25 Mt 22:35; Mr 12:28.
27 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God - That is, thou shalt unite all
the faculties of thy soul to render him the most intelligent and sincere,
the most affectionate and resolute service. We may safely rest in this
general sense of these important words, if we are not able to fix the particular
meaning of every single word. If we desire to do this, perhaps the heart,
which is a general expression, may be explained by the three following,
With all thy soul, with the warmest affection, with all thy strength, the
most vigorous efforts of thy will, and with all thy mind or understanding,
in the most wise and reasonable manner thou canst; thy understanding guiding
thy will and affections. De 6:5; Lev 19:18.
28 Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live - Here is
no irony, but a deep and weighty truth. He, and he alone, shall live for
ever, who thus loves God and his neighbour in the present life.
29 To justify himself - That is, to show he had done this. Lev 18:5.
30 From Jerusalem to Jericho - The road from Jerusalem to Jericho (about
eighteen miles from it) lay through desert and rocky places: so many robberies
and murders were committed therein, that it was called the bloody way.
Jericho was situated in the valley: hence the phrase of going down to it.
About twelve thousand priests and Levites dwelt there, who all attended
the service of the temple.
31 The common translation is, by chance - Which is full of gross improprieties.
For if we speak strictly, there is no such thing in the universe as either
chance or fortune. A certain priest came down that way, and passed by on
the other side - And both he and the Levite no doubt could find an excuse
for passing over on the other side, and might perhaps gravely thank God
for their own deliverance, while they left their brother bleeding to death.
Is it not an emblem of many living characters, perhaps of some who bear
the sacred office? O house of Levi and of Aaron, is not the day coming,
when the virtues of heathens and Samaritans will rise up in judgment against
33 But a certain Samaritan came where he was - It was admirably well
judged to represent the distress on the side of the Jew, and the mercy
on that of the Samaritan. For the case being thus proposed, self interest
would make the very scribe sensible, how amiable such a conduct was, and
would lay him open to our Lord's inference. Had it been put the other way,
prejudice might more easily have interposed, before the heart could have
34 Pouring in oil and wine - Which when well beaten together are one
of the best balsams that can be applied to a fresh wound.
36 Which of these was the neighbour to him that fell among the robbers
- Which acted the part of a neighbour?
37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him - He could not for shame
say otherwise, though he thereby condemned himself and overthrew his own
false notion of the neighbour to whom our love is due. Go and do thou in
like manner - Let us go and do likewise, regarding every man as our neighbour
who needs our assistance. Let us renounce that bigotry and party zeal which
would contract our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race,
but a small number whose sentiments and practices are so much our own,
that our love to them is but self love reflected. With an honest openness
of mind let us always remember that kindred between man and man, and cultivate
that happy instinct whereby, in the original constitution of our nature,
God has strongly bound us to each other.