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and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.” If the Jews had put away the law before the time for its abrogation had arrived, they would have been guilty of a sin, like that of the man who should put away his wife, and marry another; but they committed the same offence by adhering to the law after the days of John, since which time the kingdom of God was preached; for they were like the man who married her that was put away by her husband; they remained attached to a dispensation which God had determined should come to an end, and this too notwithstanding they had been urged to receive the gospel, both by Jesus and his apostles. Their glory however was about to depart. The poor Gentiles, whom they had despised, were to be received into the kingdom of the gospel, and they were to be cast into outer darkness. This great change in their circumstances, as well as the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith of Abraham, are beautifully figured in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, to which the attention of the reader will, in the next place, be directed.
Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
LUKE XVI. 19–31.
“ There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beygar named Lazaras, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs whichol! from the rich man's table : moreover the dogs came and licked his
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom : the rich man also died, and was buried ; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, 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, lest 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 propose, in considering this parable, to show,
1st. That allowing the passage to be a literal account and not a parable, it fails altogether of substantiating either the doctrine of the Calvinist, concerning election and reprobation, or of the Arminian, concerning rewards and punishments in the future state for the conduct of men in this life.
2d. That the literal sense of the parable, differs essentially from the doctrine of those who give it that construction.
3d. That the passage is a PARABLE.
It is believed by Calvinists, that God elected to his favor before the world was created, those who will finally be saved ; and that he reprobated to his eternal ire all the rest of mankind. What evidence does the parable before us furnish in favor of this doctrine? What do we find in it about election and reprobation? Are we informed that the rich man
was reprobated to God's eternal wrath ? Or that 3 God hated him? Or tiat he loved Abrahain or · Lazarlis more ? Are we informed that Lazarus was
elected to God's peculiar favor ? We cannot see one word in favor of the notion, either of election or reprobation. How then does the parable afford this doctrine any proof? How can it prove that to wbich it does not contain even a reference?
The other doctrine of which we spoke is, that mankind will be recompensed in the future staté for the vices and virtues of this world. Understanding the parable literally, what evidence does it furnish in favor of this doctrine? We read that the rich man was in torinents in hades; but not because he had been wicked : and we read that the beggar was happy ; but not because he had been good. We see no evidence in the parable, that the rich man was a very bad man, or that the beggar was better than he. We are not informed that the former obtained his riches improperly, or that the beggar did not become poor by his own negligence or imprudence. It has been alleged against the rich man, that he refused Lazarus the crunibs which fell from his table. If this be a fact, why did Lazarus lay at his gate? We should judge by the account, that some persons, through compassion, perhaps the friends of the beggar, carried him to the richi mal's gate, and laid him there. Would they have done this, had they known the rich man
o be covetous ? Of all places the rich man's gate was selected, as the most proper for the poor man 10 lay ai. Besides, the word translated desiring in the account, is sometimes rendered delighting.1 And if we read that the beggar delighled to be fed with the crumbs, is not this a proof that he was not denied them ? How then will the parable prove that men will be punished in the future state, because they are sinful in this world ? We repeat, we see no evidence that the rich man was a bad man. The prayer which he offered to Abraham is the manifestation of a good spirit. How much better could Lazarus or Abraham have prayed, had either been in the rich man's situation ? The rich man prayed that his five brethren might be warned, and prevented from coming to that place of torment. Abraham seems at one timu to be accounting for the rich inan's torment: but lie says nothing about any previons wickedness in him. " Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst charge of excessive severity in the condemnation of the former, load that wretched man with all the crimes which blacken huiman nature, and for which they have no authority from the words of inspiration. They will have him to have been a glutton and a drunkard, rapacious and unjust, cruel and hardhearted, one who spent in intemperance what he had acquired by extortion and fraud. Now, I must be allowed to remark, that, by so doing, they totally pervert the design of this most instructive lesson," &c. lhus far Dr. Campbell. See his whole note on Luke xvi. 21. Adam Clarke's note is to the same purport, as follows ; “ It is likely his desire was complied with, for it is not intimated that he spurned away the poor man from the gate, or that his suit was rejected. And as we find, ver. 24, that the rich man desied that Lazarus should be sent with a little water to him, it is a strong intimation that he considered him under some kind of obligation to hiin : før had he refused him a few crumbs in his time, it is not reasonable to suppose, that he would now have requested such a favor from him ; nor does Abraham glance at any such uncharitable conduct on the part of the rich man.” Comment. on Luke xvi. 21. Bp. Pearce says, the desire of Lazarus was probably complied with, and adds, “we may presume that there is a consistency in the several parts of this parable ; and, if so, then we may conclude, that Lazarus had not been refused relief at the rich mar's door ; otherwise the rich man would have asked for any other, rather than Lazarus, to be sent to him.” Com. on Luke
1 The word here rendered desiring is epithumon. of this word Parkhurst says, that, written with an infinitive following, it signifies "to be content, or glad, to esteem it a great matter;" and he adduces the instance in the parable before us, of its occurring in this
To wbich he add-, thus Elsner on Luke xvi. 21, explains it, and observes not only that the LXX. have so applied it, Isa. Iviii. 2, but that Lysias has used it in a like sense, Orat. 24.” Lex. sub
Dr. Campbell says, “ I agree with those who do not think there is any foundation, in this expression, for saying that he was refused the crumbs. When the hisiorian says, thut lie was laid at the rich man’s gate, he means not, surely, that he was once there, but that he was usually so placed, which would not probably have happened, if he had got nothing at all. The other circumstances concur in heightening the probability. Such are, the rich man's immediately kuowing bim, his asking that he might be made the instrument of the relief he wanted ; and, let me add this, that though the Patriarch upbraids the rich man with the carelessness and luxury in which he had lived, he says not a word of inhumanity; yet, if we consider Lazarus as having experienced it so recently, it could hardly, on this ocasion, have failed to be taken notice of. Can we suppose that Abraham, in the charge he broqght against him, would have mentioned only the things of le:ist nioment, and omitted those of the
Much injury has b' en done to our Saviour's instructions by the illjudged endeavors of some expositors to improve and strengthen them. I know no better example for illustrating this remark, than the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Many, dissatisfied with its simplicity, as related by the evangelist, and desirous, one would think, to vindicate the character of the judge from the