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and get out of his Torments, yet he is so fast chain'd to that Misery wherein he lies, that he can never regain his Liberty, neither can he ever
Taste of the happy Condition we are in; he can - never obtain any the least share in ourComfort. God hath determined otherwise, and therefore, wher? thou art, and as thou ait there, so art thou like to abide, till the great Day of Judgment come, when, whatsoever change there shall be made, either of the Place or Torments, it fall be much for the worse.
Let us therefore consider this in time; before the Confideration of it will do us no more good than to make our Torments intolerable. Let us repent whilst we inay. Now, in our Life Time chere is place for bope, but after Death, we shall be wholly swallow'd up of despair. Now, our state is changeable, and we are inviced, and even bribed, if I may fo say, by a Thousand Tenders and Promises of all good Things, if we will turn and repent. But after death our state will be unchangeable as to the kind howsoever it shall alter as to degrees, either of blessedness or misery. When we are once in Ahraham's Bofom, we can never be miserable any more, how much happier foever we may be; and they that are once in Hell and in Torments, must be so for ever; how much dees per foever they may link into Hell, and how much soever their Torments may encrcase. Now we may, but then, we cannot repent to any purpose. Now let us seek the Lord whilst he may be found, for then will his Face be hid everlastingly from us. Then neither Abraham nos LaZarus, nor all the Saints in Heaven can make us any help:
And would it not be very strange now, if what Father Abrabam could not du, every MassPriest on Earth should have a fower given him to do? Looks it not a little odly, I say, that a Sinful-Priest laden wich Sins, and bired to the Work with a little Money, hould prevail for F.ase and Refreshment for a poor Soul tormented after Death, when the Father of the Faithful, and the Friend of God, durst not engage himself in so difficult a Task? How hard a thing must we needs find it after this to believe, that the Saints in Heaven (and such it may be some of them as have no other Sanctity, than what wicked Men have given them) should be ready whenever we pray to them for our dead Friends, to procure them the Refreshment we desire for them, and to set them at liberty out of their Prison, free them from all their Torments, and convey then into Abraham's BoJom; when the great Father of these Saints could not be entreated by the Prayer of his Son so much as to intercede for him; but told him plainly, it was a thing out of his power to do; and farther assured him, that whosoever was once got into that dark Prison, must never hope to come out again.
We do not find it Recorded in Holy Scripo ture, that ever any Prayer was made to any of the Saints in Heaven, besides this only, which the Rich Man in Hell is here suppos'd co have made unto Abraham. And if this be esteem'd by any one a fic Example for him to imitate, I would fain know of him what reason, he has for it, or where the Encouragement lieth ; for my part I cannot find it, seeing we are here told he pray'd in vain, and got nothing by his Prayer, būc this
Forme of their Prisons and to set them selbe
only, an Asurance that it would be to no purpose to pray jn again.
Indeed, we have no warrant at all from God, to believe, that either their own Prayers, or ours for them, can do those any good, who are once in torments after Death. But blefled be God, we are told to our comfort, That we have, whilft we live, a very powerful Advocate at God's Right Hand, making Intercession for us ; by Him, therefore, the only Mediator between God and Men, let us make our humble Approaches, and present our Petitions unto the Father, praying, in his Name, who is the Propitiation for our Sins, both for our Selves, and for all Men living upon Earth; and , we need not fear, but for his fake, we shall have vouchsafed unto us a most Gracious Audience.
LUKE XVI. 27, 28.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore Father,
that thou wouldit send him to my Father's · House. . For I have five Brethren, that he may testify
unto them, left they also come into this place · of Torments,
TN the five following Verses of this Parable, we
T have a second Petition, made by the Rich Man unto Abraham, afrer the former was denied. He had first begg'd some little Ease and Refreshment for himself, but could not prevail. Now he supplicates in behalf of his five surviving Bretbren. Seeing his own condition could not be better'd, he will try what he can do to keep his Brethren from coming into it. These we have in the two Verses now read; and in those which follow, Abraham's Answer to this new Requeft, and some farther Discourse thence occasion'd between him, and his Petitioner.
The Rich Man is suppos'd to have left behind him when he died, five Brethren, all living in his Father's House. And if Lazarus may not be sent to comfort him in Hell; yet, he hopes he may ger leave to go to his Father's House, to testifie ta these his Brethren, in what a sad condition be now lay, and to warn them to take heed how
ents. However come into the chear, for them
now they behav'd themselves, lest, when they died, they shou'd become as miserable as he was.
The things which are most observable in this new Petition of this Rich Man in Hell, are these,
Seeing that this wicked Man, now in torments, is here represented co.us, Petitioning Abraham, that some means may be us'd to prevent his five Bret bren's coming into the same deplorable and desperate condition. It hence follows,
First, That these five Brethren of his, whcm he had left behind him alive, were wicked Men, like himself; for chence arifeth his fear for them, left they should come into the same place of Tora ments. However, foolish Sinners judge now very favourably of the finful ways they walk in, that there is no great burt in them; all that can be faid against their voluptuous Courses, cannot bring them out of love with them, or persuade them of any dangers they are in by reason of them; yet, will the torments of Hell awaken 'em, and then they will judge otherwise of those pleasant ways than formerly they had done, and will be made to confess the evil of them, and that they are no other but the way to Deftruction. Indeed, they who have given themselves up to live by Sense, and not by Reason, are not to be convinced of the Evil they are drawing down up. on themselves, by Reason, buc by Feeling only. Experience will convince, when nothing else will; and Fools are rarely convinc'd of their folly but by experience, which makes them smart for it.; and the feeling of corments brings them to their Wits, when it is too late to grow Wifer.