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THE NEW COMMANDMENT.
SEVEN times in the course of the Sermon before the Cross, Jesus repeated the commandment of Love, and as may times more, solemnly, in the name of His own Love, enjoined obedience to His commandment. We shall do well gravely to consider the meaning of that word “ Love."
One thing is certain to begin with: We shall altogether miss Jesus's meaning if we substitute for His word, the word “respect," say, or “ tolerate.” It is equally certain that we shall fail to apprehend Him if we read “ love" as if it were synonymous with “like.” I do not suggest the possibility of this confusion because it is one into which schoolgirls fall, but because I believe that while most of us, through verbal instinct, use the words with substantial accuracy, the distinction between them is not clear in our minds, and because I believe that that distinction is an essential one. It is not, of course, a matter of degree; Love is more than a great liking. Neither is it true that loving is restricted to animate objects, while liking need not be-a common notion of the distinction. We may, we should, love our Country, love Truth and Beauty and Justice—all inanimate objects incapable of making response. The distinction, I feel sure, is this: In liking, we think of a thing as valuable to us; in loving, we think of ourselves as valuable to it. Liking is egoistic; Love is altruistic. We like for our own sake; we love for the other's sake. We like a thing when it gives us pleasure; we love a thing when we desire to give to it pleasure or service or advantage; when our self ceases to be the centre of thought, and becomes as nothing—becomes a thing to be freely offered, a casket to be broken and poured out upon the head of the object of our love. Love is sacrifice unconscious of itself; the complete giving, the absolute surrender. It is a streaming outward of the inmost treasures of the spirit, a consecration of its best activities to the welfare of another.5 Love is a spendthrift, magnificent in its recklessness, squandering the very essence of the