LAZARUS, THE PUTRIFIED MAN.
We now have before us Lazarus, the putrified man, and in this stage he represents the old sinner in the last stage of sin just before he drops into the pit of eternal despair. We have seen him first, a sick man, second, a dead man, third, a bound man, fourth, the entombed man, and fifth, a putrified man. These are the five steps in the life of the sinner, from the crowing babe with the carnal mind in its heart, to the old sinner, reeking in sin and vice and dropping into the pit.
The reader will notice that there is no physical soundness left in Lazarus; he has corrupted throughout – no soundness at all left in him, and when the old sinner comes to the last stage of life he has corrupted throughout and there is no moral soundness left in him. He is now qualified and prepared by the devil to commit any crime that is known to the human family, and anything that the devil will dictate, he will do. He is as corrupt morally as Lazarus was physically. I know some may draw back and say that I have overdrawn the picture, but I feel that I have not in the least, and for a few minutes let’s look at Isaiah 1:6, and see what the old prophet says about man in his last stage: “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
Now reader, don’t you see that the old sinner is in the same condition, morally, that Lazarus was physically? You just think of a man full of wounds and bruises and putrifying sores and of course it has reference to his moral condition, and not his physical condition, for no man could live if his physical man were in the condition that is described in the above text. But just look at the man as he walks the streets of the city, and you will see the saloon, the gambling house, the race track, the ballroom, the theatre, the circus, bawdy house, the calaboose, the county jail, the state prison, the gallows, a broken heart, and a wrecked life, a ruined home, a lost soul, and the grave of the drunkard.
The old Book says that the child of God is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; but the same Book says of the sinner that the last stage of that man is worse than the first. Don’t you see Lazarus in all of the different stages in which we have followed him? When Lazarus first died you could wash and dress him and shave him and put a new suit of clothes on him, and pin a bouquet of lovely flowers on him, and he looked nice and respectable after he was dead; and so did your boy. After your boy chose sin and died he could hold a cigarette between his thumb and fore-finger, and draw the smoke down into his lungs and blow out through his nose, and some people thought that he was alive; but from the standpoint of morality he was as dead as Lazarus was physically.
Again, when you look at Lazarus now you see a man that you can’t handle. There was time when you could handle Lazarus, but it is not now. He says to you, Hands off, gentlemen, without saying a word to you, and you obey him and keep your hands off of him. Well, why can’t we handle him now? somebody may say. Because he has putrified, and that means hands off. How much like your son that is. When your boy first went into sin, you could handle him pretty well and he seemed to have some sound streaks left in him, but just look at him now. He says, Hands off, mother, and she has to obey him. You see that just after he went into sin he seemed to have some respect and some regard for the will and wish of his mother, but not so to-day. See his manhood and money and health and friends are gone, and he is called by some people a bum, by others a jail bird and by others a criminal. He is now growing in sin and the knowledge of the devil and is making his last run for the pit and outer darkness.
He is now a graduate from the school of sin and holds in his possession a diploma signed by the devil. On the face of his diploma the devil himself says of this man that, he is qualified to commit any crime that is known to the human family; he further says of this man that he has no time to waste on old men and women and if you can’t make him up a class of boys and girls that he will have to go on to the next village, for his time is precious and that he must catch the youths of the land before they get their eyes open; that he is prepared to teach all youths the latest arts in any line of sin that they may choose; that if you don’t think that he can commit the blackest and most devilish crimes that are known to the human family, all he asks is that you give him one chance only, and if he doesn’t convince the most skeptical mind of his ability to commit crime then he will give it up. That is a fair proposition of its kind, but the man is indeed stupid that would deny the above statement of the devil. Think of an American woman that would persuade her husband to have his life heavily insured and when all of the papers are fixed up and made payable to her at his death she slips into the room while is asleep and with his own razor cuts him to pieces, cutting him seventeen times in the face and neck and over the heart until she sees him struggle to death in his own blood. I was in the city when the trial was going on, Of course any thinking man knows that the scheme was hatched out in the pit, and was among the first brood that the devil hatched off.
Somebody might say, why on earth would a woman do such a thing? Well, don’t you see that Lazarus has putrified? Don’t you see that that woman was as corrupt morally as Lazarus was physically? Don’t you see how ghastly Lazarus looks? Just turn and look at that old sinner as he goes down town to his trial. He has committed some crime and the officers are on the way to jail and to trial with him.
Matthew, Mark and Luke all describe a fellow that stayed out in the tombs. Now this fellow that is on trial here in the city stays down in the slums, and is a slum runner when he is out of jail. You can look at the fellow and see he was born with the carnal mind in him; that his disease proved fatal, that he died, that he was bound, that he then went into the tomb of despair and that he has now putrified and is as corrupt morally as Lazarus was physically.
We have now covered the five stages of sin and the five stages that we have seen Lazarus in are a type of the sinner from the day of his birth until the day of his death. You see Lazarus sick, dead, bound, buried, and putrified, and you see the sinner in all of the above conditions, from the screaming child to the old sinner with the rope around his neck, as he was swung off of the gallows and went out into eternal despair without one ray of hope.