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Note. The reader is requested to notice, that in the arrangement of the matter for this volume, the printer incurred a mistake, by leaving sixteen pages instead of eight, for the title page and introductory matter. to the work.
TO A LADY.
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
AGREEABLY to your request, I shall simply, and briefly, give you my opinion of the rich man, and the beggar. Unaccustomed to arranging my ideas on paper, I shall aim rather at perspicuity, than elegance, well contented if my elucidation should communicate satisfaction, similar to that which abideth in my own bosom, St. Matthew asserts, chapter xiii. 34, All these things spake Jesus unto the niultitude in parables; and with. out a parable spake he not unto them. “ Parables are decidely a kind of figurative language, and should rarely, if ever, receive a literal acceptation. I should as soon consider Bathsheba a real ewe lamb, killed by the opulent possessor of flocks and herds, as believe the rich man, and the beggar, individuals distinct from parabolical description. Such my sentiments, you will conclude that I reject the commonly received ideas; that I do not strip the figurative
personages, introduced by the evangelist Luke, of the metaphorical vestments in which they are clothed by the Redeemer ; in one word, that I do not regard a parable, as an history. But we will proceed in our investigation. Our subject commencing in the 16th chapter of Luke, in the 19th verse of that chapter, is continued to the close, and is thus worded :
“ There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously 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 from the rich inan's table : morcover the dogs came, and licked his sores.
“ And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.
“ And in hell he lift up his eyes being in torment, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“ And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.
“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
" And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot ; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
“ Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house :
“For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, test they also come into this place of torment.
“ Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
“ And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
“ And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
We will dwell a moment upon the following particulars,
His provision. He fared sumptuously every day.
11. Abraham's reply. Neither would they be persuaded though öne rose from the dead.
12. The beggar.
13. His place, at the rich man's gate
Ist. The rich man. By the rich man I humbly conceive is intended the Jewish nation. This nation is often spoken of in the singular character under the figure of a child, it is described in circumstances the most wretched. Ezekiel, xvi. beginning at the 4th
“ And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born, thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee : thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
“ None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born :" yet when this child, this Israel was in the wretched circumstances, thus impressively delineated, God loved him. Hosea, chapter xi. 1.
When Israel was a child then I loved him and called my son out of Egypt.” Deuteronomy, chapter i. verse 31. And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee as a man doth bare his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came unto this place. Chapter xxxii. 12, 13, 14, 15. “So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields, and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.
“ Butter of kine and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat, and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxed fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then be forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
From these memorable passages it is manifest that the Holy Ghost speaks of the posterity of Abraham in the singular character which perfectly corresponds with the language of the parable ; A certain rich man.
He is not only a man, but he is a rich man, and the truth of this representation will abundantly appear in the grant made to this man. Sundry places in sacred history, give the rent roll of this rich man's inheritance. He was blessed with a good land flowing with milk and honey, with the fatness of the earth and with the dew of Heaven. But this was not all. When the apostle asketh, what advantage hath the Jew, or what profit of circumcision he decisively replies, Romans, chapter iii. 2. “Much cvery way, chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Romans chapterix. 4, 5, contain a more detailed account of Israelitish wealth. “Who are Isralites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Thus it appears the epithet man, rich man, is proper to the Jewish Nation. 2d. His apparel. The sacred writings give us a minute description of his apparel, Ezekiel, chapter xvi. 10, 11, 12, 13. “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badger's skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. “I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thine hands, and a chain on thy neck. “And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and ear-rings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. “Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk and broidered work: and thou wast exceeding beautiful and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.” We find every person who possessed blue, and purple, and fine linen surrendered those articles. Exodus, chapter xxxv. 25. “And all the Women that were wise hearted, did spin with their hands and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.” The 21st, 22d, and 23d verses of this chapter, are in point—But the 39th chapter of Exodus exhibits this gorgeous apparel in a superb style. “And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made clothes of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the Holy Garments for Aaron; as the Lord commanded Moses.