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The Service of the Heart

The Service of the Heart

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" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart."
St. Matt. xxii. 37.

" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart."
St. Matt. xxii. 37.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Mar 20, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE SERVICE OF THE HEART BY J: R. ILLINGWORTH, M.A." Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." St. Matt. xxii. 37. All men know, or think they know, what love is. The poets have sung its praises, and the philosophers have analysed it, and the moralists have assigned it a niche, under one name or other, among their virtues ; but all have alike regarded it as too irrational, too capricious, too transitory a thing to be an adequate foundation for morality. Christianity alone has made love at once the guide and goal of life, the condition of perfection, the fulfilling of the law. Now for the mass of men, who have neither time nor capacity to theorise, and yet who none the less desire to lead the higher life, the principle of love has an advantage over all the formulae of the secular moralists, in being so
40 THE SERVICE OF THE HEART in tLfiiversal that no heart is exempt from its sway ; so indisputably real that no man can deny its influence ; so quick with vital energy that, wherever it exists, it must issue in some form of action. School after school of moralists, in their efforts to reach an universal formula for con-duct, have landed themselves among phrases, which, to the average mind, were abstract and unreal, and needed elaborate justification at the bar of popular opinion before they could be brought into contact with the affairs of daily life ; while even then there remained a gulf, which was helplessly, hopelessly impassable, between the moral rule and the moral force which was to put the rule in action. But the principle of love is universal, without being abstract, it is a fact, a plain, obvious, palpable reality, which all men agree to recognise, and to recognise as ultimate and fundamental. Its
analogues are broadcast throughout the universe, from the laws of gravitation upwards. It is universal, it is real, and further, it is vital. It is its own dynamic. It lives and grows and Ill THE SERVICE OF THE HEART \\ expands and fructifies, and sows its fiery con-tagion broadcast with an importunate, an imperious necessity of its own inner nature, which admits of neither help nor hindrance from without. The command, therefore, to love appeals to an instinct which is co-extensive with humanity, which is real beyond touch of controversy, and endowed with a vital force that is exclusively its own. " Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it." But the very instinctive nature of love often misleads men into thinking that it is not a fit subject for command. Other things they say

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