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Holy Wisdom Or Directions For The Prayer Of Contemplation by Ven. F. Augustine Baker

CHAPTER II. Love is the root of all other passions.à

§ 1. Love is the root of all other passions.

§ 2. The wonderful depravity of our natural love.

§ 3. The only universal remedy is charity or Divine love.

§§ 4, 5, 6, 7. Of the distinction of love into: 1. a love of desire or concupiscence; 2. a love of friendship. The which are never separated.

1. The principle of all our actions, both external and internal, and that which both begets and sets on work all other passions, is only love -- that is, an internal complacence and inclination to an object from the goodness or beauty that is believed to be in it; which object, if it be absent, the first effect of love is a desire or tendence to it. But if it be present, then the effect of love is joy, rest, and fruition of it. Not only grief and anger, &c. but even hatred itself is set on work by love; for therefore a person is angry, discontented, or displeased, because something comes in the way, hindering him from what he loves; therefore he labours and works all that he does work. So that, according as love is regulated and placed upon a worthy or unworthy object, so is the whole person disposed, according to that saying of St. Augustine: Non faciunt bonos vel malos mores, nisi boni vel mali amores; that is, It is only a good or ill love that makes our actions and conditions to be good or ill.'

2. Hence will appear how inexpressibly depraved both our nature and all our actions, outward and inward, must be, since whereas we were created only to love and enjoy God, yet we love and seek nothing but ourselves. Our sensitive affections are carried to nothing but what is pleasing to sensuality; and our spiritual affections to nothing but propriety, liberty, and independence, self-esteem, self-judgment, and self-will, and to those things only that do nourish such depraved affections. By this means we are quite diverted from our last end and felicity: every thought that naturally we think, every word we speak, every action we do, carries us further from God, our only last end and perfection; and, consequently, nothing can we reap from them but increase in misery.

3. Now the only possible remedy for this horrible and universal deordination in us, proceeding from the only root of self-love, is to have a new contrary Divine principle imprinted in our hearts, by which we should be averted from the falsely seeming happiness that self-love promises us in creatures, and converted to our first and only end, which is God; and this can be no other but Divine love or charity shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. This charity is an universal cure of all our disorders, producing the like effects in us with respect to our true end that self-love did to a false end. It raises and employs, when need is, all other passions: anger against our own negligence, ingratitude, &c.; hatred against the devil and sin, that hinder our conversion to God, &c. And it is the root of all our good actions, for giving us an inclination, desire, and tendence to union with God; from thence it is that we regulate and direct all our actions to Him. Hereupon St. Paul ascribes to charity the acts of all other virtues: Charity,' saith he, is patient, it is kind, long-suffering, it doth nothing unseemly, it rejoiceth in the truth,' &c.

4. Now to the end we may have a distinct and clear notion of the nature of true charity, which is one and the noblest species of love, we may take notice that in general love regards: 1. either a thing that we desire to be possessed of, or to procure for ourselves, or some other that we love, as pleasure, profit, honour, knowledge, &c.; 2. or else a person, either ourselves or any other, to whom we bear an affection, and to whom we wish any good thing. The former of these two loves is called a love of desire, the latter a love of friendship. The difference between these two is this: that when we love anything distinct from ourselves, or the person of our friend, our love does not rest in the thing, but in the person; for it is not the thing is loved, but only for the person's sake, in whom love is finally terminated, and to whom that thing is loved and sought. So that when we seek pleasure and riches, &c. to ourselves, the love that we bear unto them is indeed self-love, because it is only for our own sakes that we love them, to give satisfaction to our natural desires. Yea, when we love a person only for sensual pleasure's sake and not for virtue, it is ourselves only that we love in such a person, whom we then love not properly as a person but as a thing pleasurable to us. But by a love of friendship we do, at least we profess to, love the person for the person's sake, and to seek therein, not our own good, but only the person's for whose greater good we are willing to neglect our own; yea, sometimes for the person's contentment, safety, &c. to sacrifice our own contentment or may be our life also. Thus far friendship hath been described in ancient and latter times; and charity is by all acknowledged to be a love of friendship to God, and for His sake only to men or ourselves.

5. Indeed, if we narrowly examine the matter we shall find that there neither is nor can be any other true friendship but charity, or the love which we bear to God or for God; and that all other pretended friendships, either among heathens or Christians, are mere sensual self-love. For though in some friendships (as they are called) some have professed so absolute a purity and freedom from self-interest as, for their friends' sake, to neglect not only all temporal respects of riches, honour, pleasure, &c. but also willingly exposed their lives; yet indeed the true motive of all was a sensual love unto themselves; for therefore, for their friends' sake, they made choice of death, rather than to live deprived of them, because the want of so great a sensual contentment was far more bitter and insupportable to them than the pain of suffering death, which would quickly be finished, whereas the languor and torture of the other would never have ceased till death.

6. But charity is only and in the most strict sense a friendship, because therein all our love is terminated in God only: we love nothing but Him or for Him; yea, we direct the love, not only of all other creatures, but also of ourselves only to Him.

7. Now in what sense it is usually said that our love to God must be a free unconcerned love, renouncing all interest or expectation of reward as a motive thereto, and how this purely free love may, notwithstanding, consist with, yea, be grounded upon, a hope of retribution in heaven, consisting in the vision and fruition of God, see appendix at the end of the last treatise.

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