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The Good Samaritan.

The Good Samaritan.

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Published by glennpease
BY Alexander Gardiner Mercer

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying,
Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? etc. — Luke x.
25-38.
BY Alexander Gardiner Mercer

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying,
Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? etc. — Luke x.
25-38.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 01, 2014
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THE GOOD SAMARITAN. BY Alexander Gardiner MercerAnd behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? etc. — Luke x. 25-38. CERTAIN lawyer stood up, and tempted him," — put him to the test. Why ? Be-cause the freedom and originality of Christ's words — breaking into sabbatical views, etc. — had made him the great heretic of the day to the orthodox Jew ; so it is quite curious to see the numerous attempts made to test him. This testing was usually from malice, and a wish to destroy his authority, sometimes from curios-ity and fondness for debate, and in the present case possibly from a real desire to learn. *' Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" It seems an inquiry personal and serious. And the Master answered, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" He referred him to Moses; for in the spirit of true progress he assumed as little as possible the position of an original authority, and always based
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the new gospel on a higher interpretation and develop-ment of the old truth. " And the lawyer, answering, said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 224 I^HE GOOD SAMARITAN. all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Now this masterly falling back from Ihe tree to its root, from the whole world of Jewish law, which spread like the branchery of a huge tree, to its two great trunks or roots, and then the naming of these, not fear to God and justice to man, but love, — this magnifi-cent reduction to great principles we often ascribe to Christ; but I think we err in doing so, for it is here found in the mouth of a Jew as a thing commonly un-derstood, and it is clearly found in the books of Leviti-cus and Deuteronomy. Still, though it was known, practically it was not known. It was only grasped at by a few, and not practically realized even by them. But
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from the lips of Christ it took a new reality. As he spoke it, the moral law was not only brought to its deepest roots and made complete, but it was also made the law of the heart. Yet no ; not quite complete. One great point was still left undetermined. Love to God, love to my neighbor, the substance of the law was. Yes; but who is my neighbor? In the old time under Moses it was, not man, but a brother-Hebrew. Nay, narrower than that, it was confined to Hebrews not unclean, not slaves, etc. Even when ages had gone by, and when prophets seemed to catch wider glimpses, broad lightning-flashes of duty, illuminating a broader neighborhood, a wider landscape of humanity, it was, like the lightning, only for a moment, and then the THE GOOD SAMARITAN. 225 broad vision seemed to contract itself again into as nar-row a neighborhood as at the first, so that at the time of Christ the wall of partition still rose around them like a citadel thronged with fiery shapes of hate, of prejudice, of war, against the whole earth.
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