The Law of Love

A quote from the book, “Mountains Of Spices,” by Hannah Hurnard:

“I am love,” said the King very clearly. “If you want to see the pattern of true love, look at me for I am the expression of the law of love on which the universe is founded. And the very first characteristic of true love, as I have manifested it, is willingness to accept all other human beings, just as they are, however blemished and marred by sin they may be, and to acknowledge oneness with them in their sin and need. To acknowledge also that every human heart needs both to love and to be loved, and that herein lies the very root of the oneness of mankind. For unless you sons and daughters of men are loved and also love all others besides yourselves, you cannot become what you are destined to be, the sons and daughters of the God Who is Love.”

He ceased speaking, and at that moment a company of the King’s servants who had just approached the Mountain of Pomegranates in order to gather a store of the beautiful fruit, broke forth into singing as they began their work on a nearby slope. These are the words of their song:

Love is oneness— oh, how sweet
    To obey this law,
The unlovely we may meet
    Need our love the more
Make us one, O love, we plead,
With men’s sorrow and their need.

We are one in needing love,
    (Let us true love show)
Only love’s sun from above
    Makes our spirits grow.
“Love us!” this is our heart’s need,
“Let us love”— and live indeed!

We are also one in this,
    We must love or die,
Loving others is true bliss,
    Self-love is a lie!
Love of self is inward strife,
Love turned outward is true life.

Let us love and fruitful be,
    Love is God’s own breath,
Love will kindle love and see
    New life born from death.
Nowhere is a heaven more sweet
Than where loving spirits meet.

When the song had ended, the King pointed out over the wide landscape and towards the Black Mountain and said:

“See how plainly the law of the universe is demonstrated in all that love has created, and how everything which the Creator’s hand has formed and fashioned, when it obeys the law of its being, shares with others and acknowledges its oneness with the need of all. Behold how this law is indeed written in everything around you.”

So Grace and Glory looked.

Down in the valley far below were the green pastures where the flocks were grazing. She pictured all the myriad little blades of grass giving themselves freely to nourish the flocks and herds. She remembered the unnumbered wild flowers giving forth their sweetness and beauty and perfume even in places where there was no eye to see them, no onlooker to appreciate them, ready to be trampled down and broken, or else to bloom their whole life long without receiving praise or recompense. Then she looked at the trees of love growing all around them as they sat up there on the mountain, saw how laden they were with fruit which others were to pluck and enjoy, finding all the meaning of their existence in the ministry/service of giving.

She looked up at the sun shining overhead, shedding its light and warmth so freely upon all, on the evil and on the good, on the unjust as well as the just, on all alike! She saw that in its self-giving and self-sharing and in its willingness to enter into and become one with all who would open to receive its light and warmth, it was indeed the great symbol of perfect love. She looked at the streamlets all hurrying to go lower and lower and to give themselves to refresh all thirsty things along their banks. Everywhere she looked she saw nature exulting to give and to share with others, and, by thus doing, to become one with them.

Then she began to think of the many creatures who break this law of the universe; the beasts of prey, always seeking for themselves and giving nothing but to their own young; the parasites and the wild vines which had ruined Black Mountain. And she realized how destructive everything is when it will not remain in harmony with the law of love and oneness. She realized, too, that this same law was indeed written in every part of her own nature. “It is happy to love,” she thought, “and it is healthy too. It is utter misery to withhold love and to live only and always for oneself alone. I see that it is exactly as he says. Love must express itself in giving; must find a way to become one with others, just as he found a way to give his own life to us and thereby to become one with us! And all the misery down there in the valley really is because the inhabitants are breaking this law of their existence without realizing it.”

While she still sat pondering upon all this, the King himself began to sing, and these are the words of the song which he taught her up there on the Mountain of Pomegranates:

There is one law by which we live,
    “Love loves to give and give!”
And on this “royal law,” so named,
    The universe itself is framed
No lasting joy is anywhere
    Save in the hearts of those who share,
Life yields a thousandfold and more
To those who practice love’s great law.

That love is far too weak and small
    Which will love some but not all.
If love to one it will decline,
    ‘Tis human love and not divine.
Love cannot be content to rest
    Till the beloved is fully blest.
Love leaps to succor all who fall,
And finds his joy in giving all.

When he had finished this song the King rose to his feet and said, “Now it is time to return to the lovely work of self-giving and sharing.” And with that he pointed to down the the mountain slopes, and then together they went bounding down the mountain on their “hinds’ feet,” down toward the little green carpet far below which was the Valley of Humiliation where their ministry/service of love was so much needed.