« הקודםהמשך »
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
St. LUKE, CHAP. X. PART OF VERSE 37.
Go, and do thou likewise.
These words were addressed by our Saviour to
“certain lawyer who stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life :” that is to say, “what shall I practice ? Is the road the same, as indeed the Pharisees think and teach, the obseryance of the ritual precepts, to obtain the temporal felicity promised in the law, and to obtain eternal life ?" The lawyer asked this question, probably thinking that the Saviour's answer might contradict the law of Moses, and wishing to know how far he would disparage the ritual precepts upon which the Pharisees laid such a peculiar stress of obligation. Christ tells him in his reply, that he should “love God with all his heart, with all
his mind, and with all his strength, and his neighbour as himself.” But the lawyer, willing to justify bimself, demands, “and who is my neighbour ?"
Now by this question he clearly expected that our Saviour would declare his neighbour to be of the circumcision, and was doubtless fully prepared to justify himself, by replying that he had never been deficient in charity towards those of his own religion. The Jews observed a very marked distinction betwixt a neighbour and a Gentile. They never admitted the latter, under any circumstances whatever, to the natural privileges of a neighbour; this being a term applied by them to none but true Israelites. Thus our blessed Lord, when the lawyer asks him, " and who is my neighbour ?" gives him a most apposite reply by propounding to him the
parable of the good Samaritan ; immediately after which he proposes to him the injunction of our text, “ Go, and do thou likewise.” The propriety of this reply will appear
further evident, if we consider how inveterate was the enmity which existed betwixt the Samaritans and the general body of the Jews at this time. Consequently it may not be amiss, before we proceed further, briefly to consider the cause of this hostility, which was carried to such a pitch of truly savage detestation, that either party conceived themselves defiled by the slightest per
sonal contact. I trust, moreover, that to some of my hearers it may afford information, and it will certainly help to make us better distinguish the particular force and application of the parable.
The hostility betwixt the Jews and Samaritans commenced with the schism of Jeroboam ; which, you will remember, took place just after the ten tribes had revolted from Rehoboam, Solomon's son and successor, on account of his threatened severity towards them, and made Jeroboam their King ; who soon became apprehensive, that if the people went up to Jerusalem to offer their customary sacrifices in the temple, they would be brought back to their former allegiance, and that he should thereby suffer death as a usurper.
To obviate this therefore, he made two golden calves, setting up one in Dan and the other in Bethel, and persuaded his subjects to make them henceforward the objects of their worship, instead of offering their homage to God in his holy Sanctuary
Although the hatred of the Jews and Samaritans commenced with the revolt of the ten tribes, yet it was afterwards implacably aggravated by the opposition which these latter offered to the former, after their return from the Babylonish captivity; whilst they were both rebuilding the temple and repairing the walls of
Jerusalem. About this period too, Nehemiah, the governor, expelled Manasseh, son or grandson of the high-priest, for marrying a daughter of the chief of the Cuthite Samaritans, being those whom Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, is supposed to have sent into Samaria, and whose religion was so tinctured with the idolatries of the heathens, that to prevent the rest of the inhabitants from following their example, “ God sent lions among them, which devoured vast numbers of their people.” Upon the expulsion of his son-in-law, the Cuthite was so incensed that he procured a grant from Darius Nothus, the Persian King, to build, on Mount Gerizim, near Samaria, a temple like that at Jerusalem. Of this temple he made the exiled Manasseh high-priest. From this time forward Samaria became the refuge of all the rebellious Jews. All such as had been found guilty of infringing the laws in any highly criminal degree, fled thither to escape the punishment due to their transgression.
In process of time, by this influx of strangers from Jerusalem, the Samaritan worship underwent a considerable change; for having derived their origin from the eastern heathens, planted there by the Assyrian King after the captivity of Israel, their worship was one of idolatry mixed with the worship of the true God. Upon the settling of the outcast Jews among