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exhibition of religion is of no manner of value, Matt. 7: 22, 23. He who loves me,' says Jesus, loves the Father also, for I am his messenger,' John 14: 9. He makes love to himself, however, to consist solely in keeping his commandments, which he represents as none other than the sacred commandments of God and duty, John 14: 15,21, 23, 24, and in order to give a still more intelligible view of what he calls love to God, he requires men to exhibit the dispositions and feelings of children, towards God in their actions, Matt. 5: 45. This however can mean nothing else than that they are to go to the extent of their ability in attending to the will of their heavenly Father, rendering themselves at all times worthy of his approbation, regulating their conduct by his example, and striving to be equally perfect, Matt. 5: 44-48. Luke 6: 27-36; for, says the favorite apostle, and of course the one likely to have the best apprehension of his Master's meaning, "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments," 1 John 5: 3. To love God then, agreeably to the very definite explanations which Jesus himself has given of the subject, is to yield a perfectly willing, pure, and punctual obedience to his holy and benevolent will, as exhibited in the different laws of morality; and a man proves that he possesses love to God, when he strives to become perfect and holy like God.*
[The foregoing observations will furnish a sufficient refutation of the objections which have been raised respecting the doctrine of love in God and love to God, in the work, "God is the purest love," Benvenuto's Zweifel vor dem Tribunale der höhern Religionskritik niedergelegt von Röhling, S. 77 ff., Frankf. a. M. 1803, in which, S. 42 ff., the author goes so far as to assert that John accommodated himself to the religion founded in love after the manner of the Greeks, (dass Johannes sich zur graecissirenden Liebes-Religion bequemt habe!) [Does the author refer to Platonic love, the principles of which were adopted by the Mystic sects, and early introduced into Christianity? Vid. Neander, Kirch. Geschichte, I. 1. S. 31 seqq., 60 seqq., and various works referred to by Reinhard, System der christl. Moral, B. II. § 180, An. a. Röhling is not at hand. TR.]
[The expression "God is love," 1 John 4: 16, is probably derived from that of Christ, John 3: 16, as its source. That love can never be exacted by command, S. 119 ff., might be considered as a valid ob
Hence also it follows, that the love to one's neighbour or fellow creature, which Jesus connected with love to God, and made of equal importance, Matt. 22: 37-39, cannot be a mere trifling with philanthropical emotions or an idle exhibition of kindness, but must consist in an activity which springs from a sense of duty and aims at public utility with an ardor that readily submits to personal sacrifices; -an activity, founded upon a lively regard for the worth and dignity of human nature, and a steadfast respect for God and his will. Such was the character of the philan thropy which Jesus himself exhibited, John 10: 11-18. Such a sympathizing spirit of activity, making, as it does, a man feel as great a solicitude for the welfare of others, as for his own, and leading him to do to others as he would that they should do to him, constitutes, as Christ expresses it, the essence of all that is contained in the Scriptures, Matt. 7: 12. It requires a man therefore to imitate God in the disinterestedness and extent of his benevolence as far as opportunity presents, and prohibits him entirely from neglecting those hostile to him and the vicious, in his efforts to do good, Matt. 5: 43-48.* He
jection to it, did not the law of God, as exhibited in the gospel, excite and strengthen a corresponding love in man, and impart to him a spirit which transforms the obligation of duty into the pleasure of the will. For the same reason, Christ's command respecting love, connot be confined to a mere cold estcem for morality according to Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphys. der Sitten, S. 13; Kritik der pract. Vernunft, S. 144 ff. Religion innerhalb der Grenzen d. bl. Vern., S. 242. 2e A. Comp. Reinh. Syst. d. Moral, B. II. §173 seqq.] [That the command to love enemies, as regards its compass, and pure, religious spirit, was first made known by Christianity, is evident from comparing it with the doctrines of the old philosophers. Vid. Hupeden, Commentatio, qua comparatur doctrina de amore inimicorum Christiana cum ea, quae in V. T. et in philosophor. Graecor. ac Romanor. scriptis traditur, Gottin.1817; Meyer, Doctrina Stoicor. ethica cum Christiana comparat. p. 88-99, Gott. 1823. "We may boldly challenge the most thoroughly read investigator of antiquity to point out a single passage in all its writings, in which this duty is explained and recommended in so clear, impressive, appropriate, and fine a manner. One needs but a slight acquaintance with the spirit of Grecian and Roman antiquity, even when the most cultivated and refined, to be able to infer a priori that it could never produce any such fruit." Krug, Briefe über die Perfectibilität der geoffenb. Religion, S. 340 ff.]
is always to hold human nature in esteem, however low the grade in which he finds it, Matt. 18: 5, 10, 11. 10: 42, and, without regard to personal danger, be ready to assist all that stand in need of assistance, Luke 10: 25—37 ; or, according to John's explanation of his master's will, a man is not to love in word and tongue, but in deed and in truth, 1 John 3: 18, and be ready to lay down his life for the brethren whenever it is necessary, 1 John 3: 16. The position: "Think, feel and act in such a manner as always to resemble God, the great archetype of all perfection, the supreme benefactor, and consider thy fellow creatures as thy brethren, and be ever upon the alert to do good," is the chief commandment, the one to which Christ has reduced every thing, and which he has laid at the very foundation of his system of morality.
$ 26. The more we think of the character which was in this way imparted to morality, the more we shall be convinced that it was an entirely new one, though such as it must ever have, in order to be adapted to our nature, and exert a salutary influence. In the first place, the general principle of love to God and man brought it into a relation to religion which it had never before sustained, and yet the only true and correct one. Before the time of Christ, religion and morality were separated; for the heathen had a morality, without religion, and the Jews a religion without morality, and hence the morality of the heathen was cold and powerless, and the religion of the Jews as well as that of the other nations of that age of the world a devout pomposity prejudicial to morality. The commandment which enjoins love, was employed by Jesus as a holy bond of union for inseparably and forever combining morality and religion together; for he who loves God and man is pious only when he is morally good, and he is never morally good without reference to God, whom in this respect, he strives to resemble. In his manner of thinking and acting, he cannot avoid keeping before his eyes the supreme lawgiver, benefactor and father, to whom he is indebted for all things, and of course, cannot avoid being religious. As the laws of morality are written on his heart, neither can
he avoid keeping them also, and thereby evincing, that he is a child of God, and of the same mind, and hence he cannot avoid being virtuous. The relation, which was in this way established between morality and religion, was not a subjection of one to the other, but a regular combination, a fraternal union of the two. Jesus did not found morality upon religion. He suffered it to rest upon its own principles, Matt. 7: 12. Neither did he found religion upon morality, for when he inculcated duties, he usually commenced with religious representations, John 4: 24, and then proceeded to point out those principles of religion which are not moral, Matt. 6: 26-29, John 3: 16; but he taught the two in connexion, by which means, he remedied the imperfections peculiar to each, so long as they were separated. It was only necessary for one to love God and man as Jesus did, in order to make the whole system of morality religious, and the whole system of religion moral, in which case, the former has an author, a lawgiver, and rewarder, and the latter becomes the friend of virtue, the supporter of integrity, and the dispenser of gentle consolation in all the calamities of life. Jesus, therefore, by making use of the commandment which enjoins love to God and man, and thus imparting to morality a new character, provided a remedy for one of its chief defects. Hitherto religion had been a stranger to it, and too often injurious. Now an alliance was formed between them which proved advantageous to both.
27. For, by means of the commandment which enjoins love, Jesus also effected the purification of morality. Selfish principles, it is well known, prove death to every thing like genuine morality. They degrade it, make it subservient to our inclinations and lusts, and transform it into a system of common prudential maxims. It was the lot of morality to be generally thus degraded in the times of Christ. The spirit which animated it among the Jews, was an exceedingly base desire of reward, and a slavish fear of divine punishment; and more than one philosophical school among the heathen looked upon morality as nothing more than the art of perpetual enjoyment, and as far as possible, obtaining possession of every kind of pleasure and
gratification. By laying this commandment, therefore, at the foundation of his system of morality, Jesus forever delivered it from the spirit of selfishness; for he, who acts under the influence of love, neither fears for himself, nor has respect to personal gain. The very nature of true love leads him to disdain all such considerations. He, therefore, who loves God, is not influenced in his actions by the hope of a reward. What he does, is done solely because God wills it and approves of it. Recognising God also as his father, he feels no anxiety as to his own happiness. His destiny is in the hands of one, who knows better what is for the good of his children than they themselves, Matt. 6: 31, 32. Nor can he who loves mankind, allow himself to seek after his own profit merely, for true philanthropy is noble, self-denying, magnanimous. Indeed, it is impossible for a man, who loves his fellow creatures as brethren, to separate his interests from theirs ; he is constrained by the principle itself, to make their cause his own. Finally, it is impossible for him, who loves mankind like the Father of all, who makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, Matt. 5: 44-48, and neither needs nor expects any return for his favors, ever to think of having reference to a reward in the performance of his social duties. Love to God and man unavoidably leads one to perceive that every thing good and right has an internal and independent value, and must be approved of, and performed without any respect to consequences; and he, who possesses it, feels himself called upon to act as God acts. He would dishonor himself, therefore, and offend God, should he allow himself to be first moved to the performance of his duty by the hope of his own gain.
$28. By means of the general principle of true love to God and man, however, Jesus not only happily rescued morality from the degradation to which selfishness had subjected it, but he firmly secured it against that fanaticism, extravagance, and false purity, with which it was inculcated, particularly by the Essenes among the Jews, and by the Stoics among the heathen. He, who loves