39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
39 Verse 39. Thou shalt love thy neighbour] The love of our
neighbour springs from the love of God as its source; is found in
the love of God as its principle, pattern, and end; and the love
of God is found in the love of our neighbour, as its effect,
representation, and infallible mark. This love of our neighbour
is a love of equity, charity, succour, and benevolence. We owe to
our neighbour what we have a right to expect from him-"Do unto all
men as ye would they should do unto you," is a positive command of
our blessed Saviour. By this rule, therefore, we should speak,
think, and write, concerning every soul of man:-put the best
construction upon all the words and actions of our neighbour that
they can possibly bear. By this rule we are taught to bear with,
love, and forgive him; to rejoice in his felicity, mourn in his
adversity, desire and delight in his prosperity, and promote it to
the utmost of our power: instruct his ignorance, help him in his
weakness, and risk even our life for his sake, and for the public
good. In a word, we must do every thing in our power, through all
the possible varieties of circumstances, for our neighbours, which
we would wish them to do for us, were our situations reversed.
This is the religion of Jesus! How happy would Society be, were
these two plain, rational precepts properly observed! Love ME,
and love thy FELLOWS! Be unutterably happy in me, and be in
perfect peace, unanimity, and love, among yourselves. Great
fountain and dispenser of love! fill thy creation with this sacred
principle, for his sake who died for the salvation of mankind!
On the nature of self-love, see Mt 19:19.