« PreviousContinue »
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment: And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Having endeavoured, in the pre- III. Why ought every one thus ceding discourse from these to love his neighbour and words, to illustrate and inculcate IV. How does such love comthe first great commandment in prehend one's whole duty to his the law, I now proceed to the con- neighbour ? sideration of the second, viz. I am to enquire, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as I. Who is to be considered as thyself.” This is like unto the oth- one's neighbour ? er; as it is clothed with the same This was the very question, authority, and, therefore, equally which the Lawyer, to whom the binding upon men, is equally rea- words of the text were originally sonable and good, and requires the addressed, asked our Saviour; as same kind of love, though not the appears in the parallel passage in same degree, being directed to - Luke x. 29.
"But he, willing to wards objects of inferior excellence justify himself, said unto Jesus, and worth. The concluding words And who is my neighbour?” In his of the text, “On these two com- | reply, our Lord spake the parable mandments hang all the law and of the good Samaritan, who bound the prophets,” imply, that the ex- up the wounds and took care of the ercise of true love, comprehends Jew, that fell among thieves. The all our duty to our neighbour, as it design of this parable evidently does all our duty to God. In or- was, to shew the Lawyer, that der to set this second command
even the Samaritans, whom the ment of the law in a true light, it | Jews hated and despised, were to seems necessary to explain the ob- be considered as their neighbours;
ject, nature, reason and compre- and if they, then all their fellow hension of the love, which it en- creatures. It is quite a mistake, to joins. Accordingly, I propose to imagine, that those only, who live enquire,
hear us, are our neighbours.-1. Who is to be considered as These, indeed, are, in a special one's neighbour ?
sense, neighbours, as they are bet. II. What is it for one to love ter known to us, and more inti his neighbour as himself?
mately connected with us, apr
consequently, may be the more im- , the second commandment in the mediate objects of our affection and law, requires all men to love their kindness. But, to consider these neighbours as they actually do love only, as our neighbours, is a con- themselves; but as they ought to tracted sentiment, which has no love themselves. Mankind, patucountenance in the gospel of Christ. rally love themselves selfishly, erIt is equally a mistake, to consider clusively, and supremely. But it those only as our neighbours, who is criminal for them thus to love love us, and do us acts of kindness. themselves. No man ought to It would seem, that the hypocrit- love himself selfishly. One may ical Pharisees had thus restricted value his own interest, because it the meaning of the word neighbour, is' valuable in itself, and not merely in their perversions of the Divine because it is his own. Men ought law, and hence inferred, that it to love themselves with a holy, diswas not a duty to love one's ene- interested affection, as God loves mies : which led our Lord to say, himself. No man ought to love in his sermon on the Mount, “Ye himself exclusively. This all men have heard that it hath been said, do, so long as they love themselves Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and selfishly; for private interest is the hate thine enemy : But I say unto sole object of selfish affection. He, you, Love your enemies, bless who values his own interest, bethem that curse you, do good to cause it is his own, regards the them that hate you, and pray for welfare of others for his own sake them, who despitefully use you only. He really loves only himand persecute you:—for if ye love self; and of course, violates both them, who love you, what reward the first and the second commandhave ye? do not even the publicans ment in the law. No man ought the same? And if ye salute your to love himself supremely. Such brethren only, what do ye more love is due to God only. But, than otherse do not even the pub- while men are • lovers of their own licans sop” According to the in- selves, exclusively and selfishly, fallible Teacher's interpretation of they always love themselves suthe Divine law, all our fellow- premely. They wish the interest creatures, the evil as well as the of every other being to be subordigood, our enemies as well as our nated to theirs. They had rather friends, are to be viewed as our the happiness of God and of all neighbours. Mankind all inhabit their fellow-creatures should be the same footstool of God, have all given up, than to relinquish their the same Creator, Preserver and own. But, such supreme self-love Redeemer, are all made of one is idolatry and enmity against blood, and are all endued with the God. Men ought to love themsame powers, faculties and capaci-selves with a disinterested, imparty for happiness; and are, there- tial affection: and thus the Divine fore, all neighbours to each other. law requires them to love their In this light, the apostle Paul view neighbours. In answer, then, to ed his fellow-creatures: “ I am the question before us, it may be debtor, said he, both to the Greeks observed, and to the Barbarians, both to the 1. That, for one to love his wise and the unwise."
neighbour as himself, is to love him I am to enquire,
disinterestedly. It is truly to value II. What is it for one to love his the interest of one's neighbour, on neighbour as himself?
its own account, or because it is It is not to be supposed, that valuable in itself, aside from every
private, selfish consideration. In- his fellow-creature, with the same deed, for one to desire and seek kind of love with which he loves the happiness of his neighbour, be- himself. He who loves himseif as cause it may be conducive to his he ought, while he has a peculiar own, is not to love his neighbour complacency in those who are good, at all, but himself only. No one will feel real benevolence towards can really love any being besides those who are evil. He will set a himself, with any other than a dis- real value upon the interest even interested affection. It may be of the worst of men, and truly deobserved again,
sire their happiness, in itself con2. That, for one to love bis sidered. As the common Parent neighbour as himself, is to love him of mankind has fashioned them impartially. Indeed, this is im- alike; so it is but reasonable, that plied, in loving one's neighbour He should require them to exercise disinterestedly. He who loves his towards one another, brotherly neighbour, not for his own sake, kindness and charity; and instead but for his neighbour's sake, will of looking every one on his own love him in proportion to his appa-things, to look, with the same pure rent excellence and worth, in the benevolence, on the things of othscale of being. He can feel no There is precisely the same motive to underrate his character, reason why one should love his or undervalue his happiness. Dis- neighbour, as why he should love interested benevolence is always himself; and as good, if not as impartial. He, who loves his weighty a reason, why he should neighbour as himself, endeavours love both, as why he should love justly to estimate his character God. The second commandment and capacity for happiness, and is like the first, requiring us to exvalues and desires his interest, as ercise the same kind of love tomuch as he views it to be worth. wards our neighbours and ourThe way is now prepared to en-selves, which the first requires us quire,
to exercise towards God. No one III. Why ought every one thus can love God as he ought, without to love his neighbour as himself? loving his neighbour as he ought.
The answer to this enquiry is Hence the apostle John writes, easy, and may be comprised in “ If a man say, I loye God, and two brief observations:
hateth his brother, he is a liar: 1. Every one ought to love his for he that loveth not his brother, neighbour with the same kind of whom he hath seen, how can he affection with which he ought to love God whom he hath not seen?” love himself, that is, a truly disin- 2. Every one ought to love his lerested love; because his neigh- neighbour impartially; because his bour is a creature of the same kind neighbour's interest, if his capacias himself, possessing similar fac- ty for happiness be equal, is worth ulties of body and soul, capable of as much as his own. Why not? enjoying the same kind of happi- What reason can any one give, ness through ceaseless ages, and why another's interest is not as having therefore, the same kind of valuable as his own, except this, interest, both temporal and eter- • It is his, and not mine?' But who nal. As mankind are all creatures has the face to give this selfish reaof God, of the same common na- son? If, however, one may give it, ture, no one can give any reason, why may not another? if I may but a selfish and sinful one, why value my interest more than my he should not love his neighbour, I neighbour's, because it s mine;
why may not he value his inter- | cribed, comprehends one's whole est more than mine, because it is duty to his neighbour: his? If my interest is worth more That it does so, I have before than my neighbour's, because it is observed, is implied in the last mine, why may I not require him clause of the text : “On these two to love me more than himself?
-commandments hang all the law And why may not he, for the same and the prophets." That it ever reason, require me to love him must, will appear from the followmore than myself? Such absurdi-ing considerations: ties will follow from the supposi- 1. It is the very nature of distion, that any one ought to love interested, impartial love, to reshimself more than a neighbour, train one from doing his neighbour who possesses an equal capacity wrong, or injuring him in his perfor happiness. In the eye of true son, name, or interest, whether benevolence, things are valued ac- , temporal or spiritual. The aposcording to their worth, without the i tle says, “ Thou shalt not comleast regard to their being mine or mit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, yours.
And since mankind pos- Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt
common nature, and have not bear false witness, Thou shalt a similar interest, and viewed in not covet; and if there be any the light of eternity, stand much other commandment, it is briefly upon the same level; it is fit and comprehended in this saying, namereasonable, that each one should ly, Thou shalt love thy neighbour be required to love his neighbour, as thyself. Love worketh no ill his fellow-creature, his brother- to his neighbour : therefore love man, of equal capacity, as much is the fulfilling of the law." This as himself. If one may love any corresponds with what the apostle one of his neighbours less than says, in another place, respecting himself, because he has a smaller charity, i. e. true love :
" Chacapacity for happiness and a less rity envieth not-doth not behave valuable interest; for the same itself unseemly—is not easily proreason, he ought to love another of voked-thinketh no evil.” He, his neighbours more than himself, who loves his fellow-creatures with because his capacity for happiness a truly disinterested, kind and beis greater and his interest more nevolent affection, can surely feel valuable than his own.
no motive to injure them, in word Thus, the second commandment or deed, or to treat them in any in the law, as summed up by our way forbidden in the word of God. Saviour, is like unto the first, Such love, as has been described, equally rational, equally just and obviously comprehends obedience good. They both have the same
to all the prohibitions of the Difoundation, the nature, fitness, and vine law, respecting our neighrelations of things. He who obeys bour. the one, obeys the other. He who 2. It is equally the nature of disloves God supremely, is ever dis-interested, impartial love, to prompt posed to love his neighbour as him one to do all that for his neighself; and he, who loves his neighbour, which the word of God rebour as himself, will not fail to quires, and, in this respect, to do love God with all his heart.
his whole duty. He, who really
values his neighbour's interest, as It now remains to enquire.
he does his own, will cheerfully do Jy, How such love as has been des- all he consistently can, to promote
it. He, who feels an impartial no duty towards him, any further pegard to his neighbour's happi- | than he is actuated by love. This ness, will not hesitate to make all is plainly implied in the words of those sacrifices, which he ought to the apostle, “ Though I bestow inake, to supply his neighbour's all my goods to feed the poor wants and relieve his sufferings. and have not charity (love) it proNo one can love his fellow-men as fiteth me nothing." No duty is perhimself, without performing for formed, whatever one may do for them all the kind offices, which he his neighbour with a view to can perform, without neglecting benefit himself. Duty, whether more important duties. He will, towards God or one's neighbour, as he has ability and opportunity, consists, not in external actions, do good unto all men. True love but in the free, voluntary exercisas naturally excites men to do es, fiom which they flow. In these whatever they ought for their the moral agency of men consists ; neighbours, as to refrain from do- for these only are they accountaing what they ought not. I may add, ble. These God searches and
3. That whenever men treat tries, in order to render to every their neighbours as they ought, all mar according to his works. It is the duty they perform, essentially manifest, therefore, that the whole consists in the exercise of true duty of men to their neighbours is love. Though one should do ever comprehended in disinterested, imso much, that has a tendency to partial love. benefit his neighbour, yet he does
[To be concluded.)
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE.
DIVIXE PROVIDENCE IN MORAL
glory his chief object of pursuit, in the works of creation and providence: and He requires all his in
telligent creatures to pursue the (Concluded from page 187.] same object, as their chief end. REMARKS.
6. Whether, therefore, ye eat or
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all I. In view of the foregoing ob- to the glory of God.” Accordingservations, we may see what conly, we find, that pious ministers stitutes the glory of God. The often call upon sinners, to reAssembly of Divines in their Cat- nounce their selfish interest and echism, say, that ‘God, for his own make the glory of God their chief glory, hath fore-ordained whatso-object of affection and pursuit.ever comes to pass.' In his pre- But, in order to place our affecdictions of blessedness to the tions on any definite object, it is Church, God says, by Isaiah, “ I necessary to understand in what will say to the North, Give up; it consists. And from this suband to the South, Keep not back; ject we may see that the glory of bring my sons from far, and my God consists in the display of his daughters from the ends of the natural and moral perfections.earth; even every one that is call. And who can conceive of an obed by name, for I have created him lject more important, or better for my glory; I have formed him, I adapted to fill heaven with joy and yea I have made him.” It is plain, praise, than this? Who can ever from this passage, and a multitude again doubt the wisdom of God in of others, that God makes his own causing moral evil to exist in this