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toms; but not with any design, as we have said, to represent any cruelty in the divine administration, since that would charge on God, the very conduct condemned in the servant. The great truth is inade sufficiently plain, that a want of forgiveness in those who are sensible they have been forgiven, is doubly sinful, and shall not escape an adequate punishment.
It is of the first importance, that we notice here, that men should never ascribe any disposition, conduct or attribute to God, which they would regret to see in man. The character of God is the standard of perfection. “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Whatever is right in God, is right in his creatures. Whatever is justice in him, is justice in us.
Whatever is mercy in him, is mercy in us. Whatever is wrong in us, would be more highly wrong in him, and whatever is unjust in us, would be more highly unjust in him. Hence God enjoins it upon us, to be holy, for he is holy. The holiness of God is such a holiness as we need ; and therefore a right state of mind is called a conformity and a reconciliation to him. How important a lesson is this to those who ascribe to God a disposition and purposes which would disgrace mankind. Cruelty and partiality are the distinguishing characteristics of much of the divinity of the present age;
and we are sorry to say, that the conduct of those who have maintained this divini. ty, has too often conformed to it. The gospel breathes the spirit of peace on earth, and good will to men ;” and those who have imbibed this gospel, will find it operating on their hearts, to induce them to “ love their enemiess," and to “be kind to the unthankful and to the evil."
Parable of the Good Samaritan.
LUKE X. 30–35.
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was : and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee."
The occasion which called forth this parable, will be seen in the passage which immediately precedes it. It seems that a certain lawyer caine, with no very good motives, to the Saviour, and put this question; Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' In return Jesus said to him, 'what is written in the law ? how readest thou ? The lawyer replied with a quotation from the lawThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.' Jesus informed him that he had answered correctly, and added, “this do, and thou shalt live.' It occurred to the lawyer prohably, that he might be suspected by Jesus of having violated that part
of the commandment, which required him to love his neighbor as he loves himself; and being willing to justify himself, he said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbor ? To this question the parable was designed as a reply; and it appears evidently to have been the intention of Jesus, to make this lawyer answer his own question. It should be remarked, that the Jews cousidered persons of their own nation only to be neighbors to them. They contracted a great aversion to other nations, more particularly to the Samaritans, with whom they would hold no intercourse. The lawyer did not consider himself as having violated the divine command; but he felt fearful that Jesus would give too wide a signification to it, and thereby convict him of disobedience, which was the result he intended to gliard against, in proposing the question, who is my neighbur?' To this question, we have stated, Jesus intended the lawyer should furnish an answer, and in that design, proposed the parable before us.
"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho,'i e. a certain Jew went down to Jericho. Dr. Campbell translates the sentence, 'a man of Jerusalem travelling to Jericho. 2 The whole energy of the parable depends on this circunstance, that the person who received the charitable aid was a Jew, and the person who afforded it a Samaritan.
“And fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded hin, and departed, leaving him half
1 Dr. Lightfoot has cited a striking illustration of this fact from Maimonides. “ A Jew sees a Gentile fall into the sea, let him by no means lift him out : for it is written, “Thou shalt not rise up againt the blood of thy neighbor.' But this is not thy neighbor." Works ii. 152.
2 Note on the place.
The scene of this parable is very judiciously laid. Jesus placed it on the road leading from Jerusalem to Jericho, because the chain of mountain's which extended from the mount of Olives near Jerusalem to the plain of Jericho, was always infested with robbers. No place can be imagined more favorable for the attacks of banditti, or better adapted than were its caves for their concealment;'
1 In Buckingham's Travels in Palestine, we have the following account of this road :
“ The whole of this road from Jerusalem to the Jordan is held to be the most dangerous about Palestine, and, indeed, in this portion of it, the very aspect of the scenery is sufficient, on the one hand, to tempt to robbery and murder, and on the other, to occasion a dream of it to those who pass that way. It was partly to prevent any accident happening to us in this early stage of our journey, and partly, perhaps, to calm our fears on that score, that a messenger had been despatched by our guides to an encampment of their tribe near, desiring them to send an escort to meet us at this place. We were met here accordingly, by a band of about twenty persons on foot, all armed with matchlocks, and presenting the most ferocious and robberlike appearance that could be imagined. The effect of this was heightened by the shouts which they sent forth from hill to hill, and which were re-echoed through all the valleys, while the bold projecting crags of rock, the dark shadows in which every thing lay buried below, the towering height of the cliffs above, and the forbidding desolation which every where reigned around, presented a picture that was quite in harmony throughout all its parts. It made us feel most forcibly, the propriety of its being chosen as the scene of the delightful tale of compassion which we had before so often admired for its doctrine, independently of its local beauty. One must be amid these wild and gloomy solitudes, surrounded by an armed band, and feel the impatience of the traveller who rushes on to catch a new view to every pass and turn ; one must be alarmed at ihe very tramp of the horses' hoofs rebounding through the caverned rocks, and at the savage shouts of the footmen, scarcely less loud than the echoing thunder produced by the discharge of their pieces in the valleys ; one must witness all this upon the spot, before the fall force and beauty of the admirable story of the Good Samaritan can be perceived. Here, pillage, wounds, and death would be accompanied with double terror, from the frightful aspect of every thing around. Here, the unfeeling act of passing by a fellow creature in distress, as the Priest and Levite are said to have done, strikes one
and indeed, on account of the many robberies committed there, it was called, as Jerome, says, the bloody way. The classes or stations of the priests and Levites were fixed at Jericho as well as at Jerusalem, and 12,000 of them are said to have resided there ; a circumstance which accounts very naturally for the priest and Levite happening to pass in that road. It should be remembered, that they were of the same nation with the Jew; but when they saw him in his miserable condition, they passed by and gave him no relief.
At length “a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, (articles with which travellers in the east frequently furnished themselves) and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” The Samaritans were a people towards whom the Jews cherished an unconquerable hatred; and they, on their part, resented the conduct of the Jews, with great indignation. The evangelists furnish proof of this. On passing through Samaria, Jesus on a certain occasion, asked water of a woman of that country; and she marvelled saying, "How is that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, who am a woman of Samaria, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.' This enmity was carried to such an extent, that the woman was surprised to find a Jew asking of with horror, as an act almost more than inhuman. And here, too, the compassion of the Good Samaritan is doubly virtuous, from the parity of the motive which must have led to it, in a spot where no eyes were fixed on him to draw forth the performance of any duty, and from the bravery which was necessary to admit of a man's exposing himself by such delay, to the risk of a similar fate to that from which he was endeavouring to rescue his fellow creature.”