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gy between the figure and the subject to which it is applied, in some of its most prominent features, it makes it evident that the figure is misapplied ; for we

cannot suppose that our Lord would employ a figure in an unskilful manner. But when we have interpreted a parable, and found a complete analogy with reference to what we conclude was intended to be pointed out, we are not to consider this interpretation overthrown, be. cause the analogy does not hold good in some minute circumstances, which we have no reason to believe it was ever intended to apply. When the apostle Paul compared the energetic exercises of a christian life, and especially those of the gospel minister to a race in the ancient Grecian games, there was one exception of so prominent a feature, that he thought proper to mention it. Among those that run for the temporal crown, only one could receive the prize. But in case of the spiritual, they run “not as uncertainly." There was ground for all to obtain the prize.

There is another caution that it would not be untimely to notice in this place. This is the danger of extremes. In leaving one extreme, we are exposed to another, and generally one on the opposite side of the question. The doctrine of endless misery, we consider an extreme in christian theology. It has been, among us, a subject of animadversion for twenty years or more. From the little acquaintance we have of the human mind, we do not think it strange, that a long and inveterate obstinacy to this doctrine should lead many to undervalue the proper and rational doctrine of punishments, and thereby measurably make void the force of the divine testimony.

The subject under consideration is considered by some, one of the best and strongest authority for the endless suffering of the rich man and those who were represented by him. By others it is applied exclusively to things of this life. If the former opinion may be


justly accounted erroneous, it will do us no harm to view cautiously the ground of the latter.

Among the many interpretations given of the subject under consideration by the brethren of our connexion, we may perhaps justly notice that of a well known author among us in his Notes on the Parables, as a leading

And tho we may suppose that many of our readers are acquainted with those Notes, we are disposed, for the information of others, to quote them here entire. They are as follow :

“ist. The high priest, under the law, is represented by a rich man, whose clothing was purple and fine linen, a garment which God commanded Moses to put upon Aaron, the first high-priest. And as a portion of the sacrifices belonged to those who administered at the altar, his fare was every day sumptuous; and his riches consisted in the righteousness of the law.

egd. The Gentiles are signified by a beggar, who lay at the rich man's gate, full of sores, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table, having respect to the tables of stone, on which the oracles of God were written. Instruction from those oracles are represented by crumbs falling from a table ; which instructions the Gentiles enjoyed not, under that dispensation. And those ancient philosophers of the Gentiles, who endeavored to cure the moral infirmities of their disciples, and to lead them in the path of moral righteousness, are represented by dogs, licking the sures of a beggar.

3d. “By the death of the beggar, I understand the conversion of the Gentiles to Christianity, Christ having closed the law dispensation, and introduced the gospel of salvation preached to Abraham by Jehovah himself, who said, “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” The Gentiles being children, and heirs of the promise, received “the unresearchable riches of Christ;" which caused them to die to all the life they

before possessed. They died to all their gods and idolatrous worship, and were carried by the apostles of Jesus into Abraham's faith ; which is represented by angels carrying Lazarus into Abraham's bosom.

“4th. By the death of the rich man, I understand the close of that dispensation which gave him all the preeminence which he enjoyed above the beggar under the law. And his not being alive to the gospel, being dead in the sin of the adultery before described, was in a fit situation for burial. The high priest's being closed up in the earthly character and nature, is signified by his being buried.

"5th. His lifting up his eyes in hell, being tormented in flames, represents a conviction of the condemuing power of the law, and the ragings of that fire, represented by the fire on Sivai at the giving of the law, and by the flaming appearance of the first stone in bis breast-plate.

“6th. The rich man's seeing Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, is the fulfilment of the words of Christ to the pharisees, “Ye shall see them come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves cast out.” By which was intended the conversion of the Gentiles to the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and the rejoicing of the house of Israel.

s7th. That the rich man was a descendant from Abraham, and that he stood in need of the favors that Lazarus enjoyed, I learn by the rich man's calling Abraham father, and praying that Lazarus might be sent to his relief: To which Abraham replies, (acknowledg. ing him his son) "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 ;" having allusion to their different circumstances under different dispensations. Abraham observes further, that between him and the rich man, there was a great gulf fixed : so that those who would go from Abraham to the rich man, could not; and those who would come from the rich man to Abraham, could not. By this gulf, I understand that divine purpose of God, communicated by Christ, who said, “Henceforth your house is left unto you desolate, and ye shall not see me until

you shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The same thing is meant by Paul to the Romans, which I have before quoted, "I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part, is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” By these passages I understand, that it was the purpose of infinite wisdoin, that there should be a time, in which the Jews who rejected the Savior, should wander in darkness and desolation, and by no means whatever be brought to see the Savior until that time is elapsed. By those who are in Abraham's bosom desiring to go to the rich man, I understand the desire of the Gentile believers of going to the apostate Jews with the gospel of salvation which they reject. And the wish of those who are with the rich man to go to Abraham, signifies the longings of the Jews for the fulfilment of those promises made to Abraham concerning a Messiah.

“8th. By the rich man's five brethren, in his father's house, is meant that part of the house of Israel, which, in a former parable was represented by five foolish virgins. Moses was the rich man's legal father; and the dispensation of law his father's house. Those Jews, therefore, who committed the adultery to which I have before alluded, as did the high priest, continued under the law of works. For those the rich man prays that Lazarus might go to persuade them to the acceptance of the gospel, before they should open their eyes to all the torments which he felt in a state of conviction. But

Abraham answers, “They have Moses and the prophets ; let them hear them;" Arguing that while they turned a deaf ear to the law and the prophets, it would be of no avail to send one from the dead; by which is meant, one possessed of the knowledge of the gospel, being dead as before deseribed.”

We are ready to say of this explanation, there are a number of traits of analogy in which we find a very natural coincidence between the things spoken of, and those that the interpretation makes them represent. But could we be persuaded that this analogy was equally striking with reference to every particular, which has been attempted to be illustrated, it would not inevitably follow that this representation includes the things intended by the parable. But we conceive that the above explanation is sufficiently wanting, even in this respect, to be rejected by the impartial inquirer. This, we trust, will appear from the following remarks:

1st. This explanation represents the high priest, denoted by the rich man, as praying that Lazarus might go to persuade his brethren, (represented by the fire foolish virgins in another parable,) "to the acceptance of the GOSPEL, before they should open their eyes to all the torments which he felt in a state of conviction." It appears then, according to these notes, that when the legal dispensation closed, the high-priest was in his hell of trouble, a long time before the Jews, his five brethren, anticipated any thing of the doom that awaited them. This neither agrees in point of time, with prophecy, nor historic fact. When the sacrifice and oblation was made to cease, which must be at the time of the abolishing of the priesthood, as prophesied in Daniel ix. 27, then we learn should be the time of the desolation. People and priest were deprived of the right and privilege of the'legal dispensation at one and the same time.

2d. We have no reason to believe that the remains of

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