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he is able to afford. All are to be esteemed our neighbours, who may be benefited by our charity and compassion.
Having thus briefly reviewed this portion of Scripture, which is appointed as the Gospel for this day, let us consider the parable before us as affording an illustration of some of the leading doctrines of Christianity. In this respect it may describe three very important particulars,
First, The condition of mankind by nature.
Secondly, The inefficacy of outward forms of religion to relieve the distresses of the soul: and
Thirdly, The wonderful compassion of our adorable Redeemer.
The condition of mankind by nature is shown in this description of the plundered, wounded, half-dead traveller. Some persons have thought that this parable has a particular reference to the fall of our first parent, Adam, whom the devil, by his successful temptations, stripped of his righteousness, robbed of the Divine image with which he had been adorned, mortally wounded, and left half-dead; such being the effect of his fall from the state in which he was originally created.
That the consequences of Adam's sin, both to himself and to his posterity, may be illustrated by this melancholy description, is very evident. The testimony of our church in her ninth Article, on this awful subject, is very plain.
“ The fault and corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam,” is such by reason of “original sin,” that “man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation.” The miserable condition of man in consequence of sin, compared with the state of uprightness in which he was created, may therefore be fitly represented by the condition of the poor Jew, , who fell among thieves. We are by nature no more capable of fulfilling the purposes of our creation, than this poor inan was of pursuing his journey, immediately after the murderous robbers had left him, naked, wounded, and halfdead. The end of our creation is that we should glorify God, that we should love Him above all things, and live and walk in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.9 But love to God, and obedience to His holy will, are not natural to mankind. By sin man has been stripped of his righteousness, the raiment for glory and beauty in which he was originally arrayed. Satan has mortally wounded him; he has lost the life of God in his soul, and has become earthly, sensual, and devilishin his desires, his pursuits, and his actions. He is sufficiently alive indeed to the concerns of this perishing world; but he is dead to God, and to those things which belong to his everlasting peace, and therefore totally incapacitated for the enjoyment of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. Such is the miserable condition of every one of us by nature, and unless we be delivered out of this state, it will prove to us the forerunner of death eternal. We cannot help ourselves, and if left to ourselves we must die, as the wounded traveller appeared likely to have done, had not the good Samaritan come to his relief. This parable may point out to us
Secondly, The inefficacy of the outward forms of religion to relieve the distresses of the soul. The groans of the dying man brought him no help from the priest and the Levite; when they saw him, they passed by on the other side of the road, without giving him any
relief. When the conscience of a sinner is awakened to see his guilt and pollution by sin, and to discover the greatness of his offences against God, he naturally begins to think of amending his life, and paying attention to his religious duties. He thinks that he shall have no difficulty in leaving off his old sins, and doing what is acceptable to the Divine Being. As far as an outward reformation is concerned this may be done. A man may abstain from those vices to which he had
been addicted, and may perform some religious duties, which he had before disregarded. And it is well for society that such a change should take place in any person. But these things can give no more relief to a burdened conscience from guilt and condemnation, than the priest and the Levite did to the half-dead traveller. Obedience to the law of God, even supposing it to be what it ought to be, will not compensate for past transgressions. The guilt of sin committed will therefore still hang heavy upon the mind of the convinced sinner, and the fear of death will still make him afraid. And being made in some measure aware of the extent of the law of God, in its spiritual" signification, he will find that notwithstanding a change may have taken place in his conduct, he still falls far short of what is his bounden duty and his reasonable service. And therefore by the deeds of the law he cannot be justified in the sight of God.1. This parable illustrates,
Thirdly, The wonderful compassion of our most adorable Redeemer, under the character of the merciful Samaritan. The Jews in their
rage against Him, said, Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil.13 It might be in reference to this reproachful accusation, that He held up to admiration the character of the Samaritan, in the
11 Romans vii. 14.
12 Romans iii. 30.
13 John yiii. 48.
parable before us. But it was the miserable state of mankind in consequence of sin, into which they had fallen through the devices of Satan, the enemy of souls, that excited His compassion. When man had forfeited the favour of God, and was ruined as to all his prospects of happiness for futurity; the ever-blessed Jesus looked down in compassion upon him from the throne of His glory; and not only so, but He condescended to come down from heaven to earth, and take our nature upon Himself. And He not only pitied us, as the good Samaritan pitied the wretched man in this parable; but, moreover, He put Himself into our state of misery and distress; He suffered Himself to be stripped, and wounded, and bruised, and put to death, that He might give life and heal and salvation to our souls. This is the mystery of redeeming love, which is made known to us in the holy Scriptures. While, then, the conduct of the good Samaritan excites our admiration, the love of Christ which passeth knowledgel ought to excite our utmost gratitude and praise, and lead us to entire devotedness of heart and life to His service. If our misery as sinners affects our minds, let our groaning, though it be not otherwise heard, yet reach His ears; let our sighing come before Him, and He will graciously attend to our humble and ear
14 Ephesians jii. 19.