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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 bet-. ter 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 implanted by natural laws cunningly working for the propagation of life. Its origin, as Professor Maccunn remarks, does not explain its end, and its initial motive but poorly suggests its final value. Even in its grossest forms sacrificial, Love has within itself the power of expansion and developments into the holiest of social forces, and in the process of this development it passes out of the stage where it has to be excited by the pleasing of the eye, into a pure passion of a soul for a soul; and then out of that, ceasing to restrict itself according to the fancy, as the heart enlarges and
the multitude of men and women, satisfied only to be lover of the world's soul, of the universal heart, and to spend itself in unreasoning sacrifice for even the mean, the ugly and the sinful of that family for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and to die.
Ah! how feebly and superficially we have used the word. How little we have understood its divine meaning!
A few men have understood it; One, perfectly, because He knew it as the name of His Father, whose will—the will of LoveHe had come into the world to do. Jesus gave us the perfect exposition of what Love is, and then He left it as what He called a New Commandment. But what was there new about it? Love was an old thing. Certainly the newness was in the fulness, the unreservedness, in which exercised, Love was indeed become a new thing, and for the first time worthy of its name. We are to love in the measure in which He loved, and loves. And how is that ? Even with the uncalculating and supreme self-surrender of His passion, Who on the cross prayed for His murderers, and of His own will giving up His life, refused to give up the Love with which He loved His own unto the end.