« ZurückWeiter »
destitute of love both to God and his neighbour. This wretched man is brought into such a situation that he is found to be altogether evil, even from the head to the feet. How came it to pass that he being so skilful in the scripture, was not aware of this? He led a pharisaical, hypocritical, and counterfeit life, which had no regard to his neighbour, or to succour and help others; but sought thereby only glory and honour before men, and thought by negligent and dissolute living to get to heaven. But ye have heard very often that a christian life consisteth in this, that we deal with faith and the heart in things that pertain to God; but use our life and works towards our neighbours. But we must not wait until our neighbour seeks a benefit, and requires something of us, but according to our duty must prevent his asking, and of our own accord offer our liberality to him.
We will now see what is contained in the parable. The Samaritan, in this place, is without doubt our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath declared his love toward God and man. Toward God, in descending from heaven, being made incarnate, and fulfilling the will of his father; toward man, wherein after baptism, he began to preach, to work miracles, to heal the sick ; neither was there any work that he did, which concerned himself only, but all were directed to his neighbours; being made our minister, when notwithstanding he is above all, and equal with God. But he did all these things knowing that they pleased God, and that it was the will of his Father. When he had fulfilled the commandment, that he loved God with all his heart, he committed his life and whatsoever he had, to the will of his Father; saying, Father, behold all that I have is thine; Í leave for thy sake the glory and honour which I have had among men, yea, and all things, that the world may know how much I love thee.
This is that Samaritan, who, without being desired by prayers, came and fulfilled the law; he alone hath fulfilled it ; which praise none can take from him : he alone hath deserved it, and to him only it appertaineth. He, being touched with pity, has compassion on the wounded man, binds up his wounds, brings him to an Inn, and provides for him. This pertaineth to us : the man which lieth wounded, beaten, spoiled, and half dead, is Adam; yea, and we also.
The thieves which wounded and left us in this deplorable situation, are the devils. We are not able to help ourselves, and should we be left in this situation, we should die through anguish and distress; our wounds would become festered, and our afflictions exceedingly great.
This excellent parable is set before us to show us what we are, and what is the strength of our reason and free will. If that wretched man had attempted to help himself, his case would have been made worse ; he would have hurt himself, he would have opened his wounds anew by exertion, and so would have fallen into greater calamity. Again, if he had been left lying, without assistance, his case would have been the same.
So it is when we are left to ourselves; our studies and endeavours amount to nothing. Sundry ways and divers means have been invented to amend our lives, and get to heaven : this man found out this way, another that; whereby innumerable sorts of orders have increased ; letters of indulgences, pilgrimages to Saints, &c. which have always made the state of christianity worse. This is the world, which is represented by this wounded man; he being laden with sins, fainting under a heavy burden, and not able to help himself.
But the Samaritan who hath fulfilled the law, is perfectly sound and whole ; he doth more than either the Priest or Levite ; he binds up his wounds, pours in oil and wine, sets him upon his own beast, brings
him to an Inn, makes provision for him, and where he departs, diligently commends him to the host, and leaves with him sufficient to
expenses ; none of which either the Priest or Levite did. By the Priest, is signified the holy fathers which flourished before Moses : the Levite is a representation of the priesthood of the Old Testament. All these could do nothing by their works, but passed by like unto this Priest and Levite : wherefore, though I had all the good works of Noah, Abraham, and all the faithful fathers, they would profit me nothing.
The Priest and Levite saw the miserable man lie wounded, but they could not help him; they saw him lie half dead, but could not give him any remedy. The holy fathers saw men drowned and plunged all over in sin ; they also felt the sting and anguish thereof, but they could make the case no better. These were the preachers of the law; which shews what the world is, namely, that it is full of sin, and lieth half dead, and cannot help itself with its utmost strength and reason. But Christ is that true Samaritan, who is moved with the case of the miserable man ; he binds up his wounds, and having great care of him, pours in oil and wine, which is the pure gospel. He pours in oil when grace is preached; when it is said, O miserable man, this is thy incredulity, this is thy condemnation ; thus art thou wounded and sick : but I will show thee a remedy.; join thyself to this Samaritan, Christ the Saviour; he will help and succour thee.
The nature of oil, as we know, is to make soft and mollify; so the sweet and gentle preaching of the gospel, makes the heart soft and tender toward God and our neighbours. Sharp wine signifieth the cross of affliction, which forthwith follows: there is cause for a christian to seek the cross, for it sooner hangs over his head than he is aware of; as Paul witnesseth, 2 Tim. ii. “All that will live godly in
Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.” This is the cognizance and badge of this King; and he that is ashamed of it, pertaineth not to him. Moreover, the Samaritan puts the wounded man upon his own beast : this is the Lord Jesus Christ, who supports us, and carries us upon his shoulders. There is scarce a more amiable and comfortable passage in the whole scripture, than that where Christ compares himself to a shepherd, who carrieth again the lost sheep upon his shoulders to the flock.
The Inn is the state of christianity in this world, wherein we must abide for a short time : the host is the ministers and preachers of the gospel, whose charge is to have care of us. This therefore is the sum of the text; the kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of mercy
and grace : Christ beareth our defects and infirmities ; he taketh our sins upon himself, and bears our fall willingly; we daily lie upon his neck, neither is he weary with bearing us. It is the duty of the preachers of this kingdom, to comfort consciences, to handle them gently, to feed them with the gospel, to bear the weak, to heal the sick; they ought fitly to apply the word according to the need of every one.
This is the duty of a true bishop and preacher, not to proceed by violence, as is the custom of some bishops at the present day, which vex, tornent, and cry out, he that will not willingly, shall be compelled to do it. We must in no wise proceed in this manner; but a bishop or preacher ought to behave himself as a healer of the sick, who dealeth very tenderly with them, uttering very loving words, talking gently, and bestowing all his endeavours to do them good. A bishop or minister ought to consider his parish as a hospital, wherein are such as are afflicted with divers kinds of disease. If Christ be thus preached, faith and love come together, which fulfil the commandment of love.
As a knowledge of the law and the gospel, and the difference between them, are very necessary, I will treat of them somewhat more at large. I have often informed you that the whole scripture divideth itself into two parts ; namely, the law, and the gospel. The law teaches us our duty, and what the will of God requires of us : the gospel teaches how that is to be received which the law commandeth; as if I take medicine, one thing is to tell what the disease is, and another to administer that which is good and wholesome to remedy it. So stands the case here; the law reveals the disease, and the gospel administers the medicine; which is manifest even by the text whereof we have already treated.
The lawyer comes, and being desirous of eternal life, asketh what he must do; the law declareth it unto him, saying, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself. He that reads these words in a careless manner, as did the lawyer, understandeth them not. We must pierce into the law; God must be loved by me from the bottom of my heart; I must love him with all the soul; that is, from the depth of the soul, so that I thoroughly feel in myself that I love him : I must likewise love him with all my strength ; that is, with all my members ; also with all my mind ; that is, with all my senses, cogitations and thoughts; all must be directed to God.
I find in myself that I do none of these things : for if I must love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, it is requisite that my eyes show no angry twinkling or motion, that my tongue speak no angry word, that my feet, hands, ears, &c. show no sign of wrath; that my whole body, even from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, and all things belonging thereto, walk in charity, and be, as it were, ravished with love and pleasure toward