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Does not the account of the conversation which took place between the rich man and Abraham, a bogato naturally suggest the idea of a parable, and disprove the notion of a literal account? if, accord de them ing to the common opinion, the rich man was in a state of torment, from which no hopes are ever enter, entertained of an escape, why should he have pelle asked of Abraham any assistance? And if infolded in those awful flames which are generally supposed to prey on the miserable hereafter, could the rich man believe that a drop, of water on the tip of Lazarus's finger, could be of any use to him?
Lamore, In Abraham's reply, two particulars are worthy familie of special notice. 1st. “ Son, remember that thouge in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and aftemal thou art tormented.” In this part of the reply, with
idea of equal favour is suggested. As in their former condition, the rich man was favoured more than the beggar, it seems no more than equal that there should be an exchange, and he who was first a beggar, should now be rich, and he who was first rich, should now be the beggar. But according to the common opinion, there is no equality of favours enjoyed by these two persons. There is no proportion between the momentary enjoyments of riches in this world, and the everlasting enjoy. ments of heaven. Nor is there any proportion between the momentary evils of poverty in this mortal life, and the supposed torments hereafter, which are never to end. 2d., 66. And besides all this, between us:
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." In this part of the reply, it is allowed that those who are in Abraham's bosom would go to the rich man, if they were not prevented by the gulf, which also prevents those who would pass from the rich man to Abraham. But if the common opinion of the text be allowed, can any thing be more unac-.
on WE countable than the desire of those who are in Abrabian heaven, to go to this place of indescribable torture !
But why should they wish to go? To take up acer their abode there? Horrible! What then? To wat relieve some beloved parent, companion, child, are er brother, sister, or dear friend ? The desire to he bui have such relief granted, is not allowed in the
common opinion. The candid hearer will see ally sy enough in this part of Abraham's replý, to render muild the general sentiment which we are endeavouring the tipi to disprove, very doubtful at least.
Furthermore, why should those in hell wish to
pass this gulf, and go to heaven ? Have they any hatbe desire to see God in his holy dwelling place ? Have 1984 they hearts to wish to be with Jesus, the brightted,
eness of eternal existence ? or do they desire the e re company of the justified? The opinion which we in the disprove, allows none of these. That wretches in
torment should wish to be eased of pain, is reamali sonable enough ; but why an impassable gulf should Habis be necessary to keep those who hate God, who are ho mal enemies to Christ, and to all the holy, and to ho
liness itself, from going into thiş society, is what ality we cannot account for.
Though it be generally thought, that in defence of the doctrine of endless punishment, this pas
sage of scripture is as a strong city, and this gulf jionde as a commanding fortress, it is confidently believed, is mit that whoever will carefully examine what is said which of this gulf, will be fully convinced that its com
mon application is altogether unfounded.
More might be said, if more were required, to what show from the text under consideration, that its er a common use is a manifest perversion. But relying
on the candor of the hearer, and believing that that the arguments already educed, are sufficient for, metil the purpose for which they are designed, we may
proceed, as was proposed.
Thirdly. To seek for the true meaning of our
what e riced Ton
cessary to take into view the whole of the 15th and 16 ih chapters. It is also necessary that we enter on this investigation, with an impression of mind, that Jesus Christ was capable of delivering a discourse, the several parts of which would har. monize, and one part assist in giving the right sense of another.
After the divine teacher had in the two first parables in the 15th chapter, vindicated the doctrine of his grace, and defended the propriety of his receiving sinners and eating with them, he varick the third parable, so as to introduce one more character than was represented in the two former.
This character was the elder brother, who was angry at the return of the prodigal, and the kind reception with which he was welcomed of his father. By this elder brother, the religious Jews, who were angry at the kind treatment which sinners received from Christ, were represented. And their rejecting the gospel, was signified by the el
ta thy der brother's refusing to go into the house, and join in the feast and joy of the happy occasion.
In the parable of the unjust steward, which be- puso gins the 16th chapter, the same religious Jews are represented by a steward who is accused of un- trach faithfulness, for which he is to be
turned out of his han office. As the steward was commended for making the provision for the future, by a wise use of his preselio ent opportunity, these religious Jews were ado o monished to make such use of their privileges as would introduce them into the christian faith and ante church. See the application of the parable. "And the I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, phone they may receive you into everlasting habitations." Jesus then proceeds to remark, that if they were not faithful in that which was least, they would he not be in much ; and if they were not faithful in the religion of the law, that of the gospel, which was the true riches, would not be given themi, though these true riches were not their own.
ise, bu should marry a woman who had been put away
The Pharisees were provoked at these rebukes
and admonitions, and they derided him who rethat
proved them. He then dealt plainly with his reessin
ligious enemies, and said, “Ye are they which juselirezi
tify yourselves before men ; but God knoweth your quilt hearts : for that which is highly esteemed among
men, is abomination in the sight of God.”. Con
tinuing his subject, Jesus adds, “The law and the film prophets were until John: since that time the king
dom of God is preached, and every man presseth
and had come to close the first dispensation, and to introduce the gospel, the Jews in rejecting the gospel, and living in the law coyenant, committed adultery, as would a man who
Us Seni hich
from her husband.
6. There was a certain rich e man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen,"
&c. Here a parable is introduced, by which is represented the adultery which the religious Jews committed in remaining in the law covenant, and refusing to enter into the gospel church.
By the rich man the high priest might be particularly intended, as a representative of the Jews in general. In the 28th of Exodus we have an account of this garment of purple and fine linen, which Moses was commanded to prepare for Aaron, the first high priest.
By the beggar, the Gentile is represented as excluded from the privileges which God's covenant people enjoyed. The death of Lazarus consisted in his being absolved from all his idolatrous religjon; and by his being carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, is represented the conversion of the
Gentiles to Abraham's faith, by the preaching of the Apostles. The rich man died a political death. His dispensation ceases. He now sees fulfilled the words of Christ, Luke xiii, 28, 29. “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you your selves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God." And here let us add, the next verse for our instruction. " And behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
In this wretched situation, this representative of the house of Israel sees Abraham afar off
, with the Gentile in his favour, and makes his request for mercy. But though Abraham calls him son, he reminds him of his former situation, in which he was favoured with the divine oracles, while the Gentiles could get nothing but a few crumbs which their travelling philosophers picked up for them, of the religion of the patriarchs, and of the law. These philosophers are represented by dogs who sieked the sores of the beggar-Endeavouring to in molify and heal the vices of heathenism, with the moral maxims which they communicated from their tongues. “Now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." You Jews have had a divine revelation, th have been blessed of God for a long time, while the poor Gentiles had no hope, and were without
DI God in the world; but now the divine wisdom has seen fit to visit the Gentiles with the gospel, while you are excluded. And lest the Gentile believers Je should have access with the waters of the gospel to you, or you should come into the christian faith, " 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.”
In the next place, this representative of the Jews requests that Lazarus may be sent to his five