For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Contracted affections, like self-love, may oppose their own end — private good. The supposed contrariety between benevolence and self-love may be only apparent.
I. SELF-LOVE AS DISTINGUISHED FROM OTHER PASSIONS.
1. Self-love has an internal, other affections an external, object.
2. Such affections are distinct; from self-love, though part of ourselves.
3. All language recognizes this distinction. Self-love produces interested actions; particular affections, actions which are friendly.
4. Happiness does not consist in self-love, but in the wise gratification of all our affections.
5. Self-love often fails to produce happiness; it often produces anxiety, ands when in excess, misery. Thus self-love is distinct from particular affections, and so far from being our only rule, it often disappoints itself, especially when made one solitary principle.
II. SELF-LOVE AS DISTINGUISHED FROM BENEVOLENCE. These are distinguished but not necessarily opposed.
1. From the nature of the affections themselves; self-love does not exclude particular affections, nor does benevolence.
2. From the course of action suggested by them.
(1) Affections tend both to private and public good.
(2) Their tendency to one object does not disturb their connection with another.
(3) Benevolence produces as much enjoyment as ambition.
3. From the temper of mind produced by them.
(1) Benevolence gives a pleasure over and above other pleasures, with which it does not interfere.
(2) Has an assurance of special favour from God.
(3) Hence self-love and benevolence are so far from being opposed, that the second may be the easiest way of gratifying the first.
(4) It is true that particular affections may be gratified, so as to interfere with self-love, but benevolence interferes with it less than any other.
(5) The origin of the mistake that they interfere is in the confusion of property and happiness.
4. From Scripture, which inculcates benevolence, and yet recognizes self-love and appeals to it.
Parallel VersesKJV: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.