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The Two Commandments the Less Contained in the Greater

The Two Commandments the Less Contained in the Greater

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Published by glennpease
BY J. LLEWELYN DAVIES, M.A.


[Preached at Christ Churcli, St. Marylebone, 14th July 1878.)

" All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, even so do ye also unto them."

Ma'ithew vii. 12.
BY J. LLEWELYN DAVIES, M.A.


[Preached at Christ Churcli, St. Marylebone, 14th July 1878.)

" All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, even so do ye also unto them."

Ma'ithew vii. 12.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 28, 2013
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THE TWO COMMADMETSTHE LESS COTAIED I THE GREATER.BY J. LLEWELY DAVIES, M.A.[Preached at Christ Churcli, St. Marylebone, 14th July 1878.)" All things therefore whatsoever ye would that menshould do to you, even so do ye also unto them."Ma'ithew vii. 12.These are old familiar words. We learnfrom our infancy to say, " My duty towardsmy neighbour is to love him as myself, andto do to all men as I would they should dounto me." All Christians accept this as anelementary and fundamental maxim of theirreligion. But not only are these words notnew to ourselves in this age of Christen-dom ; they were by no means altogether newto the world when our Lord spoke them.Parallels to them can be found in heathenphilosophers, in the sacred books of otherreligions. The maxim may justly be regarded98 Social Questions.as human and universal, rather than as speci-fically Christian.Our Lord, as we are reminded by thissaying, was not a teacher who affected noveltyof phrase. To us he is, in a true sense, themost original of teachers. One of the firstimpressions his teaching made upon thosewho heard it fresh from his lips was that he
 
taught with authority, and not as the scribes ;not like men who retailed a traditionalmorality, but as one whose lessons camedirect from the fountain of truth and order.But we fall into an error when we imaginethat we ought to be jealous for the novelty of all those lessons. It would seem that ourLord preferred, on the contrary, to throw hisdoctrine into forms of speech already currentamong the people. The old sacred languageof the Jews was sacred to him also. Hespoke to his fellow-countrymen as the Son of their own God. He did not desire to appeara stranger to them ; he was glad to use theimages and the proverbs which belonged tothe common stock of their popular language.Attempts have been made by persons un-favourable to Christianity to show that thecharacteristic precepts of the Gospels are notso exclusively original as they have beensupposed to be ; and the attempts have hadsome undeniable success. Let us not bedisturbed by any such demonstrations. Itwas natural that the Son and Word of Godshould use language which the Spirit of Godhad already suggested to men. Christiansought to show no jealousy in appreciatingwhat has been true and good in the apprehen-sions of men previous to and apart from thedirect teaching of Christ.Our recognition of the authority of Christ'steaching depends upon its proving itself to betrue and profound to the farthest limits of our insight and aspirations. If in the courseof history and of our experience we becameconvinced that it was really superficial andlocal in its character — If it could be allegedthat we have advanced beyond it and havediscovered principles which deal more effect-
 
ually with the circumstances of our lives,and which commend themselves with moreauthority to our hearts and consciences thanthose which we have learnt from Christ — itwould be necessary that his teaching shouldbe deposed from the rank which has beenclaimed for it. But that — need I say? — Isloo Social Questions.not yet our conviction. Each time that weturn to the Gospels we find ourselves awed,commanded, moved, as by no other morality.We know nothing deeper, nothing moreuniversal, nothing more practical, than thelaws of human conduct which our Lordclothed in language intelligible and impressiveto his Galilean hearers. The Gospel moralityneeds no championship, it only wants to beunderstood and felt. It has much that ismanifestly higher than what human wisdomunenlightened by the Gospel has ever sug-gested ; but it also welcomes and justifiesand exalts every good idea which has ap-peared to be independent of it.The principle that we should do to otherswhat we should wish them to do to us isone of those which may be found elsewherethan in the ew Testament, but it is thereaffirmed with emphatic authority, and theChristian Church has accepted it as a rule of practical life. In thus accepting it there aretwo qualifying considerations which it is well,I think, to bear in mind.I. Like other general precepts, it will not

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