« PoprzedniaDalej »
self upon its object, and by so doing enriching the self beyond all measure. For in loving, the individual becomes reimpersonated in another; indeed, becomes what in isolation he was not-a person. In giving, he gains, himself ; in losing, finds ; in spending, receives, himself. It is forever true that he alone comes into possession of himself who pours himself out in love; that whosoever shall seek to gain (TT Epiftolnoaobai) his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life shall bring it to a new birth (swoyovňosi). He who giveth his life to a son shall receive it as a Father; he who loseth his life in that of his country shall find his life as a Citizen; he who layeth down his life in service for men shall take it up as a Man. For what is a Man but the sum of his sacrifices ? Here is a creature who will make none; he says to himself: “I will decline all relationships. I won't take the trouble to be a Citizen. I won't be a Husband nor a Brother nor a Son. I refuse to be anyone's Friend. Let no man call me Employer or Partner. I will wrap myself in my own personality, and give nothing of myself to others.” What has he done? What is he? He is nothing, and has not a name. He has not found, but lost, himself. For to be neither Father, Son, Husband, Friend, Neighbour, Employer, nor Citizen, is to be—just nothing. You can give no description of such a being. He is not a Man, for manhood is attained just in the relationships,-the sacrifices,—which he has declined. What we see upon the street is not a Man, but only the centre around which cluster the relationships which constitute the Man. Would you be a Man, in the fulness of its meaning ? Take up the relationships of life. Give yourself, and find yourself. Freely pour out your choicest possessions, and discover that returning tides bring richer ones. Enter into the fellowship of sacrifice.
St. John is merely making a scientific statement when he says that he who loveth not his brother abideth in death. The sacrifice of love thus is a blessing not alone for its object, but to him who sacrifices; it makes sorrow itself, and deprivation and loss and shame, lyric with joy. In the camp of Israel and everywhere, it is when the burnt-offering begins that the song of the Lord begins also with the trumpets. The chief joys of life are these two: to love, and to be loved. The first is best. To be the object of affection may be gratifying, but that by itself offers nothing to compare with the deep and solemn joy of giving the soul in love, even unrequited and despised. He who said “ It is more blessed to give than to receive" knew that to the full even when His Saviour's heart was breaking with rejected, but still infinite, love. Love is its own end and its own reward, as it is its own motive and reason. Isn't God happy in sending His rain on the just and on the unjust, His sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good ? God doesn't do that because it is His programme, but because it is the natural and necessary expression of the law of His nature, which is Love.
And so, to go now deeper into the subject, it is not because it is a happiness to love that God commands it, but because Love, being the law of His nature, is therefore the law by which order among men, by which human society, must stand. Whatever of social order there is among men today is the creation of the principle of Love. Society is organized sacrifice—imperfect as yet because there is as yet only the hesitating sacrifice of imperfect Love. The basis of society is not in eternal vigilance, nor in an agreement to maintain certain laws, nor in mutual respect, nor mutual toleration, nor mutual trust sufficient to justify a network of contracts. The basis of society is in Love. What are the institutions of society, the orders which hold it together and give it form ? They are these three—the Family, the Nation, and the Church. These are all the creation of Love. Clubs, class associations, business partnerships, confederacies, religious societies of human origin
—these things have their basis in contract, and they may be of temporary use, but there is for them no assurance of perpetuity. They do not belong in the scheme of the universe. They will have disappeared long ago, and have been forgotten, when the Nations and the Kindreds, in the city of the
Church triumphant, stand everlastingly before the throne, a perfect society.
I say further, that Love is the only positive and creative force that works among men. Its effect is always life-begetting and organizing. Whether it be in its lowest and earliest form, the yearning of brute for brute; or in that instinct, beginning already to exhibit the holiness of mother-love, which binds brute-parent to brute-offspring; or in that gladdening and beautiful affection in which youth and maiden join hands for better or worse; or in the later deep tenderness of the family ties; or in the passionate devotion of the patriot to his country; or, finally, in the enthusiasm for humanity in which the true Churchman, the love-penetrated man, takes upon himself vicariously the sorrow of the world's sin, and sets about deeds of helpfulness and saving—everywhere, I say, Love is creative, constructive, making for order, a law of organization and salvation. It makes no difference that it manifests itself in ignoble shapes, or that its highest forms are related to, or on some philosophy may be said to have their basis in, the physical instincts