« ForrigeFortsæt »
mind ; no foolish vanities to feed his childish fancy; no guilty pleasures to gratify his wicked passions ; and of the high delights of praise and adoration, of holy love, and spiritual joy, he would have no.conception ; because, while upon earth, though he might have professed himself to be a christian, and to be “born again," he had never endeavoured to cultivate in his heart, or to manifest in his conduct, the gospel graces of piety, purity, and brotherly love. Let it be our care then, my brethren, 'to seek after that scriptural regeneration which will make us, both in heart and life, “new crea“ tures" in Jesus Christ; which will enable us to“ put off the old man, which is
corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, " and to put on the new man, which, after “God, is created in righteousness and true “ holiness.” God's Holy Spirit is ever at hand to work the blessed change, if sought in faithful prayer, from a sincere heart, and unfeigned lips. Under his influence, obtained by supplication, and seconded by a christian life, we shall pass through time, fitting and preparing ourselves for that eternity, which God, in his mercy, has promised to those who are in heart and conduct “ born again.”
[For the First Sunday after Trinity.]
LUKE xvi. 19.
There was a certain man, which was clothed
in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.
"HE parable related in the gospel for
instruction. It contains a solemn warning to the rich and great; to those on whom Providence has been pleased to shower down a large proportion of this world's goods; and a treasure of comfort to the poor and the forlorn ; to those who are not blessed with worldly advantages, or who labour under want and sorrow during the term of their pilgrimage here below. It also reveals to us the great truth of God's impartiality ; that the degree of a man's prosperity in this life is by no means the measure of his hap
piness in the next; and that although there be great differences of situation in the present world, yet in the future one all things will be brought to a level; that the lowest and the meanest man alive, if he have fulfilled his duty as a christian, will receive the rich reward of everlasting happiness ; while the high and lofty ones of the earth, if they have abused the talent with which God entrusted them, shall pay the penalty of their impious ingratitude, in everlasting tormenis.
“ There was a certain rich man, which “ was clothed in purple and fine linen, and “ fared sumptuously every day.” It does not appear, from this account, that the great man in question was a wicked one. We do not find him accused of dishonesty or violence in acquiring his riches; be is not said to have oppressed the weak, or wronged the fatherless and widow, in order to obtain them; nor does our Saviour lay to his charge any flagrant vices in the manner in which he spent
his fortune. What reason, therefore, could there be, that he should be so dreadfully punished when he died, as the concluding part of the parable describes him to be? The reason, my friends, is contained in the following verses. " And there was a “ certain beggar, named Lazarus, which
was laid at his gate full of sores, and de
siring to be fed with the crumbs which “ fell from thie rich man's table.” Here, the cause of the rich man's condemnation is sufficiently explained. His crime, we find, was the abuse of the blessings which God had conferred on him; a hard-hearted selfishness, which led him to spend his wealth upon his own indulgences, and to overlook and neglect the distresses of his fellow creature, who was perishing for want, even under his own eye. He had no bowels of compassion for a miserable fellow.creature; no feeling for sorrows which he did not ex. perience in his own person. He was one of those in human sons of prosperity, whom the prophet Amos so finely describes; “ who “ lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch them“ selves upon their couches, and eat the “ lambs out of the flock, and the calves out “ of the midst of the stall; that chaunt to " the sound of the viol, and invent to them"selves instruments of music; that drink “ wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with " the chief ointments, but whey are not “ grieved for the affli&tions of their brethren.' He had no thought but for his own enjoy. ment; no care, but that "to-morrow should “be as to-day, or much more abundant." That such a method as this of consuming
wealth is exceedingly wicked, can be doubted by no one who believes the Bible. We there find, that the goods of fortune are to be considered as the gifts of God; and to be disposed of to his honour and glory, and the welfare of our fellow-creatures. Not that those who possess them, are bound to deny themselves the reasonable and innocent enjoyments which their riches may procure, and which are consistent with their rank in life; but they are bound, not to forget the wants of others in their own indulgences, and to dedicate, sacredly and conscientiously, a part of their larger possessions to the relief of the needy, and the succour of the distressed. This duty, indeed, of bestowing charity upon the miserable and unfortunate, is a duty imposed upon the rich, not only by religion, but by every motive of gratitude, humanity, and prudence.
The blessings which a good God has been pleased to shower down upon them in such abundance, demand at least every return of gratitude which they can offer io Him who has given them; and He has himself declared, that no return will be so well pleasing to Him, as a distribution of some part of them to those who have them not; "to do good, and to “ distribute, forget nut, for with such sacri. fices God is well pleased.” Common