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departure from Jerusalem, they have fallen into a valley of blood, into the power of the worst of thieves, and the most cruel of murderers, the devil and his angels. And now stripped of his raiment of righteousness, wounded to the very death, and his wounds festering in the face of Heaven, man is left in the naked misery of his nature, without hope, or help, or comfort. A certain priest comes down that way; by him are signified the sacrifices offered for sin in the earlier ages of the world, the offerings of Melchisedek, Noah, and Abraham. But to help this wretched object the blood of bulls and of goats was vain; it could not cleanse his conscience, nor heal the wounds inflicted by his spiritual enemies; the sacrifice passes by on the other side. A Levite next appears; the representative of the Jewish law given by Moses, himself of the tribe of Levi, and administered in all its ceremonies by the Levite family. Moses is, indeed, represented as aware of the extent of the evil, and the miserable condition of mankind; he approaches, he looks on the sufferer, but will not, or cannot help him; no ceremonies, no outward form of holiness are here of service; he passes by on the other side.

*

But "a certain Samaritan," (do you not remember how the Jews had said to Jesus, 66 thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil' ?") "A certain Samaritan," saith our Lord, using their own lan

'St. John viii. 48.

guage, and the insults which they had thrown out against Him, "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'." Do you not perceive, my Christian friends, do not your own hearts inform you how truly this parable represents our blessed Saviour? He, when no other help was found, when neither sacrifices nor ceremonies could have saved us from perishing miserably in our sins, He came to us; He bound up the wounds which the malice of the devil had inflicted; He expended His own provision, His own life and blood to heal them; and bore us safely and tenderly to the ark of His holy covenant, which is here represented as an inn, under whose shelter all the sojourners of this world were to be received, of every nation and caste, and however wide had formerly been their wanderings.

Nor does His care stop here; on the morrow when He departed, for how short alas! was the stay of God among men! though He is constrained to leave the sufferer, he commits him to kind and careful hands, with sufficient supplies for his present necessity, and a promise of ample payment at his second coming for all the good that should be done to the least of these his brethren. And so closely do even the smallest circumstances of the parable

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agree with this explanation, that the ancient doctors and fathers of the Church are of opinion that by the two pieces of silver, (which are in our version rendered pence, though their value was, in fact, much greater) by these two pieces of silver are represented the sacraments which are left for the support of Christians, till their good Samaritan shall return again, and which are committed to the care of the clergy who are represented here as hosts of Christ's inn, and dispensers of His spiritual provision and bounty. "Which now of these three," continues our Saviour, "was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?" Was it the priest with the sacrifices of blood? Was it Moses the Levite in whose law thou trustest? Or, lastly, was it I whom the Jews called a Samaritan? "He," the lawyer was compelled to answer, "he that showed mercy on him." Then said Jesus, "As I have loved you, even so do ye also love one another;-as far as the difference between us will admit, imitate my example-go and do thou likewise1."

The doctrine, then, contained in this parable may be stated in a few words; that mankind by the malice of the devil were robbed of God's grace, and brought into a state of misery, and into the shadow of death, from which neither sacrifices, nor ceremonies, nor any effort which man could make, nor any revelation which God thought proper to

'St. Luke x. 36, 37.

declare before the Messiah's coming, were able to recover them; and that (in the words of our Church service,) "there is no other name given to man through whom we may receive salvation, but only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The practical lessons to be drawn from it are also of the most exceeding consequence to our salvation. First, from the example here given us by Christ, we may learn to "go and do likewise;" to consider all mankind as our neighbours and brethren; and to do them all the good in our power. And that this love and desire to do them service is not to be confined to those only whom we know, or with whom we are connected; for the traveller described in the parable, was a perfect stranger to the Samaritan, and no otherwise connected with him than as he wanted his help. But further, the Jews and Samaritans were bitter enemies, hating each other as unclean and unholy. Yet this good man flings from him, at once, we see, all former hate, all remembrance of ancient injuries, and recollects only that the miserable wretch who is bleeding before him is a man and a brother. And shall we presume to let our party feelings, our prejudices, or our own poor resentments interfere with the commands of God, or the duty which we owe to our brethren! When our fellow-creature is perishing for lack of our help, shall we plead that he is a stranger, that he is nothing to us, that he has used us ill formerly, and can expect nothing at our hands?

"As we

have therefore opportunity," are the words of the apostle, "let us do good unto all men'!"

But, secondly, we must not show our love in common expressions of pity, or excuse ourselves from doing nothing on the pretence that little is in our power. Some men will tell us gravely, that they cannot give to every beggar that asks, and therefore they shut their hearts against all. But if this Samaritan, because he could not build a hospital, because he could not give up his time to watch on that dangerous road for the many other wretches who were stripped and wounded there; if on these pretences, for I cannot call them reasons, he had left this man to perish, whom it was in his power to save, what should we have said or thought of such cruel prudence? Be not deceived; impossibilities are not required of us, but as far as we can, we must be merciful; and that our means of doing good may reach the farther, we must learn from this kind traveller. He went himself on foot that he might assist the dying man with his horse; he with his own hands bound up his wounds, and laid out on him the oil and wine which he had prepared for his own journey. In like manner we should keep a watch over our little useless expences, and deny ourselves some unnecessary luxuries or comforts, that we may have to give to them that need. Blessed is he who is frugal, for he is able to be generous.

1 Gal. vi. 10.

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