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must be a childlike spirit, a willingness to be taught and led by Christ; for of such is the kingdom of God. God rules as a father full of love and compassion for his children; and they as children must love, believe, obey, and confide in Him. Happier than kings and prophets are such children! "For many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which they see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which they hear, and have not heard them."
E. Are you going to tell me now, Mamma, the names of all the different towns and places which the seventy disciples visited; and to which our Lord afterwards went Himself?"
M. I cannot do that, Edward, for we have no mention of them in the Gospel; but I am happy to tell you that much of the instruction which our Saviour gave at this time has been graciously preserved to us. It was now, for instance, that Christ spoke that beautiful parable of the good Samaritan, of which you are all so fond: I call it a parable because it is generally called so, though not in the Bible. Some think it was an occurrence which did really take place, and which our Lord made use of for the sake of teaching a most excellent and important lesson. I will tell you what led to it..
A teacher of the Jewish law came to Jesus, saying, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ?" A most solemn and important question! but one which ought ever to be asked in all seriousness and sincerity, not with the deceitful purpose which this expounder of the law had in asking it, for he did it merely to "tempt" Christ, that is, to try and ensnare Him in His own words; to make Him say something that He
might cavil at, and find fault with. What must the Searcher of hearts have felt when such a man as this approached Him! How reasonably might it have been expected, that He would have put him to shame for his evil intentions before all the people by some just and severe rebuke. But observe the mildness as well as wisdom of our Lord's reply. He knew the heart of this lawyer; knew his intention; yet He condescends to answer his question, and that not angrily, but in such a way as to lead him to humility; and send him away with his conscience seriously affected, unless indeed he were utterly insensible to every good feeling.
"What shall I do to inherit Our Saviour sends him back to that
The lawyer says, eternal life?"
law of which he was an expounder, asking him what answer he would find in the law of Moses to so important a question. The lawyer replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself."
E. Was that a good answer, Mamma?
M. It was the only answer the Law could give; and our Lord approved of it, and told the lawyer that if he did all this he should certainly live For the law promised life to all who
for ever. obeyed it.
E. But, Mamma, he could not keep that law; neither he, nor any human being; no not even Daniel or Elijah could keep it. You have often told
M. You are quite right, my child: the obedience which the law required was a perfect and unsinning
obedience; it allowed of no failure, not even in a single point, but pronounced an awful curse on every one who in any degree departed from it, as we may see in Deut. xxvii. 26;-and this a person whose business it was to explain that law to the people, ought to have known.
But this important truth the lawyer before us seems to have forgotten altogether; or he had such a good opinion of himself, and was so blind to the state of his own heart, that he thought he had perfectly obeyed the law, and was therefore entitled to eternal life. We may imagine that this was the case, from what follows immediately after. For when Jesus had said to him, "Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live," he immediately went on to justify himself; and, to show how well he did perform the duties of the law, he said to Jesus, " And who is my neighbour ?"
Oh! how many human beings, sinful like ourselves, would have turned away angry and disgusted with such pride and selfconceit !
But Jesus still bore with him; and, instead of irritating him by reproof, He placed before him that beautiful picture of real neighbourly kindness and charity which we have in the story of the good Samaritan. At this he was to look, and see whether he had really loved his neighbour as himself. Read the parable to examine it a little.
me yourself; and then we will
E." And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho."
M. You can show me Jericho, I know, in a moment on the map; for we have often had occasion to look
at it before. Travellers tell us, that the road to Jericho from Jerusalem passes through a continuation of rocky defiles, and that the surrounding scenery is of the most gloomy and forbidding aspect. The whole road is considered the most dangerous that can any where be found in Judea. From the From the many murders com
mitted there, it used to be called "the bloody way:" and its very appearance was such as to fill the traveller with fear. Bold projecting masses of rocks burying every thing beneath them in their own dark shadows, cliffs above of towering height, gloom and solitude and desolation on every side, such is the picture which they give us of it. On this gloomy road it was no unlikely or uncommon thing for the quiet and unprotected traveller to fall among thieves, and be left stripped, and wounded, and half dead: and as Priests and Levites lived at Jericho in great numbers, and were continually of course going up to Jerusalem to perform their services in their turns in the temple, they were the persons who would be most likely to pass by and behold this melancholy sight. And I am afraid, Edward, sad as it seems, it is not impossible that both a Levite and a Priest might have actually come down that way, and either have taken no notice at all of their poor suffering fellow creature, or merely gazed on him idly for a moment, and then have passed by on the other side! I am afraid, melancholy as are such pictures of human nature, that there have been such in every age. Selfishness hardens the heart, and leads people at last to do things, which once they would have thought utterly impossible.
If ever we, my dear child, should be inclined, either from a selfish regard to our own pleasure, from indo
lence, or from any other unworthy feeling, to neglect a fellow creature in distress, or to gaze idly on his misery without attempting to relieve it, let us think of this Priest and Levite, who "passed by on the other side:" for then too surely, however we may dislike to acknowledge it even to ourselves, we shall resemble them.
But let us turn to the more refreshing side of the picture; and, whilst we contemplate an act so full of mercy, let us earnestly pray that the same blessed spirit may be poured into our own hearts.
Men are not all equally selfish, though all are more or less so by nature. But some there are whose hearts have been taught to feel for others even as for themselves; to pity the sorrows and sufferings they see around them, and to do their very utmost to relieve it. Such a man was the good Samaritan. He too, like the Priest and the Levite, was passing that way: indeed he seems to have had some more important business on hand than either of them; for he is spoken of, not merely as coming to the spot by chance, but as journeying. He might therefore have made some better excuse, if he had wished it, for merely gazing on this melancholy scene, and then going on his way; for people who are on a journey do not easily allow themselves to be stopped; they pass on anxiously to the place where they are going. But had this good man wished it, he might have found a stronger reason still for not stopping to relieve the poor stranger who lay before him; for he was a Samaritan, and the Jews and the Samaritans had no dealings with one another, no dealings of business, friendship, or common intercourse, but were at open enmity with one another. How many under such circumstances would have said,