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"Whether it be the Soul itself, or God in the Soul, that shines by Lov, or both, it is difficult to tell: but certainly the Lov of the Soul is the sweetest Thing in the world." (Thomas Traherne, Centuries 4:83).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

on love

"He was a strict and severe applier of all things to himself, and
would first have his self-love satisfied, and then his love of all
others. It is true that self-love is dishonourable, but then it is when
it is alone. And self-endedness is mercenary, but then it is when it
endeth in oneself. It is more glorious to love others, and more
desirable, but by natural means to be attained. That pool must first be
filled that shall be made to overflow. He was ten years studying before
he could satisfy his self-love. And now finds nothing more easy than to
love others better than oneself: and that to love mankind so is the
comprehensive method to all Felicity. For it makes a man delightful to
God and men, to himself and spectators, and God and men delightful to
him, and all creatures infinitely in them. But as not to love oneself
at all is brutish, or rather absurd and stonish, (for the beasts do
love themselves) so hath God by rational methods enabled us to love
others better than ourselves, and thereby made us the most glorious
creatures. Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been
obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love.
But when we do love ourselves, and self-love is satisfied infinitely in
all its desires and possible demands, then it is easily led to regard
the Benefactor more than itself, and for His sake overflows abundantly
to all others. So that God by satisfying my self-love, hath enabled and
engaged me to love others.

T.T. Centuries, 4:55


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