The Prodigal's Reception
Charles H. Spurgeon
There he is! He is as wretched as misery itself; as filthy as his brute associates who could satisfy themselves with husks, while he could not. His clothes hang about him in rags, and what he is without, that he is within. He is disgraced in the eyes of the good, and the virtuous remember him with indignation. He has some desires to go back to his father's house; but these desires are not sufficient to alter his condition. Mere desires have not scraped the filth from him, nor have they so much as shed his rags. Whatever he may or may not desire, he is still filthy, still disgraced, still an alien from his father's house: and he knows it, for he has come to himself. He would have been angry if we had said as much as this before, but now we cannot describe him in words too black. With many tears and sighs he assures us that he is even worse than he appears to be, and that no man can know all the depth of the vileness of his conduct: he has spent his living with harlots; he has despised a generous parent's love and broken loose from his wise control; he has done evil with both his hands to the utmost of his strength and opportunity. There he stands, notwithstanding this confession, just what I have described him to be; for even though he has said within himself "I have sinned," yet that confession has not removed his griefs. He acknowledges that he is not worthy to be called a son-and it is true he is not; but his unworthiness is not removed by his consciousness of it, nor by his confession of it. He has no claims to a father's love. If that father shuts the door in his face, he acts with justice to him; if he shall refuse so much as to speak a single word, except words of rebuke, no one can blame the father, for the son has so sadly erred. To this the son utters no demur; he confesses that if he be cast away forever, he deserves it well. This picture, I know, is the photograph of some who are now present. Y ...
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