a swoon before her twin sons were born. The covetous sexton, having opened her grave, was cutting off her finger to get her gold marriage ring, when she awoke and spoke. Who could envy such an one a joyous jubilation on her return to life? And who should envy the quickened sinner the honour that is paid him by God and man? For he is often brought to spiritual life when the Lord, by His faithful knife of chastisement, cuts some prized and precious treasure away. Some time ago the great Dr. Livingstone was thought to be dead — wholly lost in the African wilds. I so thoroughly believed the report which his lying companions circulated, that I preached a discourse which was designed to do him honour, and especially the God he had served. I take great pleasure in here acknowledging that my discourse was premature, and in expressing my delight at the news of the Doctor's safety which has since reached our shores, as well as my hope that he may soon be welcomed home by his friends "safe and sound." And what friend or fellow-townsman could grudge him a very special and remarkable reception — because "he was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found"? This is the very "expostulation" by means of which the Saviour in this parable seeks to still the murmurs of the Pharisees, and which at every time of revival earnestness and revival success is specially appropriate. A young woman mentioned to me one day that her brother, an engineer in a steamer between Bombay and the Red Sea, bad informed her in a recent letter that he saw the Abyssinian prisoners land at Suez. They looked pale and exhausted. They had the appearance of people who had suffered much by anxiety and confinement. But, as they stepped ashore, all the Europeans crowded around and gave them three hearty cheers, which they acknowledged with smiles of gratitude and satisfaction. I wish that I had seen them land. I would have cheered too with all my might. For Britain had done a grand thing in sending out that expedition — enough to stamp her as in reality Great Britain in the eyes of the nations. Nor can we find a better illustration of the gospel. It was meet that the sympathizing spectators at Suez should make the welkin ring with their shouts of joy; for the captives of Theodore, like the captives of sin and Satan, "had been dead, and were alive again; and had been lost, and were found." And who could grudge them such a welcome to life and liberty again?
(F. Ferguson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: