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Did Lazarus go with the awful warning from Dives to his brethren ?
No. Abraham assured Dives that if they refused to hear Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
These last words of Abraham convey a truth that many persons might not, at first sight, admit. It is not uncommon for the indolent Christian to think that he could arouse himself, if some extraordinary proof of God's power were given him. There are many amongst us, who, like the Jews, “ seek a sign.”—Luke xi. 29. We are apt, too, when we see and deplore the sluggish sinfulness of any of our fellow-creatures, to think that some severe blow might awaken them to a better course, and so are content to hope for sickness or bereavement, trusting to good effects resulting from them. “If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent:" but think again of the answer. If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. We have enough revealed in the Bible to satisfy every doubt ;—proof enough of God's power, of our dependance and responsibility ;warning enough : knowledge enough : we hear, each sabbath, of the awful danger of negligence in “ things eternal :" we are, each week-day, more or less reminded of the vanity of “things temporal” (2 Cor. iv 18): but we are accustomed to these common lessons, and wish, perhaps, not to think much of them, and so choose to say we need more. If any striking event were to happen, then would we repent. It is our own hearts that are wrong: our own wills-our own endeavours, that are weak ; and our own selves that are sinful. Thus it is probable that even though some awful warning might arouse us for a short space, we should sink back quickly into our former indifference. This indeed we see frequently enough to need little assurance of its truth. However we may deceive ourselves here, the excuse that we had no special revelation from God will not be admitted at Christ's judgment-seat. But have we even that excuse for not believing ?
No,-for Jesus raised a man called Lazarus (John xi. 43, 44); and Christ himself rose from the dead (Matt. xxviii. 9); and though we have not seen Him, yet Christ assured Thomas (called Didymus) that “ blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”—John xx. 29.
As most persons like Bunyan's “Pilgrim's Progress," I will conclude by relating a pretty allegory upon this parable. “ I saw, in my dream, that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and lead him into a little room, where sat two little children, each one in his chair. The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other Patience. Passion seemed to be much discontented, but Patience was very quiet. Then Christian asked, “What is the reason of the discontent of Passion ?' The interpreter answered, · The governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of next year ; but he will have all now : but Patience is willing to wait.'
Then I saw that one came to Passion,
and brought him a bag of treasure, and poured it down at his feet; the which he took up and rejoiced therein, and withal laughed Patience to
But I beheld but a while, and he had lavished all away, and had nothing left him but rags.
CHR. Then said Christian to the Interpreter, Expound this matter more fully to me.
INTER. So he said, These two lads are figures ; Passion of the men of this world, and Patience of the men of that which is to come; for as here thou seest, Passion will have all now, this year—that is to say, in this world; so are the men of this world ; they must have all their good things now; they cannot stay till the next year ; that is, until the next world, for their portion of good. That proverb, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,' is of more authority with them, than are all the divine testimonies of the good of the world to come. But as thou sawest that he had quickly lavished all away, and had presently left him nothing but rags, so will it be with all such men at the end of this world.
Chr. Then said Christian, Now I see that Patience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts. 1st. Because he stays for the best things. 2nd. And also because he will have the glory of his, when the other has nothing but rags.
INTER. Nay--you may add another, to wit, the glory of the next world will never wear out; but these are suddenly gone. Therefore Passion had not so much reason to laugh at Patience, because he had his good things first, as Patience
will have to laugh at Passion, because he had his best things last; for first must give place to last, because last must have his time to come; but last gives place to nothing, for there is not another to succeed; he, therefore, that hath his portion first, must needs have a time to spend it; but he, that hath his portion last, must have it lastingly ; therefore, it is said of Dives, “In thy lifetime thou receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.'
CHR. Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now,
but to wait for things to come. INTER. You say truth ; for the things that are seen are temporal ; but the things that are not seen are eternal.—2 Cor. iv. 18. But though this be so, yet, since things present and our fleshly appetite are such near neighbours one to another; and again, because things to come and carnal sense are such strangers one to another; therefore it is, that the first of these so suddenly fall into amity, and that distance is so continued between the second.—Rom. vii. 15, 25.” Now will you repeat a hymn.
1 Jesus, thou man of sorrow born
To suff’ring here below,
Through weakness and through woe:-
By each temptation tried,
And, to redeem us, died !
3 If gaily cloth'd and proudly fed,
In careless ease to dwell;
And lowly cottage-cell.
In envious want we pine,
How poor a lot was Thine.
From sin preserve us free:
Nay we rejoice with Thee.
THE SHEPHERD AND SHEEP.
John X. 1-18.
Of all the attributes of God, that of love is what He most delights to exercise. Our Saviour, as if anxious to convince His creatures of this, employs, for the second time, the similitude of a shepherd and his flock to illustrate God's tender care of His people. You will understand this parable better, when I tell you, that in Eastern countries, shepherds do not drive their flocks (as you may have seen them), but walk before them, calling each sheep by a separate name ;—they follow and obey this call. As the climate is very hot the sheep-folds are generally uncovered, and these are built within the outer enclosures of the