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holiness, that is proved by the fact, that he prayed to Abraham, that his brethren might be warned not to come to that place. He calls this the breathing of a holy feeling. But what holiness there is in praying to Father Abraham, and in dreading to have a man's torments aggravated by the presence of those who shared in his guilt, does not appear. Here are the proofs of the man's piety such as Mr. W. relies on to show that his torments were not on account of his wickedness. But one would think that his wish to have his brethren warned to shape their conduct so as not to come to that place of torment, is proof that he was convinced that his conduct brought him there—and the not hearing Moses being brought in as the ground of their danger, would settle the question. What is it to hear and obey Moses and the prophets? Is not he a wicked man who refuses to hear? And then if conduct had no influence in bringing those torments, why should his brethren be warned lest they also come?
Mr. W. tells us there were some with Abraham, who would go to the rich man, but could not. But the parable tells us no such thing. It does not say that there are any who wish to pass, but chooses a simple way of saying that there is a complete non-intercourse, and none could pass if they would. Equal force will be found in the following suggestions, that "hell cannot be so hot a place, as it has been represented, or the rich man would have called for more than a drop of water," and this, that the "devil could not be pleased to have so benevolent a prayer offered in his dark dominions." These are the reasonings on which men are invited to risk their eternal all-by which new and great light is pretended to be poured upon the holy Scriptures.
Our author's argument, constructed to show that the passage is a parable is useless, for we are ready to admit it. We conceive the same truths are inculcated by it whether it be narrative of real fact, or a parable. Take the parable of the sower which Christ himself interprets. He does not bring out the meaning through the question whether it was narrative or literal fact-whether such a sower went out and sowed in such
illustrate his general
a way and compassed such results or not. But when he comes
I make the limitation in the last clause with regard to essential features, for this is made in all interpretations of rhetorical imagery. A parable is never to be made (to use a homely yet technical phrase) "to run on all fours." When Lazarus is represented as in Abraham's bosom, we are not to understand a literal dwelling in a man's bosom. When the rich man is said to have lifted up his eyes and to put forth other bodily actions, these expressions argue no more against the fact, that the parable is descriptive of the condition of spirits in the spiritual world, than the use of bodily organs everywhere attributed to God, proves that God is not a spirit. These expressions are the proper results of the imperfections of human language and human conceptions, in relation to matters of the invisible world. But if this parable is interpreted according to the rules above stated, none can doubt of its bearings on the subject before us.
I now proceed to notice Mr. W.'s interpretation, in which he undertakes to tell us what the parable means. In order to give some air of plausibility to his statements, he pretends that the verse preceding the parable is related to it as its introduction. The verse is this-Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another committeth adultery, and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. Upon this our author thus remarks: "If the Jews had put away the law, and married another covenant before John came, they in a parabolic sense, would have committed adultery. For infinite wisdom ordained that the law should remain until John, and it ordained that it should remain no long
er. For since that time the kingdom of God is preached. The law was put away, it was fulfilled. The Jews by rejecting the gospel and adhering to the law, committed adultery, as would a man that should marry a woman that had been put away by her husband." Let no man after this despair of the solution of any problem in biblical interpretation! It seems, according to this, that the wife (the law) is put away not by the act of the husband, (the Jewish nation,) nor by her own act, but by that of a third person. And so put away that it is adultery even for her own husband, to receive her, after she had been forced from him. And that he commits adultery if he refuses to marry another, that is the new covenant. This is a strange species of adultery. But not more strange than the original marriage. The Jewish nation it seems, was married to, not joined in or by a covenant, to another party-but married to a marriage covenant-took a marriage covenant for a wife. And this we are told is marriage and adultery in a parabolic sense. Parabolic sense! nay, arrant nonsense! Whether the man himself is a fool or whether he calculates upon all his readers being fools, I will not decide.
But as to the connexion of the parable with the preceding verse, Christ said, verse 16. The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it. That is, the Old Testament institutions were of force until John. But these now so far as inconsistent with,or as they have been fulfilled by,the introduction of the gospel, are no longer binding. But lest any should think that the eternal principles of God's law were to suffer mutilation, he adds, that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail, so he gives them to understand that no essential principle of the moral law is repealed by abolishing the national ordinances and institutions of the Jews which had their end and fulfilment in the coming of Christ. And in the verse respecting adultery, he illustrates the case by a strong example. Moses desired to prevent all unnecessary divorces, but was unable to do it without a greater evil to the state, and so for the hardness of their hearts, he
suffered a man to put away his wife for other causes than that of adultery. But Christ took away this permission, and asserted the doctrine in the verse before us. The scope then of the passage is this,—by the change of dispensations not a tittle of the moral law, suffers a change; as may be seen in the example of the change which has been made by it in the law of divorce, which is only the rectifying of the imperfections. of ecclesiastical institutions, and bringing the statutes of the church to a more perfect correspondence with the unalterable principles of right. But what has all this to do with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? A new subject is commenced in the opening of this parable.
Mr. B. makes the rich man to represent the Jewish nation, and the poor man the Gentiles. The rich man in hell he makes that nation, cast off for their sins. And the great gulf is the combination of circumstances which go to keep asunder the Jews and Gentiles. But before this is admitted we shall want a rational answer to some such questions as these: Is this gulf separating Jews and Gentiles such that they which would come from them cannot? Cannot the Jews come to the embrace of Christianity if they will? And what was the mercy of a drop of water begged of Lazarus ? To this Mr. W. answers by proxy, "The Jewish people longed for one drop of the former legal sprinklings and purifications to refresh their tongue, that they might confidently say to us that the law was still efficacious and availing." But these legal sprinklings are a boon for which they are not dependent on Christians, and they were never applied to the tongue nor for purposes of cooling. And then when have the Jews stood in such a posture of humble supplication before the Gentiles in any case? And where were his father's house and his five brethren to which he wished Lazarus to be sent to testify? Are there any other Jewish nations in danger of being cast off and coming to that place of torment? Do you say they were parts of this same nation? But the rich man is made to personate the nation, and if the whole nation was the person praying, who were his brethren? And are Jews wont to supplicate the Gentiles for
the extension of gospel influences? And how is it that the five brethren were to be kept from that place of torment by Moses and the prophets, and not by the gospel? The gospel in the peculiar phraseology of Mr. W., is the covenant to which the church has been married, since the Jews were cast off, and since they have been supplicating for a drop of legal sprinkling. And it would be adultery for those five brethren to marry Moses and the prophets. Then how comes it that Lazarus, that is the Gentiles, if he go to the five brethren, must go from the dead, when they are spoken of as not persuadable by one risen from the dead? Are the church, those who have the gospel to dispense to others, the dead, while the apostate Jews are the living?
The dying of Lazarus is made a figure for the calling of the Gentiles. But what similitude is there between the dying of a man and the rising of the Gentile world to the glorious light of the gospel? One would think it should be rather life from the dead--especially, if death be taken in the Universalist sense, a dark annihilation sealed upon the spirit till the resurrection. Really, Mr. Whittemore, are there not some difficulties in the way of your ingenious interpretation? But suppose we quietly digest all this trash thus far; hades you say is used figuratively when made a place of torment. But does not a figurative sense pre-suppose the possibility of a literal sense? Now if the parts of this story, such as the soul's entering the invisible world at death, and suffering happiness or misery there, were not admitted and familiar ideas, how came they to be used as figures to set forth something else? Further, both Mr. W. and Mr. B. tell us, that this parable or something very like it, is found in the Geneva Babylonicum, and that it is used by Christ as a quotation. Suppose we admit it, and what follows? If it was composed originally so long before the time of Christ, it was not composed to pre-figure the rejection of the Jews, and calling of the Gentiles. For the idea of that rejection was far from having a place in the current literature of those times. Do you say that though originally constructed for another purpose, it was capable of being accommodated to