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included in the term neighbor ; that is, all others beside yourslf,-father, mother, brother, sister ; king, and all in authority, such as magistrates, public officers, rulers, governors, teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters ;—they are all in the Scripture sense neighbors, our fellow-creatures in different stations of life, and all having a claim upon us for that behavior towards them which is due to their station, or which we owe them in the great Scripture spirit, Love.
How do you know that Love is the first principle ?
A fine boy, who stood at the head of the class, answered,
Because, when the Pharisees asked our Lord Jesus, Which is the great commandment in the law ? he answered so as to show that Love was the great principle, both towards God and towards our neighbors.
Repeat the passage.
Matt. xxii. 37-40. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great coromandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Why is the second like unto the first. Because of its principle, which is also Love.
Why do all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments ?
Because Love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom. xiii. 10.
It is called the royal law, Jam. ii. 8. Royal means kingly, sovereign, that which bears the rule, so if we have love, then it will act in royal power over all our hearts, and subdue all to itself, all rebellious passions. It is worth your while, dear boys, to remember what is this royal law, because then you will understand what is to govern you in all your conduct towards your God and towards your neighbor.
Do you remember what it was by which the Lord convicted the Pharisees of coming short of the law.
Yes. Ye pass over judgment and the love of God. Luke xi. 42.
Whence comes Love into the heart of the children of God?
From God. God is Love, 1 John iv. Love is of God, 1 John iv. 7; and in Rom. v. 5, it is written, The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
I turned to the second boy, and said, How much are you to love your neighbor ?
To love him as myself.
To do unto others as I would they should do unto me.
Now take notice of these several parts we ought to perform in this our duty to our neighbor.
I begin with your betters, as they are called; which means, all your superiors of what
ever station. If you yourself were among the class of superiors, or betters, how would you think it right that others should behave to you?
He did not answer, being a little puzzled, but a quick intelligent boy lower in the class said,
Lowly and reverently.
Right, that means respectfully and dutifully ; then as you know how you would they should do to you, therefore do you so to them. Elders and old men are to be considered as among your
betters, on account of their
and experience. Have you any Scriptures to direct you?
Yes,-Lev. xix. 32, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man." 1 Peter v. 5, “ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder ; yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility.”
Suppose you were a master, how would you desire to be behaved to ?
They had caught the idea I wished to convey to them, and several answered at once,
To be submitted to.
What Scripture' have you to prove that servants ought to submit to their masters ?
1 Peter ii. 18, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." Eph. vi. 5,
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." And also Titus ii. 9, 10.
Then if you are a servant, remember by this rule how you are to behave to your master, even as you would it should be done unto you.
But suppose you were a spiritual pastor, that is, a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, appointed as a shepherd to a flock, how would you desire that the flock should behave to you?
The same to be submitted to.
Have you any Scripture to prove this to be right?
Yes, 1 Cor. iv. 1, " Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." And the apostle teaches, us in 1 Thess. v. 12, 13,“ to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you ; and esteem them very highly in love for their works' sake.”
Remember, then, by these rules, how you ought to behave to your spiritual pastors and ministers of Christ.
And suppose you were a teacher, how would you be behaved to ?
The same,--submitted to.
Yes, but you observe by the Scripture rules you give me, that there is a particular kind of submission to be rendered, according as each station or office requires. Have you any Scripture to direct you in this instance ?
They were not ready with an answer; I encouraged them, therefore, with a little help. That
may be applied to this case which is written in 1 Tim. y. 17, “ Let the elders that rule
well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." For if you look to I Cor. xii. 28, you will see that God himself sets teachers in the church, amongst the other offices; and if you turn to Proverbs v. 12, 13, you will see an affecting expression of lamentation that is sure to come on them that do not submit to their teachers : “How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me !" That you may not have this bitter lamentation to make, remember, dear boys, in the days of your youth, to submit yourslves to your teachers.
But there is still another office, that of governors ; How would you that others should behave
you, were you a governor ? The same, to be submitted to.
Governors in this place means those who have the authority over you in particular, such as your protectors, instructors, rulers; for each child is in the situation of having some one who has the chief government over him,-such as the stewards who may be placed over them, masters of apprentices, guardians to whom they may be committed, the governors and governesses of schools, or of asylums or of societies, of charities, of hospitals; that is, the persons who are in the supreme authority for these temporary purposes. To these you must submit. I will give you a text for your direction.