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THE PRIEST, THE LEVITE, AND THE
LUKE X. 37.
IN different parts of this chapter our serm. 1 Saviour takes occasion to speak of that vi. great article of his religion, the Recompence of another life. When he sent his Disciples two and two before his face, the topic of their preaching was to be, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you; in other words, that dispensation of the Gospel is now revealed unto you, which bringeth life and immortality to light. And when on their return they expressed their joy for those miraculous powers, which in warrant of their
SERM. mission they had been enabled to disVIII. play, he gave them this salutary cauvtion; Notwithstanding in this rejoice not,
that the Spirits are subject anto you ; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
In the same vein of sentiment he pronounced upon his Disciples this benediction; Blessed are the eyes, which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many Prophets and Righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. In seeing the miracles, and in hearing the doctrines, of their divine Master they were blessed above the greatest and the wisest men under all preceding dispensations: for whatLever they saw was an evidence, and whatever they heard was an argument, of that eternal life, of which he an assurance to the world. • We are not hence to imagine, that the ancient Prophets and Kings under the Law had little or no hope of a future life: for if that had been the case, they would not have been so solicitous for a fuller communication of divine knowledge. Though this doctrine had not
been expressly and positively revealed sERM. unto them, yet availing themselves of vill. that inferior light which God was pleased for a season to impart, they accepted the temporal promises of their Law as types of better things to come; and that political Kingdom, which God established for the Jews upon earth, they regarded as a pledge and emblem of a spiritual Kingdom, which he had reserved for the faithful in heaven. Hence at the time of our Saviour's coming in the flesh this doctrine had gained considerable ground among the Jews: it was strenuously maintained by the Pharisees; it was professionally taught by the Scribes or Lawyers; and except by the Sadducees, a sect comparatively small, it was received as an article of faith by the great body of the Jewish nation.
But whatever might be their hopes, it was reserved for a fuller dispensation than that of Moses and the Prophets, to establish them upon certain grounds. The great and powerful motive of our Saviour's teaching was the recompence of another life.
It seeins to have been in consequence of his dwelling on this important doc
SERM. trine, that a certain Lawyer stood up
Vui. and tempted him, or put him to the m o trial, saying; Master, what shall I do to
inherit eternal life ? Our Lord refers him for an answer to that word, which he made the subject of his professional studies and inquiries; What is written in the Law? How readest thou? The Lawyer hereupon rehearses out of the Law the two great duties toward God and toward Man ; Thou 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 Neighbour as thyself. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he willing to justify himself, both in doctrine and in practice, said unto Jesus, And who is my Neighbour? It was toh much the manner of the Law yers and Pharisees to contract the spirit of the divine law by too literal an interpretation; and thus, while they affected a high degree of deference to the commandment of God, they in reality made it of none, effect. It may readily be supposed, that the Lawyer had imbibed the common prejudice of his order, by which he became indisposed to