And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
The soul was made for God, and for delight in God. Sin prevents this end, and therefore there must be suffering and loss.
I. IT MUST BE A SUFFERER. It caries within a torment which the poet has pictured under the figure of twin serpents. Sin may be awhile alone, but it is sure to bring forth suffering.
1. Because God is what He is. He cannot deny Himself. Warmth excludes its opposite, cold; light its opposite, darkness; and life, death. God, being holy, must be an active opponent to sin.
2. Because man is what he is. Conscience only applauds right-doing, but bites back — in remorse for sin committed. A chaplain was preaching in India, when a deadly cobra crawled into the aisle. It was despatched without interrupting the service. Passing out after meeting, a native struck his foot against the head of the dead reptile. Instantly he cried aloud in agony, for an envenomed fang had pierced his flesh. Remedies were unavailing, and he soon died. So the memory of sin is like a poisoned fang in the breast.
3. Because of the necessity of law. Stanley never could have led his band of barbarians across the dark continent had he not subjected them all to stern, rigid law. One of them murdered his fellow. It was right that he should receive two hundred lashes, and be chained till delivered into the hands of proper authorities. God's righteous law has its penalties. Penalty is suffering.
4. Experience teaches that a sinning soul is a sufferer. It is always so in the long run. Byron.
II. THE KIND OF SUFFERING.
1. It is want. Sin must starve the soul, as the plant pines for sunshine and cannot live on candle-light.
3. Slavery. The dominion of habit was illustrated in Robert Burns, who said that he would go for a jug of whisky, though it were guarded by one who would surely shoot him in the act — "for," said he, "I could not help it."
4. Degradation and utter loneliness. In the Sistine Chapel is a picture by Angelo, which paints a victim in the grasp of a fiend. Yet the fangs in his flesh are not so tormenting as is the mental anguish which the loss of heaven occasions. This absorbs his whole thought.
(W. Hoyt, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: