And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matt. 22:39).

The shortest and most comprehensive commentary ever given of this commandment is that of our Lord, several times repeated: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.” This is declared to be “the law and the prophets”; that is, it comprehends all the duties which we owe to our fellow men, inculcated in the law and the prophets.

The New Testament makes a great deal of that summary of duty. No fewer than three several times do we find our Lord appeal to it as embracing the pith of the whole second table of the decalogue; and after his example it is twice cited in the letters of St. Paul, and once by St. James. Of course, thoughtful students of the Hebrew canon must always have felt it to be one of its profoundest ethical axioms. But the current teaching of our Lord’s day broke down the force of the glorious old saying, not only or so much by forgetting the important words “as thyself,” which made man’s selfishness the very measure of his charity, as by narrowing that area of neighborliness within which charity is commanded.

Like Unto First

The love of man is intimately connected with the love of God. Philanthropy and piety are sister sentiments. It was a doctrine of the Pharisees, that the strict observance of one precept would atone for the neglect of others. But Jesus inculcates obedience throughout, both in our relations to God and to man.


The second part of the summary is the corollary of the first, and cannot be realized except in connection with it. Nothing but the reigning love of God can so divest the individual of devotion to his own person, that the ego of his neighbour shall rank in his ...

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