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SECTION XXXIII.

LUKE X. 25-37.

AND, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of 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 the 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. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Of how great importance is it, that we should every one of us be in good earnest making this inquiry, which the Scribe addressed to our Lord, What shall I do that I may inherit eternal

life! What ought we not willingly to do, and to bear, that we may secure so great a felicity? Still will our Lord answer us from his word, that we must keep the commands of God, while we are looking to him as the end of the law for righteousness. (Rom. x. 4.) Happy are they that faithfully do it, that through the grace manifested in the gospel they may have a right to eat of the tree of life! (Rev. xxii. 14.)

May this abstract and summary of the commandments be written as it were in golden characters, on the table of each of our hearts! May we love the Lord our God with all the united powers and faculties of our souls, and our neighbour as sincerely and fervently as ourselves! And may we learn, from this beautiful parable of the good Samaritan, to exercise our charity to our fellow-creatures in the most amiable manner!

The Jewish Priest and Levite had, no doubt, the ingenuity to find out some excuse or other for passing over to the other side; and might, perhaps, formally thank God for their own deliverance, while they left their brother to bleed to death for want of their assistance. Is it not an emblem of many living characters, perhaps of some, whose sacred office lays them under the strongest obligations to distinguished benevolence and generosity? But the good Samaritan acted the part of a brother to this expiring Jew. O seed of Israel, O house of Levi and of Aaron! will not the day come, when the human virtues of heathens shall rise up in judgment against thee!

Let us reflect with shame, what are the differences between one Christian and another, when compared with those between a Samaritan and a Jew! Yet here the benevolence of a good heart overcame even these; and, on the view of a wounded dying man, forgot that he was by nation an enemy. Whose heart does not burn within him, whose eyes do not overflow with tears of delight, while he reads such a story? Let us go and do likewise, regarding every man as our neighbour who needs our assistance. Let us exclude every malignant sentiment of bigotry and party zeal which would contract our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race, but a little select number, whose sentiments and practices are so much our own, that our love to them is but self-love reflected. With an honest openness of mind let us always remember the relation between man and man, and feel and cultivate that happy instinct by which God, who has formed our hearts in many instances alike, has in the original constitution of our nature strongly and graciously bound them to each other.

SECTION XXXIV.

LUKE X. 38-42.

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 at Jesus' 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. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, 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.

So steadily and zealously did our blessed Lord pursue his work, with such unwearied diligence and constant affection! No sooner is he entered into the house of this pious friend, but he sets himself to preach the word of salvation, and is the same in the parlour which he had been in the temple. O Mary, how delightful was thy situation! Who would not rather have sat with thee at the feet of Jesus, to hear his wisdom, than have filled the throne of the greatest prince upon earth! Blessed were thine eyes in what they saw, thine ears in what they heard, and thine heart in what it received and embraced, and treasured up as food, which would endure to everlasting life!

How unhappily was her good sister deprived of the entertainment of these golden moments, while hurried about meats and drinks, and tables with their furniture, till she lost, not only her opportunity, but her temper too; as it is indeed hard to preserve it, without a resolute guard, amidst the crowd and clamour of domestic cares! Happy that mistress of a numerous family, who can manage its concerns with the meekness and composure of wisdom, and adjust its affairs in such a manner, as that it may not exclude the pleasures of devotion, and cut her off from the means of religious improvement! Happy the man who, in a pressing variety of secular business, is not so cumbered and careful as to forget that one thing, which is absolutely needful; but resolutely chooses this better part, and retains it as the only

secure and everlasting treasure! Oh that this comprehensive and important sentence were ever before our eyes! Oh that it were inscribed deep upon our hearts! One thing is needful. And what is this one thing, but the care of the soul? what, but an humble attention to the voice and the gospel of Christ? Yet, as if this were of all things the most unnecessary, for what poor trifling care is it not commonly forgot? yea, to what worthless vanity is it not daily sacrificed?

Let the ministers of Christ, let the friends of souls in every station, exert themselves, that all about them may be awakened duly to regard this great interest; accounting it their meat and their drink to promote it. Let them be always solicitous, that neither they nor others may neglect it for the hurries of too busy a life, or even for the services of an overofficious friendship.

SECTION XXXV.

LUKE XI. 1-13.

AND it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, OUR FATHER which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him: and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,

and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Well does this petition become every disciple of Christ; Lord, teach us to pray! Thou hast taught us by thine example, and by the precepts of thy word; teach us also by thine Holy Spirit! Excellent is this form of sound and Divine words, which our great Master here recommends. God forbid, that any of his followers should censure their brethren, who think it still proper to use it, not only as a directory, but as a form too, though perhaps with some little variation from the original sense of some clauses of it. Let us attentively study it, that, concise and expressive as it is, our thoughts may go along with its several petitions.

Let us learn to reverence and love God, and to consider ourselves as brethren in his family. Let the glory of his name, and the prosperity of his kingdom, be much dearer to us than any separate interest of our own. Let it be our cordial desire that his will may be universally obeyed, and with the most entire consent of soul acquiesced in, by all his creatures, both in heaven and on earth. Let our appetites and passions be so moderated, that having even the plainest food and raiment we may be therewith content: and, on the other hand, how plentiful soever our circumstances may be, let us remember, that day by day we depend on God for our daily bread. Nor do we need even the most necessary supplies of life more than we need daily pardon; to which therefore we should be putting in our constant claim, heartily forgiving all our brethren, as we desire to be forgiven by God. Conscious of our own weakness, let us, as far as we can, endeavour to avoid circumstances of temptation; and when necessarily led into them, let us be looking up to heaven for support; labouring above all things to preserve our integrity, and to maintain a conscience void of offence.

Depending on the certainty of these gracious promises, and encouraged by the experience of so many thousands, who have on asking received, and on seeking found, let us renew

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