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the parable—a case of life or death to one of the parties, as depending on the concession or denial of the good offices of a neighbour, in his behalf, by the other—that the claims of simple humanity are to be acknowledged and respected, as equivalent to the claims of strict neighbourhood : but in the whole intercourse of social existence—and to whatsoever the letter of the duty which must actuate the conduct even in that extreme case, would be applicable besides, from its spirit or principle—whether it be the same in kind, and of as great individual importance or as immediate necessity to its proper object, as that, or not. In all such instances of one man's connexion with another; wheresoever each other's happiness is more or less in each other's power, and more or less dependent upon each other's treatment—the genuine spirit of neighbourhood, like air or light, will pervade the whole frame, and diffuse itself over the whole surface, of social communion; spreading the same balmy and genial influence every where ; tempering all, sweetening all, brightening and irradiating all that one man can do unto, and for another; as blessed itself in the communication, as its object in the reception, of its benefits; ever on the watch to do good, and to avoid doing evil, within its proper sphere—and not less anxious to give no pain itself, than to relieve it when otherwise inflicted; smoothing the little asperities, harmonizing the jars and discords, and pouring balm into the petty sores, vexations, and uneasinesses of life; and extending its presence, and evidencing its activity, not merely on great occasions and in an extreme case, but so as to regulate, direct, and refine even the most ordinary and superficial
acts of the intercourse between man and man, by a civility and politeness of manner, a kindness of intention and a suavity of address-peculiar to itself.
We are authorized, however, to infer these truths from the parable, not directly but implicitly : because one man, in a certain instance, without regard to the ties of place or nation, rendered to another those good offices of neighbourhood, which he needed and he himself was able to bestow. Did he render them to him, as a neighbour? No surely, if that relation be understood of the connexion of vicinage, as such. Could he have rendered to him more, had he been his neighbour in that sense? or ought he to have rendered to him less, because he was not? If, however, he did not relieve the object of his compassion, as being properly his neighbour; yet could not have relieved him more had he been his neighbour, nor was obliged to have relieved him less, because he was not his neighbour : it follows that the utmost extent of those very clairns which the relation of actual neighbourhood gives one man upon another, is conferred upon any towards the rest, by the mere circumstance that he stands in need of, and that they are able to afford him relief. That one wants assistance, and that another can render it; is enough to make the former entitled to receive it, and the latter bound to concede it, just as much as if they were neighbours in the most confined sense of the term. In other words, whosoever is any way dependent upon another, is so far his neighbour, and has so far a right to be treated by him as such : which is the same thing as saying that all men, in fact, are neighbours or may be so, one of another.
When we consider the audience to whom the pa
rable was addressed, as well as the nature of the representation contained in it; this conclusion, we shall see, must have come upon them at last with irresistible force. Supposing it the design of the narrative to shew that all mankind, whether Jews or Gentiles, were neighbours and brothers; with reason might the example of Jews and Samaritans generally, be pitched upon to supply the case in point to prove it. Suppose it intended to convince the Jew in particular that the Gentile and he were brethren; with even more fitness might a Samaritan be shewn as the first to acknowledge, and the first to act upon this truth. Reason, conscience, shame, and gratitude-every conceivable motive which a virtuous emulation could supply, would force the Jew to a similar confession; and stimulate him not to be outdone in the reciprocation of such feelings, and in the imitation of such an example.
But good the strife—when men the palm contest
Hesiod, Works and Days, 24. Had the state of the case been different; had Jews been shewn to have extended the kindness in question to a Jew, and a Samaritan to have refused it to him; no such noble lesson would have been inculcated, much less with so humiliating an effect. The Jew would have been taught nothing which he did not believe, or profess to believe to be his duty before; while his sense of propriety, instead of being shocked, would have been gratified ; his national pride, instead of being painfully humbled and put to the blush, would have been agreeably flattered ; his conscience, instead of being alarmed and terrified, might have been lulled into a more fatal security.
This could not be the consequence of such a representation as that which is given in the parable. The character and conduct of the two Jews and the one Samaritan, are not only pointedly contrasted, but each is exactly the reverse of what was to be expected per se; or the one a priori was such as could have been expected only from the other. The liberality of sentiment, the indiscriminating benevolence of the Samaritan, the warmth, activity, and promptitude of his sympathies, would have been but worthy of the Priest or the Levite: their contracted views, their bigoted selfishness, their prejudice and inhumanity, would scarcely have been excusable even in the Samaritan: the latter, a rude, an ignorant, an uninformed stranger: the former, the learned, the noble, the refined, among the people of God themselves : the one, a member of a despised or hated nation, whose name was a proverb of reproach in Israelf; the other looked up to and reverenced, as the ministers of religion and the instructors of their brethren; whose understandings, it was reasonable to suppose, would have been enlightened with better notions of duty, and whose practice regulated by more unexceptionable principles of conduct, than those of the rest of their countrymen : whose opinions devotion should have expanded into liberality -and whose hearts piety should have warmed into charity—to set their fellow-countryinen the example of owning relationship with all mankind, as creatures of the same God, and children of the same first parents; and as became an enlarged and comprehensive benevolence, not only of acknowledging, but of treating them as brethren.
f John vii, 48.
THE RICH MAN'S GROUND.
LUKE XII. 1—21. HARMONY, P. IV. 32.
Luke xii. 1_21. 1 In the mean time, the multitude being gathered together in tens of thousands, so as to tread down one another, he began to say to his disciples, first : “ Take heed to yourselves from the " leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is "nothing covered up, which shall not be uncovered; and no
thing concealed which shall not be known. 3 Therefore, what“soever things ye have said in the dark, shall be heard in the
light; and what ye have spoken in the closets to the ear, “shall be proclaimed on the housetops. 4 Now I say unto you, “ my friends, Fear nothing from those who are killing the body, “ and have not the means of doing aught more excessive after “ that. 5 But I will admonish
should fear: Fear “ him, who after he hath killed (the body) hath power to cast “ into gehenna (hell): yea, I say to you, Fear this one. “ 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two asses (farthings)? yet is “not one of them forgotten in the presence of God. 7 But even the hairs of your head all are numbered. Fear
not “ therefore: ye are better than many sparrows. “ unto you, Every one who shall confess (in) me before men, “ the Son of man also shall confess (in) him before the angels “ of God : 9 but he who hath denied me in the presence of men, “shall be denied by me in the presence of the angels of God. “ 10 And every one who shall say a word of the Son of man, it “shall be forgiven him: but unto him who hath spoken contu“ meliously of the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven. 11 And “ when they are bringing you to the synagogues, and governors,
8 Now I say