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St. Augustine
On Christian Doctrine

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chap. 26. The command to love God and our neighbour includes a command to love ourselves
Seeing, then, that there is no need of a command that every man should love himself and his own body, seeing, that is, that we love ourselves, and what is beneath us but connected with us, through a law of nature which has never been violated, and which is common to us with the beasts (for even the beasts love themselves and their own bodies), it only remained necessary to lay injunctions upon us in regard to God above us, and our neighbour beside us. "Thou shalt love," He says, "the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Thus the end of the commandment is love, and that twofold, the love of God and the love of our neighbour. Now, if you take yourself in your entirety, that is, soul and body together, and your neighbour in his entirety, soul and body together (for man is made up of soul and body), you will find that none of the classes of things that are to be loved is overlooked in these two commandments. For though, when the love of God comes first, and the measure of our love for Him is prescribed in such terms that it is evident all other things are to find their centre in Him, nothing seems to be said about our love for ourselves; yet when it is said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," it at once becomes evident that our love for ourselves has not been overlooked.



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