I. CHARITY IS THE LOVE OF GOD FOR HIMSELF ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND OF MAN FOR GOD AND IN GOD. It shows itself in outward acts of love to man, or labour for God. Acts of love strengthen the inward fire of love; and love, which puts itself not forth in deeds of love, would go out, as fire without fuel; but they do not first light it. In God, Love is Himself, and God who is Love, giveth His Spirit who is Love, to pour abroad love into our hearts. Love then is the source and end of all good. Without it, nothing avails; with it, thou hast all things. "Love," says St. Laurence, "is the beginning of all good, because it is from God, and moves to Him. Love is the means of all good, for it is according to God, and fashioneth our deeds aright. Love is also the end of all good; for it is for the sake of God, and directeth our works, and bringeth them to the right end. It is the end of sins, because it destroyeth them; the end of the commandments, because it perfecteth them; it is the end of all our toils, the end of all ends to us, for our rest is in life everlasting, but God is the end in whom we rest."
II. WHENCE HATH LOVE ITS BIRTH? In the infinite love of God, charity is greater than faith and hope and any other grace, because it has its source in that which God is. Hence then it is love which gives the value to all deeds of faith, or devotion, or toil, or love, or martyrdom; because love is of God, and refers all to God. Noble self-denying deeds may be for man's praise or in self-complacency; chastity may be proud; alms-giving, vain-glorious. Active service may be its own reward; death itself may be undergone amid obstinacy. Love hath no end but God, seeketh nothing but Himself for Himself. All virtues are but forms of love, for she is the soul of all. "Temperance," says , "is love, keeping itself pure and undefiled for God. Fortitude is love, readily enduring all things for the sake of God. Justice is love which serveth God alone, and so hath command over all things subject to man. Prudence is love, distinguishing what helpeth it towards God, from what hindereth it"; or, "Love, kindled with entire holiness towards God, when it coveteth nothing out of God, is called temperance; when it willingly parteth with all, is called fortitude." The worldly, careless, covetous, hard-hearted, the lovers of pleasure, cannot love God, but neither do they desire to love Him.