Monday, February 21, 2011

A degree that staggers human nature

Matthew 5:43, 44. "It hath been said, Thou shalt love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you." This text confirms what I before remarked, that the exercise of bad tempers is an infraction of the divine law. But the love of our neighbor is here carried to a degree that staggers human nature, and to which no religion beside the Christian ever inculcated. To love those who love us and do us good, seems natural and reasonable enough; and Jesus says that even the heathen do this. But to love those who heartily hate us, and speak all manner of evil things against us, and would willingly do us any mischief—I say, to love these, and to do them kindly services, to pray heartily for their welfare, and to bless them in the name of the Lord—is indeed the perfection of virtue—it is God-like!

- A Treatise on Temper—its Use and Abuse

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