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1. To whom was the parable of the rich man and La zarus spoken?
To the covetous and deriding Pharisees. (verse 14th.)
2. What was the difference in the situation of these two men while living?
The rich man possessed all worldly pleasures, and fixed his affections on them; but Lazarus was poor, hungry, diseased, and friendless, yet pious.
3. What event happened to both ?
The beggar died; the rich man also died, and was buried.
4. What became of the beggar?
Though he was poor as to this world, yet being rich in faith, he was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, to enjoy the happiness of heaven.
5. What became of the rich worldling?
In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.
6. Whom did this rich sinner see?
He seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom; thus when he compared the happiness of him who had so lately been a beggar at his gates, with his own present misery, his anguish was increased.
7. For what did the rich man ask?
For any relief, even the smallest he would consider a great mercy.
S. Of what did Abraham remind him?
That he had possessed and abused the enjoyments of life, with which he had been richly favoured, and that there was now a gulf fixed between them which could not be passed.
9. Since the misery of this rich sinner was thus fixed, what favour did he ask for his brethren?
That Lazarus might be sent to warn them against living as he had done, lest they also should come into this place of torment, and reproach each other as companions in sin and misery.
10. What does Abraham reply?
He refers to the Scriptures as a sufficient guide, and adds, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (31st verse.)
11. Can we judge correctly of any person's character by worldly circumstances?
No: for the pious are often poor, and the wicked are often rich, and we are told to "judge nothing before the time.' (1 Cor. 4, 5.)
12. When we feel surprised at the prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous, what should we consider?
We should consider that "the prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (1 Prov. 32,) and that their abuse of the bounties of God brings on them weighty condemnation and everlasting misery; but the afflictions of the righteous are for their good, and, through divine grace, work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
13. What will the discoveries of eternity prove?
That unsanctified prosperity is a heavy curse, and sanctified affliction an unspeakable blessing.
14. When a Christian is exposed to affliction and perseculion, what is his consolation?
"Heaven will make amends for all."*
The words of a dying martyr.
15. Will pious ancestors secure our everlasting happiness?
No: for the rich sinner in hell called Abraham his Father.
16. Would those who despise or neglect the Scriptures be convinced by a miracle?
No: because they hate and disobey the commands of God; we see a proof of this in the unbelief and rage of the Jews, when the other Lazarus was raised from the dead. (See the 11th of John.)
THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW.
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint:
Saying, there was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet, because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming, she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
1. What is the parable of the importunate widow intended to teach?
That men ought always to pray, and not to faint; that is, we should not cease from prayer, though we do not seem to be answered, and though afflictions should come upon us.
2. What did the widow require of this magistrate?
Necessary justice, not revenge against him who had injured her.
3. How did the unjust judge at first treat the widow ? He would not for a while attend to her case, because he feared not God nor regarded man.
4. Did the widow repeat her applications?
Yes: she went to him continually, and at last she obtained the justice that she so perseveringly sought.
5. How does Christ here teach us by way of contrast?
That if an unjust judge was at last induced to hear a poor widow, shall not the just and merciful God avenge his own elect which cry day and night unto
him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.
6. What lessons should we learn from the parable of the importunate widow?
To pray without ceasing; to be instant in prayer; in every thing by prayer and supplication to make our requests known unto God.
7. How should we act if our prayers appear not to be answered?
We should become more importunate, while we remember that God alone knows the best time, and the best way, to answer our prayers, and that his mercy cannot fail.