43. (v) THE ESSENCE OF LOVE IS LOVING OTHERS THAN ONESELF, WISHING TO BE ONE WITH THEM AND DEVOTING ONESELF TO THEIR HAPPINESS.
There are two things which make up the essence of God - love and wisdom; but there are three which make up the essence of His love - loving others than oneself, wishing to be one with them, and devoting oneself to their happiness. The same three make up the essence of His wisdom, because, as I have shown above, love and wisdom are one in God. It is love which wills these things, wisdom that puts them into effect.
 The first essential, loving others than oneself, is to be recognised in God's love towards the whole human race. On this account God loves everything He has created, because they are the means to an end, and if you love the end, you must love the means. Everyone and everything in the universe are other than God, because they are finite and God is infinite. God's love goes out and extends not only to good people and things, but also to evil people and things; consequently, not only to people and things in heaven, but also to people and things in hell, not only to Michael and Gabriel, but also to the Devil and Satan. For God is everywhere and from eternity to eternity the same. He says too that He makes His sun rise upon the good and the evil, and sends rain upon the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt. 5:45). But it is the fault of evil people and things that they are evil, because they do not receive God's love as it is, and as it most inwardly is, but as they are. It is the same as a thorn or a nettle receiving the heat of the sun or the rain.
 The second essential of God's love, wishing to be one with others, is to be recognised also in His linking Himself to the heaven of angels, the church on earth, to everyone in it, and to every good and truth which compose and make up men and the church. Love regarded in itself is nothing but a striving to be linked. Therefore to realise this essential of love God created man in His image and likeness, so that he could be linked with this. It is clear from the Lord's words that the Divine Love has linking as its constant aim, when He says that He wishes to be one with them, He in them and they in Him, and that the love of God might be in them (John 17:21-23, 26).
 The third essential of God's love, to devote Himself to the happiness of others, is to be recognised in everlasting life, which is blessedness, bliss and happiness without end, which He gives to those who receive His love into themselves. For God, just as He is Love itself, is also blessedness itself. For every love breathes out an aura of joy from itself, and the Divine Love breathes out the very height of blessedness, bliss and happiness for ever; so God makes the angels and men after death happy from Himself, which He does by being linked with them.