IN the sixteenth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, our Saviour gave a remarkable lesson concerning RICHES and POVERTY. 

It is found in the history of the rich man and Lazarus. In this narrative, or parable, we are taught the great difference between a wicked rich man and a godly poor man, in this world and the world to come. 

The account says:  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and flue linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this name. But Abraham said. Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." 

Luke 16:19-25.

The lessons, which we would learn from this story are practical, and not doctrinal. From the dress of the individuals in the engraving, we should judge that the persons were Jews. Perhaps the lordly man in front is some rich Pharisee; for it says in verse 14 of this chapter, "And the Pharisees also, who were COVETOUS, heard all these things, and they derided Jesus." 

See how disdainfully he pulls his robe, lest he should be contaminated, by the poor figure crouching at his feet! He seems to be a man of consequence, for his Ethiopian servant is at his heels.

The name of the poor cripple is Lazarus, but the rich man's name is not given. We call him DIVES (pronounced Di'-ves,) because in the Latin Testament the word for "rich" is dives. In this we have a fulfillment of those texts, which say, the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance, but the name of the wicked shall rot. 

Psalms 112:6; Proverbs 10:7.

It is said that the rich man "was clothed in purple and fine linen.  "The purple color was worn only by princes, nobles, and those who were very rich. It was exceedingly expensive and very beautiful. 

The linen here mentioned was one of the finest of fabrics, made from the flax that grows on the banks of the river Nile. It was an Egyptian article, called byssos, and sold for twice its weight in gold. Truly, this great man was clothed gorgeously; but under his purple and linen vestments there was a cold and selfish heart.

It says that the rich man "fared sumptuously every day." That is, he lived in splendid style, made feasts, had fine equipage, servants, etc., at his command. Probably in the eyes of his neighbors he was a great man; but in the sight of the Lord, he was worse than a beggar.

Poor Lazarus was laid at his gate, and desired the crumbs, which fell from the rich noble's table. These "crumbs" were not the scanty mites of food, which occasionally fall from the table at mealtime, but they were pieces of thin, soft bread with which the rich wiped their fingers, before knives and forks were invented, and which were then thrown aside. Lazarus desired merely these cast-off portions; but whether he obtained even these is a question.

The dogs came and licked his festered limbs. These poor canine creatures showed more real affection than the haughty rich man. Probably this refers to the troops of homeless dogs which have no masters, and which are very numerous in Oriental cities, going in packs.

But after all, Lazarus was a very rich man. Poor in this world, but rich toward God. He had faith in God. He trusted in him, served him, and died in hope, and will be raised at the resurrection of the just. The word "beggar," as applied to him in verses 20, 22, simply means that he was a POOR man, but not a beggar in the sense that we now understand the term. The same word is applied to our Saviour, when it says, "Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became POOR." 2 Corinthians 8:9. And again in Luke 6:20: "Blessed be ye POOR, for yours is the kingdom of Heaven."

The name Lazarus is contracted from the Hebrew name Elenzar, and means "one helped of God." This is certainly a very beautiful name for a poor, trusting child of the Lord.

The rich man also died, died as he lived without hope. Probably he had a rich funeral, an eloquent oration, great procession, and costly tomb, while poor Lazarus was merely thrown into a pauper's grave.

But hold, wait a little! The Life giver comes, the voice of the archangel pierces the galleries of the dead. Now what do we see? Angels of God joyfully bear Lazarus away to Abraham's bosom, while the rich man, on awakening at the second resurrection, finds himself in the lake of fire. Yes, he who hobbled on crutches in this mortal life now rides in shining chariots, while the selfish rich lord, who spurned the poor object of charity, turning him over to the mercy of the dogs, now prays that Lazarus may be sent with a few drops of water to cool his parched tongue.

Let us learn from the foregoing two important lessons:1. We must not desire our portion in this life; 2. The poorest child of God may have a hard lot in this world, but in the great day of rewards, "the lame will take the prey." 

Isaiah 33:23.

G. W. A.