The Elder Brother

It appears to the writer that more than any other historical or allegorical character portrayed in the Bible, the prodigal's elder brother symbolizes one's self,—not so much on account of his ungenerous attitude, betrayed on the other's home-coming, but because of his position in the parental household. The elder brother represents such as are in some degree conscious of their inheritance, and endeavoring to fulfill its obligations. Those who refuse allegiance even to an "unknown God," and make no honest attempt after such righteousness as even civilization impels, are not like the elder brother, but rather—for the time being—resemble the younger, the prodigal.

Most of us have probably been at some time or other in the position of him who would fain have eaten of the husks with which the swine were fed, finding that the world has absolutely nothing with which to meet our need. But after the feasting and the merriment which celebrated his return were over, the prodigal himself would in natural course take his place beside his elder brother, already astir about the fulfillment of his duties. So the more normal position of us all is that of the son laboring in the house of the father who said to him, "All that I have is thine."

"Judge not, that ye be not judged"
July 14, 1923

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