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The Impossibility Conquered : Or, Love Your Neighbour As Yourself.

In the Manner of Sir Walter Raleigh.

The Objector.
Each man who lives, the Scriptures prove,
Must as himself his neighbour love;
But though the precept's full of beauty,
'Tis an impracticable duty:
I'll prove how hard it is to find
A lover of this wondrous kind.

Who loves himself to great excess,
You'll grant must love his neighbour less;
When self engrosses all the heart
How can another have a part?
Then if self-love most men enthrall,
A neighbour's share is none at all.

Say, can the man who hoards up pelf
E'er love his neighbour as himself?
For if he did, would he not labour
To hoard a little for his neighbour?
Then tell me, friend, can hoarding elves
E'er love their neighbour as themselves?

The man whose heart is bent on pleasure
Small love will to his neighbour measure:
Who solely studies his own good,
Can't love another if he would.
Then how can pleasure-hunting elves
E'er love their neighbour as themselves?

Can he whom sloth and loitering please
E'er love his neighbour like his ease?
Or he who feels ambition's flame
Loves he his neighbour like his fame?
Such lazy, or such soaring elves
Can't love their neighbour as themselves.

He, whose gross appetites enslave him,
Who spends or feasts the wealth God gave him;
Full pamper'd, gorged at every meal,
He cannot for the empty feel.
How can such gormandizing elves
E'er love their neighbour as themselves?

Then since the man who lusts for gold,
Since he who is to pleasure sold;
Who soars in pride, or sinks in ease,
His neighbour will not serve or please;
Where shall we hope the man to find
To fill this great command inclined?

I dare not blame God's holy word,
Nor censure Scripture as absurd;
But sure the rule's of no avail
If placed so high that all must fail;
And 'tis impossible to prove
That any can his neighbour love.

The Answerer.
Yes, such there are of heavenly mould,
Unwarp'd by pleasure, ease, or gold,
He who fulfils the nobler part
By loving God with all his heart;
He, only he, the Scriptures prove,
Can, as himself, his neighbour love.

Then join, to make a perfect plan,
The love of God to love of Man;
Your heart in union both must bring,
This is the stream, and that the spring;
This done, no more in vain you'll labour,
A Christian can't but love his neighbour.

If then the rule's too hard to please ye,
Turn Christian, and you'll find it easy.
"Still 'tis impossible," you cry,
"In vain shall feeble nature try."
'Tis true; but know a Christian is a creature,
Who does things quite impossible to nature.