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thren, whom he followed from Jerusalem toward Jericho, that he might bring them back with him on the way from earth toward heaven. In the course of this journey, he came into this vale of tears, and found miserable man naked and helpless upon the earth; and as he came from heaven in the capacity of a physician to the soul, he was furnished with every thing necessary to counteract the works of the Devil. When he had found the wretched object of his compassion, he went to him, and bound up his wounds, poured in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Each of these particulars is well worthy of a particular consideration; and as you may possibly begin to find yourselves interested in the event of this narrative, I hope you will bestow some attention upon them.
His first act was that of binding up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine*: which passage is worth regarding in its physical acceptation; for wine hath an abstersive sharpness in it, which renders it of sovereign use for the cleansing of wounds; while it is the nature of oil to heal, on which account it is a general ingredient common to all ointments, the use of which is to mollify and heal, when the wound is properly cleared and prepared for them. But the virtue of oil is most remarkable when applied to the bite of a serpent, particularly a viper, for which it is now publicly received as an infallible cure, and the experiment is very common in this age. To our understanding such an effect is almost miraculous; for oil is a liquor, in all appearance indolent, insipid, and incapable of pene
An ointment is now in use with many under the name of the Samaritan Balsam. It is composed of sound old wine boiled to a consistence with an equal quantity of olive oil.-It is of great efficacy for the cure of green wounds.
trating in such a manner as to do any good; yet few substances are more quick in their operation, nor is there a fluid in the world which will pass through the body of steel itself in so short a time.
The application of all this is plain enough.-The wine poured by the Saviour into the wounds of man, is his own precious blood, which as St. John expresses it, cleanseth us from all sin. By the oil is signified the power of the holy Spirit, which healeth all our infirmities; and which in baptism restores what sin and Satan had destroyed.
The misery of sin, and the cure of it, are repre sented under the like terms in other figurative parts of the holy Scripture. Isaiah thus describes the corrupt state of the people of his own time-" from the sole of the foot even to the head" (that is, from the lowest of the people up to the princes and rulers)" there is no soundness, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil." The prophet David, in the person of a natural man, describes his own case in similar expressions-"There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger, neither is there any health in my bones by reason of my sin-my wounds stink and are corrupt, through my foolishness." Then on the other hand, there are promises to the poor and helpless, that the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, neither will he deliver him unto the will of his enemies the Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, and will make all his bed in his sickness for he healeth the broken hearted, and bindeth up their wounds. Psal. cxlvii, 3.
The second act of this Samaritan was to set the wounded man upon his own beast. No sinner hath any natural ability to rise from the earth, and convey
himself to a place of safety: any more than a man lying half dead upon the ground can stand upright. and find help for himself by the strength of his own limbs. With the divine help man is brought to a new state he is removed from the perils and dangers of the world, to find health and refreshment in the. Church of God: for the parable adds-he brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The life of a Christian is that of a pilgrim, or way-faring man, upon his journey from this world of vanity to the heavenly city of God and to preserve a sense of this journey, as well as of their pilgrimage from Egypt, the Israelites were commanded to eat the passover with their loins. girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staffs in their hands; that is, equipped in all respects as travellers. In the road to heaven we find the Church, which, like an inn, receives all that will come to it, and is open indifferently to people of all nations. The question is never put to any stranger, whether he is Jew or Gentile, Greek or Barbarian, bond or free: these distinctions are of no more account in the christian Church than at an inn on the highway: all men being accepted, and their wants supplied in this place of accommodation. The master of it, standing before the door, and seeing the weary traveller pass by, calls out to him with the voice of hospitality and mercy→ Come unto me, all ye that travel and are heavy laden, and I will re, resh you. In this place, the Samaritan is said to have tarried a while with his charge, in order to settle things that were necessary toward his perfect recovery. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, "take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee." By the host we are here to understand the ministers
and rulers of the Church, to whom at his departure Christ committed the care of every returning sinner: and that they may be enabled to supply all their wants, he hath committed to them the Holy Scriptures under the form of the two Testaments, which it is the proper business of the host to expound, enforce, and apply for the support of those who are committed to their charge. The ministers of the church are stewards of the mysteries of God; who are to keep that safe which is committed to their trust, and not to suffer their people to perish for lack of knowledge. Other duties are indeed required of them, such as mercy, charity, the administration of the sacraments, the power of absolution, in the distribution of which they are to act according to the exigence of particular cases-therefore it is added, "whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee." Our Samaritan then, who when he had made provision for the salvation of man, and committed his Church to the care of his ministers, went into a far country, will once more travel upon the same road, and make his appearance in his Church. The heaven must receive him till the time of the restitution of all things; when, according to his promise, he will come again, to enquire how far the trust hath been fulfilled. In the mean time, every faithful minister of Christ hath the comfort to reflect, that he is not only a steward, but a creditor, of the Fountain of mercy and goodness; and be it soon or late, yet the tine will certainly come, when what he hath laid out shall be paid him again.
On a review of the parable thus interpreted, some inferences naturally offer themselves.
1. From the condition and circumstances of the miserable object herein described, it appears that no man hath any thing to boast of, in the great work of
his salvation. This wounded man doth not find the Samaritan, but the Samaritan finds him. How sensible soever he might be of his own misery, he knew nothing of the person who was able and willing to give him relief and had he known it ever so perfectly, he was unable to seek after him.
It is thus with every Christian: he does not find the Gospel, but the Gospel finds him. He doth not indeed so much as know his own misery, till he is told of it: nor hath he sense to seek for any relief till it is offered to him, and in some cases almost forced upon him against his will. Happy therefore and wise also is he, who submits himself with thankfulness to the mercy of God, for the saving of his own soul; even as this poor traveller committed himself to the hands of the Samaritan for the healing of his wounds.
Many there are who lie in the way of mercy, without receiving any benefit. The TRUE SAMARITAN visits them with his institutions, his Scriptures, his sacraments, and would convey them to his Church from all the perils to which they are exposed: but they remain insensible of their misery; either denying that they have any wounds, or endeavouring to bind up and heal them in their own way. There is one sect of Christians in particular, who will have neither oil nor wine from the Saviour of mankind, rejecting both baptism and the supper of the Lord. Others, through sloth and carelessness, will lie bleeding to death, rather than be disturbed with the process of their own deliverance. A man who hath lain abroad in the field, naked and wounded, finds the benefit of an inn, and is sensible of the change: while they who are born and brought up from their childhood under the advantages of the Gospel, sink into stupidity, and become as indifferent to the means of grace, and all the mysteries