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wickedness of its inhabitants, as this world is now subjected to a curse for the disobedience of man. Jericho was formally devoted to ruin and destruction; and the man who should attempt to rebuild it, was to lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son to set up the gates of it: which sentence was at length fulfilled upon Hiel, a presumptuous projector in the degenerate times of Ahab. The world itself is under a like sentence; being kept in store against the day of judgment. The walls of Jericho fell down flat, and the city was burned with fire, and all that was in it was destroyed, on the seventh day, after the sounding of the trumpets and the shouting of the people. The world in like manner, according to the sense of antiquity, and some obscure intimations of the Scripture, is expected to endure six thousand years, and to perish in the seventh, which answers to the sabbath; when the last trumpet shall sound, and the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.The Lord himself seems here in the language of the Apostle to be opposed to Joshua or Jesus his representative, and the circumstances attending the destruction of the world are selected and worded in such a manner, as to shew a plain allusion to the fall of Jericho *.
But we are now to follow our traveller, and to observe what happens to him upon his journey.
Ever since the introduction of evil, the constitution of this world hath been changed, and the Devil (together with the host of darkness) hath been permitted to establish his own empire in it; whence the devil is expressly called the prince of this world. Hence it. Cometh to pass, that no man can depart from paradise
Compare 1 Thess. iv. 16, and v. 3, with Joshua, chap. 6.
into the world, without falling into the hands of evil spirits, or, as the parable expresses it, without falling among thieves. For these are the thieves to whom our Lord seems to refer, where he commands us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. The moth which devours the garment of the body, is death*: the rust whereby the soul is darkened and defiled, is sin: and the malignant powers of hell are the thieves which steal away our treasure who, according to the character given of them in another parable, endeavour to steal the word of God out of the heart as soon as it is laid up there.
If we examine the marks of violence which they left on the man who went down to Jericho, it will soon be discovered that they are the thieves intended by this parable. Devils, like men, may be known by their acts; as a lion may be distinguished from other beasts by the print of his foot. For in the first place, these thieves stripped the traveller of his raiment. Adam, when he had sinned, found himself naked.-Then they wounded him; sin was the weapon, and mortality was the effect of it; for it was said, “in the day thou eatest thou shalt surely die." While Christ was upon earth, it was his custom to signify his power in curing the distempers of the soul, and renewing it again to purity and holiness, by restoring all the diseased faculties of the body. So the Destroyer, whose actions are opposite to those of the Saviour, made it his practice to commit such acts of violence upon the body as corresponded exactly with his destructive attempts upon the
Isaiah li. 8, fear ye not men, for the moth shall eat them up like a garment.
spirit. For, according to the pattern of this original stripping and wounding in the parable, the poor demoniac in the country of the Gadarenes, who was possessed by a legion of these thieves, ware no clothes ; he wandered amongst the mountains and the tombs night and day, crying, and cutting himself with stones. We read also, that when the evil spirit had prevailed over the seven sons of Sceva, they fled out of that house NAKED and wounded. All of which presents us with a wonderful uniformity in the operations of the Devil, who delights himself with every thing that looks like a repetition of that mischief and cruelty which he first committed in the fall of Adam.
When the thieves had stripped the man and wounded him, they departed: their malice had effected all its purposes; righteousness was stolen from him, and the sting of death was left in him. But here the case is very particular; they left him half dead. Sin was not the immediate death of Adam, in a bodily sense; but he died in spirit on the very day in which he sinned, and so his better half was dead: in consequence of which, the death of the body would necessarily follow. The man who is mortally wounded, may languish for a considerable time; but he has the earnest of death in him, and its effect must at length be completed.
Such is the present state of every son of Adam; from which neither the prince, nor the warrior, nor the philosopher, is exempt. The first may glory in his honours, the second in his conquests, and the last in his contemplations: but whatever they may think of themselves, these thieves have prevailed against them all; they are stripped, wounded, and half dead, in the sight of God, and also in the sight of those who are taught by divine revelation to distinguish between appearances and realities.
The case now before us being difficult, and almost desperate, let us enquire what help is to be met with?
The parable proceeds to inform us, that by chance there came down a certain Priest that way, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
By the Priest and Levite, we are to understand the Mosaic law, which was administered by these two or ders of men, the sons of Aaron, and the tribe of Levi; or perhaps we shall not err, if we take these figurative persons for the patriarchal and legal dispensations; the former, as well as the latter, having been distinguished by priesthood and sacrificature, ever since the commencement of our present condition. These persons came to the place, and looked upon the wounded man, as might be expected; because the law, whether written or traditional, was not made for a righteous man, but for the ungodly and for sinners, and would of course point out to them the fallen condition of human nature, They both looked upon him, but could afford him no relief: his wound was sin; and the blood of bulls and of goats, which they administered, cannot take away sin. So far then was the law from furnishing any effectual remedy to be applied by the Priest and Levite, that it could only shew the wounds to be mortal, and by their endeavours to be incurable. The Priest and the Levite therefore must leave him as they found him; they cannot make apy atonement to God for him, but must pass by on the other side, and let that alone for ever.
But what the law could not do, was at length effected by Him who cometh after the Levite, who is himself the end of the law for righteousness to all them that be
lieve. For a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to the place where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. The unbelieving Jews, who were fond of representing Jesus Christ as a person false to the interests of his own people, and as one who upon that account should be deemed an alien and an outcast, appealed to him once in these insolent terms-Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan? There was then a particular aversion in the Jews toward the Samaritans; therefore they meant this for a name of the utmost contempt and reproach. Nevertheless, under all this reproach, we take that person to us as a Saviour, who was to them as a Samaritan; and in this we follow the example of our MASTER himself, who hath thought fit to exhibit a Samaritan to us, under the character of a Saviour. In the person of this Samaritan then, we see the second Adain looking with compassion upon the first: the great High Priest of the human species, touched with the feeling of their infirmities, and administering relief to his enemies. A Samaritan, saving a Jew in distress, affords us an example of disinterested and ineffable mercy, and as such doth aptly illustrate the condescension and love of that Saviour, who offered himself for those that reviled him as an alien, and who deemed malicious Jews and profane heathens the objects of his compassion as if he had said-" You have in this Samaritan the pattern of a true neighbour, who, generously overlooking all the foolish animosities arising from pride and personal considerations, chuses his worst enemy as a fit object of his mercy; attending first and chiefly to the distress that presented itself, without standing to consider the description of the sufferer." The journey he took was that of the incarnation, which called upon him to take the same course with his bre