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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 1

Chapter 23

Love--a Divine, Eternal Principle

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Love, the Principle of Action.-When the heavenly principle of eternal love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, ... because love is the principle of action, and modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and elevates and ennobles the affections.-Testimonies for the Church 4:223 (1876).

Distinct From Any Other Principle.-Pure love is simple in its operations and is distinct from any other principle of action.-Testimonies for the Church 2:136 (1868).

A Tender Plant to Be Cultivated and Cherished.-Love is a tender plant, and it must be cultivated and cherished, and the roots of bitterness all have to be plucked up around it in order for it to have room to circulate, and then it will bring in under its influence all the powers of the mind, all the heart, so that we shall love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.-MS 50, 1894. (HC 173.)

Satan's Substitution-Selfishness for Love.-Through disobedience man's powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened that it was impossible for him to resist the power of evil; and the tempter saw being fulfilled his purpose to thwart the divine plan of man's creation and fill the earth with misery and desolation.-Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 33 (1913).

Love Springs Forth Spontaneously When Self Is Submerged.-When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously. It is not an emotion or an impulse but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God. Our Lord and Saviour asks us to give ourselves to Him. Surrendering self to God is all He requires, giving ourselves to Him to be employed as He sees fit. Until we come to this point of surrender, we shall not work happily, usefully, or successfully anywhere.-Lt 97, 1898. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1100, 1101.)

Love Not an Impulse but a Divine Principle.-Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another-this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. "We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action.-The Acts of the Apostles, 551 (1911).

Love-Intellectual and Moral Strength.-Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate or produce this plant of heavenly growth which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.-Testimonies for the Church 2:135 (1868).

Love a Fragrant Atmosphere.-Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of its own-an atmosphere, it may be, charged with the life-giving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. Or it may be heavy and chill with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of cherished sin. By the atmosphere surrounding us every person with whom we come in contact is consciously or unconsciously affected.-Christ's Object Lessons, 339 (1900).

Uproots Selfishness and Strife.-The golden chain of love, binding the hearts of the believers in unity, in bonds of fellowship and love, and in oneness with Christ and the Father, makes the connection perfect and bears to the world a testimony of the power of Christianity that cannot be controverted.... Then will selfishness be uprooted and unfaithfulness will not exist. There will not be strife and divisions. There will not be stubbornness in anyone who is bound up with Christ. Not one will act out the stubborn independence of the wayward, impulsive child who drops the hand that is leading him and chooses to stumble on alone and walk in his own ways.-Lt 110, 1893. (HC 173.)

The Fruit of Pure Love.-"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12). Blessed results would appear as the fruit of such a course. "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (verse 2). Here are strong motives which should constrain us to love one another with a pure heart, fervently. Christ is our example. He went about doing good. He lived to bless others. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions.

We are not commanded to do to ourselves what we wish others to do unto us; we are to do unto others what we wish them to do to us under like circumstances. The measure we mete is always measured to us again....

The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life and frequently a blameless conversation. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions, acknowledge the present truth, and express humility and affection in an outward manner, yet the motives may be deceptive and impure; the actions that flow from such a heart may be destitute of the savor of life and the fruits of true holiness, being destitute of the principles of pure love. Love should be cherished and cultivated, for its influence is divine.-Testimonies for the Church 2:136 (1868).

Love Makes Concessions.-Christ's love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. If this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathize with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy.-MS 17, 1899. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1140.)

Love Governs the Motives and Actions.-The most careful attention to the outward proprieties of life is not sufficient to shut out all fretfulness, harsh judgment, and unbecoming speech. True refinement will never be revealed so long as self is considered as the supreme object. Love must dwell in the heart. A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ springs an unselfish interest in his brethren. Love imparts to its possessor grace, propriety, and comeliness of deportment. It illuminates the countenance and subdues the voice; it refines and elevates the entire being.-Gospel Workers, 123 (1915).

Love Favorably Interprets Another's Motives.-Charity "doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil" (1 Corinthians 13:5). Christlike love places the most favorable construction on the motives and acts of others. It does not needlessly expose their faults; it does not listen eagerly to unfavorable reports, but seeks rather to bring to mind the good qualities of others.-The Acts of the Apostles, 319 (1911).

Love Sweetens the Entire Life.-Those who love God cannot harbor hatred or envy. When the heavenly principle of eternal love fills the heart, it will flow out to others....

This love is not contracted so as merely to include "me and mine" but is as broad as the world and as high as heaven, and is in harmony with that of the angel workers. This love cherished in the soul sweetens the entire life and sheds a refining influence on all around. Possessing it, we cannot but be happy, let fortune smile or frown.

If we love God with all the heart, we must love His children also. This love is the Spirit of God. It is the heavenly adorning that gives true nobility and dignity to the soul and assimilates our lives to that of the Master. No matter how many good qualities we may have, however honorable and refined we may consider ourselves, if the soul is not baptized with the heavenly grace of love to God and one another, we are deficient in true goodness and unfit for heaven, where all is love and unity.-Testimonies for the Church 4:223, 224 (1876).

True Love Is Spiritual.-Love, lifted out of the realm of passion and impulse, becomes spiritualized and is revealed in words and acts. A Christian must have a sanctified tenderness and love, in which there is no impatience or fretfulness; the rude, harsh manners must be softened by the grace of Christ.-Testimonies for the Church 5:335 (1885).

Love Lives on Action.-Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love. It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful.

Wherever the power of intellect, of authority, or of force is employed, and love is not manifestly present, the affections and will of those whom we seek to reach assume a defensive, repelling position, and their strength of resistance is increased. Jesus was the Prince of peace. He came into the world to bring resistance and authority into subjection to Himself. Wisdom and strength He could command, but the means He employed with which to overcome evil were the wisdom and strength of love.-Testimonies for the Church 2:135, 136 (1868).

Evidences a New Principle of Life.-When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.-The Desire of Ages, 678 (1898).