« PreviousContinue »
ous enough. What is it then to see another feast: ing himself on the things which he always loved best, whilst we famish? But who can imagine the troublesome and fretting thoughts which prey on the proud Gentleman's Soul, when he sees a poor despised and scorned Beggar advanced to the greatest height of honour and happiness; whilft he is cast down into the depth of disgrace and mifery? For the rich man to lie so far below poor leprous Lazarus, who was wont to lie among his dogs, this must needs grind him to the heart, How do his pride, and envy, and spite, now all fly upon him, and çear his Soul ?
2. "He saw Abraham, it was torment enough to him to fee Lazarus fo advanced ; What is it to fee Abraham too? Abraham, I say, entertaining Lazárùs in his bofome, using him as his darling, and best beloved? Of what was this Rich-man, and such as he, wont to boast more loudly than of this, that they derived their Pedigree from
Abraham ? Father Abraham they had in their mouth on every occasion. We, tay they to our blessed Saviour, bave Abraham to our Father. We be Abraham's Seed, and were never in bondage, Joh. 8. 33. What tellest thou us of making us free? How did all the Jews glory over or her men, as dogs and unclean things, unfit for their Company, or God's mercy, on this account, that they were descended from the Loins of Abraham? Yea, so much they valued themselves upon this point of honcur, thar they thought it not worth their while to hearken to the blessed Saviour of the World calling them to Repentance, that they might be faved. What could they have to repent of? What was there for them to be saved from? What better Condition could they be
put into by Christ, than that they were in already, by their being the Seed of Abraham, who had the sure Promise of a Blessing on Himself, and on his Seed for ever? God had made an ever-, lasting Covenant with Abraham, and with his Seed after him, and this Covenant was Corfirm'd to them by the Sacrament of Circumcifion, and therefore why should they fear that they could ever want a Blessing? But alals, this vain confidence of the Rich-man could not keep him out of Hell when he died. There, indeed, he had a fight of Abraham, but such a light as little pleased him; a fight that undeceived him to his eternal sorrow. He saw Abraham, but it was both above, and a far off ; so far above he saw hin, that it was in vain for him to hope, that he should ever come near him, or receive any good from him. Now he found what good his vain boasting had done him, and saw his Error and Mistake when it was too late. He did not err in that he believed a Blessing was intail'd on Abraham's feed ; but he erred concerning the Seed of Abraham on whom ic was enrail'd, and in the Blesing coo, which was enraild upon that. Seed of Abraham He thought the Bleffing had been a temporal Blej fing on Earıh, and that the Mesab, who was to be of the Seed of Abrabam, would restore again the Kingdom to Isract, and make such as he was Lords of the World ; that so he might have lived like a Gentleman still, earing the Fat, and drinking the Sweeness of the Earth, and leaving a large Inheritance to his Children to fare as fumptuously on as he had done. ;, And if it had been so, then had he been mistaken in this too, that he thought himself to have a better Right to all this than Lazarus had, seeing lazarus was of the
Seed of Abraham as well as be, and on that account must have as good a right to fare fumptuoully on the good things of the World as he had done. But besides this, he now saw how little he understood what the Seed of Abraham was ; He knew not how to distinguish between the natural and spiritual Seed of Abraham, ror what Blesings belonged to each of them. How that, not because they are the Seed of Abraham, are they therefore all Children. They which are the Children of the Flesh, these are not the Children of God; but the Children of the Promise are counted for the Seed, Rom. 9. 7, 8. Tbey who are of the faith, the same are the Children of Abraham, and are blessed with faithful Abraham, Rom. 3. 7.9. And this Faith ir was, as was said before, that placed Lazarus in Abraham's bosome.
How must now this light of Abraham a far off, sting the Soul of the Rich man in Hell? It could not but put him in mind of the dignity whence he was irrecoverably fallen, and of the happinels which he might now have had, if he had been as wife as Lazarus, and behav'd himself in this World, as became a Child of Abrabam. He must now needs fadly fret within himself, and grow mad with reflečting on his own Folly. To call to mind what once he was, and what he always might have been; and then to feel what now be is, and is like to be for ever; to think with himself, that he was born of such a Fatber, and capable of so Glorious an Inheritance; and now to find, that he hath not only lof that Blessed state, but is calt down to Hell, among Devils, to be tormented with them to all Eternity; how must he for this begin to curfe bimself, and all his wretched Companions, that footb'd him up, and encourag'd him in, or tempted
him to so great a madness? O,( might he now fay 100 lare) that as I deriv'd my Being from that blessed Man, whom now I see in so great blessedmess; I had also had the Wisdom to have imitated his Faith, and Holiness of Life too ! O, that I durft have trusted God as he did, and as Lazarus had learn'd of him to do! O, that I had had his Charity, and had as liberally entertain'd Lazarus, as he was wont to entertain Strangers when they came where he was ! O, that I had been perfečt before God with that happy Man, then had I never come into this place of Torment !
Let us here leave this Rich Man tormenting himself with the fight of that Blessedness, which once he might have made sure to himself, but now can never hope to enjoy; and learn to be wiser for our selves whilft we may. Wasit such a killing fight to him to fee Abrabam above, and Lazarus, poor despised Lazarus in his Bosome? Did this unwelcome fight corment him by bringing to his remembrance his own Folly, and his inhumane Usage, and proud disdaining of that poor Soul ofren lying at his Gare hungring for his Alms? Did he now curse che Day, chat ever he was fo churlish to that good Beggar, as to suffer him to depart bungry and naked from his Gate? Let then every unmerciful Heart among us conlider this, and think with our selves, if we were brought into the Rich Man's Condition in Hell, what we would then give, that all our Sins, and this of unmercifulness especially, were blotted out both of God's, and our Remembrance; and that they might no longer baunt and torment us. Let us in time change that course of Life, which will be sure to make not only our own paft sins, buc other Men's bappiness our Tornaestors. We should
do well to remember now what we are told will then do us no better Service, to remember' how pleasant foever it be yet to us, but add to our Torments.
It will then be a great Torment to our proud Spirits, to find that we are brought into fo low and vile à Condition, that no other Company, but that of Devils, is thought fit for us.
It will more torment us still, to see those whom we have most despised for their low Eftare, and mean Condition in this World, very highly advanced in Honour above us. Then fall-we say to our felves with those whose Words we read. Wild. v.1. &c. Then shall the Righteous Man stand in great boldness, before the Face of such as have affli&ted bim, and make no account of his Labours. When they fee it, they Mall be troubled with terrible fear, and Mall be amazed at the strangeness of his Salvation, fo far beyond all that they looked for. And they repenting, and groaning for anguish of Spirit, fall fay within themselves. This was be, whom we bad "Sometimes in Derision, and a Proverb of Reproach. We Fools accounted his Life madness, and his end to be without Honour. How is be number'd among the Children of God, and his Lot is among the Saints. Therefore bave we erred from the way of Truth, and the Light of Righteousness bath not shined unto us, and the Sun of Righteousness rose not upon usWe wearied our selves in the way of Wickedness and Destruction; yea, we have gone through Deserts where there lay no way; but as for the way of the Lord we have not known it. What hath Pride profited us? Or what Good hath Riches witb cur vaunting brought us? .. . .
- This will get more torment us, that we shall not be able to forget, but must have aļways in our 18