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as a History ; by others, and that the greater Number, as a Parable, wherein arle symbolically represented the different State and Condition of good and bad Men in the next World; that is, the great Miseries that will follow abus'cl Prosperity, and likewise the unspeakable Comforts thac attend an honest, humble, and afflicted Poverty: Both which are here plainly set forth. Where we ar$ to consider, . . i \ i •
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First, The Persons here related, and they are Dives and Lazjtrus, the poor and the rich Man : with the different Carriage and Behaviour of each, And, - '
Secondly, The different Fate or End of both: which things contain the Substance and Design of this Parable. . snij.rrJ
first then, The Parable begins with an Account of a certain- rich Man, nam'd Dives, who was clothed in Purple and fine Linen, and sard sumptuously every Day: which is a brief Description os one swimming in all manner of Plenty and Luxury, and deck'd in all the Gaiety and Gallantry that this World can afford; his Apparel consisting of Purple, the Clothing of Princes•j and fine Linen, the gorgeous Attire of Courts and Palaces. Accordingly Babylon with its Riches is deserib'd by a great City cloth'd in fine Linen, and Purple, and Scarlet, and deck'd with Gold. , and precious Stones and Pearls; Rev. 18.16. For his Diet, that-is deserib'd by his saring sumptuously every Day, meaning, that his Table was daily spred with all manner os rich and costly Provisions ; the Air, the Sea, and the Land were ransack'd to furnish him with all sorts of Dainties and Varieties. In a word, both his Dishes and his Dresses were set forth with the utmost Pomp and Bravery, all which he en joy'd and indulg'd himself in, without the least Regard to, or Relief of the Wants and Necessities of others. Again,
The next Verse tells us, of a certain Beggar nam'd Laaarus, who was laid at l»s Gate full of Sores, and desiring to (ft fed with the Crumbs that fell from the rich Man's Table: Moreover, the Dogs came and lick'd his Sores, This is a Description of one sinking under the greatest Burden of earthly Misery and Distress, and groaning under the pinching Necessities of Hunger and Thirst : his Body full of Sores, aT.d yet expos'd to.'the sharp and open Air, without any Friend to succour ox help him i insomuch that the very Dogs came and lick'd his Sores; his Flesh pining away for lack of the Crumbs that fell from the Rich Man's Table, and having nothing to fatisfy the Wants and Cravings of his Nature. This poor Man in this lad Condition was laid at the rich Man's Gate, in hopes of some Relief; but found none from that hard-hearted Wretch, tho his Desires were so modest, as to ask only for Crumbs to comfort and support him : yea, the very Dogs that ate the Crumbs under the Table, shew'd more Compastion than he, for they came and lick'd his Sores, when the Master shew'd no manner of Pity.
By which we fee the disferent and unequal Fortunes, States and Conditions of Men in this World, some flowing in all manner of Affluence and Plenty, and others labouring under the Calamities of Want and Scarcity: and likewise the disferent Tempers and Dispositions of Men here, some commiserating and relieving, others slighting and turning the deaf Ear to the loudest Cries and Wants of the Needy: both which are .so well known, as to need no insisting on. But, .. ' • .
Secondly^Whit follow'd hereupon? Why,the'next words acquaint us, that the Beggar soon after died. Perhaps starv'd with Hunger, and perishing for lack of Necessaries: but however that be, the poor Man was carry d by Angels into Abrahams Bosom; the place of Rest and Peace, where the Souls of good Men go after Death, and remain till the Resurrection and Day of Judgment: call'd sometimes Paradise, where our Saviour's Soul, with that of the penitent Thief, went after their Crucifixion ., and here 'tis call'd Abraham's Bosom, a Mansion for those blessed Souls, that depart hence in the Lord, where they rest from their Labours, and abide in a comfortable Expectation of farther Bliss and Glory: and this our Saviour foretold mould bs the Portion of sound Believers, to sit down < with Abraham, &c, Mat, 8. n,&o I / * . 1 ** 'i
And it came to pass (faith the Parable) that the Rich . Man also died and was buried. Death is the common Lot of all Mankind ^ Poor and Rich, Base and Honourable, none are exempted from that fatal Stroke, but all jneet in the House appointed for all the living. There the Dust qf one Man will not give place to the Dust of another, but all lie
Eromiscuously mingled and muffled together^ and they who ave fared most deliciously, become but the tatter Feast for
H 4 .Worm*. Worms. Riches cannot bribe or put off Death, nor eati any Man's Wealth and Plenty secure him from the Grave, butrarher fink him the sooner into it-, their Table oftimes becomes a Snare to catch themselves withal, and what was intended for their good, proves many times an occasion of falling. So we read here, The Rich Man also died, and was buried. We heard nothing before of the Poor Man's Burial, and perhaps he had none, but pass'd away in the fame Silence and Obscurity in which he lived, his Meannels and Poverty not amounting to the Charges of a Funeral. Bat of the Rich Man 'rte here faid, that he died and was buried \ and he, no doubt, had a solemn and splendid Funeral, suitable to the Pomp and Grandeur in which he lived, having all the Ceremonies of State and Mourning that commonly attend and adorn such Solemnities.
But what became of this Rich Man after Death? Whyr he was carry'd into Hell, the Place of Misery and Torment, where the departed Souls of wicked Men go and remain till the Day of Judgment. He was not carry'd by Angels (as the poor Man was) into Abraham's Bosom, there to fit down with Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven , but was hurry'd away by evil Spirits into everlasting Fire, prepar'd for the Devil and his Angels. There, nothing of his Pomp, only the Punishment of his Cruelty and Ingratitude follow'd him ; where he found no Mercy, because he never shew'd any: for in Hell he lift up his Eyes, being in Torments, and feeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his Bosom, Which words are not to be understood literally, as if they could fee one another at the distance of those places-, for we are told after, that between them there is a great Gulf fix'd, so that the bodily Eye cannot reach to the beholding or discerning each other so far. And therefore the Words are to be understood siguratively, as an Aggravation of Dives's Misery, to find himself so grievously tormented, when Laz.artts whom he despis'd was seated in a place of endless Joy and Happiness. This he knew by some Revelation or other, and the Thoughts and Envy of it rack'd his Bread, and fill'd it with Horrour and Despair, .And. indeed it must be a very great Addition to the Torments of the Damned, at once to feel their own Tortures, and know the eternal Joys and Blessedness of others, la this desperate and deplorable Condition, Dives is represented as one that cryd and said, Father Abraham, h*ve mercy on me^ and seed Lazarus that he may dip the tip X \ .: of tf his Finger in Water, and cool my Tongue ; for J am tormented in this Flame. These words are still to be taken figuratively; for such a Communication cannot be suppos'd between Paradise and Hell, as to send Mesfages, to receive Answers, or to hear Discourses from the one place to the other; much less can it be imagin'd, that one should go from Abraham's Bosom to carry Water on the tip of his Finger, to cool the Tongue of another in Hell. But these Expressions are used, the farther to heighten and represent the Misery and Condemnation of the Wicked in the other World : that Dives, who refus'd to hear the Cries ©f Laxartit, should be, forc'd to cry himself for some Relief from him, and to beg Mercy from him, to whom he would Ihew none: that he who deny'd a Crumb of Bread or a Drop of Beer out of his Abundance to a poor Beggar, should be himself driven to ask a Drop of Water in his extreme Want; and that too to cool his Tongue with a little Water, which he had before inflam'd with too much Wine. Which things are here related in a parabolical way, to shew the Danger of such a hard-hearted Temper, and the suitable Punishments that will follow upon such unmerciful Practices.
i: , But what Answer did the Rich Man receive in this his great Necessity? Why, that the following words declare: Abraham said unto him, Son, remember that thou in thy Lifetime received^ thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. Where the Term Son is us'd not to signify that he was a true Son of Abraham, the Father of the Faithful; for then he would have been receiv'd into Abraham* Bosom : but 'tis a vulgar manner or kind of speaking, accommodated to the Tenor of this Narration, wherein 'tis usual to call one ano* ther by the name of Sons or Brethren. But in answer to his Request, he tells him what he was now in Reason and Justice to expect; for he had receiv'd his Portion of good things in the Plenty and Abundance of earthly things, which he had already enjoy'd and spent upon himself in his life-time, without imparting any of it to the Necessities of others: and on the other hand, Lazjsrm hath had his Portion of evil things in the Hardships and Afflictions he hath already sustain'd m this World. And therefore 'tis but Justice and Equity, that Laz.arus should be now rewarded for the evil things which he so patiently endur'd; and thou punish'd for the good things thou hast so wickedly abused. In this Answer of faithful Abraham we may observe two or three things: . — ,
ist, That there is some Portion of good things belonging to every one, which he is to receive either in this World or in the next -, for we being all God's Creatures and Children, he reckons himself oblig'd to provide and take care of us, and at least to give to each a Child's Portion. Beside, there is none so abandon'd to Sin and Wickedness, but hath something of Good in him, some commendable Quality or other, to which something of a Reward is in a manner due: And these are here and elsewhere call'd a Man's good things. Again, there is a Portion of evil things belonging to every Man, which he is to receive either here or hereafter: for as there is none so bad but hath something of good in him, which God as a kind Father rewards with good things so there is none so good, but hath something of Evil in him, which God as a just Judg punishes with evil things: and these are here faid to be his evil things. Now he that receives all his good things here in this Life, without any Allay or Mixture of Sufferings for his bad Deeds, hath all his Portion of Good in this World, and shall receive the Punishment of his Evil in the World to pome. As on the other fide, he that hath receiv'd his evil things in the Sufferings and Troubles of this Life, shall receive the Reward of his good Deeds in the next. This is the Case here between Dives and Laz.arus, where Abraham bids Dives remember, that he in his Use-time had re~ ceiv'd his good things, and Lazarus evil things; and therefore Latarus is comforted, and he is tormented. And this may teach us, that Prosperity is not always a sign of God's Favour, nor Adversity of his Frowns, for the one may be given in Wrath, and the other in Love ., and therefore we jhould not be lifted up with Prosperity, nor cast down with Adversity, or in any Affliction that may befal us. J A
zdly, We may observe here, that 'tis not the possessing, no nor the spending of Riches, that is the Cause of these future Torments, but the doing both in a wrong way; 'tis the ill getting, and the ill using of Wealth, that bring on these heavy Punishments. Dives was condemn'd to Hell not for being rich, but for spending his Riches in Luxury and Vanity, when he saw others to want Necessaries, without giving them any Relief. His sumptuous Fare and gorgeous Attire had been innocent enough, had he fed the Hungry with what was left, and cover'd the Naked with