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May the God of all grace, who bath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make us perfect, strengthen, settle us! To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever!
April 5, 1788.
LUKE X. 37.
Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do thou likewise.
THIS is part of a curious instructive dialogue which our Lord held with a Jewish lawyer, i. e. a doctor and expounder of the law of Moses. It begins ver. 25, where we read :
"And behold a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Full of himself and his own learning and attainments, and that he was equally high in God's favour as in his own conceit, he puts this question to our Lord, to make trial of his knowledge, which he seemed to hold much inferior to his own.
"Jesus said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou?" with great dignity and propriety referring him to what Moses had taught them from God, as he himself
self had no new rule of moral duty to lay down, only new and stronger motives to the obedience of it.
"And he answering, said; Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbour as thyself."
This learned Jew seems to have been perfectly satisfied with himself, that he was possessed of this love of God. For if they kept free from idolatry, and observed the ceremonies of the law and their traditions, they esteemed this a sufficient testimony of it; and they thought the law of charity or benevolence fulfilled, if they were not wanting in good offices to their countrymen.
Looking for our Lord, therefore, to confirm this good opinion which he entertained of himself, and to acknowledge that he was fit to inherit eternal life, he puts a further question to him:-"But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?"
In our Lord's reply, we observe his admirable address in teaching and showing men their sinful defects, and bringing them off from them.
In no one instance were the Jews at that time so universally faulty, as in love to their neighbours. They confined it wholly to those who were of their own religion, Jews by birth or proselytes. To the heathens, i. e. to men of other nations, and idolaters, as all the world besides themselves were at that time, they would scarce show common civility, or do them the slightest act of humanity or charity. Had Christ in plain words told this man how deficient he was in this part of his duty, and endeavoured by arguments to prove it to him, he would most probably have been offended, and sheltered himself under a variety of shifts and evasions. For few are convinced by being directly told of their faults; they are rather made more obstinate in them. We are then most likely to see our errors and correct them when no immediate application is made to ourselves, but the discourse is so managed as to make us seem to make the discovery, and become our own instructors. Such is the
pride of man!
Our Saviour, therefore, in answer to him, bids him listen to a story he had to tell him, probably of something that had happened not