Saturday, November 13, 2010

That Perverse Conception of the Nature of Love

“The antithesis which is oftentimes set up between love and commandment overlooks this elementary fact. Love itself is exercised in obedience to a commandment—'Thou shalt love'. We cannot get away from the fact that love in this case is not ultimate or original. Love is dictated by a consideration that is prior to itself. Love is obedience to a commandment which comes from a source other than itself; it does not autonomously excogitate or create itself. We must resist that perverse conception of the nature of love that we cannot be commanded to love, that love must be spontaneous and cannot be evoked by demand. It is true that the command or demand will not itself create the love. Commandment of itself has no power to generate love or elicit obedience. But it by no means follows that love is not commanded. Love is commanded, and love is exercised in response to the commandment even though it is not the commandment that creates or generates that response. In this respect the commandment to love is like every other commandment. The commandment to feed the hungry, for example, does not itself create the disposition or will to do so; but feeding the hungry is action elicited in response to the commandment.”
 -John Murray  from Principles of Conduct
2811442: Principles of Conduct, Aspects of Biblical Ethics Principles of Conduct, Aspects of Biblical Ethics

By John Murray / Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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