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his raiment, and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at that place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him ; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
By this well-chosen, and most elegant and affecting parable, our exalted Saviour beautifully inculcated an open and generous disposition, and greatness of mind, which lays aside all selfish views, and diligently exerts itself in the great work of doing good to mankind, readily relieving all objects of distress, let their national quarrels and religious disputes be what they will. No persons were more hated by the Samaritans than the Jews; for which reason, our Lord represents a Samaritan relieving and succouring a distressed Jew, when a Priest and Levite, of his own nation and religion, had forsaken him. And this affecting parable our Lord laid down as an answer to the question proposed by the lawyer, who is my neighbours and then put it to his own feelings to determine the matter : Which now of these three, thinkest thou, said he, was neighbour unto him that fell amongst the thieves? The case was so plain, that the lawyer could but reply, He that showed mercy on him. To which our Redeemer immediately returned, with a look which gave the lawyer to understand that he knew he was silenced, Go and do thou like: moise.
Jesus journeying to Jerusalem to be present at the
Feast of Dedication, lodges at Bethany, and is entertained by Martha and Mary : when he arrives at Jerusalem, 'he attendeth at the Feast, and disputes with the Jews in Solomon's porch : The Feast being over, he retires beyond Jordan, and teacheth his disciples to pray: He casteth out a devil : He dines and disputes with the Pharisees, whom he reprehendeth for their outward Shew of Holiness, and pronounceth woes against them and the Scribes and Lawyers. Christ teacheth his Disciples to avoid Hypocrisy, and not to be fearful in publishing his Doctrine: He refuseth to be a Judge in a civil cause, and warneth the people to bcware of Covetousness by the parable of a rich Man, who boasted himself in his multiplied Stores : He exhorteth his Disciples to lay up Treasure in Heaven by giving alms ;
and to be always ready against their Lord's coming. AFTER
our blessed Lord had effectually silenced the cavilling lawyer, he continued his journey towards Jerusalem, to be present at the feast of dedication. In the evening he retired to Bethany, a small village about two miles from Jerusalem. In this village dwelt Martha and Mary, two pious sisters, who dwelt together in the same house with their brother Lazarus. In this little family, our great Redeemer took up his abode, and was joyfully received by the religious young man and his virtuous sisters. Whether any former acquaintance had subsisted between this family and our great Redeemer, the evangelists have not informed us; but it seems they were not unacquainted with his character, for he was kindly received and generously entertained. Jesus, as his custom was, wherever he went, took the opportunity of dispensing his divine instructions, and teaching his
hospitable friends those things which concerned their everlasting peace. Martha was desirous of expressing her regard to her noble guest, by providing a grand entertainment; but Mary, being of a contemplative disposition, was taken with his divine discourses, and sitting at the feet of our great Redeemer, listened to his words with the most earnest and steady attention : Martha, being greatly fatigued with the burthen of the service, was offended at her sister, because she did not help her, and complained to our Lord of her omission: Lord, said she, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.
But Jesus, by his answer to this discontented sister, gave her to understand, that it was more pleasing to him, when persons attended on his instructions, and listened to his words, than all their endeavours to provide sumptuous entertainments for himself and his disciples : he was not insensible of any regard which persons had for him, nor unthankful for their kindness, in what way soever it was expressed; but as the good of mankind was his constant endeavour and care, he always approved those expressions of kindness best, which were most conducive to that end: nor could he esteem himself being fed with the food which perisheth, of equal consequence with his bestowing on others, that which endureth to everlasting life: Martha, Martha, said he, 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 from her.
From this little village Jesus departed to Jerusalem and attended at the feast of dedication. Being in the temple, and standing in Solomon's porch, he was accosted by the Jews, who desired him to tell them plainly, whether he were the Messiah or not? Well knowing, that they did not ask this question for infornation, but to gain an opportunity of accusing him to the Romans as a seditious person, who pretended to be the great son of David, promised by the prophets, and by this means, designing to stir up the people to rebellion, and seize on the kingdom ; our great Redeemer told them, that they must form a judgment of him from his actions: I told you,said he, and ye believed not : the works I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But
believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. It is in vain to dispute, or lay down reasons, and arguments to persons of your temper and spirit, you are under the dominion of your headstrong passions and wicked hearts, and your inveterate prejudices will not be overcome : you are not of the number of those whom my Father, by his powerful grace, will bring unto me; and cause to believe in my name; these happy persons are assisted by power from on high, they carefully and candidly examine the proofs I have given of my mission; and they believe in me, and receive me, with all their hearts: nor will these my followers and friends lose their rewards; for I will willingly receive them, and make them partakers of eternal life and glory: these persons I will support and defend; I look upon them as my own, and however industrious or assiduous the wicked of this world, or the powers of darkness, may be to deceive and destroy them, they shall never effect their purpose ; for I stand determined to bring them safe to my heavenly kingdom, and all their enemies may rage in vain: my Father hath given them to me : all power, both in heaven and earth, is in his hand, and his omnipotence is engaged in their defence: none is able to contend with him, to prevent the accomplishment of his will, or hurt the persons whom he defends: none is able to contend with me, or wrest my people from me ; for I and the great eternal Father of the universe are one : My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. A stranger they will not follow : for they know not the voice of strangers. And I give unto them eternal life ; they shall never perish, neither shalb
any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all ; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
These words highly provoked the Jews; they considered them as blasphemous, and were so enraged, that they took up stones, to stone the exalted Saviour of sinners ; they thought they acted in conformity to the law, which commands that all blasphemers shall be stoned; but Jesus asked them, which of the benevolent miracles he had wrought amongst them, deserved such treatment: Many good works, said he, have I shewed you from my Father : for which of these works do ye stone me? As if he had said, I have fed the hungry in the desert, I have restored strength to the lame, I have cleansed the lepers, I have healed the sick, I have cast out devils, I have raised the dead; for which of these works are you going to stone me? Do such miracles as these admit of the supposition, that the author of them is an imposter? Can you be so stupid as to imagine, that the all-powerful and all-wise Governor of the world would permit any person to perform such works : with no other intention than to deceive mankind, and to propagate falsehood and error? The Jews replied, we do not suppose, that thou deservest punishment for any good work which thou hast performed; punishment which we are preparing, is designed to chastise thee for thy blasphemous speeches ; for thou though, a weak mortal like ourselves, arrogantly assumest the power and majesty of the Most High, and, by claiming the incommunicable attributes of deity, makest thyself God: For a good work, said they, we stone thee not; but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus replied, Has not the Scripture expressly called those gods, and the sons of God, who were commissioned to govern God's people, and who by the communication of his Holy Spirit, were qualified for the important office