[Outer Court, Temple]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 25: Morning


If thou be single, all thy goods and ground

Submit to love; but yet not more then all.

Give one estate, as one life. None is bound

To work for two, who brought himself to thrall.

     God made me one man; love makes me no more,

     Till labour come, and make my weaknesse score.

     If you are single, all your goods and property submit to Love; but yet not more than all [that you have.] Give one estate, as one life [to Love]. None is bound to work for two, who brought himself to bondage to a master. God made me one man; love makes me no more, till labor comes, and makes my one weakness 20 [times the one weakness I already have].

     If you are single, and without family responsibilities, allow Love to determine what becomes of your goods and real estate. But not more than you possess. Do not promise more than is within your ability, power and possessions. Give one estate to Love as you would give one life. No one is bound to work for two estates or two lives. Do not try to extend yourself beyond your ability. This would be selling yourself into bondage beyond your capacity to repay. God made me one and only one person; Love, as noble a master as that is, makes me no more than one, until the eternal work comes and magnifies my weakness 20 times.

     Love makes us want to do as much as we can with as much as we have. Love does not expect more than we have to give. But we may expect more, even too much of ourselves. Other people, even those we love, may expect or demand more from us than we can do. Because of our love for them, we try to help as much as we can, but we may take their natural ability from them and borrow from others. Love does not ask this. We may try to do 110%, and others may require 200%. Love asks 100% of us, our best and our all.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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