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both cases it is the phantasy of that love that lifts up the mind to such a height of exaltation. Since the love of heaven, in a perfect man, hath possession of the highest station, and formeth, as it were, the head of the other inferior loves, and the love of the world is beneath it, forming, as it were, the breast below the head, and beneath that is the love of self, forming as it were, the feet, it follows, that were this latter love to form the head, it would totally invert the man, in which case he would appear in the sight of angels like a person lying with his head bent towards the ground and his back towards heaven; and in the act of divine worship, he would appear as if he danced on his hands and feet like the cub of a panther. Moreover, the love of self, where it formeth the head, giveth birth to the appearance of various forms of beasts with two heads, one above having a bestial, and the other below a human face, which latter is continually pushed downwards by the former, and forced to kiss the ground. All these, together with such as were described above, are sensual men, n. 402. III. THAT EVERY INDIVIDUAL MAN IS THE NEIGH
BOUR WHOM WE OUGHT to Love, BUT ACCORDING TO THE QUALITY OF his Good.
406. Man is not born for the sake of himself, but for the sake of others, that is, not to live for himself alone, but for others; or else no society could be kept together, ror could any good exist in it. It is a common saying, that every man's nearest neighbour is himself; but the doctrine of charity teacheth in what sense this saying is to be understood. Every one is bound to provide himself with the necessaries of life, as food, raiment, a house to dwell in, and several other things, which the wants of civil life, and his particular ealling, require: he is further bound to provide such things, not only for himself, but also for his family; and not only for the time present, but also for the time to come; for otherwise, being in want of all things, he could be in no state or capacity of exercising charity. But in what sense a man ought to regard himself as his nearest neighbour, may appear from the following similar cases. Every man ought to provide convenient food and raiment for his body; this must be the first object of his care; but the end in view must be, to make his body a fit instrument for the operations of his mind: every one ought also to provide necessaries for his mind, to wit, all such things as may tend to advance it in intelligence and judgment; but the end in view must be, that he may be in a state to serve his fellow-citizens, his country, the church, and thus the Lord. When a man acts thus, he provideth for his own welfare to eternity. Hence it appears, what is first in respect to time, and what is first in respect to end ; and that the object which is first in respect to end, is that, to which all intermediate objects have reference. This case may admit of comparison with that of a man who buildeth a house; his first business is to lay the foundation; but the foundation is laid for the sake of the house; and the house is built for the sake of a place to dwell in. When a man regardeth himself as his nearest neighbour, and maketh all his attention center in himself, as the principle end and object of his concern, he is like a man who regardeth the foundation of his house as the chief end, and not the house itself as a place of abode; whereas a convenient place of abode is the first and ultimate end, and the house, with its foundation, is only a medium to promote that end.
407. We shall now proceed to shew what is meant by loving our neighbour. To love our neighbour is not only to will and do good to a relation, a friend, and a good man, but also to a stranger, an enemy, and a bad man : charity bowever is exercised after different ways towards the former objects and the latter; towards a relation and friend it is expressed by direct acts of kindness, but towards an enemy and a wicked person, by indirect acts of kindness, as by exhortation, by correction, and by punishment for their amendment. Thus a judge, who according to law and justice punishes a criminal, is in the exercise of love towards his neighbour, since he thus taketh the most effectual method to reclaim and amend the criminal, and to provide at the same time for the good of his fellow-citizens, by securing them against his future fraud and violence. It is in like manner plain to every one, that a father expresseth his love towards his children by correcting them when they do amiss ; and on the other hand, that if he doth not correct them when they deserve correction, he then loveth their vices, and such love cannot be called charity. So again where a person resisteth the assaults of an enemy, and either beats him in his own defence, or commits him to prison for his future security, yet still retaining such a disposition of mind as to be willing to become his friend, he acteth from a principle of charity. In like manner wars, which have for their end the protection of our country and the church, are not inconsistent with charity; the end for which they are undertaken will shew whether they are attended with charity, or not.
408. Since then charity, with respect to its origin, consisteth in good-will, and good-will hath its residence in the internal man, it is plain, that when a man possessed of charity resisteth an enemy, punisheth the guilty, and chastiseth the evil, he effecteth this by means of the external man, and of consequence, when he hath effected it, he returneth into the charity which is in the internal man, and then, as far as he is able, or as far as it is expedient, wisheth well to him whom he hath punished or chastised, and from a principle of goodwill doeth him good. Charity, where it is genuine, is always attended with zeal for what is good, which zeal in the external man may look like anger and flaming fire, yet on the repentance of its adversary, it is instantly extinguished and appeased: but the case is quite different with those who have no charity; their zeal is anger and hatred, for their internal man is on fire with these evil passions.
409. Before the Lord came into the world, the nature of the internal man, and of charity, was scarce known to a single person, which was the reason why He so frequently instilled the doctrine of brotherly love, or charity, in which the difference between the Old and New Testament, or Covenant, consists. That we are bound by charity to do good to an adversary and enemy, is taught by the Lord in Matthew, where He says, “ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbours and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven,” Matth. v. 43, 44, 45 : And when Peter asked Him,“ How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? Until seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven,” Matth. xviii. 21, 22. And I have heard from heaven, that the Lord remitteth to every man his sins, and never punisheth for them, no, nor even imputeth them, for He is Love Itself, and Good Itself, but that nevertheless sins are not on this account wiped away; that can only be effected by repentance; for, when the Lord said to Peter, that he should forgive his offending brother until seventy times seven, how forgiving and merciful must He needs be Himself !
410. Inasmuch as charity itself resideth in the internal man, where it is as a principle of good-will, and is thence derived into the external man, where it manifesteth itself in good deeds, it follows, that the internal man ought to be the object of love, and the external man only in subordination ; consequently, that every man ought to be loved in proportion to the quality of the good, which is in him ; wherefore good itself is essentially our neighbour: this may appear plain from this consideration, that every one, in the choice of a steward or a servant, out of three or four that are offered, immediately turneth his attention to the internal man, and chooseth one that is sincere and faithful, and loveth him accordingly; in like manner a king, or magistrate, is directed in his choice of an officer by his internal qualifications, choosing him that is qualified for his function, and rejecting bim that is unqualified, how favourable and insinuating soever his external appearance and address may be. Since therefore every man is our neighbour, and there is an infinite variety of men, and every one ought to be loved as a neighbour in proportion to his good, it is evident, that there are genera and species, and also degrees, of love towards our neighbour. Since then the Lord ought to be loved above all things, it follows, that the degrees of love towards our neighbour ought to be regulated by love towards the Lord, consequently by the proportion in which the Lord is received by our neighbour, or in which he possesseth any thing from the Lord; for in that same proportion is he in the possession of good, since all good is from the Lord. But whereas these degrees exist in the internal man, which seldom manifesteth itself in this world, it is sufficient to love our neighbour according to the degrees with which we may become acquainted: but these degrees are clearly perceived after death, for then the affections of the will, and the thoughts of the understanding thence derived, form a spiritual sphere about all persons, which is made sensible by a variety of ways: that spiritual sphere, however, in the world, is absorbed by the material body, and incloseth itself in the natural sphere, which exudeth from man in his present state. That love towards our neighbour admitteth of various degrees, appears from the Lord's parable concerning the Samaritan, who shewed mercy to the man who was wounded by thieves, after the priest and Levite bad seen him, and passed by on the other side; and when the Lord inquired, which of the three seemed to be a neighbour to the unbappy man, it was answered, “ He that shewed mercy to him, Luke x. 30 to 37.