« ForrigeFortsæt »
not envy the treasures of mísérs, nor the splendor
Such then are the virtues which ought to adorn a state of poverty and affliction. Let those, therefore, who hope to partake of the reward of Lazarus, first learn to practise his virtues. Let them examine themselves, whether they are rich towards God, whether they are fruitful in good works, and adorned with a sincere and well-grounded piety. Can they, like him, suffer a denial without murmuring and repining? Are they diligent in their callings, and willing to use their best endeavours to avoid being troublesome to the public? Are they peaceable in their families, and free from those domestic quarrels which are too often found in the retreats of poverty? Do they frequent the worship of God in public, and live in his holy fear in private? Do they endeavour to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and both by precept and example instil into their minds a love of labour, and of the virtues of humility, patience, and resignation; to the exercise of which their lowly station will more particularly call them? If they are really in this heavenly frame and temper of mind, happy are they amindst all the evils which can befal them: for though they now
struggle with sin, sorrow, and infirmity, though they now sow in tears, yet the time will soon come when they shall reap with joy unspeakable and full of glory
As to those whon providence has placed in a higher station, and whose lot is in a fair ground, let them from hence learn not to despise any man for the lowness of his condition; neither virtue nor abilities are confined to the higher ranks of life. There is still many a pious, though despised Lazarus, laid at our gates; and many a man now toils at the oar, or drudges in the streets, who might have been, with proper cultivation, a Newton in science, or a Tillotson in eloquence. Even the Saviour of mankind, himself condescended to be born in a manger, and always appeared in a meek and low condition, not having even where to lay his head : and who then but a madman would dare to despise that lowness of birth and humility of station, which his God and his Redeemer thought it no disgrace to assume.
Let them also learn hence, not to be puffed up with the greatness of their own condition. Soon will all these distinctions cease, and the head of the monarch lie on the same level with that of the beggar; and then, not all the
pageantry of funeral pomp, not all the parade of titles, not all the boasted panegyrics of lying monuments, will avail any thing at the bar of heaven. - Nay, what is worse, the greater their trust has been, the heavier also will be their account. Little reason then have they to be puffed up with wealth or greatness, which imply no real worth in themselves, which will soon be lost in the grave, where all things are forgotten; and which may in the end only serve to aggravate their condemnation. It was wealth and greatness which brought the rich man to beg in vain for a drop of water to cool his tongue.
Let them further learn from hence, that the virtuous poor are the objects of God's care, and therefore ought also to be the objects of theirs ; who are no more than the stewards of God's blessings. It will therefore become them, in imitation of his benevolence, to be fathers to the fatherless, and protectors to the widows; to feed the hungry and cloath the naked; to support those who are sinking into distress, and to rescue those from temptation, who are already fallen into it; to contribute to the education of the young, and the instruction of the ignorant; in short, to relieve the wants of their souls and bodies, by those several methods which every one will easily find, who is sincerely
disposed to promote the glory of God, and the happiness of man.
Lastly, Since all of us have our afflictions in life, let us all learn, from this example of Lazarus, to bear them with patience and resignation to the will of God. We cannot appoint the part we are to act in life; but we should be prepared to act it properly. Let us, therefore, arm our souls with patience against the various events we may encounter, and, amidst the changes and chances of this inortal life, look forwards to that better country, where no clouds of affliction are seen, where no storms of adversity are heard, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest with virtuous Lazarus in Abraham's bosom.