Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Suffering and reigning with Him


The suffering which brings the reigning with Jesus, must be a suffering with Jesus. There is a very current error among those poor people who are ignorant of true religion, that all poor and afflicted people will be rewarded for it in the next state. I have heard working men refer to time parable of the rich man and Lazarus, with a cruel sort of satisfaction at the pains of Dives, because they have imagined that, in the same manner, all rich people would be cast into the flames of hell without a drop of water to cool their tongue, while all poor persons like Lazarus, would be triumphantly carried into Abraham’s bosom. A more fearful mistake could not be made. It was not the suffering of Lazarus which entitled him to a place in Abraham’s bosom; he might have been licked by all the dogs on earth and then have been dragged off by the dogs of hell. Many a man goes to hell from a dunghill. A drunkard’s hovel is very wretched: is he to be rewarded for bringing himself to rags?

Very much of the beggary we see abroad is the result of vice, extravagance, or folly- are these things so meritorious as to be passports to glory? Let no man deceive himself so grossly. On the other hand, the rich man was not cast into hell because he was rich and fared sumptuously; had he been rich in faith, holy in life, and renewed in heart, his purple and fine linen would have done him no hurt. Lazarus was carried above by the angels, because his heart was in heaven; and the rich man lifted up his eyes in hell, because he had never lifted them up towards God and heavenly things. It is a work of grace in the heart and character, which shall decide the future, not poverty or wealth.

From a sermon entitled "Suffering And Reigning With Jesus," delivered January 3, 1864. Flickr photo by b k ; some rights reserved.

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