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SERM. to acknowledge, He that shewed merci vitr. on him. In spite of national and proofessional prejudice he cannot but assent
to this persuasive illustration of our holy Teacher; who accordingly applies this closing admonition, Go and do thou likewise.
This Parable illustrates and exemplifies that great commandment of God which is common to the Law and the Gospel, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thyself. It explains its nature, by shewing, that it must be rooted in our hearts, and grounded in our lives: and it directs its object, by, requiring us to consider all mankind, without respect of nation or profession of faith, in that affectionate relation.
To consider the nature of this commandment; whatever gloss the Scribes or Lawyers might put upon it, we here behold the clear exposition of one, who came from God and knew his will. And: would we obey it in thic spirit of the divine Lawgiver, we must love, not in word or in-tongue; but in doed and in truth. It is of no ac.; 6 i Jalan ü. 18.
count in the eye of heaven to profess a SERM. love of our Neighbour, unless it com- vill. prehends a cordial aim to please Godwin and to benefit Man. A love so principled will necessarily manifest itself in action: it will make us anxious to step out of our way to promote the good of all we meet in the road of human life: it will engage is in the exercise of all those acts of charity, which we have frequent opportunities to practise; and it will induce us freely to make a sacrifice of our time and ease and substance, to relieve the sufferings and improve the comforts of our fellow-creatures.
The means of expressing this love are as various and manifold, as are the distresses and wants of human nature. If our Neighbour is oppressed by poverty; if he is overtaken by some sudden and unforeseen calamity; if he is reduced to distress by a train of evil fortune, or even by his own imprudence; if he is afflicted in body, or depressed in mind; religion calls upon us to assist and solace and support him. We should not merely look upon him, and pass by on the other side; but we should step out of our way, and submit to inconvenience and expence, to relieve his
SERM. necessities, to soothe and mitigate his VII. afflictions.
If our Neighbour is distressed in his spiritual state, religion calls upon us to administer spiritual medicine in his sickness. If he lies under a callous insensibility to his danger; as a way to restore him to spiritual health we should probe his wounds, awaken him to a sense of his danger, and move him to repentance and amendment of life. If he groans under a wounded spirit, and is troubled with an afflicted conscience, we should endeavour to mitigate his fears by displaying the mercies of God to the truly penitent. This it is to act like the benevolent Samaritan, to bind up his wounds pouring in oil and wine.
In the exercise of this love there are continual claims upon us: but the claims increase in proportion both to our Neighbour's needs, and our own abilities to relieve them.
In regard to our Neighbour's needs, whenever the distress is deep or the danger imminent, there certainly is a stronger claim for every charitable service. Such indeed was the case of the Traveller in this narration : he was stri! ed of his raiment and wounded
and left half-dead. On such an occa- SERM. sion the neglect of the Priest and the vill. Levite was highly reprehensible; especially since the Sufferer could not help himself, and without the assistance of some well-disposed mind must undoubtedly have died upon the road.
In regard to men's abilities to administer relief, it is the maxim of religion, that where much has been given, much also will be required. Such probably was the case of the Priest and the Levite. For both these orders of men the Law of Moses had made a liberal provision in the tithe of all the land; sufficient not only to administer every worldly comfort to themselves, but according to the purpose of the divine Disposer to supply them also with some supertluity for acts of kindness to the poor and unfortunate; the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. The neglect was therefore much more culpable in them, than it would have been in others, who possessed not equal means of dispensing benefits.
Through this uncertain pilgrimage of life we are subject like the Traveller in this parable to misfortunes and afflictions of various kinds. To palliate this
SERM, inevitable doom, it is the design of a ..v11r. wise and good Providence, that man w should depend on man for mutual com
fort and assistance. It is the duty of the strong to support the weak, of the whole to relieve the wounded, of those who are in health to solace those who are in sickness. If our path is prosperous and easy, the greater is the claim upon us to give a helping hand to those, whose course is adverse and unfortunate. As we hope to be accepted at our journey's end, we should bear one another's burdens, and sunport one another on the way.
To this love of our Neighbour we are earnestly invited by the love of God to us. The love of God to man may be seen in the economy of nature; wherein it is evident to a slight observation, that the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. Of this a Samaritan had an equal power of observation with a Priest and a Levite. But this is more distinctly shewn by the light of religion. For even under the comparatively dark and severe dispensation of the Law God proclaimed him