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to supply the place of every thing, and to raise them above the common level of mortality. Hence affability, courtesy, meekness, and humility, are virtues unknown or disregarded. Hence, not content with those advantages which they have received from Providence, they despise and trample under foot their inferiors with daring insolence and unfeeling barbarity. Hence they are deaf to the voice of complaint, and stop their ears against the cries of the poor and needy. But what an abuse is this of the wise and gracious designs of Providence! It is indeed necessary, that there should be different ranks amongst mankind, for carrying on the purposes of society ; but it never was intended that one man should lord it over another with oppressive tyranny. Pride was not made for man in any shape; much less is it to be exercised by man towards man. For, however our conditions or abilities may diiser, they are all the appointment of the same God, who maketh one man poor and another rich; we are all fashioned in the image of the same Creator, and must all return to
the same level, after the revolution of a few short moments. “ Look then to the earth from whence thou wast taken, or to the dust to which thou shalt soon return, thou that art puffed up
with pride, and learn humility, lest thou also come into a place of torment*.”
2dly, Another part of the rich man's guilt seems to have arisen from his luxurious and sensual way of life: “ He was “ clothed in purple and fine linen, and “ fared sumptuously every day.”
Not that these words, simply considered, imply any imputation of guilt; for a man may be clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day, and yet be both a good man and a good Christian. But since we do not find this rich man described as being at any time better employed, we have just ground to believe, that his whole care and attention was confined to the gratification of his sensual appetites; and in this consisted his guilt. The truth is, the sinfulness of
* "Ινα όταν έπαιρώμεθα, δια τον χών συελλώμεθα. [Nazianz.] VOL. IV.
luxury does not arise from the use, but from the abuse, of the good things of the world. Christianity no where requires us to live in perpetual mortification, or to be always clothed in sackcloth or covered with ashes. On the contrary we are told, that every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. But, at the same time, we are admonished not to abuse the liberty which the gospel allows us.
For to make a God of one's belly, and to live in a constänt round of sensual indulgence, is neithér agreeable to the purity of the gospel, nor the morality of the heathens : For even they could see, that gluttony, drunkenness, and uncleanness, weakened the powers both of body and mind, and therefore rendered men unfit for the discharge of their several duties. And a much nobler instructor has taught us, that if we would gain the mastery and obi tain an incorruptible crown, we must be temperate in all things ; well seeing, that a constant circle even of innocent indul, gences have a tendency to stifle all the good seeds of virtue and religion in the
soul, to bring on a neglect of God, and a forgetfulness of eternity. We may therefore be clothed in purple and fine linen, but we must not at the same time forget to put on that nobler ornament of a meek and pious spirit; we may rejoice too, and fare sumptuously every day, provided we remember, that it is our best meat to do the will of God, and our noblest joy to have our names written in heaven.
But the worst and heaviest part of the rich man's guilt was his hard-heartedness, or want of charity to the poor, He could see a forlorn Lazarus lie at his gate, full of sores, and ready to perish with hunger, without affording him any relief, or being moved with compassion at his miserable condition, He could fare sumptuously every day, whilst a fellow-creature; formed in the same image, born to the same hopes, the object of the same Providence, endued with the same powers and feelings, was cast out to the company of bis more humane dogs; he could glory in his purple and fine linen, whilst probably the poor Lazarus had not wherewith to deN%
fend his nakedness from the hard ground or piercing wind. And what was the consequence? He denied him the crumbs which fell from his table, and in return, he himself was denied a drop of water to cool his tongue in the flames of hell.
Such then was the guilt, such the fate of the rich man in the parable: and let us remember that such also will be our fate, if we do not carefully avoid his guilt.
To you then, whom Providence has blessed with affluence, suffer me to recommend the serious consideration of this affecting story. Like the rich man here described, you have received your good things in this life, and on the proper use of them depends your eternal welfare. Remember then, that to whom much is given, of him also shall be much required; many public aets of charity and benevolence, as an example to others, and many secret reliefs to the distressed, for the sake of Christ and your own consciences. Remember too, that your good things were given you for this very purpose, to clothe