The highest are of human contemplation circling upwards—the infinite love and tenderness—be that my subject here. To some people love divine seems a mist—a phantom, although they can understand human love (yet not the highest). Yet is divine love precisely the same in kind as human, whether maternal, paternal, filial, etc., but in a higher—and therefore deeper and fuller—form, just as human is a higher form of that rudiment, not deep enough for conservation—even between the female and her young—which shows itself among the if animals. Again, to take up an intermediate stand, consider how much firmer relations are among the cultured of humanity (I mean the truly cultured—along the lines of nature) than among the uncultured, where they are oft times not much more enduring than—among the animals; and here it is to be noted that, say, a dog's devotion for his master (whom doubtless it regards as a deity) is higher and profounder by far than his devotion for one of his kind—another lesson to be learned from the animals, unless we will listen to that sovereign specification of the two first commandments!
Depth and reality of love is, then, according to its purity or spirituality. Brute love is negative to human, human to divine; divine will overpower human, human will overpower that which is of the earth—earthy, mounting higher and higher "above the shadow of the earth"; and there are many degrees: "In My Father's house are many mansions." Love is the only real passion, the only passion which cannot be beaten down—except by its higher or positive; but what is of the body can be dealt with by the body, by discipline, etc.
In God is infinite love, and He is manifesting it continually on earth, through a medium—personality—just as the rays of the sun are manifested through the medium of reflecting surfaces—else invisible; and different personalities are to the love of God as prisms to the sun's rays—they reveal it in different aspects, different shades, and these scintillate in a thousand endearing traits. For, in the present state of man, nothing, whether moral or physical, is apparent to him without a medium. Now, let us keep ourselves from idols, from doting upon "this medium, or personality, regarding a manifestation of God as an entity apart from God. Let us rather understand that that which is lovable in any one is of God, and that in loving him, or her, we in that degree love God. Doing this, we shall cease to lie open to the slings and arrows of inordinate grief and the social part of our life will become a continual conscious worship, supplying body and consistence to our prayers and charity to our faith.
For since personality is merely the medium, ought we not to look deeper?—to let the affections of our hearts go hand in hand with reason—not settle down in midcareer on any personality, but penetrate to the divinity within, the real self, the Son, which is also one with the Father—the "my Lord" and "the Lord" in the words, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit thou,' etc." The disciples loved Jesus, but Jesus loved God—first Gad in Heaven, and then God in humanity. Your love seems called out by instinct, but this instinct is the rudiment of reason, just as is that which turns a creeping plant towards its support. For love never stirs abroad without reason—the "logos" or word, though this companion walks unseen to our dazzled eyes; but we shall see it, and it will reveal the sea of love, in which we live and move and have our being, pressing in close upon us, to enter whensoever we open to it; and this love in turn will reveal God, will reveal the actuality of the Divine Presence.
Makes the heavy burden light,
Smoothes rough ways to weary feet,
Makes the bitter morsel sweet,
Love alone is strength.