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advantages and better means of gaining the knowledge of God, of Christ and of all the invisible things of the invisible world, than those had, who lived under the dark dispensation of the law. And common Christians may now know much more about Christ, heaven and hell, than even the prophets and most eminent saints knew, before the gospel day. For these distinguishing privileges, Christians ought to be thankful ; and if they are thanksul, they will faithfully improve them to the glory of God and to their own spiritual and eternal benefit. There were but a very few Jews, that could attend the temple service every Sabbath.--But Christians have no such length to go to behold the beauty of the Lord in his sanctuary.
7. It appears from what has been said, that sinners are much more criminal for rejecting the gospel under the Christian dispensation, than those were, who rejected it under the Mosaic dispensation. The gos. . pel was preached to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and to all the Jews under the law ; but it was wrapt up in a multitude of mysterious ceremonies, which it was difficult to explain and understand ; and those who rejected it, generally rejected it, through much ignorance. But those, who live under the light of the gospel, have no ground to plead ignorance. Hence Christ told the unbelievers in his day, “Ye have both seen and hated both me and my father.” The apostle represented unbelief under the gospel as far more criminal, than under the law. The apostle demands, “ If the word spoken by angels was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward ; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ?” And he solemnly declares, “ If we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses's law, died without mercy ; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall be be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing and hath done despite to the spirit of grace ?"
Luke, x. 36.—Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him, that fell . among the thieves ?
Commou sense is not that sense, which mankind commonly exercise ; but that sense, which they all possess and would always exercise, were it not for the depravity of their hearts. They are all capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong, in their own conduct and in the conduct of others; nor would they ever differ in judgment on any moral subject, could they only be made to view it in a true and clear light. For this reason, our Savior frequently appealed to the common sense of his hearers in his private and public discourses. And to do this, in the best manner, he generally spake parables, or put cases, in which they could not perceive themselves interested. By such a mode of instruction, he gained direct access to their consciences ; and, in spite of their hearts, made them judge righteous judgment. We find a remarkable instance of this kind in the parable, to which our text refers. A certain lawyer came to Christ under the pretext of seeking instruetion, but really with a view of trying him as a casuist. He said, “ Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? Our Savior first referred him to the divine law, which required him to love God supremely and his neighbour as himself; “but he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbor ?» Instead of directly answering this captious question, Christ spake the following parable, which was a direct appeal to his own conscience, and could not fail to make him see and feel the truth.
" And Jesus answering, said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves, who 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, whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will pay 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.” This parable might be viewed in various lights and afford instruction on various subjects ; but the words of our text naturally lead us to consider the two following things;
1. How differently these three men treated a poor object of distress ;
I To what it was owing, that they treated him so differently.
1. Let us consider how differently these three men treated the poor creature, that was robbed and wounded. This man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho ; but the three men who found him in his wretched situation, were travelling in a contrary direction ; and probably going to Jerusalem, where men ought to worship. And it seems they were travelling separately and each came to the object of distress alone ; so that each had a fair opportunity of acting according to
his own feelings, without the least foreign influence. The wounded man was half dead and incapable of crying for relief. The Priest, the Levite, and the Samarit ni had nothing to consult but their own feelings and each acted exactly as he felt. The Priest came first and just saw the poor, miserable, perishing object, but nev. er so much as went to him, lest his eye should affect his heart and awaken bis conseience to do his duty.--. The Levite, who came next, was more unhuman and cruel. When he came to the place, he went and looked on the wretched object and saw his wounds and heard his groans ; but after all passed on the other side and left him to perish, without affording him the least assistance. In eontrast with the Priest and Levite, how differently does the Samaritan appear ? When he came and saw the same miserable object, he had compassion on him and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in wine and oil; and set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him and staid till next day with him, and hired the master of the house to supply his wants and promised to repay him for all future necessary expences at his return. So differently did these three men conduct, under the same circumstances, towards the same object of charity. This naturally leads us to inquire,
II. To what it was owing, that these three men treated their unfortunate fellow man so differently.-They were all at liberty and under no external compulsion, or restraint. They might all, if they had pleased, passed by the poor creature and left him to die of his wounds, or the Priest and Levite might have acted the part of the Samaritan. Each of them bad a fair opportunity of doing a noble and benevolent deed. Here then let us inquire,
1. Why the Priest & Levite conducted as they did, in neglecting to relieve the object of distress, which they both saw.
It is evident, that it could not be owing to ignorance; for they both knew the man to be in a miserable and forlorn condition. Though the Priest did not go to him and examine his case narrowly, yet