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I F we can think that for all this, the Joys of Prosperity, and the gay Pleasures of Plenty, are the allowed Enjoyments of Christians, we must have done wondering at the Blindness and Hardness of the Fews Hearts.
Wo unto you that are Rich, for ye have received your Consolation! It is not said wo unto you that are Rich, for ye have Enriched your selves by evil Arts, and unlawful Means, but it is the bare Enjoyment, the Consolation that is taken in Riches, to which this Wo is threatned.
This fime Doctrine is press’d upon us by a remarkable Parable, so plain and lively, that one would think that every
Christian, that has heard it, should be afraid of every thing that look'd like Self-indulgence, or Expence in his own Pleasures and Pride.
THERE was a certain rich Man, which was cloathed in Purple and fine Linnen; and fared Sumptuously every Day.
AND there was a certain poor Beggar nained Lazarus, which was laid at his Gate full of Sores, and defiring to be fed with the Crumbs which fell from the rich Man's Table : morcover the Dogs came and licked his Sores.
It came to pass, that the Beggar dy'd, and was carried by the Angels into Abraham's Bo
soin. The rich Man also dy'd, and was bilried, and in Hell he lift up his Eyes, being in Torments, and seeth Abrałam afar off, and Lazarus in his Bosom (a).
This Parable teacheth neither more nor less than what our Saviour taught, when he commanded the young Man to sell all that he had. For it is the bare pleasurable Enjoyment, the living in the usual Delights of a great Fortune, that the Parable condemneth. Here is no Injustice, no Villanies or Extortions laid to his Charge, it is only a Life of Splendour and Indulgence, that leaves him in Hell.
This we are further taught, by Abrabam's Answer to him, Son, remember that thou in thy Life-time receivedst tly gooit Things: This is alledged as the sole Reason of his being in Torments.
It is to be Observed, that nothing is nientioned of Lazarus, but his low and aMicted State, and then it is, be is comforted, and thou art toriented.
CAN any thing more painly shew us the Impossibility of enjoying Mamnon while we live, and God when we die ? A rich Man enjoying the Pleasures of
(a) Luke xvi.
Riches, is for that Reason found in Torments, a Beggar' patiently bearing Want, is for that Reafon made the Care of Angels, and conducted to Abraham’s Bosom.
Does not this manifestly teach us that same Renunciation of worldly Enjoyments, as if we had been exprefly required to part with all that we have ?
For if a Life of Splendour, and Pleasure, and sensual Gratifications, is the Portion of those who chuse to enjoy it, if it exposes us to so much Wo and Wrath hereafter, well might our Blessed Saviour tell the rich Man, that he lacked one Thing, that he was to sell all that he had and give to the Poor.
If therefore this Parable contains the Doctrine that it first taught, if Time has not worn away its Meaning, it contains a Doctrine that concerns all rich Men ; it speaks as home to them, and calls as loudly for a Renunciation of all worldly Indulgences, as our Saviour did to the rich Man.
So that there is no Advantage got by considering our Saviour's Command, as a particular Charge, and given to a particular young Man; since it appears by other express Passages and Parables, that the same is required of all other rich Men, as they
expect any other Consolation, than what is to be found in Riches.
If we will here also appropriate this Parable to this particular rich Man, we shall judge as reasonably, as if we should maintain that the Hell in which he was tormented was made only for him, and is a State which no one else has any Occasion to fear.
We must therefore, unless we will set aside the Gospel, and think our felves not concerned in its Do&trines, take this as an undeniable Truth, that Christianity is still that same opposite State to the World that it was in our Saviour's Days; that he speaks to us the same Language that he spoke to the young Man in the Gospel; that if we will not hear his Voice, but indulge our selves in the proud sensual Delights of Riches and Grandeur, our Fate is taught us in the rich Man in Torments; and to us belongs that dreadful Threatning, W. unto you that are rich, for you have rectived your Consolation.
I KNOW it has been said by some, that all that we are taught by the Command given to the young Man to sell all, is this, that whenever we cannot keep our Posseslions without violating fome essential Duty of a Christian, that then, and not till then, H4
need we think that we are call'd upon by Christ to quit all and follow him.
I H A VE, in Answer to this, already Thewn, that the I bing required of this young Man, was no particular Duty, but that our Saviour press'd it upon all, and by a Reason which made it equally conclusive for all People, namely, a Treasure in Heaven.
I HAY E shewn that the same Doctrine is taught in general, by comparing the Kingdom of God to one Pearl of great Price, which the Merchant could buy at no less a Price, than by selling all that he had; by the Parable of the rich Man in Torments, on the Account of his living in the State and Pleasures of a Fortune ; and lastly, by a general Wo that is threatened to all that are rich, as having received their Consolation: So that this feems a full Answer to this Interpretation.
BUT I shall however consider it farther.
Now if this be all that is taught us Christians, by the Case of the
Man in the Gospel, that we are to part with our Enjoyments and Poslesions, when we cannot keep them without renouncing some great Truth of our Religion, and that till such a time happens, we may peacefully