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31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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31. And the second is like—"unto it" (Mt 22:39); as demanding the same affection, and only the extension of it, in its proper measure, to the creatures of Him whom we thus love—our brethren in the participation of the same nature, and neighbors, as connected with us by ties that render each dependent upon and necessary to the other.

Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself—Now, as we are not to love ourselves supremely, this is virtually a command, in the first place, not to love our neighbor with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. And thus it is a condemnation of the idolatry of the creature. Our supreme and uttermost affection is to be reserved for God. But as sincerely as ourselves we are to love all mankind, and with the same readiness to do and suffer for them as we should reasonably desire them to show to us. The golden rule (Mt 7:12) is here our best interpreter of the nature and extent of these claims.

There is none other commandment greater than these—or, as in Mt 22:40, "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (see on Mt 5:17). It is as if He had said, "This is all Scripture in a nutshell; the whole law of human duty in a portable, pocket form." Indeed, it is so simple that a child may understand it, so brief that all may remember it, so comprehensive as to embrace all possible cases. And from its very nature it is unchangeable. It is inconceivable that God should require from his rational creatures anything less, or in substance anything else, under any dispensation, in any world, at any period throughout eternal duration. He cannot but claim this—all this—alike in heaven, in earth, and in hell! And this incomparable summary of the divine law belonged to the Jewish religion! As it shines in its own self-evidencing splendor, so it reveals its own true source. The religion from which the world has received it could be none other than a God-given religion!




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