« הקודםהמשך »
her so small a favor as a draught of water. So, on another occasion, as Jesus was travelling towards Jerusalem, he sent messengers before him, to a Samaritan village, to make ready for him. Because he was going to Jerusalem, the Samaritans would not receive him; and the disciples immediately, in the common spirit of their countrymen, requested permission of Christ to command fire from heaven to consume them, a request for which they received a severe rebuke from their master.
The Samaritan in the parable, when he came to the wounded Jew, forgets all the indignities his countrymen had suffered from that nation, and immediately began to afford him all the relief in his power. Jesus represents him, as parting with all the money he had about his person, to pay the expences at the inn; and leaving his proinise, when he separated, that, if there were any further charge, he would see it paid.
Having thus gone through the parable, Jesus proposes this question to the lawyer : (which now of these three (i. e. the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan) thinkest thou was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves ?' What answer did the lawyer return. The very answer that he was obliged to return, although it was against his own practice, and a direet condemnation of the customs of his countrymen. He declared that the Samaritan, who showed mercy on him, was neighbor to him that fell among thieves. And here the design of the parable appears—it was to shew the lawyer that, while he hated other nations, he did not obey the divine law; and that the practice of the Jews in limiting the command to the love of their own conntrymen was highly erroneous ; that our neighbors are not confined to the country in which we
live, nor to the sect or denomination to which we belong; but any person in distress, and needing our assistance, is our neighbor, and it is our duty to love him, and assist him by the means which God has placed in our hands. We have here another instance, of the success of our Saviour, in producing the strongest feelings of self condemnation, by means of his parables.
The occasion is closed by the Saviour with a beautiful moral — "Go thou and do likewise.” Imitate the good Samaritan ; let your love, like his, know no bounds; do good to the unfortunate of every name and nation. This is the sense of the divine comunand, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Let the emotions of benevolence predominate in our hearts towards all mankind; reckon them as related to us, as being members of the great family to which we belong, and consider ourselves under obligations to render them kindness and compassion whenever occasion demands.
< Go thou and do likewise.” Christians of the present age, here is a lesson for you. Have you felt a peculiar friendship for those of your own sect? Where will you find any thing in the conduct of your Lord, that will stand as an example for this ? Have you possesed the spirit of bitterness and wrath towards persons of other faiths, and other names? Have you calumniated their characters, misrepresented their opinions, and done them other injuries ? Remember the conduct of the good Samaritan, and the design which your Lord had in view in framing the parable in which his benevolent character is drawn.
It is worthy of remark, that the parables of our Lord, are all fruitful in moral sentiment, and inculcate, in the strongest manner, the practice of the virtues. Inimitable as they are in their descriptions, they are to be prized above all, for the moral tendency they must exert on every mind, suitably penetrated with the sentiments they contain. No teacher has ever exhibited a more illustrious triumph of compassion over principles by which it was forcibly counteracted, than we find in the case of the Samaritan.
Parable of a Man who doated on Riches.
LUKE XII. 16-20.
*The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater : and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?”!
There will be no difficulty in ascertaining the object of this parable, if we consider the circumstances which called it forth.
A person came to Jesus with this request : Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me Ver. 13. He declined an interference in business which did not concern him. - Who made me a judge, or divider over you?' (ver. 14) said he. He embraced the opportunity to give this caution : • Take heed, and beware of covetousness,' and immediately adds this reason, for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.' Ver. 15. To illustrate the truth of this observation, was the object of the parable before us.
"The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. His wealth did not increase from rapine, or extortion, or injustice, nor trom denying himself the common comforts of life, nor from laborious exertions ; but in the most innocent way possible, by the bounty of divine Providence, in making his lands fruitful, the produce of which was so great he knew not where to store it. And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow (or lay up) my fruits? His was the case of a man whose heart was solely set on earthly riches. God had blessed him with great possessions; and it did not occur to him, that he was thereby laid under obligation to assist the needy ; his whole care was to lay it up for future years. And he said, this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater, and there will I bestow (or lay up) all my fruits and my goods.? Not one cent for the poor, all is for himself, and the hoarding up of these goods was his sole object. And I will say to my soul, (another expression to signify, I will say to myself) Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.' Here the character which Jesus was drawing is fully developed. This person's sole hope of happiness for the future lay in his riches, and, satisfied to the full with these, he asked no more. Doing good to his fellow men, improving his own mind, cultivating in his heart the Christian virtues, making himself acquainted with the joyful tidings of the gospel, and preparing for the day of adversity, sickness and death by cherishing the hope inspired by that gospel, these were not the objects of his consideration. To have much goods, to take ease, eat, drink and be merry, were the whole objects of his life, and death came not into his thoughts. But this man was just as insccure as others—a man's life doth not consist in the abundance of the things he possesseth. And hence, it was said to him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Thou canst not carry thy goods with thee to the grave, “then whose shall these things be which thou hast provided?' Immediately on concluding the parable Jesus adds,
(and herein the true application of the parable is iseen) So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward Cod.'
We infer from this parable, the important maxim deduced, from the parable of the treasure hid in the field,' viz. that true wisdom and understanding are the greatest of all riches; and that without these, the goods of this world are not worth the having. Hence the greatest of all folly, is for a man to place all his trust in worldly riches, to rely on them entirely for future comfort and support, and make no preparation for the hour of adversity and death We have a remarkable instance of true wisdom in the case of Solomon, about the time of his elevation to the throne. He had the privilege to make any request he was disposed to. He did not ask for riches, nor for victory over his enemies, nor for long life; but considering his weakness, and the important duties that devolved upon him in the office he filled, he prayed, "Give, therefore, thy servant an understanding heart.' And infinite wisdom vouchsafed to reply, because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judg