THE

DISPENSATIONAL EXPOSITIONS

OF THE

Parables and Prophecies of Christ,

BY

J. R. GRAVES, LL. D.,

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE LAW OF BENEVOLENCE.

THE GOOD SAMARITAN.

"..."--Luke x. 30-37.

[...]

"..."--Luke x. 27, 28.

[...]

admission into the visible church.   The ministry is
the host.   The Old and New Testaments are the ‘two
pence,’ which this ‘host’ is to expound and administer
as being the ‘steward of the manifold grace of God.’"

   Such substance is the ingenious but baneful and
trifling interpretation of this parable by these

210   THE PARABLES AND PROPHECIES OF CHRIST.

great minds, which lead us away from the real and
manifest intent of our Lord when He spake this para-
ble, which unquestionably was the elucidation and
enforcement of the second great command, "Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,"
as the universal
law of benevolence.

THE LESSONS OF THIS PARABLE.

   1. That benevolence is not to be circumscribed
by national boundaries.

   The Jews were commanded not to be familiar with
idolatrous nations, lest they should affiliate with them
in their idolatrous practices, and they were enjoined
to maintain a perpetual enmity with Amalek and the
seven idolatrous nations of Canaan, whom God had
"cast out before them," and had devoted to ruin; but
prohibition did not warrant them, as they came to
believe, to hate all mankind, save their own nation,
and confine all their intercourse and regard and love
to their own kindred and people.
   The Jews being in an especial manner the chosen
people of God, they were required to shun and hate the
wicked ways, and uproot the idolatries of the Canaan-
ites, who were ever seeking to seduce them from the
worship of the true God into their abominable wicked-
ness, but they interpreted this that they should hate
their persons also.   While these injunctions were
most explicit and rigorous, yet the laws which God
enjoined upon them with respect to strangers within
their gates, and travelers who might pass through
their land, or who came to sojourn among them, were
of the most lenient, protective character.

THE GOOD SAMARITAN.   211

   "thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know
the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers
in the land of Egypt."
  But that old dispensation of
exclusiveness had now served its purpose.   The mid-
dle wall, or partition, was to be broken down.   Christi-
anity, under the new covenant, was not to be a race
religion--not for one nation or people only, but "for
the whole world."

   It has been truly said:

   "Christianity knows no geographical boundaries,
no treaty limits, no barrier of language, customs or
climes.   It recognizes no distinctions of sex or color,
of estate, of education; ‘it represents us all of one
blood, the offspring of a common father, for to him is
provided one common Redeemer, and before whom
lies a common death, a common judgment, and a
common eternity.’
"

   The parable teaches us:
   2. That our benevolence must not be limited by
our SYMPATHIES.

   That those of our own nation, kindred and faith
have the first claims upon our benevolence, is a matter
of our own consciousness, and is clearly recognized by
Christ:

   "ye shall be witnesses unto me both [first] in Jerusalem,
and in all Judaea, and
[then] in Samaria, and [added to
these] unto the uttermost part of the earth."   "that
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name
among all nations, beginning at
[home] Jerusalem."

   "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men,
especially unto them who are of the household of
faith
."
--Gal. vi. 10.

   This parable teaches us:

212   THE PARABLES AND PROPHECIES OF CHRIST.

   3. That we should not limit our benevolence by
our PERSONAL FRIENDSHIPS.

   Between the Samaritans and the Jews there was the
most implacable hatred.   There was no social inter-
course.   The Jews cursed the Samaritans publicly in
the synagogue--declared that he who received one
into his house was laying up curses for his children;
would no more eat of their food than they would eat
swine's flesh.   All this animosity was fully recipro-
cated by the Samaritan, who sought in every way to
vex and annoy the Jew.   But all this weighed as
nothing in the case before us, nor should it with us in
the administration of our benevolence.   It is enough
for us to know that our fellow-beings are in want, or
perishing for lack of our assistance.   We should, if the
children of light, be actuated by the sublime unselfish-
ness of the gospel.
   Christ, in His sermon on the mount, reinstated, in
clearest light, God's law, perverted by Talmudic tra-
ditions: "Ye have heard that it hath been said [by
them of old time
[the scribes and Pharisees]], Thou
shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.   But
I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and perse-
cute you;"
  This sublime morality is not of earth
earthy; it was never conceived by man, and it can
never be practiced by one born of the earth only.
   It is related of an Indian chief, whom David Brain-
ard had taught to read, and to whom he gave a New
Testament, after reading this passage, and walking the
room for some time in deepest thought, he gave the
Testament back to the missionary, shaking his head,

THE GOOD SAMARITAN.   213

saying, "This book was never made for Indian."   Nor
was it made for a Jew, but for Christians only.
   Christ adds the reason for the exercise of this unself-
ish God-like spirit, "That ye may be [may show your-
selves to be] the children of your Father which is in
heaven: for [H]e maketh [H]is sun to rise on the evil and on
the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the
unjust."

   I repeat, this true spirit of love and Christ-like be-
nevolence can be found only in the hearts of those
"born of God."   It is only as we are imbued with
the spirit and love of Christ that we can love like
Christ.
   What a great argument for missions is furnished by
this parable, not indeed by a real precept, but by clear
induction.
   As the soul is of transcendently more value than the
body, and the eternal of more importance than the
temporal, how much weightier the obligations laid
upon us to administer to the wants of the soul than
of the body.   Shall we imitate the part of the priest
and Levite, and pass by on the other side, and leave
our own countryman to perish by the wayside without
administering to their wants?   Shall we refuse to act
the part of a neighbor to perishing nations that are
going down to death before our eyes, unblessed with
gospel light and uninvited by the offer of salvation?
I see not how we can be a true lover of his race who re-
fuses to aid in the great missionary work of giving the
gospel of man's salvation to the millions of our race in
heathen lands, lying not half dead, but wholly dead,
in trespasses and sins for the want of those means of
grace that we have in our power to give without being

214   THE PARABLES AND PROPHECIES OF CHRIST.

impoverished by the giving.   I can not understand
how one can have the spirit of Christ, and the heart
of Christ, without possessing an active missionary
spirit.
   The heart of Christ was a missionary heart.   The
spirit of Christ was an intensely missionary spirit.
To be a missionary to this lost world He impoverished
Himself.
  "[H]e was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,
that ye through [H]is poverty might be rich."

To be a missionary to us, who lay helpless and dying
under the curse of God's violated law, He sacrificed
Himself
--gave Himself to death--even the death of the
cross--that He might place thrones under our bodies
and crowns upon our brows; and yet we refuse to give,
even to sacrifice, to send living preachers and spirit-
speaking Bibles into all the corners of the earth, thus
obeying the last command of our Redeemer: "Go ye
into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature.
"
  Oh, how should the example and love of
Christ constrain us!
   While I can but condemn the fanciful interpretation
of this parable I have noticed above, yet I am willing
to accept it in one of its aspects as illustrative of the
unspeakable love of the Lord Jesus for us as lost, mis-
erable sinners.
   If we admire the conduct of the Samaritan, infinitely
more must we admire the love of Christ.   He beheld
us robbed of the image of God, wounded by sin, lying
helpless in our fallen humanity; and when we were so
dead in iniquity that we could not help ourselves, when
the Patriarchal dispensation stalked by on the other
side and deigned no help; when the Levitical dispen-
sation came and looked on us through its shadowy cer-

THE GOOD SAMARITAN.   215

emonies, and then, leaving us in our blood, passed by
also on the other side: then Christ came, and, though
we were His enemies, He pitied us, bound up, by the
oil and wine of divine grace, our ghastly wounds; Him-
self bare our infirmities, took the whole charge of our
cure, and healed us--not like the Samaritan, by giving
money from His scrip, but blood from His heart,
riven by the soldier's spear; blood from His head,
drawn out by His acanthine crown; blood from His
hands and feet, started by the spikes of the accursed
tree; and by this precious blood-shedding He obtained
for us relief from our enemies, spiritual health here,
and life eternal beyond the grave.

"Oh, for such love let rocks and hills
   Their lasting silence break!
And all harmonious human tongues
   Our Saviour's praises speak.
Angels, assist our mighty joys--
   Strike all your harps of gold!
But when you reach your highest notes,
   His love can ne'er be told."

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