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recourse to them, but, on the contrary, they should, according to their ability, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and relieve the prisoner, that at the last day they may partake of the gracious invitation of the heavenly king, Come ye, blessed of my FaTher, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the fiim, dathn of the world, Let us, then, behave ourselves like faithful stewards, in the management of those good things which our heavenly Master has intrusted to us; and we shall be happy in the reflection, that in proportion to our fidelity will be our eternal felicity; for God has graciously connected our interest with our duty.
; SECTION LXXXIII. .
THE PARABLE OF THE RICH MAM AND LAZARUS.
From Luke, Chap, xvi.
There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: thelich man also died, and was buried.
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus iii kis bosom.
And he cried", and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house; for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, 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.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Having in the parable of the Prodigal Son described the grace cf the Gospel, our Lord in that of the rich mart and Lazarus set before his hearers the wrath to come.
"The general design * of this parable is formed upon the doctrine of a future state, as it prevailed in the Jewish church at that time. It is addressed to the Pharisees, who believed the resurrection; and, there, fore, our Lord did not on this occasion make use of arguments to prove the reality of a future state; but built upon it, as a truth believed and acknowledged by themselves." As the Jews entertained very erroneous
» See Dr. Stebbing' sSermons.
notions notions on this head, we will not amuse ourselves wfrh an examination of them; since we may be assured, that though our Lord here alluded to them, he did not mean to confirm them, but only to convey by this means practical instruction, adapted to the comprehension of those to whom it was addressed.
We may judge from the different portions allotted to the rich and the poor man in the other world, that they were of very different dispositions.
The rich ma?i does not appear to have been deficient in charity, for Lazarus was fed with the superfluities of his table. It was no sin in him to wear purple and fine linen, nor to fare sumptuously, for he could well afford it; neither is it related, that he was guilty Of fraud, oppression, or intemperance: yet we find he was, after death, condemned to a state of torment, whilst the poor beggar was exalted to heaven. (Abraham's bosom was an expression in use with the Jews, signifying the abode of happy spirits in a separate state.) From the request of the rich man that Lazarus might be sent to his brethren, and Abraham's answer, "remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things," we may infer, that his crimes were infidelity and unthankfulness to God for the bles iigs so bountifully bestowed on him. We may likewise infer, that Lazarus had borne the evils of adversity with patient resignation to the divine will, trusting in God's mercy for future happiness, and practising all the duties which belong to a state of poverty. When the rich man was convinced, by fatal experience, of the certainty of another world, he lamented his folly; but the day of grace was past, and repentance would not alter his condition : he therefore wished to inform his brethren of it, that they might be converted before it was too late,
. "" Who * would not think, that the coming of one from the dead would effectually convince an unbeliever? For what more could any one desire, than to see an old acquaintance, and hear from him a relation of what he had heard and seen after death in another world? And yet this evidence, our Saviour tells us, would have no efficacy on unbelievers. He who can hold out against the evidence God has already given, that he will one day judge the world in righteousness, would not be per. suaded though one arose from the dead."
This parable, though in itself an allegory, will help to establish our belief of many important particulars. We may learn from it, that a man may enjoy a large share of temporal blessings, without possessing the favour of God. That there is a state of retribution, where the case will be very different. That it is impossible for those who are condemned to the place prepared for the wicked, ever to go to heaven; and that there is no danger of those who have attained a state of bliss, ever to be sent from it; and that it is better to prepare for eternity, than to enjoy all the riches, honours, and pleasures this world can afford.
Since we are furnished with the means of knowledge, we should take warning from the fate of the rich man in the parable. Those who will attend to Moses and the Prophets may be sufficiently convinced of the reality of a future state; but we have the additional testimony of Christ and his Apostles; and if these are not enough to establish our belief of the truth of Christianity, no evidence will convince us. Let us then be thankful for the light we have, which is amply sufficient to guide our feet into the way of peace; if we do not, at the peril of our immortal souls, wilfully ex
* Bishop Sherlock's Sermons.
elude elude it, and resolve rather to wander in the darkness of error and sin.
THE PARABLES OF THE UNJUST JUDGE, AND THE PUCLICAN AND PHARISEE.
From Luke, Chap, xvii, xviii.
And the Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our fath.
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard.seed, ye might say unto (his sycamine tree, But thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea, and it shall obey you.
But which of you having a servant ploughing, or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go, and sit down to meat:
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Doth he thank that servant because he dill the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.