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“ terrors of the Lord in order to persuade
men,” I should rather beseech,“ by the “ consolations that are in Christ, by the “ comforts of love, and by the fellowship “ of the Holy Ġhost,” than by addressing myself to your fears to endeavour to alarm your
minds with the wrath and vengeance of the Almighty.
In every assembly of professing Christians, there is what is called a mixed multitude'; some who are seriously good and religious, and anxiously in quest of the way to heaven; and others, it is to be feared, not a few, who “ care for none “ of these things,” who ridicule religion, and make a mock of sin, and who, without our being accused of judging and pronouncing 'rashly, are in the broad way that leadeth to destruction. We only, therefore, discharge our duty, while we warn such of their imminent danger, while we endeavour to set before them, however unpleasant the task, the fatal consequences of their folly and depravity, and recall to their recollection that dreadful punishment which is the fruit of their own deeds, and is reserved for them beyond death and the grave.
Whilst we do so, we are following the example of our Lord himself, who thus expostulated with the Scribes and Pharisees of his day : “ Ye serpents, ye gene “ ration of vipers, how can you escape “ the damnation of hell!” Those, then, who presumptuously blame their spiritual instructors for setting forth the terrors of the Lord, would do well to remember, that he who declared, that whosoever “ believeth and is baptized, shall “ be saved,” hath also declared, that he 66 who believeth not, shall be damned :" that he who shall hereafter
say, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you," will also say, '“ Depart ye cursed into everlast
ing fire, prepared for the devil and “ his angels.” Hence it is obvious, that to alarm as well as to comfort, to hold forth the threatenings no less than the promises, the judgments no less than the consolations, of the Bible, is the duty and the office of the preacher of the gospel.
The words of our text are a part of our Lord's striking and well-known parable of the rich man and Lazarus :-the
design and tendency of which is to set before our eyes the wrath revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness; and it is admirably calculated to awaken the most careless and secure to a sense of their spiritual condition. In the beginning of the parable, (ver. 19.) it is said, “ There was as “ certain rich man, who wa
who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sump" tuously 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 ta« ble.”
Now, this may be considered not so much as the history of any particular occurrence, as a matter of fact, which is every day verified, viz, that the wicked are often allowed to prosper in the world, to live in great pomp and splendour, and partake of every delicacy, while, on the other hand, the faithful servants of God are not unfrequently reduced to the extreme of poverty and affliction. We do not find that the rich man is here condemned for his riches ; nor is it once in
sinuated that he had acquired them by means of fraud or oppression. Neither is it said that he abused or maltreated the poor man, that he forbade him to lie at his gate, or did him the smallest injury. It is however hinted, that he took no compassion on the distress of La, zarus ; that though he beheld a real and moving object of charity, yet his heart remained hard and unrelenting, and that like an unfaithful steward of his Lord's goods, he neglected to minister to the necessities of a poor and afflicted fellow creature. The şin which beset this rich man is by no means uncommon in the world.
He seems to have enjoyed a sensual prosperity, to have been so intoxicated by the joys and pleasures of life, as to have forgot that God, on whom his all depended, the comfort of his
poor: er brethren, and the concerns of his own immortal soul,
The condition of the rich man and Lazarus was not more different, in the course of life, than their case and circumstances were at and after death. For, at the 23d verse, we are informed, that
“ the beggar died, and was carried by
angels into Abraham’s bosom : the rich “ man also died and was buried.”_Death is the common lot of the rich and the poor,
of 'the righteous and the wicked; and however dissimilar their state in this world may be, yet there they meet together, and both lie down in the dust, “ alike unknowing and unknown." But there was this material difference between the persons here spoken of, that the soul of Lazarus, poor and despised as he was on earth, was immediately, on its separation from the body, taken charge of by angels, those blessed “ spirits who 66 minister to the heirs of salvation.". We are not told what became of his body,whether it received a decent interment or not; but his soul, the nobler part of his frame, was conducted to the bosom of faithful Abraham, i. e. to his native dwelling, the spiritual land of Israel, the regions of bliss and immortality.
66 The rich man also died and was bu“ ried.”— Like the great and opulent ones of the earth, he' no doubt received a pompous funeral, was attended to his