« PoprzedniaDalej »
400. 4. Of the Love of Self and the Love of the World in particular.
"1. The love of self consisteth in wishing well to ourselves alone, and to no others unless it be for the sake of self, not even to the church, to our country, to the society to which we belong, nor to any fellow-citizen. The love of self, however, can confer benefits on these several relations when its own reputation, honour, and glory, are concerned; but unless it sees that these will be promoted by the good offices it may do them, it says in its heart, 'What matters it? Why should I do this? What good will it be to me?' and so omits it: whence it is evident, that a man who is in the love of self, hath no love either for the church, or for his country, or for the society to which he belongs, or for his fellow-citizens, or for real goodness of any kind, but only for himselfand what relates to himself. 2. Man is in the love of self, when in his thoughts and actions he hath no regard to his neighbour, thus none to the public, still less to the Lord, but to himself alone and to his own connexions. To let his actions thus center in himself and his connexions, and to do nothing for the public except from motives of ostentation, nor for his neighbour except with a view of securing his favour, is a sure indication of self-love. 3. We connect the terms himself and his own connexions, for he who loveth himself, also loveth those who belong to himself, who are, in particular, his children and grand-children, and, in general, all who act in unity with him, whom he calls his friends: but his love for these is nothing but the love of himself, for he regards them, as it were, in himself, and regards himself in them. In this same class of those whom he calls his friends, are likewise ranked all who praise, honour, and pay their court to him; others he regards indeed with his bodily eyes as men, but with the eyes of his spirit as little better than phantoms. 4. Another indication of the love of self is, when a man thinks contemptuously of his neighbour in
comparison with himself, and when he esteems his neighbour as his enemy if he doth not shew him marks of favour, and if he doth not pay him respect and attention. It is an indication of greater self-love, when a man, for such reasons, hates and persecutes his neighbour; and of greater still, when he burns with revenge against him, and lusts for his destruction. Such persons at length delight in cruelty. 5. The nature of self-love may be plainly discovered, by a comparison with heavenly love. It is the nature and character of heavenly love, to love, for its own sake the use, or, the good, which the church, a man's country, the society to which he belongs, or his fellow-citizens, require of him; but where a man loveth such things for his own sake, he then loveth them in the same manner as he would his domestics, because they serve him. Hence it follows that he who is in the love of self, would have the church, his country, the society to which he belongs, and his fellow-citizens, to be his servants, rather than himself their servant; he places himself above them, and them beneath himself. 6. Moreover, in proportion as a man is in heavenly love, which consisteth in loving useful services and good deeds, and in being affected with heartfelt delight in the performance of them, so far he is led by the Lord, for it is this love in which the Lord is, and which proceeds from Him; but in proportion as a man is in the love of self, he is led by himself, and so far also he is led by his self-hood, which is nothing but evil, being that hereditary evil, which consisteth in loving self in preference to God, and the world in preference to heaven. 7. The love of self is also of such a nature, that in proportion as the reins are given it, that is, in proportion as external restraints are removed, such as the fear of the law and its penalties, the loss of reputation, of honour, of gain, of office, or of life, it rages with such unlimited lust, as to grasp at universal dominion, not only over this world, but over heaven, and over God Himself;
it knows no bound nor end. Such a tendency lurks in every man who is in the love of self, although perhaps it may not be apparent to the world, where it is held in check by the ties and restraints above mentioned, and where, if an insuperable obstacle stands in its way, it remains quiescent till the obstacle be removed; hence it is, that even they who are in this love, do not know that such a mad unbounded lust lies lurking within them. That this however is the case, may be seen by every one in the actions of potentates and kings, who, not being subject to such checks, restraints, and insuperable obstacles, over-run, and, as far as success attends their enterprises, subjugate provinces and kingdoms, and pant after unlimited power and glory. It is still more apparent in those who would extend their dominion even to heaven, usurping, and claiming as their own, the divine power of the Lord: these are perpetually in the desire of acquiring power beyond what they actually possess. 8. There are two kinds of dominion, one originating in love towards our neighbour, and the other in the love of self. These two kinds of dominion are directly opposed to each other. He who exercises dominion under the influence of love towards his neighbour, desires to promote the welfare of all, and feels no greater delight than in the exercise of use, and thus in serving others; (to serve others consists in doing good, from a principle of good-will, and in the performance of uses): this is his love, and this the delight of his heart: such a person, the higher he is exalted in dignity, the more is he glad, not indeed on account of the mere dignity, but because his sphere of use is thus rendered wider in extent and more excellent in degree: such dominion prevaileth in the heavens. But he who exercises dominion under the influence of the love of self, doth not desire to promote the welfare of any one, himself only, and those who belong to him, excepted the uses which he performs are done only for the sake of his own honour and glory, which
he regards as the only uses: he serves others, solely that he may himself be served, honoured, and permitted to exercise dominion he is ambitious of dignity, not to extend his ability of doing good, but that he may be in the enjoyment of glory and pre-eminence, and thence in the delight of his heart. 9. The love of dominion remaineth also with every man after the termination of his life in the world: they who have exercised it under the influence of love towards their neighbour, are then entrusted with dominion in the heavens, but then it is not they who rule, but the uses and the goods which they love; and when these bear rule, it is the Lord who rules. Such, on the contrary, as have exercised dominion under the influence of the love of self, when they leave this world, are stripped of all pre-eminence, and reduced to a state of servitude. From what hath been said, it is very plain to discover who are in the love of self: it matters not how they appear externally, whether elate or humble; for the distinctions here noted are in the internal man, which the generality of mankind study to conceal, whilst they teach the external to assume the appearance of love for the public weal and for their neighbour, and thus take a false character, which is the very reverse of their true one this also they do for the sake of self, knowing that the love of the public weal and of their neighbour hath the power of interiorly moving the affections of all men, and that they shall be held in estimation in proportion as they seem to be under its influence. The reason why that love hath such an affecting power, is, because heaven, by influx, entereth into it. 10. The evils which prevail in those who are in the love of self, are, in 'general, contempt of others, envy, enmity against such as do not favour their designs, hostility on that account, hatred of various kinds, revenge, cunning, deceit, unmercifulness, and cruelty: and where these evils are cherished, there is also a contempt of God and of divine things, which are the goods and truths
of the church; to which if any respect is shewn, it is with the lips only and not with the heart. As such evils result from the love of self, it is also attended with similar falses, for falses are derived from evils. 11. But THE LOVE OF THE WORLD Consisteth in the desire of appropriating to ourselves, by any arts whatever, the wealth of others; as also in setting the heart on riches, and suffering the world to seduce our minds from spiritual love, which is love towards our neighbour, and thus from heaven. They are in the love of the world, who are desirous of appropriating to themselves the property of others by various arts, especially if they use cunning and deceit, esteeming their neighbour's good as of no account whatever. They who are in this love lust after the property of others, and where the fear of the law, or the loss of some advantage resulting from a fair reputation, do not operate as restraints, they deprive others of their possessions, nay, they rob and plunder them. 12. But the love of the world is not in like degree opposed to heavenly love, as in the love of self, for the evils concealed in it are not so great. 13. The love of the world is manifold: there is the love of wealth, for the sake of exaltation to honours; there is the love of honours and dignities with a view to the amassing of wealth; there is the love of wealth for various purposes of worldly pleasure and satisfaction; there is the love of wealth for the mere sake of wealth, which is the love of misers; and so in other instances. The end for which wealth is desired, is called its use; and it is the end, or use, from which the love derives its quality; for the good or evil nature of the love is determined by the end to which it is directed: other things serve but as means to promote the end. 14. In short, the love of self and the love of the world, are in direct opposition to the love of the Lord and the love of our neighbour; wherefore the love of self and the love of the world, as described above, are infernal loves; they do, like