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The Measures and Rules of Divine Love.

But because this passion is pure as the brightest and smoothest mirror, and, therefore, is apt to be sullied with every impurer breath, we must be careful that our love to God be governed by these measures:

1. That our love to God be sweet, even, and full of tranquillity, having in it no violences or transportations, but going on in a course of holy actions and duties, which are proportionable to our condition and present state; not to satisfy all the desire, but all the probabilities and measures of our strength. A new beginner in religion hath passionate and violent desires; but they must not be the measure of his actions; but he must consider his strength, his late sickness and state of death, the proper temptations of his condition, and stand at first upon defence; not go to storm a strong fort, or attack a potent enemy, or do heroical actions, and fitter for giants in religion. Indiscreet violences and untimely forwardness are the rocks of religion against which tender spirits often suffer shipwreck.

2. Let our love be prudent and without illusion, that is, that it express itself in such instances which God hath chosen or which we choose ourselves by proportion to his rules and measures. Love turns into doating when religion turns into superstition. No degree of love can be imprudent, but the expressions may: we cannot love God too much, but we may proclaim it in indecent manners.

3. Let our love be firm, constant, and inseparable; not coming and returning like the tide, but descending like a never-failing river, ever running into the ocean of divine excellency, passing on in the channels of duty and a constant obedience, and never ceasing to be what it is till it be turned into sea and vastness, even the immensity of a blessed eternity.

Although the consideration of the divine excellencies and mercies be infinitely sufficient to produce in us love to God (who is invisible, and yet not distant from us, but we feel him in his blessings, he dwells in our hearts by faith, we feed on him in the sacrament, and are made all one with him in the incarnation and glorifications of Jesus: yet, that we may the better enkindle and increase our love to God, the following advices are not useless:

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