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1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
Ver. 1. All the publicans and sinners ] Christ familiarized himself with these despised persons, and thereby much won upon them. Affability easily allureth, austerity discourageth; as it did that honest citizen, which having in himself a certain conflict of conscience, came to Master Hooper the martyr’s door for counsel; but being abashed at his austere behaviour, dared not come in, but departed, seeking remedy of his troubled mind at other men’s hands.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Ver. 2. But the scribes and Pharisees ] Being sick of the devil’s disease, and doing his lusts,John 8:44; John 8:44 .
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
Ver. 3. See Matthew 18:12 .
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Ver. 4. See Matthew 18:13 .
5 And when he hath found it , he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Ver. 5. See Matthew 18:13 .
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Ver. 6. See Matthew 18:13 .
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Ver. 7. Joy shall be in heaven ] Would we then put harps into the angels’ hands, ditties into their mouths? repent.
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it ?
Ver. 8. If she lose once piece ] One Tester. Drachma enim valebat septem denarios cum dimidio. (Breerwood de Num. ) Judges 1:1 . See the margin of our new translation.
And sweep the house ] σαροι , everrit, not evertit, as the Vulgate hath it corruptly: and Gregory with others were deceived by it in their descants and glosses, nothing to the purpose.
9 And when she hath found it , she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Ver. 9. Rejoice with me ] What greater joy than to have had a hand in the conversion of a sinner from the error of his way?
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Ver. 10. See Luke 15:7 . The tears of sinners are the wine of angels, saith Bernard: who himself, for a certain time after his conversion, remained as it were deprived of his senses, by the excessive consolations he had from God.
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Ver. 11. And he said ] A third parable to the same purpose: and all to persuade us of God’s readiness to receive returning sinners. This is not so easily believed, indeed, as most men imagine.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me . And he divided unto them his living.
Ver. 12. He divided unto them his living ] Gr. τον βιον , his life. Our life is called the "life of our hands," Isaiah 57:10 , because it is upheld by the labour of our hands.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
Ver. 13. Gathered all together ] Convasatis veluti omnibus.
With riotous living ] Ασωτως a Not caring to save any part, sibi nihil reservaus, imo seipsum non servans, being such as safety itself could not save; whence the Latins call such a man perditum, an undone person. Such were those of whom Seneca saith, that singulis auribus bina aut terna dependent patrimonia, hanged two or three good lordships at their ears. And such are those among us that turn lands into laces, great rents into great ruffs, &c. The expenses of Apicus’ kitchen amounted to more than two millions of gold. b He having eaten up his estate, and finding by his account that he had no more than 200,000 crowns remaining, thought himself poor, and that this sufficed not to maintain his luxury; whereupon he drank down a glass of poison.
a ασωτος quasi ασωστος , unsavable.
b H. S. millies in culinam coniecisset. Seneca, Moral Essays, l. 12. c. 10. (8-10) 2:453
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
Ver. 14. And when he had spent all ] And left himself nothing at all, praeter coelum et coenum, but air to breathe in and earth to tread on, as that Roman prodigal boasted; who had made his own hands his executors, and his own eyes his overseers, drawing much of his patrimony through his throat, and spending the rest upon harlots, who left him as bare as crows do a dead carcase. Ruin follows riot at the heels.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
Ver. 15. To feed swine ] Which to a Jew, that held swine an abomination, must needs be grievous.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Ver. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly ] The stomach of man is a monster (saith one), which, being contained in so little a bulk as his body, is able to consume and devour all things.
And no man gave him ] A swinish life he had led, and now would have been glad of swine’s meat.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Ver. 17. And when he came to himself ] For till then he had been beside himself, and not his own worthy. Nebulo rascal (saith one) cometh of Nabal; fool of φαυλος: ανοια et ανομια are of near affinity. Evil is Hebrew for a fool, &c. Wickedness is called the "foolishness of madness," Ecclesiastes 7:25 .
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Ver. 18. Against heaven and before thee ] That is, I have not only thee, but the whole heaven for a swift witness against me of mine offences and outbursts. "The heaven doth declare mine iniquity, and the earth riseth up against me," Job 20:27 .
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Ver. 19. I am not worthy ] So Austin, Domino, non sum dignus quem tu diligas. So another, Non sum dignus, Domino, sod sum indigens. Sense of misery must precede sense of mercy. Let God but hear such words as these fall from his Ephraims, and he will soon melt over them, Jer 31:19-20 Hosea 11:8 . Henry the son of our Henry II, crowned by his father, and rebelling against him, died before his father at Martel in Normandy, where his father lay at siege. His father refusing to visit him (as fearing his own life), but sending his ring in sign of forgiveness, the dying prince most humbly with floods of tears kissing the same, made a most sorrowful confession of his sins: and feeling death approach, would needs be drawn (as an unworthy sinner) out of his own bed, and laid upon another strewed with ashes, where he died; which being related, the old king fell upon the earth, and weeping bitterly (like another David for his Absalom) mourned very sore. (Speed, 522.)
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Ver. 20. When he was yet a great way off ] Tantum velis et Deus tibi praeoccurret, You may be so will and God will run to you, saith a Father. The prodigal was but conceiving a purpose to return, and God met him, Isaiah 65:24 .
And kissed him ] One would have thought he should have kicked him, or have killed him rather, but God is Pater miserationum, father of mercy, he is all heart. The prodigal came, the father ran; God is slow to anger, swift to show mercy.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
Ver. 21. Father, I have sinned ] Confess, and the mends is made. Homo agnoscit, Deus ignoscit. Acknowledge but the debt, and he will cross the book.
And am no more worthy, &c. ] Infernus sum, Domine, said that holy martyr, Mr Hooper, at his death. Lord, I am hell, but thou art heaven I am soil, and a sink of sin, but thou a gracious God.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
Ver. 22. The best robe ] That white raiment of Christ’s righteousness,Revelation 3:18; Revelation 3:18 ; that rich and royal array, Psalms 45:14 , the righteousness ( δικαιωματα ) of the saints, Revelation 19:8 .
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it ; and let us eat, and be merry:
Ver. 23. And bring hither the fatted calf ] Christ is that fatted calf, saith Mr Tyndale martyr, slain to make penitent sinners good cheer withal, and his righteousness is the goodly raiment to cover the naked deformities of their sins.
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Ver. 24. For this my son was dead, &c. ] So fareth it with every faithful Christian. He was dead, but now lives, and cannot be insensible or ignorant of such a change.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
Ver. 25. His elder son ] The self-justiciary, that is good in his own eyes, and needs no repentance.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
Ver. 26. What these things meant ] Hypocrites understand not the just man’s joys, nor the sweet intercourse that is between God and his people.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
Ver. 27. Safe ] Gr. υγιαινοντα , in health. Quod sanitas in corpore, id sanctitas in corde. The sanctified man is the only sound man.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Ver. 28. And he was angry ] Christi consilium est ostendere, iniquum esse qui fratri in gratiam recepto obtrectat, etiamsi sanctitate Angelis non cedat. Calvin.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
Ver. 29. And yet thou never gavest me a kid ] Much less a calf. Hypocrites hold God to be in their debt, and through discontent weigh not his favours, as being never without some ailment.
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
Ver. 30. But as soon as this thy son ] He saith not, this my brother; he would not once own him, because in poverty.
Which hath devoured thy living ] q.d. which you were so hasty to give unto him before your death (which you need not have done), and now he hath made a fair hand of it.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
Ver. 31. All that I have is thine ] In thy conceit at least. Thou holdest thyself happy howsoever, and seemeth to have one foot already in the porch of paradise. Self-deceivers will needlessly set up their counter for a thousand pounds, and will not believe but their penny is very good silver. They lay claim to all, as the madman of Athens did to all the ships that came into that harbour, as his.
32 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.
Ver. 32. Was lost, and is found ] Of himself he left his father; yet is he called the lost son.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26