Luke 16:20

Robert Hawker

"A certain beggar, named Lazarus."–Luke xvi. 20.

What an affecting representation hath the Holy Ghost here made of a poor, but gracious man! He was not only poor in the mere wants of life, but exposed in person to great misery; full of bruises, sores, and griefs. His lot was not to be taken into the house of the rich man, but to lie at his gate. He had the sorrow to behold every day some pampered at the tables of the great, caressed and entertained; but for himself, the crumbs which fell from their over-abundance appear to have been denied him. At length his sorrows are ended, and death removes him to the upper world. "The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifteth up his eyes, being in torments, and beholdeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." My soul! this is no parable, but a reality; and in the general view of it, may serve to teach how very widely we err in our estimate of men and things. Who that looked on, but would have concluded that Lazarus was the most miserable of creatures? And who but would have thought the rich man to have been the most happy? Yet it was the aggravation of even bell itself, in the torments of the damned, to behold the felicity of the righteous. Jesus himself hath so marked it: "There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, (saith Christ) when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves thrust out," Luke xiii. 28. But were these the principal points our Lord had in view in this representation? I think not. My soul! turn the whole over again in solemn consideration this evening, and see whether, in this "certain beggar," there are not to be discovered features of thy Lord? Though he was rich, yet we know for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Though he was in the form of God, and with him it was no robbery equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, and not merely humbled himself to the condition of a poor man, and one that had not where to lay his head, but he humbled himself to the cursed death of the cross. Was Lazarus poor, full of sores and maladies? And was not Jesus "the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief?" Who, like the Son of God, was ever so wounded? Of whom but Jesus could it ever be said, the Father of mercies, and God of all grace, was pleased to bruise him, and put him to grief. Did the beggar lie unregarded at the gate? And who can overlook the neglect and scorn, the cruelty and ill usage exercised upon the person of Jesus, when he lay at the door of the rich scribes and pharisees, when arraigned at the bar of Pilate, and when nailed to the cross? Precious Lord Jesus! thy death closed thy sufferings, and angels attended thy triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven! Oh! the blessedness of beholding thee at the right hand of the Majesty on high! Oh! the hell upon earth in refusing to hear Moses and the prophets, in their persuasions concerning thee! And what a tremendous, close will it be - everlasting torments in the hell to come-when thou shalt "come with ten thousands of thy saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among men, of all their unrighteous deeds which they have committed, and of all their hard speeches which unregenerate sinners have spoken against thee!" Then, blessed Lord! every eye shall see thee, and they also which pierced thee; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of thee. Even so! Amen.

Robert Hawker

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