This quality is not in the voice that is speaking, but in the ears that are hearing. There is nothing imperative or exacting in the two great commandments, other than their certainty and universality. They are law of being for men, and are inevitable law to all men. As no matter can escape the law of gravitation, so no human life can escape the law of love. Where its sway is least obstructed, there character is most elevated and complete; and it follows those who fall through perverted free agency down to the depths of perversion and misery.
"Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there;
If I make my bed in sheol, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there shall thy hand lead me,
And thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me,
And the light about me shall be night,
Even the darkness hideth not from thee,
But the night shineth as the day."
No man is so low that he cannot take the first step upward by heeding the law of love, and no angel so high that it is not law of life to him.
The two great commandments are law of conditions as well as of conduct. Conditions that conflict with the first great law of living are evil conditions. We miss the scope and limit the application of a divine law of life if we hear in it only commandment to be obeyed in conduct and motive. God, in his providence, surrounds men with conditions that tend, as strongly as is consistent with their freedom, to lead them to accept the law of love; and men co-operate with that providence when they seek to establish and extend such conditions for their fellows and themselves.