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neighbours and brethren; and to do them all the good in our power.
And that this love and desire to do them service is not to be confined to those only whom we know, or with whom we are connected; for the traveller described in the parable, was a perfect stranger to the Samaritan, and no otherwise connected with him than as he wanted his help. But further, the Jews and Samaritans were bitter enemies, hating each other as unclean and unholy. Yet this good man flings from him, at once, we see, all former hate, all remembrance of ancient injuries, and recollects only that the miserable wretch who is bleeding before him is a man and a brother. And shall we presume to let our party-feelings, our prejudices, or our own poor resentments interfere with the commands of God, or the duty which we owe to our brethren! When our fellowcreature is perishing for lack of our help, shall we plead that he is a stranger, that he is nothing to us, that he has used us ill formerly, and can expect nothing at our hands? “ As we have therefore opportunity,” are the words of the apostle, let us do good unto all men !"*
But, secondly, we must not show our love in common expressions of pity, or excuse ourselves from doing nothing on the pretence that little is in our power. Some men will tell us gravely, that they cannot give to every beggar that asks, and therefore they shut their hearts against all.
But if this Samaritan, because he could not build a hospital, because he could not give up his time to watch on that dangerous road for the many other wretches who were stripped and wounded there; if on these pretences, for I cannot call them reasons, he had left this man to perish, whom it was in his power to save, what should we have said or thought of such cruel prudence ? Be not deceived ; impossibilities are not required of us, but as far as we can, we must be merciful; and that our means of doing good may reach the farther, we must learn from this kind traveller. He went himself on foot that he might assist the dying man with his horse; he with his own hands bound up his wounds, and laid out on him the oil and wine which he had prepared for his own journey.
Gal. vi. 10.
In like manner we should keep a watch over our little useless expenses, and deny ourselves some unnecessary luxuries or comforts, that we may have to give to them that deed. Blessed is he who is frugal, for he is able to be generous.
Thirdly, we may draw from this parable very useful instruction as to the duty both of the clergy and of those committed to their care. We see that the wounded tra. veller, who represents mankind, was not immediately restored to health and vigour, but was to remain under cure till the second coming of his deliverer. And during this time, the ministers of the Gospel, as hosts of Christ's inn, and distributors of His Sacraments, are to view themselves in no other light than as patient nurses of a sick and feeble world.
Happy are they among our number, whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing; and wo, everlasting wo to those who neglect their duty! But you, my friends, you are also called upon to show your gratitude to our good Samaritan, the Redeemer of our souls, by submitting to the advice and government of those in whose care He has left you. You must not murmur uncharitably at our imperfections, or seek unadvisedly after new doctrines, or new spiritual medicines. You must not leave the sound word of God to pamper your appetites with change; nor wander lightly from the shelter of the Church into the howling wilderness which surrounds it. It is your business and your duty, by a patient use of the regular means of grace, by devout hearing of the word of God, and diligent and faithful attendance on His Sacraments, to perfect the cure which Christ has begun in your hearts; and it is the business and duty of all, in whatever station they may be placed, by praying for each other, helping each other, and bearing each other's burdens, to fulfil the law of Christ. This is His first and His last commandment, the beginning and the end of the Christian faith, that as He has loved us so should we love one another. To Him we can give no worthy honour; our praise, our service, our gratitude are without power to reward the Almighty ; but all He asks and all He requires as a return for His help and mercy, is that we should “Go and do likewise !"
LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD.
[Preached at Bombay, May 22, 1825.]
St. MATT. xx. 16. So the last shall be first, and the first last ; for many be
called, but few chosen. The parable which these words conclude, was spoken by our Lord in correction of a little natural vanity in which St. Peter had indulged, when contemplating the sacrifices which he and his brother apostles had made in the cause of the Messiah. A certain young man of ample property, and of dispositions favourable to religion, had been honoured by Christ, either as a test of his faith, or as a mark of approbation of his virtues, with a call to His ministry, and to the number of His chosen disciples. Dismayed, however, at the danger and self-denial by which such a life was menaced, encumbered by his affection for the world, and by the comforts and luxuries of his present condition, he shrunk back, though sadly and unwillingly, from the offered boon, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."* On this our Lord took occasion to remark, as may be seen in the preceding chapter, on the fascinating nature of worldly wealth, and the absolute necessity of a more than common dispensation of celestial grace, to enable the rich man to break the chain of pleasure and of pride, to resist the many and peculiar temptations with
• St. Matt. xix. 22.
which his path in life is strewn, and to resign, if it should become his duty, his rank, his fortune, and his ease, in the service of that God from whom he has received them.
While He was thus speaking, and thus, as it should seem, lamenting the dangerous wealth of the young man who had just gone away, it is easy to perceive what was passing in St. Peter's mind. " If the sacrifice of wealth would have been so precious in the eyes of God, then, surely, the selfdevotion of the poor must, at least, be equally well-pleasing to him. I and my fellows had, indeed, somewhat less to resign, but what we had, we gave up for Christ; the comfort of a settled home, the security of peaceful labour, the endearments of our kindred, the implements of our toil, and all those numberless and nameless ties which bind the poor man, even more than the rich, to the scenes of his childish sports, the recollections of his earliest love, the limits of his humble ambition,-all these we resigned, and we resigned them cheerfully.” “Behold we have forsaken all and followed Thee! what shall we have therefore ?"
The answer of our Lord is more than usually impressive and beautiful. While assuring His ardent and affectionate disciple of an ample and overflowing recompense, He replies to his thoughts as well as to his words, and cautions him against supposing that all who now seemed comparatively backward in the cause of the Gospel, should remain for ever idle and indifferent; or that none but those who were the first and immediate companions of the Messiah, should be admitted to their proportionate share in the toils and honours of His kingdom.
“I say unto you,” are His words, “that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But
many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first."*
• St. Matt. xix. 28-30.
As if He had said, “ Doubt not, Peter, that thou and thy companions will receive from a bountiful God a rich return for all your labours in His cause ; doubt not that whatever sacrifices are made, for my sake, of present ease, of present possession, of present and worldly affections, will be all no less duly and mercifully appreciated by Him, who will not suffer even a cup of water given in His name to pass without its recompense. But deem not yourselves so secure of my love by the sacrifices which
have made as to relax in your future services. Judge not those who stand idle now, for the time of their labouring may come.
who have been my earliest followers there is one who shall betray his Lord; and another, even thou thyself, shalt basely and shamelessly deny me.
And there is one whose name ye know not, and who is now my bitter ene my, one Saul of Tarsus, to whom I shall, hereafter, make myself known, who, having received my faith, shall labour more abundantly than you
, and come not a whit behind the chiefest of my earlier Apostles.” “For the kingdom of Heaven,” our Lord proceeds to say, “the kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man which is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard ; and when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place, and said unto them, go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you; and they went their
way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, call the labourers and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a