« PreviousContinue »
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
After the feast of Tabernacles, and before our SA. VIOUR bet out on his last circuit through Galilee, the seventy disciples are supposed to have returned, and informed him of their success with astonishment and joy. From their account we learn, that the
of CHRIST was present with them. Our Lord's expression, I saw Satan falling from heaven, is by some supposed to allude to the fall of the devil on his first transgression; others consider it as figuratively describing the rapid progress of the Gospel, which tended to establish a kingdom of righteousness destructive of Satan's kingdom in the world, by extirpating idolatry, and converting the na. tions to the worship of God. That his disciples might be encouraged to do their parts towards obtaining this conquest, our LORD endued them with a miraculous power of securely treading on serpents and scorpions, in token of their triumph over infernal spirits; but cautioned them not to rejoice in this power, on account of the honour it might procure them amongst men, but rather to rejoice, because they were, through faith, the children of God.
Our blessed I.ORD, on this occasion, offered up a solemn thanksgiving to the Father; the progress of the Gospel filled his benevolent soul with the highest delight; and being thoroughly convinced of God's jus. tice in revealing the Gospel to the humble, rather than to those who were considered as the great and wise men of the earth, he expressed, as man, his perfect acquiescence in the divine will: then reflecting (as it seems) on the peculiar honours conferred on him as MESSIAH,
.or the anointed One, he expressed his gratitude to the Father for the wonderful union with Divine Word, and the authority he had conferred on him in consequence of this union. Having addressed himself to the Father, our LORD turned to his disciples, and reminded them of their happiness in being instructed so. particularly concerning spiritual things, which far ex. ceeded that of the Patriarchs and Prophets, who had only faint shadows of them.
The person called a lawyer was one of the Scribes, whose profession it was to study the Law of Moses, and resolve curious questions concerning it: he came with a design of trying our LORD's skill. As Jesus knew his secret views, he referred him to the law itself; and informed him, that if he kept it perfectly, he certainly would be entitled to everlasting life. The Scribe ap. prehending, that our Saviour would draw from him a confession that he had not kept the law, and infer from it, that he was under condemnation, and stood in need of redemption, endeavoured to justify himself, by insinuating that the law was not sufficiently explicit in respect to the extent of the precept of loving our neigh. bour, and desired our Saviour's explanation of it. Our LORD well knew, that the Jews had, by their traditions, corrupted it, to the exclusion of all excepting their own nation; he therefore corrected this false notion, by a parable, which implied, that every human creature who stands in need of assistance is to be considered as our neighbour, let his nation or profession of faith be what they will.
Though they are not, like the seventy disciples, endued with the power of treading on serpents and scorpions ; yet may the meanêst Christian contribute to the pro. pagation of the Gospel, and the extirpation of sin. The blessing of God will certainly attend their humble en.
deavours, and they will be esteemed, in his sight, as far preferable to those whom the world admires for their wit and learning. Let us therefore praise the LORD for his goodness, in thus revealing to the meek and lowly, what is hidden from those who are proud and vain of their own abilities and acquirements: and since this revelation is conveyed to us by the Sox, let us honour him, and be thankful for the kind compassion he feels for those whom the worldly-minded despise. Let us reflect on the superior advantages we derive from the New Testament, and increase our diligence in the improvement of them, that our hames may be written in heaven; and that our SAVIOUR, when we shall appear before him at his second coming, may rejoice over us.
Let us also study with attention, and imprint on. our memory the excellent parable contained in this section, that on all occasions we may have our minds. prepared to shew mercy to our fellow-creatures. Barely to read of the benevolence of the good Samaritan makes one's heart glow with pleasure; but to imitate it will be productive of much greater delight. Let us then exclude from our minds every sentiment that may tend to make us unmindful of the distresses of mankind, and let us seek for opportunities of relieving them; then shall we follow the example of our SAVIOUR, and bear. some resemblance to the SUPREME BEING in his darling attribute of MERCY.
JESUS VISITS HIS FRIEND'S AT BETHANY, COMMENDS
MARY, AND REPROVES MARTHA.
From Luke, Chap. X. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village : 'and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat át Je'sus' feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, LORD, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
red And Jesus answered, and said unto her, Mártha, Martha, thou art careful, and troubled about many things :
But one thing is needful. And Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her:
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.. It is supposed that our Lord about this time quitted Jerusalem, and set out with his Apostles on his last journey to Galilee, and that in his way he stopt at Bethany, where he was received with cheerful hospitality, in a family with whom he had formed an intimate friendship *". The two sisters expressed their respect in very different
ways. Martha, intent upon her dos mestic affairs, seemed to think of nothing but how she might best express her regard by a liberal' entertaina ment; Mary wholly attended to his instructions. Our Lord reproved Martha, because her civility was greater
than her picty; and commended Mary, because, influenced by a more discreet and noble emulation, she had laid all business aside to make the utmost advantage of the favour vouchsafed for her spiritual improve. ment." The matter on which Martha was so intent, was a point of no estiration in the sight of our blessed SAYIOUR; he had no relish for luxurious feasts; his meat and drink was to do the will of the FATHER.
The practical instruction we may derive from our LORD's reproof of Martha and commendation of Mary is this: that Religion ought to be the principal object of our thoughts, to which all human affairs should be subservient; and that when any extraordinary occasion offers for our obtaining spiritual knowledge, we should entirely lay aside worldly cares, and improve the happy opportunity. We also learn, that festive entertain. ments are not worthy of our serious concern; therefore * Christian should neither be solicitous to provide, nor eager to partake of them. Let each then, like Mary, chuse the better part, and attend to Religion in the first place, wasting none of those hours in convivial meetings, that should be employed in devotional exercises, spiritual instruction, or the performance of moral duties.
We are not to understand from our Lord's reproof of Martha, that he meant absolutely to forbid what is usually called hospitality; on the contrary, he encouraged innocent cheerfulness on proper occasions, by honour. ing festive entertainments with his presence : but it certainly should be a rule with all ranks of people not to cumber themselves with much serving, and to cover their board with such things only as they can procure, without inconvenience to themselves, or injury to others. People should keep a table suited to their rank and fortune. If they can afford delicacies, they may, in moderation, provide them; but with this re