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expires, before that day shall close, let this irrevocable decision of holy writ “ sink down into your ears,” and be graven on your hearts“ Because I have called, and ye refused-have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof,— I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh. When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you,—then shall ye call upon me, but I will not answer ; ye shall seek me early, but shall not find me."
THE JEWISH AND THE CHRISTIAN DIVES.
LUKE, CHAP. XVI. VER. 25.
“ Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy
I HAVE more than once had occasion to observe, that parables in general are not to be considered as narratives of facts, but figurative representations. In this chapter, our blessed Saviour relates, to those that followed him, the history of a rich man, and of a beggar whom he calls Lazarus ; a name which signifies “ the help of God.” The whole of this narrative, for many reasons, I regard as allegorical, as a very exact and striking delineation, not of any particular individual who lived in those days, but of the general character of the rich in all times ; and a lively description of the consequences that must follow a life so selfish and useless. Dives, as he is often called, (adopting the Latin word for the name of the rich man,) Dives, the wealthy Jew, appears to have been neither daringly irreligious, nor grossly immoral; neither an infidel, nor a profligate. No great crime is laid to his charge. In the common phrase of the world, he enjoyed life, as most persons do who have the means ; his person was gaily and richly attired; his table plentifully and luxuriously supplied; but there was no culpable ostentation of vanity, or wantonness of excess: nor was the beggar roughly driven from his gate, but suffered to lie there, in expectation of the refuse of his meal;— a degree of charity which, however slender, is not always to be found at the door of a palace.This man of rank, I conceive, knew that he was sensual; but he regarded sensuality as the privilege of his station; or perhaps disguised it by a softer name, and called his luxurious, a liberal table. He did not, probably, implore the divine blessing before he partook of the bounty of Providence, or express any gratitude when he had eaten, and was full ;—but it was a custom, then, perhaps, as now, growing obsolete and unfashionable, and left to those who had less to be thankful for. He did not trouble himself to inquire into the condition of Lazarus, or go out of his way to afford him any substantial relief; but he allowed his servants to throw him the crumbs, and give him a share, with the curs of the street, in the fragments that fell from his overloaded board. As he was a disciple of Moses, he had, doubtless, received the sign of circumcision, offered gifts according to the law, paid his “ tithes of anise, mint, and cummin;" and was called a Jew,—of the stock of Abraham, an inheritor of the promises ; and had “ the form of knowledge, and of the truth, in the law."—Who then should pronounce him an outcast ?-an“ alien from the commonwealth of Israel ;” “ having no hope, and without God in the world ?"
Such was his claim to religion. And with respect to morality, what were his deficiencies there? We are not given to understand that he lived in open violation of the moral code. He was rich, gorgeously appareled, and fared sumptuously ; but his purple robes and delicate fare might be nothing more than some of those distinctions which affluence will always obtain ; and, perhaps, only mentioned here to mark the superiority of his station. Itis not said, or hinted, that
his wealth had been obtained by fraud, extortion, or rapine ; or that his gratifications were accompanied with riot and debauchery. We are not told that the prodigal upbraided him with having accelerated his ruin; that the outcries of the widow besieged his gates, or the tears of the orphan stained his porch. Nor did he live in a course of licentious pleasure : no purchased beauties filled his haram; no midnight Bacchanalian orgies resounded from his hall: he regaled himself daily, but it was with decent sensuality : what he spent, was his own; what he retained, was his own; and he might therefore say, with the Jew of Venice, “ What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?"
This then, I apprehend, was the state of this man's mind and manners; living irreligiously, carelessly, voluptuously, uselessly; thinking little of his Maker or his fellow-creature ; but neither blasphemously denying the one, nor basely oppressing and injuring the other :-undismayed by “ the terrors of the Lord,” having rocked himself to rest in slumbering security and easy ignorance of his true condition.
Thus he paced along the road of life, without any ardour of piety, or labour of benevolence;