“This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Now, the meaning of this is, not that we should love one another to the same degree that Christ loved us; though there ought to be a proportion, considering our nature and capacity; but that we should exercise our love one to another in like manner.
As, for instance, Christ hath loved us so as to be willing to deny himself, and to suffer greatly, in order to help us; so should we be willing to deny ourselves, in order to help one another. Christ loved us, and showed us great kindness though we were far below him; so should we show kindness to those of our fellow-men who are far below us. Christ denied himself to help us, though we are not able to recompense him; so should we be willing to lay out ourselves to help our neighbour, freely expecting nothing again. Christ loved us, was kind to us, and was willing to relieve us, though we were very evil and hateful, of an evil disposition, not deserving any good, but deserving only to be hated, and treated with indignation; so we should be willing to be kind to those who are of an ill disposition, and are very undeserving. Christ loved us, and laid himself out to relieve us, though we were his enemies, and had treated him ill; so we, as we would love one another as Christ hath loved us, should relieve those who are our enemies, hate us, have an ill spirit toward us, and have treated us ill.
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, 171.