January 10, 1831.
. . . I Am not to help my neighbour because he is importunate, nor because he wants; (that does not express his claim on me) but because he is God's creature, as I am: and I have received all, and only hold all I have as occasion of exercising affections. His claim on me is through God, but this claim is nearest of any, for the Bible teaches us that God is in us, and in all, and there is therefore something in him which is another and the same as myself. I find myself in my neighbour, and the object of a charity is not to relieve want as an end, but by means of relieving that want, to justify myself to himself, or to fill both of us with God's approbation. He only is a perfect man through whom God's spirit blows unobstructed, who seeks with all his powers God's ends, seeks usefulness with every muscle, seeks truth in every thought.
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Publication information: Book title: Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Volume: 2. Contributors: Edward Waldo Emerson - Editor, Waldo Emerson Forbes - Editor. Publisher: Riverside Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 1909. Page number: 353.
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