And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
The prodigal of whom we are speaking sought the companionship of the world. He courted the pleasures of the world; he lived for the world, and he spent his all upon the world. Is he singular in this? Have you not done the same? I speak not now of the world of business, of commerce and trade; I speak not now of this moving panorama of daily life that surrounds us; I believe even in that respect I might also speak of the unsatisfying nature even of the world of business, but I speak not of that now: I speak of the world of sin — the world, as alluded to in that text, "Love not the world, neither the things of the world; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." The world very cunningly allures you by its pleasures; is that an inducement sufficient to lead you from your Father's home? Then I ask you, I catechise you to-day, What means that aching of the head, and that aching of the heart, and that surfeit and disappointment, which are so generally the accompaniments of those who follow after the so-called pleasures of the world? Do those pleasures satisfy you? Or will they ever compensate you for the loss of a Father's favour and of a Father's countenance? The world calls off the allegiance of many from the King of kings; the world lives on your substance while it lasts, and it sucks out no small advantage from many a prodigal. But then, when you, poor sinner, have spent, or rather misspent, all your golden opportunities, when you have lavished all your hopes of heaven, when you have bartered your heavenly birthright for an earthly mess of pottage, what next? Having cast your precious pearls before swine, be sure they will turn and rend you; and the world that once flattered you is now the first to forsake and forget you. Tell me, is that a reward worth living for? Is that a fate worth leaving your home to purchase? Is that a destiny worth putting yourself to so much trouble to attain? How much better the choice of Moses — "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season"; or the experience of David — "A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand" — spent in the world and in the things of the world, and in sin and in the pleasures of the world: "I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." And oh! prodigal, let it never be said of you, that you have subsided to the lowest level of sin, that you prefer to abide in the tents of wickedness, as did the prodigal.
(R. Maguire, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: