Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 167, 1898

The Good Samaritan


December 16, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1116.

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see; for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things that ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” [Luke 10:21-24.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 1

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life.” [Verse 25.] The Pharisees had suggested this question to the lawyer, in the hope that they might entrap Christ in His words, and the lawyer repeated the question as though it were one of serious import to him. Priests and rulers listened with bated breath for Christ’s answer. Christ read the heart of the lawyer, and He turned the question over to him for answer. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 2

“What is written in the law?” He asked. “How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.” Said Christ, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” [Verses 26-28.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 3

Christ knew that no one present could do this in his own strength. He desired to lead the lawyer to clearer and more critical research, that he might find the truth. Only by accepting the virtue and grace of Christ can the law be kept. Belief in the propitiation for sin enables fallen man to love God with his whole heart and his neighbor as himself. The lawyer knew that he had kept neither the first four commandments, nor the last six. Especially had he failed to love his neighbor as himself. But in the hope of justifying himself, he asked, “And who is my neighbor?” [Verse 29.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 4

Christ then, in the form of a parable, narrated an incident that had lately taken place, which was fresh in the minds of all. “A certain man,” He said, “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way.” [Verses 30, 31.] He saw the man lying wounded and bruised, weltering in his own blood, but he left him without rendering any assistance. He passed by on the other side. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 5

“Likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him.” He saw his great need, but he too “passed by on the other side.” [Verse 32.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 6

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 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. And on the morrow when he departed, he took 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.” [Verses 33-35.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 7

The lawyer had asked, “Who is my neighbor?” [Verse 29.] In answer Christ presented a circumstance which had really taken place, of which His hearers knew. The Pharisees would say nothing good of the Samaritans, but poured their bitterest curses upon them. But in this case a Samaritan had showed himself to be far more righteous than those by whom he was denounced. He had fulfilled the command, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 8

The man who had been robbed was a Jew, one who in every sense should have awakened the sympathy and regard of those of his own nation. The priest and the Levite, professedly acknowledging the law of God as their guide, should have been the first to minister with tender compassion to their suffering brother. But they “passed by on the other side.” [Verses 31, 32.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 9

In giving this lesson Christ showed great tact and far-seeing judgment. He presented the principles of the law of God in a direct, forcible way, showing His hearers that they had neglected to carry out these principles. His words were so definite and pointed that the listeners found no chance to cavil or raise objections. The lawyer found nothing in the lesson that he could criticize. His prejudice in regard to Christ was removed. But he had not overcome his dislike sufficiently to give credit to the Samaritan by name. When Christ asked, “Which then of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves?” He answered, “He that showed mercy on him.” “Then said Jesus unto him, Go thou and do likewise.” [Verses 36, 37.] Show the same tender kindness to those in need. Thus you will give evidence that you keep the whole law. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 10

Those who study this lesson aright will see that in order to keep the law, it is necessary to have a knowledge of God, for the law is a transcript of His character. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 11

Moses prayed, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” And God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” [Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 12

It is not those who profess to have the greatest lovingkindness who love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. Christ lived the law, and in His life He has left us an example. He denied Himself for the good of others. He laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown to assume the garb of humanity. He stooped from the position of the highest commanded in the heavenly courts to become a servant. He clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 13

Jesus was the foundation of all the Jewish economy, the Author of all the laws, statutes, and requirements. How His soul was pained and His heart filled with grief as He saw those who claimed to be the repositories of the truth, mercy, and compassion so destitute of the love of God. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 14

In the providence of God, the priest and Levite were brought in contact with the man who had been so unfortunate, that they might minister to him. Christ is constantly weaving the great web of human events. He placed this suffering man where one who had sympathy and compassion would give attention to his needs. The Saviour is guiding. He has hold upon man and upon the throne of Divinity. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, yet He humbled Himself. His whole life was one of poverty and self-denial. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He did not live to please Himself. His life is the mystery of godliness. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 15

If we follow Christ, we shall imitate His life of service. “Come unto me,” He says, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] We need far more disinterested benevolence. Often we shall be called upon to sacrifice to help those who are in need of help, and we should do this cheerfully, gladly, for the privilege of following the Master. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 16

The precious Word of God obeyed is the beauty of holiness. That Word, whether in the New Testament or in the Old, cannot be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. It maintains its high and holy standard, “This do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:28.] All human beings need the law of God as the standard. And this standard is plainly revealed in God’s Word. This Word is the expression of the will of God, revealing to man his defects of character and the hopelessness of his condition unless he returns to his loyalty. But through faith in Christ all excellency may be reached. The Word enforces the law by presenting the character in contrast with the character of man. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 17

Christ comes to us in visitations of mercy and truth, holding before us the mirror of God’s law and revealing its claims. “Walk with me,” He says, “and I will fill thy path with light.” Christ humbled Himself that He might encircle the race with His long human arm, while with His divine arm He lays hold upon the throne of God. He came to show how man should treat his fellow man. He came to uplift the suffering and comfort the oppressed. To Moses He proclaimed Himself, “The Lord, the Lord [God], merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] But God cannot let sin go unpunished. He could not welcome any sinner into the courts of heaven. This would introduce woe and misery there. He will by no means clear the guilty. He visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 18

Sin perpetuates itself. How cruel it is for those who claim to have a knowledge of the truth to show that they are not doers of the Word. They indulge in evil thinking, criticism, and accusing, and in this way they misrepresent Christ’s character. They are false witnesses, just as were the Jews. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 19

The Lord would have everyone holy, even as He is holy. Those who love Him will be merciful, true, kind, and forgiving. Christ is seeking to lift all who will be lifted to companionship with Himself, that they may be one with Him as He is one with the Father. If you are not thus, you are in companionship with the devil. God is waiting to impart to us His richest blessings, that we may reveal Christ’s spirit by helping those who are suffering for the necessities of life. The Lord permits suffering and calamity to come upon men and women to call us out of our selfishness, to awaken is us the attributes of His character—compassion, tenderness, and love. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 20

In cases where there is bitterness of feeling because of the difference in religious belief, much may be done by personal service. As we reveal the attributes of true goodness by loving ministry, we break down prejudice and win souls to Christ. By doing good to those who are at enmity with us, we manifest the virtues of Christ. We are to regard every human being, of whatever cast or nationality, whether he be white or black, high or low, rich or poor, as our neighbor. The arm of compassion must reach to any depth to save perishing souls. Thus we give evidence to the world that we have the mind of Christ. Without this evidence we show that we know Him not. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 21

The great difference between the Jews and the Samaritans was a difference of religious faith, a question as to what constituted worship. But whatever difference of religion, a call from suffering humanity must be heard and recognized. There are men professing to serve God who act the part of the priests and Levites. All around them they see suffering and need, but with heartless indifference they pass by on the other side. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 22

The Jewish ceremonial is gone. Its temple is in ruins. Jerusalem was given up to be destroyed. Yet the law of the Ten Commandments lives and will live through the eternal ages. The need for the service of sacrifices and offerings ceased when type met antitype in the death of Christ. In Him the shadow reached the substance. The Lamb of God was the complete and perfect offering. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 23

The law of God will maintain its exalted character as long as the throne of Jehovah endures. This law is the expression of God’s character. Christ came to live this law, and He declared, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” [John 15:10.] Types and shadows, offerings and sacrifices, had no virtue after Christ’s death on the cross; but God’s law was not crucified with Christ. Had it been, Satan would have gained all that he attempted to gain in heaven. For this attempt he was expelled from the heavenly courts. He fell, taking with him the angels he had deceived. And today he is deceiving human beings in regard to the law of God. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 24

This parable of the good Samaritan was placed on record as an example for future generations. So strong was the antipathy of the Jews to the Samaritans that it seemed a strange thing for the Samaritan woman that Christ should ask her for a drink. “How is it,” she said, “that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which as a woman of Samaria?” “For,” adds the evangelist, “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” [John 4:9.] And when the Jews were so filled with murderous hatred against Christ that they rose up in the temple to stone him, they could find no better words to express their hatred than by saying, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” [John 8:48.] Yet they neglected the very work the Lord had enjoined on them, leaving a hated Samaritan to minister to one of their countrymen who had been robbed and wounded. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 25

Many bitter sneers had been hurled at the Samaritan. The one whose example Christ brought before His hearers took his revenge by acting as Jesus would have acted. Risking his own life, he treated the wounded man as his brother. This Samaritan represented Christ. Christians who are Christians in truth and not in name only, who are meek and lowly followers of the Master, will act as did the good Samaritan. Christ has made all one. In Him there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. The Bible declares that all human beings are to be respected as God’s property. Divine love makes its most touching appeal to our hearts when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. In all our affliction He was afflicted. He created man, and died to save man. He loves human beings as the purchase of His own blood, and He says to us, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 26

Our churches need a reconversion. The Holy Spirit of God must come into our hearts. We must give ourselves to its molding, or we shall loose our title to the immortal inheritance. The Lord will not tolerate the actions displayed by many. There are hard, stony, unsympathetic hearts that must be softened and subdued by grace. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 27

Time is a precious gift. The probation granted us by God is to be appreciated as an opportunity to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The Laodicean message applies to all who profess to keep the law of God, and yet are not doers of it. We are not to be selfish in anything. Every phase of the Christian life is to be a representation of the life of Christ. If it is not we shall hear the terrible words, “I know you not.” [Luke 13:27.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 28

I pray that the vision of the soul may be sanctified, that the sin of accusing and criticizing one another may be seen as the sin which crucifies afresh the Son of God, and puts Him to an open shame. The Holy Spirit must work in our heart. Let no false pride, no pharisaism, be cherished. Rather let us seek for the spirit of a little child. If we knew, if we only knew, how the Lord regards those who indulge so freely in evil surmising, we would fear to manifest such a spirit. These surmisings are a repast from the enemy, a banquet of his own preparing. Those who give place to them have an experience in accordance with them, for our minds are composed of the food we give them. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 29

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” [Psalm 15:1-4.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 30

The Lord can do very little for us while we live in transgression, breaking the first four, and the last six commandments. All who love God supremely will love their neighbor as themselves. The keeping of the new commandment is to the believer a step heavenward. The one thing that will give God’s people the supremacy is obedience to Christ’s word, “These things I command you that you love one another.” [John 15:17.] “Neither pray I for these alone,” He said, “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:20-23.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 31

Christ’s words should be appreciated, and they will be when His professed followers have that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. “As the Father hath loved me,” He declared, “So have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. ... These things I command you, that ye love one another.” [John 15:9-14, 17.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 32

The greatest cause of weakness among those who are looking for the Lord’s second coming is the lack of love and confidence. This causes suspicion. There is such a lack of frankness that they way is hedged up with supposition. Someone discovers some supposed defects in a brother or a sister, and he acts on this supposition as though it were true. Criticism and faultfinding and a desire for the highest place are the greatest faults that can enter the church. The serpent, disguised, enters with them, leaving a train of evil wherever he goes. The leaven works, and the men God hath appointed to do a certain work are regarded with suspicion and distrust, although there may not be the slightest cause for this. Unless this evil is uprooted, unless the Holy Spirit works to cast out the enemy, the life God designs to be a success with prove a failure. Satan will make the minds a depository for his insinuations, and the man will lose the battle, when he might have gone forward to victory. 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 33

Please read the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of First Corinthians. “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” [1 Corinthians 13:13.] Let us wash our robes of character. Let us no longer bite and devour one another. Let those who claim to be Christians practice the words of Christ. “Watch ye therefore, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.” “Let all things be done with charity.” [1 Corinthians 16:13, 14.] 13LtMs, Ms 167, 1898, par. 34