If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well:…
Every man, so far as he is a man at all, is to be loved. But you will say, "That rule, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' is in any case an impractical and an impossible rule." It is true that" as thyself" does not define the degree, it indicates the manner. Nor does it, of course, exclude differences. "Blood is thicker than water." We must love best our nearest and dearest, our brethren and companions, our fellow countrymen, the good, the worthy, the large-hearted, the household of faith. Still even with these limitations to minds tainted by selfishness and vulgarised by custom, the commandment still appears doubtless an Utopian rule. God's saints have felt it to be the most natural thing in the world. "I could have wished myself to be anathema from Christ," says St. Paul, "on behalf of my brethren." Smaller natures have been quite shocked by the expression, yet Moses had cried long before: "Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written." Danton in the French revolution was no Christian, yet even Danton could exclaim: "Be my name branded if only France be freed"; and the mission preacher who revived religious life in England exclaimed, "Let George Whitefield perish if God be glorified." Surely even we must often enough have had the feeling that we care more for those whom we love than for ourselves. Surely for our children we must have prayed with Enoch Arden, "Save them from this, whatever comes to me." In truth this care for others more than ourselves is the one distinguishing mark which separates the ignoble from the noble life. What is it which makes the life of frivolous, godless women, and debauched sottish men so inherently contemptible? It is their selfishness: they have shifted the centre of gravity from mankind to their own paltry greedy egotism; to whom applies the stern question of Carlyle, "Art thou a vulture, then, and only carest to get for thyself so much carrion?" Love to our neighbour has been the illumination of the world: it has kindled the scholar's lamp, and nerved the reformer's courage, and supported the statesman's strength, and enabled the truth-seeker to live on in the oppression of a perpetual sitting amidst corrupt Churches and an evil world. It is love to our neighbour which has over and over again purged the slum and built the orphanage and gathered little children into schools; it has bad compassion on the poor, it has given bread to the hungry, and covered the naked with a garment; it has held forth the Bible to the nations, it has launched the lifeboat, it has taken the prodigal by the right hand and opened the door of repentance to the harlot and the thief. It was love to our neighbour which burned like the fire of God upon the altar of their hearts, in a Carey, and a Livingstone, a Romilly, a Howard, a Clarkson; sent missionaries to the heathen, modified the ferocities of penal law, purified the prison, set free the slaves. It was love to our neighbour which, energising even an age of torpor and of mammon worship, sent Wesley to fan the flame amidst the dying embers of religion, and Gordon to toil among his ragged boys, and Coleridge Pattison to die by the poisoned arrows of savages, and Father Damien to waste away at loathly Molokai, a leper among the lepers. It is a dim reflection of the love of Him who lived and died to redeem a guilty world. It differentiates the worldly life and its low aims from the noble and Christian life as ready to do good even to them which despitefully use it and persecute it. Every true life comes nearest to the life of Christ by love to its neighbour, and this love which has next to nothing to do with any form of external religiosity is the essence and epitome of all pure religion; it is the end of the commandments; it is the fulfilling of the law.
Parallel VersesKJV: If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: