Prelude to the 'First Book of The opposite Passions of Divine and Human Love'
Does love exist?
What is that you ask? If love exists? It is wise of you to ask, but also foolish: wise, because it is a chapter of
[Christian] doctrine; foolish, because it exists in you. What one possesses at home, one seeks in vain outside. If you say:
there is no love in me, you are unjust: where there is love, there cannot be justice. If you do not love, you hate: we are
led by hate or by love. Do you still ask if love exists? If you do not love, you are without will, for love is the beginning
and the root of all acts of will. If you do not love, you are insane. It is not love, it is madness. If you do not love, you
are not a human: it is inhuman not to love.
Do you still persist in asking if love exists?
If you do not love, you are dead: without love we are thought of as dead.
But why do I go on disputing this? To argue with someone who is dead is foolishness. Let me bring forward somebody
who is dead, but who lives by Scripture. Let a dead man speak to a dead man; let us listen. What the steersman is in seafaring,
what the magistrate is in the municipality, what the sun is in the world, that is what love is among mortals. Without a steersman
a sea voyage goes off course, a community without a magistrate runs into danger, without the sun the world is turned into
a place of darkness. So also without love the life of mortals will not stay alive.
Do you believe this? You will come to life again. If you come to life again, do not inquire any further: you have
what you were looking for. Where there is life, there is love. Where love is, there everything is. So love, and do what you