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this hard, sinful heart may become softened, tender, and obedient.
If a child were asked to choose between a bit of bright glass and an uncut diamond, it would be sure to take the glittering showy glass, not worth sixpence; but a lapidary would throw away the glass, and take the plain, dull stone, and cut and polish it till he produced a gem worth perhaps hundreds of pounds.
We, like the child, are apt to see the most good in those who make the greatest parade of their righteousness.
All the Jews looked up to the Pharisee in the parable as a wonderfully pious man, and they admired him, and thought a great deal of him.
But God sees the value of the most humble and obscure of His creatures.
God saw that the heart of the Pharisee was full of pride, and hypocrisy, and self-love; and He also saw that the poor, unnoticed, despised Publican had a heart full of nothing but sorrow and penitence, and no hope but in God's mercy and grace. He would not hope in vain! "A broken and a contrite heart thou wilt not despise 2," and "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," says our Lord 3.
It does not matter how much the beauty and
2 Ps. li. 17.
John vi. 37.
purity of a man's heart may be hidden from
It may have even long lain under a crust of sin and ignorance, but Christ can wash away all the earth-stains with His precious blood; that will be sufficient to cleanse the blackest heart: and by the action of His Holy Spirit He can so change and purify the lives of the most hardened sinners, that they shall "shine more and more unto the perfect day"."
Of these humble and contrite ones who talk not of their own merits, but own their guilt with bitter tears, and call upon God to save them, we read
"They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."-Malachi iii. 17, 18.
Prov. iv. 18.
3 JU 61
GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE, LONDON.