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fron a cordial love, and genuine good-wil the contrary to which is a seifch stirit, whereby we are inclined only to value, and seek
and rejcice in ourown selfare and not care forour neighbor's, any further than we are infuenced by self-love and selfinterest-which selfish spirit also lays a foundation for ency at our neighbor's prosperity, and hard-heartedness in the time of his adversity, and incüincs us to hurt his interest, to promote our own. To lore our neighisor as ourselves, makes it natural to do as we would be done by; but a sellish spirit makes it natural. Malcoolence, malice, and spite, make it even natural to delight in our neighbor's misery : And hence it is, that ree denge is so sweet, and backbiting and detraction so agreeable in this fallen, sinful world.
3. I may add, that, so far as our fellow-men are proper objects of delight and complacency, so far ought we to take delight and complacency in them: And hence it is that the godly man feels such a peculiar love to the children of God, for that image of God which he sees in them. The saints are, in his account, the excellent of the earth, in whom is all his delight.... Psal. xvi. 3. The godly man is of Christ's temper, who said, I hosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sisier, and mother.... Mat. xii. 50. But wicked men are of another taste; and the things....the tempers and dispositions in their neighbors, which to them appear excellent, and upon the account of which they delight in them, are odious in God's sight. Luke xvi. 15.... For that which is highly estcemed amongst men, is abomination in the sight of God; for it is the temper of wicked men not only to do wickedly themselves, but also to have pleasure in others that do so too....Rom. i. 32. Those who are vain, or unciean, or intemperate, suit each other, and take de light in one another's company; while, at the same time, they distaste and disrelish those things among mankind which are truly most worthy of our delight. In a word, we ought so to esteem others as to be heartily disposed to treat them with all that respect which is their due ; and to have such a tender regard for their welfare as to be perfectly disposed, in every instance,
and, in every respect, to do as we would be done by; and to take notice of all their good properties with that entire friendliness and perfect candor, as may dispose us to take all that delight and complacency in them which is fit : In order unto all which, it is requisite that we be perfectly free from any tincture of pride, selfishness, &c. and have our hearts full of humility, benevolence, candor, and goodness. And now,
SECONDLY. The motives by which we are to be influenced, thus to love our neighbors as ourselves, are such as these :1. It is right and fit in itself: As the apostle, exhorting children to obey their parents in the Lord, uses this motive, For this is right.... Eph. vi. 1. The reason of God's requiring of us to love our neighbors as ourselves, is because it is, in its own nature, right that we should ; and this ought, therefore, to move and influence us to do so. There is the same general reason why I should love my neighbor, as why I should love myself. Lovely things are as worthy of being loved in him as in me; and, therefore, by me, ought, in all reason, to be loved as much. There is the same reason why my neighbor should be esteemed as being what he is, and according to the station he stands in, as that I should. To esteem myself above my neighbor, merely because I am myself, without any other reason, is unfit and wrong, at first sight : So to admire
children.... my friends....my party, as if there were none such, merely because they are mine, is unreasonable and absurd. My very worst enemy ought, by me, to be considered and esteemed as being what he is, with an impartiality perfectly disinterested, as well as my very best friend. Good properties are not at all the better, merely for belonging to me, or to my friends; or the worse, for belonging to my neighbor, or my enemy : But it is right I should view things as they are, and be affected towards them accordingly ; indeed, I ought to be so far from a disposi. tion to esteem myself above others, and to be prejudiced in my own favor, (since I am capable of a much more full and intimate acquaintance with my own sins and follies, than with the sins and follies of others), that I ought rather to be habitually
disposed to prefer others in honor above myself.... Rom. xii. 10. -Phil. ii. 3. And so, as to my neighbor's welfare and happiness, there is the same general reason why it should be dear to me, as that my own should : His welfare is worth as much, in itself, as mine ; it is as worthy, therefore, to be valued, esteemed, sought after, and rejoiced in, as mine : It is true, my welfare is more immediately put under my care by God Almighty, and so it is fit it should, by me, be more especially taken care of ;—not that it is of greater worth for being mine, for it is not ; but only because it is more immediately put under my care by God Almighty: The same may be said of the welfare of my family, &c.; but still my neighbor's welfare is, in itself, as precious and dear as mine, and he is my neighbor....he is flesh and blood as well as I, and wants to be happy as well as I, and is my brother by Adam ; we are all but one great familythe offspring of the same common parents ; we should, therefore, all be affected as brethren towards one another....love as brethren, and seek each other's welfare most tenderly and affectionately, as being sensible how dear and precious the welfare of each other is ;-this is perfectly right : And so we should bear one another's burthens.... mourn with them that
and rejoice with them that rejoice, as being tender-hearted, cordiad friends to every body ; and this from a real sight and sense that such a temper and conduct is perfectly right and fit, in the nature of things : And whereas there may be several things in my neighbor truly agreeable, it is evidently right I should delight in those good properties according to their real worth ;- it is a duty I owe to my neighbor, the possessor, and to God, the giver of those good gifts.
2. But that I should thus love my neighbor as myself, is not only, in its own nature, right, but is also enjoined upon me by the law and authority of God, the supreme Governor of the world : So that, from love to God, and from a sense of his right to me, and authority over me, I ought, out of obedience to him, to love my neighbor as myself, and always, and in all respects, to do as I would be done by: and not to do so, is not only to injure
my neighbor, but to rebel against God, my King and Governor—and so becomes an infinite evil: Hence, it is charged upon David, that, by his conduct respecting Uriah, he had despised the Lord, and despised the commandment of the Lord; and this is mentioned as the great evil of his sin.... II. Sam. xii. 9, 10: For he had not merely murdered one of his fellow-worms, but risen up in rebellion against the most high God; and practically said, “I care not for God, nor his authority....I love my lust, and will gratify it for all him :" And therefore, when David was brought to true repentance, the native language of his soul, to God, was--Against thee, thee only have I sinned.... Psal. li. 4. It is rebellion, therefore....it is despising the Lord....it is an infinite evil, not to love our neighbors as ourselves.
3. We have not only the authority, but also the example of God, to influence us to this great duty of hve and benevolence.God is love : He has an infinite propensity to do good, and that in cases where there is no motive from without to excite him ; yea, where there is every thing to the contrary: He loves to make his sun to rise, and his rain to fall, upon the evil and unthankful : He loves to fill the hearts of all with food and gladness, and to strew innumerable blessings round a guilty, Godhating world ; yea, out of his great goodness, he has given his only Son to die for sinners, and offers grace and glory, and all good things, through him-being ready to pardon, and receive to favor, any poor, guilty wretch, that will repent, and return to him, through Jesus Christ : And now for us, after all this, not to love our fellow-men--yea, not to love our very worst enemies, is very vile. Since God has so loved us, we ought surely to love one another....I. John iv, 11 : Since he has treated us, his enemies, so kindly, we ought now, as dear children, to imitate him, and love our enemics, and bless them that curse us, and da good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use us, and persecute us....Mat. v. 44,45. The infinite beauty in the goodness of the divine nature lays us under infinite obligations to imitate it, in the temper of our minds, and in our daily conduct : And it is ingratitude....it is a shame....it is
abominable wickedness, not to love our worst enemies, and forgive the greatest injuries. Since the great Governor of the world has treated us worms and rebels as he has, one would think that, after all this, we should never be able to find a heart to hate or injure any mortal : Surely, we are under very strong obligations to accept that divine exhortation in Eph. iv. 31, 32.... Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from among you, with all malice : and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you : And (Chap. 5. verse 1.) Be ye followers of God as dear children. Besides, there are many additional obligations to love and benevolence, and to peculiar respect and kindness between husband and wife, parents and children, friend and friend, &c. arising from their mutual relations, and dependancies, and from special kindnesses already received or hoped for. And now,
THIRDLY, As to the standard by which our love is to be regulated, viz. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. In order rightly to understand it, we must-1. Place ourselves, sensibly, as in the presence of the infinitely great and glorious God, before whom all the nations of the earth are nothing and less than nothing, and vanity, and, in the light of God's greatness and glory, we must take a view of our own littleness and deformity, and so learn how we ought to be affected towards ourselves, compared with God ; and as we ought to love ourselves, so ought we to love our neighbor : And now, in general, we ought to be disposed towards God, as being what he is, and towards ourselves and neighbors, as being what we and they are. Particularly, God's honor in the world ought to appear infinitely more valuable and precious than our own, and therefore our own ought to seem as a thing of no worth, compared with his, and, as such, to be freely parted with when God's honor calls for it; and as free should we be to see the reputation of our dearest friends given up for God's sake. The same may be said of our worldly interest and of all our worldly comforts, when compared with God's interest and the interest of his Son's kingdom