صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
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THE parables of our Saviour have been justly regarded in every age of the Church as one of her richest treasures. They contain the choicest instruction, in a shape that will neither overburden nor elude the memory. But though their brevity is one of their many beauties, it is doubted whether it may not be occasionally of service to present them to our minds in an expanded form, so that each clause that lies compressed in our memories may suggest, when it is desired, a profitable subject for consideration. Accordingly, it is hoped that the following enlargement on the well-known parable of the good Samaritan may not be without its in



It appears, then, from our Lord's parable, that "a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho;" from Jerusalem, the London of that country, to Jericho, a town of less, though considerable importance. He had, therefore, to pass through a rocky and deserted way, which was then, and continues to be still, greatly infested with thieves. English traveller, who was on the spot a few years since, tells us, "That the whole of this road from Jerusalem is held to be the most dangerous about Palestine: and in some portions of it the very aspect of the scenery is sufficient, on the one hand, to tempt to robbery and murder, and, on the other, to occasion a dread of it." For himself and his party, they did not travel it without the precaution of hiring an escort from a tribe just by; and, though he was sufficiently protected, yet he tells us, "The bold projecting


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crags of rock, the dark shadow in which every thing lay buried below, the towering heights of the cliffs above, and the forbidding desolation which reigned around, presented a picture that was quite in harmony throughout all its parts."


Well; it was through this terrific scenery that our traveller had to make his way. The consequence was no unlikely one- "he fell among thieves, which wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead."

Jericho was very extensively occupied by priests; and a man of that sacred order was the first who came that way after the outrage. From a person of his profession it was reasonable to expect an exemplary generosity. "A priest's lips should keep knowledge," therefore the Priest should have known what is right: but of what use is knowledge if it is not put into practice? But then, again, the Jewish Priest was but a man, and, without the special grace of God, would not be a good man, any more than another Jew would be an "Israelite indeed," without the help of God. The same remark applies to Christian ministers, who (in a limited degree) are successors to the offices and privileges of the Jewish priesthood. Therefore, expect much from them, if you please; but if you expect much, pray much: if the reader is not much in prayer for Christ's ministers, IE, at all events, has no right to expect much from them. This is a point which cannot be pressed too forcibly. If you have not sincerely and earnestly prayed for Divine strength in the behalf of your ministers, then you have left undone your part towards their efficiency and piety; and until this part is performed, you have no right to complain if


they fail, either" by their life or doctrine, to set forth God's true and lively word."

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The tenour of these observations might prepare us for what happened. The Priest when he saw him, passed by on the other side." The sufferer lifts his wounded arm, and strains to raise his voice but the Priest has turned away his face; he is looking straight before him, and has spurred his steed, and will presently be out of sight. Perhaps (kind soul!) he could not bear to hear the poor man's groans. Perhaps he is blaming the imprudence of the traveller for venturing at an unsafe time of day. Perhaps the amiable feelings of nature are so blunted by habitual selfishness, and those of grace so fearfully wanting, that it costs him but little struggle to hear without heeding the cry of misery; and that piteous voice has only served to quicken his own pace along the dangerous road. However that be, "he has passed by on the other side," and will see that form no more till the resurrection-day.

Who came next to the spot? A Levite; a man of the same tribe, though not admitted to the higher privileges of the priesthood. Levite as he was, he must have heard that "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, and shall not be heard." How comes it then that he is satisfied with crossing the road, and shaking the head with apparent pity, and then "passes by on the other side?" But, let the writer and the reader rather take heed to their own ways, than dwell with too much self-complacency on the Levite's conduct. For the Levite has his counterpart among the followers of Christ. Many who possess the Gospel in addition to the Law; many who know that the law of kindness is the law of Jesus; many who are frequently telling us what they would do if they had this estate or that opportunity, or were placed in given circumstances, and who prescribe for others the line of duty; many such men are found, amid all their verbal pity, in the situation in which God has placed them, to do nothing. Theirs is the pity which the Levite had; "he came and looked, but passed by on the other side." But "let us not love in word," nor yet in look, "neither in name, but in deed and in truth." A kind look, a sympathising word, is excellent, when it is our best; but wishes, and words, and looks, will not heal, or warm, or clothe, or relieve; we are exhorted " do good unto all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith."


sometimes softened hearts which we deem ob durate. The Samaritan had compassion on the poor sufferer," and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him." Afterwards, not satisfied with the plea which his own engagement afforded, he stayed with him a whole night; and, upon taking his leave, placed some money in the hands of his host, with a promise, that if more was spent on the poor man, when he came again, he would repay it. The sum was "twopence;" but it is clear, from the parable of the labourers, that the penny then in use was of much more value than our own, being the ordinary wages for a day's labour; so that the deposit seems to have been one removed alike from meanness and extravagance. Here was kindness worthy of a Christian; therefore Jesus says to each of us, "Go, and do thou likewise."

The writer of these few remarks congratu lates himself and his reader, that they are not living in days of cold indifference to the claims of the needy and the distressed. He is also decidedly of opinion that the parables may be explained with too great attention to minutiæ and detail; yet, in the present instance, he feels that a striking parallel might be drawn between the good Samaritan and the Christian almoner, generally to the advantage of the latter; and that such a parallel might be useful towards "stirring up pure minds by way of remembrance," and applying a healthy stimulus to the exertions. of Christian benevolence.

Did the Samaritan," when he saw" distress, "have compassion?" CHRISTIAN CHARITY has compassion before she sees. He might, indeed, have turned away to avoid the sight; but she turns aside in order to behold, and threads the lane and the alley in search of misery. Did the Samaritan go to the sufferer! with a more aggressive benevolence, she searches out and goes to the unalluring residence of distress-of distress, it may be, brought on by guilt; she goes to its home, and, if possible, to its very heart. Did he "bind up the wounds, and pour in oil and wine?" she also delights to apply the best remedy to each form of distress; and, like him, to bestow, as far as circumstances allow, personal and individual attention. The kindness our Lord recommends was shewn by a Samaritan to a Jew, and right welcome was it from even a Samaritan's hand. With CHRISTIAN CHARITY, want and sorrow is a sufficient claim; no difference of creed, or of any other

From the next traveller little could be expected, when the Priest and the Levite had afforded no sufficient relief. He was a Sa-kind, can make an inordinate difference in her maritan, and "the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans." But the grace of God has

conduct. Did the Samaritan exercise self-denial? we know he did; he set the sufferer "on

his own beast," and walked by his side, and delayed his own journey: whilst listless liberality gives her alms, and loses sight of the pensioner, CHRISTIAN CHARITY, besides a hand to give, has a mind to remember, and a heart to feel; and that mind and heart call self-denial and perseverance into exercise. "Salvation was of the Jews," and of heavenly consolation the Samaritan could give but little but her attention to the temporal necessities of her neighbours is employed chiefly as an avenue to the heart; she affectionately uses her influence to dissuade from vice, to cultivate virtue, and to point to the cross of Christ as the cure of Satan's wounds. She does more; she prevents evil, she takes the young by the hand, and trains them for heaven. Thus CHRISTIAN CHARITY knows how to imitate all that was "neighbourly" in the good Samaritan, and she surpasses it.

Let the reader of this paper (and the writer also) "go, and do likewise;" and in making the attempt, or persevering in it, let him bear in mind a few cautions, which, though sufficiently obvious, may be worth repeating.

Let him guard against setting an undue value on his good deeds: it is too possible that kindness, though it began with a simple and humble feeling of gratitude and duty, may afterwards contract a feeling of selfrighteousness; this, by God's help, must be wrestled down. Remember that discrimination gives its efficacy to charity; that profusion and promiscuous giving, instead of promoting comfort, will often, by promoting idleness, do just the contrary; that to find work and wages is often better than to give gifts. Beware lest occasional ingratitude or occasional deception steel your heart against the necessitous. Try to unite prayer and humility with effort, and to rejoice in good done, as well as in doing good. Co-operate with others, yet avoid ostentation; be properly diffident of your own plans and deIf you have much time at your dissigns. posal, lend it for "labours of love to your parochial minister; you may strengthen his hands, and he may so direct your efforts as to give them double effect. Remember that the holiest poor man may be spoiled, and the worst should not be abandoned. Consider that certain measures of a public nature, formed for the eventual good of the poor, and with much acknowledged wisdom, may in some instances, and for the present, press hard; therefore, let your liberality be awake, and, during the winter that is coming, be the friend in need. Remember that to relieve distress is good; to form in persons the habit of relieving themselves is better; to implant PRINCIPLE, the best and most enduring good of all: and, oh! "be not weary in this well

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AMONG all the boys of our Sunday-school, none have given me so much trouble as Absalom Plush and two

of farmer Yawn's sons. They are almost always behind their time; at school they are very inattentive, and at church their conduct has been repeatedly so disgraceful, that it even attracted the attention of one of the churchwardens, who gave them a severe reprimand, and threatened to send for a constable; since which, they have conducted themselves rather more decently. Perhaps my readers may be inclined to ask, why I suffer them to remain in the school, their behaviour having been so bad. My answer must be, that as they are but little boys (for Absalom is the eldest, and he is not more than eleven, if so much,) I still hope they may improve; and if I were to put them out of the school, I fear I should lose all chance of gaining any influence over them. However, I have made up my mind, that if they behave in this sort of way again, they shall go.

There is, too, another consideration which has rather disposed me to be sorry for these boys in the midst of my displeasure, namely, that if they had been

well instructed, and a good example had been set

them at home, they would, perhaps, have behaved differently at school and in church. For young Plush does not want for sense, though he is so unruly; and dispositions, but so determinedly indolent and unas to the little Yawns, they are not naturally of bad willing to make any exertion for their own improvement, that it is a great trial of one's patience to endeavour to teach them. I am, however, sorry to say, the examples they have before them at home are not such as to encourage them to turn to good account the instruction they may receive at church or at the school. This I was fully aware of from the first, and, accordingly, as it is my usual custom when the children behave ill at school to take the first opportunity hope of throwing in a word which may be for their of mentioning it to the parents and friends, with the good too, I determined that I would do so in these


An occasion soon offered itself of speaking to farmer Yawn, whose house is very near to mine. But before I state what passed between us, I should say that I had, that same morning, talked the matter over with my friend Richard Nelson, in whose class Absalom was, as well as the elder of the two Yawns.

"Sir," replied Richard, in answer to my question respecting the conduct of these boys, "as to Lawrence Yawn, I cannot say that he applies much to his book, or, as I think, ever means to do so. Indeed, I have

From "Richard Nelson."


heard that he should say he likes to be at the bottom
of the class, because then he has a chance of leaning
against the wall, or of resting on the corner of my
chair. But Absalom Plush is much more untractable,
and inclined to be impudent too. To give you an in-
stance, sir, what happened only last Sunday.
came in very late, as he frequently does, and when I
spoke to him about it, he only laughed, and said he
could not come sooner, and under breath, as I thought,
he should not; and he seemed to me occasionally to be
humming to himself some kind of song."

"A song!" said I, "what, in the school? that is something new, indeed."


"However," proceeded Nelson, "according to your advice to us in such cases, I took no notice at the time but in the evening, as he happened to come along the path by our garden, I said to him,' Absalom, I do wish you would pay a little more attention at school; I really fancied to-day you were singing something of a song.' 'Well,' said he, 'suppose I waswhat then? 'twas only a bit of a tune that a man was singing in at father's one night last week; and father said, that, altering the words a little, it would just suit us boys of the Sunday-school. There is no harm (he continued) in the words; I will tell you what they were.' But they seemed to me, sir, to be part of a very mischievous ballad, signifying that instead of churches and prayer-books, people had better sit in public-houses and study newspapers; that church-going is time-wasting, and so forth. So it is plain that the boy is encouraged at home in his bad ways. And, as you ask me the question, sir, I fear it is not much better with the two Yawns; for I dare say you must have observed that there are six or seven people, who always come late into church, rain or shine, morning or evening, and amongst them Master Yawn comes in as regularly as possible just about the end of the first lesson."

more; and I don't altogether wonder that the boys are tired. But they shall come for the future, and stay too, tired or not tired; for I should be very sorry we should do any thing to offend you, sir."

"You have told me so now three times, Mr. Yawn," I answered, "so of course I ought to believe it. But, at all events, I hope I shall not offend you, if I take this opportunity to ask you, why you and Edward Gape, and two or three others, make a rule of treating our Church-service in such a careless, and, I must say, scornful way?"

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Me treat the Church with scorn!" he replied; why, sir, what can you be thinking of? Why I scarcely ever miss a Sunday. "Twould be a good thing for you clergymen if every body else was as regular."

"Yes," I said, "you are very regular in your irregularity. But, Mr. Yawn, let me ask you this one question: Do you come to church to do any good to Almighty God, or to me, or to yourself? Is it any profit to the Almighty that you serve him, if such an imperfect attendance as yours can be called service! or to me is it any profit or advantage in the way of worldly interest? You know full well, my friend, that yours is the danger, yours will be the loss, if you persist in thus dishonouring the holy, jealous God."

To this his only reply was, that he had been used to do it for a good way in forty years, and it was not to be expected he should alter now; and with this observation he walked slowly away with the bucket over his arm.

But thinking, I suppose, that he had not been quite civil to me, he turned round, with the intention, as I hoped, of making some sort of promise of amendment; but my hope was groundless; for he came back and said, in rather a low voice, "I hope, sir, nothing I have said will prevent you taking your butter of us as usual; and as to the boys, I promise you they shall be well punished every Sunday morn longing; and then, sir, if they do behave ill, you know it will not be my fault, or my wife's."

"Yes," I said, "I have observed it, and have wished for an opportunity of inquiring into the cause of such a practice."

After some other observations, we parted; and it happened, as I before observed, that, on the same day, my neighbour Yawn came to our house to borrow a milking bucket, which I very readily lent him, though not with my servant's good will, as such articles seldom returned from the farmer's in exactly as good a condition as they went.

Seeing him, then, go out of the yard with the bucket in his hand, I met him at the garden-gate, and said to him at once, "I do wish, Mr. Yawn, you would speak to Lawrence and the little boy; for by their irregularity and extreme idleness, they vex me very much, and do harm to the other boys in the school.'

"Sir," he replied, making a low bow, "I am very sorry indeed to come troubling again so soon for a bucket, but our people are so careless-"


"O never mind about the bucket," I said; "only please let it be thoroughly cleaned but I want you to tell me what will be the best way of treating that idle fellow, Lawrence, and his little brother."

"Sir," he answered, "I am very sorry indeed they should have done any thing to offend you; but you may depend on it they shall always for the future come to school in good time, and mind what is said to them; otherwise, their mother or I will give them the stick as sure as every Sunday morning comes round."

"Mr. Yawn," I replied, "I should be very sorry to have Sunday made the day for such unpleasing performances in your house or in any other. I do not at all wish any boys to come to the school against their will, especially if their friends only send them to please me."

"O sir," he said, "I am sure it is not at all against our will-though, certainly, 'tis a longish while for the children to stay, from nine to half-past twelve, or

I made no answer; but as I walked back to the house, I was led sadly to reflect on the tendency of a worldly and selfish spirit to deaden not merely all serious sense of religion, but even the natural affection of a parent for his children.

Some few evenings afterwards, as I was returning homewards from a distant part of the parish, Nelson overtook me, when I told him of the conversation I had with my neighbour Yawn, adding that I had little hope his boys would ever come to any good, especially as their father seemed determined to keep to his bad habit, merely because it was his habit, without giving any sort of reason or excuse for it.


'O sir,” replied Nelson, "he fancies he has a very fair reason, only he did not like to mention it to you. He thinks, or at least pretends to think, (for I do not imagine he puts his mind much to any thing,) that the Church-service altogether is too long and tedious. And he and some others have of late been much encouraged in this their notion by a travelling man, (whether he comes from Hull or Preston I am not sure,) who quarters at Plush's occasionally, sometimes for a fortnight at a time, and is so kind as to offer to enlighten us, in this dark corner of the world."

"I have heard of him," I said: "it seems then he dabbles in religion as well as in politics."

"Yes, sir," replied Richard, "that he certainly does: for I had the whole account of him from a man who was working with me the week before last: you know him, sir, I dare say, William Burnet."

"O yes, I know him," I said, " very well; any thing like the prospect of a change in religion or politics William dearly loves, without troubling himself much to inquire whether or not it is likely to be a change for the better in either case. But what did the wise man from Hull say about the Church-service?" "Sir," he replied, "I will tell you, as near as I can

remember, what passed between us on this subject, though I do not promise to be able to repeat his exact words; and certainly nothing I said is worthy to be called an answer to arguments."

"Make no apologies," I said; "but proceed."


Well then, sir, said Nelson, thus it was :-) was constantly commending this friend of his, who was then lodging at Plush's, and wishing me to come along, if it were but one evening, that I might judge for myself how beautiful he could talk and expound on any subject a person might choose to mention, politics, trade, agriculture, learning, religion, and what not.

But I said to him, "No, Will, I have something else to do of an evening than to sit in a beer-shop listening to your friend Tiptop (for that is the man's name). But I dare say you can give me some account of his wise sayings: what was he upon last night?"

"Last night, (said Will, after some little consideration,) last night he was lecturing about the Church Prayer-book; a subject that he has often spoken very well upon in my hearing, but never better than he did yesterday evening."

"What was his argument?" I asked.

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Judge by this," said Will, taking a printed paper out of his pocket; "it is one of Mr. Tiptop's perspectuses, as he calls them." (I have this paper with me, said Nelson to me, and with your leave, sir, I will read some of the heads.) "The Church-service lengthy, tedious, and prolix-in this respect lamentably prejudicious to the spread of vital religion-vast numbers of highly talented individuals unable to devote their time and attention to these procrastinated forms-consequently compelled to neglect religion altogether-surprising effects, if the service was abbreviated at least one-half-the churches immediately sure to be filled with crowds of devout worshippers-this with facility accomplished by merely shortening the lessons three-fifths, omitting all superstitions forms, such as the absolution, creeds, &c." At this, Will said, all the company expressed their approbation very vehemently, some even clapping their hands: and so Mr. Tiptop finished with saying, that in his opinion, about a couple of pleasing hymns, a dozen verses out of the Testament, three or four prayers, and a sermon in quantity and quality according to the taste of the audience; this would be enough for him in all conscience, and he supposed for others


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To be sure I do," he answered, " and so do many other people, who understand these things better than I or you do. Indeed, Mr. Tiptop told us that some gentlemen had actually taken the matter up, and that it would be brought before the parliament very speedily, and such alterations would be made as should suit the spirit of the age; above all, that the service must be shortened, otherwise the Church would be entirely deserted, and the Establishment upset."

"God forbid," I said, "that the Church should be governed by the spirit of the times. I trust she is governed by a very different Spirit. I trust she may be willing to be (as you threaten) utterly deserted, rather than herself desert the station allotted to her by the chief Shepherd. And as to the Establishment being in danger, it may be perhaps true; yet I am nothing more dangerous can befall it, than for our governors to hearken to the counsels of such orators as Tiptop."


"But, Dick," said he to me, "what is the use of a church, my friend, if people are tired of it, and won't

go to it?"

To this I answered, "You might as well ask, what is the use of our Saviour's precepts, if people are tired of them, and won't obey them? You will not, I

suppose, say, that the holy rules of the Gospel ought to be publicly set aside, merely because they are so generally neglected?"

"No," he replied, "of course I do not mean that." "Well then," said I, "neither should you affirm that it is the duty of the Church to withdraw or alter her rules, merely because people are weary of complying with them."

66 That may be true," he answered; "but you must remember that the Church herself did not mean that the service should be so long. What we have all at once, was formerly divided into two or three parts, as I have understood. Why should it not be so again?"

"What you say is, I believe, no more than the truth," I replied: "I have been lately reading a little book upon the subject, and from that I understood that there were first the early morning prayers-then, perhaps after two or three hours, the litany-and then again, after a short interval, the communion service, including a sermon of considerable length (an hour possibly), and afterwards the administration of the sacrament. But this last service alone would be much

beyond Mr. Tiptop's limit of forty minutes; and in this way, the spirit of the age' would be more opposed even than it is now. If the bishops and clergy thought well, I do not deny that it would in many respects be edifying, if this ancient custom in all its parts could be revived; but yet I will tell you plainly, that I do not think it would have the effect you seem to imagine, of bringing more people to church; for, to my knowledge, it was tried by a clergyman in a parish near Sheffield, and, to his great surprise, many of his parishioners stayed in consequence quite away from the church. Some said, they should not think of going to hear half a service; others, who had a mile or two to come to church, said they were scarcely allowed to rest themselves, but that as soon as they got in, it was time to go back. So the clergyman thought it best to return to the old, or rather, I should say, the modern custom again, of uniting the services. And for myself, I must say, that I have often been glad that the lessons are of considerable length, for two reasons especially."

"What are they?" he asked.

"The one is," I replied, "that in very short readings, it is not so easy to discover the general meaning and argument; and the other, that if I have from any cause been inattentive in one part, I have not been so throughout. So also with respect to the Lord's Prayer; I have often and often been glad to have had a second and a third opportunity of joining in it with increased attention. Therefore, Will, I, for one, shall never give my vote to have the service shortened in either of these ways; and as to Mr. Tiptop's fine perspectus, or what he calls it, I don't think it worth a rush."

To this Burnet answered, "that it was plainly of no use to reason with me, as he saw I was determined to keep to the old ways."

"That I am," said I; "and think I have pretty good authority for it,-authority somewhat more to be depended on than Mr. Tiptop's opinion."

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But," continued Will," I do still persist in affirming, that great numbers of people are weary of the length of the service, and that it would be but com

mon kindness to see what can be done to relieve their

grievance. And since nothing can be more easy than just to omit a few prayers and other old-fashioned forms, and shorten the lessons, it would be a shame not to try it; and when it is done, every body will be pleased, and the Church establishment will be greatly strengthened."

"But really now, Will," I continued, "will you be kind enough to tell me, what are people hindered from by the length of the service? how comes it men's time is so much more precious now than it was formerly? and if the service were made shorter, how

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