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Posts Tagged "Love":

The Difference Between Love And Being In Love: C S Lewis


What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it subordinates…our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust. No one in his right senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality of cold self-centredness. But…the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs.

Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing…You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go…If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and it would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?

But of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense – love as distinct from ‘being in love’ – is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it…

People get from books [and the cinema] the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on being ‘in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change – not realising that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last…The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there…Does this mean…that it would be better not to live in the beautiful place? By no means. …If you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for by a quieter and more lasting kind of interest…it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction…

This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies…Let the thrill go – let it die away- go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow – and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be …bored and disillusioned…for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all around them.


C S Lewis 1898-1963

Extract from ‘Mere Christianity‘ , Chapter 6 on Christian Marriage
The image is copyright: wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock

New Hymn: ‘Love Divine, All Loves Embracing’


 Have you ever tried to write a hymn – from scratch, that is? I have, and it is a lot harder than it looks. This is why the text of most of the hymns in our hymnals comes unstuck at some point. The more ancient the language, the less noticeable are the infelicities. This is why poor old Graham Kendrick and his ilk get so much flak from the traditionalists, who squirm at some of the lyrics. Of course, if the music is good enough, people don’t take so much notice of the words.

You may have read the recent guest post on this blog by Chris Fewings. He gave it the splendid title, ‘Love Divine, All Loves Embracing‘ – playing on the first line of one of the Church of England’s favourite hymns, ‘Love Divine, All Loves Excelling’. He then challenged me to produce a draft text for the whole amended hymn. I like challenges. But I am no poet, and this was a rather tall order. Nevertheless, I do think it is a good idea, and someone has to produce the first effort – a coconut shy for our readers to chuck coconuts at. So here it is.

I decided on these guiding principles:

  • I would aim to produce a real new hymn, that could be used in genuine services;
  • The sense of the hymn would be that human love for other humans overflows into love for God, and love for God overflows into love for other humans;
  • I would stick fairly closely to the original, only changing the text where there was an opportunity to put across an ‘inclusive’ message;
  • For obvious reasons, I would not use ‘man’ or ‘mankind’, but this made the drafting more difficult;
  • The result would aim to look therefore as if it could have been written by Charles Wesley, as was the original, and not an obvious parody.
This is my attempt:


Love Divine, all loves embracing,

Joy of heaven, to earth come down,

Thee we would be always praising,

All thy grace and mercy crown.

Jesus, thou art all compassion,

Pure unbounded love thou art;

Encompass love of every fashion,

Enter each adoring heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,

Let us all thy grace receive;

Human love and love of the Father

Blend in us when we believe.

Thee we would be always blessing,

Interceding through thy Dove, (1)

Pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,

Glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation

Rainbow colours let us be;

Showing all thy great salvation,

Lovingly bestowed by thee,

Changed from glory into glory,

Till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before thee,

Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

 Here is the original text for comparison:

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.


The text of the original version is taken from Net Hymnal, but is set to ‘the wrong tune’, Beecher. The ‘proper’ tune is Blaenwern. (YMMV!)

(1)Difficult line – Help! Idea is Intercession of the Spirit – can anyone improve on this?

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