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repentance."* It seems highly probable that, in this parable of the lost sheep, Christ had also an eye to the Gentiles, who were peculiarly his lost sheep; not having that portion of the bread of life, the knowledge of God's will, which even the publicans among the Jews possessed; and, in the 10th chapter of St. John, our Lord claims the Gentiles as his sheep. "Other sheep I have," says He, "which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."+
The parable of the Prodigal Son was, doubtless, intended to point out the Jews and Gentiles. The prodigal represents the Gentiles, who, losing the knowledge of the true God, which they had received from nature or by tradition, had wandered far from their father's house, fallen into spiritual destitution, and fed on husks, which were neither nutritious nor wholesome-they served wood and stone instead of the living God. The elder brother indicated the Jews, who could not imagine that their father would ever again receive his prodi
gal son, who "had taken his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living." When he heard, therefore, that his younger brother had repented and returned, and was received by his father joyfully, he was angry; and as he drew nigh to the house, and heard music and dancing, he would not go in,”* but, in an angry mood, and with jealous feelings, drew a comparison between his own dutiful behaviour and the neglectful treatment he had received, and the ready gift of the fatted calf that had been killed on the return of his reprobate brother. Although there might have been some reason in this remonstrance, our Lord puts to silence every thing of the kind by the answer that he puts into the mouth of the father, which is in perfect harmony with his declaration in a former parable, that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine; it was meet that we should make merry, and be glad, for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again, and was lost, and is found."
We are the descendants of those Gentiles
* Luke xv. 25.
who are represented by the Prodigal Son, and we have been received joyfully, and reinstated in our father's house; if we leave it again, or behave undutifully in it, we shall be justly chargeable with accumulated guilt.
OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE GOSPEL WAS PROCLAIMED TO THE GENTILES.
IN a former chapter I have observed that it appears not to have been the design of Providence that the gospel should have been preached to the Gentiles during the ministry of Christ on earth; and every one who reads the writings of the Evangelists must perceive the justness of the observation. After the ascension of Christ into heaven, there was obviously a difficulty in commencing this great work, which had been ordained, but kept secret, from the foundation of the world. The Apostles, and the disciples of our Lord generally, were bigotted Jews, and
those who had been sent out to preach the gospel in the towns and villages of Judea were particularly instructed "not to go into the way of the Gentiles." No one, therefore, probably, of those Jews who had been converted to Christianity by our Lord and his disciples, entertained the least idea of any Gentile being admitted nearer to the Church of God than those who were allowed to worship in their temple in what was called the court of the Gentiles.
The history of the manner in which it pleased the Almighty to prepare for the call of the Gentiles into his Church is contained in the 9th, 10th, and 11th chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. The miracles are surprising, and the narratives to the last degree interesting. Before I enter upon the consideration of them, I would desire the reader to peruse the abovementioned chapters, which will enable him to enter into the spirit of such observations as may offer themselves in pursuing the narrative.
It appears from the Acts of the Apostles, and from his own confessions, that Saul, although he was unlike the twelve Apostles, being a learned Jew, "brought up at the feet of Ga