The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pure Love Makes Itself Beloved

Pure or unselfish love has a power, beyond anything else, to make itself loved. This remarkable power is as permanent as its own existence. As its attributes of universality and purity, its dispositions to love all, and to love all without selfishness, are essential to its nature; so, also, is the attribute of its influence, that secret but certain  power of making itself beloved, which it has over all minds. It is not a power therefore, which is acquired, but inherent;  not incidental, but permanent; exerting its authority by virtue of its own right, and not merely as the gift of favorable circumstances.

Pure love necessarily makes itself beloved, because it involves in its own nature two things, which have a power over love, namely, Truth and Beauty.

Pure love is in the truth; — that is to say, it exists in accordance with the truth. In other words, it has a true or right foundation.  If God is a true or right being then pure love, which constitutes the central element of his character, is a right or true affection. Love, which seeks the good of others merely because it delights is goodness, and without any private or selfish views, is what it ought to be; — and it cannot be otherwise than it is, without a violation of the facts and order of the universe. True in its foundation, and true in all the relations it sustains it is, at the same time, truth to God and truth to nature, and truth to humanity.

And pure love, which is thus inscribed everywhere with the signatures of its divine verity, is as beautiful as it is true. Beauty is the daughter of truth. When things are in truth, they are where it is fitting and right, that they should be; — just in their facts, just in their relations, just in their influences; — and such things cannot be indifferent to us. They have an innate power which is real, though not always explainable. And not being indifferent, but having a natural power to excite emotions, it is not possible, with such a foundation and such relations, that they should excite any emotions but those of beauty. We regard it, therefore, as a fixed and permanent law of nature, that the true and the beautiful have an eternal relation. It is impossible to separate them. Wherever the truth is, standing out to the eye in its own free and noble lineaments, there is, and must be, beauty.

With such elements involved in its very existence, pure or holy love cannot fail to make itself beloved. While its nature is to go out of itself for the good of others, and its very life is to live in the happiness of others, such is the transcendent truth and beauty of its divine generosity, that, without thinking of itself, it makes itself the center of the affections of others. In its gently pervading and attractive nature, it finds the analogy and the representation of its influence in the natural world. The sun, as the center of the solar system, binds together the planets which revolve around it, because it has something in itself, which may be said to allure and attract their movements, rather than compel it. What the sun is to the natural world, pure love is to the moral world. It not only has life in itself, which necessarily sends out or gives love, but has an innate power in itself, which necessarily  attracts love. Receptive, at the same time that it is emanative, it stands as the moral center, which, without violating their freedom, turns the universe of hearts to itself.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 9.

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