Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
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Love Will Hide a Multitude of Sins
- What is it that makes a person great, admired by creation, well pleasing in the eyes of God? What is it that makes a person strong, stronger than the whole world; what is it that makes him weak, weaker than a child? What is it that makes a person unwavering, unwavering as a rock; what is it that makes him soft, softer than wax? –It is love! What is it that is older than everything? It is love. What is it that outlives everything? It is love. What is it that cannot be taken but itself takes all? It is love. What is it that cannot be given but itself gives all? It is love. What is it that perseveres when everything falls away? It is love. What is it that comforts when all comfort fails? It is love. What is it that endures when everything is changed? It is love. What is it that remains when the imperfect is abolished? It is love. What is it that witnesses when prophecy is silent? It is love. What is it that does not cease when the vision ends? It is love. What is it that sheds light when the dark saying ends? It is love. What is it that gives blessing to the abundance of the gift? It is love. What is it that gives pith to the angel’s words? It is love. What is it that makes the widow’s gift an abundance? It is love. What is it that turns the words of the simple person into wisdom? It is love. What is it that is never changed even though everything is changed? It is love; and that alone is love, that which never becomes something else. It is love!
- Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong, p. 55
- What is it that is never changed even though everything is changed? It is love. And only that which never becomes something else is love, that which gives away everything and for that reason demands nothing, that which demands nothing and therefore has nothing to lose, that which blesses and blesses when it is cursed, that which loves its neighbor but whose enemy is also its neighbor, that which leaves revenge to the Lord because it takes comfort in the thought that he is even more merciful.
- Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong, p. 57
- Should I warn against a certain ingenious common sense that in human eyes is less culpable, that cunningly knows how to discover people’s faults, that admittedly does not misuse its knowledge to condemn but nevertheless by its curiosity does not so much violate the neighbor as hinder itself. Should we admonish everyone to aspire to that Christian love because everyone so often needs forgiveness himself.
- Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong, p. 58
- But the evil eye discovers much that love does not see, since an evil eye even sees that the Lord acts unjustly when he is good. When evil lives in the heart, the eye sees offense, but when purity lives in the heart, the eye sees the finger of God. The pure always see God, but “he who does evil does not see God” 3 John 11A person’s inner being, then, determines what he discovers and what he hides. When an appetite for sin lives in the heart, the eye discovers the multiplicity of sin and makes it even more multiple. … When anxiety of sin lives in the heart, the ear discovers the multiplicity of sin and makes it even more multiple. … When love lives in the heart, the eye is shut and does not discover the open act of sin, to say nothing of the concealed act … When love lives in the heart, the ear is shut and does not hear what the world says, does not hear the bitterness of blasphemy, because he who says, “you fool”, to his brother is guilty before the council, but he who hears it when it is said to him is not perfect in love. … When rashness lives in the heart, a person is quick to discover the multiplicity of sin, then he understands splendidly a fragmentary utterance, hastily comprehends at a distance something scarcely enunciated. When love lives in the heart, a person understands slowly and does not hear at all words said in haste and does not understand them when repeated because he assigns them good position and a good meaning. He does not understand a long angry and insulting verbal assault, because he is waiting for one more word that will give it meaning. When fear lives in the heart, a person easily discovers the multiplicity of sin, discovers deceit and delusion and disloyalty and scheming, discovers that; Every heart is a net, Every rogue like a child, Every promise like a shadow. But the love that hides a multitude of sins is never deceived.
- Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong, p. 60-61
- When stinginess lives in the heart, when one gives with one eye and looks with seven to see what one obtains in return one readily discovers the multiplicity of sin. But when love lives in the heart, then the eye is never deceived, because when love gives, it does not watch the gift but keeps its eye on the Lord. When envy lives in the heart, the eye has the power to elicit the impure even from the pure; but when love lives in the heart, the eye has the power to love forth the good in the impure, but his eye sees not the impure but the pure, which it loves, and loves forth by loving it. Yes, there is a power in this world that in its language translates good into evil, but there is power from above that translates evil into good-it is the love that hides a multitude of sins. … When hate lives in the heart, sin is right there at the door of a human being, and the multitude of its cravings is present to him. But when love lives in the heart, then sin flees far away and he does not even catch a glimpse of it. ** p. 61
Love Will Hide a Multitude of Sins
- One must have the courage to will love; the secret of earthly love is that it bears the mark of God’s love, without which it would become silliness, or insipid philandering, as if a person in comparison with another were so perfect that he could arouse this anxiety or truly be able to take everything.
- p. 74-75
- To remember everything is a great thing to the understanding; that love hides a multitude of sins is foolishness to it. Or should we deprive ourselves of this comfort by sensibly wanting to measure out love, so to speak, by wanting to portion it out as compensation for particular sins and in this way continue in the sins? Should we shut ourselves out from love; if we continue in love, who is it, then, who accuses? Or is not the love in a person that hides a multitude of sins from himself the same love that out of love hides a multitude of sins?
- p. 77
Strengthening in the Inner Being
- Only the person who cravingly runs away from every more profound explanation, who does not have the courage to assume the responsibility of the master by submitting to the obligation of a servant, who does not have the humility to be willing to obey in order to learn how to rule and at all times is willing to rule only insofar as he himself obeys-only he fills time with perpetual deliberations that takes him nowhere but only serves as a dissipation in which his soul, his capacity for comprehending and willing, vanishes like mist and is extinguished like a flame. How doleful is such a self-consuming, how far from witnessing by his life, from giving expression in his life, to a human being’s exalted destiny-to be God’s coworker.
- Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong, p. 85-86
- Not until the moment when there awakens in his soul a concern about what meaning the world has for him and he for the world, about what meaning everything within him by which he himself belongs to the world has for him and he therein for the world-only then does the inner being announce its presence in this concern. This concern is not calmed by a more detailed or a more comprehensive knowledge; it craves another kind of knowledge, a knowledge that does not remain as knowledge for a single moment but is transformed into an action the moment it is possessed, since otherwise it is not possessed. This concern also craves an explanation, a witness, but of another kind.
- p. 86
- Consider him the person who was wronged. He complains not about life but about people who corrupt everything and embitter what God made good. … Then everything became confused for him; there was no God who intended everything for good, but everything was left up to human beings who intended everything for evil. But the more his soul stared down into the abyss of dark passions that arose in him, the greater was the power that the anxiety of temptation gained over him, until he himself plunged down into it and lost himself in despair.
- p. 95-96
- Blessed is the person who could truthfully say: God in heaven was my first love; blessed is the person whose life was a beneficent strengthening of his love; blessed is the person who, even though in his life he made the mistake of taking the outer instead of the inner, even though his soul in many ways was ensnared by the world, yet was again renewed in the inner being by turning back to his God.
- p. 101
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