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ed, and apply them to our own Case, considering that they are not designed merely to amuse and entertain us, but to direct and influence us to a proper Temper and Conduct. Let the amiable Representations, that our Saviour hath made to us of God's marvellous Loving-Kindness towards penitent returning Sinners, engage those of us that have gone on in a Course of Sin and Difobedience to forsake our evil Ways and to return to God with all our Hearts, casting ourselves wholly on his infinite Grace and sovereign Mercy: And, the more is forgiven us, we should love him the more. Let all be careful to maintain that humble Frame of Spirit which our Lord recommendeth, and be far from "ą vain-glorious Boasting and Confidence in our own Righteousness and Merits; and at the same Time we should be thoroughly sensible of, what he so strongly inculcateth, the absolute Necessity of real Holiness of Heart and Life ; and that without this no mere external Profeffions, how specious soever, will be of any Avail to our Acceptance with God, and to our eternal Salvation. Since our Saviour hath said so much to encourage us to a persevering Earnestness and Importunity in Prayer, let us be fervent and assiduous in that facred Exercise: And, finally, let us, according to the Instructions he hath given
us, add to our Prayers a conftantWatchfulness, as becometh thoje that wait for the Coming of our Lord, that we may not be furprised unprepared, but may he admitted to our Master's Joy. Happy shall we be, if thefe excellent Leffons of our beavenly Teacher be thus reduced by us into Practice; which will mightily tend to his Honour, and to our own unspeakable Comfort and Adyantage, both here and hereafter.
On the Parables of our Saviour.
MATTHEW xiii. 3.
And he spake many Things unto them in
HE Parables of our Lord Jesus
Cbrift afford a useful and noble Subject for our Thoughts : They are generally designed to convey excellent religious and moral Instructions, and, with Regard to most of them, it may be observed, that each Parable hath some one principal Point of Instruction in View, which it is the special Design of that Parable to recommend and inforce: Instances of which have been already considered.
But it may also be observed, that there are others of our Saviour's Parables which take a larger Compass, and which seem intended to inculcate several important Lessons, or Points of Instruction, in Doctrine and Practice.
Some of the Parables that were mentioned before, concerning the Nature of Christ's Kingdom, seem to be of this Kind; as particularly that excellent Parable of the Sower, and that of the Tares, both which abound with a Variety of Instructions. But, not to insist further upon these which have been already taken Notice of, that remarkable Passage of the rich Man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19–31, deserves to be distinEtly considered, for the many excellent Instructions it contains. The first Part of that Parable presenteth us with a lively Image of a rich Man living în great Splendor, and flowing with Wealth and Luxury; and of a pour but good Man, reduced to the greatest Want and Penury: There was a certain Man' which was clothed in Purple and fine Linen, and fared Jumptuously every Day; and there was a certain Beggar (a poor Man, as the Word there used might better be rendered, and as our Translators have constantly rendered it in other Places) named Lazarus, which was laid at bis Gate, full of Sores; and defiring
to be fed with the Crumbs that fell from the rich Man's Table; moreover the Dogs came and licked bis Sores. Ver. 19, 20, 21. It is observable, that the rich Man here is not charged with enormous Vices, with Fraud, Injustice, and
Acts of Oppression and Violence; or with sordid Avarice and Viggardliness, which would not suffer him to enjoy what he possessed : But his Fault lay in this, that the Use he made of his Wealth was only to pamper the Flesh, and make Provision for a Life of Luxury and Ease, to which he wholly gave up himself; whilft he took no Care to do Good with his Riches, and was insensible to the Wants and Miseries of others: Which conveyeth to us this important Instruction, that not only an openly vicious and profligate Life, but the being immersed in the Love of the World, and it's Enjoyments and Pleafures, together with a Neglect of doing Good, where there is an Ability for it, constituteth an immoral Character in the Sight of God, and will expofe Persons to just Punishment, in a future State of Retribution: And that there is no greater Enemy to true Piety and Virtue, nor a more dangerous Snare, than a sensual voluptuous Frame and Course, which is generally attended srith haughty Pride, and