Luke 10:27
He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Sermons
Condensed CommandmentsLuke 10:27
Fraternal CharityP. Beckx.Luke 10:27
How We May be Convinced that We Love GodSegaud.Luke 10:27
Is it Necessary to Understand God in Order to Love Him?Bishop Boyd Carpenter.Luke 10:27
Is This the Mighty Ocean? is This All?Dean Staney.Luke 10:27
Love is the Secret of ObedienceBritish Weekly PulpitLuke 10:27
Love May be CultivatedF. W. Robertson, M. A.Luke 10:27
Love Renders All Our Services AcceptableDean Goulburn.Luke 10:27
Love the Law of LifeCanon Scott Holland, M. A.Luke 10:27
Love to GodMark Guy Pearse.Luke 10:27
Love to God and Our NeighbourJames Foote, M. A.Luke 10:27
Love to God and Our NeighboursProfessor R. Flint.Luke 10:27
Love to Man the Offspring of Love to GodBishop Boyd Carpenter.Luke 10:27
Loving God with the HeartMark Guy Pearse.Luke 10:27
Loving God with the MindGeorge Dawson.Luke 10:27
Loving God with the MindGeorge Dawson.Luke 10:27
Morality and ReligionH. W. Beecher.Luke 10:27
Of the Love of GodI. Barrow, D. D.Luke 10:27
Of the Love of Our NeighbourL Barrow, D. D.Luke 10:27
The Law of LoveA. H. Charteris, D. D.Luke 10:27
The Love of GodEberhard.Luke 10:27
The Saviour's Great RuleW. Locke.Luke 10:27
The Second Great CommandmentJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Luke 10:27
The Sufficiency of These Two CommandmentsLuke 10:27
The Sum of Duty Like the OceanBritish WeeklyLuke 10:27
The Tables Turned: the Questioners QuestionedAlexander MaclarenLuke 10:27
The Two Great CommandmentsDean Staney.Luke 10:27
The Two Great CommandmentsJ. Thomson, D. D.Luke 10:27
Our Love of GodW. Clarkson Luke 10:25-27
The Good Samaritan, and the Good PartR.M. Edgar Luke 10:25-42
It is the glory of the gospel that it has made common to the multitude of mankind that which was once dimly seen by a few solitary men; that it has put into the mouth of the little child that which once was stammeringly spoken by a few philosophers; that the truths which once were only found upon the summit by a few hardy climbers are the fruits which are now gathered by thousands as they walk the King's highway, Here is one of these - the duty, binding on us all, of loving God.

1. If to those Greeks who came to see Jesus (John 12:20), he had said that the greatest obligation, or, as they would have put it, the most fitting thing, was for man to love God, they would have been amazed. They would have been prepared to render services and sacrifices to their deities, but to love God with all the heart was beyond their most active imagination.

2. If Christ had uttered this truth to the Roman procurator before whom he appeared, he would have been equally astonished.

3. This truth was far in advance of the Jew, as well as of the Greek and the Roman. It is true that it was to be found in his Law (see Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 30:20). But it was not in his mind, in his heart, in his cherished convictions, in his life. He "tithed mint and rue and all manner of herbs, but passed over... the love of God" (Luke 11:42). Even the worthies of Old Testament times were men who were more constantly and profoundly affected by the sentiment of holy fear than fervent love. "I fear God," rather than "I love God," was the summary of their religious character. How do we account for this?

I. THE JEW HAD REVERENCE ENOUGH FOR GOD TO BE ABLE TO LOVE HIM. The Roman, the Greek, had not. We must respect those whom we love, and the beings they worshipped could not be respected; they were unworthy of regard. Not so he whom the Jew worshipped. He was the Just, the Righteous, the Faithful, the Holy One. The Jew honored, he revered, God enough to be able to love him.

II. HE HAD A VERY CONSIDERABLE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD. For we find in Old Testament Scripture passages affirming the kindness, the pity, the patience, the mercy, of God, well worthy to be placed by the side of any we find in the New (Exodus 34:6, 7; Psalm 103:8-14; Psalm 145:8, 9; Micah 7:18, etc.). It was surely possible for him to let reverence ascend to love.

III. TO SOME EXTENT THE JEW DID LOVE GOD. Abraham was "his friend." David could exclaim, "Oh, love the Lord, all ye his saints!" "I love the Lord, because," etc. Yet it was not love but fear that was the central, commanding, regulating element of his inner life. This need not surprise us when we consider -

IV. THE JEW DID NOT KNOW GOD AS REVEALED IN JESUS CHRIST.

1. He had not heard Jesus speaking of the Divine Father hating sin but pitying and yearning over the sinner, determining at his own great cost to redeem him, as we have done.

2. He had not witnessed the Savior's life as we have followed it; had not seen the Father's character and spirit reflected in that of the Son, with his tender affection, his inexhaustible patience, his matchless condescension, his generous forgiveness.

3. He did not know the story and the meaning of his death; had not had, like us, a vision of the love of God paying that great price for our redemption, bearing that burden on our behalf, pouring itself out in pain and shame and sorrow for our sake. It is at Calvary, far more than elsewhere, that we learn the blessed secret of the love of God - his love for us, our love for him. We learn:

(1) That to love God is the highest heritage of our manhood. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he;" as we think, we are; a man is great or small, noble or ignoble, according as he thinks and feels; the height of our love is the stature of our soul, is the measure of ourselves. God invites us to love him, the Highest One, and by so doing he immeasurably enriches and ennobles us. If he filled our house with gold he would only give us something pleasant to have; but in inviting us to love him he confers on us that which is blessed and noble to be.

(2) That not to have loved God is the most condemning fact of our lives. Do we say," All these [prohibitions] have we kept from our youth up: what commandment have we broken?" We reply, "The first and great commandment. Have you loved God with all your heart?" We may well bow our head in shame as we realize the poor and pitiful response we have made to the Fatherly love of God.

(3) That the fact that we can at once return to God, in filial devotion, is the best of all glad tidings. Our return to him begins in humility, goes on in faith, is completed and perfected in love.

(4) That the fact that we shall continue to love God is the brightest of all good prospects. Other things will fail us sooner or later, but "the love of God which is in Jesus Christ" in our hearts will take us everywhere, will be our refuge and defense in all emergencies, will sanctify our joy and our prosperity, will be with us at the last scenes, will cross the river with us and will be with us and in us on the other side, will be our passport to and our qualification for the brightest and broadest spheres in the heavenly kingdom. - C.







Thou shalt love.
I. THE LAWYER'S QUESTION. No evidence of his having put it in a malicious spirit. Quite a fair question. Also a most intelligent question. He wished to try Christ's pretensions and knowledge — a perfectly blameless, indeed praiseworthy wish. Yet, although the lawyer's intellect was not at fault, his heart, in some measure at least, was. He did not feel, as he ought, the seriousness of the question he proposed, and his own personal interest in it. He put it too much to try Christ, too little to get instruction for himself.

II. CHRIST'S MANNER OF DEALING WITH HIM. He did not answer him, but made him answer himself-obviously, in order to turn his attention in upon himself.

III. THE LAWYER'S ANSWER A marvellously good answer. He joins to a precept in Deuteronomy another in Leviticus, and so replies to Christ's question in words altogether appropriate and divine. Our Lord Himself had used the same words in the same way. He had found none better in which to sum all duty and the whole consequence of religion.

IV. CHRIST'S APPLICATION. Have we here Christ Himself teaching salvation through works, not through faith; through doing, not by belief? Yes, there is no doubt about it; His words are perfectly plain and decided — "Do, and thou shalt live." But, do what? "Love," etc. A safe kind of teaching salvation through works I If by doing this, but only by doing this, man is to be saved through doing, then that only makes it clear as the sun that not by doing will any man be saved. Such a law condemns us all utterly. It is one thing to be a hearer of the law, even an intelligent and studious hearer of it, and quite another to be a doer of it. What it demands is obedience — strict, perfect, absolute obedience.

V. THE LAWYER'S DIFFICULTY. He secretly feels that salvation on such terms is not to be had, but he does not like to acknowledge this even to himself, and still less to Him whose words have found him out. He fights against the conviction. He wishes to justify himself, for he cannot bear the thought that Moses and his law — all that he had hitherto been accustomed to depend upon for eternal life — will fail him, and even turn against him. To justify himself, he puts to our Lord the question, "Who is my neighbour?" No question about God, or love to God. Why? Feeling that with respect to that his case was hopeless, he tries to get off on the second commandment, flattering himself there was at least some chance of acquittal on that count. The mere fact of his putting such a question showed him at fault. How could he have fulfilled the law of neighbourly love if he didn't even know who his neighbour was?

VI. CHRIST'S DEFINITION OF A NEIGHBOUR. Again our Lord seeks to get the lawyer to answer himself, so as to condemn himself; He seeks to help him not only to the right answer to his question, but to convince him that the very question itself showed that he had not the love he spoke of, and not the love which he rightly said was demanded by the law. He seeks to do so by vividly setting before him, in a singularly beautiful parable, the nature of genuine and practical love, as exhibited by the Samaritan, in contrast with a merely formal respect for the law, as illustrated by the priest and the Levite. Then, when He has thus got his conscience to bear witness to the depth and breadth and exceeding comprehensiveness of the law, He again tells him to go and do it, to go and obey it as the Samaritan had done. This our Lord again tells him to do, not supposing that he really could do it, but indirectly to convince him that he has not done it, and to lead him to find out that it is not in his power to do it. Christ wishes through the law to draw him to Himself.

(Professor R. Flint.)

I. THE MANNER AND OCCASION OF THEIR DELIVERY (see Matthew 22:36, where our Lord Himself gave them). In the text He draws them from the lips of His questioner. Notice, also, that even these two great commandments were not on these occasions invented for the first time by our Divine Lawgiver (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). Words that had been lying dormant He brought to life.

II. THEIR CONTENTS.

1. One supreme affection is to rule over our whole being — the love of God. The intellect must seek truth with undistracted, fearless zeal; else we do not serve God with our whole mind and understanding. The bodily powers must be guarded and saved for the healthy discharge of all that Providence requires of us in our passage through life; else we do not serve Him with our whole strength. The affections must be kept fresh and pure; else we do not serve Him with our whole heart. The conscience must not have stained itself with secret sills, unworthy transactions, and false pretences; else we do not serve Him with our whole soul. There was an old barbarian chief who, when he was baptized, kept his right arm out of the water that he might still work his deeds of blood. That is the likeness of the imperfect religion of so many Christians. This is what they did who of old, in their zeal for religion, broke their plighted faith, did despite to their natural affections, disregarded the laws of kinship and country, of honour and of mercy.

2. The second of these commandments is like the first. It is the chief mode of fulfilling the first.(1) The measure of the love we owe to others is just what we think owing to ourselves. Observe the equity of this Divine rule. It makes us the judge of what we ought to do. It imposes upon us no duty that we have not already acknowledged for ourselves. Every one of us knows how painful it is to be called by malicious names, to have his character undermined by false insinuations, to be overreached in a bargain, to be neglected by those who rise in life, to be thrust on one side by those who have stronger wills and stouter hearts. Every one knows also the pleasure of receiving a kind look, a warm greeting, a hand held out to help in distress, a difficulty solved, a higher hope revealed for this world or the next. By that pain and by that pleasure judge what you should do to others.(2) The object towards which this love is to extend — "Thy neighhour." Every one with whom we are brought into contact. First of all, he is literally our neighbour who is next to us in our own family and household — husband to wife, wife to husband, parent to child, brother to sister, master to servant, servant to master; and then in our own town, in our own parish, in our own street. With these all true charity begins. But, besides these, our neighbour is every one who is thrown across our path by the changes and chances of life — he or she, whomsoever it be, whom we have any means of helping — the unfortunate sufferers whom we may perhaps meet in travelling — the deserted friend whom no one else cares to look after.

III. THEIR RELATIVE POSITION TO THE OTHER PARTS OF THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION, These two commandments are the greatest of all. On them the rest of God's revelation depends. By keeping them we inherit the greatest of all gifts. "This do, and thou shalt live."

(Dean Staney.)

It has been observed that sometimes when a man is told that religion and morality are summed up in the two great commandments, he is ready to say, like one who first beholds the sea,

Yes, it is all; but what an all! We know well here what is the view of the ocean. We look out from these shores on that vacant expanse, with its boundless horizon, with its everlasting succession of ebb and tide, and we might perhaps ask, What is this barren sea to us? How vague, how indefinite, how broad, how monotonous; yet, when we look closer at it, it is the scene on which sunlight and moonlight, shade and shadow, are for ever playing. It has been the chosen field for the enterprise, for the faith, for the charity of mankind. It is the highway for the union of nations and the enlargement of churches. It is the bulwark of freedom, and the home of mighty fleets, and the nurse of swarming cities. And so these two commandments. They seem at first sight vacant, vague, and indefinite; but let us trust ourselves to them, let us launch out upon them, let us explore their innermost recesses, let us sound their depths, and we shall find that we shall call forth all the arts and appliances of Christian love. We shall find that they will carry us round the world and beyond it. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, with all our strength — what new fields of thought and activity ought this to open to us when thoroughly studied! It is in proportion as the Bible teaches us the true perfections of God that it becomes to us the Book of God; it is in proportion as the gospel discloses to us those perfections in the most endearing and the most intelligible forms that it becomes to us the revelation of God in Christ; it is in proportion as our hearts and consciences are filled from the fountain of all goodness, that we are able to enter into the true spirit of God, who is worshipped in spirit and in truth. It is, or it ought to be, for the sake of these great commandments that we value and strive to improve the sanctifying and elevating influences of Christian worship, Christian civilization, Christian friendship, Christian homes, and Christian education. It is for the sake of better understanding what God is, and how He wishes us to serve Him, that we value these indications of His will which He has left us in the sure footsteps of science, in the manifold workings of history, of art, of poetry, and of all the various gifts and graces which He has bestowed on earth and on man. "Let no man," says Lord Bacon, "let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety or ill-applied moderation think or maintain that a man can search too far, or be too well supplied, in the Book of God's Word or the Book of God's works." That is at least one result of the endeavour to love God with all our understanding and with all our soul. And again, "to love our neighbour as ourselves" — what a world of Christian duty is here disclosed! How eagerly, for the sake of better serving our neighbours, should we welcome any one who will tell us what is the best and safest mode of administering charity, what is the best mode of education, what is the best means of suppressing intemperance and vice. How eagerly should we all cultivate the opportunities which God has given us, not for keeping men apart, but for bringing them together; how anxiously we should desire to understand the character of neighbouring nations, neighbouring Churches, neighbouring friends, so as to avoid giving them needless offence — so as to bring out their best points and repress their worst, making our own knowledge of our own imperfections and faults the measure of the forbearance which we should exercise to them. How eagerly should we rejoice in everything which increases the countless means that Christianity and civilization employ for the advancement and progress of mankind. These are some of the means of loving our neighbour as ourselves.

(Dean Staney.)

1. Let us now consider the first great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God." The great principle which animated the Jews was not love but fear; "Fear God and keep His commandments" with them comprehended the whole duty of man. Accustomed to see their enemies punished by the immediate interference of the Deity; and sensible of the sufferings inflicted on themselves for their idolatry and their incessant hankering after the imaginary gods of the heathens, they contemplated the true God rather as an object of fear than of love. Accordingly, in the Old Testament it is the power, the greatness, the holiness, the terrible justice of the Almighty, that is chiefly exhibited, because the Jews were not fitted for the guidance of higher motives. But, in the New Testament, the good-seas, the mercy, the loving-kindness of God are displayed in the most affectionate and attractive form. Every page beams with the benevolence of the Deity. What a beautiful picture of the goodness and mercy of God is exhibited in the parable of the prodigal son! As fear arises from contemplating the power and justice of God, so love is produced by meditating on His wisdom and goodness. But as it is a matter of the highest importance that we should be enabled to determine with certainty whether we really love God, it may be justly asked, What is the plainest and most undoubted proof of love to God? We answer, That which the Scripture declares it to be. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear. "This," says the Apostle John, "is the love of God, that ye keep His commandments." There is another question still which requires our serious consideration, What are we to understand by loving God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind? The meaning is, that our desire to please God should be the highest and most vigorous principle, disposing us at all times to prefer our duty to God to every other consideration, and especially to the gratification of all our selfish passions.

II. We come now to the second great commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neigh-bout as thyself." It is scarcely necessary to observe that there is no inconsistency between loving God and loving our neighbour. It is perhaps of more importance to remark that we cannot sincerely and correctly observe the one without attending to the other, for they are parts of one whole. Accordingly, the Apostle John says, "If a man love not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen?"

1. To love our neighbour is never to do him any injury; for, says the Apostle Paul, "love worketh no ill to our neighbour." Consequently, we ought not to cherish any evil passion against him.

2. We ought also to be always anxious to do our neighbour all the good in our power.

3. But we are required to love our neighbour as ourselves. Then self-love must be a principle which God has implanted, and which He approves, otherwise He would never have recommended it as the standard of our benevolence. Self-love is a desire of happiness; and, if we have just views of happiness, it will never lead us astray. Self-love, too, is to be distinguished from selfishness. The selfish man is wrapped up in himself, and is terrified to do any good to his neighbour, lest he should diminish his own happiness. But the man who is guided by rational self-love knows that the more he goes beyond himself, the more good actions he does to others, the more he will increase and extend his own happiness.

III. Consider the observation which our Saviour made on the value of these two grand divisions of the moral law: "On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets." By the law and the prophets we are sure are meant the books which contain the law of Moses and the books written by the prophets. These books are here represented by our Saviour as being fixed and suspended to the two commandments and supported by them, so that if the two commandments were withdrawn, the law and the prophets being thus deprived of their necessary support, would fall to the ground, and lose their value and intended effect.

(J. Thomson, D. D.)

I. LOVE TO GOD.

1. A principle Divinely implanted in the renewed hearts of believers.

2. It implies a high esteem of God.

3. It implies an earnest desire for communion with God and the enjoyment of Him.

4. Love to God is a judicious principle.

5. An active principle.

6. A supreme love. He must have our whole heart.

II. LOVE TO NEIGHBOUR.

1. This grace, too, like the former, is a divinely implanted principle.

2. Loving our neighbour implies that we entertain benevolent dispositions towards him.

3. It implies that we speak well of him.Love tries to conceal reports prejudicial to our neighbour. It imputes his faults, if it can, rather to inadvertence than to habitual premeditated wickedness. In a word, true love deals faithfully and closely with a man's faults when it gets him by himself; but as tenderly as possible with them in the presence of others. To this let it be added, that love to our neighbour implies that we do him all the good offices in our power. What avail professions without performance, when it is in our power to perform kind actions?

(James Foote, M. A.)

When the late Rev. Dr. Staughton, of America, resided at Bordentown, he was one day sitting at his door, when the infidel Thomas Paine, who also resided there, addressing him, said, "Mr. Staughton, what a pity it is that a man has not some comprehensive and perfect rule for the government of his life." Mr. Staughton replied, "There is such a rule." "What is that?" asked Paine. Mr. Staughton repeated the passage, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and thy neighbour as thyself." "Oh," said Paine, "that's in your Bible," and immediately walked away.

I. The law of love is not inferior to that of the ten commandments; in other words, love of God and man includes all which these teach at greater length. What saith the first commandment? "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." Is not there even more than this contained in our text? Let love, to any object whatever, reign in a man's heart, and his whole being revolts from the idea of doing any injury to the object of his affection. The law of love binds us to keep the first commandment. So with the second. It is obvious that they who have true love to the Lord God as the one spiritual King, eternal, immortal, and invisible, will loathe the attempt of the heathen idolaters to represent the attributes of Deity in the lineaments of a creeping thing, or of a beast, or of a bird, or of the physical nature of man. Or take the third. Does this tell any more than the simple direction, Love God? Could yonder wild blasphemer dare to call for God's damnation on his own soul or on that of his fellow-man, to swear by the name of the Holy One, to thread his sentences with oaths, if he had ever learnt to love the great Jehovah whose name he thus dishonours? Take the fourth. If any Jew had spoken of this as a burdensome enactment, it would only have shown that he had not learned to love his God. Then, mark the fifth commandment — "Honour thy father and thy mother." We need not say that this is love. What makes a happy home, with kindly trusting parents, and fond, clambering children, with a gleam of heaven shooting across the scene, and a warm glow resting on it all? — what but love? And is not the fifth commandment fulfilled in this? Then take the sixth, and say if it is possible that love can kill. See the skulking figure, with the deadly knife in his hand, with the restless glance of his suspicious eyes, as though he felt that he is watched: see him draw near the victim, who slumbers, all unconscious of danger and death, and say what would stop that murderous hand but love for his fellowman? So with the seventh. Lust breaks through this rule, which love would keep; for lust is selfishness, while love forgets all self. So, briefly, with the eighth. Love would prevent a man from " whatsoever cloth, or may, unjustly hinder his own or his neighbour's wealth or outward estate." Again, take the ninth. What would stop the voice of slander, and hush the tale of shame, and seal the lips of the liar whose malignant tongue knows no restraint, and stop the story of slander, which circulates so easily over a parish or a nation — what, but this selfsame love? And, once more, look at the tenth commandment. What would check the growth of coveting, and withdraw one man's eye from another's scant possessions — what but love? Ahab could not have done the deed of Jezreel if his soul had contained the slightest love for Naboth. Thus we see that all the commandments are embraced in love; and, in the same way, it would be easy to show that on its twofold rule hang all the law and the prophets.

II. But, further, the law of love is superior, because —

1. It is positive.

2. It is exhaustive.

3. It begins at the heart.

4. It leads us directly and at once to feel our need of the Spirit of God.

(A. H. Charteris, D. D.)

I. THE LOVE OF GOD RECOMMENDS ITSELF BY ITS NATURE.

1. It is the most sublime virtue.(1) The most sublime of the Divine and moral virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13).(2) The fertile mother of all other virtues and their brightest ornaments.(3) All-powerful in its effects, keeping the heart, so prone to sin, from the depths of spiritual ruin; moving and exciting to, and furnishing the necessary strength for, apparently impossible undertakings.(4) The virtue of the inhabitants of heaven, its exercise being the constant work of angels and saints.

2. It confers on us the highest dignity.(1) By this virtue we are elevated above all creatures of this visible world. They serve God by absolute necessity, but they cannot love Him.(2) By this virtue we are elevated above ourselves. All other virtues remind man of his misery and lowness — faith reminds him of his spiritual blindness; humility, of his foolish pride; chastity, of the disgrace of sensuality. Charity alone elevates without reminding you of your weakness, rendering the soul, as it were, infinite.(3) This virtue confers on us a true nobility.

(a)We obtain the freedom of the children of God.

(b)We reach by it our perfection, it being the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3:14).

(c)We enter into the most intimate relation with God, being in a manner deified.

3. The greatest beauty of our holy religion.

4. In the love of God we find true happiness.(1) In this world. Divine love —

(a)renders man infinitely rich by the possession of God;

(b)fills the heart with the sweetest delights;

(c)causes heavenly peace, which cannot be disturbed either by tribulations or by the sting of the passions;

(d)sweetens what is most bitter — all sufferings, and especially death.(2) For eternity. Divine charity is the pledge of life everlasting (1 John 4:16; 1 Corinthians 2:9).

II. How MUCH GOD DESERVES OUR LOVE.

1. He is the most perfect Being.

2. He is our greatest benefactor.

3. He is infinitely merciful.

(Eberhard.)

I. DO YOU LOVE GOD AS YOU OUGHT TO LOVE HIM?

1. He requires a love of faithfulness and obedience.

(1)Do you obey all that He commands?

(2)Do you obey in such a manner as He requires of you?

(3)Do you obey because God commands?

2. He requires a love of subjection and dependence. Do you possess this love? God is your sovereign Lord, you are His servant, and, as such, you should submit to His dispositions.

(1)God deals with-you and your possessions as He wills, that you may lift up your eyes heavenward. Do you say with Job, "The Lord gave," &c. (Job 1:21).

(2)God humbles you that you may honour Him by your humility. Do you complain, as though God was unjust?

(3)God sends you diseases and afflictions. Do you embrace the cross?

(4)God scourges with the rod of His wrath the degenerated human race. Do you honour and love Him in this also?

3. A love of preference. Do you love God more than all else?

4. A love of equality. Do you love whatever God loves, and hate whatever He hates?

5. A love of attention and complacency. Does it afford you delight to reflect on God, to converse with Him by prayer, &c.?

6. A love of zeal.

7. A love of desire. Do you long for the possession of God?

II. WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO INFLAME OUR HEARTS WITH THE LOVE OF GOD.

1. We should often call to mind certain eternal truths, and ponder over them. Such truths are the following.

(1)All visible things say to us that God is infinitely lovable.

(2)God has infinitely loved us.

(3)God wills that we should love Him.

2. We should banish from our heart all impure flames of sensual passion.

3. We should endeavour to have a great devotion.

(Segaud.)

I. THE NATURE OF THIS LOVE. We may describe love in general to be an affection or inclination of the soul toward an object, proceeding from an apprehension and esteem of some excellency or some conveniency therein (its beauty, worth, or usefulness), producing thereon, if the object be absent or wanting, a proportionable desire, and consequently an endeavour to obtain such a propriety therein, such a possession thereof, such an approximation or union thereto, as the thing is capable of; also a regret and displeasure in the failing so to obtain it, or in the want, absence, and loss thereof; likewise begetting a complacence, satisfaction, and delight in its presence, possession, or enjoyment; which is moreover attended with a good-will thereto, suitable to its nature; that is, with a desire that it should arrive unto and continue in its best state; with a delight to perceive it so to thrive and flourish; with a displeasure to see it suffer or decay in any wise; with a consequent endeavour to advance it in all good, and preserve it from all evil. The chief properties of the love, we owe to God are these: 1, A right apprehension and firm persuasion concerning God, and consequently a high esteem of Him as most excellent in Himself and most beneficial to us.

2. Another property of this love is an earnest desire of obtaining a propriety in God; of possessing Him, in a manner, and enjoying Him; of approaching Him, and being, so far as may be, united to Him.

3. Coherent with this is a third property of this love, that is, a great complacence, satisfaction, and delight in the enjoyment of God in the sense of having such a propriety in Him; in the partaking those emanations of favour and beneficence from Him; and, consequently, in the instruments conveying, in the means conducing to such enjoyment, for joy and content are the natural fruits of obtaining what we love, what we much value, what we earnestly desire.

4. The feeling much displeasure and regret in being deprived of such enjoyment in the absence or distance, as it were, of God from us; the loss or lessening of His favour; the subtraction of His gracious influences from us: for surely answerable to the love we bear unto anything will be our grief for the want or loss thereof.

5. Another property of this love is, to bear the highest goodwill toward God; so as to wish heartily and effectually, according to our power, to procure all good to Him, and to delight in it; so as to endeavour to prevent and to remove all evil, if I may so speak, that may befal Him, and to be heartily displeased therewith.

II. To the effecting of which purposes I shall next propound some MEANS conducible; some in way of removing obstacles, others by immediately promoting the duty. Of the first kind are these ensuing:

1. The destroying of all loves opposite to the love of God; extinguishing all affection to things odious and offensive to God; mortifying all corrupt and perverse, all unrighteous and unholy desires.

2. If we would obtain this excellent grace, we must restrain our affections toward all other things, however in their nature innocent and indifferent. B. The freeing of our hearts also from immoderate affection to ourselves; for this is a very strong bar against the entrance, as of all other charity, so especially of this; for as the love of an external object doth thrust, as it were, our soul outwards towards it; so the love of ourselves detains it within, or draws it inwards; and consequently these inclinations crossing each other cannot both have effect, but one will subdue and destroy the other. These are the chief obstacles, the removing of which conduces to the begetting and increasing the love of God in us. A soul so cleansed from love to bad and filthy things, so emptied of affection to vain and unprofitable things, so opened and dilated by excluding all conceit of, all confidence in itself, is a vessel proper for the Divine love to be infused into: into so large and pure a vacuity (as finer substances are apt to flow of themselves into spaces void of grosser matter) that free and moveable spirit of Divine grace will be ready to succeed, and therein to disperse itself. As all other things in nature, the clogs being removed which binder them, do presently tend with all their force to the place of their rest and well-being; so would, it seems, our souls, being loosed from baser affections obstructing them, willingly incline toward God, the natural centre, as it were, and bosom of their affection; would resume, as speaks, that natural filter (that intrinsic spring, or incentive of love) which all creatures have toward their Creator; especially, if to these we add those positive instruments, which are more immediately and directly subservient to the production of this love.They are these:

1. Attentive consideration of the Divine perfections, with endeavour to obtain a right and clear apprehension of them.

2. The consideration of God's works and actions; His works and actions of nature, of Providence, of grace.

3. Serious regard and reflection on the peculiar benefits by the Divine goodness vouchsafed to ourselves.

4. An earnest resolution and endeavour to perform God's commandments, although on inferior considerations of reason; on hope, fear, desire to obtain the benefits of obedience, to shun the mischiefs from sin.

5. Assiduous prayer to Almighty God that He in mercy would please to bestow His love on us, and by His grace to work it in us. These are the means which my meditation did suggest as conducing to the production and growth of this most excellent grace in our souls.

III. I should lastly propound some inducements apt to stir us up to the endeavour of procuring it, and to the exercise thereof, by representing to your consideration the blessed fruits and benefits (both by way of natural causality and of reward) accruing from it; as also the woful consequences and mischiefs springing from the want thereof.

(I. Barrow, D. D.)

It is not so much the thing done, as the spirit in which it is done, which is of such great moment. For love is an affection of the heart and will, and we know that very small tokens, the merest trifles, will evince it; and that, when it is evinced, it has a peculiar power of winning its way both with God and man. Suppose a great fortune laid out in building churches, or relieving the poor, under the pressure of servile fear, and with the design of expiating sin, or a great philanthropic enterprise inaugurated and maintained from ambitious motives; can it be supposed that such acts, however it may please Him to bless the effects of them, go for anything .with God as regards the doer of them. And, on the other hand, suppose some very simple, commonplace action, something not going at all beyond the circle of routine and daily duty, done with a grateful, affectionate feeling towards God, and from a simple desire to please Him, and to win His approval — can it be supposed that such an action, however trifling in itself, does not go for something, nay, for much, with God? The love of Him with all the heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, is "the first and great commandment." One movement of that love gives to the commonest action the fragrance of a sacrifice; while, without one movement of it, the costliest offering must of necessity be rejected. "If a man should give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned."

(Dean Goulburn.)

How shall we cultivate this charity? Now I observe, first, love cannot be produced by a direct action of the soul upon itself. You cannot love by a resolve to love. That is as impossible as it is to move a boat by pressing it from within. The force with which you press on is exactly equal to that with which you press back. The reaction is exactly equal to the action. You force backwards exactly as much as you force on. There are religious persons who, when they feel their affections cooled, strive to warm them by self-reproach, or by unnatural efforts, or by the excitement of what they call revivals — trying to work themselves into a state of warm affection. There are others who hope to make feeble love strong by using strong words. Now, for all this they pay a price. Effort of heart is followed by collapse. Excitement is followed by exhaustion. They will find that they have cooled exactly in that proportion in which they warmed, and at least as fast. It is as impossible for a man to work himself into a state of genuine fervent love as it is for a man to inspire himself. Inspiration is a breath and a life coming from without. Love is a feeling roused not from ourselves, but from something outside ourselves. There are, however, two methods by which we may cultivate this charity.

1. By doing acts which love demands. It is God's merciful law that feelings are increased by acts done on principle. If a man has not the feeling in its warmth, let him not wait till the feeling comes. Let him act with such feelings as he has; with a cold heart if he has not got a warm one; it will grow warmer while he acts. You may love a man merely because you have done him benefits, and so become interested in him, till interest passes into anxiety, and anxiety into affection. You may acquire courtesy of feeling at last, by cultivating courteous manner. The dignified politeness of the last century forced man into a kind of unselfishness in small things, which the abrupter manners of to-day will never teach. And say what men will of rude sincerity, these old men of urbane manners were kinder at heart with real good-will, than we are with that rude bluffness which counts it a loss of independence to be courteous to any one. Gentleness of manner had some influence on gentleness of heart. So in the same way, it is in things spiritual. If our hearts are cold, and we find it hard to love God and be affectionate to man, we must begin with duty. Duty is not Christian liberty, but it is the first step towards liberty. We are free only when we love what we are to do, and those to whom we do it. Let a man begin in earnest with — I ought; he will end, by God's grace, if he persevere, with the free blessedness of — I will. Let him force himself to abound in small offices of kindliness, attention, affectionateness, and all those for God's sake. By and by he will feel them become the habit of his soul. By and by, walking in the conscientiousness of refusing to retaliate when he feels tempted, he will cease to wish it; doing good and heaping kindness on those who injure him, he will learn to love them. For he has spent a treasure there, "And where the treasure is, there will be the heart also."

2. The second way of cultivating Christian love is by contemplating the love of God. You cannot move the boat from within; but you may obtain a purchase from without. You cannot create love in the soul by force from within itself, but you may move it from a point outside itself. God's love is the point from which to move the soul. Love begets love. Love believed in, produces a return of love; we cannot love because we must. "Must" kills love; but the law of our nature is that we love in reply to love. No one ever yet hated one whom he believed to love him truly. We may be provoked by the pertinacity of an affection which asks what we cannot give; but we cannot hate the true love which does not ask but gives. Now, this is the eternal truth of Christ's gospel, "We love Him because He first loved us." "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." "God is love."

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

It is said that it is impossible to love God; and the reason alleged is, He is beyond our understanding. The very description of His being Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, are terms that daunt us. "I cannot form any conception of such vastness as this. I can measure the mountains, but these even make me falter as I give out the lengths and heights of their measurement. How much more so, when the measurement is simply immeasurable? When it is vast, infinite, is it not also vague? I cannot understand, and therefore I will not love." But is that true? Men and women, is it true that I cannot love where I cannot understand? Go into the midst of your own homes, and watch the face that looks up from her work to glance at you. The toil of your business, the anxiety of your duties, or, if you are scientific, the vastness of those lucubrations which are occupying your time, the splendid calculations, the measureless periods and vast issues which you are considering, occupy your mind; but is the very smallest tittle of these in any degree comprehensible by her who sits beside you? Is it not rather true, in the words of our own laureate, that "Though she cannot understand, yet she loves." She loves, and though she knows that your mind is expatiating in vaster fields than her intellect can follow, yet still that very vastness of your knowledge and comprehension, in comparison with hers, gives her no uneasy sense of a vague might which she cannot love, but rather gives her a sweet sense of confidence in might which she cannot fathom. Or, the child that leaps to greet you on the threshold of your home — are you going to discredit the reality of its little love, because it cannot penetrate the mysteries of the Stock Exchange, or understand the fluctuations of shares and of bills? You know perfectly well that it is very possible, nay, daily life proves it certain, that there are hundreds among us who give out a full unalloyed love, even where their comprehension is staggered by the vastness of that which they cannot understand. So is it surely with God. This great world, this limitless heaven above us, those stars, whose distances we have not calculated, these worlds hung in dizzy space, do they give us such an overwhelming sense of His vastness as to make it impossible for us to love Him? Do they not rather, if we understand that not a little flower blows, nor little stream trickles to its valley below, but does so under His guidance, and is directed by His hand, give us the vastest confidence in Him, whose boundless nature is so great, that, fall where we will, we cannot fall out of the embrace of His love? No, it is false to say you cannot love where you cannot comprehend.

(Bishop Boyd Carpenter.)

What a strange and startling command, to be ordered to love! If self-dictation over the heart is impossible, as we suppose, who is the master that can pretend to command us to love him? What tyrant, in his most imperious moment ever dreamed of such a demand? Yet God assumes the entry even of this last refuge. It is a rule of His dominion that He shall be loved. Love of God — love of our neighbour: these constitute the sole titles of admission to the kingdom, the sole claims on life. We may plead a hundred other obediences, but no other is of any avail whatever. One command, and one only, has been given, "Theft shalt love." One thing then certainly Christ, our King, presumes to do; He presumes to have the entire command of our affections. What can justify such a claim?

I. WHO IS IT WHO DEMANDS LOVE OF US? It is our Maker, who made us not by any binding necessity, nor yet for any play or pastime of His own, but solely because the very core of His innermost Being is Fatherhood: He is God because He is the Eternal Father; the Fatherhood is His Godhead. Fatherhood is the love which passionately delights in seeing its own life's joy reproduced in another. Sonship is that love which passionately delights in recognizing that its life is owing to another, belongs to another, is dedicated to another. Love, then, is a natural necessity between human parent and child; and love, therefore, belongs by the same necessity to our Divine relationships. God has undeniable right to this demand; but —

II. WHO ARE WE THAT WE SHOULD LOVE GOD? We go our own way; we follow our own tastes; we have joys and sorrows, friends and foes of our own. All this fills up our days and occupies our minds; and where is there any room for the love of a far-away invisible God? We are here on earth to find out what love means: and all true love begins in the love of God who loved us. At whatever risk, at whatever cost, we must attain to this love. How, then, to put some meaning into it? We must secure and foster the condition of our sonship; and what does this signify? It signifies this: that the entire movements of our lives must set outward, away from ourselves.

(Canon Scott Holland, M. A.)

These words never came from men. Earth never could have heard them if they had not come down from heaven.

I. HERE WE SEE THE VERY HEART OF GOD. He is Love who speaketh thus.

II. This is the first and great commandment; BECAUSE ALL ELSE FLOWS FROM IT.

III. AS LOVE ONLY SEEKS, SO ONLY LOVE WINS LOVE.

IV. LOVE SATISFIES LOVE,

V. AS GOD'S LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF OUR LOVE, SO IT IS THE PATTERN OF OUR LOVE.

(Mark Guy Pearse.)

I. TO LOVE GOD WITH THE HEART IS TO DELIGHT IN PLEASING HIM.

II. TO LOVE GOD WITH THE HEART IS TO DELIGHT MOST OF ALL IN HIS PRESENCE.

III. TO LOVE GOD WITH THE HEART IS TO HOLD OURSELVES AND ALL WE ARE AS BELONGING TO GOD.

(Mark Guy Pearse.)

You will observe there are several "ands" in the passage, and that all the earlier ones, though very useful, are merely additions; but here ["AND thy neighbour"] is an equalising copulative, a word which brings two sentences together as the two sides of an equation, and which will not permit you to take the first part of the sentence as the declaration of the Saviour, but which requires you to take it in its wholeness. It is not enough to "love the Lord thy God," nor is it enough to "love thy neighbour as thyself," you must do both; and therefore that "and" stands as none of the others do, and as almost no other such single common word does in the great realm of literature. The love of God is put first in order, probably from the dignity of the personage spoken of; it is in the order of importance, but not of time. We do not first love the Lord our God with all our heart, and then learn to love our neighbour as ourselves. We learn to love our neighbour, and from that point, through practice, we come to a condition in which we love our God. So then, these two members or sides of this wonderful sentence, this charter of human life, may be said to represent religion and morality. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God" — that is, thou shalt worship Him, reverence Him, acknowledge Him and look up to Him, in every inflection of experience-this stands appropriately for religion; and the other — "Thou shelf love thy neighbour as thyself" — stands appropriately and properly for morality.

I. WHAT, THEN, IS THE SPHERE AND FUNCTION OF MORALITY; its educating force; its final intent? Morality includes —

1. Duties to oneself, personal duties, sustenance, defence.

2. Social duties — the duties of the family and the neighbourhood.

3. The relations in which we stand to the larger community represented by the Government in all its forms. Here, then, I pause in the discussion, having shown in the first place what moralities are — namely, that they are in their highest and best sense, these duties which men owe to themselves, to their households, to civil society, to their social relations in this world and in time; and also, that morality, in one form and at each stage, prepares for the next higher development of it and the next advance in growth; and likewise, interiorly, that every true morality tends to develope itself in a higher class of faculties. So that, finally —

II. EVERY MORALITY THAT DOES NOT GO ON TO A SPIRITUAL FORM IS STOPPED AND DWARFED. Men say, "I am not a religious man, but still I do about as well as I know how." Is that rational? What would you say of men who should voyage to a distant country, and make only those provisions which were necessary for them while they stayed at home? Death cuts men in two, and leaves the bottom here, and there is no top to go there. Do not understand me as saying that morality is of no use. It is very useful; it is the seed-ground of immortality; and I go further and say, it is better that you should have that, even if you have no religion, than that you should have no religion and not that either. Therefore when I preach that you must be born again, when I preach that the new life in Christ Jesus, wrought by the power of God, must be in you, do not think that I undervalue the lower forms by which you come to the possibility of these things, They are of transcendant importance, but do not believe that they are enough. Straw that never ripens its grain is straw, plants that throw out leaves and do not blossom are mere grass and herbs and not flowers. Trees and vines that bring forth no fruit are not fruit vines, nor fruit trees.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Christ claims that God is to be loved with all our nature. They who love God, then, with the heart only, do sin. You are to love God with all your mind, with your brain, and thought, and power; with reason and with argument; with learning and knowledge. No pretence that you love God with your heart absolves you from loving Him with your mind. Did it ever strike you that being ignorant is disservice to God; so much withdrawn from the Almighty? To the degree that you refuse to study the sublime in nature: to that degree I have no pity for your ignorance. It is a failure in your service; a coldness in your love to God. If you love God with all your mind you will do what you do when you love a great author. You may say, "Of all authors I think Shakespeare the greatest; but I have never read one of his plays, never studied one of his sonnets." Indeed I what do you do, then, to show your love to Shakespeare? "Oh, I talk about him." He who loves an author well, turns his pages again and again; weighs his words and marks their construction. If he reads the "Merchant of Venice," he studies it attentively, and proposes to himself to go back to his labour of love again and again. I don't know who is your darling; but I know it is the anther with whom you are most familiar. And that is what loving God with all your mind is. The three great volumes of God which you should study are before every one of you: Nature, History, and the Bible.

(George Dawson.)

Practically a new chapter was opened in the history of morals when Jesus announced that within this solitary principle of duty, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," room could be found for every commandment in the Second Table of the Decalogue.

1. The affection which fulfils the whole law is an ethical principle, and not simply an instinctive or generous affection.

2. The neighbour-love which fulfils God's law possesses a compass as wide as the species, and is thereby raised above every rule of moral obligation which obtained popular currency before Christ.

3. This neighbour-love which fulfils the law forms an express counteractive and equivalent to selfishness as a motive of conduct.

4. This golden rule will carry us a great deal further than the merely negative virtue of working no harm, which, in its terms, is all that the Decalogue calls for.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

There are fundamental truths which lie at the bottom, the basis upon which a great many others rest, and in which they have their consistency. There are teeming truths, rich in store, with which they furnish the mind; and like the lights of heaven, are not only beautiful and entertaining in themselves, but give light and evidence to other things, that without them could not be seen or known. Our Saviour's great rule, that we should love our neighbours as ourselves, is such a fundamental truth for the regulating human society, that I think that by that alone one might without difficulty determine all the cases and doubts in social morality. Truths such as this we should endeavour to find out and store our minds with.

(W. Locke.)

British Weekly.
When a man is told that the whole of religion and morality is summed up in the two commandments, to love God and to love our neighbor, he is ready to cry, like Charoba in Gebir at the first sight of the sea, "Is this the mighty ocean? is this all?" Yes! all; but how small a part of it do your eyes survey! Only trust yourself to it; launch out upon it: sail abroad over it; you will find it has no end; it will carry you round the world.

(British Weekly.)

I have known people love God with the heart, and yet talk as if the works of God were not worth studying. What is the use, they say, of studying God in his works? Ah! he who loves a woman well, loves the very trinkets she wears. Whoso loves a man well, loves every hair of his head. All, everything, even the smallest thing, is glowing with preciousness, and is made glorious by the deep love of the heart. For a man, therefore, on the plea of loving God with his heart, not to love Him with his mind, is to offer but a part. Who are you, that you should look upon Nature in her beauty, and behold the green fields and the trees, every leaf of which is full of the life of God, every blade of grass a passing mystery, a consummate divineness — who are you that you should turn from that volume and say, "I love God with my heart and not with my mind." There is no excuse for you if you know nothing about Nature. Do you say you have no time for these things? One flower from your table, if you will study it, will be more than a garden; one rose is worth more attention than all your furniture. No time? You can find plenty of time to study your own foolish garments; and have you no time to study the garments of God? Whoso shall watch the sun, and ask a few questions about his rising, shall find that one hour of study shall make him more instructed than before in regard to the great works of God. Therefore, a part of loving God with the mind is to study God's works. It is not "necessary to salvation," as it is called, but it is necessary to large love, for God is not loved with the mind by stupid people.

(George Dawson.)

Thy neighbour as thyself.
I. WORKS OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY ARE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD. We infer this —

1. From the urgency with which this commandment is enjoined upon us by Jesus Christ.

(1)He places it on a par with the love of God (Matthew 22:37-39).

(2)He urges it as being emphatically His own (John 15:12).

(3)He states most anxiously the true meaning of this commandment — a precaution usually observed with matters of the greatest importance (John 13:34).

2. From man's relation to God: he being his Maker's image and likeness. The essence of Christian brotherly love consists in loving our neighbour for God's sake; not only from reverence for the Divine commandment, but from sacred reverence and love for God's own nature which is reflected in man.

3. From God's view of charitable works. He considers them as done to Himself.

II. THE VALUE OF CHARITABLE WORKS FOR OUR OWN TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL WELFARE. The rewards or effects of fraternal charity are as follows —

1. An abundance of Divine blessings, by which God restores a hundredfold what, from love towards Him, we give to His poor children.

2. Divine mercy, which opens its treasures principally to the merciful.

3. An exceedingly great reward in eternity.

(P. Beckx.)

I. THE OBJECT OF THIS DUTY. Our neighbour, i.e., every man with whom we have to do, especially every Christian.

II. THE QUALIFICATION.

1. Loving our neighbour "as ourselves" doth import a rule directing what kind of love we should bear and exercise toward him; or informing us that our charity doth consist in having the same affections of soul, and in performing the same acts of beneficence toward him as we are ready by inclination, as we are wont in practice to have or to perform toward ourselves, with full approbation of our judgment and conscience, apprehending it just and reasonable so to do.

2. Loving our neighbour as ourselves imports also the measure of our love towards him; that it should be commensurate with, and equal in degree to that love which we bear and exercise towards ourselves. This is that perfection of charity to which our Lord bids us aspire, in the injunction, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." That this sense of the words is included, yea, chiefly intended, divers reasons will evince; feral. The most natural signification and common use of the phrase doth import thus much; and any one at first hearing would so understand the words.

2. It appeareth by comparing this precept with that to which it is annexed, "of loving God with all our heart and all our soul"; which manifestly designeth the quantity and degree of that love; consequently the like determination is intended in this precept, which is expressed to resemble that, or designed in like manner to qualify and bound our duty toward our neighbour.

3. If the law doth not signify thus much, it cloth hardly signify anything; not at least anything of direction or use to us; for no man is ignorant that he is obliged to love his neighbour, but how far that love must extend is the point wherein most of us do need to be resolved, and without satisfaction in which we shall hardly do anything; for as he that oweth money will not pay except he can tell how much it is; so to know the duty will not avail toward effectual observance of it, if its measure be not fixed.

4. Indeed, the law otherwise understood will rather be apt to misguide than to direct us; inducing us to apprehend that we shall satisfy its intent, and sufficiently discharge our duty, by practising charity in any low degree or mean instance. Also —

5. The former sense, which is unquestionable, doth infer and establish this: because similitude of love, morally speaking, cannot consist with inequality thereof; for if in considerable degrees we love ourselves more than others, assuredly we shall fail both in exerting such internal acts of affection, and in performing such external offices of kindness toward them, as we do exert and perform in regard to ourselves; whence this law, taken merely as a rule, demanding a confused and imperfect similitude of practice, will have no clear obligation or certain efficacy.But, farther, the duty thus interpreted is agreeable to reason, and may be justly required of us.

1. It is reasonable that we should love our neighbour as ourselves because he is as ourselves, or really in all considerable respects the same with us. This explained.

2. It is just that we should do so, because he really no less deserves our love. Justice is impartial, and regards things as they are in themselves; whence, if our neighbour seem worthy of affection no less than we, it demands accordingly that we love him no less.

3. It is fit that we should be obliged to this love, because all charity beneath self-love is defective, and all self-love above charity is excessive.

4. Equity requires it, because we are apt to claim the same measure of love from others.

5. It is needful that so great charity be prescribed, because none inferior to it will reach divers weighty ends designed in this law; viz., the general convenience and comfort of our lives in mutual intercourse and society.

6. That entire love which we owe to God our Creator, and to Christ our Redeemer, exacts from us no less a measure of charity than this.

7. Indeed the whole tenour and genius of our religion imply an obligation to this pitch of love on various accounts.

8. Lastly, many conspicuous examples, proposed for our direction in this kind of practice, do imply this degree of charity to be required of us.

III. AN OBJECTION ANSWERED. If, it may be said, the precept be thus understood, as to oblige us to love our neighbours equally with ourselves, it will prove unpracticable, such a charity being merely romantic and imaginary; for who doth, who can, love his neighbour in this degree? Nature powerfully doth resist, common sense plainly doth forbid that we should do so: a natural instinct cloth prompt us to love ourselves, and we are forcibly driven thereto by an unavoidable sense of pleasure and pain, resulting from the constitution of our body and soul, so that our own least good or evil are very sensible to us: whereas we have no such potent inclination to love others; we have no sense, or a very faint one, of what another doth enjoy or endure; doth not, therefore, nature plainly suggest that our neighbour's good cannot be so considerable to us as our own? especially when charity doth clash with self-love, or when there is a competition between our neighbour's interest and our own, is it possible that we should not be partial to our own side? Is not, therefore, this precept such as if we should be commanded to fly, or to do that which natural propension will certainly hinder? In answer to this exception I say, Be it so, that we can never attain to love our neighbour altogether so much as ourselves, yet may it be reasonable that we should be enjoined to do so; for laws must not be depressed to our imperfection, nor rules bent to our obliquity; but we must ascend toward the perfection of them, and strive to conform our practice to their exactness. But neither is the performance of this task so impossible, or so desperately hard (if we take the right course, and use proper means toward it) as is supposed; as may somewhat appear if we will weigh the following considerations.

1. Be it considered that we may be mistaken in our account, when we do look on the impossibility or difficulty of such a practice, as it appeareth at present, before we have seriously attempted, and in a good method, by due means, earnestly laboured to achieve it; for many things cannot be done at first, or with a small practice, which by degrees and a continued endeavour may be effected; divers things are placed at a distance, so that without passing through the interjacent way we cannot arrive at them; divers things seem hard before trial, which afterward prove very easy. It is impossible to fly up to the top of a steeple, but we may ascend thither by steps; we cannot get to Rome without crossing the seas, and travelling through France or Germany; it is hard to comprehend a subtle theorem in geometry, if we pitch on it first; but if we begin at the simple principles, and go forward through the intermediate propositions, we may easily obtain a demonstration of it. If we would set ourselves to exercise charity in those instances whereof we are at first capable without much reluctancy, and thence proceed toward others of a higher nature, we may find such improvement, and taste such content therein that we may soon arise to incredible degrees thereof; and at length, perhaps, we may attain to such a pitch, that it will seem to us base and vain to consider our own good before that of others in any sensible measure; and that nature which now so mightily doth contest in favour of ourselves, may in time give way to a better nature, born of custom, affecting the good of others.

2. Let us consider that in some respects and in divers instances it is very feasible to love our neighbour no less than ourselves.

3. We see men inclined by other principles to act as much or more for the sake of others, than they would for themselves — instances of patriots and friends.

4. Those dispositions of soul which usually with so much violence thwart the observance of this precept, are not ingredients of true self-love, by the which we are directed to regulate our charity, but a spurious brood of our folly and pravity, which imply not a sober love of ourselves.

5. Indeed, we may farther consider that our nature is not so absolutely averse to the practice of such charity, as those may think who view it slightly, either in some particular instances, or in ordinary practice. Man having received his soul from the breath of God, and being framed after His image, there do yet abide in him some features resembling the Divine original. This shown by our natural sympathy with distress and misery, by our admiration of pure benevolence, and contempt of sordid selfishness, &c.

6. But supposing the inclinations of a depraved nature do so mightily obstruct the performance of this duty in the degree specified, yet we must remember that a subsidiary power is by the Divine mercy dispensed to us, able to control and subdue nature, and raise our faculties far above their natural force.

7. There are divers means conducive to the abatement of this difficulty, the issue of which may be safely referred to the due trial of them.

1. Let us carefully weigh the value of those things which immoderate self-love affects in prejudice to charity, together with the worth of those which charity sets in balance to them.

2. Let us also consider our real state in the world, in dependence on the pleasure and providence of Almighty God; the thought that we are members of one commonwealth, and of the Church, under the government and patronage of God, may disengage us from immoderate respect of private good, and incline us to promote the common welfare.

3. There is one plain way of rendering this duty possible, or of perfectly reconciling charity to self-love; which is, a making the welfare of our neighbour to be our own; which if we can do, then easily may we desire it more seriously, then may we promote it with the greatest zeal and vigour; for then it will be an instance of self-love to exercise charity; then both these inclinations conspiring will march evenly together, one will not extrude nor depress the other.

4. It will greatly conduce to the perfect observance of this rule if we studiously contemplate ourselves, strictly examining our conscience, and seriously reflecting on our unworthiness and vileness. If we do so, what place can there be for that vanity, arrogance, partiality, and injustice, which are the sources of immoderate self-love?

5. Lastly, we may from conspicuous examples and experiments be assured that such a practice of this duty is not impossible.

(L Barrow, D. D.)

I hold that the power to love man always grows in proportion to the love that you have to give. That is the New Testament thought upon the subject. That is what our Lord meant when He added — and remember He added it scrupulously, because He wished, as it were, to link it with the former — "The second is like unto it — Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Not like it in being a repetition of words cast in the same form, but like it in this, that, as child is like parent, so the duty of loving the neighbour resembles the duty of loving God, and springs from it, is caused by it, is necessitated by it. Look at it, and say, is it not true? Whenever a great man dies, there is immediately an anxiety possessing the public mind to be possessed of little tokens of his life. What do those anxieties mean? Do they not mean that our love for the one that has gone makes us love everything that his hand has touched? All that bears the impress of his hand we love. The fabulous sums given for autographs are the proof of this, that the love for any single being passes on to all that he has made. Surely that is true. Not one man stands before the world who has learned to love God but has loved that which is made by God. You look now into the face of human-kind — they are not an accidental brotherhood, the outgrowths of Creation, the evolutions of a law merely. They may be that, but they are far more — they are the offspring of God — they are made in His image. You see His likeness everywhere. Man is the autograph of God, and loved by those who love God. Nay, more — go to your homes and learn that you always loved that which was loved by those whom you loved. Why is it that you treasure that little drawer with all those sweet tokens in it — a little knot of ribbon, a small bunch of hair, a faded leaf, a pair of little shoes; what is it that makes you draw them forth and weep silent tears alone? Because these are expressions of a love which has gone. There were hands that handled those little shoes and placed them upon the tiny feet, and hands and feet have grown cold now. There in the little rough work where the small sketch is seen, the hand that traced it will trace no more — it is tracing fairer scenes in the presence of God. All that has caused anxiety, all that has caused care and toil, commends itself as a thing to be loved, because it was loved by one who has gone. So also is it when you regard humanity as the work of God. You must regard humanity, from the Christian point of view, as the redeemed work of God. Upon every son of man there is the mark of blood, and it is the blood of Christ that redeemed him. That blood is the pledge of the love which suffered, and although humanity be utterly contemptible at times, though you despise its meanness, though you turn away with disgust and loathing from its equivocations and falsehoods, yet at the moment you read, like the Israelites of old, the mark of blood there on their foreheads, you know that, not for their own sakes merely, but for the sake of Him who hung upon the cross to consecrate humanity in redemption to Himself, they must be loved by you.

(Bishop Boyd Carpenter.)

British Weekly Pulpit.
There was once a catechist preaching in China, and as he was teaching, a Chinese coolie came in and said, "What is that in your hand?" The missionary said, "It is a measure, and it is like your measures, it has got ten divisions" (the Chinese do not divide into twelve inches, but ten). "What do you measure" said the coolie. "I measure longs and shorts — long hearts and short hearts. Sit down and I will measure you." The coolie sat down, and the catechist began to measure. He took the first commandment, "Thou shalt have none other gods but Me." "Is your heart shorter than that commandment, or longer?" The Chinese man said, "Oh, I am afraid it is very short." As the catechist went through all the Ten Commandments the poor man found his heart was too short, and did not come up to any of them. The catechist said, "You see your heart is too short. How shall we make up the deficiency? who will supply what is wanting?" Then he talked to him about Jesus Christ; how He would make up his shortcomings; how Christ's obedience was as if he had kept the whole law himself. So, perhaps, some child will say, "I cannot do God's commandments." Do not say "I cannot"; it is not a good thing to say "I cannot." There was a poor man, and his hand was all withered and powerless; and Christ said to him, "Stretch out your hand." Could he? Not before Christ told him; but when God told him to "stretch out his hand," He gave him power. When God tells you to do those things you cannot do of yourselves, He gives you power. "God's biddings are God's enablings." Supposing you got a piece of cold iron, and I said, "Make me a pretty thing out of that." You would say, "I cannot bend that cold iron; melt it, and something might be done." Your heart is like a piece of cold iron, and what will melt it? Love, that will make your heart soft, and then you can keep "God's commandments." God says at the beginning of the Ten Commandments, "I am the Lord Thy God." Which is the important word there? "Thy God." If you cannot say "My God," you cannot keep His commandments. If you keep these commandments, you will become happy, holy, and useful.

(British Weekly Pulpit.)

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