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and abandoned state of the heathen world; who were given over to a reprobate mind; and were, as St. Paul, who saw their ways, assures us, "filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, coveteousness, maliciousness."1

How then was this wretched man to be relieved? The dogs, by which, perhaps, is meant the light of nature, and the mere animal knowledge of right and wrong, which the heathens enjoyed, might lick his sores; but could not cure them: - but God was his help; his name is called Lazarus; and that God, who came into the world to save that which was lost, redeemed him from the world and its miseries. "The beggar died; and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried: and in hell, he lift up his eyes, being in torments." Compare this description with what our Lord had said before, that the Gentiles "shall come from the east, and from "the west; and shall sit down with Abraham, "and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of "heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall "be cast out into outer darkness2:" and you will not fail to observe, that the same thing is spoken of in both places; and that, here as well as there, the rejection of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles is understood.

The discourse between the ghost of the rich

1 Rom. i. 29.

2 St. Matt. viii. 11, 12.

man and Abraham, which is, in itself, evidently an allegory, may be best explained, when you are informed, that the Jewish doctors taught, in their Talmud, or commentary on the law, that no Israelites, or circumcised persons, could perish: since Abraham would, after death, snatch them from hell; and bear them in his bosom to Paradise. This foolish hope is here reproved by Christ; who gives an instance, where a wicked Jew calls on his father Abraham, in vain; and cannot get from him, so much as a single drop of water, to cool his tongue in torment. the most aweful, and, perhaps, the most striking, part of the whole parable, is the assurance of Abraham at the end of it, that they, who would not hear Moses and the prophets, would not be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

But

How truly this was fulfilled in the Jews of that generation, I hardly need tell you. They would not hear, though both Moses and the prophets spake of Christ: they were continually calling out for signs and wonders, to convince them and yet, when the greatest of all wonders had been repeatedly performed; when the daughter of Jairus had been raised from her death-bed; and the widow's son of Nain, from his coffin; when Lazarus, the namesake of the character in this parable, had been called forth from the grave, in which he had lain four days; what effect had all this on their minds? They

also took counsel to put Lazarus to death, because that, by reason of him, many of the Jews believed on Jesus.' Nay, when that blessed Lord Himself arose in might and majesty from the grave, even then could they harden their hearts against this last and greatest wonder; and bribed the poor heathen soldiers to tell a lie, which their own alarm disclaimed. Verily, they, who would not hear Moses and the prophets, were not persuaded, when one rose from the dead!

This, then, appears to me to be the hidden or spiritual meaning which is contained in the Gospel for to-day and it respects, as you perceive, the dealings of God with the world, through His Son; the rejection of the Jews; and the calling of the Gentiles to the true religion. But this, you will, at once, perceive, is not the only instruction to be derived from the present parable: for as every part of the Scriptures, besides these hidden meanings, has, in its very text and outward rind, instruction for the every-day behaviour of each particular man; we shall be naturally led to examine the history in a new light, and to apply it, by God's grace, to our own hearts and consciences.

The first and most aweful question, which will occur, is, What was the crime, for which this rich man was so severely punished? Many have thought, that he was one of the Sadducees; who 1 St. John, xii. 10, 11.

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were mostly among the richer class; and who disbelieved a life after death. This may seem countenanced by his petition, that Lazarus might go back to preach to his brethren. Others have accused him of want of charity, and with great appearance of reason; since no charitable man could have suffered such an abject creature to be at his door without relief: and if he had not himself seen him; yet it may be observed, that the servants and family of a good man are seldom hard or cruel. But however this may be, the best and only certain reason, which we can give for his damnation, (for it is the reason given by Abraham himself,) is, that he set his heart and hope upon this world; that his good thingsall that he cared for-were earthly; and the treasures of Heaven were therefore closed against him. But whatever were the particular crimes for which this rich man was punished, the striking contrast, here made between him and Lazarus, is a matter of aweful warning to all who have the good things of this world, and of comfort to those who are destitute. Of how little value are costly garments and sumptuous fare, which, in a very few years or months, are to lose all their value; or of those treasures, which cannot buy for their wicked possessor a single drop of water to cool his fevered tongue! And how little does it signify, what may be our condition for a very few years in this world; provided we are sure,

by faith and repentance, of a blessed eternity, in the world to come? Where is the king, or prince, upon the face of the earth, who would not gladly exchange his own health, and power, and pleasures, —for the sores, and hunger, and helplessness of Lazarus, if these sores and hunger were to obtain for him a deliverance from the tormenting flames, and a seat by the side of Abraham? Verily, there are many, whose portion here is but of sorrow and raggedness; at whose feet the rich and mighty of the earth may be thankful to sit in the kingdom of God!

There is another question, and one of real difficulty, which also arises from this parable; — and it is, of what place is that, in which the souls, or spirits, of these three men, Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich sinner, are described as being; and what is the manner of their existence there? It cannot be said, that Abraham and Lazarus are in Heaven; for no one, but the Son of Man himself, hath ever ascended there; - nor shall any ascend there till the day of judgement is over; and our souls and bodies are joined again, in the second and immortal life. Nor can it be said, that the rich man was in that same hell, in which, after the day of judgement, the bodies and souls of the wicked will be thrown. For here, all the persons mentioned are merely spirits, souls, or ghosts, separated from the body; and waiting alike, though under very different

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