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S sa ar viestos sl that be hath, but a"
begin to rese
i3nces of their deportment, but also in their voice and secure, and that which we call their mein and air. And certainly we should as well transcribe the virtues always in bazard to be sullied and corrupted by placing our Sections on them. Passion doth easily blind our eres so that we first approve, and then imitate the
ss that are blameable in them. The true way to improve and ennoble our souls, is, by fixing our love on
- Perfections, that we may have them always - the Lord, we may be changed into the
S and body ambition hath raised his eyes towards
Created beauty and goodness, and fixed his affectoure is quite of another spirit, of a more excellent and her tes per than the rest of the world; and canDe bestels disdain all mean and unworthy things;
Nese serta ant low or base thoughts which might dage s high and noble pretensions. Love is the Ser and basenes to bestow it unworthily. gtas 2 eicellent thing we are masters of; and
ke Tiere agus a receive their value from the
DE RES-ra, sad not to be measured by the ever. he e dar, de abo loreth may in some sers 32 own likeses. Hence, we may see how easily lovers or friends do slade into the imitation of the persons whom they sect, and how, even before they are aware, they
e mble them, not only in the more considera beauties of the soul, if they were the object ce of our love. But now, as all the creatures se with have their mixture and alloy, we are
an impression of them on ourselves, Tires aith open face, as in a glass, the
94, from glory to glory. He who with a a>
only thing we can call our own. Other
be taken from us by violence; but none can Here I aar thing else be counted ours, by
are we give all, so far as we make over our abr which we possess our other enjoy
sa pasable to refuse him any thing, to e mbare girea ourselves Nay, since it
signed for God; as he who is scrustomed to speak to
Again, as divine love doth advance and elevate the
successful afection. That which imbitters love,
the placing it on those who have not worth
else which may make the beloved person happy, since
When this affection is misplaced, it doth often rent
trouble. To all these evils are they exposed, whose chief and supreme affection is placed on creatures like theinselves: but the love of God delivers us from them all.
The worth of the object. First, I say, love must needs be miserable, and full of trouble and disquietude, when there is not worth and excellency enough in the object to answer the vastness of its capacity. So eager and violent a passion, cannot but fret and torment the spirit, where it finds not wherewith to satisfy its cravings. And, indeed, so large and unbounded is its nature, that it must be extremely pinched and straitened, when confined to any creature; nothing below an infinite good can afford it room to stretch itself, and exert its vigour and activity. What is a little skindeep beauty, or some small degrees of goodness, to match or satisfy a passion which was made for God, designed to embrace an infinite good? No wonder lovers do so hardly suffer any rival, and do not desire that others should approve their passion by imitating it. They know the scantiness and narrowness of the good which they love, that it cannot suffice two, being in effect too little for one. Hence love, which is strong as death, occasioneth jealousy which is cruel as the grave; the coals whereof are coals of fire, which hath a most violent flame.
But divine love hath no mixture of this gall; when once the soul is fixed on that supreme and all-sufficient good, it finds so much perfection and goodness, as doth not only answer and satisfy its affection, but master and overpower it too: it finds all its love to be too faint and languid for such a noble object, and is only sorry that it can command no more. It wisheth for the flames of a seraph, and longs for the time when it shall be wholly melted and dissolved into love: and because it can do so little itself, it desires the assistance of the whole creation, that angels and men would concur with it in the admiration and love of those infinite perfections.
The certainty to be beloved again. Again, love is accompanied with trouble, when it misseth a suitable return of affection: love is the most valuable thing we can bestow, and by giving it, we do in effect give all that we have; and therefore it needs must be afilicting to find so great a gift despised, that the present which one hath made of his whole heart, cannot prevail to obtain any return. Perfect love is a kind of self-dereliction, a wandering out of ourselves; it is a kind of voluntary death, wherein the lover dies to himself, and all his own interest, not thinking of them, nor caring for them any more, and minding nothing but how he may please and gratify the party whom he loves. Thus he is quite undone unless he meets with reciprocal affection; he neglects himself, and the other hath no regard to him; but if he be beloved, he is revived, as it were, and liveth in the soul and care of the person whom he loves; and now he begins to mind his own concernments, not so much because they are his, as because the heloved is pleased to own an interest in them. He becomes dear unto himself, because he is so unto the other.
But why should I enlarge on so known a matter? Nothing can be more clear, than that the happiness of love depends on the relurn it meets with. And herein the divine lover hath unspeakably the advantage, having placed his affection on him whose nature is love; whose goodness is as infinite as his being; whose mercy prevented us when we were his enemies, therefore cannot choose but embrace us when we are become his friends. It is utterly impossible that God should deny his love to a soul wholly devoted to him, and which desires nothing so much as to serve and please him. He cannot disdain his own image, nor the heart in which it is engraven. Love is all the tribute which we can pay him, and it is the sacrifice which he will not despise.
The presence of the beloved person. Another thing which disturbs the pleasure of love, and renders it a miserable and unquiet passion, is absence
and separation from those we love. It is not without a sensible affliction that friends do part, though for some little time. It is sad to be deprived of that society which is so delightful; our life becomes tedious, being spent in an impatient expectation of the happy hour wherein we may meet again. But if death hath made the separation, as sometime or other it must, this occasions a grief scarce to be paralleled by all the misfortunes of human life, and wherein we pay dear enough for the comforts of our friendship. But 0 how happy are those who have placed their love on him who can never be absent from them! They need but open their eyes, and they shall every where behold the traces of his presence and glory, and converse with him whom their soul loveth. And this makes the darkest prison,. or the wildest desert, not only supportable, but delightful to them. The divine love makes us partake of an infinite
happiness. In fine, a lover is miserable if the person whom te loveth be so. They who have made an exchange of hearts by love, get thereby an interest in one another's happiness and misery: and this makes love a troublesome passion when placed on earth. The most fortunate person hath grief enough to mar the tranquillity of his friend; and it is hard to hold out, when we are attacked on all hands, and suffer not only in our own person but in another's. But if God were the object of our love, we should share in an infinite happiness, without any mixture or possibility of diminution; we should rejoice to behold the glory of God, and receive comfort and pleasure from all the praises wherewith men and angels do extol him. It should delight us beyond all expression, to consider, that the beloved of our souls is infinitely happy in himself, and that all his enemies cannot shake or unsettle his throne; that our God is in the heavens, and doth whatsoever he pleaseth.
Behold, on what sure foundations his happiness is built, whose soul is possessed with divine love; whose will is