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The Lost Sheep

Wednes­day. [I Tim. 1:18-20, 2:8-15; Luke 15:1-10] emThe par­a­ble a­bout the stray sheep and the lost sil­ver piece/em. How great is the Lord’s mer­cy to­ward us sin­ners! He leaves all those who are prop­er and turns to the im­prop­er to cor­rect them; He seeks them, and when He finds them, He Him­self re­joic­es and calls all the heav­ens to re­joice with Him. How is it that He seeks them? Does He not know where we are who have step­ped a­way from Him? He knows and sees all; but if it were on­ly a mat­ter of tak­ing and trans­fer­ring them to His own, all sin­ners would im­me­di­ate­ly re­ap­pear in the same ranks. But one must first dis­pose them to re­pen­tance, so that their con­ver­sion and re­turn to the Lord would be free; and this can­not be done by com­mand or oth­er ex­ter­nal or­der. The Lord seeks a sin­ner by guid­ing him to re­pen­tance. He ar­ranges ev­ery­thing a­round him so that the sin­ner comes to his sens­es, and, see­ing the a­byss in­to which he has been rush­ing, re­turns. All the cir­cum­stances of life are di­rect­ed in this way, all meet­ings with mo­ments of sor­row and joy, even words and looks. And the in­ner ac­tions of God through the con­science and oth­er right thoughts ly­ing in the heart nev­er cease. How much is done to con­vert sin­ners to the path of vir­tue, while sin­ners still re­main sin­ners!… The en­e­my cov­ers them in dark­ness and they think that ev­ery­thing is all right, and all will pass. If wor­ries a­rise they say, “To­mor­row I will stop,” and re­main in their for­mer state. Thus day af­ter day pass­es; in­dif­fer­ence to their sal­va­tion grows and grows. A bit more and it will hard­en in­to sin. Who knows if con­ver­sion will come?

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