“Love,” said Meister Eckhart, “is the will to, the intention.” By that definition, it is possible to obey the divine command to love our neighbor. We may not in a thousand years be able to feel a surge of emotion toward certain “neighbors,” but we can go before God and solemnly will to love them, and the love will come. By prayer and an application of the inworking power of God, we may set our faces to will the good of our neighbor and not his evil all the days of our lives, and that is love. The emotion may follow, or there may be no appreciable change in our feelings toward him, but the intention is what matters. We will his peace and prosperity and put ourselves at his disposal to help him in every way possible, even to the laying down of our lives for his sake.
Love, then, is a principle of good will and is to a large extent under our control. That it can be fanned into a blazing fire is not denied here. Certainly God’s love for us has a mighty charge of feeling in it, but beneath it all is a set principle that wills our peace. Probably the love of God for mankind was never more beautifully stated than by the angel at the birth of Christ: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to man on whom his favor rests.”