Sermon 1360. The Good Samaritan
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JUNE 17, 1877,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, whiat shiall I do to inhierit eternal life? He saidunto Aim, Whiat is written in he Law? How Do you read it? And hie, answering, said, You shiall love the Lord your God withall your hieart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourselfAnd He said unto hiim, You have answered right; do this, and you shiall live. But hie, willing to justify himself said untoJesus, And who is my neighbor? And Jesus, answering, said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell amongthieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leavinghim half dead. And by chance there camedown a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was atthe place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where hewas; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, andsethim on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took outtwo pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatever you spend more, when I come again,I will repay you. Which now of these three, do you think, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said,he that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do you likewise." Luke 10:25-37.
[On behalf of the Hospitals of London.]
OUR text is the whole story of the Samaritan, but as that is very long, let us, for our memories' sake, consider the exhortationin the 37th verse to be our text. "Go, and do you likewise." There are certain persons in the world who will not allow thepreacher to speak upon anything but those doctrinal statements concerning the way of salvation which are known as "the Gospel."If the preacher shall insist upon some virtue or practical Grace, they straightway say that he is not preaching the Gospel,that he has become legal and is a mere moral teacher. We do not stand in any awe of such criticism, for we clearly perceivethat our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, would very frequently have come under it.
Read the Sermon on the Mount and judge whether certain people would be content to hear the likes of it preached to them onthe Sabbath. They would condemn it as containing very little Gospel and too much about good works. Our Lord was a great practicalPreacher. He frequently delivered addresses in which He made answer to questioners, or gave direction to seekers, or upbraidedoffenders-and He gave a prominence to practical truth such as some of His ministers dare not imitate! Jesus tells us overand over again the manner in which we are to live towards our fellow men and He lays great stress upon the love which shouldshine throughout the Christian character.
The story of the good Samaritan, which is now before us, is a case in point, for our Lord is explaining, there, a point whicharose out of the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The question is legal and the answer is to the point.But let it never be forgotten that what the Law demands of us, the Gospel produces in us. The Law tells us what we ought tobe and it is one objective of the Gospel to raise us to that condition. Therefore our Savior's teaching, though it is eminentlypractical, is always evangelical. Even in expounding the Law He has always a Gospel design. Two ends are
served by His setting up a high standard of duty. On the one He slays the self-righteousness which claims to have kept theLaw by making men feel the impossibility of salvation by their own works.
And, on the other hand, He calls Believers away from all content with the mere decencies of life and the routine of outwardreligion and stimulates them to seek after the highest degree of holiness-indeed, after that excellence of character whichonly His Grace can give! This morning I trust that though I keep very much to practical points, I shall be guided by the Spiritof Holiness and shall not be guilty of legality, nor will any of you be led into it. I shall not hold up the love of our neighboras a condition of salvation, but as a fruit of it. I shall not speak of obedience to the Law as the road to Heaven, but Ishall show you the pathway which is to be followed by the faith which works by love. Let us proceed to the parable at once.
I. Our first observation will be that THE WORLD IS FULL OF AFFLICTION. This story is but one among a thousand based upon anunhappy occurrence. "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves." He went upon a short journeyand almost lost his life on the road. We are never secure from trouble-it meets us around the family hearth and causes usto suffer in our own persons or in those of the dearest relatives. It walks into our shops and counting-houses and tries us-andwhen we leave home it becomes our fellow traveler and communes with us on the road.
"Although affliction comes not forth of the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble,as the sparks fly upward." Frequently the greater afflictions are not occasioned by the fault of the sufferer. Nobody couldblame the poor Jew, that when he was going down to Jericho about his business, the thieves beset him and demanded his money,and that when he made some little resistance they wounded him, stripped him and left him half dead. How could he be blamed?It was to him a pure misfortune. Believe me, there is a great deal of sorrow in the world which does not arise out of thevice or folly of the persons enduring it-it comes from the hand of God upon the sufferer, not because he is a sinner aboveothers-but for wise ends unknown to us.
Now, this is the kind of distress which, above all others, demands Christian sympathy and the very kind which abounds in ourhospitals. The man is not to blame for lying there beaten and bruised-those gaping wounds from which his life is oozing arenot of his own inflicting, nor received in a drunken brawl or through attempting a foolhardy feat. He suffers from no faultof his own and, therefore, he has a pressing claim upon the benevolence of his fellow men. Still, very much distress is causedby the wickedness of others. The poor Jew on the road to Jericho was the victim of the thieves who wounded him and left himhalf dead. Man is man's worst enemy!
If man were but tamed to peace, the wildest beast in the world would be subdued. And if evil were purged from men's hearts,the major part of the ills of life would cease at once! The drunk's wastefulness and brutality, the proud man's scorn, theoppressor's cruelty, the slanderer's lie, the trickster's cheat, the heartless man's grinding of the faces of the poor-these,all put together, are the roots of almost all the poisonous weeds which multiply upon the face of the earth to our shame andsorrow. If dominant sins could be taken away, as blessed be God they shall when Christ has triumphed through the world, muchof human sorrow would be relieved.
When we see innocent persons suffering as the result of the sin of others, our pity should be awakened. How many there areof little children starving and pining into chronic disease through a father's drunkenness which keeps the table bare! Wives,too, who work hard, are brought down to pining sickness and painful disease by the laziness and cruelty of those who shouldhave cherished them. Laborers, too, are often sorely oppressed in their wages and have to work themselves to death's doorto earn a pittance. Those are the people who ought to have our sympathy when accident or disease bring them to the hospitalgates, "wounded and half dead."
The man in the parable was quite helpless. He could do nothing for himself. There he must lie and die-those huge wounds mustbleed his very soul away unless a generous hand shall interfere. It is as much as he can do to groan. He cannot even dresshis wounds, much less arise and seek shelter! He is bleeding to death among the pitiless rocks on the descent to Jericho andhe must leave his body to be fed upon by hawks and crows unless some friend shall come to his help. When a man can help himselfand does not, he deserves to suffer. When a man flings away opportunities by his idleness or self-indulgence, a measure ofsuffering ought to be permitted to him as a cure for his vices.
But when persons are sick or injured and are unable to pay for the aid of the nurse and the physician, then is the time whentrue-hearted philanthropy should promptly step in and do its best. So our Savior teaches us here. Certain paths of
life are peculiarly subject to affliction. The way which led from Jerusalem to Jericho was always infested by robbers. Jerometells us that it was called the "bloody way" on account of the frequent highway robberies and murders which were committedthere. And it is not so long ago as to be beyond the memory of man that an English traveler met his death on that road, whileeven very recent travelers tell us that they have been either threatened or actually attacked in that particularly gloomyregion-the desert which goes down to the city of palm trees.
So, also, in the world around us there are paths of life which are highly dangerous and fearfully haunted by disease and accident.Years ago there were many trades in which, from lack of precaution, death slew its thousands. I thank God that sanitary andprecautionary laws are better regarded and men's lives are thought to be somewhat more precious. Yet there are still waysof life which may each be called "the bloody way"-pursuits which are necessary to the community, but highly dangerous to thosewho follow them. Our mines, our railways and our seas show a terrible roll of suffering and death. Long hours in ill-ventilatedworkrooms are accountable for thousands of lives and so are stinted wages, which prevent a sufficiency of food from beingprocured. Many a needlewoman's way of life is truly a path of blood!
When I think of the multitudes of our working people in this city who have to live in close, unhealthy rooms, crowded togetherin lanes and courts where the air is stagnant, I do not hesitate to say that much of the road which has to be trod by thepoor of London is as much deserving of the name of the way of blood as the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. If they do notlose their money it is because they never have it! If they do not fall among thieves, they fall among diseases which practicallywound them and leave them half dead.
Now, if you have not to engage in such avocations. If your pathway does not lead you from Jerusalem to Jericho, but takesyou, perhaps, full often from Jerusalem to Bethany where you can enjoy the sweetnesses of domestic love and the delights ofChristian fellowship, you ought to be very thankful and be all the more ready to assist those who, for your sakes, or forthe benefit of society at large, have to follow the more dangerous roads of life. Do you not agree with me that such personsought to be among the first to receive our Christian kindness? Such abound in our hospitals and elsewhere. Let that stand.It is clear that there is a great deal of affliction in the world and much of it is of the sort which deserves to be relievedat once!
II. Secondly, THERE ARE MANY WHO NEVER RELIEVE AFFLICTION. Our Savior tells us of two, at least, who "passed by on the otherside" and I suppose He might have prolonged the parable so as to have mentioned two dozen if He had chosen to do so-and eventhen He might have been content to mention but one good Samaritan, for I hardly think that there is one good Samaritan totwo heartless persons. I wish there were, but I fear the good Samaritans are very few in proportion to the number who actthe part of the priest and the Levite.
Now, notice who the persons were that refused to render aid to the man in distress. First, they were brought to the spot byGod's Providence on purpose to do so. What better thing could the Lord, Himself, do for the poor half-dead man than to bringsome man to help him? An angel could not well have met the case. How could an angel, never wounded, understand binding upwounds and pouring in wine and oil? No, a man was needed who would know what was necessary! Someone was needed who would,with brotherly sympathy, cheer the mind while doctoring the body. In our English version we read, "By chance there came downa certain priest that way," but learned Greek scholars read it, "By a coincidence."
It was in the order of Divine Providence that a priest should come first to this afflicted person, so that he might go andexamine the case as a man of education and skill. And then when the Levite came afterwards, he would be able to carry on whatthe priest started-and if one could not carry the poor man-the two might, between them, be able to carry him to the inn, orone might remain to guard him while the other ran for help. God brought them to this position, but they willfully refusedthe sacred duty which Providence and humanity demanded of them! Now, you that are wealthy are sent into our city on purposethat you may have compassion upon the sick, the wounded, the poor and the needy. God's intent in endowing any person withmore substance than he needs is that he may have the pleasurable office, or rather let me say, the delightful privilege, ofrelieving need and woe!
Alas, how many there are who consider that store which God has put into their hands on purpose for the poor and needy to beonly so much provision for their excessive luxury-a luxury which pampers them but yields them neither benefit nor pleasure!Others dream that wealth is given them that they may keep it under lock and key, cankering and corroding, breeding covetousnessand care. Who dares roll a stone over the well's mouth when thirst is raging all
around? Who dares keep the bread from the women and the children who are ready to gnaw their own arms for hunger? Above all,who dares allow the sufferer to writhe in agony uncared for, and the sick to pine into their graves unnursed?
This is no small sin! It is a crime to be answered to the Judge when He shall come to judge the quick and dead! Those peoplewho neglected the poor man were brought there on purpose to relieve him, even as you are, and yet they passed by on the otherside. They were both of them people, too, who ought to have relieved him, because they were very familiar with things whichshould have softened their hearts. If I understand the passage, the priest was coming down from Jerusalem. I have often wonderedwhich way he was going-whether he was going up to the Temple and was in a hurry to be in time for fear of keeping the congregationwaiting-or whether he had fulfilled his duty and had finished his month's course at the temple and was going home.
I conclude that he was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, because it says, "By chance there came down a certain priest thatway." Now to the metropolis it is always, "going up"-going up to London, or up to Jerusalem-and as this priest was comingdown, he was going to Jericho. It was quite literally going down, for Jericho lies very low. I conclude that he was goinghome to Jericho, after having fulfilled his month's engagements in the Temple where he had been familiar with the worshipof the Most High. He had been, in that month, as near to God as man could be, serving amidst sacrifices and holy Psalms andsolemn prayers! And yet he had not learned how to make a sacrifice, himself! He had heard those prophetic words which say,"I will have mercy, and not sacrifice," but he was entirely forgetful of such teaching! He had often read that Law, "You shalllove your neighbor as yourself," but he regarded it not.
The Levite had not been quite so closely engaged in the sanctuary as the priest, but he had taken his share in holy work andyet he came away from it with a hard heart. This is a sad fact. Both men had been near to God, but were not like He. Dearpeople, you may spend Sabbath after Sabbath in the worship of God, or what you think to be so, and you may behold Christ Jesusset forth visibly crucified among you-and themes which ought to turn a heart of stone to flesh may pass before your mindsand, nevertheless, you may return into the world to be as miserly as ever-and to have as little feeling towards your fellowmen as before! It ought not to be so. I beseech you suffer it not to be so in any case again.
These two persons, moreover, were bound by their profession to have helped this man, for though it was originally said ofthe high priest, yet I think it could be said of any priest, that he was taken from among men that he might have compassion.If anywhere there should be compassion towards men, it should be in the heart of the priest who is chosen to speak for Godto men and for men to God. No stone should ever be found in his bosom. He should be gentle, generous-hearted kindly, fullof sympathy and tenderness. But this priest was not so, nor was the Levite who ought to have followed in his wake.
And oh, you Christian ministers and all of you who teach in schools, or who undertake any service of Christian ministry-andyou ought all to do so for the Lord has made all His people to be priests unto Him-there ought to be in you from your veryprofession, a readiness of heart towards kind actions for those who need them! And there is one thing to be mentioned, also,against this priest and Levite-they were very well aware of the man's condition. They came close to him and saw his state.It is a narrow track way down to Jericho and they were obliged to go almost over his wounded body. The first comer lookedat him, but he hurried on. The second appears to have made a further investigation, to have had sufficient curiosity, at anyrate, to begin to examine the state of the case. But his curiosity being satisfied, his compassion was not awakened and hehurried away.
Half the neglect of the sick poor arises from not knowing that there are such cases, but many remain willfully in ignoranceand such ignorance is no available excuse! In the case of the hospitals for which we plead today, you know that there arepersons in them at this moment suffering-persons suffering grievously for no fault of their own-and you know that these needyour aid. As I rode, the other evening, by that noble building on our side of the water, St. Thomas' Hospital, I could nothelp meditating upon what a mass of pain and suffering was gathered within those walls. But then I thanked God that it waswithin those walls where succor would be most surely rendered to it to the best of human ability. So you know that there ispoverty and sickness around you. And if you pass by on the other side you will have looked at it, you will have known aboutit-and on your heads will be the criminality of having left the wounded man unhelped!
Yet the pair had capital excuses! Both the priest and the Levite had excellent reasons for neglecting the bleeding man. Inever knew a man refuse to help the poor who failed to give at least one admirable excuse! I believe there is no man on earth,who wickedly rejects the plea of need, who is not furnished with arguments that he is right. They are arguments eminentlysatisfactory to himself and such as he thinks should silence those who press the case. For instance, the priest and Levitewere both in a hurry. The priest had been away for a month at Jerusalem from his wife and dear children-he naturally wantedto get home. If he lingered, the sun might go down-it was an awkward place to be after sundown and you could not expect himto be so imprudent as to stay in such a with darkness coming on.
Had he not spent a very laborious month in the temple? You do not know how exhausting he had found it to act as a priest fora whole month! And if you did, you would not blame him for wanting to get home to enjoy a little rest! Besides, he had promisedto be home at a certain hour and he was a man of punctuality-he would, by no means, cause anxiety to his wife and childrenwho would be looking from the housetop for him. A very excellent excuse was this! But he also felt that he really could notdo much good. He did not understand surgery and could not bind up a wound to save his life! He shrank from it-the very sightof blood turned his stomach! He could not bring himself to go near a person who was so frightfully mangled.
If he did try to bind up a wound, he is sure he would make a muddle of it. If his wife had been with him, she could have doneit, or if he had brought some plaster, liniment, or strapping, he would have tried his best-but as it was, he could do nothing.The poor man, moreover, was evidently half dead and would be quite dead in an hour or two and, therefore, it was a pity towaste time on a hopeless case. Then the priest was only one person and could not be expected to carry a bleeding man-and yetit would be idle to begin with the case and leave him there all night. True, He could almost hear the sound of the Levite'sfeet-indeed, he hoped he was coming up behind, for he felt very nervous at being alone with such a case. But then that wasall the more reason for leaving the matter, since the Levite would be sure to attend to it.
Better still was the following line of excuse-you would not have a person stop in a place where another man had been halfkilled by thieves! The thieves might be back again-they were scarcely out of hearing, even then-and a priest, after a month'sservice, ought to have some fees in his purse! And it was important not to run the risk of losing the support of his familyby stopping in a place which was evidently swarming with highwaymen. He might be wounded, too, and then there would be twopeople half dead and one of them a valuable clergyman! Really, philanthropy would suggest that you take care of yourself,as you could not possibly do any good to this poor man.
And then the man might die and the person found near the body might be charged with the murder. It is always awkward to befound alone in a dark spot with the corpse of one who has evidently suffered from foul play. The priest might be taken upupon suspicion-did not all the principles of prudence suggest that the very best thing that he could do was to get out ofthe way as quickly as possible? Moreover, he could pray for the man, you know, and he was glad to find that he had a tractwith him which he would leave near him-and what with the tract and the prayer, what more could a good man be expected to do?
With this pious reflection he hastened on his way. It is just possible, also, that he did not wish to be defiled. A priestwas too holy a person to meddle with wounds and bruises. Who would propose such a thing? He had come from Jerusalem in allthe odor of sanctity! He felt himself to be as holy as he could conveniently be and, therefore, he would not expose such rareexcellence to worldly influences by touching a sinner. All these powerful reasons put together made him content to avoid troubleand leave the doing of kindness to others.
Now, this morning, I shall leave you to make all the excuses you like about not helping the poor and aiding the hospitals.And when you have made them, they will be as good as those which I have set before you. You have smiled over what the priestmight have said, but if you make any excuses for yourselves whenever real need comes before you and you are able to relieveit, you need not smile over your excuses-the devil will do that-you had better cry over them, for there is the gravest reasonfor lamenting that your heart is hard toward your fellow creatures when they are sick and, perhaps, even sick unto death.
III. In the third place THE SAMARITAN IS A MODEL FOR THOSE WHO HELP THE AFFLICTED. He is a
model, first, if we notice who the person was that he helped. The parable does not say so, but it implies that the woundedman was a Jew, and, therefore, the Samaritan was not of the same faith and order. The Apostle says, "As we have
opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." This man was not of thehousehold of faith, as far as the Samaritan's judgment went, but he was one of the "all men." The Jew and he were as muchapart in religious sympathy as they well could be.
Yes, but he was a man-whether he was a Jew or not, he was a man-a wounded, bleeding, dying man. And the Samaritan was anotherman and so one man felt for another man and came to his aid. Do not ask whether a sick man believes in the 39 Articles, orthe Westminster Assembly's Catechism. Let us hope that he is sound in the faith, but if he is not, his bleeding needs stoppingjust as much as if he held a perfect creed. You need not enquire whether he is a sound Calvinist, for an Arminian smarts whenhe is wounded, too! A Churchman feels as much pain as a Dissenter when his leg is broken and an infidel needs nursing whenhe is crushed in an accident. It is as bad for a man to die with a heterodox creed as with the orthodox faith. Indeed, insome respects it is far worse and, therefore, we should be doubly anxious for his cure.
We are to relieve real distress irrespective of creed, as the Samaritan did. Moreover, the Jews were great haters of the Samaritansand, no doubt, this Samaritan might have thought, "If I were in that man's case, he would not help me. He would pass me byand say, 'It is a Samaritan dog, let him be accursed.'" The Jews were accustomed to curse the Samaritans, but it did not occurto the good man to remember what the Jew would have said. He saw him bleeding and he bound up his wounds. Our Savior has notgiven us, for a golden rule, "Do you to others as others would do to you," but "as you would they should do to you." The Samaritanwent by that rule and though he knew of the enmity in the Jewish mind, he felt that he must heap coals of fire upon the woundedman by loving help-therefore he went straight away to his relief.
Perhaps at another time the Jew would have put off the Samaritan and refused even to be touched by him, but the tender-heartedsympathizer does not think of that. The poor man is too sick to hold any crotchets or prejudices and when the Samaritan bendsover him and pours in the oil and wine, he wins a grateful glance from the son of Abraham. That poor wounded man was one whocould not repay him. He had been stripped of all that he had, even his garments were taken from him. But charity does notlook for payment, otherwise it were not charity! The man was a total stranger, too. The Samaritan had never seen him before.What did that matter? He was a man and all men are kin. "God has made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the face ofthe earth."
The Samaritan felt that touch of Nature which makes all men kin and he bent over the stranger and relieved his pains. He mighthave said, "Why should I help? He has been rejected by his own people-the priest and the Levite have left him-his first claimis upon his own countrymen." So have I known some say, "These persons have no claim! They ought to go to their own people."Well, suppose they have gone and failed? Now comes your turn! And what the Jew would not do for the Jew, let the Samaritando and he shall be blessed in the deed. He had been neglected by the officials and neglected by the saints-the best, or thosewho ought to be the best, the priest and the Levite-had deserted him and left him to die. The Samaritan is neither saint norofficial, but yet he steps in to do the deed! Oh, Christian Brothers and Sisters, take care that you are not put to shameby this Samaritan!
He is a model to us, next, in the spirit in which he did his work. He did it without asking questions. The man was in need.He was sure of that and he helped him at once. He did so without hesitation and made no compact nor agreement with him, butat once proceeding to pour in the oil and wine. He did it without attempting to shift the labor from himself to others. Charity,nowadays, means that A asks B to help him and B, in his wonderful charity, does him the great favor of sending him on to C.That is to say, the common run of benevolent persons, nowadays, put their hands but seldom into their own purses, but sendpeople on to a few individuals who find cash for all. It seems to me to be a very mean way of getting rid of a case by savingyour own pocket and passing the applicant on to another who is no better off than yourself, but far more generous.
The Samaritan was personally benevolent and therein he is a mirror and model to us all. He did it without any selfish fear.The thieves might have been upon him, but he cared nothing for thieves when a life was in danger. Here is a man in need andthe man must be relieved-thieves or no thieves-and so he does it. He does it with self-denial, for he finds oil and wine andmoney at the inn-and everything, though he was by no means a rich man, for he gave two pence-a larger sum than it looks, butstill a small sum. He did not fling his alms about because he was rich. He is not said to have
given a handful of pence, but two, for he had to count his pence as he expended them. It was a poor Samaritan who did thisrich and noble act!
The poorest can help the poor-even those who feel distress, themselves, may manifest a generous Christian spirit and givetheir services. Let them do so as they have opportunity. This man helped his poor neighbor with great tenderness and care.He was like a mother to him. Everything was done with loving thought and with whatever skill he possessed. He did the besthe could. Brothers and Sisters, let what we do for others always be done in the noblest style! Let us not treat the poor likedogs to whom we fling a bone, nor visit the sick like superior beings who feel that they are stooping down to inferiors whenthey enter their rooms. But in the sweet tenderness of real love, learned at Jesus' feet, let us imitate this good Samaritan!
And what did he do? Well, first, he came to where the sufferer was and put himself into his position. Then he put forth allhis skill for him and bound up his wounds, no doubt tearing his own garments to get the bands with which to bind up the wounds.He poured in oil and wine, the best healing mixture that he knew of, and one which he happened to have with him. He then setthe sick man on his mule and, of course, he had to walk, but this he did right cheerfully, supporting his poor patient asthe mule proceeded. He took him to an inn, but he did not leave him there and say, "Someone else will take care of him now."No, he went to the manager of the establishment, gave him money and said, "Take care of him."
I admire that little sentence, because it is first written, "He took care of him," and next he said, "Take care of him." Whatyou do, yourself, you may exhort other people to do. He said, "I leave this poor man with you, pray do not neglect him. Thereare a great many people in the inn, but take care of him." "Is he a brother of yours?" "No, I never saw him before." "Well,are you at all under obligation to him?" "No!-Yes, yes, I feel under obligation to everybody that is a man. If he needs help,I am obliged to help him." "Is that all?" "Yes, but do take care of him. I feel a great interest in him." The Samaritan didnot cease till he had gone through with his kindness. He said, "This money may not be sufficient, for it may be a long timebefore he is able to move. That leg may not soon heal. That broken rib may need long rest. Do not hurry him away. Let himstay here and if he incurs additional expense, I will be sure to pay it when I come back from Jerusalem."
There is nothing like the charity which endures even to the end! I wish I had time to enlarge on all these things, but I cannotdo so. Exhibit them in your lives and you will best know what they mean. Go and do likewise, each one of you, and thus reproducethe good Samaritan.
IV. But now, fourthly, WE HAVE A HIGHER MODEL than even the Samaritan-our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not think that our DivineLord intended to teach anything about Himself in this parable, except so far as He is the great Exemplar of all goodness.He was answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?" and He was not preaching about Himself at all. There has been a greatdeal of straining of this parable to bring the Lord Jesus and everything about Him into it, but this I dare not imitate. Yetby analogy we may illustrate our Lord's goodness by it.
This is a picture of a generous-hearted man who cares for the needy. But the most generous-hearted man that ever lived wasthe Man of Nazareth and none ever cared for sick and suffering souls as He has done. Therefore, if we praise the good Samaritan,we should much more extol the blessed Savior whom His enemies called a Samaritan and who never denied the charge, for whatcared He if all the prejudice and scorn of men should vent itself on Him? Now, Brothers and Sisters, our Lord Jesus Christhas done better than the good Samaritan because our case was worse. As I have already said, the wounded man could not blamehimself for his sad estate-it was his misfortune, not his fault.
But you and I are not only half dead, but altogether dead in trespasses and sins! And we have brought many of our ills uponourselves. The thieves that have stripped us are our own iniquities! The wounds which we bear have been inflicted by our ownsuicidal hands! We are not in opposition to Jesus Christ as the poor Jew was to the Samaritan from the mere force of prejudice,but we have been opposed to the blessed Redeemer by nature-we have, from the first, turned away from Him. Alas, we have resistedand rejected Him! The poor man did not ignore his Samaritan friend, but we have done so to our Lord.
How many times have we refused Almighty Love! How often, by unbelief, have we pulled open the wounds which Christ has boundup! We have rejected the oil and wine which in the Gospel He presents to us. We have spoken evil of Him to His face and havelived, even for years, in utter rejection of Him! And yet in His infinite love He has not given us
up, but He has brought some of us into His Church where we rest as in an inn, feeding on what His bounty has provided! Itwas wondrous love which moved the Savior's heart when He found us in all our misery and bent over us to lift us out of itthough He knew that we were His enemies!
The Samaritan was akin to the Jew because he was a man, but our Lord Jesus was not originally akin to us by nature. He isGod, infinitely above us, and if He were "found in fashion as a man" it was because He chose to be so. If He journeyed thisway, via Bethlehem's manger, down to the place of our sin and misery, it was because His infinite compassion brought Him here.The Samaritan came to the wounded one because, in the course of business, he was led there and, being there, he helped theman. But Jesus came to earth on no business but that of saving us and He was found in our flesh that He might have sympathywith us. In the very existence of the Man, Christ Jesus, you see manifested the noblest form of pity!
And being here, where we had fallen among robbers, He did not merely run risks of being attacked by thieves Himself, but Hewas attacked by them-He was wounded, He was stripped-and He was not half dead, but altogether dead, for He was laid in thegrave! He was slain for our sakes, for it was not possible for Him to deliver us from the mischief which the thieves of sinhad worked upon us except by suffering that mischief in His own Person-and He suffered it that He might deliver us. What theSamaritan gave to the poor man was generous, but it is not comparable to what the Lord Jesus has given to us! He gave himwine and oil, but Jesus has given His heart's blood to heal our wounds! "He loved us and gave Himself for us."
The Samaritan lent himself with all his care and thoughtfulness, but Christ gave Himself even to the death for us. The Samaritangave two pence, a large amount out of his slender store-and I do not depreciate the gift-but, "He that was rich for our sakesbecame poor that we, through His poverty might be rich." Oh, the marvelous gifts which Christ has bestowed upon us! Who ishe that can reckon them! Heaven is among those blessings, but His own self is the chief gift! The Samaritan's compassion didbut show itself for a short time. If he had to walk by the side of his mule it would not be for many miles. But Christ walkedby the side of us, dismounted from His Glory, all through His life! The Samaritan did not stop long at the inn, for he hadhis business to attend to and he very rightly went about it.
But our Lord remained with us for a lifetime, even till He rose to Heaven-yes, He is with us even now-always blessing thesons of men. When the Samaritan went away, he said, "Whatever you spend more I will repay you." Jesus has gone up to Heavenand He has left behind Him blessed promises of something to be done when He shall come again. He never forgets us! The goodSamaritan, I dare say, thought very little of the Jew in later years. Indeed, it is the mark of a generous spirit not to thinkmuch of what it has done. He went back to Samaria and minded his business and never told anybody, "I helped a poor Jew onthe road." Not he.
But of necessity our Lord Jesus acts differently, for because we have a constant need, He continues to care for us and Hisdeed of love is being done, and done, and done again upon multitudes of cases-and will always be repeated so long as thereare men to be saved, a Hell from which to escape and a Heaven to win! I have thus set before you the highest example and Ishall conclude when I have said two things. Judge yourselves, all of you, my Hearers, if you are hoping for salvation by yourown works.
Look to what you must be throughout an entire life if your works are to save you. You must love God with all your heart andsoul and strength, and your neighbor, in this Samaritan's fashion, even as yourself. And both of these without a single failure!Have you done this? Can you hope to do it perfectly? If not, why do you risk your souls in this frail skiff-this leaky, sinkingcraft of your poor works-for you will never get to Heaven in it. Lastly, you who are Christ's people are saved, already, andyou are not going to do these things in order to save yourselves. The greater Samaritan has saved you-Jesus has redeemed you,brought you into His Church, put you under the care of His ministers, bid us take care of you-and promised to reward us ifwe do so in the day when He comes.
Seek, then, to be true followers of your Lord by practical deeds of kindness and if you have been backward in your gifts tohelp either the temporal or the spiritual needs of men, begin, from this morning, with generous hearts, and God will blessyou. O Divine Spirit, help us all to be like Jesus! Amen.