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The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.
by the Rev. Prebendary Melville Scott, D.D.
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels.
A Devotional Exposition of the Continuous Teaching of the Church Throughout the Year,
S.P.C.K., London, 1902.
WITH the present Sunday we enter upon the second half of the Trinity season. Having learned the great Christian motive of the love which God hath to us, and having considered our responsibilities of duty and God’s sufficient provision of grace, we now pass to the consideration of the great features of the Christian character. We have been taught why and how we may live as Christians, and now we must know what it is to be a Christian. 

The Second Trinity Series is naturally less of a system than the first, embracing, as it does, the various aspects of the Christian life, its aims, its difficulties, its joys, and its final perfection. Still, each Sunday will be found to teach its own special lesson and to take its fitting place. The first three Sundays teach the three great essentials of that which is described in the Collect as “true and laudable service “—namely, love, purity, and singleness of 


     A.   The Service of Abraham. 

This was the primitive and original type of service. Its motive was a covenant of unconditional grace. God conferred upon Abraham and his seed a special relationship to Himself: He was their God and they His people and His children as the children of the faithful Abraham. From this happy relationship proceeded all obligations to service, but of these little mention was made, and duty was left to follow naturally from the inward constraint of love. 

     B.   The Service of Law. 

This type of service succeeded that of Abraham, but it was not of the nature of development, but of retrogression, a retrogression rendered necessary by sin, “for it was added because of trans-gressions.” Special rules of service had become an absolute necessity when the conscience no longer responded to the unwritten laws of duty. But just as it is a felt loss when the unspoken will of a parent is no longer obeyed and the limits of conduct have to be defined by strict rules, so was it here. The law removed God further away. He was no longer a loving friend as He had been to Abraham. The new laws " were ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator,” Moses. All this was a falling away from the sacred fellowship of the past, and from the simple religion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “‘Twas little joy to know that Heaven seemed farther off.” 

     C.   Christian Service. 

Christianity was a reversion to the primitive type of religion. The religion of Abraham was nearer Christianity than the religion of Moses, and S. Paul delights to consider Christians as Abraham’s seed and heirs through Christ of ancient promises. He sweeps away the centuries of law as a transitory condition of things, a comparatively modern departure from primitive custom. He is careful to guard the law from being thought a contradiction. There was nothing wrong about it—it was a stage in growth. It was not an evil, but it was a lower form of good, and yet it is wrong to go back from the higher to the lower. The reign of law has long passed away, but the Christian must remember— 

(1) That the baptismal covenant makes each Christian an Isaac, a child of promise, the possessor of a rich inheritance and the heir of “Heavenly promises” (cf. Collect). 

(2) That this relationship of love must be the motive for true and laudable service—the service of filial devotion—even as Abraham served God, “and it was counted to him for righteous. ness.” 


     A.   A Position of Love. 

This is the blessedness of the Church of Christ and of each Christian, that he sees the love of God. Behind him he sees the Cross, the final revelation of the love of God to the world. He sees, but a few years back, a little procession, the chief figure in it a woman bearing in her arms an infant, and he knows that infant to have been himself, then brought individually to the Cross for pardon. In his very sight he sees a Table, and on that Table God’s best gift of love. Here is the Altar of his acceptance and the Table of his sustenance. Blessed are the eyes that see this sight which brings the Cross into the life of the present and assures of every blessing. In front of him he sees a hope of quiet rest, when service is done, in the Paradise of God. And on a certain morning blessed will be his ears, for they shall hear the voice of the Son of God. Thus blessed are the eyes that see in Jesus the pardon of sins past, the pledge of present grace, and the hope of future glory. 

     B.   The Essentials of Love. 

These are ever the same. They have never changed, for they were as essential in the days of Abraham, of Moses, of the prophets, as in the days of the Son of Man. They are the love of God with all the heart, and the love of man. These two essentials are, in fact, one, for love fulfils the law, and “true and laudable service” is love. 

     C.   The Example of Love. 

The Good Samaritan is our teacher. This is a shrewd hit at all prejudice and all exclusiveness. We may often learn lessons of true service from those whom we most despise. \Vë see in the Samaritan three marks of the true service of love. 

     (1) Love Asks no Questions. 

The lawyer had asked a question. He was afraid of loving too widely. The Samaritan did not ask if the traveller was his neigh. bour. It was well he did not, for he would have only found one of an opposing nation and of a rival sect, one who regarded his blood as mingled and his creed unsound. But he asked no questions, and let forth his compassion freely. 

     (2) Love Listens to no Objections. 

He did not parley with fears for safety, with thoughts of business, of comfort, or of his journey’s end. Had he entertained these thoughts he would have gone on, but love said “Stay,” and he stayed. It is better to make too few objections than too many. Selfishness is very wise in reasons, but we may remember that it was Love which left Heaven, and it is a question whether selfishness will ever reach that journey’s end. The religiously selfish, like the Priest and Levite, are so anxious to save their souls that they will not lose them, and so cannot save them. The way to Heaven does not lie “on the other side.” 

     (3) Love Spares no Pains. 

Having begun a good work, love spares no pains to carry it through at any cost of self.denial. The oil and wine are used, not for refreshment, but as remedies. The beast bears the sufferer while his master walks. Time and money are spent freely in completing the cure, and arrangements made for future provision. 

That Christ was the true Good Samaritan is not the lesson of the parable, though in itself a true lesson, for Christ so lived that His life illustrated His words, and He Who preached love lived love. 


     A.   The Source of It. 

To serve God with true and laudable service is a gift to be sought from God, and from Him alone. The final words of the Epistle are inscribed on every Gospel blessing, “Given to them that believe.” 

     B.   The Desire for it. 

We pray that this gift may be given to us and that we may be enabled to render to God such service as may win His praise for its reverential love, its conscientious accuracy, its entire devotion to our Master’s interests, and its perseverance until death. 

     C.   Its Reward. 

This is surely connected with faithful service, for which waits the final “Well done!”  It is pledged to us by the promises