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CHAPTER VI.

HOW THE LOVE OF GOD HAS DOMINION OVER OTHER LOVES.

The will governs all the other faculties of man's soul, yet it is governed by its love which makes it such as its love is. Now of all loves that of God holds the sceptre, and has the authority of commanding so inseparably united to it and proper to its nature, that if it be not master it ceases to be and perishes.

Ismael was not co-heir with Isaac his younger brother, Esau was appointed to be his younger brother's servant, Joseph was adored, not only by his brothers, but also by his father, yea, and by his mother also, in the person of Benjamin, as he had foreseen in the dreams of his youth. Truly it is not without mystery that the younger of these brethren thus bear away the advantage from the elder. Divine love is indeed the last begotten of all the affections of man's heart, for as the Apostle says: That which is animal is first; afterwards that which is spiritual:29291 Cor. xv. 46.—but this last born inherits all the authority, and self-love, as another Esau is deputed to his service; and not only all the other motions of the soul as his brethren adore him and are subject to him, but also the understanding and will which are to him as father and mother. All is subject to this heavenly love, who will either be king or nothing, who cannot live unless he reign, nor reign if not sovereignly.

Isaac, Jacob and Joseph were supernatural children; for their mothers, Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel, being sterile by nature, conceived them by the grace of the divine goodness, and for this cause they were established masters of their brethren. Similarly, divine love is a child of miracle, since man's will cannot conceive it if it be not poured into our hearts by the Holy Ghost. And as supernatural it must rule and reign over all the affections, yea, even over the understanding and will.

And although there are other supernatural movements in the soul,—fear, piety, force, hope,—as Esau and Benjamin were supernatural children of Rachel and Rebecca, yet is divine love 30still master, heir and superior, as being the son of promise, since in virtue of it heaven is promised to man. Salvation is shown to faith, it is prepared for hope, but it is given only to charity. Faith points out the way to the land of promise as a pillar of cloud and of fire, that is, light and dark; hope feeds us with its manna of sweetness, but charity actually introduces us into it, as the Ark of alliance, which makes for us the passage of the Jordan, that is, of the judgment, and which shall remain amidst the people in the heavenly land promised to the true Israelites, where neither the pillar of faith serves as guide nor the manna of hope is used as food.

Divine love makes its abode in the most high and sublime region of the soul, where it offers sacrifice and holocausts to the divinity as Abraham did, and as our Saviour sacrificed himself upon the top of Calvary, to the end that from so exalted a place it may be heard and obeyed by its people, that is, by all the faculties and affections of the soul. These he governs with an incomparable sweetness, for love has no convicts nor slaves, but brings all things under its obedience with a force so delightful, that as nothing is so strong as love nothing also is so sweet as its strength.

The virtues are in the soul to moderate its movements, and charity, as first of all the virtues, governs and tempers them all, not only because the first in every species of things serves as a rule and measure to the rest, but also because God, having created man to his image and likeness, wills that as in himself so in man all things should be ordered by love and for love.

 


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