Verse 31. "If they hear not Moses, &c." - This answer of Abraham contains two remarkable propositions. 1. That the sacred writings contain such proofs of a Divine origin, that though all the dead were to arise, to convince an unbeliever of the truths therein declared, the conviction could not be greater, nor the proof more evident, of the divinity and truth of these sacred records, than that which themselves afford. 2. That to escape eternal perdition, and get at last into eternal glory, a man is to receive the testimonies of God, and to walk according to their dictates. And these two things show the sufficiency and perfection of the sacred writings. What influence could the personal appearance of a spirit have on an unbelieving and corrupted heart? None, except to terrify it for the moment, and afterwards to leave it ten thousand reasons for uncertainty and doubt.
Christ caused this to be exemplified, in the most literal manner, by raising Lazarus from the dead. And did this convince the unbelieving Jews? No.
They were so much the more enraged; and from that moment conspired both the death of Lazarus and of Christ! Faith is satisfied with such proofs as God is pleased to afford! Infidelity never has enow. See a Sermon on this subject, by the author of this work.
To make the parable of the unjust steward still more profitable, let every man consider:-
1. That God is his master, and the author of all the good he enjoys, whether it be spiritual or temporal.
2. That every man is only a steward, not a proprietor of those things.
3. That all must give an account to God, how they have used or abused the blessings with which they have been entrusted.
4. That the goods which God has entrusted to our care are goods of body and soul: goods of nature and grace: of birth and education: His word, Spirit, and ordinances: goods of life, health, genius, strength, dignity, riches; and even poverty itself is often a blessing from the hand of God.
5. That all these may be improved to God's honour, our good, and our neighbour's edification and comfort.
6. That the time is coming in which we shall be called to an account before God, concerning the use we have made of the good things with which he has entrusted us.
7. That we may, even now, be accused before our Maker, of the awful crime of wasting our Lord's substance.
8. That if this crime can be proved against us, we are in immediate danger of being deprived of all the blessings which we have thus abused, and of being separated from God and the glory of his power for ever.
9. That on hearing of the danger to which we are exposed, though we cannot dig to purchase salvation, yet we must beg, incessantly beg, at the throne of grace for mercy to pardon all that is past.
10. That not a moment is to be lost: the arrest of death may have gone out against us; and this very night-hour-minute, our souls may be required of us. Let us therefore learn wisdom from the prudent despatch which a worldly-minded man would use to retrieve his ruinous circumstances; and watch and pray, and use the little spark of the Divine light which yet remains, but which is ready to die, that we may escape the gulf of perdition, and obtain some humble place in the heaven of glory. Our wants are pressing; God calls loudly; and eternity is at hand!