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He Came To Himself
A. B. Earle
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Prodigal Son Parable, Paraphrased.

TITLE: He Came To Himself

TOPIC: Many years ago a wealthy family, consisting of parents and children, lived in peace and contentment together until one of the sons thought he could do better if he could get away from the influence of home. That he could make more money and be more of a man. So he asked his father if he was willing to give him his share of the family patrimony that might fall to him after the fathers death. The father, in the kindness of his heart, divided his property and gave this younger son his full share of his estate, that is, all that would naturally belong to this son after the fathers death.

This son fitted himself out with what was needed for a long journey. He gathered all his means in shape for travelling, and kissing his parents and the family, said good by, and started.

He was now a wealthy, finely dressed young man. Loved and respected, no doubt, by all who knew him, perhaps envied by many because of his means and position among men.

No doubt he intended to live a correct life, amass wealth, and be a man of honor among men. But the tempter met him, and little by little he yielded, until he became loose in his habits, and riotous in living, and soon found his property and character and his self-respect all gone, and he in a land of strangers, and not respected by any one. He was now glad to engage in the lowest calling for a living. Hungry, and ragged, and lonely, he began to review his strange career. Oh, the self-reproach and tears of repentance over his wicked and profligate life: "Why did I leave my fathers house?"

How strangely I have wandered and fallen. What can I do; I surely shall perish here, but who will take me in or care for such a wretch as I am. I remember my fathers prayers and my mothers tender love. The hired help at my fathers house have every luxury and comfort, and here I am bloated with wine, and debased, and in sin. Is there no help or hope for me?

My mother would be polluted were she to kiss me, my father would be disgraced to call me his son. And yet I see no hope for me but in my fathers house.

O God, can I be saved from all this? What shall I say before thee? I have heard that Christ came into the world to save the chief of sinners, and that is me. And again, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land. Is it possible that such a lost one as I am, who deserves the frowns of God and the disapprobation of men forever, can lay hold of such promises as these?

It is even so. Oh, how wonderful! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee. I will ask my father to make me as one of his hired servants.

The wandering son did this. He went home in rags a true penitent, to take the humblest place in his fathers house; but how was he received?

No doubt the parents had long been praying and hoping for his return. Long before the son reached his fathers house, the father lifted up his eyes and recognized the step of his long lost son, and the next minute he found himself running to meet his boy. Who can describe the fathers joy as he threw his arms around him and kissed and embraced him, exclaiming: Oh my son, my son; can this be my own dear youngest son.

The son is trying to say, Father, I have sinned -

But the father says:

My son, dont talk about that now but come home, and let your mother and the family embrace you.

Though he was barefoot and in rags, yet he was greeted as a son still beloved. How the joy bells rang out. How soon he was washed and dressed in the best robe, shoes on his feet and rings on his hands.

A sumptuous dinner was soon in readiness and a thankful jubilee enjoyed. The son they feared was dead was yet alive and at home. Who that reads this incident does not feel and partake of the joy of that home. How beautifully this whole scene illustrates the boundless love of God, to wretched, fallen man. When man was not only estranged, but in open rebellion against his Heavenly Father, he sent his only-begotten Son into the far country, to seek, and if possible, induce him to return home.

The bells of heaven ring louder and longer over the return of one lost soul than over any other event that transpires on earth. Let me ask any one who reads this tender, touching incident (if you have not already done it) to adopt the language of this lost son, I will arise and go to my Father and say, I have sinned and am no more worthy to be called thy Son. Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast him out.

A. B. Earle, From: Incidents Usedů In His Meetings, published in 1888.

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