FEB. 20, 1841. Luke 15:20: "When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." It is said he had "wasted his substance with riotous living." This may signify that a real work of God had been begun; because it is said, I will "cause those that love Me to inherit substance" (Prov. 8:21); that is, to possess Christ the Hope of glory, the true substance, for all things else are shadows. And then his wasting this inheritance with riotous living is that he fell into the spirit of the world, and lost the sensible enjoyment of what be had. But he could not rest there. A mighty famine arose; and "when he came to himself"--here the progressive work of the Holy Spirit is described-- "he said, How many hired servants of my Father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! "This is the Spirit's work bringing him into trouble, causing him to ponder his way, and raising him up to a spiritual resolution to seek again to his Father, and to be joined with the people of God; giving him a great admiration for and longing after his Father's house; like David, who envied the sparrow, and would rather have been a doorkeeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness (Ps. 84:10). How many are there who go into the world, either by marrying an ungodly partner or seeking a new place, led by some supposed advantage, all of which in the end brings trouble. With what fear did Jacob go to meet Esau, being guilty. And so when God meets us by the convictions of the Spirit, we think there are no such sinners as ourselves, and say, "Can there be hope?" For God appears full of wrath, and our demerit fills us with fear. But it is said, Esau fell on Jacob's neck, and kissed him. Now this is the way the Lord returns to us. Not one word of rebuke, not one word such as, "But you were wrong there, you ought not: to have done that." This has often surprised me. And then, "I pardon freely." The same is more fully described in Joseph's meeting with his brethren (Gen. 45:4-15). "Be not grieved nor angry with yourselves, for God did send me before you to preserve life. . . . Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren talked with him." After this kiss, all shyness and distance are removed, there is no bar, but sweet access to God. So with the prodigal: "Bring forth the best robe." This robe is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is put on by the Holy Spirit, and covers the body, the folds going down to the feet. It guides us in all our walk and conversation to be honest and upright. And He puts on the ring of love from everlasting to everlasting. Also the loins are girt about with truth, and the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. May the Lord enable us all so to return, and find a Father's immutable love.