St. John is the Saint of purity, and St. Peter is the Saint of love. Not that love and purity can ever be separated; not as if a Saint had not all virtues in him at once; not as if St. Peter were not pure as well as loving, and St. John loving, for all he was so pure. The graces of the Spirit cannot be separated from each other; one implies the rest; what is love but a delight in God, a devotion to Him, a surrender of the whole self to Him? what is impurity, on the other hand, but the turning to something of this world, something sinful, as the object of our affections instead of God? What is it but a deliberate abandonment of the Creator for the creature, and seeking pleasure in the shadow of death, not in the all-blissful Presence of light and holiness? The impure then cannot love God; and those who are without love of God cannot really be pure. Purity prepares the soul for love, and love confirms the soul in purity. The flame of love will not be bright unless the substance which feeds it be pure and unadulterate; and the most dazzling purity is but as iciness and desolation unless it draws its life from fervent love.

Yet, certain as this is, it is certain also that the spiritual works of God show differently from each other to our eyes, and that they display, in their character and their history, some of them this virtue more than other virtues, and some that. In other words, it pleases the Giver of grace to endue His Saints specially with certain gifts, for His glory, which light up and beautify one particular portion or department of their souls, so as to cast their other excellences into the shade. And then this special gift of grace becomes their characteristic, and we put it first in our thoughts of them, and consider what they have besides as included in it, or dependent upon it, and speak of them as if they had not the rest, though we know they really have them; and we give them some title or description taken from that particular grace which is so emphatically theirs.

DMC 4

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