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him forget the serene happiness of his own home lifepassed perpetually in his father's presence, guided by his father's counsel, gladdened by his father's smile ?
Surely, then, it was an unjust and an ungenerous remark of the elder brother-Thou never gavest me a kid! He had all, and was full—for he was ever with his father, and all his father had was his !
Let us be careful, brethren, not to err ourselves in this direction. Let us not begrudge when God restores-let not our eye be evil because He is good. Let us not envy the received Prodigal his hour of intense happiness when first he knows himself forgive.. “Shades of the prison house," out of which he has been rescued, will close upon him again. Not soon, not on this side death, will he forget the past. The wasted goods—the life in the far country, with its debasement and defilement, he will not be able to wipe it out of his mind-while memory holds it will retain the record.
Grudge him not, then, any temporary comfort, any lifting up of his soul into unusual ecstacy. Think not God's way unequal, if such an one be caught for a little moment, as it were, into the third heavens !
Set one thing against another, and you will confess that God is just. You will see that yours—for I speak now to those of whom the elder brother is the type, quiet, orderly, well-living people—is the state most to be desired. “You have not the Prodigal's raptures, but then you are spared his recollection—God makes no unusual feast for you, but then He gives you, day by day, your daily bread-God does not say over you— It is meet that
we should make merry and be glad: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found—but He says—and is it not far better-Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine !
THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR ?
ST. LUKE X. 29.
But he willing to justify himself said unto Jesus, And who is my
The question here put to our Lord gave rise to the great parable which comes before us in this Sunday's Gospel—the parable of the Good Samaritan. The person who asked it was a certain lawyer. And this same man had already, but in a tempting spirit, put a previous question-Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
To this the reply was, How readest thou? what is written in the law ?
The lawyer thrown back upon himself referred to the book of which he was a professed expounder, answered by repeating those two great commandments, on which by the law life and happiness were made to dependThou 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.
Our Lord declared that he had answered right—that he had only to carry out that law, to put into practice the love of God, and the love of his neighbour, and all would be well—this do and thou shalt live.
At this the lawyer was perplexedhe knew in his heart that he had not lived up to his knowledge, that if eternal life depended on his having kept those great commandments in the spirit as in the letter, he must come short of it-and yet he liked not to confess this— he wished if he could to justify himself before Jesus—and so he raised a question about the meaning of the word neighbour— Who is my neighbour ?
As if he had said I know the law says Thou shalt love thy neighbour ; I know that I must seek to do him good —but where is he? I can not do good to all men-some have a nearer claim upon me than others—some have no claim at all-how and where am I to draw the line? Who is my neighbour ?
The answer to this question must be sought in the parable which I purpose we should now consider-a parable which those have more need to lay to heart, who like this lawyer are inclined to put limits to their charity, who seek to excuse themselves from offices of kindness by drawing distinctions between who do, and who do not stand in the position of neighbour to them.
At the same time, be sure that this parable has lessons for us all. It is full of incentives to active mercy, and neighbourly dealings with the unfortunate—a parable, moreover, in which many early Church writers have loved to find a deep inward meaning, even a picture of our Redemption by Jesus Christ : His work here typified
in many of its chief particulars, Who came down from heaven to be the Saviour of the world--the Good Samaritan to our poor fallen human nature--and Whose office it is still, through the healing virtue of His word and sacraments, to bind up the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves.—We may notice here the exactness and accuracy of our Lord's description. The way from Jerusalem to Jericho is a downward way, and it was in that day, as it is still, a road of great danger to travellers
-so much so, that one part of it had obtained the bad name of the “red” or “ bloody way,” from the deeds of violence committed there by robbers. No man was safe journeying by himself on that way he was almost sure to be attacked and plundered, and perhaps murdered.
And so it befell the traveller in the parable, he was set upon by robbers, who stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, leaving him half dead.
As he lay bleeding on the ground by chance there came down a certain priest that way, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side! Yes, he passed by, and lent no helping hand—though from his office he must have known it to be his duty. For he was a priest, instructed in the Scriptures, acquainted with those divine books in which God's care and pity is seen extended even to the poor dumb cattle-Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them ; thou shalt surely help him to lift them up -yet here fallen down by the way, and weltering in his blood, is, not a