As I wrote the above extract my whole being was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the task l had set myself,—to write an article for the Epoch on the greatest power in the world, or in any other world, past or present, or to come, viz., Love.
The Christ said,—"For God so loved the world," and his life was spent in telling, by word and deed, the love of God for man. The Prophets long ages before the Christ manifestation to this Age, knew—it may have been in part—but in contradistinction to the Priest, they knew and voiced the Love of Jehovah. Isaiah wrote again and again of the Love at the Heart of the Universe. Perhaps the 51st Chapter of Isaiah is one of the strongest love poems written by that immortal pen. And yet, how greatly has it been misunderstood. For nearness to human needs and human comprehension how wonderful is that one passage above all others,—"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you? "Here we have the assurance that all love is one. There is not a human love and a Divine Love, differing from each other in character and in potentiality, for here we have the proof that the love felt by the human mother as she fondles and comforts her little one is exactly the same love as God feels for His needy and suffering ones. A difference in degree there may be, but no difference in kind. These words of the Poet-Prophet moreover are pregnant with meaning. The love of a mother for her child is perhaps the truest representation of the Great Fountain of Love from
which it is drawn—in which it has had birth. "There is no death in the world but forgetfulness,"—then there is a love in human hearts that has overcome the "last enemy," for the Mother-love is so a part of the Divine Love, that where can we find the Mother Heart that will not say with divine authority as she looks upon the face of her child,—"I have loved thee with an everlasting love!" I know we sometimes hear a hymn sung which seems to belittle the human love so that the "divine" love may be magnified. It asks,—
Cease towards the child she bare?"
and it answers,
Yet will I remember thee.
I always, from when a tiny child, smiled when I heard them singing those words in church, and I looked up into the face of my mother and wondered if the writer of that hymn ever knew a mother’s love. Her love was to me the most real thing in the world, and my love for her the one supreme thing in life, and the love of God was as nothing compared to it. I know now that God willed that mother's love should be the greatest, sweetest, deepest, strongest emotion in the heart, and to the conceptions, of a little child, and that out aim proceeding from it, and not a thing separate from, or above it, should one day emerge the love of God. I know that Rudyard Kipling knows this too, or he could never have written those soul-stirring words, —
Mather o' mine, O Mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O Mother o' mine!
If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mather o' mine, O Mother o’ mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mather o’ mine, O Mother o’ mine:
If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mather o' mine, O Mother o’ mine!
In the Galilee of the Durham Cathedral is the ruined Altar of Our Lady of Pity. You may still trace the outline of the figures upon the wall where the Altar stood, and the stone step before it, worn in hollows by ten thousand knees that knelt there in heartbroken sorrow and repentance, tells to all who can feel and see, the story of the power of the Mother Love. One’s heart aches to see how narrow-minded bigotry and intolerance destroyed so much that was sacred, divine, and beautiful. But to the eye of vision there still may be seen there the figure of the heart broken Blessed Mary with the dead body of her Divine Son in her arms, and to that Altar of Our Lady of Pity they must have come in tens of thousands year after year to pray for her compassion and intercession, or those stone steps could never have been worn in such holes as they are. The Mother-God Love being the greatest that appealed to the children of men. The protestant churches have lost much by ruling out the Motherhood of God.
Love empties itself into the world through many channels, but it is always the same love, and never changes its nature, which is, and always will be Divine—God is love.
I am so glad that the Bible contains that beautiful Love Song, entitled, The Song of Solomon. Mystics may see in it the mystery of the union of God with the Ego. Preachers may take texts from it, and interpret it according to general orthodox ideas of the love of Jesus for his bride—the Church. Philosophers may, in the usual philosophic manner, extract abstract truth, reason, law, and beauty from its impassioned expressions and utterances of love and devotion, but, thank God, they cannot change it from what it in reality is, a great love song, the beautiful, natural story of the love of a man for a woman—a woman for a man! Can you not see that without this Love Song the Bible would not be complete? Take it out of the Holy Scriptures and you take from them that which, as much as anything in them, constitutes them a divine revelation to man, and the real and true history of the human heart divine.
It is true, alas, that men and women have, in their darkness and ignorance degraded within them that which should be the Divine Passion; they have not known it for what it is, and they have mistaken the degraded desires of the ungoverned physical body, for the love of the heart which is always divine. And please notice that I have emphasized that word degraded, for all that is natural is divine, and there is no passion or emotion of the human body or soul that is not holy and pure and beautiful when glorified by nobility and honor, and lifted up into the light of Truth and Beauty. The love of lovers, when it is true, pure, intense, beautiful, sacred, whole-hearted, is always a symbol of the Love of God. Happy and blest indeed are those who find it! Where is the pure and happy lover that has not felt like that other lover in the divine Song of Love,—
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land,
Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.
For such is the divine power of love that it changes all the winters of life into one eternal Spring-time; and its glowing inspiration turns all the clouds to sunshine, and no day is ever dreary and dark again. Where the desert of loneliness and sorrow was, behold now spring forth the flowers of gladness, joy, and beauty; and everywhere life is one long, sweet song, when Love has come.
Surely the priests made a grievous mistake when they formulated a cut and dried theology as the Word of God, and left out Love—human love. Mazzini knew better when he said, "The religion of humanity is love." and St. Paul when he said, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law," and the Beloved John when he said, "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God."
Men are looking in every direction for the healing of the Nations. Human hearts are breaking in agony in all parts of the world today. There is a universal cry going forth "Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?" but until they look for that which alone can heal the broken hearted, and open the prison doors that the captives may go free, they will look in vain to Force and Might, for not there lies the healing power. Neither creeds, nor Laws, nor the power of the sword, nor the word of man can bring peace and rest, but only, Love, and that the love of human hearts.
So there are not two kinds of love—the human and the divine, but ONE LOVE in human and in God. And whosoever findeth love findeth God.