law, and this he does for no other reason than to gratify self. On the distinction between mere benevolence and the love required by God?s law, see Hovey, God With Us, 187-200; Hopkins, Works, 1:235; F. W. Robertson, Sermon I. Emerson: ?Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none.? See Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 327-370, on duties toward self as a moral end.
Love to God is the essence of all virtue. We are to love God with all the heart. But what God is that? Surely, not the false God, the God who is indifferent to moral distinctions and who treats the wicked as he treats the righteous. The love, which the law requires, is love for the true God, the God of holiness. Such love aims at the reproduction of God?s holiness in us and in others. We are to love ourselves only for God?s sake and for the sake of realizing the divine idea in us. We are to love others only for God?s sake and for the sake of realizing the divine idea in them. In our moral progress we, first, love self for our own sake, secondly, God for our own sake, thirdly, God for his own sake, fourthly, ourselves for God?s sake. The first is our state by nature, the second requires munificent grace, the third, regenerating grace, and the fourth, sanctifying grace. Only the last is reasonable self-love. Balfour, Foundations of Belief, 27 ? ?Reasonable self-love is a virtue wholly incompatible with what is commonly called selfishness. Society suffers, not from having too much of it, but from having too little.? Altruism is not the whole of duty. Self-realization is equally important. But to care only for self, like Goethe, is to miss the true self-realization, which love to God ensures.
Love desires only the best for its object, and the best is God. The golden rule bids us give, not what others desire, but what they need. <451502>Romans 15:2 ? ?Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, unto edifying.? Deutsche Liebe: ?Nicht Liebe die fragt: Willst du mein sein? Sondern Liebe die sagt: Ich muss dein sein.? Sin consists in taking for one?s self alone and apart from God that in one?s self and in others to which one has a right only in God and for God?s sake. Mrs. Humphrey Ward, David Grieve, 403 ? ?How dare a man pluck from the Lord?s hand, for his wild and reckless use, a soul and body for which he died? How dare he, the Lord?s bondsman, steal his joy, carrying it off by himself into the wilderness, like an animal his prey, instead of asking it at the hands and under the blessing of the Master? How dare he, a member of the Lord?s body, forget the whole, in his greed for the one ? eternity in his thirst for the present?? Wordsworth, Prelude, 546 ? ?Delight how pitiable, Unless this love by a still higher love Be hallowed, love that breathes not without awe; Love that adores, but on the knees of prayer, By heaven inspired? This spiritual love acts not nor can exist Without
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