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to be fedwith the Crumbs that fell from the rich Mans 'table; moreover the Dogs came and licked his Sores. Ver. 19, 20, 21. It is observable, tbat the rich Man here is not charged with enormous Vices, with Fraud, Injustice, and open Acts of Oppression and Violence; or with sordid Avarice and Niggardliness, which would not suffer him to enjoy what he possessed: But his Fault layin this, that the Use he made of his Wealth was only to pamper the FleJh, and make Provision for a Life of Luxury and Ease, to which he wholly gave up himself; whilst he took no Care to do Good with his Riches, and was insensible to the
Wants and Miseries of others: Which conveyeth to us this important Instruction, that not only an openly vicious and profligate Life, but the being immersed in the Love of the World, and it's Enjoyments and Pleasures, together with a Neglect of "doing Good, where there is an Ability for it, coristituteth an immoral Character in the Sight of God, and will expose Persons to just Punishment, in a future State of Retribution: And that there is no greaser Enemy to true Piety and Virtue, nor a more dangerous Snare, than a sensual voluptuous Frame and Course, which is generally attended with haughty Pride, and
a Contempt a Contempt of the Poor, and an Unconcernedness for their Miseries.
The next Part of the Parable openeth to us a very different and surprising Scene, viz. the different States of those Persons in another World after their Departure from, this. The one, instead of his former Misery and Want, is represented as immediately entering into a State of Rest and Felicity; the other as at once deprived of all his boasted Wealth and Grandeur, and entering into a State of Misery and Torment: And it came to pass, that the Beggar, or poor Man, died, and was carried by the Angeh into Abraham'* Bosom. The rich Man also died, and was buried: And in Hell he lifted up his Eyes, being in Torment, and seetb Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his Bosom. In what follows, though there are several Things designed for Ornament, and not to be taken in the utmost literal Strictness, there are also very excellent Instructions. We are told that be, the rich Men, cried out, and said, "Father Abraham, have Mercy upon me, and fend Lazarus, that he may dip the Tip of his Finger in Water, and cool my Tongue ; for I am tormented in this Flame. The Answer Abraham returned is remarkable: Son, remember, that thou in thy Life-Time received/I thy good Things, i. e. the good Things thou
hast chosen for thy Happiness'and Portion; and likewise Lazarus evil Things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. This fheweth the Equity of the Divine Procedure: The one had led a Life of Luxury and Sensuality here on Earth, wholly devoted to his Pleasures, the Lufl of the Flejh, the Lust of the Eye, and the Pride of Life: The other had been poor and afflicted on Earth, but had borne all with Patience and Resignation to the Will of God, and had still retained his Faith, his Piety, and Integrity: For this is evidently supposed, though not directly expressed; since it is manifest from the whole Scripture, that Poverty alone, separated from true Priety and Virtue, can never recommend any Man to the Divine Favour. And then it is added, And, bejides all this, between us and you there is a great Gulph fixed, so that they •who would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Ver. 26. This is plainly designed to signify that the Happiness of the Righteous, and Misery of the Wicked, in that future State shall be unalterably fixed. The Righteous shall continue in the unchangeable Possession of the Happiness assigned them; and the Wicked shall have no Hope of being ever delivered from their miserable Condition, and admitted to the
Regions Regions of Bliss: All Applications and Cries for Mercy shall then be ineffectual and vain: There shall be no farther Opportunities for working out our Salvation, after this Life and State of Trial is at an End: Which is a Consideration of the highest Moment, and, if seriously believed, must have a mighty Influence to engage us to improve the present Seasons and Means of Grace.
The last Part of the Parable is designed to inculcate this most important Instruction, That God hath put sufficient Means into our Hands, even the Instructions and Directions of his holy Word; by attending to which we may be directed how to obtain that future Happiness, and to avoid that future Misery: And that, if we neglect or refuse to hearken to his Word, we cannot justly expect, that God should take any farther extraordinary Methods for our Convictions and Amendment: Or, if he should do so, there is . no Likelihood that those Means would prove effectual, for convincing and reclaiming those who reject the standing Revelation he hath given us. The rich Man is represented as saying to Abraham, I pray thee, Father, that thou would/I send him, viz. Lazarus, to my Father's House; far I have five Brethren ; that be may testify unto them, lest they also came into this Place of Torment. ment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them. And he faith, Nay, Father Abraham; but, if one went unto them from the Dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the Dead. Ver. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.
Thus we fee what a Variety of admirable Instructions is comprized in this short Parable; how full it is of important Lessons represented in a most lively Manner, and well fitted to strike and make a deep Impression upon the Mind!
In like Manner the Parable of the Talents, Matt. xxv. 14-;—30, furnisheth several Instructions of great Use. Our Lord had proposed a Parable like this, before he came to Jerusalem, Luke xix. 12—27. And then he repeateth it with some Variations at Jerusalem, a little before his Passion. We are there taught to regard all our Abilities, all the Advantages and Means of Improvement we enjoy, as Talents intrusted to our Care and Management by the supreme Lord, who will call us to a strict Account, whether and how far we have improved them: That, if we have been diligent and faithful in the Use and Improvent of those Talents, we shalt receive from him a glorious Reward; and,