by Samuel Willard
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost. - Luke 19. 10.
If the skill in handling of it had any way answered the excellency and utility of the subject handled in the following Sermons, there would have needed no Apology for the publication of them. The Parable under consideration compriseth (in most lively and heart-affecting allusions) many precious truths. Here are divers Mysteries of Providence cleared, pointing to those secret ways wherein God carries his Decree of Election under-ground a great while, before it rise and break out in effectual Calling: here we learn how far a chosen one may run from God before he turns: here we are instructed in the methods God useth to bring wanderers home, and recover the most profligate Sinners by Repentance: the nature of true Repentance is here curiously limned, and the transactions between God and a Sinner in his Conversion pathetically described: yea, how miserable a thing it is to be a Sinner, how happy to be a Saint is wonderfully illustrated. The fountain of Grace is here opened, and the deep streams in which it runs revealed: and all this accommodated to the most feeling apprehensions of the soul. I confess I have but drawn a veil upon the picture, and am deeply sensible of my own insufficiency to Display these Mysteries: all the account which I can give of the publishing this imperfect thing, is, knowing it the desire and duty of those that fear God, as they have opportunity, to do all the good they may in their places; & God having so far afforded his Presence and Blessing with these Sermons in the Preaching, that many Souls have born witness to the benefit received by them, some of whom have desired they might have the further advantage of their being made public; I was therefore induced for this reason to consent to it; hoping withal (if God sees meet) that it may be further beneficial to some or other, to show them to themselves, and instruct them in the way of life: to give light also to, and help some to prove themselves and their own state: only let it be (for caution) adverted, that I have not here undertaken to confine the Spirit of God in his ways and methods with his Elect, in bringing them home; but only have signified that something of all that is herein expressed is one way or other done in the Soul that is savingly brought over to Christ. The work of Conversion begins to be thought a small thing; and a matter of little observation or wonderment for a Sinner to become a Saint: Many Commence Believers before they were either convinced or humbled; and that is the reason why so many prove Apostates: The great design of the Parable, and aim of this Discourse upon it, is that proud and secure Sinners may be awakened and humbled, and brought off from their empty and undoing courses; and that abased and self-loathing Sinners may be encouraged, notwithstanding all their profuse and prodigal ways, to return to God in Christ for his mercy, and so may taste of the Royal Feast, and be entertained at that noble Table, which God hath prepared for them who come home from their far Country, by true Repentance. My encouragement is, that out of the mouth of Babes and Suckling's God hath ordained praise; to his blessing I commend this work; and may his Name have the Glory, and your Souls be made so to partake in benefit by it as to give him his due acknowledgment I shall have reached the utmost of my aim.
Who am the Unworthiest Laborer in Christ's Harvest,
Table of Contents
SERMON I. - Luke 15. 11.
SERMON II. - Luke 15. 11.
SERMON III. - Luke 15. 11.
SERMON IV. - Luke 15. 11.
SERMON V. - Luke 15. 11.
SERMON VI. - Luke 15. 14.
SERMON VII. . - Luke 15. 14.
SERMON VIII. - Luke 15. 15.
SERMON IX. - Luke 15. 16.
SERMON X. - Luke 15. 17.
SERMON XI. - Luke 15. 17.
SERMON XII. - Motives of the Prodigal
SERMON XIII. - Motives Continued
SERMON XIV. - Luke 15. 18-19.
SERMON XV. - Thus of the Prodigals resolution to return
SERMON XVI. - The Prodigal's Confession of his Sin
SERMON XVII. - His Petition
SERMON XVIII. - Directions
SERMON XIX. - And he came to his father - Luke 15:20
SERMON. XX. - When he was a long way off - Luke 15:20
SERMON XXI. - the manner of the Fathers carriage to his Son
SERMON XXII. - The work of conversion
SERMON XXIII. - Luke 15:21
SERMON XXIV - Bring forth the best robe - Luke 15:22-24
SERMON XXV. - Observations
SERMON XXVI. - The elder brother was angry - Luke 25-28
SERMON XXVII. - Luke 28-30
SERMON XXVIII. - Luke 28:31-32