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Lord had Herod the Tetrarch in his seat is allotted to Abraham ; and Lamind; this being the case, he takes zarus, reclining after the manner of an occasion to shew, under a feigned the Romans at table, has his head character, suggested by this prince, leaning on his bosom. See John xiii. that luxury and sensuality shall be Their ideas of torment by fire, are punished in a future state. Hence borrowed from the valley of the sons we see the propriety of the description of Hinnom, rendered infamous for given of him. He was a rich man,' idolatry, and particularly for the burnclothed in purple and fine linen, and ing of infants to Moloch, fires being he fared sumptuously every day. Pur- always kept there for that purpose. ple was the peculiar dress of kings See Lightfoot's Works, Vol. II. p. and emperors, and consisted, agree- 141. Their paradise resembled the ably to the manner in which it is Elysium of the Greeks, and, it seems, here described, of fine linen dyed of a was separated from Hades by an purple colour.
impassable stream. Such notions as To the gate of this rich man was these may serve very well for the brought a beggar, decrepit, naked and scenery of a parable, but cannot be diseased. The purple inhabitant no- supposed to be an exact account of tices not the destitute stranger. He the hell and heaven revealed in the neither invites him within his doors, gospel. In parables, many circumnor sends food for his relief, nor oil stances, for the sake of dress, colour to anoint, nor clothes to shelter, his and ornament, are introduced, though ulcerated limbs. He permits him not strictly true, and, therefore, should only to gather the crumbs that fell be either disregarded altogether, or from his table, and the dogs to come interpreted with great latitude. and lick his sores. Lazarus languishes It is to be observed that the parable and dies. Dives dies also, and has leads us to conclude, that retributive the pomp and solemnity of a funeral, justice takes place immediately after but here his honours and his felicity death. Lazarus is, without any inended. The circumstances of the two terval, in the bosom of Abraham, and are now completely changed. Laza- Dives lifts up his eyes in torments, rus is conveyed by angels to the bo- as soon as they are closed on this som of Abraham; but the rich man world. But in other parts of the opens his eyes in torments.
New Testament, judgment is repreBut it is necessary to distinguish sented as taking place after the gebetween the moral lesson, conveyed neral resurrection. Our Lord, howby the parable, and the dress or scen- ever, might here hold it forth as inery of it, which consists of notions, stantaneous, merely to give a greater popular among the Jews, but which effect to the parable: and it cannot Jesus adopted without intending to escape observation, that each of the sanction them, in order to give force, characters is exhibited not as a pure, grace and colour to his representation. but an embodied spirit. Not the soul The great lesson he inculcates is, that of Lazarus, but Lazarus himself, is there will be a state of retribution, in translated into paradise, and Dives which the good, however poor and des- has bodily organs in torments. titute, shall be recompensed; and the Though the rich man is punished, wicked, however rich and powerful, the vices by which he forfeited the punished; in which the present ine- favour of heaven are not enumerated. qualities of the Divine government He is only said to have been rich, to shall be rectified, the triumphs of have been clothed in purple, and to vice humbled, and the afflictions of have fared sumptuously every day; virtue exchanged for a crown of and it is insinuated, that he suffered a glory. Whatever it contains beyond fellow-creature to perish at his gate this, our Lord did not, I apprehend, through hunger, disease and nakedinculcate as an article of Christian But though this was a grievous faith. The Jews believed that the instance of inhumanity, it was not his spirits of just men were carried by only crime. Herod was both a inurangels to the seats of bliss. Here derer and an adulterer; and history beatified men are represented as at an represents him withal, as actuated by entertainment. The most honourable extreme avariee and ambition. He
appears, however, not destitute of prophets : let them hear them. If some laudable qualities. As soon as they hear not Moses and the prohe began to suffer, he displays some' phets, though one rise from the dead, concern to prevent the sufferings of they will not be persuaded.” Here his relations : and Abraham, in ad- the words are so chosen and arranged, dressing him as a son, seems to pity that while Abrabam appears to refuse his present condition,
the request, he insinuates that it The rich man appears to have had, should be complied with, and yet when among the living, no appre- such would be the obstinacy of his hension of his present doom: and his brethren, as to continue in immorality brethren seemed as little to expect a and scepticism. The request was similar fate. The belief of a future more immediately fulfilled in the restate was general among the Jews. surrection of Lazarus, who, as being But Herod was in all probability a in his inind when relating the parable, Sadducee, who, like the Epicureans, probably furnished by association the derided the notion of a future punish name which he here gave to the poor ment as fabulous.. Hence the pro- man at the gate of Dives. priety of our Lord's inculcating it in It was more completely fulfilled in this place, and his introducing this his own resurrection; and yet none wicked man as an actor, in illustrating of the Herodian family, though conthe truth of it. The rich man makes vinced of the fact, became converts to no mention of his wife and children, his gospel. One of them indeed said whom it was still more natural to on a memorable occasion, “ Almost warn against coming to that place thou persuadest me to become a Chrisof torment than his brethren. But tian.” The generous wish of the aposHerod the Tetrarch appears to have tle was never realized, “I would to had no children; and the woman who God, that not only thou, but also all lived with him the latter part of his that hear me this day, were both life, was the legitimate wife of bis almost and altogether such as I am, brother Philip. It would bave been except these bonds.” Acts xxvi. 28, out of character, though he loved her 29. beyond all others, to solicit the inter
J. JONES. cession of Abraham, in behalf of a woman of this description. So ex
Clapton, actly do even the parables of Jesus
March 16, 1824. correspond to
F the following lines, the Latin wherever correspondence was practicable. He says that he had five History of the Reformation, as “adbrethren, whom he wished to apprize dressed to the Pope" by Luther, “ at of their future doom. This is not the conclusion of his treatise” De accidental. These brethren must have Captivitate Babylonicâ. They are debeen his relations, and it is remark- scribed by Dr. Macaulay, the translator able, that the Herodian princes, who of the History in 1801, as “the begoverned from Herod the Great, until ginning of an hymn written by SeduHerod Agrippa, who was the last of lius, which is sung in the Roman that race, and who governed when Church at the Epiphany.” Dr. M. Jerusalem was taken, were five in has added, in a note, (I. 348,) the number. The destruction of that French and English versions, which city was not only known but always are both, I apprehend, of his compopresent to Jesus, in all its circum- sition. stances : and he could not but be
J. T. R. sensible, that the power of that family
“ Hostis Herodes impie, would then terminate.
Christuin venire, quid times ? It deserves our notice, moreover,
Non arripit mortalia that our Saviour represents not only Qui regna dat cælestia.” the prophets, but also Moses, as
“ Herode impie et sanguinaire, preaching a future state and a retri- Pourquoi crains-tu le Christ qui veut naitre butive justice, with an evidence not
en ces lieux ? to be resisted by any who admitted Celui qui donne a tous le royaume des their divine mission; * Abraham saith cieux, unto bion, They have Moses and the N'envahit point ceux de la terre."
truth and nature
: O Fate qtioted by Beuusobre, in his
“Say, impious Herod ! sanguinary king! ourselves, and hardening our hearts Why shakes thy guilty soul with coward fearfully. In one sense I wish I fear?
'could run away from myself and lose What tho' the Christ, whom ancient pro- myself in divine contemplations; but
phets sing, Within these realms in mortal guise sense of the importance of spiritual
I understand you to mean that our appear; Yet fearn, the hands that heavenly crowns things is evaporating in talk: this is bestow,
very possible. As for the effect upon Stoop not to seize the dross of those the heart of searching humbly into below."
the divine counsels, I have found it
very salutary; and I hope to prosecute A Friendly Correspondence between my inquiries with increasing fervour. an Unitarian and a Calvinist,
1, of course, cannot answer for you.
I shall now turn to your queries, (Continued from p. 281.) but will not promise to take them in I to N.
chronological order. “The condition,"
you say, “of departed spirits cannot be DEAR N.
affected by any thing that we can say, I was coming in due course to your or think, or feel respecting them.” queries, which involve the whole ques- This the Church of Rome would tion, and therefore called for much deny in loto ; and, as you seem very preliminary explanation. But I see adverse to the exercise of reason in that you are much too sore to relish matters of religion, you ought, to be any thing in the style of discussion consistent, to abide by the authority usual among men, who reason with of that church, from which you are each other on grounds of equality. a heretical dissenter. They pray for You are seated in St. Peter's chair, and the dead, and allege scripture for the I must make my approaches with practice. They tell you that Christ becoining humility. If the question after his resurrection preached the between us had respected personal gospel to the Antediluvian sinners, attainments in practical religion, I and that the phrase “ who were someshould be most willing to humble my. times disobedient,” implies that they self even to a worm; but this is not had then become obedient. But let professedly the point in view. It re- that pass. Whether or not the conlates to the general sense of the sacred dition of departed spirits can be afŞcriptures in respect to the duration fected by our thoughts or feelings, is of future punishment--a question in more than I know; but this I do know, which I honestly confess that I feel that no man of sensibility, who has myself a party interested, and which lost a near and dear relative, can postherefore I cannot regard with the sibly refrain from thinking of their same degree of sang froid which you, state and condition, and feeling a deep who are one of the elect, can do. anxiety for their welfare. But placing This distinction in our respective cases this out of view, since the Scripyou constantly overlook. I should tures have adverted to the state of the like much to know whether or not dead, it is highly proper that we your object is to hear what I have to should clearly understand what they say, or whether it be merely to give teach upon that awful subject. Your inė lectures. If the latter, I will hear people have taken it upon them to them, and, what is more, I will weigh enter largely into it, and you can and consider them; but then you must scarcely hear a sermon that does not not send me queries with spaces for more or less advert to the never-endmy answers, because this is placing ing duration of future punishment. temptation in my way. If we are When therefore a set of men, prodoing wrong in discussing the decrees fessing to speak the words of God, of heaven, the blame lies at your door; and to make known his will, take for you know I would have come to upon them thus to define it, others a period long ago; and moreover the who have free access to the oracles discussion originated with you. You of God, have an undoubted right to have only to say desist, and silence search and inquire wliether or not they ensies.
are correctly explained, and, if not, You say we are running away from to stand up boldly for the true sense. Those who with me are decidedly of exclaim, “ Just and true are all thy opinion that the divine character and ways, O thou King of saints," while decrees have been grossly slandered we hold an opinion in direct contraby the doctrine in question, have ac- diction to all our ideas of justice and cordingly exercised this right; and truth? When your people tell me their arguments for God remain un- that God will not to all eternity shew refuted they are masters of the field. mercy to thousands of inillions of I will not allow you to say, uncontra. souls, which he has made, how can dicted, that it is a matter of no con- I say Amen! to the prayer which cern to us, what the bible teaches ascribes infinite goodness and mercy to respecting the dead generally. You such a dreadful Being ? I cannot do might just as well tell me that it is it, and you might as well attempt to nothing to me what it teaches respect- erase every notion of truth from my ing the resurrection. In truth, the mind, as to persuade me to believe in dealings of the Almighty with his such a palpable contradiction. If you creatures of every rank and degree, have such a faculty, it is yours, and have always occupied the thoughts of you are welcome to keep it. pious men from Abraham downward. In another query,-you ask me, Should not, said he, “the Judge of all "Which of the two sects experiences the earth do right?”, “Righteous art most of the blessed change described thou, O Lord! when I plead with thee; by the Lord Jesus Christ and the yet let me talk with thee of thy judg- apostles? not meaning a false Calment." These are the words of Je vinist as one of them." remiah. After searching profoundly I profess inyself totally disqualified into the counsels of God respecting for returning a decided answer to this the destiny of the Jews, the apostle question, because I am not sufficiently breaks out into this exclamation- acquainted with the parties between “0, the depth of the riches and whom I am required to make a comknowledge of God! how unsearchable parison. Our blessed Saviour, the are his judgments, and his ways past author and finisher of our faith, has finding out!”–He had, by diligent told us that the tree is to be known by examination, arrived at a conclusion its fruits, and his apostle has given us which would not have been reached a description of the fruits which are by the purblind eyes of common Chris- produced by good and by bad trees. tians, namely, that the very act of The first are-love, joy, peace, longshutting up the Jews in unbelief, suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, would prove the means of their uni- (fidelity,) from which they all spring, versal salvation. If by any accident meekness, temperance. The second he had been prevented from finishing are, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, the sentence which begins with, “For lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, God hath concluded them all in un- hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, belief,” and any of your people had strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, set to conjecture what he designed murders, drunkenness, revellings and to add, they would in all probability such like. God alone can see the have filled up the vacancy by the naked heart. We can only judge of words, " that they all miglt be men by what comes out of their mouths damined.” Paul, however, had a bet- and by their actions. I will whisper ter system. Tis true, he admits that a word in your ear—it is, that taking even he could not search out the judg- the above list in my hand, I shall find ments, or find out the ways of God: very many of the good fruits, where but this was because they were so there is little pretension ; and that much richer in love and wisdom than among those wlio claim for themselves he could imagine. The difficulty was the possession of the Spirit, I shall not to find as much goodness and miss the fruits of gentleness and meekwisdom in God as should rise up to ness, and chance to discover wrath his standard; but that, with all his and strife. efforts, he found that the height and Do not, however, I pray you, supbreadth of the love of God surpassed pose that I am going to question the and exceeded to infinity the utmost existence of true piety and philanreach of his thoughts. How can we thropy among the Calvinists." That sect of Christians (for, after all, it is persuaded that no man believes it. I but a sect) has produced men whom have already given my reasons for so all who love the name of Christ will thinking. It is at most a momentary acknowledge to have been burning suspicion, which could not co-exist and shining lights : far be it from me five minutes with sanity. Those who to charge upon them all the conse- profess to believe it, smile and talk aquences of the hideous error which bout every-day matters like other inen. they maintain. They have been active They sit at feasts, and attend at iparri. in preaching the forgiveness of sins, ages and christenings, and congratuand in displaying the comforts and late fathers and mothers on the injoys of religion, in spite of their errors. crease of their families. This is all In fact, the general effect produced by very proper; but it is wholly inconsisthe Scriptures at large, and by the tent with the idea, that of the children glorious works of God in the world, thus produced, the chances are that has been such as to overpower and the inajority is doomed to everlasting render, in a great measure, inopera- misery. Thus you see that the doctive the horrid dogma of vindictive trine which you are so anxious to inpunishment. I should like very well culcate, does not merely affect the to sit under a well-informed, pious dead, but the living, and those who Calvinist preacher, if I could be as- are yet unborn. I never heard a good sured that he would confine his dis- man say that we should have no concourses to the elect, and shew how all
cern for posterity. I feel that I have things shall work together for their undertaken a most arduous task in good; but the moment he ventures thus explaining the reason of the hope beyond that circle, he gets out of his that is in me; but I have no appredepth, and becomes an unsafe guide. hension, feeble as iny powers are, of He involves his own mind, and the being able to produce scriptural anminds of his hearers, in contradiction swers to all the objections which you and darkness. As for the sect of can start. Of the effect of my endeaChristians which maintains the glo- vours to produce an alteration in your rious doctrine of the restitution of all sentiments I cannot be sanguine. He things, their number, though increas- who constructed our minds knows ing, is but small. They have hitherto what spring to touch; and in his own be much engaged in controversy, good time he will assuredly lead us which (as it is usually conducted) is to the knowledge of all those truths not favourable to the growth of the which can add to our happiness. Meanpeaceable fruits of righteousness; and while let us bear with each other. I yet I have met among them men who think I am possessed of an invaluable have a deep sense of the importance, truth. Let me then be thankful, and I should rather say of the indispen- by no means indulge an angry feeling sable necessity, of personal religion. towards a good man, who has not yet For a reverence for the Deity and for gained the same prize. the Scriptures, I never yet knew a I must beg of you to refrain from human being who manifested that feel- putting any more queries till I have ing in the same degree as the late Mr. answered those before me. The next Winchester.
on the list will require much conside“ Does not the genuine Calvinistration on iny part. exhibit true philanthropy by holding
Yours affectionately, forth danger in the strongest terms,
1. that his neighbour may be thoroughly Again I repeat, that if these comroused and escape it altogether ?»s* munications have become disagreeable
A man who stands forth in the and unprofitable to you, they shall, as character of a preacher, is undoubtedly far as I am concerned, be discontinued bound to teach honestly and faithfully, at your bidding. what he himself believes to be true; and, therefore, if a man really believes
N to I. that future punishment will be end
7th October. less, he cannot, of course, acquit his The evil which you have described conscience if he does not declare that ought, as you say, to be “investigated awful conviction. But I am fully fully,” for otherwise we cannot duly